I’m a Guinea Pig!

You might think I have gone nuts… You might be right, more later!

The problem with our internet has been resolved, the problem wasn’t with the Provider it was with my cellphone, for years now I have been a Xiaomi supporter, and between Marcela and myself, I think we have had every model of Xiaomi Redmi Note Pro until version 10, that was what was causing all the problems, I had problems with version 9, therefore bought 10, neither lasted a year, it was becoming costly, so no more. I still rightly or wrongly believe in Xiaomi, but I’m not buying anymore Redmi Notes, Marcela’s last phone was a POCO X3 Pro, so I bought the X4 Pro, so far so good!

I have also had to upgrade our Mesh Internet system, the old one, which we had only had about four months was 2.4G this system runs on 5G, so now I have installed a TP-Link Deco system, and the coverage is great.

Telephones is another upgrade, the internet package includes landline telephone, something we haven’t had since coming here, I bought the phones from Amazon, and they arrived Friday, and now they are up and running, we are beginning to feel human again…almost!

I had a dental appointment late July, to repair two broken teeth, one broke in November 2021, and they repaired it, only for the repair to drop off in January 2022, but as there was no pain, I decided to run with it, then at some point whilst we were on holiday another fractured on the other side of my mouth, again no pain, however decided to have it checked out.

The Dentist was formal, but efficient, and repaired both, however four hours later, despite having had soup for lunch, one of the repairs was in my hand!

I can’t be bothered going back, but I might go to another dentist and get a private quote, I cant afford to lose many more, otherwise I’ll be living on soup and scrambled eggs

I returned to the Internista to see if he had any more ideas, regarding the pain between my shoulder blades, the x-rays came up a blank. He has now referred me to an Orthopaedic Trauma Specialist , a Physiatrist, and for blood tests, I am now waiting to see if the Health Care Provider will pay for all the appointments, and issue the orders, it seems a bit overkill to me, but I cant fault him for covering all bases.

Then finally on the Medical field, I went for the Nerve Block in my gluteal hip muscles last week, having asked for another Surgeon, as I wasn’t letting the other anywhere near me, and this one was lovely, I was given the option to be put out, but declined, and then wished I had, but the pain was only for microseconds at a time, as she injected in four locations, without removing the needle, it was worth the pain, because three days later, and I am virtually Pain free for the first time in years, long may it last, and I know its only a temporary fix, so I will just keep my fingers crossed.

This morning, I started by trimming the hedge, and then had my first garden fire in more than a year, the previous neighbours were Townies, and moaned like hell every time I had a fire, not my fault, the owner built the house about thirty feet from my fire pit, I certainly wasn’t moving it, but said I would have fires when they were out, the trouble with that idea was, that when it was sunny and dry, they sat out, and when it rained, they went out! I was gaining a number of garden rubbish piles waiting for the flames, and today was that day, the new Renter, lives in Medellin, she only comes when she wants to roll in the hay with whoever, then disappears again, she’s no spring chicken, and no looker, so good luck to her!

Whilst the fire was smouldering away, I worked on cleaning out the drainage ditch from our grey water tank, to the trees down the slope, I’ve probably cleaned about half, and weather allowing, will get the rest done this week.

At least now, everyone can see the ditch again, so not fall and break an ankle!

This week, sees the return of my Mother in law, Maria Elena, she has been back at the house in Bello, selling off all the furniture, ready for her permanent move here on Thursday, and the Renters will then move in to our house there, we’ve put the business in Marcela’s name, she then has her independence, without having to worry, as an Agency have all the headaches, which hopefully wont be many, as the family were already known to Marcela and her Mother. Last week, I did some painting and titivating in the apartment / cabaña, ready for her return, now I just have one more project in the cabaña, and that is to build a custom wardrobe / dressing table unit, I will be starting on that soon.

We heard from the Carpenter last week, and the balcony doors are nearing completion, or so he says, therefore Marcela had a word with Pacho, who repaired our roof, and he will organise a date as soon as the doors are ready, I might finally be able to use the balcony soon, without having to climb ladders from the outside! albeit, the wood floor still has to be varnished, but I don’t want to do that, whilst there is a chance of it being damaged, during the door installation.

Our new President Elect Gustavo Petro, takes Office tomorrow, we wait to see what he has in store, he announced some of his Ministers, the first ones were non contraversial, but his latest offering has people worried, Communists and Marxists, like himself, it has come as no surprise, but they are an unknown quantity, so we wait to see what they are going to lumber us with.

Petro himself didn’t get off to a good start, he organised a meeting with 800 of the Countries Mayors last week, for early morning in Bogota, he failed to turn up, after the outpouring of anger, he re-arranged it for the afternoon, again failing to turn up it was reported he was ill. The following day, he was filmed and photographed in a beautiful location of Colombia looking the picture of health, having been flown there in Police helicopter, wearing the Presidential Sash, which is isn’t entitled to wear until tomorrow…arrogance and disrespect, springs to mind!

That brings me back up to date, and unless I suddenly have another string of medical appointments.

Back to Work!

Yes, I know, you haven’t noticed any difference, but this time I have an excuse, on July 8th we went on Holiday to Cartagena de Indias, for ten days, I didn’t mention it before we went, for security reasons, we left my Mother-in-law on her own, caring for the house and dogs, and there are a few people that might have taken advantage of that.

Did we enjoy our holiday? I have to say, I was disappointed with Cartagena, we flew from Medellin, it was just under an hour, and then took a taxi to a Studio Apartment we rented in a Tower called “El Nuevo Conquistador”, in El Laguito, which was a taxi ride out from the center, and that was our first mistake, we should have done as in the past, and booked into a Hotel.

The apartment itself was nicely decorated

Unfortunately, despite the Owner’s assurance the glass windows and doors were only tempered glass, not anti-noise, and for four nights of our stay, I hardly slept a wink. To add to that she had the mattress covered with a plastic protector, nights were like a sauna, I ended up having to put towels on the bed to give some protection from the plastic. The building was that old, it needs a lot of money spending on the structure, there were 24 floors and over 400 apartments, with four decrepit lifts to service everyone, not good, cockroaches were regular visitors! Saying that the Staff who worked in the building were very friendly, and helpful when needed.

The closest beach was only over the road

It wasn’t crowded unlike the main beaches, and for $20000 a day, you had shade and two chairs. Just lying on the beach on your towel wasn’t an option, as it was crawling in ants. But for them parking two Commercial ships offshore on one day, and two warships on another, which wasn’t the best tourist view, I actually enjoyed the beach more than I thought I would.

Marcela visited the Building swimming pool one day, and ten minutes later she was back, saying that most of the kids were in the adult pool, which in one corner had a pile of foam, which looked suspiciously like something you didn’t want to swim in.

Day two we decided to take the City Sightseeing hop on, hop off, open top bus Tour, and use it as a tool. I made my way up to the top deck, and using my Ricoh Theta V 360° camera videoed the trip, only ‘hopping off’ to have lunch. We then decided where we wanted to return during the week, and surprisingly it worked.
I had wanted to visit the Castle, but on seeing it, and local advice, it was obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to negotiate the inclines. Likewise also decided where we did want to visit.

Here is a link to my 360° video, you can play around within it, and see everything we saw!

Following this Bus tour, the following day, we used it again, as it was a two day ticket, but this time as transport, we jumped, or in my case, hobbled off, at the Torre de Reloj,

Torre de Reloj

walked around the area, and bought the local sweets to give as presents when we got home, nearly all contained coconut, and a multitude of flavours,

they were lovely. Having walked around and had lunch we headed back for a siesta, before going out for dinner.

Finding Restaurants wasn’t a problem, there were some for Specials, of which we had a few, and others for a daily visit. We didn’t actually prepare any meals in the apartment, we had a basic breakfast in a cafe nearby, and depending on our plans, either had lunch a short walk away, followed by a special dinner, or vice versa.

Marcela in Restaurante Doña Lola, Getsemani
Restaurante El Muelle

Restaurante Intriga Tropical

We did most of our trips in the morning, when it was cooler, and rested in the afternoon before venturing out again, it worked well.

The Trip to Getsemani was very colourful

The day at the Historic Center was entirely different, you couldn’t help but be impressed with the architecture, ableit most of it is related to Churches, and that is not my thing, so admired from outside! Although we did find a sculpture by Fernando Botero

Supposedly if you stroke her breast, you are blessed with good luck, Marcela was touching nothing, the masks only come off for photos, we are still on covid mode, as for me… do you think I am that stupid!? ha!ha!ha!

That brought us to the end of the holiday, and then it was back to reality! I have been gardening to get the place looking something like tidy again, I had a Medical appointment with the pain specialist, I think she felt a bit guilty, as it was on her order the other Doc did the knee nerve block and damaged my hip muscles, so she has given me another order for a nerve block in my hip, but by a different Doc!

Yesterday, we finally had landline phone and internet installed, going from 6Mb to 200Mb, but it didn’t go without incident. The Office computer was fine, because it is ethernet connected, but the wifi, on the phone and Smart TV’s was going haywire, one minute Marcela had full speed, I had none, then vise versa, I was ready to rip it out, then I worked out the problem, they had set it up for 5Ghz, previously we had 2.4, we asked them if they could change it, which they did, and for now, all is well, the speed has dropped a bit, but we have full coverage, and that is important.

I think that about brings me back up to date, so time for a siesta after the marathon!

Progress

If ever anything is normal, possibly the last week has been the closest for a long time.

On Thursday, I had an Orthopaedic appointment, I had forgotten about, with my ‘new’ Surgeon, he replaced the one who had jumped ship, and to be honest, I was dreading it, but it turned out to be totally unfounded, he was a great guy. It was a good job Marcela was with me, because he did talk too fast for me,but otherwise it was great. He confirmed that his Predecessor had logged that the Doc who gave me the previous nerve Block had caused muscular damage to my Hip, so if there is a problem in the future, it is there for all to see.

He went on to say that he didn’t think a protesis of the knee was the right way to go now, not because I didn’t need it, but because it was on the same leg as my new hip, and the knee would wear out first, so the longer we could delay that procedure the better. However, he wasn’t happy with the last Block, and said he wanted to give me another, with a different chemical, Marcela asked how long we would have to wait for that, his immediate reply “Ten minutes, wait outside”, true to his word ten minutes later he came out and took me to the treatment room and gave me the block himself. He told us, that the following two days after the local anaesthetic had worn off, I would be in great pain, but then I would feel the benefit…I am still waiting for that pain!

Friday, and it was shopping day, in the Supermarket, I had to check my Calendar

I have blurred out her face to save any embarrassment, but Christmas on July 1st !!!!! that really is pushing the boundary.

After doing the shopping, we nipped over to Jaime’s house for the last time, and picked up my new toy, which I spent Saturday morning trying out.

It is certainly a bit heavier that I anticipated, but it does the job, rather than four days with ladders and shears, I had it all done in less than two hours, not quite as pristine as the shears, but good enough.

I bought electric, as opposed to petrol, because of the cost, it’s three times cheaper than it’s petrol cousin, and again, petrol as opposed to battery, because the electric has a stronger cut, I also also had an extra long cable, so far so good.

We are still getting a good mixture of sun and rain, unfortunately we have been told the rain will continue until December, so no defined summer this year at all, so much for changing seasons. The problem is that with Tropical storms on a daily basis, roads are collapsing, and landslides are a daily occurrence, which is causing problems for those who can least afford it.

Our President Elect, Gustavo Petro, it making some positive and negative announcements, the positive ones are unexpected, and make us wonder what is coming next. He is making Alliances with Parties across the board, which was unexpected, he has alo declared that the National Police are to be removed from under the Ministry of Defence, although he hasn’t said who they will be answerable to yet, it is definitely a step in the right direction, and something I have been advocating since my arrival in Colombia.

He has also said that he intends to raise the price of Petrol to price cars off the road, but has not said what he wants people to use instead, we already know that electric cars are just as, if not more polluting, through, lithium mining for the batteries, which contaminates not only the soil but all the water sources as well, in addition getting rid of end of life batteries will cause further pollution, so we wait to hear from him, but I won’t be changing my car any time soon!

Fortunately his new Minister of Finance, has announced that Petro’s plan to stop all future Oil exploration has gone out of the window, because as Colombia’s main source of income, that is not possible, until there is a viable alternative, which at the moment there isn’t.

In the mean time, I carry on with all the little jobs around the house, the one I have not been able to resolve is a slight leak under the handbasin in the Cabaña, or the Mother-in-law’s abode. I have spent three mornings trying to resolve it, then found that it wasn’t the sink drain at all, but the tap, unfortunately because the unit is so small, that means taking the whole thing off the wall, so rather than inconvenience The Boss, I think I am going to wait, until she returns to the other house for a week of medical appointments, at the end of the month, then I can cause a mess, without that Mother-in-law’s eye, ha ha ha!

After a fairly relaxed week-end, I will have to get back into the swing of it tomorrow, so I think it’s time for making the most of the last couple of hours of feet up.

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 the 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!