Laying the floor in the Office!

November 19, 2010 | Comments Off on Laying the floor in the Office! | Blog

To save money, we borrowed a cement mixer from Barry and Roy came along to do it for us and we were his labourers for the day.  I have to say that this was probably the most difficult day of physical labour we have ever experienced!  We had to shovel out about a ton of pebbles, then dig out about a ton of earth.  Then the cement mixing started and we thought it wouldn’t take long to finish – WRONG!  The mixer dies after 2 mixes and we had to mix all the rest by hand.  It took about 7 hours!  I thought it would never finish!

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Operation DIY

October 19, 2010 | Comments Off on Operation DIY | Blog

Liesl got stuck in with sanding down the french doors which were in a really bad state, and then she spent about a week sanding the front doors.  Both doors have come up really well – she is dead proud of them! lol  The Spanish neighbours don’t know what to make of  her in her painting clothes – the women don’t seem to do that sort of thing over here!

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An old Spanish Farmhouse

October 1, 2010 | Comments Off on An old Spanish Farmhouse | Blog

In the summer of 2010 we fell in love with an old finca, and started on our journey to being a bit more self sufficient. 

We moved in during September and the priority is now to renovate the shed in the garden to make it into an office.  Once of the reasons we liked this house in particular was because the office could be completely separate to the house and we would like to try to separate work from the rest of our lives a bit.  Richard says he intends to go out the front door and in the garden gate to work!

The day we moved in we realised that nobody would insure the house until we had put grilles up on the windows, so I have been desperately organising companies to come and give us quotes.  We have chosen an unusual leaf pattern for the grilles, wanting them to look as natural as possible.  I can’t wait to see them!

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Liesl’s update – 2008

May 31, 2008 | Comments Off on Liesl’s update – 2008 | Blog

January came with the usual New Year’s resolutions! – more exercise, less food, less drink – learn new Spanish words each day!– keep up to date with the Blog! Well none of that happened, but at least we can try to bring the Blog up to date now!

BlueMoon had their quarterly director’s meeting in January and Rich Foster and Sean voted for the venue to be here in Gran Alacant (I wonder why? LOL). They arrived on the Friday afternoon and we made the mistake of going out to the Mexican restaurant across the road where they always finish off the meal by challenging you to have loads of tequila slammers! Needless to say, the planned meeting for the next day could not start until about 1.30pm as everyone felt so ill! Tequila was definitely a mistake the night before the 8 hour long meeting! I have to say I felt I needed to stay out of their way the next day to let them get on with the meeting so I “had” to stay in bed all day!

Our Spanish is improving albeit slowly. We met a couple Eve and Kris (Spanish girl married to English lad) and they have invited us to a few meals which were all in Spanish! One was a typical English Sunday lunch – even with the Yorkshire pudding! Eva wanted to introduce her Spanish friends to this English delicacy! When Eva’s parents came to stay they invited us to a BBQ one evening and we chatted away in Spanish! Our Spanish seemed to become better the more wine we drank…..I spotted Eva’s Mum looking at me sympathetically and saying to Eva “ Well at least she is trying…” When her parents had enough of the pigeon Spanish, they went to bed, and Kris and Eva dragged us out to a pub. When we go out with them we never get home before 2am and we always leave them partying! These young people have too much stamina!!!

We went back to England for the first time since we moved over here. We actually drove over as I had lots of files to take back to a customer and Richard had lots of computer equipment to bring back to Spain. The whole trip took 10 days – 3 days to drive there, 3 days to drive back leaving only a short time there. We stayed with Dave 3 nights and Chris and Linda for 1 night, and managed to fit in seeing practically everyone (no mean feat!) It snowed in England on the Sunday and when we got back home to Spain we couldn’t believe that the next Sunday we spent on the beach and I even got sunburnt!

I met my step-sister Synthia for the first time when she came over with her husband Scott to stay with Mum and Ken. We had a great night out and got on really well with them. I would really like to get to know her better – she is lovely! She bought me a lovely fashionable pair of sunglasses!

My belly dancing class was asked to do a couple of dances in the San Fulgencio theatre when they were playing “The Orient Express”. By the time the show had arrived, there were only 3 dancers left in the group – I think the other ladies were avoiding the class because of the show! Richard, Ken, Mum, Brian and Linda watched as the 4 of us girls went on in our red and black belly dancing outfits and “shook” our bits to the music. Unfortunately I have more bits than the others! After the show, there was a party backstage and then we decided to go off to a cave pub nearby.

We made a weekend of it and took Mum and Ken up to Finca Bonelli’s Eagle in the mountains behind Creveillente. They had been looking forward to their trip and were not disappointed with the food or accommodation.

Whilst my work has been reducing constantly, Richard’s has been increasing. Apart from building up the customer base over here in Spain, he has also spent 10 days in England doing some consultancy. Richard is considering expanding our business by teaching me all he knows about computers ……… I think that might take many years!!!! As my work slows down, I will have the chance to figure out what I want to do next – although Rich says that being a lady of leisure is NOT an option LOL

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2007 catch Up!!!

January 1, 2008 | 1 comment | Blog

Well it’s been a while! Work is going great, it’s been getting busier and busier which is really encouraging, Liesl and I are sitting in front of the TV with printouts of what we have done in the past 3 months hoping to get the blog up to date, so here goes…

Back at the end of September, 26th in fact, we went to a variety show in Torreveija with Bob and Jackie, it was a great evening, we weren’t expecting much as it was just a small performance to get the acts ready for their “main” performance in a few weeks but it was a great night, we had a meal at the event together with the show all for a very reasonable price of 25 euro’s for the two of us! Part of the show, and unbeknown to us, was a belly dancing section where a lovely young lady performed for us on stage – Liesl later found out (when we were leaving) that the girl was the daughter of her own belly dancing teacher (yep, Liesl started belly dancing lessons – hehe).

On the 29th September Liesl’s Dad and Margaret (who may or may not be engaged to him – long story) arrived for 2 weeks, it was almost a year to the day that they visited last time and it was good to see them again, we were keen to show them what we had done with our social and business lives and with the apartment.
We were both quite busy with work, so they were very understanding and took themselves off to various places during most of the days and returned in the evening carrying more “supplies”, it was very kind, if not a little embarrassing, for them to spend so much buying shopping for us, they not only replaced, many times over the amount of wine that they had drunk but they also went over the top on some supplies (in fact we are still working out way through the toilet rolls they bought – blimey, they must have been worried about our cooking!

On the 3rd October we took them to the monthly dinner dance, we met up with friends Gerry and Trisha and some of their neighbours and had a great evening, as you can imagine with all the free wine on offer Gary had a great time!

On the 8th October Liesl and I declared it a holiday and we took the day off work and went with Gary and Margaret to Morraira which has always been described as a sleepy fishing village about an hour’s drive north of where we live – I don’t know so much about the “sleepy village” bit because after sucessions of tourist buses I think that the sleep had been taken out of the place, however it was still a very nice and picturesque place to visit and we had a great time.

On the 14th October, Gary and Margaret flew back to Ireland, both Liesl and I had thoroughly enjoyed their company. On the 20th October we had Paul and Jackie around for a meal, we always enjoy their company and this time they bought Shamoo (their dog) with them, like Hetty, Shamoo is much more than a pet and they both dote over her!

Work for both Liesl and I was relentless during October and although it’s encouraging to get so much work it’s also worrying that we could be falling into “old habits” and spending more and more time with the nose to the grindstone, ne need to be careful that we don’t end up losing sight of why we came to Spain.

During November, amist the renovation work that was going on around us in our little 3 bedroomed flat, another company were laying gas mains pipes around the urbanisation, it seems that piped gas had finally arrived to Gran Alacant, not that we were going to be taking advantage of it as it would work out more expensive for us (at the moment we go through 1 gas bottle every 2 months at a cost of only 12 euros – why change?)

Anyway, whilst the Spanish workers were digging through the car park to lay the pipe, they managed to cut right through the water main – yep, 30ft of water straight up into the air! Not to be outdone, the other builders decided to use the expelled water to wash their cars and proceeded to carefully reverse them under the jet of water – priceless!

Work on the renovation of the apartment has moved on at speed, both sides of our apartment have now been completed and we are finally free of scaffolding!, as you can see from the picture there is a huge difference between the work that has been completed and the work that has yet to be started, hopefully within a few short months the rest of our block will be completed and we will be totally free of the view of scaffolding.

In November my work stepped up another gear as we managed to take on quite a few “business” customers (the main stay of our customer base), word was starting to get around that we offer an IT service to match the needs of our customers at an affordable price and that we, unlike many other computer people here, actually do know what we are talking about!

December was a short month and marked the end of a full year for BlueMoon, each month of 2007 we had broken the self enforced target and each month had been stronger than the previous one, it was a great start and even in our dreams we could not have hoped to have been so fortunate to achieve what we did.

In addition to the increasing work commitments and the ever welcome social engagements we were attending, Liesl had signed us up (since October) for 4 additional hours classroom Spanish, at an intermediate level!

Each week was getting busier and busier, sometimes I wonder how we ever found the time to sleep. The Spanish was great, although finding time to do it alongside all of our other commitments was difficult, but we managed it and our Spanish has improved no end because of it.

Its tradition for many of the towns and villages in Spain to build nativity models and one of the biggest is in Torreveija, Liesl’s mum had heard great things about it and wanted to go and see it so in the evening we drove down and parked outside the square in front of the church where the model had been built, it was amazing!

We all commented that it just wouldn’t happen in the UK, first of all the whole thing was open to the elements (I guess they don’t really worry about rain here, we haven’t seen any for months!) and then, amazingly, even though the whole thing is left outside for the best part of a month, its not vandalised or molested in any way – that’s not to say that that sort of thing doesn’t happen here, it just that there seems to be a respect for this sort of thing that has been lost in the UK.

The photos just don’t do justice to the scale of the thing, the whole model must have easily been 30ft long by 15ft wide and must have taken months to build!

December was just a blur of social events and work, at one point we had 7 evenings out in 8 days! We went to the BritClub (very ex-pat but nice never the less) Christmas dinner, the usual affair of a 4/5 course meal with wine and entertainment for 25 euros for the two of us!

The entertainment was a table magician, a very good one who visited each table and performed a few tricks during the meal, afterwards we were entertained firstly by a barbershop singing group (very good) and we all joined in on the carols – we both had a great time.

Afterwards the magician came back and asked for an assistant from the audience – yep you guessed it – Liesl was like a dog out of a trap!

On the 14th December Liesl and I were invited to Wii with our friends Denise and Bruce – sounds dangerous but we said yes never the less!) For those of you that don’t know the Nintendo Wii is a games console that took the UK by storm this Christmas, in fact I understand that they were as rare as rocking horse shit.

The concept of this games machine is that you interact with the games not in the conventional way with a mouse or a joystick, no with the wii you hold a controller that wirelessly sends its directional information to the console, and you therefore “play” the game my moving your hands and body around – sounds weird but its sooo much fun!

One of the games that we played was 10 pin bowling, where you actually perform the arm movements as if you were holding a bowling ball, but you are in fact holding a plastic controller, once you release the “ball”, you see it fly onto the screen and then, hopefully, crash into the pins knocking them all down. Or in my case just knocking a few down!

It was a great night and there can be not much that you can do that is funnier than watching your friends make total asses of themselves playing golf, 10 pin bowling, baseball and boxing by standing in front of a TV and jiggling around! The week working up to Christmas was just manic with work and it culminated in the receipt of 3 computers (which we had been waiting for the whole week) arriving at 8:30pm on Friday evening!

I worked until midnight on Friday to get them all ready so that they could be delivered and setup in time for Christmas – nightmare!

Christmas Day – today we kept to ex-pat tradition and went with Ken (Liesl’s step father) to the beach in La Marina armed with bucks fizz and sausage rolls, the beach was packed with 100’s of people who chatted and shared their food and wine with others, it was a really warm day – easily warm enough to get a tan, Liesl even went paddling in the sea!

Someone even did a flypast on their helicopter, flying low over the sea about 20 meters from the beach!

Afterwards we went back to our place where we had prepared the full Christmas dinner thing, we all ate far too much, drank in excess and flaked out in front of the TV for the rest of the day – just how Christmas should be done!

The day after boxing day, my aunt Jen and her partner, Andy arrived for a few days, it was really fantastic to see them.

They were great company from the off and because we had both decided to take the Christmas week off work we had the time to spend with them. We visited La Mata to walk along the boardwalk with them; we went into Alicante to show them the shopping areas and also the “old town” which we prefer.

We walked along the harbour and really enjoyed their company. On the Friday evening we stayed in and cooked, afterwards I produced some old photogra

phs that my grandfather had given me in an album; many of them were of my mum, Jen and their other sister, Elaine as kids. I can’t tell you how poignant it was to go through the photos on that evening, the evening that actually worked out to be the 30th anniversary of my mum’s death. It was not at all morbid or upsetting but we all had a good cry!

The following day we took them to a friends house to go orange picking, in less than 30 minutes we had picked enough oranges to see us fine in juice for several weeks!

Their departure marked the end of our visitors for 2007; we had entertained 13 weeks’ worth of visitors in just over 12 months!

Finally, I just wanted to share with you the view that I saw whilst driving to one of my customers one morning last week, it certainly beats pushing my way though the traffic to get to Milton Keynes!

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22/9 – Well that was Summer…

September 22, 2007 | 2 comments | Blog

This week has heralded the end of the summer; it’s been overcast, all week, today it’s raining and it’s due to rain tomorrow as well.

The last time that we had this much rain was in April!

Also, Liesl and I seem to have acclimatised – which is kind of worrying for the fore coming winter period as last year, our first winter, we were still used to the weather back in the UK and felt warm, something that was obvious to us at the time as though our neighbours were wandering around in coats and other warm clothing we were still in tea shirts and summer clothing.

We are already starting to feel the change in temperature, it’s now dropping to the low twenties at night and we are certainly feeling the difference – strange given that only 2 weeks ago Liesl’s mum, who had arrived with Ken for a 2 week holiday, were complaining about not being able to sleep at night because of the heat; at the same time we were putting extra covers on the bed at night and stopped using the fan to cool us!

I think that this winter is going to give us a much better idea of what its going to be like living in a flat in Spain as it’s the first winter that we will actually truly feel the cold.

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21/9 – Big Balls!

September 22, 2007 | Comments Off on 21/9 – Big Balls! | Blog

We went 10 pin bowling tonight with a group of friends in Elche (a town about 30 minutes drive away), had a great night – made all the better by me winning both sets, although with scores of only 111 and 134 that probably says more about my friends abilities than mine!

The trip was in aid of Dave’s (Jungle Drums editor) birthday – 65th I think 😉

Afterwards we came back to a bar for a drink, great night and we both thoroughly enjoyed it.

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16/9 – Scottish, But That Doesn’t Make Them Bad People ;-)

September 18, 2007 | Comments Off on 16/9 – Scottish, But That Doesn’t Make Them Bad People ;-) | Blog

Went out this evening with our friends Gerry and Tricia, they are spending much of the year over here as Gerry is on “Garden Leave”, they bought their place (down the road from us) late last year.

We went out to a terrace bar just down the road and had a fantastic time – as you can see from the picture!

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16/9 – Signed Up!

September 15, 2007 | Comments Off on 16/9 – Signed Up! | Blog

Found out today that Liesl had received a call from the local library, we put our names down for Spanish lessons when we first arrived in Spain about a year ago and they have just got back to us to tell us that we can be enrolled on the course starting in October – talk about manana!

Anyway, foolishly she said yes and we are now enrolled on a 12 week course – 2 days a week (Wednesday and Friday) for 2 hours a day – intermediate Spanish – God help me!!!!

Watch this space!

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11/9 – Must Be Getting Old!!!

September 15, 2007 | Comments Off on 11/9 – Must Be Getting Old!!! | Blog

Today we went, with our gestor (Official Spanish Administrator) to Delores, to complete our will – scary stuff eh?

Finally decided who we wanted to leave all of our debts to – sorry Dave 😉

The whole process was pretty stress free really (although it hurt the wallet a little), only took a couple of hours which is pretty good going for a Spanish process!

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