6. Off To Meet The Architect.

Friends have asked me, ‘How is the cave coming along?’ My honest answer is, ‘I really don’t know’.   We are making progress albeit very slowly with tiny steps.

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My latest trip to Spain was for a dual purpose. I needed to meet with the architect and builder to discuss alterations and extensions to the original plans we had been given when we purchased the cave but most importantly, to discuss the boundary of our land.  If you recall from my previous posts the deeds for the cave still have the original map detailing the plot as it was back in the Flintstone days.  Plots of land had been verbally exchanged, (farming land for extra scrub land), but nothing was put down in writing and no alterations had been made to the drawings.  This apparently happens a lot in Spain and according to our solicitor – nothing to worry about.   I sit here with crossed fingers!  The new updated drawings would then be attached to the deeds of the cave to make everything clear and legal.

As the builder spoke no English, (but had most lovely eyes), and the architect very little, Matilda agreed to meet up and help out. Matilda will be overseeing the reform of the cave when we are in a position to begin.

The temperatures were in the late 30’s as we walked around outside the cave, but as we went inside the cave, the temperature dropped to a lovely 20 degrees. That is what cave life is all about.  Cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

As we walked around it was getting more and more obvious that some of my plans for the reform would need to change. The builder was not happy with the idea of digging into the cave any further than had already been done which was rather disappointing. However, the lounge area that I had imagined to be on the left hand side of the cave was achievable pending planning permission. This is where we are hoping Matias, the architect, will be worth his money.  Matias was born in the area and worked within the planning department until recently when he moved towards the coast. If anyone can get plans passed we are hoping he can.

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The lounge area will be designed to appear as part of the cave apparently – I cannot wait to see the plans.

The urgency of the drawings to mark out the land has been put back slightly as the planning offices close during most of the month of August so it is unlikely that we can get anything finalised until September. Hey ho, so be it.

So yes, we have moved forward but….as I say, it does appear to be with tiny steps. But, as I always say, those tiny steps all add up and in this case add up to us living in a cave. The problem is that the older I get the less patient a person I am, especially when I have set my mind at something.

The second purpose for my trip to Spain was to give my granddaughter Megan a holiday. Megan has been revising none stop for her exams so I wanted to give her a break away (and for her to see the cave in person). Ryan (Megan’s twin) has also had exams but he had flown off to celebrate with friends on another Spanish island.

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So, it was decided to have a girlie week with me, Megan and Sharon (Megan’s mom). We had a lovely 4 days near to the cave. I did all I could with the people I needed to see and we toured around the area visiting villages and shopping centres!  We found a wonderful centre close to Granada which had every shop you could dream of in a surrounding that was second to none.  It truly was amazing and one that I will certainly go back to.  You could certainly make a day of it even if you don’t shop.  The last 3 days of our trip we decided to move nearer to Malaga Airport as we had an extremely early flight home.

We chose a converted nunnery about 10km inland, which was a lovely spot in the mountains, but I must admit to feeling a little pleased that we had chosen the Granada area to live.  When you are not so near to the coast you get great daytime temperatures, cooler nights and ….no humidity! Wonderful.

Now we wait for the drawings to be completed and continue to advertise the 5 bed house and 2 bed apartment in Cyprus.  Spain awaits.

Here is another little video we made during our last visit.  I cannot wait to show you a video when the work begins.  It will be amazing –  I hope.😉

5. The cave will be known as…..

Name for the cave will be……..drum roll!

IMG_3689You may think that naming a cave is an easy thing to do. Well, it’s not!

The reasons for naming our cave were discussed in blog 4 but in a nutshell…..because there are no streets, roads or avenues in the campo (countryside) especially in our area which is aptly named ‘Cuevas del Luna’ (Caves of the Moon). This particular area is vast and has many cave dwellings dotted around. Tracks meander around the plateau, some are fairly flat with a good surface but others are very weather beaten and only accessible with a 4 x 4.  We have to cross over a stream/river to get to our cave (no bridge, just wet wheels).

So, what do you need to consider when naming your cave? In my opinion there are three main considerations:-

1. Is the name unique in the area of your cave?  If there are other dwellings with the same name it will make postal deliveries, and the like, very confusing and will certainly cause you unnecessary difficulty.
2. The name may sound great in English but does it sound as good in Spanish? Do the words roll off the tongue and are they easy to pronounce?
3. Does the name suit the cave or the area? Some may think this unnecessary, but I am not one of these people. I believe the name should be a reflection of the area or there should be some connection to you.

I’ve received many great suggestions from friends and family for a name of our cave and each one has had the three points applied to them. One by one, each name failed on at least one of the points except for two names which I loved.

The first name which passed this three point test above was ‘Cueva Blanca’ (White Cave). After trawling the web I could not find any other cave within the area with the same name, the name flows in the English and Spanish language, the cave will be primary white in colour and, it appears to suit the area. Cueva Blanca was looking promising however, another area of Benamaurel/ Baza is Cuevas de la Blanca which may cause confusion in the future.  This is where my wonderful granddaughter Megan came into the discussions and threw a few of her own ideas into the ring.

One of Megan’s ideas stopped me dead. A name that, after a little research, was not found in the area, one that did roll off the tongue in both languages and a name that was one of my loves, both in food and aromas.  Cueva de Limon (Lemon Cave)


I love my lemon tree within my garden in Cyprus. Each fruit is free of pips, juicy and huge. Lemon curd, lemon juice, lemon slices, lemon drizzle cake, lemon for salads, lemon to remove lime scale from kettles – the list goes on and on.  Lemons have so many uses I am still learning of more each year.

When we eventually refurb the cave, and begin life in Spain, I can picture the lemon trees growing within the garden area and the smooth, white and curved interior walls of the cave accented with lemon colours and perhaps kitchen cupboard doors looking refreshing in a pale lemon colour.

The name is just perfect and one that I love so…..’Cueva de Limon’ it is!

4. How Do You Name A Cave?

How Do You Name A Cave?  That is not an easy questions to answer!

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Naming your cave is a necessity if it is located within the Campo, (countryside), in rural Spain like ours.  There are no roads or streets only dirt tracks, and miles of them. Tracks that do not show up on any sat nav or map. Hence the quickest and easiest way the postman can identify you with your address is by naming your cave. Don’t get me wrong…. you will not get a delivery once a day or even once a week. Certainly not! You go to the local post office (which could actually be located in a butchers shop, tapas bar or a local business office) and sort through any post they may have. Apparently, I have been told that neighbours, (and I say that in the widest sense of the word), will be asked to pop the post round to you if they happen to be passing!

Our original idea for a name for our cave was a good one we thought , Cave of Dreams’. We came up with the name because the web site is called http://www.makingdreams.me.  We truly believe that the cave will become our dream home and we are absolutely in love with the whole project.   So…. It sounded just about right to us. Cueva de Suenos our cave of dreams.  However, looking on the internet I found at least 3 caves in the same area with that exact name.  We would be looking for trouble and lots of confusion too so… we had to rethink.

Lots of suggestions came up and cast away just as quickly. Then I thought about the style of the cave I was looking for. I want white, smooth, curvy walls, nothing straight, nothing rough and only white. How about ‘The White Cave’. Immediately I went back on the internet and found nothing in the area that was similar. Or….how about ‘Cave With A View’?

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It certain does have a view all around and one that we love. This started the ball rolling, we had lots of thoughts for a name.  Now comes the hard part, which name to choose and which name would be appropriate for our dream cave?

The White Cave – La Cueva Blanca.
Cave With A View – Cueva Con una Vista
Cave With Views – Cueva Con Vistas
Cave of Poppies – Cueva De Amapolas
Our Cave – Nuestra Cueva
Cave of Susanne – Cueva de Susana

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I will let you know soon, but if you have any suggestions (clean ones please) get in touch. X

3. Cave Living. Why?

 

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Our cave!

Cave living – why?  Caves have been home to mankind forever. We have all seen pictures of ‘cave men’ huddled around an open fire whilst they look out for predators trying to join them in the safety of the cave. In more modern times these caves have become homes that we would recognise today. Within the Province of Granada in southern Spain there are thousands of cave dwellers, or Troglodytes as they are fondly known, who’s families have lived in caves for hundreds of years.

My first thought upon hearing about cave dwellings was a very negative one. Surely the caves are damp, dark and dirty? How can anyone live in a cave? Yes, some are damp, dark and dirty but often it is not the cave itself – you get houses like that all over the world. The majority of cave dwellers have the perfect homes. Dry, clean and can be added to quite easily by digging out another room. Apparently, not long ago, when a wife became pregnant she would start digging ready for the new arrival. It is not unusual to find an 8 bedroomed cave!

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Until only a few years ago cave living was for the poor and cave homes seen as inferior to the modern town houses. Shepherds and farmers used them for shelter (and for their animals) as they worked. They were dug out of the land often by hand or small tools. Today caves are becoming big business. There are many hotels and restaurants in caves and even churches and council offices. Cave living is on the up and up.

What advantages are there to cave living? The answer is simple – lots!

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2. Off To Buy A Cave!

IMG_4002Off to buy a cave. You don’t say that every day!

Could have been worse…. we could have been buying a teapot so a cave is quite normal in comparison (apparently in China several families can, and do, live in a red teapot).

Travelling to Spain from Cyprus is not an easy task out of season. Usually you have at least one stop off in the UK, France or Bulgaria. However, Cobalt have added a new route from Larnaca to Madrid.  Madrid itself is not perfect for us as it is at least a 5 -6 hour drive to the cave, near to Baza but, we felt it was worth while as we would only be in Spain for a few days before returning to our work in Cyprus.IMG_3690

The flight to Madrid landed ahead of schedule and the drive down to our rented accommodation in Zujar was an easy 5 hours (once we managed to negotiate the exit out of the airport!).   It had been a long day and to bed we went.

Our first full day was to be the admin day.  To buy anything of note in Spain you have to have a NIE number. Continue reading

1. The Cave ….. At The Beginning!

It was love at first sight.   It was love over the Internet.   I had seen the perfect home for John and I to ‘live out’ the rest of our lives.

Was it a villa with a pool?  No, already got that in Cyprus.
Was it a farm house in Tuscany?  No, France can be a little too cold and wet.

It’s a cave!  Yes, a cave.  Thankfully, John instantly fell in love too and that is quite surprising fIMG_4002rom a man who weighs up all the options a million times before committing to anything, (even going to the cinema).

We talked for hours about ‘what if’, ‘when’, ‘how’ and all the things you both need to work through when processing such an idea or project.  After much debate and many many unanswered questions we both came to the same humungous decision – we both agreed we wanted to buy this particular cave.  This is where it all began.  We contacted the estate agent in Spain, made an offer and waited for a response back.

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When To Give Up?

images-3.jpegIf I had asked myself this question a few years ago my answer would have been a resounding ‘never‘!

But….life sometimes takes you on a different path than you expected just to prove that your beliefs are not as stable as you once thought.  Your once certain knowledge to the ‘Questions of life’ can change quite dramatically.  For the better? Not too sure on that one. Ask me in a few years time.

We all know perfectly well that there is good and bad in this world. You cannot turn the TV on or open a newspaper without that fact jumping out at you. However, today I want to talk about the good and bad that can effect our very existence, the good and bad that is closer to home and personal.

We all get hurt by someone close to us. A husband, wife, child or friend – it does not matter who they are. Those closest to us can hurt the most.  Sometimes those that are close, whom are generally caring and kind, want to hurt you in any way that they can. The pain from this hurt is the silver lining of all pains. So why does it happen especially when you truly don’t deserve to receive such hurt?

I have agonised over, digested and agonised all over again, this very question. My conclusion is – I don’t know and I don’t think they know either. Sometimes when a person is hurting badly they will turn against the one person they love and they then become the enemy. All their fears and anger gets channeled onto you. You have caused all the pain and suffering because you did not do…….you have caused this to happen because you should have……I would not feel like this if you had…….the list just goes on and on.

The world does not revolve around one person. Our lives have many factors that we should and need to consider especially when we make life changing decisions. To balance all these considerations is far from easy. Whom do we let down or upset, what can we do to help to balance the scales, how can we make it work for everyone, what do we ourselves actually want to do?  There can be so many considerations to work through and agonise over when a major life changing decision has to be made but… there is one thing for sure, you are not going to please everyone.

couple_communication_errors_281x309.jpgWhen a person channels their anger and hurt at another person who is close to them, feelings get that intense they cannot see or hear anything other than the thoughts in their own head. They wear blinkers and will not accept any action or words that don’t fit into their self made picture of events locked away in their minds. They only hear certain words in a sentence which are then used against you to justify their anger. The problem with this is that everything gets taken out of context and it does not matter how many times you try and explain, nothing else gets heard. You are talking to a brick wall that has gone deaf. Their pain, self made or not, is just far to intense.

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Being a mom is not easy!

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This title is so understated. It should read ‘Being a mom is bloody hard!’

If you are a lucky mom you will have family around you when your baby is born and in the years that follow. Family to guide you, support you and simply ‘just be there’.  Don’t get me wrong, this does not mean that they are at your beck and call every minute of the day or live in your shoes day and night, but simply to be there for you at the end of a phone or, in this day and age, FaceTime/Skype.   If you are extremely lucky you will have close friends who also have/had children and can relate stories of how they coped with just that emotion you’re experiencing or that wonderful tantrum you are trying to control when in the street.

Some of us aren’t that lucky and find ourselves doing what we can with the knowledge we have, albeit very little. I was just one of those moms.  I had no parents or close friends to rely on and I was young and very naive.  But, with lots of love and a certain amount of intelligence you can raise your child to be just as great. Morals and manners are easy to teach and worth every minute of your time. They are a great grounding for adult hood.  Hearing from our family and friends how little Tommy was potty trained or how Sam was reading at the age of 2 is often unhelpful anyway. We all know that children are different. They grow at different stages, their development comes at different times and speeds and …. very importantly, we should never compare children with each other. Does it matter if your child is not reading at the age of 2 but little Sam is on her next boxed set of books? 99.9% of the time the answer is no. Children catch up very quickly. By the time they go to school the gap will be a lot smaller albeit if any gap at all.

We automatically want our first child to walk, talk and generally grow up far to quickly. We have that sense of pride when others notice that little Dan is no longer in nappies and he has only just had his 1st birthday! The second child is different. We are not in such a rush. We have learnt that children grow up far far too quick and we try and savour each stage of our child’s growth. With the third child (I would imagine this to be true as I only had two) all rule books go out of the window and the child dictates what they do and when they do it.

Problems start when they grow up to be teenagers and adults. But… that is for another day.

My advice to all moms – enjoy every minute with your children and never regret the ‘me time’ that you don’t seem to be able to get because you need to bath your child, sort their clothes, make meals or just read to them. You will get the ‘me time’ you need and far too quickly. I promise.

 

 

Does money make us happy? If not, what does?

images-1Deep down we all know that money is not the ‘be all and end all’ but …..in this modern society we live in today it is necessary if we want to live comfortably.   However, what is the definition of comfortable and how much money do we need to achieve it?   I believe that the sum of money you need to be comfortable cannot be quantified. Why? Living in London you will need more of the ‘cash’ to live the same life as you would in say, in Thailand.

So my definition of comfortable would be whether I have enough food, shelter and love around me to live a good and happy life.  I personally have too much food, have a lovely ‘shelter’ and lots of love. I am one of the lucky ones. If I was to loose one of those elements, my life would soon turn upside down.  It has happened to me in the past but, in time, I managed to replace that missing element which allowed me to live life again with a smile.

The future is unpredictable – you may have years of happiness still to go but you may not! Make everyday count. Don’t let others put you down, make you feel worthless or insecure. If they do, get rid and quickly. You deserve better.

Sometimes we can overlook the smaller things in our life.  However, if they ceases to exist or exit our lives, we may find a hole in our very existence. That hole could be filled with other similar things, but occasionally, filling that hole is like trying to put a square peg into a round hole. It just cannot happen.

So…. Continue reading

Rules of my house.

IMG_0817Rules of my house.

1. If you see dirt, clean it up.
2. No number two. That’s it!

Living with two rescue dogs and a man, the house does not stay clean for long. In fact, blink and you could easily miss it completely. I always warn friends to wear dark glasses if they don’t want to adhere to my house rule.

Once upon a time I was fanatical about sweeping dog hairs up from the floor, mopping paw prints off the tiles or wiping finger prints off doors left behind by my lovely man who goes around blindfold. But…..age and life experiences have taught me a. Life is too short and b. There are more important things to do, such as living your life.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like my house to be clean but not to the extent that it cannot be left in a ‘state’ for a short period of time. Some time ago now I purchased my first Henry. My not so old Dyson had died and I was desperate. I immediately fell in love with Henry. Great suction, great attachments and a wonderful long electric cable. It simply makes my life easier with less hassles. Isn’t that what we all want. My second great purchase was my steam cleaner. My only gripe is the length of its cable. It is far too short. To overcome this problem I have added an extension. Not perfect but it does the job. Click on the pictures below and take a look.  I cannot recommend them more. Just brilliant.

All I need now is a cook, washer upper, dog groomer and walker, gardener and someone/thing to do the ironing. My life would be sorted.

I must add these items to my bucket list.