THE CURATE’S EGG THAT HAS BEEN 2012 – (VERY) GOOD IN PARTS

We have had funny sort of year really… having finished building La Finca and moved in we mistakenly thought that 2012 would be a breeze! What can we say – this is SPAIN!

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A Really Good Part

We have been SO thrilled and delighted to welcome 87 clients, friends and family to stay at La Finca in this our first year in the house .  We can honestly say we have enjoyed every single visitor who has come here.  We have had some wonderful meals introducing new friends to old, sitting on the dining terrace and chewing the fat and swopping stories.  It has been a joy to see everyone filling and using all the areas of the house, the pool and the land, having adventures in Granada, the mountains and the beaches – all so close to us – and of course enjoying the Lecrin valley.  We really look forward to 2013, to seeing some of you again and to introducing new faces to La Finca and its magic.

In the kitchen we have been busy catering for celebration birthday dinners, cookery classes and meals for all our guests

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The house functions well, its facilities and spaciousness providing ample opportunities for everyone to relax and revive during their stay here.  It has been rewarding to watch this happen.

The Not so Good Parts

We have had seemingly endless health issues, which continue…  some serious but manageable, some not too bad but inconvenient – but all too boring to relate!

The Hacienda (Spanish Tax office) that still owes us a considerable amount of money.  We have had three paltry payments this year and they still owe us a lot  more. This situation has without doubt been the most stressful to deal with as it has required us to stand up for our rights – and to manage a resulting very tight budget!

Because of the failure of the Hacienda to meet its obligations we have now not been able to visit friends and family at home for two years.  Scarlett has in particular found this very difficult and has been extremely homesick – especially in this amazing year for the UK when there was so much to make us proud to be British!

The local mayor who does his best to extract money from us at every turn (directly from our bank account with no explanation until we blocked him!!) while at the same time delaying issuing us with our final licences.

Overall, the pressure to tie off all the loose ends relating to the construction project has been really stressful.  However a chink of light exists – we are very nearly there!

Some Combined Good and Bad Parts

During this first year we have been worried about the high running costs of the energy system but delighted by the way Instalaciones Durcal (the installers of the system) have responded within minutes to any crisis.  As soon as we became quieter in October and we could risk being without power we met and agreed what changes were required. So it was out with the huge generator and in with more solar – simple really! Instalciones Durcal have completed everything and we are already seeing a difference. It has been a pleasure to work with them.


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The process to make the changes was overseen by a wonderful find – Mr Roger Gomes Gonçlaves who is an absolute whizz at anything to do with alternative energy.  Call us for his number if you have a project! He was our savior!

We have loved our trips once a month up into the mountains to Los Olivos – an Anglican Retreat.  Dani and Guy are great fun and we have very much enjoyed and appreciated their warm welcome and hospitality on each visit.  It has been good to have time to reflect a little.

Scarlett had such a wonderful time on a week-long retreat at Los Olivos where the object was to “Find your voice” (as in singing voice).  It was a wonderful to have some quiet time to reflect and regroup her energy and there were rare moments when she even managed to hit the right note!

We all hoped that Lecrin Valley Sundays would appeal to a larger group and start to develop something for the community.  This has sadly not transpired.  Maybe next year?!

Really Good

We have completed a few final relatively small projects around the place with the help of a small team and our thanks go to Inma, Terry, Giles, Jose Antonio, Martin, Alphonso, Boris and several very patient local suppliers.  We planted a lawn – and can play croquet (albeit mini-croquet)!  We completed two waterfalls and a small shaded and leafy patio.  We have put railings around dangerous areas, landscaped the pool area and the terraces connecting to each guest suite and we have completed a great deal of planting of trees and shrubs some of which have actually survived – and very few that have not.  Happily everything is growing and 2013 will be the year of bringing on cuttings!

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In one of the waterfalls we were able to include the face of the Green Man that was made by a truly artistic friend of Scarlett’s, Liz Mosdell, now sadly gone.  Scarlett has carried it around for years trying to find the right place for it – at last it has a worthy home.

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After an initial real scary time Chris has recovered really well from two operations in February and May and our experience of the Health Service here has been outstanding.

Scarlett has thoroughly enjoyed working with her coaching clients who have all exceeded expectations in the achievement of their personal and business goals.  It has given her a real buzz to see them succeed and move towards their dreams.

Speaking of dreams….visits from family, while limited this year, are always so very precious to us.  It is always wonderful to have our daughters and their families here – it was what we dreamed of for the house and we hope we will see much more of them in 2013. Louise, Harry and Freddie came and we had a great week with them and a super day when Bridie, Martin, Willow, Billy and Lucie joined us too.  We really felt the dream was fulfilled that day with 5 of our 9 grandchildren present!

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Then there were Tania, Andee and Meredith who came all the way from San Diego to look after La Finca and the animals so we could travel to the UK in June – only to find we only went away for a week.  They were so gracious about not having the house solely to themselves for a month, such great house sitters and so great to have around and get to know better.

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Wonderful friends Nik and Alex,  Roselyne and Michel, and Antonia and Jimmy with whom we stayed so briefly in June but who so generously gave us a very necessary brief time away to recover from the stresses of the mayor and the Hacienda.

Friends who came especially to visit us because they knew how upset we were that we could not get back to the UK.  We are so grateful to them and their visits were made extra special by their kindness and generosity of spirit.

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Pascale our French masseur who has been key in helping our guests relax and enjoy their stay.  She comes to the house and sets up her massage table and works her magic.  We and all our guests love her and her healing hands!

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Artist Emma Plunkett who came and painted a picture of La Finca that we could turn into post cards.  We love it!  She is such a talented artist.  Google her!

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The animals have all settled well and are really enjoying the space and tranquility we have.   They love our visitors who spoil them mercilessly and we  only see them at meal times when the house is full! Scamp who arrived on our doorstep last November and who had a tendency to wander off managed to eat poison and nearly died.  The great veterinary hospital in Granada pulled her through but it was a very close call. Missie our Springer Spaniel has had a horrible time after an emergency operation on a haematoma in her ear flap – she is better now but a bit lopsided and deaf.  The cats are all over the place.  You can usually find them sunning themselves on the garden walls looking out to the view.  They love to come with us when we walk the dogs and sit on a log that has fallen over the river near us to watch the dogs splash about.

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We have had some exciting wildlife sightings – mountain goats, wild boar, owls, eagles, foxes, wild cats, snakes, lizards and butterflies.

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And Finally

La Finca has to date been an amazing (if stressful) journey of nearly 13 years living and working in Spain.  Apart from a few small final things to tie up we are satisfied that the Casa Rural is a functioning and going concern which gives us a great sense of achievement.  The time is coming for us to change direction but the economic climate will doubtlessly dictate when that will happen!  Make sure you visit us in 2013 in case it takes us by surprise!!

Christmas is a time of rest for us and we had a lovely day with our daughter Bridie, her husband Martin and their children Willow, Billy and Lucie’s visit on Christmas Day for the traditional English Christmas dinner.  We went  up the mountains to the snow on Boxing day – so we have had the best of all seasonal weather.

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For all the good things we have here it will never replace being in England at this time of year – wet or not  – so our thoughts are always with home, family and friends at this time.

The sun is shining and the windows and doors are open. A cold white Christmas is wonderful but endless rain, floods and winds is no fun. For all of you suffering cold, wet conditions our thoughts are with you. In your plans for 2013 be sure to include a break in sunny Andalucia – there will be warm weather and a warm welcome at La Finca for you!

To you and yours – Peace and Blessings for 2013.

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7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    David said,

    I take my hat off to both of you, absolutely amazing, your stamina, energy and inspiration to create such an extraordinary home and business. I was sorry to hear about your health challenges but relieved that you have found positive ways to grow through them. With every wish for a healthy and more restful New Year ahead. With love, David xx

  2. 2

    Sarah said,

    All amazing ! even some of the rough bits…I guess that makes the good bits even better….thinking of you, much love and hope for 2013 xxx

  3. 3

    Reblogged this on Angies Kitchen Blog and commented:
    want a wonderful holiday in Andalucia….reccomend Casa Amelia Fantastic hosts amazing views peace and quiet first class accomadation

  4. 4

    nan carter said,

    Our dear friends, Scarlett and Chris…I loved reading about your adventures (and MISadventures) at La Finca. We have been thinking so much about you and know that this beautiful place is filled with the warmth and character that only the two of you could provide. Happy New Year! Hoping to see you in 2013!

  5. 5

    Gundi said,

    Wow, I do admire Your endurance and good spirit making this dream finally come true. The finca looks absolutely marvellous! Reading about Your experiences is like reading a thriller. Sorry we could not make it this year, really miss seeing the both of You.
    Wishing You a much better health and full enjoyment of the fruits of Your hard labour in 2013. You definitely deserve it. Lots of love Gundi and Glenn.

  6. 6

    Tony said,

    Hi,

    Love the blog, do you have an email address, I can contact you on?

    TonyBickley@hotmail.co.uk


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