evening-light<

Irishman squeezed my hand lovingly. This was it, our baptism of fire. Our initiation into Spanish village life was about to begin. We parted the beaded curtain and walked into the dimly lit bar. There were some men sat playing cards but they were too engrossed in their game to notice us. Not so the men stood drinking at the bar; they put down their glasses and watched with interest as the two strangers made their way across the room towards them.

‘Paco!’ shouted out one of the men ‘you have some visitors, they look thirsty!’ (I think that’s what he said but I may be wrong. Remember that my command of the Spanish language is still very much in its infancy, most of the time I am having to guess what it is that people are saying) Paco appeared from out the back with a case of beer. When he recognised me, his face broke in to a broad smile ‘Hola! Lottie sí? Bienvenido!’ He called to Antonia. She’d been cooking and had her apron on. She greeted me warmly and we hugged. ‘Uno momento’ I said, scrabbling around for the piece of paper in my pocket. On it were written my own greetings plus a load of questions that I wanted to ask them both. Suddenly the bar went very quiet, all eyes and ears were on me as I started to read it out loud. When I had finished there was a round of applause and clapping. Paco congratulated me on my magnificent Spanish and gave me a hearty slap on the back. It was pointless trying to tell him that it was all copied from Google Translate, he seemed convinced that I’d managed to master his language in the three months since I’d been away.

sunny-days

His supreme confidence in my linguistic abilities were further confirmed when Esteban walked into the bar. ‘Esteban, you fool!’ Paco laughed as he poured an eye-wateringly large amount of Bacardi into a glass and handed it to him ‘Lottie here, has just arrived in the village and she speaks almost fluent Spanish, you my friend, have been here 9 years and can hardly string a sentence together! Not yet formally introduced, I reached out to shake Esteban’s hand ‘Don’t you listen to him’ I said laughing, he’s convinced that I speak Spanish because I’ve cobbled some sentences off Google Translate, he’s in for a shock when he realizes how poor my Spanish really is.

(I found out much later that Paco had telephoned Esteban shortly after our arrival at the bar and had asked him to come up and meet us. This thoughtful gesture is typical of our new neighbours. Apparently they had wanted us to feel welcome and thought that we might like some Inglés company on our first evening. Either that or they were already bored rigid by our company)

view-through-the-old-oak-tree

As it happened Esteban was not only extremely good company, but also a lifesaver when it came to acting as translator between us, and Paco and Antonia. Before we left the bar, I went to check out Antonia’s shop. I bought some tomatoes, onions, white beans, bread, olive oil, cheese and some jamon – enough to make a feast for our first meal in the house.

We finished our drinks, scoffed down the last of Antonia’s delicious tapas and picked up our keys. ‘Bienvenido Lottie Y Pedro, estamos felices son nuestros vecinos’ we returned Antonia’s kind words as best we could, said our goodbyes and thank yous and walked all of the 30 seconds that it takes to get round the corner to our house. I was excited but also a little nervous. What if Irishman hated it? What if he thought I’d made a hideous mistake buying it? ‘What if went mad when he saw how much work there was to do?

L-shaped-room

The large fig tree at the front of the house had left a deep carpet of its fruits where they had fallen over-ripe on to the cobbles. We squelched our way through them towards the large blue double doors that lead into the courtyard. I watched Irishman’s expression out of the corner of my eye. ‘What do you think, Lover?’ I asked him, itching to know what his first impressions were. ‘I love it, Lottie, I absolutely love it!’ he said giving me a big hug. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. We spent some time exploring all there was to see outside and then went to open the front door. ‘Here’ I said to Irishman, handing him over one of the buckets, ‘I’m far too fat for you to carry me over the threshold, but you can carry one of these over instead, you’re going to be needing it later!’ Irishman was not in the least amused ‘Lottieness, if you think I’m going to be using one of those as a toilet, you’ve got another thing coming. I’ve already asked Paco if he’d mind my using the bar servicio’s’ ‘You wimp, Irishman, You softie!’ I cried as we chased each other up the stone stairs and went to see if Antonio had remembered to leave us the bed.

casa-lottie-two

49 Comments

  1. Even in the earlier post I felt like asking, but was too shy, did you offer to carry Irish over the threshold? It’s a woman’s prerogative now-a-days.
    I had this image of you carrying him holding the bucket and am vindicated to a certain extend when you mentioned it in this post.
    I am very relieved that Irish loved it and the buckets is just a minor thing. “Couples that piss together stay together”.( Heidenegger Zurich 1899)I am not sure about the next level of ablution but I am sure things will work out.
    Lovely story.

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    1. ‘Couples that piss together, stay together’ I love that, Gerard. How very apt! I would have carried Irishman over the threshold if my back was good, but alas it’s not – no pointing doing myself a mischief on day one! He never did pee or otherwise on the bucket, he kept to his word and used the bars outside toilet for 7 weeks – oh how they must love us!!

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  2. My brothers very old house had an outside double seater. It would have been perfect for you. This is turning into a very romantic story. Except for the buckets. I think you should publish. Remember that chap who made a mint writing about moving to France. This is heaps better. Don Pedro can write one chapter, you the next. You can alternate with narrative and illustrations. It’s a best seller.

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    1. What a fabulous idea, a double seater! Actually no, I’ve just had second thoughts, the thought of sitting next to Don Pedro doing his business would be torture – I loved my bucket though it came to an untimely end – I’ll write about it another time. As for writing a best-seller, cor, I’d love that. Some money would come in very handy right now!

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  3. Such a relief and aren’t you two some of the luckiet people in all of Spain to have such wonderful neighbors? Your strugglges with the Spanish language are funny but also I’m aware of the challenges that you were about to face. It would seem frightening to say the least. It is no picnic to arrive in a country where you are at the mercy of the locals.

    The pics of the house and some of the scenery on this post are quite good. I like the idea that you have a fig tree. Figs are wonderful fruit and if can be dried or canned for use later on.

    And it is good to know that Irishman was taking just about everything in his stride except the buckets. But as long as he is happy with the house that is the best part of this story.

    Lottiie carry on with the stories. You really have no time for updates to me. The stories are marvelous. Just so I get to read most of your adventures before I bite the dust.

    Fond regards,
    yvonne Hugs xxxx

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    1. PS: I see that Andrew also thinks your story is worthy of a book. I know something good when I see it and this is so dang interesting and entertaining. Surely it will fly off the shelves.

      May good fortune smile on you and Irishman, and Colin S.

      All the Best, yvonne xxxx

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    2. Yvonne, I don’t want to spill too many beans in these comments but yes, we have the most wonderful neighbours, we are very lucky indeed. As for the beautiful fig tree, well it had to go as it’s roots were growing under the house and through the walls! We have another beauty in the courtyard which I’m looking forward to getting figs from this summer – they are one of my favourite fruits. I’m so delighted that you are enjoying these stories, thanks a million for your support and for giving me confidence, it means an a lot. XXXXX

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      1. Lottie thanks for the reply. The fig is one of my favorite fruits as well. I have 8 trees in my yard. I grew 6 of those from cuttings. I grew mine not so much for myself but for the birds that flock to them in the summer. The fig is an easy one to root and should you ever get so inclined to have more- well I’ll email you with directions. The cuttings should be taken in the winter before any new leaves appear. I bet the neighbors know how to root those as well. The country Spanish are resourseful xxxxx

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      2. how interesting about the cuttings – I will certainly be asking your advice on all things rural, animal and fig from now on! this is written in haste as i have an appointment to see a house for a very good friend and as always i’m running late. I’ll get back to you later, thanks as always, Yvonne. Lottie xxxxxxx

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  4. You are so wonderfully talented at bringing a story to life. Visual! I can see the bar, the smiling faces of friendly people and you and your Irishman running around the courtyard of your new home. And gorgeous photos, as always. I love how your home is nestled so cosily among those trees (fruit? oak? other?) and the views! Amazing! Can’t wait to hear more, Lottie. Oh, and I agree with your friends above a book sounds like a fabulous idea. xoxo

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    1. Oh what are you like! making me blush you are! The trees in the foreground are pomegranates and apple and something else, a mystery tree! in the background are acres and acres of olive groves – i often wonder just how many olive trees are in this area, millions, billions, zillions of them – hey! it’s nearly Thursday and you know what that means! xoxo

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  5. I think I’m lucky to be reading this story for free Lottie though if I bought it as a book at least I wouldn’t be left gasping for the next installment. I’m delighted the Irishman loved your choice and thought it looked fantastic, but of course he’s to go indoors yet. Sensible man to be prepared by using the Cantina’s outside Loo.He must have been a Boy Scout. So, one bucket saved at least, maybe you find another use for it.
    The photographs are brilliant and I’m suddenly envious even though I know how hard you must work to bring the place up to scratch. How great you have such friendly neighbours.
    xxx The usual Huge Hugs xxx

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    1. I did find another use for it!! and David, it hasn’t all been plain sailing but then if it was, how dull would that be!! Thanks so much for your lovely comment, you really do know how to inspire confidence and thats wonderful, your generous and kind words, mean a lot 😀 Our neighbours are fantastic, incredibly kind and generous. HUGE hugs back and sorry that i’ve been so late in replying to your comment, I’ve been busy busy busy emptying buckets!!

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  6. Great relief that Pete loved his first impressions of the house. Lovely neighbours
    A book, great idea. Remember Sherlock Holmes started as a periodical then the public enthusiasm led to the book editions. I thnk that’s true or maybe my brain made it up. You do have a very engaging style and draw the reader right into the adventure and ambience.
    I had to read this before anything else this morning.
    At our summer cabin we had outside facility for the first five years. Got a bit nippy at night. Also wild creatures lurking around. But a great place in early morning to watch birds. It was just a single holer couldn’t have done the doubles act.
    Eagerly anticipating the third installment.

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    1. Thank you, Rod. I await your posts with the same feeling – I love your memoirs and stories and your wonderful sense of humour always makes a great start to my day. is this what is known as a mutual admiration society?!

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  7. Oh, Lottie, how brill to leave us hanging! I love your writing, and adore your photos. You have pomegranate trees — I’d like to know if there is a house for sale next door to you. We can only get pomegranates a few months of the year here, one of the few fruits they don’t truck in year-round.

    I’m not sure I’d be up to being without a bathroom, what with kids and all (especially a special needs 8yo who usually waits until the pee is ju-u-u-u-u-st about to exit his penis before he tears into the bathroom to go!)

    So so glad I found you on the AtoZ Blog Challenge last April. What a treasure you are!

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    1. You’ve made me blush! and I’m so pleased to be called a treasure! as long as i’m a treasure and not an ancient relic? hahaha – I enjoy blogging and writing and when I get lovely comments and great peeps like you saying that they enjoy what I write, then that is the icing on the cake, truly. Yes, it’s one thing not having a bathroom when you are ‘grown-up’, it’s quite another if there are kids around. I think it depends on the time of year though, it’s all quite do-able here in the spring and summer when the weather is hot but as you will later find out, it becomes a different story when the temperature plummets. I’m very glad to have found you too! xxxx (p.s your boy and I, we have quite a lot in common, just sayin!)

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    1. Thanks so much, Hayley. I’ve spent the last couple of days searching through Reader for your latest posts, can’t find any so this evening I shall go to your website and see what I’ve missed and catch up 😀

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  8. Hi Lottie 😀 Wow, you have a beautiful setting for your home. Over the years I am sure that both of you will make your house and garden beautiful. Enjoy yourselves. Ralph xox 😀

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    1. I’m horribly impatient but yes, you are right one day we will get things straight. There will always be an element of craziness about it because thats the kind of folk we are but it is a lovely spot in a very nice village perched up in the hills amongst the olives. Everyones sneezing at the moment – they are harvesting and the air is full of the dust being blown off the trees. The rain does help to dampen things down a bit! Hope all good your end xxx

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      1. We’ve had very little rain but when it has, it’s poured!! haha no seriously it’s been very mild recently and we’ve even started eating outside again so that says a lot! Hope we meet one day, it would be fun! hey, we could compare bikini’s? 😀

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      2. My neighbour says that it will rain here tomorrow. It is really needed here. It’s nice to eat outside, compare bikinis and enjoy life. I’m fine, just revelling in a few days of peace with no more builders etc. 😀

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  9. What a lovely story, I’m glad Pete loved the house 🙂 Figs are a super food with a lot of health benefits but also act as a laxative, so beware or Pete could become Paco’s best customer!

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  10. Soy muy feliz por ti y Pedro en tu nuevo casa! So sorry I missed seeing you in Spain (boohoo!) I went mad over the figs, had them all during the walk (Camino) in Galicia – what a treat, hope you will both enjoy them. In fact, I even baked fig/honey/nut bread with a Barcelonian breadmaker once, it was fab! I’m sure it will take no time for you to become well-acquainted with your neighboring vineyard, bodegas and winemakers 😉 Really looking forward to more posts from Andalucia!! (Please remind me.. which village are you in?) Hasta luego, xx

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    1. I’m really sad that we missed you, Amit. I had no idea that you had been in Spain for so long. Figs are one of my favourites too – I love them in any shape or form and the trees look so pretty in the garden. The fig/honey/nut bread sounds out of this world – I’ll try making it when i’ve got a proper oven, at the moment we are doing most of our cooking on the wood burning stove so it’s a little hit and miss with the temperature, fine for roasting and braising but not so good for things that need baking!

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  11. I’m so glad you’re back! At some point you’ll have to print, bind, and publish your adventures! They are ‘best seller’ material! (PS WordPress isn’t letting me ‘like’ your posts anymore. What’s with that? I can comment but not like. Just so you know!)

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    1. That ‘Like’ button can be a damn nuisance sometimes – not sure why it plays those tricks – I have the same problem sometimes with other peeps posts – it can be glitchy. Best seller material? I’d better get on with the next post then! 😉

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  12. Here you are!! Ra Ra Ra – I’m so happy to see pictures of your new locale and read a bit about what you have been up to. Never mind writing a best seller – go straight for the movie. You could be played by someone gorgeous (of course) – Rosamund Pike perhaps? and the Irishman by Pierce Brosnan or Liam Neeson if there was a bit of a swashbuckling needed on the side …

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    1. I’m not going to tell Pete that you think Pierce or Liam should play him in the film, it will go straight to his head and he’s already quite vain enough!! I’m so fat at the moment that I think Dawn French would have to play my part, either her or Rosanne Barr! Lovely to hear from you Chas, hope all well Down Under xx

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      1. Hi Lottie – my big girl is heading to Bali in a couple of weeks and needs a bit of advice so I thought ‘I know just the person’. Would you have a moment to respond to a young person about how to stay safe and be sensible if I send her email address through?

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      2. Of course! I’d be delighted. Get her to email me and I’ll answer any questions I can and help. I know Wayan would help her too if she ran in to problems so I’ll give her Wayan’s number. Bet your big girl is getting excited for her trip 😀

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  13. I think Paco and Antonia’s establishment being so close at hand is going to be quite the shoulder to lean on, Lottie. Maybe I am wrong (HA!), but I think you both enjoy a spirited beverage on occasion and the task at hand will make you quite thirsty…both physically and mentally. 😀
    You are sharing some delightful images of your new home landscapes.

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    1. Paco and Antonio’s establishment is the hub of all that goes on in village life. I’m not going to lie, it’s a very handy watering hole for us! it’s also where we buy our gas bottles and the shop is wonderful too. I must get on with the next post, I’ve just realised that a week has flown by and ive not posted the next instalment! I’m slacking 😀

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  14. Hola, Lottie. Yo también me llamo Esteban. The Spanish word for bucket is balde, but the phrase en balde means ‘in vain’. That seems strange till you find out that those are two different baldes.

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    1. I’ve got so much to learn! as it happens, the buckets were not in vain, they were needed for 7 weeks! It’s such a joy to have a toilet now, a real flushing, proper toilet! Thank you for the Spanish lesson and for your comment, good to hear from you 😀 Lottie

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