I am about to add another item to my list of things we want from our dream place.
Item 21. a courtyard.
The comments from my readers have been a little more supportive than those from closer family and friends. It's not so much what has been said, more the heavy silence, that irks. I guess they all want to say 'Oh but that is just a very long list and it is soooo unlikely to happen' or 'you would have to be a millionaire to get all of that' or just plain 'no one ever gets everything they want'.
Call it naive but I really see no reason why we shouldn't get what we want. We are not millionaires so we do not expect to have it all ready made on a plate... that is definitely NOT what we want. We are hoping for a place that needs work... somewhere we can make into our paradise.
My father did not understand why so many Brits retired to Spain, until he went there. The wonderful mild weather (and perhaps the dip in the thermal baths at Zujar) made the arthritic pain in his hands go away, it returned the day after we got back to a damp dull England.
It took about three or four days for him to get used to the idea that there is 24 hours in a day and you don't have to get everything done in the first eight! He has travelled extensively throughout the world in his time but it became clear that he travelled with the might of the British Empire behind him... and that made all the difference... like a snail, he carried his home on his back everywhere he went...
....a dash through North Africa during WWII and back up through Europe in the aftermath of death and destruction, two years in Sri Lanka (Ceylon as it was then) not quite hitting the heyday of the British Raj but definitely before it passed away, with two houseboys to look after him and gin and tonic's in the mess with his chums. Another sojourn in the Gulf of Aden (now called Yemen) while the locals kicked up a fuss at the Brits being there followed by another 2 years in the Asian paradise of Singapore where the servants and the night life and the good times echoed those of Sri Lanka stretching the Colonial theme to it's limit in the late 60's early 70's. He liked to think that he had mixed with the locals in each and every instance, that he did not behave like the typical arrogant 'British ruling class'. And it is true he did become friends with some of the local people, was invited to a wedding or a child's confirmation, often the only white face to be seen.
But while he never fancied living in a Spanish seaside gated community with loads of other British people he also never felt that he could have moved to a Spanish village surrounded by only Spanish speaking natives... I think what I am trying to explain is that the only thing that stopped him doing that was himself. His frame of mind would not allow him to think it was even a possibility.
He looked at the life my daughter and son-in-law have made for themselves in Spain and said that he could never have done something like this because he didn't have the money. This is not true, we were never rich, but my father earned a reasonable wage and he and my mother never saved any of it. They spent their money and lived fairly well. Better than many other people. For my father's generation and class - yes I think his very working class background meant that some things were simply unthinkable - there was an attitude of that sort of thing is 'not for the likes of us'. What a very limiting mindset.
It is easy to fall into that. To stick to the norm, to not take a chance. I WILL NOT DO THAT! We have three years until BillySteve can retire. So we have three years to prepare. As so many readers pointed out we will have to learn the language. We fully intend to do so and to integrate with the locals as much as possible. My daughter's illness in Spain has definitely taught us that in a crises it's the locals you need.
Some of the photographs are of the Alhambra Palace in Granada. Inspiringly beautiful buildings and gardens and views. So... do I really want the Alhambra to live in? Sigh... it was totally mind-blowing, but then so was the view from a friend's house at the edge of my daughter's village. It's not what the view is, it's how it makes you feel. I am convinced that we can make a little paradise for ourselves and I am determined to give it our best shot at any rate.