May rushed by, and then June arrived with the dying wild flowers and an increasing heat. The masia went up, the roof went on and my hero of the moment was Carlos. It was the honeymoon period. I could not believe that there was actually a structure there, with stone walls. Stones that came from the land. He seemed to have his finger on the pulse and know exactly what was going on at all times. The workmen appeared to respect him. He was always cheerful. He was extremely competent with a can of spray paint, marking the positions of walls to be and innards of the masia. And he was extremely fit.
In early July James came to stay for 7 days. The landscape was parched and not a drop of rain in sight. The first night we toasted the masia from the interior of the little casita, finally falling into bed bathed in sweat. It was too hot to even sleep. In the morning the temperature mounted along with the flies. So many flies. We bought plastic swats to keep them at bay and paced the land looking at our trees, laden with bottles of water to calm our thirst. Carlos’s men laboured on, seemingly immune to the heat. I worried that Juan might start a bush fire with his ever present cigarettes.
On the third day the roof tiles were started, and then came the weekend. James and I climbed up the precarious scaffolding and had a look. It was a mess. The lines of tiles were far apart, too far I thought, for water could easily get past the overlaps if the cement developed cracks. This seemed likely as the cement was sloppily applied. It seemed that corners had been cut, both in materials, and in time. We worried. After all this we did not want a leaking roof. No matter how long we looked at it, it did not look any better. Why did this always happen on the weekend? Answer. We had not looked during the week.
Come Monday morning I took James to the airport and then went straight to the almacén to speak to Carlos. The roof is perfect, he assured me, that is the way it is done here. I looked around the village and saw many roofs like this indeed. But not all. There were ones with tight narrow rows of neat tiles.
This did not re-assure me. A house without a solid watertight roof is a disaster. The thought of water ingress after all this work was worrying. Was I being paranoid or were the cracks were beginning to show?