35. Hot tub has landed.

To choose, purchase and install a hot tub is easy isn’t it? I can honestly answer that question with a, ‘Hell no!’ For me it has been a lengthy road from beginning to end with many things to consider at every stage.

My first consideration was on style and size. I had imagined something slightly different from the circular or square tubs but large enough to easily accomodate 4 people. Size was important as I found the advertised 7-8 seater tubs may only be suitable for tiny people that like crowds and that’s not us.

Then there was a decision to be made on the type of hot tub. The all electric tubs ‘jacuzzi’ can be very expensive to heat the water and, in our case, would need a separate electrical feed from the main box, which when quoted for, was a small mortgage. However, after a little investigation I was introduced to the wood burning hot tubs (similar to what you may see in Sweden). With the water heated by wood, the only electricity necessary was for lights and jets which have minimal requirements. After installing an extra electric socket to the garden area where the hot tub was to be sited, we were all set.

I eventually found the perfect 8 sided tub with a wood burning stove, LED lights and lots of bubble jets – except it had to come from Estonia. If anyone is looking to start a new business within Spain then wood burning hot tubs would be a good choice!

After several months the hot tub arrived, and with the help of our local builder Miguel, was carefully located in the rear garden of the cave on top of the concrete base that had previously been prepared.

This is when my fun started. It was time to design the area around the hot tub and make it somewhere for ourselves and guest to relax and enjoy whether you were in or out of the tub. The design was not the only consideration – there was the practical issues too like how do you get into such a high tub!

The outdoor shower was built and floor tiled, the hot tub base was plastered, steps built, statues purchased, plants planted, gravel spread and blue grass laid. I now know that, at my tender age, my knees and back have lowered their limits of usage than ever before! Slowly it all took shape.

I wanted this particular area to be a continuation of the already established back garden keeping a flow all the way through. I hope I have achieved just that.

I am pleased with the outcome and looking forward to many happy hours sitting in the tub with a glass and a good book or just simply relaxing as I listen to the many birds around us. I cannot wait for guests to try it out too when we open Cueva Limon in April this year. Take a look at other photos we have at http://www.caveholidays.com.

Let me know what you think. Stay safe and well.

33. Building a table – part 1.

Cave life continues during this weird and daunting time we find ourselves in. As the virus persists to threaten our lives, John and I are finding our happiness in the immediate part of the world we call home. Our cave has been our saviour. It has given us shelter, room to move, repair jobs to do and new ideas to design and build.

I don’t think we will ever be in a position where we can sit back and say, ‘ We are done’. It’s never going to happen but perhaps that’s a good thing…. it keeps us on our toes and certainly keeps us busy. We may have aching backs and bad legs between us but…. we carry on, as you do.

I have several projects ongoing at the moment. One of these projects is the building of a new table with seats within the rear garden area. The actual design of this table has changed 4 times from when I first sketched out a design on my computer. After transferring the design to the garden by placing breeze blocks to give me an idea of size and shape I decided that the first two designs were a little complicated (and that is slightly understated), How about a circular table with a base to match? All sounds good until you ask the local metal man if it’s possible to make a round frame for the table top so we can fit bardos within the frame and then tile. He simply said no – not possible! Plan B… how about 6 sided table top? That was a ‘yes’ so off he went. In the meantime I had a friend build a circular base for me as I really do not want to try cutting breeze blocks with a cutter. I will try most things and have my tools all lined up in the garage but not a large cutter that was needed to cut these bricks. I have my limits!

As of last week we have had the frame delivered and I have placed it on the base to give me an idea of the size. I am so pleased with the overall look – thankfully. Now… what size should the seats be? That appears to be a straightforward question and one that should be easily answered. So why did I find it so hard? Well, firstly the patio area for the table is not level. It runs down in two directions. As the table will be fairly level, (thanks Steve), the seats around the table will be differing heights. Eventually, I decided that after measuring the height of each of the 6 sides and working out the gap that would be needed between the top of the seat and bottom of the table, it became easier.

Ok, I’ve got the height sorted. Now for working out how far from the actual edge of the table the seats should be? They cannot be too close as someone like me would never get in. They cannot be too far away as smaller people would never reach their food or drinks! It was a few days of measuring and moving blocks about before I decided on what I think will be a good compromise and I’m sticking to it. Anyone that cannot reach the table can sit on my lap! So, the blocks have been positioned and tomorrow I am going to start to concrete them in.

Post note: the seats will have to wait as I was called to have my first jab yesterday and not quite feeling up to cementing today. Perhaps tomorrow.

Stay safe everyone.

31. Tourist Board inspections are scary – or are they?

It had arrived. We had received notification that our new cave rental, Cueva Limón, was to have an inspection from the Tourist board of Andalucia. All licenced holiday rental properties have inspections at some point and it was time for ours. We were notified 10 days ago of the date and time and given guidance on what to do with regards their visit during these covid times.

We had 10 days to ensure we had all the relevant paperwork in order, registrations, visitors books in place, first aid and fire precautions sorted and all the other smaller things you need to look at when having such an inspection. This all seems relatively simple but not so easy when you are in the middle of a lockdown. We have had the paperwork in order for some time and the forms had been printed off the computer. Amazon, due to lockdown, was the only way I could buy a first aid kit, fire blanket and fire alarm at such short notice. The inside painting jobs we needed to finish off and the building of a garden bench and table in the back garden had to be left half finished due to lack of materials. But at least the inspector could see that we had started and what our intentions were.

Although John is going to our local school twice a week to learn Spanish we decided that this inspection was too important to try and answer any of the questions we would be asked so we arranged for a recommended translator to join us and help with communication. I’m so glad we did. He was great and although we did understand some of what was being asked the rest went well over our heads. Thank you Annie for the recommendation and thank you Guy for your translation during the visit.

When our allotted time of 9.30 arrived we had our first surprise. We did not have one inspector come to see us but two! The fact that there was more than one put our stress levels through the roof. It was going to get very serious we thought – two inspectors aiming questions from both sides. However, it was nothing like what we had imagined. It was 45 minutes of “Muy Bonito” (very nice), lots of photos being taken and many wide smiles on both of their faces. The two inspectors were very happy with everything we had achieved and the projects that we had yet to finish off. The only request was that we purchase a printed pre numbered complaints book from the bookshop in Baza. Their parting words were, ‘We are very impressed and we wish you the best for your future bookings. Muy Bien’.

I will admit to being nervous before their arrival, very nervous on their arrival and a complete jelly on their departure. It will take me a few hours to actually stop shaking. I was in complete shock that the visit went so well.

Moral of the story is … don’t worry about what may happen. It may surprise you and never happen at all and if it does, you can work it out. However, life is not that simple is it? We are all human and we will continue to worry about the ‘what ifs’ in life. Makes things more interesting I suppose, however in my case, it’s given me more grey hairs.

Please take a look at Cueva Limón and we hope you will consider joining us in the near future for a holiday that you will remember, Cave life is the best – come and try it for yourselves. http://www.caveholidays.com

Keep safe and keep smiling.