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Spanish Secrets: Behind The Scenes

...We arrived as arranged, knocked on the door and awaited a response. To our bewilderment Maruja flung open the door and greeted us with a firm embrace and a delicate kiss to each cheek. We were treated like long lost relatives returning home after years away. No doubt the thought of receiving a handsome bounty for an insignificant strip of scrubland, had sent her dizzy with delight...

Craig and Melanie Briggs are making progress in restoring a rural Spanish property and providing it with adequate access. To read Craig's earlier accounts of this absorbing venture please click on Spanish Secrets in the menu on this page.

Over the last two weeks it’s become apparent that strange forces are at work in our newly adopted Spanish village. A delicate balance of neighbourly disputes and ancient family feuds has been interrupted by our arrival. There’s an air of suspended hostilities as all parties weigh up the English intruders with a mixture of caution and suspicion.

Fortunately our friendship with Pablo has given us some very strong allies in our quest to win-over our new neighbours. Behind the scenes, Pablo and his father-in-law Ramon have worked tirelessly on our behalf to calm fears and allay suspicions. This was clearly illustrated when we next met Maruja. Our previous two dealings with this stubborn, abrupt and animated old neighbour had at best been tolerable. This was about to change.

We were under the impression that our previous meeting concluded with an agreement on the building of a new boundary wall and most importantly its exact position. We’d agreed to call at her home and collect a copy of her identity card. Armed with this we could proceed to have the legal papers for the land purchase drawn-up without delay.

We arrived as arranged, knocked on the door and awaited a response. To our bewilderment Maruja flung open the door and greeted us with a firm embrace and a delicate kiss to each cheek. We were treated like long lost relatives returning home after years away. No doubt the thought of receiving a handsome bounty for an insignificant strip of scrubland, had sent her dizzy with delight. Barely having time to compose ourselves from the shock of her warm greeting, she proceeded to confound us further.

Her husband Castro had prepared a detailed scribble, including dimensions, of the land we’d agreed to buy. To our amazement it showed a reversal of all the concessions forced upon us at our last encounter. The original boundary line, giving ample clearance for large vehicles to enter the garden, was now reinstated. Whatever her reasoning or persuasions we were delighted with the changes.

First thing Monday morning we’d get the legal paperwork prepared, have Maruja sign it and hand-over the cash before she had chance to change her mind.

After leaving Maruja’s we wandered down the lane to our ruined house. We’d arranged to meet Manolo, the last of our three chosen builders. We were secretly hoping that his quote would be the most competitive. We’d worked with him on a number of previous occasions and found him to be a, “Bueno Hombre”.

He’s about my age with a wife and two sons. He’s honest and hard working, enjoys his work and most importantly, takes a pride in it. He’s tolerant and helpful, particularly when dealing with an Englishman who has inadequate vocabulary and limited understanding of the Spanish language.

We hadn’t long to wait before he arrived. Armed with a note book, pencil and tape measure he keenly made notes as we explained our design ideas. Within an hour we’d detailed our proposals, swapped ideas and taken all the required measurements to produce a comprehensive quotation. After thanking him for his time we returned home. All that now remains is to wait for the three quotes and make our decision.

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craigandmel@msn.com

Copyright © 2007 Craig Briggs

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