Here it is, The Grand Tour of our new project in Alcala la Real. It is a little longer than I had anticipated (and I’m not happy with the sound quality) but at least you get a full guided tour and no rubble or dry rot is left unturned. Pete says that my running commentary is a hybrid of Keith Floyd and Kevin McCloud. If that’s the case then I need never bother bleaching my moustache again.

Just a couple of things before I rush off to watch Grand Designs. Firstly, if you haven’t already signed up to The Rioja Diaries Facebook Page, please do! I’ve started posting daily musings, photos and little videos. There’ll be ongoing progress reports on the house as it takes shape, more from the studio and information about our up and coming Art and Printmaking courses plus info on the B&B side of things.

Secondly, Expat.com have asked me to mention them. You can find a link to their site on the left-hand side of this page. This fabulous site is easy to navigate and has a friendly forum on which to ask questions or anything else that you need to know about moving abroad. I can highly recommend it.

If the sun continues to shine, then our next outing will either be up a mountain or paddling in the Med. Who knows! but I hope to see you very soon πŸ™‚

37 Comments

    1. Thanks Olga! This one was FAR too long- but I couldn’t cut it and I promise the next will be shorter. It’s harder than I thought it would be and all ad libbed so never quite know what the end result will be! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A great effort by Colin as well! πŸ˜‰ Glad to see all those props in place, Lottie. I got that bit in about ‘the knocking shop,’ or did I hear wrong? A great journey and you look very animated and colourful. It is the Spain in you.

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    1. Oh I’m so glad you got the knocking shop part πŸ™‚ the sound quality was dreadful and I apologise. I’m going to see if I can find a gadget that will make the sound clearer. I’m beginning to wonder whether we should Scrub the art courses and bed and breakfast plan and just run it as a new knocking shop. I’d make a great Madam and we have plenty of rooms – we’d probably make a fortune! And so much easier to run and kit out. No expensive printing presses or inks and paints and easels – just a load of sheets and towels – what do you think? Xx

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes, Lottie. Why not do both? Art and sex go hand in hand, just ask Picasso. A bit of light hand relief or some honest face sitting never goes astray in the confusing world of art. In fact they are probably symbiotic. Poor old Vincent never sold a single painting but he did get some joy from the knocken shops of Antwerp..

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  2. Thanks for showing us around Lottie. Oh boy, another brave expat soul knee deep in rubble. Saying that, I have visited many wonderful end results which I’m so sure that yours will be. I hope the weather stays fine for you. Ralph πŸ˜€ ❀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Brave or foolhardy? Someone has to restore these old buildings otherwise they’d sink in to the gutter and be replaced by boring concrete blocks – perish the thought! Just call me Santa Lottie Saviour of the bricks and mortar haha! Keep your fingers crossed for us please Ralph, we need a bit of luck to tide us over the next couple of months xox

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A bit of both I expect Lottie. I’ll even pray for you.
        Do you remember my Quirky post. I was thinking of buying a small wreck for €30,000, but it would have cost €100,000 to make it good. As I was getting older I decided to buy this 24yo apartment for €50,000 and remodel it for €30,000 inc. solar water heater. All electric as there is no way I can carry gas bottles up 2 flights. The bathroom didn’t need doing, but a recent earthquake took off one wall of bathroom tiles. I’m deciding what to do, remodel or put back the old tiles. Decisions, decisions !
        Brrr ! It’s cold and frosty this morning ! 😦

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      2. You are right on the money, Ralph. Terrifying how it all adds up. Put back the old tiles and spend the money you’ve saved on something fun! Yes, it’s bloomin’ freezing this morning. In fact when I checked the temp earlier, it was -1c brrrr

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      3. Yes, you’re probably right for me to just put the tiles back. No woman here to want a modern singing & dancing bathroom πŸ˜€
        And, yes, you must be scared of the costs of renovation, especially as you’ve gone back to the bare bones. Labour costs are the killer, plus 21% (?) IVA on everything. Still, you are getting there. As you say the fun will soon begin. I didn’t skimp on electric wall sockets, have 12 under my desk. My laptop, printer, lights, phone charger and Iberbanda uses 9. I suggest outside sockets for your roof and courtyard (and water taps for your plants).
        Good luck Lottie. You are getting there πŸ˜€

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  3. I’m trying to decide if you’re courageous or just plain crazy! What a project! I hope your funds flow freely to the end. The project I’ve been watching across the river has ended without a roof as many do here when the family runs out of cash. They’ll live downstairs until they can generate enough to continue. Meanwhile, I wait with curiosity and excitement to see what evolves from your pile of rubble!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Time and money are of the essence and we have to get this project finished come hell or high water. It’s all do-able so long as we don’t hit any major structural problems. The budget is tight, a bit like me trying to squeeze in to skinny jeans tight , but if we trim down we will be ok. Fortunately our builders are experts in renovating old properties and they know how these ancient ruins were cobbled together. It’s quite fascinating to see it stripped back to the bare bones, a bit like a chicken carcass. The fun part is of course putting it all back and making it a beautiful space. Wish you lived 7,000 miles closer, I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG. The project looks immense. I will pray that you maintain your sanity while the construction is on-going. I liked the vid very much. You seemed chipper and charming in the video. Only one thing was not quite right. I had difficulty understanding your accent. Perhaps you could speak a tad louder next time? πŸ™‚ Maybe old age has wrecked havoc with my hearing. xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The sound quality was DREADFUL and I’m so sorry you struggled to hear what I was saying 😦 I’m going to see if I can attach a mini mic to the phone – hopefully that will help. Bear with me while I find my way with these videos- I thought it was going to be a piece of cake, it’s NOT! I shall also make the next one much shorter – I think maybe two and a half minutes about the right length of time. The trouble was that yesterday I had so much to show you!
      I shall try and hold my nerve until the end. I must confess to a few sleepless nights right now xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t remember if have already replied to your reply or not. I’m losing my mind. Too much stress. Anyhow, I think about y’all and that huge project and I am wishing youo luck and good fortune as the new-old or old-new building is restored.

        Don’t worry about making the vids perfect. I like whatever you send out to your readers/followers. xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yvonne my love, you have FARRRR too much on your plate right now to even be thinking about leaving a comment, let alone writing one. You are not losing your mind but I bet you are stressed and no wonder, you’ve had a really hard start to the year. Sending you much love and Big Hugs and hope that things are getting a little better day by day xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I was concentrating so much on listening to you I almost forgot to look at the property Lottie. I think I made a wise choice. I didn’t realise just what a derelict it was you were taking on. When you said it was in the town I expected more internal decoration that major structural change. However, even I can see the promise here and the changes you’re making will be wonderful. The views are glorious.It looks like you may still have 6 months to go but I hope I’m wrong and you can have your first guests before Summer.
    Congratulations to you and Pedro for your foresight in this it’s a brave venture.
    xxx Sending you Gigantic Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Six months! NO! NO! It can’t be six months! Once the new roof is on then the builders can get cracking with the plastering, electrics etc. This is the last really big job, the rest is cosmetic and fun. I’m up there almost every day, they’ll be desperate to finish as they must be getting sick of the sight of me. Cunning plan eh?!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, yes, the Working Title!

      Andrew, What we have to try to imagine is that like the Phoenix rising from the ashes – (in this case rubble) something glorious will come out of this chaos. A splendid building, a wonderfully welcoming, comfortable place to stay, a veritable gem in the heart of AndalucΓ­a . Hold that thought! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No need to BYO painting by numbers kit, we’ll provide all that! even the spuds for printing πŸ˜‰
      I’ve got several ideas up my sleeve, birding and walking trips and historical tours being a few of them. If couples come and stay and only one of them wants to pursue the art side of things then I think its important that we can provide other diversions. There’s certainly plenty to do round here and we are so lucky to have Granada and Cordoba close by. Lots to think about.

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  6. Oh my, Lottie. That is crumbling wall to crumbling wall work you have taken on there. I don’t think there could be another support left in Andalusia. What a huge and challenging project. I am sure that, once done, it will be well worth the effort and expense but it must seem overwhelming at times…maybe all the time.
    Thanks for the tour and view.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That was great for getting an idea of the rather large scale of the project! It will be amazing once finished and what’s not to love about having a castle on the hill above you. I want one. Also a dining room with old beams.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Hayley! I feel in love with the house the minute I walked inside. It was in a terrible condition and hadn’t been lived in for years but there were so many lovely things about it that I thought ‘this is worth a punt!’ It took 9 months to get all the planning permission (quite quick by Spanish standards) and we are still on target to finish by end April/early May. Can’t wait to show you the end result! xox

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