Monday, May 25, 2009

First Wargame in Spain - May 2006

By early May 2006 the soldiers were unpacked, sorted out and put on the new shelves. The scenery squares were completed and painted, and we were ready for our first game. This was to be the first of many happy hours spent in our favourite room of the new house.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wargames Room - April 2006

One of the important considerations why we choose this house was that we could extend the downstairs to provide sufficient space for our wargames room. Fortunately we choose the house when it was still "on plan" so we could have the extension done at the initial building stage.

One of the first jobs when we arrived was to find a carpenter who could make us a wargames table and shelves to hold the model soldier collection. We designed the table to fit the available space, and also to have shelves underneath to hold the spare scenery squares.

The table and shelves were completed, the soldiers unpacked, the scenery tiles made and painted and all done within one month of moving in!

There are no windows in the wargames room, but we had these glass bricks to allow as much light as possible.

The shelves were carefully planned to ensure that there was sufficient space for all of the model soldiers, and also deep enough to hold the army trays.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Parcent - April 2006

We moved to Spain on 17 March 2006

Car Port

Front of House

Main Bedroom

Sitting Room

Swimming Pool


View of Parcent from the Naya

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Parcent - June 2005

The house is not due to be completed until November, but we received these photographs from the builder in the middle of June, to show us how much progresss they have made. The front of the house is certainly looking good. And it even has a footpath, in place of the previous springy length of wood.

The rear looks to be almost finished, including the stairs at the side and even the swimming pool.

We had problems trying to imagine how the pool would be done when we were in Parcent just last month. But its been built up and the pool taking shape nicely.

Another view of our pool, and next door. They have certainly made a lot of progress in just one month. All we have to do now is find a buyer for our house in UK!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Parcent - May 2005

The purpose of this visit was to sort out some paperwork with the solicitor, and select tiles and kitchen fittings with the builder.

We booked a hotel in Benedorm for a week and hired a car. So we could travel up to Parcent each day to walk around the area and see what progress had been made with the house. We also took the opportunity to measure various rooms to see what furniture would fit.

Not a lot of progress with the front of the house. Still looking pretty much like we first saw it. This is also the least impressive angle of the house to view, as it looks like a very small bungalow from the front.

Taken from the next house down. The house is taking shape, but its very difficult to picture what the swimming pool will look like (on the right of the photo)

Jan is standing at the bottom of the back of the house, where the swimming pool will be.

There is only one street in Arenal. There are about 30 houses from an earlier build. All occupied, and for some time by the look of them.

The view directly ahead from our balcony. This was to be our screen saver for many months until we finally moved to Spain.

Jan looking to the left on the balcony. Lovely views down the valley towards Jalon and the mountains beyond.

The view to the right from the balcony is towards Orba and again the mountains beyond.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Benidorm - May 2005

In May we returned to Spain to complete some paperwork on the house purchase, and also to choose the tiles and kitchen fittings. We booked a hotel in Benedorm and arranged a hire car. We spent a lot of time in Denia, where this photographs was taken on the sea front

This one is on Denia beach. A short break from paperwork with the solicitor

We found Benedorm to be much more attractive than we had imagined from what we had seen on TV. It has a lovely promonade, and a very interesting old town. There are, of course, a lot of visitors and it reminded us of a sort of Blackpool in the sun.

We caught the tourist train to Alicante for the day. It is a much more pedestrian friendly city that we would have thought, and it has this lovely tree lined promonade along the side of the sea front. Lovely day, but very tiring.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Parcent - January 2005

We asked Dave and Sue to leave us at the house, so that we could walk back to our Casa Rural in Alcalali, and explore a little of the area on the way. Walking into Parcent we passed this orange tree, and this photo was to become Jans screen saver at work.

From Parcent we could see a path which seemed to lead to Alcalali. We had a little trouble finding the right path, and ended up going over this hill first. We were rewarded with this lovely view of Parcent

Our first walk through the Jalon valley from Parent to Alcalali. Although we were not sure of the path, we could see the church tower of Alcalali all the way.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Parcent - January 2005

Artists impression of our house in Parcent

In December 2004 we decided to return to the Jalon Valley and look for another house. We did a lot of research, and arranged to view using two estate agents. One of them was Buena Vista, who had found us the house in Sagra. And Dave and Sue would again be our guide.

We looked at a lot of house before we arrived at Parcent. Dave and Sue had earmarked one of these houses as favourite. When we arrived there was a deep hole to cross to get into the house, and only a narrow springy length of wood to cross on. Jan refused, and went off with Sue whilst Dave and I looked around. I liked the house, but was not really sure it was the right one.

When we returned to the pavement there was no sign of Sue and Jan. Dave thought that they might have gone to look at another house further up the road. It was easier to enter this house, and Dave thought Sue might have suggested that Jan look around as it was similar to the one that they were showing us.

When we arrived on the naya (balcony) I was blown away with this fantastic view. Far superior to the one in the earlier house, which looked down the valley but did not overlook the village. I felt that this was "the house" and told Dave we wanted to consider putting in an offer.

As we left the house we found Jan and Sue. They had been exploring a dirt track which leads down to the village. Jan felt exactly the same as I, and we both knew that we had found our house in Spain. It was quite a bit dearer than the other one, but larger and just right for us. We could even extend the downstairs to provide a large wargames room.

Sue, Jan and Dave on the naya where I had decided that we would have to have this house.

Jan and Sue in the bathroom, even here there is a beautiful view. We arranged to have an extra large window put in, and the bath raised, so we could admire the view when having a bath!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Why not Sagra

Unfortunately the purchase of our house in Sagra did not go smoothly.

Within a few months our solicitor advised us that the builder had failed to arrange a bank guarantee. We were advised that we would be badly advised to continue with the purchase of the house without this document.

There followed a series of exchanges between us and the builder, in which he maintained that a bank guarantee was not essential. However he was legally required to provide one if we insisted, which we did. He failed to provide one, and we cancelled the purchase.

We were very disappointed, but not for one moment put off moving to Spain. In November 2004 we again began our search for our house in the sun.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sagra - April 2004

In March 2004 we contacted a local estate agent in Salisbury, who specialised in finding homes in Spain. After explaining that we wanted a good walking area and not too extreme in temperatures, she agreed with us that the Jalon Valley in the Costa Blanca would be ideal. She arranged for an estate agents, Buena Vista on Jalon, to contact us to arrange an inspection visit.

At 1015 on 21 April we arrived at Alicante airport, where we were met by Dave and Sue from Buena Vista estate agents of Jalon. They were to be our constant companions for the next four days while we looked at prospective houses in the Jalon Valley.

We were impressed that they had taken the trouble to match available properties with our requirements, and we looked at a number of possible ones. But when we visited the one at Sagra we fell in love at once. It was an overgrown field when we first saw the site, but the agent came prepared with diagrams and drawings. We spent an hour or so walking aroun the plot, studying diagrams and maps and trying to visualise what it would look like when it was finished.

We would not sign to buy at once, despite a lot of sales talk about lots of interested buyers and this plot might be gone by tomorrow. We returned to our hotel and talked it through, and through and through. We didn't get a lot of sleep that night. But by morning we had decided we would buy.

We returend to the site, went over the details again, and again, and again. Finally we agreed to pay our deposit of €3000. We returend to the office and signed on the dotted line. Then we all went to a local beach front bar and drank a glass of champhagne. We were owners of our own house in Spain!