'Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been three weeks since my last confession.'
A lot can happen in three weeks, unless you're waiting for planning permission from the Xunta de Galicia.
But that's where the good news comes in. We've had notice from our architect, the one who can't be named, that the Xunta have finally sent through their approval of our application to convert the barn into a dwelling, 'obras mayores', just fourteen months after we initially submitted it!
What's more, the Xunta has not placed a single constraint or condition on the approval and it has been accepted in full. This despite lower than permitted roof heights, a lack of solar panels and the limited amount of windows, the architect argued our case and the Xunta are happy.
With the Xunta happy, we're very happy, and the architect is ecstatically happy, but also a little shocked at the lack of clarifications and conditions.
The next stage is for the drawing up of detailed plans, final approval by the local council (a formality we believe), appointment of a contractor and placing an order for the windows and doors with our preferred carpenter. There is also a little legal transaction which needs to take place, adding the barn to the deeds as a dwelling rather than a barn so that the council can levy the right taxes. The only two certain things in Spanish life are taxes and death! (paraphrased from Daniel Defoe, in The Political History of the Devil, 1726).
But where there is good, there is inevitably bad!
The bad news came in the form of another letter from 'Ministerio del Interior', which after initially freaking out thinking was another speeding fine, turned out to be a second notification about the first fine (from two months ago). Reading the paperwork it appeared to us that the second letter was due to the fine being unpaid and that I was now on a 'blacklist'. Our solicitor is now investigating, but she thinks that our payment has gone through fine, but that I am now on a register of offenders held on a public website. Terrific.
I took a look at the 'speeding sinners' website, while half hiding behind the settee out of fright, and there I am Paul xxxx - Huddersfield, GB - €400! The only solace is that there are other offenders on there who got fined a lot more than me for transgressing at the same camera, one guy got hit for €1,500. So now I don't feel quite so bad.
We're back out to Galicia very soon, I've just booked the flights and the hire car. We'll meet the architect, builder, carpenters and our friends. Hopefully there will be plenty more blogs over the coming weeks as the project awakes from its' enforced winter/spring slumbers.