The answer is…of course…when it is a small house!
Let me explain.
From earlier articles you’ll be aware that our ‘house’ actually comprises several buildings, one which we have consistently referred to as ‘The Barn’. On the basis that this small building (internal measurement is only 35 square metres) is full of hay and the residence of Carlos’ donkey we felt fairly confident that it was a barn, a ‘pajar’ in Spanish, and that’s how we’ve been referring to it in discussions with architects and builders. That was until we met the ‘secretario’ at the Pontenova Concello, the second in charge and the man with our future in his hands. In a brief conversation he advised us that the Galician Xunta (pronounced chunta) no longer permitted the conversion of barns into residences. On receiving this news back in September it threw all our plans into turmoil.
Our idea had been to convert the barn into a residence for ourselves which we would then use for staying in during site visits and as the site office for the renovation of the big house into a hotel. We needed a separate building as our residence to meet the ‘Casa Rural’ requirements and our plans lay in tatters.
The next hour was one of mental angst while contemplating putting the house at Liñeiras back on the market and starting our search all over again. There was silence in the car as we drove back towards the airport, Amanda and I in grief at what was looking like the loss of our dream, and Mother sat in the back keeping her own counsel as she sensed our increasingly desperate mood. Then I had a flash of inspiration, a revelation, I’d seen the light like Saul on the Road to Damascus, only we were heading for Aviles, I hadn’t heard Gods voice, and I was already called Paul!
The barn wasn’t a barn at all, it was a small house. Traditionally the Spanish kept their livestock on the ground floor and lived above so that they benefited from the animals heat (and smell) in the cold winter months.
Our ‘barn’ had previously had a second floor, with rendered and whitewashed walls, a window seat, balcony and separate entrances. There was no Xunta ban on renovating a house, I shared my revelation and the mood in the car was immediately lifted.
From now onwards the barn would never again be called a barn, now it was our small house.
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