We do have some funny conversations at the local cafe! We decided to get a builder in to render the outside of the spare bedroom that sticks off out of the side of the cortijo – it’s just too big a job for us, and one that requires skills we don’t have. We’re also going to get them to put down a floor in the bodega (currently an earth floor) and render the walls in there so it becomes a useful storage room for food.
So we’re at the cafe, and ask our mate, Miguel, if he knows of a local builder. There then followed a group debate which included the cafe owner and several other people, and this went on for a good fifteen minutes, on the merits of using various different people! I think they rather enjoyed having something new to debate!
There’s one chap in the village who we don’t like very much – and it seems a lot of the locals don’t rate him much either – we’ve nicknamed him El Gordo (the fat one) – he turned to Rog one morning and called him a turkey because he wasn’t drinking beer at 9am – yea, just one of those people! Anyway, he chipped in that he has a builder in the family based down in Roquetas (about an hour away) – there’s not a hope in hell that we would go on his recommendation! We could feel ourselves getting ripped off just by him mentioning it! Luckily, everyone else shouted him down (literally), and the group decision was that we should go and see Emilio, who lives in the next village but was working on several houses in Illar at the time.
So Miguel Rog and I set off to try and find Emilio in one of the houses he was working in – we eventually found him working in a house belonging to an old lady. He said to give him 15 minutes and he’d meet us at the cafe and come and have a look. Meanwhile the old lady tried to sell us her 1 acre finca that is apparently next door to us! We excused ourselves politely …
Emilio had a look and a measure up and quoted us €1600 for the work – so we asked if that was his best price and whether he could reduce that for cash – apparently that was the cash price – we tried haggling but there was no wearing him down – he said he would have to hire a mechanical mule (baby tractor and trailer) to get the materials here, and it would take two men a week to do the work – the walls were in a terrible state and not straight! Fair enough .. can’t argue with that! One corner of the bodega was finished with earth as the clearly ran out of bricks when they built it!
Up until this point, Emilio had been very business like and in a bit of a hurry, but once the price was agreed out came the fags and a 30 minute chat! It seems to be like that here – get the business end of things done then there’s always time for a natter! I was amazed at how much we understood – it was a proper conversation without using our phones to translate anything!
So, work is due to start in November … I have a feeling it’s going to be quite an experience!