Before this man knocked my house down, he took off the roof. He then charged me a small fortune for this, also to rake out the stone work, and then consolidate the walls with cement on the inside. I had not actually asked him to do any of these things, but he did and I was not disappointed. As you can see below, it had promise and with my sepia coloured glasses on, I thought, well, at least there is some progress. However, at the same time I was thinking, where are all the competitive quotes he promised to get me from proper accredited builders? A bit of pointing any able-bodied man can do, but the rest required experienced tradesmen.
“The newly raked out stonework promised a fine sold house”
While I was considering this scenario, and how best to approach it, over a long lunch in Atzeneta at Casa Ramon, unbeknownst to me, this man was having a powwow up at my masia with his gang of mates and they decided that despite having gone the restore direction for the last month, in hind sight it would be better just to knock the house down and start all over again. I am amazed at how quickly five men can reduce a stone house that has stood for hundreds of years to a few feet from the earth. I am also STILL amazed that this man did not even come back and seek me out and say “Stephanie, we are going to knock your house down”, or even “we just knocked your house down”. No, he went home to his wife and ate a nice meal and thought nothing more about it.
I, by chance, went up to masia Lavanda in the twilight hour to commune with my stone lover once more, and gasped in horror at the sight. A cold blinding wave of panic shot through me and I turned around, facing the black black mountain in front of me that reflected perfectly my frame of mind, and sunk into a deep dense hole.Stumbling into my rental car, I raced erratically back to Atzeneta, straight to casa Ramon. This was followed by Fonda Gilber, then Bar Almendros and finally Bar Tasca, where I got truly totally drunk, the thing I tend to do in a crises. A local ex-pat joined me in my sorrowful bar crawl, and we railed against the world and men builders in particular, both with construction stories to share. At around one in the morning, after watching a drunken Spaniard with a belly the size of a brandy barrel swallow a dozen raw eggs, I knew I had reached rock bottom and so crawled back to Fonda Gilber to sleep whatever I could sleep off.
“How could I turn the clock back?”
The next day we had it out, me and this man who thought he owned my house. As he was charming and highly intelligent, he managed to persuade me that he had done the best thing, and I, despite feeling very uneasy with this, agreed to continue for a while. Actually the truth was that I could see no way out. I reluctantly went back up to my ravished finca and watched while he traced out his grandiose plans on the bit of wall left standing, but all I could see was technicolor stubs of fine stone walls surrounded by demolition. Yes, I was now the proud (or not so proud) owner of a pile of rubble in the Southeast of Spain. This man assured me that he was not only on the way to transforming this rubble into something marvellous, but would also finish that little casita I so craved. I left Spain, in a total turmoil, and wondered what the hell I had got myself and my family into.
“I looked at the technicolor devastation and felt trapped”