Where do we go from here?

One piece of good news, the car went for it’s Revision Tecnico (MOT) and passed without a problem, I’m sure having had the service a few days before, and a set of new tyres a couple of months ago helped, if you see the state of some of the cars leaving with a pass, it does make you wonder!

The Presidential Elections are over

Unfortunately our preferred Candidate didn’t win, but not for the want of trying, now we have to see what a Marxist, former Terrorist brings to the Country, the fact that he won by such a small margin, may hopefully cause him to think twice before bringing in some of his more radical ideas, I know that Marcela is more worried than I am, but it pays to be sensible, and as a precaution, I am looking at options to set up an off-shore Bank Account, not to avoid any obligations, I will still declare any money there, but it would give us a buffer if the worst came to the worst, and we had to move.

Marcela’s Mum moved here just over a week ago, and other than the expected differences, that will be sorted in a month or two, things are going well, no one can expect people to just slot in immediately, we will all have to make some adjustments, I don’t see that being a problem, whether it will for the others, is something they will have to decide.

We still haven’t resolved anything with Jaime, he keeps promising to pay, but nothing transpires, I think we have reconciled ourselves to not receiving a peso, as a result he leaves us with no option but to start legal proceedings, we have been told, that once started they can’t be stopped, and if found in our favour, he risks the possibility of between two and three years in prison, which is sad, when we have given him so many opportunities to sort this out. Likewise, we have told his wife, that I can no longer send packages to their house, because once proceedings are started, there is no guaratee my packages wont go missing, it is a shame, because it did give her some pocket money, as I paid per package.

Our neighbour has family living in town, which is nearer, and they were prepared to accept any packets without payment, not that I am sure they had a clue how many I have. However since then, we have found that the worst Postal Service I have ever come across, has an Office in town, and having spoken with the Girl running it, for a small fee, they will provide a PO Box, and accept parcels of any size, from any Courier, so we are going to give them a whirl, and see what happens.

As a result of the problems with Jaime, I made the decision that we couldn’t keep putting of finishing the balcony, therefore we have been in touch with Pacho who did the roof repair, and he says he will install the doors for us, which will mean removing a window, and cutting the window opening down to the floor. Likewise we have been in touch with Juan the Carpinter who made the house doors and the kitchen units, he has been out, we changed the design, to cut costs, and we are awaiting a quotation

Medical appointments have ground to a halt, not because everything is fine, but because despite Marcela phoning daily, we are told there are no appointments, for my hip, or for my skin cancer, we were lucky to be able to get an orthopaedic appointment for my knees next week, just for the new Specialist to review the x-rays, other than that, everything is on hold. We don’t know why, it could be holidays, or maybe with the threat of disbanding the Health Service when the new President takes Office in August, many are leaving, going into Private Practise, or moving to another country for a better life, who can blame them, but it doesn’t help me.

We keep an eye on the weather back in the UK, and recently, it has been far better than here, where it feels more like winter, has th3e climate changed permanently? who knows, but except for two or three hours sun a day, we are shrivelling up in the rain! On that note, I’ve been called for lunch, so bye for now.

No Gain without Pain

I think I am probably radioactive, I’ve had so many X-rays recently, the Radiologist started putting protective coverings on me, she said she was concerned for my health, having recently also had X-rays on my hip! I’ve now had the X-rays on my spine for the Internista, which I don’t think found anything untoward, and also on my knees for the Orthopaedic Specialist, from the report on the latter, I think they were looking at my knees for the problem with my spine, however we’ll wait and see what the respective Specialists have to say.

After the X-rays we went on shopping, and it was time to treat Pepe to a new bed, as Tito has pinched Pepe’s last bed, having pulled his own to bits, because of his hip problem I decided that soft and fluffy was the way to go.

Pepe loves it, so does Tito, but this time, I have made sure Pepe’s bed does not go under ours, and when Tito moves in, I move him out, we are now at the stage, that I don’t have to say a word, I just give Tito the evil eye, and he slinks off to his own bed!

Today, I am taking things easy, because I have spent two days chopping down and thinning out the Platano (cooking bananas) and banana plants, and to put it bluntly, I’m knackered!

They are not classed as trees, because the trunks are not wood, they are fibrous, and full of water, however that water is very sticky, and not my favourite plant to work with.

Because of the liquid the trunks are very heavy, and although they are easy enough to chop down, you have to watch they don’t fall on you. I was lucky this time, I didn’t slice myself open with the machete, which happened last time, when it slipped out of my hand.

I have been doing some research into looking after these plants, because honestly I knew nothing. Once cut down I then had to chop the trunks up into slices and cut the leaves so they were shredded, then pile them around the remaining Plants, and other fruit trees, because there is so much goodness in them, it should not be wasted.

As you can see in the left small photo above, I still have a number of trunks to slice up, but they can wait until next week, and I will continue down towards the Abyss, I have probably finished caring for 50% of the total crop. Now maybe the fruit will all grow fully without the rest of the plants taking the goodness.

This morning I washed the car, because tomorrow, it has to go for it’s Revision Tecnico (MOT), it’s actually due next month, but as we are on holiday then, I want to get it done, we had the car serviced last week, so hopefully it will pass without any problem. We have now worked out that if Marcela takes the car, they are less likely to find anything wrong compared to a Foreigner walking into the Testing Station!

We have been warned by Neighbours, that there are Criminals working this area, apparently they were disturbed in a Finca about 500m from us, last week-end. Fortunately the Occupants were home, saying that, they were lucky the thieves ran, and were not armed.
We are as safe as we can be with the razor wire all around the property, security cameras, and the alarm system. Whilst we are away next month, we have family staying with the Mother-in-law, so we have taken every precaution.

I have talked in the past about, being an Expat, and being prepared for fluctuations in the exchange rate, well it has hit, and hopefully my preparations for such an eventuality will protect us. Last month my income dropped 10%, and as of today, with the inflation problems in the UK, combined with the dollar to peso conversion problem with the Colombian Presidential Election this Sunday, my income if I were to transfer today, would have dropped another 10%, a total of 20% in two to three months is a big difference in income, fortunately I budgeted for this during the good times, it just depends how long this will go on. Being an Expat isn’t all roses!

Work on the balcony should restart after we return from holiday, Marcela has spoken with Pacho, who repaired our roof, and he will do the installation of the door, she has also spoken with the Carpenter, and he is coming Saturday, to measure up, as we have changed the design and size of the door. No we still haven’t had any cash from Jaime, he is working away this week, but has promised a payment on Friday, we are not holding our breath, it’s his last chance, before we go to start prceedings. However I decided we can’t leave this half finished indefinitely, there is no point in having a balcony we cant access without ladders! So money or not, we are going to have to bite the bullet and get the job done.

That I think brings me up to date, so take care, and catch up with you soon.

Disappointing!

On Friday we went over to El Santuario to pick up some parcels from Miriam, as we walked into the road, who should be there chatting with a group of men but Jaime, who came over and greeted us as if we were long lost Buddies. Marcela made it plain we were far from that, and asked him if he was paying up this weekend, he assured us that he was, and Marcela asked him to leave the money with his Wife, and we would collect it with the next parcel collection, he said he would. As of last night, no money has been left for us!

If Jaime doesn’t come up with the good by tonight, we are starting the legal process of declaring him a thief, it’s a big step to take, especially as we looked on him as a friend, but he has left us no option, he obviously thinks we will just forget it, he doesn’t know us as well as he thinks he does. However it will mean saying goodbye to our cash, because even if we got it, it would be years down the line. Saying that, I think, I had already accepted we were not going to see the money again.

On the medical side, I went for the Tomography, and was told I could access the results this Tuesday online, out of curiosity I checked today, and they were there, the report states they could find nothing abnormal, which is great, but doesn’t explain my vertigo, the X-rays on my spine are tomorrow, then I’ll have a better idea if the pain between my shoulder blades is indeed muscular, if it is, I will have to look for a private Therapist for some massage treatment.

Yesterday, we went over to Bello, collected Maria Elena, my Mother-in-law. and settled her into the Cabaña/apartment, which is now her permanent home, we still have to sort out the house, and have a bit of work done on it, then it will be put into the hands of a Rental Agency, we have already had several approaches to rent the house, but I am determined, that I am not having anything to do with maintaining it, as Marcela does not want to sell, then an Agency is the only other option. Now we have to start the process to get it ready, such as opening a dedicated Bank Account, changing the Public Service bills into Marcela´s name, and a few other things, hopefully we can get that out of the way this week, and the house should be ready for August.

Back on the Medical Trail

I seem to be going in circles, a couple of weeks ago, I went to see an Internista (not sure what we call them in the UK), he was a lovely Doctor, he had done his training in Argentina, albeit he is from Cartagena. I went to see him because, I couldnt get an appointment with my Family Doc, thats another story! I ‘injured’ myself about eighteen month ago when building the Bunkbeds, I was trying to move it on my own, and felt a ‘twang’ in between my shoulderblades, I saw my Doc at the time, because my Vertigo started shortly after, he thought it was muscular, I tended to agree with him, and we left it, but the pain kept returning intermittently, and recently it has been almost permanent.

The Doc, still thinks it may be muscular, but wants to rule out anything more serious, so now I have orders to go for X-rays on the top of my spine, and a tomography, the latter I am going for on Thursday.

Last week, I went back to see the Orthopaedic Surgeon who has been instrumental in sorting out my hip, he had told me to come back when that was sorted, to review my knees.
I told him, about my latest encounter with one of his Colleagues, who may have damaged my hip, so he did an examination, and decided, there is no permanent damage, but it has set me back a while, as there is inflammation and muscle damage, so recommended I restart some of the Therapy exercises again. As for the knees, he is sending me for Xrays on both, to see the current situation, he also told me that I need to slow down, take longer to do my jobs, with plenty of rest periods, easier said than done, but then came the bad news.

That day, was his last, he is moving on, having become disillusioned with the Medical Company, he is going Private, but doing some Health Service work, from another location, I can’t say I blame him, his new location isn’t too far away, so if I don’t get on with his replacement, we will try to see him again.

Back home, I have been slowed down by the hip setback, but I’m not letting it stop me, Jaime has continued to be elusive, so there is no progress with the balcony. He has failed to answer messages from Marcela or myself, and unsurprisingly, no sign of any cash.

A couple of days ago, I gave him one final opportunity to sort it out, by accepting to pay me fixed installments over three months, and the final bit, I would forget, again nothing. Today, Marcela sent him a final message, to say, regretfully, we were going to the Authorities to denounce him, shortly afterwards he rang. He stated he was accepting my staged payment terms, and will make the first payment this weekend, it was made clear that if he doesn’t we will not stand for any further delay, and will reluctantly report him. He hasn’t got a leg to stand on, as he signed for all the money we gave him. Now we wait and see.

After Pacho’s work, repairing our roof, we have had plenty of tests, with all the storms, and so far (I don’t believe in tempting fate!) nothing has come into the house from above. However there is one final spot, where rain did enter, depending on the direction of the rain, and that was the side window to the Dining room, the old window frames here are poorly designed, due to the wind, they are sliding windows, when it rains, the track fills up, and it overflows into the house, there is no way to resolve that, because the frame is made out of hollow square bar, so I can’t just drill a hole to let the water out.

My remedy is to put a canopy over the windows hoping to deflect the rain away, When Oscar’s Team were here building the balcony, they kindly welded a canopy together for me, and I was waiting for someone to come to finish the balcony, and ask them if they would errect it for me, but that isn’t going to happen any time soon, so I had to find a way of doing it myself.

It took a while to work out how the installation could be done, but in the end I came up with the answer, it was still not something I was looking forward to, as those of you who know me, will be aware, I don’t like heights, it’s a family thing, none of us do/did!

However before I could start the installation, I decided that the frame was too big, it stuck out way too far, I have never done any serious welding, but I want to be able to do minor repairs, so recently I had bought a 110v MIG welder, I have a TIG welder, but just couldn’t get the hang of it, now it was time to put that to the test!
I cut the frame to size, and ‘welded’ the cut front bar back in place, I am being kind to myself describing it as welding, but it stuck, and I filled the missed bits with welding filler, which once dry, I ground flat, painted, and twenty foot up in the air, no one will know any difference.

I cut a piece of 2 x 3, and screwed a scrap to make a hook, and screwed that to the wall

I then took the frame up, placed it on the wood, the improvised hook, stopping it from falling. Once I had centered it, I marked the bolt holes, and removed the frame. I drilled the marked position for the holes, and then attached the polycarbonate to the frame.
Yes, if you noticed, you are right, I have the ladder foot balanced on two bits of wood, not exactly Health and Safety, but it levelled of the work area!

It was time for the final installation, and I am pleased with the visual effect.

Believe it or not, the hardest part was taking down the wood support, because of the incline of the polycarbonate, I couldn’t get a drill, or even my stubby screwdriver in to remove the screws, for a while, I thought it would have to be a permanent fixture, but then I had a ‘Sale brainwave’.

I found a small bolt socket, that would take one of the rackets screwdriver heads, and using my racket spanner. I was able to get the screws out… Job finished!

As if someone upstairs, knew I wanted to test the new canopy, we had another storm last night sending rain in that direction, the canopy did it’s job!

After a few days of sun, today is back to freezing, winter is back…OK maybe not freezing, but it feels it to us, it’s about 14°C.

More Delays

Marcela contacted our Carpenter at the week-end, because we were told that the Balcony doors would be ready, however it turns out that he hasn’t even bought the materials, because Jaime didn’t pay him the deposit, which came as no surprise, considering the fairytales we have been told so far.

Everything is now on hold, until we get a refund from Jaime, of all outstanding monies, I have been in contact with him, he was not responding to any of Marcela’s messages, until I threatened to go and denounce him to the Authorities, now he has said he will have the money for next week.

It was all so unnecessary, if only he had done the work he agreed to, such a shame, because he WAS a good friend, and a hard worker, now we will have to put our trust in others. Will we be able to use the balcony before Summer is over, I somehow doubt it, but it will get done, one day!

Last Tuesday, I went for my second Vertigo appointment, with the exercises Yessika had given me, I have had no further episodes, so she has ‘discharged’ and I just hope it stays that way, obviously taking quick action, saved me from it developing like last year.

Yesterday, I got stuck in gardening, I started on cutting the flowering plants on the security fencing, but rain stopped play, I wont entertain climbing ladders in the wet, but then it stopped, so I decided to move on to pruning all the trees in the upper garden, and I mean all

The three avocado trees we have at the bottom of the garden, were so high, I had to use the ladder and my battery powered chain saw, but I got them all done, then after lunch, Marcela helped me take all the trimmings down to the fire in the orchard, I will burn them, when they have dried out a bit. I had to stop after a while, I think I was probably dehydrated, I felt faint and had to sit and rest… either that, or I’m just getting too old for this lark! To be honest, I am just not used to so much manual labour, I should have done it bit by bit. However it’s looking much better now.

Yesterday morning, the Engineers from Tigo arrived to install the 200Mb internet and landline phone line, but after a while discovered that the line outside the house is still dead,  and we were allocated to another box, they had no idea where it was, but not close to us, having told us that it could be another six weeks before we get this service, they left, without the installation. Very disappointing, for now we continue with 6Mb, such a difference!

Getting there!

It’s been a hectic week, last Monday, Marcela was able to get me a private appointment with the Vertigo Therapist I saw last year, for the following day, and also because there seem to be no appointments to see the Family Doctor, we by-passed him, and managed to get an appointment to see an Internist, that will be next Saturday, hopefully he can establish what is causing the pain between my shoulder blades, and if there is a connection between that and the vertigo. Later on it was confirmed that Pacho, Jorges brother, would be coming Tuesday, to refelt our roof, fortunately we already had the materials.

Tuesday came, and so did Pacho, along with a Labourer, and they wasted no time starting to strip the roof.

I left Marcela to supervise, and I went off for my vertigo appointment. In one way, that was disappointing, because try as she might, Yessika, could not induce the vertigo, on the other hand maybe it was a good sign, any way she gave me a series of exercises, and sent me on my way, with an appointment to return in a weeks time, which she said, if the exercises work, may be the last I need.

Back home, I was not amused to find that they were stripping the whole roof on day one, instead of doing it in three sections, as we had thought, they knew as well as we did, that every afternoon the rain arrived, and it rained most of the night, but he assured me that the old felt was watertight, we already knew it wasn’t!

Thankfully, I woke at 3am, as the storm arrived, and started checking the house, only to find rain coming in, in the kitchen, and in the guest bedroom, above the bunkbed, if I hadn’t got up, the mattress would have been soaked. As it was I had to wake Marcela to help place plastic bags and towells. We couldn’t get out to retrieve the buckets, because with no tiles, the rain was falling between the roof and the gutter, like a waterfall, we were trapped!

By morning the rain had stopped, and when Pacho arrived, looking somewhat sheepish, I let it be known, that I wasn’t happy.

The work took a while longer that anticipated, in the end it took four full days, and I had to go and buy more roofing tiles, which I knew would happen, as I had said I wanted all damaged tiles replaced, thank goodness we have the Toyota Prado, I was able to load them all in the back, it probably didn’t do much for the suspension, but it’s a good workhorse.

Hopefully, now we have a fully waterproof roof, and our worries are in the past. I’ve seen all the felt in situ, so know it is in complete strips and not patchwork. The end product was good workmanship, just a shame about the first glitch.

Yesterday, we spent cleaning, mopping, and moving everything to ensure dropped cement, cement dust and anything else was cleaned up, so nothing was damaged.

Today, is a glorious day, it almost feels like summer, I’m not counting my chickens, just yet!

I decided that I wanted to cut the grass, it’s the first time I have been able to do the work myself, since before my surgery in January, and it felt good. I am starting to get control over my own life again!

I think that just about brings me up to date, and since I’ve been called for lunch, that seems as good a place as any to call it a day.

The Good and the Bad!

It’s been a busy week, with more Medical appointments along the way.

On a bright note, my knee is now pain free, which is great, on a more worrying note, the pain in my hip, following the rough treatment by the knee Doc, continues, it certainly isn’t as bad as before the surgery, but the hip was pain free, prior to the knee nerve block, now I would score it as a permanent 3/10, I can live with it if I have to, but I rather not.

I had my pelvis X-rays yesterday, ready for my next hip revision in August (hopefully), it looks as if the metal pin in my hip has shifted, but it could just be the angle of the x-ray, I won’t worry about it until the Experts have evaluated it. Yes… You are given all your test results to lug around between Doctors, because their computer systems don’t speak to each other!

I have been trying to get an appointment to see my ‘family’ Doctor, in January 2021, I went to see him because I was suffering with vertigo, but at the same time consulted him regarding a seering pain I had between my shoulder blades, this came on after I tried to move my nearly built Bunkbeds on my own, we both came to the conclusion it was probably muscular and would resolve itself, which it seemed to do, with the odd flare up.

However, recently the pain between the shoulder blades has been excruciating, like a knife being thrust into my back, and then the last couple of days, I have been having minor episodes of vertigo again, you can’t help wondering if there is a connection, But every time Marcela phones, they say, no appointments available, I think that, because I pay extra for a rapid service, a complaint will be on the cards shortly.

On a brighter note, I have finished the installation of the balcony decking, I say installation, because I still have to clean it all off and varnish it, that again will take time, I am just contemplating whether to go ahead with that now, or wait until Jaime has taken out the window, and installed the door, in case damage is caused, and it could be, however carefully I cover it all up with sheets of MDF, and dust covers, at least then I could sand it down, and re-burn it… Yes, I think, I have just answered my own question, thanks for your help ha! ha!

Anyway, here are a series of photos of the installation:

I am pleased with how it’s turned out, although I say it myself, I was able to pull the warped boards straight with trailer straps, the biggest cost was in drill and screwdriver bits, attaching the deck to the metal frame, 50 boards, 8 screws per board, 400 screws, but it was worth it, although I’m not sure my knees would agree.

Today, I’m changing the bathroom door handles, the Carpenter who fitted them, used privacy lock handles with push button locks, which because the bath/shower rooms are only small, keep hitting on the wall, and self locking, so you are desparate for the loo, and can’t get in! yesterday I bought twist button locks, I looked this morning and the existing holes in the door need a very minor alteration, and the new ones will fit, but I’ll wait until Marcela has woken up before getting the drill out!

I’m not Sorry!

I came on to the site, and saw the last date of Posting, and immediately went to apologise…Again!!! and thought, no I’m fed up of apologising, it’s just been a hectic three weeks, with computer problems as well, I’m afraid the Blog took second place.

Firstly the Balcony, Oscar and his crew took a break over Easter returning the week after to finish erecting the frame and roof to the Balcony.

We were really happy with the work, and made sure Oscar was paid. Jaime appeared, and arranged to come back with someone else, to redirect the guttering, in the mean time we had no option but for the gutter water to run straight down the balcony roof, and hope it didnt back up to the house wall.

Two days later, Jaime came back, and we cornered him, we wanted to know exactly where we stand with him, and as a result it turns out that he has committed himself to one Client, and when he calls, Jaime runs, but he has said he will complete the balcony, his part is to open up the house wall, insert the new doors and make good afterwards, we are hesitant, because if he disappears mid job we are stuck, a hole into the house, and we cant go any where, but I think we have decided that we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, and just hope he doesn’t leave us in the lurch.

I have already decided that we are not relying on Jaime to re-felt the roof, that is just one step too far, and we have already contracted someone else to do that, when the weather is better, he has worked for us before, and is reliable…or he was!

The other job Jaime was supposed to be doing was laying the wooden decking on the balcony, but I decided I just didn’t trust him, so once all the wood was burned, in the same method as when I built the bunkbeds

It was then time to start installation,

After three mornings, I am half way, then medical necessities took over!

Last Thursday I had a double skin cancer biopsy, so that screwed the day up, as the appointment was late morning, then we had to take the sample over to the Laboratory on the other side of town, before going for a late lunch.

Marcela then received a call stating my Nerve block into the Knee joint would be 11am on Friday, that meant resting up for a week afterwards…

Marcela was due for an appoinment of her own at 1.30pm in the same Clinic, so it was working out well, until late Thursday the Clinic rang and changed Marcela’s appointment to 7am, normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but I couldn’t eat or drink anything until after my injection, so as we had to be up at 4am, it was going to be a long time until ‘breakfast’.

However, when we arrived at the Clinic, Marcela explained the issue, and they said they would see what they could do. Marcela went in for her appointment on time, and came out fifteen minutes later, immediately there was a call for me, and they said I was the only one to have arrived, so I was first up.

I went through, was prepped, and then as usual waited on a trolley, in the cold, for over an hour, at least they had bought some warmer blankets. I was then taken through to a new area for me, obviously they had learned that a minor process, didn’t need a full operating theatre, the Doctor arrived, I informed him that I had had the hip surgery and had a relatively new prosthesis, he went ahead, starting to inject in my upper leg, I stopped him, as I thought it was only into the knee joint, but he said he was doing both, and did the first injection.

He then told one of the male Nurses to flex my knee for the second, nothing gentle about it, the pain in my hip nearly made me cry. Then all was finished, and 9.15am I walked into the canteen for breakfast.

My worry now is the pain in my hip, is it temporary, or has he done permaent damage to what was a successful operation? with no hip pain in recent weeks, only time will tell.

Yesterday, we were invited to the Neighbour’s for lunch, they had invited the Mayor and his entourage, to be honest I wasn’t keen, but Marcela wanted to go, so we went, had our lunch, and waited, and waited, eventually the Mayor arrived, so we hung on for a chat, and then the skies started going black, so I came home, when the booze came out, the dogs were glad to see me, they could see us, but not being able to be with us was driving them nuts.

Shortly after I came home, the rain started, Marcela appeared, and then the heavens opened, I don’t think I have ever seen so much rain, and it wasn’t long before it was coming through the roof and through the window frames as well, we had four buckets as well as towels and the mop, it was horizontal, the roof might as well not have been on the balcony, all the timbers, those laid, and the pile waiting, were all soaked, I had to rescue my tool bag by hooking it with my walking stick, fishing out the elctric drill, and then tying the bag with the other tools onto the security window bars, with one of Marcela’s belts.

This morning we were up at 5.30am, because Marcela was going to her Mother’s for Mother’s Day, and coming back tomorrow, after the storms, we had no internet of cellphone signal, so I could see it being an interesting time ahead. I had promised I wouldn’t work up on the balcony whilst here alone, so decided that hedge trimming was OK, the sun was coming out, and I quite enjoyed it

Marcela wasn’t too happy when she saw another photo with the ladder in it, but as I said, I was only on the second rung.

8.30am the internet came back, so when I had finished, I packed up and headed into the Office. I mentioned, computer problems, well my ‘old’ desktop is five years old, which everyone tells me is ancient, despite it still having current sounding hardware, the versions were early and it was slowing down to the point that I was typing faster than it was appearing on the screen, which is slow!

I bought a new computer, but when it arrived, it wasn’t the one I had ordered so it went back, the latest one arrived this week, so I now have to get everything I need up and running. I emphasise, software I need, not the never ending additions I kept buying previously. So with two hard drives, a 250GB SSD for the Operating System and Program files, and a 1TB HDD for storage, I am hoping this one will last.

That I think, brings me up to date, hopefully I wont be so long before before posting again, in the mean time, stay safe!

Semana Santa / Easter

I think stressful is the current appropriate term to describe life here! We discovered a couple of weeks ago that to all intents and purposes Jaime has gone AWOL, apparently he has personal problems due to an addiction, it came as a big surprise to us.

He had worked his socks off for us when we moved in, as those of you who have been following the Blog will know. We never had any cause to criticise his work, any problems were resolved immediately, and I was of the opinion that he and his family had become good friends. However having talked to those closer to him, it appears that in the past year he has developed a problem (not drugs), which is effecting both work and family life, on the few occasions we have seen him, he never showed any signs, but I know from experience that it can be hidden for short spells, and he did a good job of it.

Unfortunately this is effecting the work on our balcony, he hasn’t been to supervise or consult, and I have had to take over that work, but he still has a wad of our cash, which we handed over for materials, part being for an oak doors from the house to the balcony, we don’t even know if work on fabricating the door has started, or if the Carpinter even exists, because Jaime is doing his best to avoid us.

The timber for the deck and roof arrived earlier this week, and it’s atrocious quality, the deck boards I can rescue, we waited six weeks supposedly for the Company to dry the timber, it arrived soaking wet, when we contacted the Supplier they said it was preservative, that doesn’t alter the fact that it’s still wet.

I have decided that I am going to burn the deck boards, like I did for the bunkbeds, that way they will last longer, and save me having to sand each board, because they are rough, and you wouldn’t be able to walk out onto the deck as they are, without getting a foot full of splinters.

The timber bought to screw to the deck roof under the polycarbonate, for shade, are already twisted and split, and I don’t think there would be enough to fit to provide shade, if not, I will put them in my wood pile for other projects and buy a ‘Shade Sail’ like the one we have out on the patio. To say I am disappointed is an understatement.

Oscar and his team were here again last Saturday and Sunday, more welding, I think my electric bill is going to go through the roof! Most of the parts are now ready for assembly, hopefully tomorrow, whether they will finish their part I have no idea, we’ll see. They can only work Saturday, because Sunday, we are going to take my Mother-in-law home, and my Father-in-law to catch his bus back home to Caucasia.

Oscar is worried about getting paid, as he is contracted to Jaime, so I have said as I haven’t paid Jaime for any labour yet, if there is a problem I will pay him out of those funds. We are also worried, because we still need a door from the house to the balcony, it’s going in an existing window opening, that needs enlarging, but the thought of the wall being cut open, and then leaving us with an unsupported, insecure opening fills us with dread, I might have to look for another Contractor. I am already cutting the amount I am going to pay, because I am doing the deck work, and will also have to re-route the gutter pipes, because the balcony roof it blocking the original route, Jaime countermanded my instructions to the Welding Team on the matter, I didn’t find out until it was too late.

One good thing from last week-end, the Welders, gave me a hand, and lifted the concrete top back onto my Water filter housing, so thats done and completed

Now the filters will be easy to change, I don’t know why I didn’t take the time to do it right initially!

About a week ago, Marcela was walking the dogs, and came across a Team from one of the main Phone Companies putting up cables down our road…finally… at last, we will be able to have a landline phone, and decent internet, we have already signed up, the whole package also includes TV, but we are not interested in that. The thought of having 100Mb internet insteade of 6Mb is quite exciting, little things please little minds. It will be about another three weeks before the system is ready to connect us, in the mean time, we continue, as is!

Monday, I have an appointment with the Pain Specialist, hopefully she can come up with a solution even if temporary for my knee, so realistically other than tomorrow, if the weather allows, no more work here until Tuesday!

Ups and Downs…Again!

It’s been a weird couple of weeks, I went to see my Orthopaedic Surgeon , and she was happy with the progress I have made with my new hip, as we had been instructed by my Health Service Provider, we asked her if she would make a decision on my right knee, but as she explained she only had my last MRI to go on, and that was from last May, going off that, she stated that the knee wasn’t yet ready for surgery, but she would refer me back to the original Orthopaedic Surgeon, with a view, to probably having an injection directly into the knee joint. I freely admit, I came away utterly deflated, having thought everything would be resolved by year end.

Back home we immediately started the process to see Dr.Sanin, and received an appointment for June 2nd, which didn’t seem too far off at the time, but the following day, March 31st, my knee ruptured, I thought someone had driven a knife into it, fortunately I was in the bedroom at the time, and Marcela was nearby, between, TENS, icepacks, and heat, the pain subsided, but I couldn’t put any weight on my right knee, as a resulkt the zimmer frame had to come out of storage prematurely.

It was like going back to square one, all work stopped, and even when the pain subsided, and I was able to limp around, I had to do so with a stick, as I had no confidence in the knee, which has given way three or four times since. Marcela is trying to get me either an earlier appointment, or a cancellation, we’ll just have to see what happens.

Jaime made contact and last Saturday, his brother-in-law Oscar came with his men, and started cutting and welding the metalwork to start the balcony.

They then came back and worked a full day on Sunday, which wasn’t ideal as it was Marcela’s Birthday, and we were going out to lunch with her family, fortunately they were coming to Marinilla, and then back to the house, so we weren’t away long

The meal was lovely, and the Birthday Girl says she had a great day!

The workmen also got a lot done, the base is tacked together

They have also tacked together, what will be the roof frame, and are coming back next Saturday to hopefully finish the welding work.

My Mother-in-law stayed on after the Birthday Bash, and will be here until after Semana Santa / Easter, she is good company, especially for Marcela.

I decided that as a result of my knee problems, it was time to change the Water Filter housing

It was just too close to the ground, I had to kneel to remove the filters, and worse still, lie down to get them back on again. So I bought some matching blocks, removed the concrete top, along with the bits of block that made up the top layer, I then cut the new blocks to make up another three courses, and two days ago, built up the wall, leaving it to dry out naturally.

This morning, I bit the bullet, turned off the water, cut the pipes either side of the system, and raised it, inserting new pipe into the cut sections…So far so good, no leaks!

Now I can change the filters standing up, the only thing I haven’t been able to do, is lift the concrete lid back on, I will ask Jaime and one of the Welding Team when they come at the week-end, if they could give me a hand!

Day by day, my knee, is allowing me to do a little more, I am hoping that next week, if it doesn’t give way again, I will be able to start using my Brushcutter again, if not, I’ll have to ask Marcela’s business associate, if he can do it for me, paid of course, nothing is for free over here.

That just about brings me back up to date…I think!