Getting ready for the BIG visit! Part 1 …

Mum and Dad weren’t overly happen when I told them we were moving to Spain, and of course, losing my sister last year compounded some of those feelings. There’s no one around the corner now to help them, and whilst I do have more time to sort stuff out for them from here, it’s the little jobs that they’re starting to need help with. I get Mum to write a list so when I go over I can work my way through to help where I can. Having FaceTime has made a huge difference – I speak to them every day – something I never had time for when we lived in the UK, and that makes up for a lot I think. I promised to go back to visit twice each year and have managed that so far with the exception of this year – just one, but longer visit, due to their being no flights until June!

Like many people, Mum struggled to comprehend why we would want to give this up to live in a tiny house with no electricity. It’s all about perception … many people perceived we had a lovely life back there … far from the reality!

Mums initial reaction three years ago was ‘well we’re never coming to visit you!’. Said in a state of upset of course… and we hoped that as the shock wore off that they would come around to the idea.

And that’s exactly what happened – 18 months after we moved here they announced they were coming to see us! They were due to visit us last March – but then my sister was diagnosed with cancer and the pandemic hit, so the trip couldn’t happen.

I didn’t want them to take unnecessary risks traveling this year, but now that rules have been relaxed and flights are back on they have rebooked to come for two weeks! Just a week to go now till they arrive!

We’re a little worried about how mum will cope here – she has macular degeneration and is registered blind, and has some mobility problems – we don’t have massively bright lights here at night, and there’s lots of steps and uneven ground. So I’ve done a deal with them – there is a little house in the village available for holiday rentals. If, after a few days here, Mum is struggling, then we’ll pop down and see the owner to rent it for the rest of their stay. They’ll only be 5 minutes down the road from us if we need to do that.

Mum, of course, grew up in rural Ireland where they lived properly off grid … no solar panels or wind turbines, no running water and no bathroom – I think she’ll be quite shocked (in a good way) at what off grid can look like these days!

Since booking their tickets two weeks ago, Rog and I have been a little more motivated to get some jobs finished!! For most people, they’ll have a clean and tidy before family visits … we’ve redecorated the house, bought a car they’ll be able to get into, and Rog has even built a ramp up to the house. These were all things we were planning to do (the ramp is to make it easier to get the wheelbarrow up to the other terraces), but over the last two weeks we’ve gone like the clappers to get it all done!

We personalized our new ramp with our handprints and a terrible drawing of a tree! This will hopefully make it a bit easier for mum going in and out, and longer term, easier when we need to get the wheelbarrow etc up to the second terrace!

I don’t usually subscribe to the ‘everything has to be perfect’ school of thought anymore – you could torment yourself trying to achieve that – nearly perfect is fine!! As long as the place is clean, tidy and has a comfy bed then that’s good enough usually. Bit different when it’s your Mum visiting though!! 😂😂 Generally these days we don’t worry about what other people think about how we choose to live – everyone is entitled to their opinion (but we don’t have to agree with it!) – but I really do want Mum and Dad to like it here!

Rogers Mum came to visit twice before she passed away. Like my Mum and Dad, she wasn’t overly impressed with our decision to move. The first time she came was literally a couple of weeks after we moved in – we only got our furniture here three days before they all arrived. We had no comfy chairs but we had found a rocking chair in the shed which we cleaned up for her! We pulled out all the stops to get everywhere clean and painted in time for her visit, but didn’t have things terribly well organised! When Ethel asked if I had a hairdryer she could use, all I could do was take her outside, stand her in the sun and tell her to wait there for five minutes!! The second time she came, six months later, we were better prepared – we at least had some solar panels and a working fridge if nothing else! There was still no hairdryer though! All during her visit, Ethel just kept saying ‘ooh you have got a lot of work to do here!’ – understatement of the year! I wish she could see it now …

When you make this kind of move, one of the things you have to consider of course is the family … it was the one thing that made making the decision very hard. We made sure we bought somewhere within an hour of an airport that had regular flights to both Birmingham and London all year round … there have been very few flights out of Almeria to the UK during the last 18 months, but things are slowly improving, and it is a comfort to know that if we need to, we can get to the UK quickly.

Mum and Dad are both really excited to finally see where we live, and I think when they see it they will really understand what we love about it here – well I hope so anyway! Seeing it on FaceTime just isn’t the same. I’ll report in after their visit with the verdict… !

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