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Olives and Almonds - American Edition by andrew johnson

Olives and Almonds - American Edition

by andrew johnson

147 pages
This is the story of the first year of a new house in Spain, is told in an amusing way and describes various near disasters as well as numerous local characters and tells their stories. The book deals light-heartedly with the story of this old farmhouse high in the hills of northeastern Andalucía and explains the challenges and frustrations of trying to get building work done in a different country, with a different legal system and very different culture. It is a good and humorous read containing 30 chapters, each of around 2,500 words – a total of 74,000 words and has been written in brief chapters with the traveler in mind.

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Category: Entertainment:Humor
About the Book
We spent the first night in our converted Spanish farmhouse on the Tuesday. We'd put in a good selection of furniture and were just waiting for the builder to arrange the finishing touches. You know the sort of thing - a gas supply so that we could heat the water; a few doors so that when my mother in law came to visit us she would not have to whistle in the bathroom.

We were also quite keen to get rid of the mountains of debris that seem to accumulate around building sites. And this builder wasn't planning to bury it in the back garden the way some British builders have. But then even if he'd wanted to he wouldn't have found it so easy to do as this house was built on the bedrock.

I had one of my usual "chats" with him the following morning - "How's the family?", "New car going well?", "The almond harvest is in full swing?", etc. for several minutes. Then "Anyway I shouldn't be taking up your time. But just before I go I wonder if you could tell me where our doors are?" "And the gas supply?" He was amazed that these jobs were not completed. And as for the piles of debris - it seems that he had been let down - and he promised action.

By five o'clock we had successfully put up various fittings and hung a selection of pieces of art. No workmen had arrived to finish off those minor tasks, and we realized that we had gone all day without food. I suppose when you weigh as much as I do that should be no great hardship. But I find that over the years I've become rather accustomed to eating two or three times a day. I imagine that this may help to explain how I come to be the size that I am! Added to the hunger we knew that we had to get various bits of hardware to fit a few remaining items to the walls, and Kathy was really rather keen to visit that lovely lighting shop in Vera.

So, true to form, instead of popping up the road to the village shop to get some emergency rations we drove the 40 minutes down the valley to Vera, one of several larger towns, and close to the coast. We found everything we were looking for quite easily, but it still took four hours to complete this little sortie.

Thus it was that we returned to our hillside farmhouse at 9 pm on that second evening to be greeted by the unexpected sight of lights blazing and doors flung wide. In England we live in a smallish Hampshire village, where the neighbors do a super job of keeping an eye on each other's properties. We really are very lucky there because we have the comfort of good caring neighbors without any of the nosiness and interference that often accompanies such interest. But even in the UK we take to heart what our neighborhood watch team tell us, and lock the house when we go out.

So here we were. Our house was obviously not in the state in which we had left it. At home this would mean one of two things - either our sons had thrown yet another unannounced party - or we had been burgled!

The truth is that at this very moment our sons probably were throwing one of those parties for which our house had apparently become so famed. I say apparently, because the sort of party that achieved this infamy had our absence as an absolute pre-requisite! Mike, our vicar, even winds me up by telling me how much he enjoys our parties, especially the ones that we don't attend. The neighbors, still concerned for our well being, welcome us home from our travels with stories of arrivals and departures in the small hours of the night and tell of the countless old cars, which populate our drive and every other hard surface around.



About the Author
andrew johnson Andrew Johnson is director of an international venture based in the Belgian capital, Brussels. He lives with his wife Kathy variously in the rich green idyll of rural Hampshire in England, in a city apartment in Brussels and in their converted farmhouse in the arid hill country of the Spanish sierras



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