Yesterday was the second anniversary of us buying the house...and I celebrated with toothache!
It really is a full two years, twenty-four months, seven hundred and thirty days since, on the longest day in 2010, we sat in the smoky Notarios office and handed over our life savings for our pile of Galician stones.
Fortunately my toothache wasn't the only method of celebration (although as it is ongoing as I write this I am struggling to class it as any sort celebration), as by some very strange quirk of fate, yesterday was also the day that we finally received confirmation that our planning paperwork for the barn had been given all of the bureaucratic rubber stamps that it required by the Concello. We now owe money for the license (about €850), have to start the works within six months, and then complete them within three years.
So what have we actually achieved in the last two years?
- We've made some brilliant friends in the local community; Spanish, Gallego and English. Everyone we meet is quite simply 'nice'. It's bizarre, the only local I don't like is the white van driver who tried to kill me last autumn. These fellow expatriates, people seeking a better life, locals, architects, builders and solicitors will be our future neighbours and community, and that puts a smile on my face.
- We've managed to obtain planning permission for the phase one conversion of the barn into a house for us to inhabit. At times it looked doubtful, at times we came close to giving up hope, but our architect came through and presented a project which satisfied the Xunta...eventually. And it's going to be great....compact....but great.
- We've got all of the structural works completed on the barn and we've a tentative start date for this October to complete the works and have a habitable house early in 2013.
- At the rambling property itself we are coming to terms with what we'd like to do and understanding what we can actually achieve, and the order in which it needs to be done. We have a mental plan, and unless we win the lottery, in which case we might have a re-think, we have a rough timetable in our heads.
- We've become certain that choosing the Turia Valley as our future home was the right idea. We both love the valley and the surrounding area, its people, cuisine and tradition, and now we are both keen to move out there at the earliest opportunity.
It has been an enjoyable, occasionally frustrating, two years. We're finally getting towards the first step of realising the dream.
Anyone know a good dentist?