Episode 12: Pack to the Future

“And how would you like to pay the property deposit Senora?”

The reality of our purchase is finally starting to sink in and I can feel my palms getting clammy as we all sit in silence signing the Spanish legal documents.  I could be selling the family kidneys for all I can understand but we sign our joint names on the dotted line and then everyone in the office shakes hands in universal agreement.  Luckily enough we have already enlisted the help of the wonderful GLOBAL REACH and the monetary transaction proceeds seamlessly from one account to another so that’s one thing less we have to worry about.  Before you can say ‘I’ve changed my mind, I’ll spend that £10k in Puerto Banus on a pair pneumatic breasts instead’ the money is already in the grasping hands of the solicitors and the deeds are being drawn up.

Sitting afterwards on the wall outside the lawyer’s lair, the mid afternoon sun beating upon our weary heads, I suddenly realise that within a month we could be in our own home.  We will be mortgage free for the first time in our lives.  Granted, we will only have 53p left in our bank account to live on but you can’t expect to be a home owner AND afford to eat.

“So what happens now?” asks a bewildered husband.  “Do we buy furniture?  We sold all ours in the UK.  This must be the only unfurnished property for sale in the whole of the Costa Del Sol!”

I scratch my head. I hadn’t actually thought this far ahead.  I’d spent the last 36 months watching relocation programmes and planning our escape from Brexit, not looking in IKEA catalogues.

“And, now you know where we are going to be living, you can get a job” breathes my spouse into my ear “No excuses now!”  He smiles (rather maliciously may I add) and saunters off to purchase a coffee.

Little does he know that I have already got an interview lined up for the following day.  Granted, it’s a commission only position but really, how difficult can selling sun cream around various hotel pools actually be?  This time next year I’ll be the same colour as David Dickenson and I’ll be paid for the privilege.  Picking up my handbag I make my way over to the jeep and we all head back over the rugged roads in good spirits to our temporary house in the campo.

Brian the brave is the first to vault out of the car and I suddenly realise that we won’t have the luxury of a garden anymore.  No more letting him out to wee at 8am.  I’ll have to get dressed and walk him, come rain or shine.  He’d grown quite accustomed to the local goats and headless kittens surrounding the grounds and just last night he had appeared at the front door slightly delirious after his evenings ablutions, eyes rotating with some strange and pungent  foliage attached to the side of his mouth, a canine version of ‘Bez’ from the Happy Mondays.  It took almost an hour to coach him off the shed roof after attempting, rather unsuccessfully to fly alongside the fruit bats.

Entering the house, I go to put the kettle on and lean up against the cooker and stare at our worldly possessions lying in a discarded mound in the corner of the dining room.  All our pots and pans and furniture had been given away to family and friends and what stood before me was just a jumble of memories of our former life awaiting its final resting place in a small apartment in Fuengirola.  Tears pricked the back of my eyes as the weight of my decision rested heavily on my shoulders.

“Erm,.. Mum, there’s a woman walking up the gravel drive dragging a very large backpack and shouting your name and waving a bottle of wine at me..?”

Turning on my heel I squint out the window to see a very real ghost of my nomadic and hedonistic past walking confidently into our present and, no doubt about to change our imminent future.

To be continued … Episode 13

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Episode 11: The Good, The Fab and The Ugly

“So here we are at the final apartment lined up for today”,  yells our Commission driven Chauffer as he screeches to a halt and vaults onto the pavement with his front tires.  “Granted, it’s different from the rest we’ve viewed, but what it lacks in external beauty and glamour, it makes up for in location.  Go and let yourself in, here are the keys, I’m just off to buy some fags”

Standing on the side of the busy road, my husband turns to me in what appears to be a ‘Have you finally lost your mind‘ sort of way.  I wave the keys in the air and cross the road to a small concealed entrance nestling next door to what appears to be a second hand Spanish TV repair shop.

My son removes his headphones and looks up towards our destination

“You are kidding mum…  right?  We aren’t going in here are we?  Where’s the swimming pool?  In fact where’s the door?

Pushing them both aside and tutting at their lack of vision, I open the metal gate and head inside.  A spiral stone staircase leads us up to the first floor and after a quick tussle with a sticky lock, I open the door to our final property with a flourish.

Sunshine streams through the south facing windows and onto the speckled marble floor.  Stepping straight into the freshly painted white entrance hall the glaringly obvious fact is, there isn’t one item of furniture included in the apartment apart from a forlorn looking mattress propped up in the corner of the entrance hall.

“Well that’s your bedroom sorted” I yell over my shoulder to the boy child but he’s not listening, he’s already found the key to the balcony and is currently stood outside.

“Muuuummmm, is that the road leading to my school over there?’ he says, pointing behind the trees.

“Why yes, yes it is, what are the odds on that!”  I smile innocently.  “And look” I exclaim “There’s a supermarket on the corner and a Panaderia just to the right.  I guess it must only be a ten minute walk  down to Miramar, where the English cinema is, you could walk there on your own or with your mates after school, unlike the other two properties which are very pretty but not so central. The sea could be your swimming pool” I smile knowingly and meander back inside.

My husband narrows his eyes at me and I avoid his glare by cheerfully pointing out the space in the remaining vacant rooms.

“There’s an extra bedroom here too for when the family want to visit” I cut in before he has time to interject “We could then use this third one as a TV room and put in a sofa bed which would mean we still have a nice quiet dining room where we can all chat and have dinner together like the locals do”

I have it all worked out, an estate agent in the making.  Mr Veneers will be so proud of his protégé.

Begrudgingly my husband raps his knuckles against the kitchen wall and looks enquiringly into lounge.  I can see what he’s thinking.  Knock the kitchen wall through; bring the kitchen into the dining room.  I thought exactly the same when I first viewed the property.  I clench my sweating palms together, willing him to see the potential of this empty shell.

A voice echoes out from the balcony where my only child is still standing, leaning over the railings.

“So let me get this right, if we lived here I could get up for school about 8.15am and walk over the road on my own, meet my friends at the weekends and I wouldn’t need to be seen out in public with either of you two ever again?”

I nod my head in agreement and then look at my husband and aim my final arrow at the standing target

“And just so you know, the theatre is just a ten minute walk away but I thought you could buy that motorbike you always wanted…and ride that to work, then we could get rid of the car which would solve the parking issue”

Casually I walk back into the lounge and leave the men folk looking slightly shell shocked on the balcony, the realisation of my words finally taking effect.

The front door gently opens and the Porcelain Prince glides into the room and stands quietly beside me.

“Soooo… have you done my job for me?”,  he whispers into my ear.

Looking out onto the balcony I watch my husband and son talking animatedly and pointing up the road towards the town centre whilst laughing at the mopeds flying past on the road below.

My lips curve into a smile and I nod towards the ‘Se Vende’ sign hanging lopsided from the outside railings.  Nodding, He makes a scissoring motion with his fingers and rubs his hands in glee.

Our work here is done.

To be continued… Episode 12

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Episode 10: Trading Spaces

Clutching the solitary flip flop in my hand I tear up the rain soaked stone steps, searching for my husband around every sodden stair.  Finally, on hearing a deep groan I turn the last corner to find him lying in a puddle of his own discomfort, sprawled across the floor like the world’s most unfortunate incarnation of Cinderella, grasping his swollen ankle and expressing profanities so detailed I refrain from making any Prince charming jokes until his mouth has been washed out with carbolic soap.

“I fell down the bl**dy stairs and not one of you noticed” he yells up to me through the falling raindrops and then makes a feeble attempt to reintroduce his foot to its runaway soul mate. After several failed attempts he shoves the rubber shoe into his pocket and sits with arms folded, sulking on the tiles.

Trying to stifle an impending giggle I turn away and concentrate on a cobweb located just above my right eyebrow.  I make a mental note to refrain from  laughing at people who fall over, even though Harry Hill appears to have made a small fortune from it.

But the harder I try and convince myself to not make light of the situation, the harder my shoulders start to shake and the stupidity of the situation finally overrides any matrimonial compassion and I throw my head back and let out a peal of laughter.

After the giggles have finally tailored off into hiccups, I uncross my legs and hold a tentative hand out to my spouse who promptly brushes my fingers away, hauls himself upright, dusts off his injured pride and hobbles down the steps to join us all in the estate agents car.  Mr Veneers is trying his best to sully his dental investment with several Marlboro lights and the boy child; unaware of the events unfolding around him is tapping his foot in time to whoever happens to be flavour of the month on his iphone.

No one comments along the short journey as to why the Costa del Sol’s latest incarnation of Lord Lucan was delayed on level three for such a long time.  In all honesty, looking at his petulant face, no one would dare.

The sun evaporates the remaining black clouds as we gallop steadily along the A7 from Calahonda over to our next destination, Mijas Golf.  Bleached villas and Orange Blossom adorn the roadside as we climb the whitewashed village, finally stopping in front of a pretty terraced house which overlooks a sparkling communal pool set in stunning surroundings.

Entering the front door we walk/hobble straight into a dining room come kitchen which leads directly out onto a private terrace.  Every picture I have seen depicting what we could actually afford in southern Spain is brought to life within this home.  It has the two bedrooms we require and also the two bathrooms we will undoubtedly need once the inevitable visitors start arrive and the views are simply stunning.  Boy child, already bored in the pursuit of utopia sits out on the sundrenched balcony and grunts his approval as we point out various landmarks.

I lean upon a potted Palm and breathe in the tranquillity.  My husband sits on a deck chair and places his hands behind his head, swollen ankle and injured pride all but a distant memory.

“Soooo…..are we ready to move onto our final property of the day?” a voice echoes above my head.  I nod in agreement and we reluctantly close the door on what could be our future home.

“This last property is one that has been on the market awhile and been reduced in price for a quick sale. You will either love it or hate it.  Are you all ready to go and have a look at something completely different from what we have already seen?” asks our realtor with a smile.

I nod my head in affirmation as my husband crosses his arms in realisation while my son stretches his legs in resignation as we head off into the sunset of our final destination.

To be continued… Episode 11

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Episode 9: Game of Homes

‘So let me get this right, you went out for a Pomegranate and a pack of digestives and you came back with six bottles of cava and a new apartment???’

Nodding my head in agreement, I smile up at my long suffering wide eyed spouse and offer him another glass of sparkling wine to soften the blow.  He looks at me in amazement, shakes his head in disbelief, then downs the additional fizzing contents in one go.

In all fairness, I haven’t actually signed any paperwork or exchanged any of our hard earned cash just yet.  I have in fact lined up three properties to view and my husband has to guess which one I’ve chosen, and if we have both chosen the same one then we buy it.  Simple.  All the apartments are in (or around) our £120k budget and all are vacant and ready to move into.  My other half rubs his pulsating temples and heaves himself out of the safety of the rented sofa, mumbles something about quick divorces and promptly heads towards the shower.

‘Don’t take long; the agent is picking us up in 20 minutes!!’  I yell after him and then turn on my heel and find myself nose to nose with my son.

Tilting his head he looks at me with molten brown questioning eyes  ‘One thing you’ve failed to mention, does it have a pool and can I walk to school?’  He enquires.

I smile at the simplicity of childhood, ruffle his hair and whisper ‘Get your shoes on and let’s go and see!’

A horn beeps outside the gate and we both jump in unison.  A loud curse can be heard upstairs and then the sound of running water promptly stops.  I smile at my son and clap my hands in childish glee, grabbing my handbag en route to the door while my son shakes his head and waits for the only actual adult in the house to get dry and join us.

Mr Veneers is stood by the open car door smoking a cigarette and warily eying up the goats who have decided to see who is paying them a visit this balmy evening.  Edging closer, I battle my way through the assortment of hairy bodies and hurl myself into the back seat of the air conditioned chariot.  A brown nose presses itself up against the window and looks at my straw handbag beseechingly, then bleats at me in apparent longing.

Within minutes all four of us are safely ensconced in the Fiat Panda and heading up the Calahonda hills to view the first of what could be our future home.  I smile happily around the car and am met with a steely glare from my still slightly damp other half.  The car screeches to a halt in front of a terracotta building and our estate agent leads the way up a stone staircase to the third floor and opens the front door with a flourish.  I nod at my husband to enter the property first and he and the boy child step over the threshold.

The apartment is immaculate and fully furnished.  With two double bedrooms, a large lounge and dining room and a sun bathed south facing balcony.  I brush my hand over the upholstery and look up to see if I can read my husband’s expression.  His jaw has softened as he takes in the distant sea view.

‘Well, what do you think?’  I gently enquire ‘do you like it?’

Nodding his head in my direction he looks me straight in the eye for the first time since arriving and grunts his approval.  The boy child has already decided what bedroom he wants if we decide this is the chosen one and also where his computer can go.  All the furniture is included in the asking price and the British owners are keen to sell.

With hands on hips our tour guide tells us about the communal swimming pool and the bus times which head into Fuengirola along the A7.  I look at my spouse and my son, both like the apartment; I can see it in their faces.  It’s a ready made home, equipped  to move into without any fuss.

Catching the agent’s eye he nods in affirmation of my eagerness to move on and leads us all out the front door and back down to the car to view property number two.

Halfway down the external stone stairs the heavens suddenly open and a torrent of rain begins to fall.  Laughing at our bad fortune,  we all head quickly into the car and jump through the open passenger door.  Bemoaning the change in weather I turn to my husband and smile… but he’s not there.

I wind down the window and look around for him.  The sound of thunder muffles my voice as I call out his name but there is no reply.  Shielding my eyes from the deluge I walk back towards the entrance of the block but he is nowhere to be seen. I move my sodden locks away from my face and call out hs name again.

A glimpse of blue catches my eye and slowly I turn my head towards the apartment we have just viewed.  Floating at the bottom of the stairs like a forlorn rubber fish is one familiar solitary size 10 flip flop minus its owner…

To be continued… Episode 10

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