There comes a point when you decide to get out and cut your losses and this maybe should have been one of those. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. It was like throwing euros to the wind and this particular wind was that of recession. It had bitten deep in Spain now and its first victim was the inflated property boom. It had all but dried up, prices were tumbling and the British buyers had disappeared along with their dwindling currency. The pound had billowed back and forth with the highs and lows of the housing market – at its peak buying 1.80 euros and now not much more than an euro. At times I wondered if there was not some deliberate conspiracy somewhere in the secret financial chambers of the world to equalise the euro, pound and dollar and therefore render them interchangeable.
Despite the clouds of financial gloom compounded by my naivety to date, I still harboured a romantic notion of Masia Lavanda, or rather for myself and my family AT Masia Lavanda. Strolling through olive groves, picnics in restored animal pens, growing our own vegetables, the perfect tan (on unwrinkled skin ha ha) – that kind of thing, not profoundly deep, but there. Something I wanted to hang on to, to fly in the face of defeat.
So I went back to Atzeneta and found myself sitting back in Carlos’s office, tears streaming down my face, with his perennially cheerful wife Gemma, and being told that what I needed before anything was QUOTES, and the little casita finishing, a wood burning stove installed, and while I was at it, a bathroom too so that I had somewhere dignified to stay when the main house was being rebuilt. I sat there sniffling at Gemma’s desk, nodding in agreement, wanting to attach myself to this beacon of hope, this something I could imagine and actually had tired to make happen without success before, and feeling at the same time that events were being taken away from me again.
Carlos came up with an affordable quote overnight, not only for the bathroom, but also for the main house in stone. It was clear and detailed, and furthermore, he said, that is what it will cost you not a penny more. If there are problems, then that is down to me. It was really very reasonable and so I left to think about it, naturally in a bar, and there I came across Tracy who looked strong enough to beat ten men up and by all accounts was a handy tiler, painter and decorated. She already knew my story and so we went up to the finca to have a look. Tracy said she could install a brick floor, and would also sort out the plaster, and paint and do a general tidy up of all the sloppy loose ends, and so it was decided by me, or possibly those around me, that I would carry on.
“I still harboured a romantic notion of Masia Lavanda”