Saturday, 14 July 2018

Guest Post - Living In Spain by Anne Allen - Bookish World Cup - Spain

Photo Credit: Kirsteen Ann Lyons
The omens for our new life in Spain were not good. After a trouble-free two day drive from St Malo to Javea we arrived in evening sunshine to find we had no electricity in our villa. This was January and the nights drew in quickly, leaving us with little time – and no Spanish – to solve the problem. Fortunately the previous owners were staying with friends locally prior to returning to their native South Africa and the husband came round, saying it had been working the day before when they moved out. He and my partner went exploring for the cause and found one of the water heaters  in the under-croft had exploded and water had tripped the mains. The bad news was we needed the Spanish electrician to un-trip it as the fuses were in a special sealed box at the front of the house. Tony, the previous owner, tracked him down but it was awhile before he turned up. In the meantime we had a car to unpack and beds to make in semi-darkness and without heating. By the time power was restored my partner and I were tired and hungry and decamped to a nearby restaurant for warmth, light and food.

Things did improve over the next few days, but it had been a sharp reminder that Spain did things differently to us in Britain. We were not allowed to employ an English electrician and never met a Spanish electrician who spoke English. But we did find an English plumber, and later, an English builder who employed men from various countries. I made valiant attempts to learn Spanish, but was never awfully proficient and struggled with phone calls, in particular. Many ex-pats did speak good Spanish and we came to rely on them when stuck and the local town hall employed a multi-lingual lady specifically to help newcomers like us.

Photo Credit: Kirsteen Ann Lyons
Apart from such issues, Spain was a delight. Even in the tail-end of winter, the sun shone and it was warm enough to walk around without a coat. In fact, I never used a coat or thick jacket in the two years I lived there. I remember eating outside in a restaurant at Christmas with the sun on my face, feeling quite smug knowing my friends and family back home would be shivering around a fire. The area around Javea in the Costa Blanca is a beautiful area of Spain, full of citrus orchards inland and with wonderful beaches, coves and fishing ports on the coast. Spring arrives in late January and the almond trees burst into pink blossom. Whenever my father visited he took it on himself to collect all our almonds and crack them for us, ready for a snack to accompany the gin and tonic topped with lemon from our own tree. Bliss!

Photo Credit: Kirsteen Ann Lyons
Our villa was perched half-way up the local mountain, named Montgo and shaped like an elephant when viewed from afar. It’s the focal point of the area, looming up a little inland from the coast and forming a barrier between us and the nearby town of Denia on the other side. From the bustling port of Denia,  ferries sail out to the Balearics and the local marina is home to many leisure boats.

I was sad to leave Spain and would, if I had the money, love to buy a little place there for frequent retreats from our English weather. And the Spanish certainly know how to enjoy themselves, with their late-night family trips to restaurants and many fiestas, it’s always lively.

N.B.  Javea and my villa feature in my second novel, Finding Mother.

Thank you so much Anne for this fabulous look at your move to Spain. I hope you can afford your dream one day of owning a place there. 

Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children, and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby.  Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.

By profession, Anne was a psychotherapist, but long had the itch to write. Now a full-time writer, she has written The Guernsey Novels, six having been published and the seventh, The Inheritance, is due out in 2018. The books form a series, but each one is a standalone story with links to other books and characters. Although not originally planned, Anne is, in effect, writing a saga of Guernsey; featuring numerous characters and stories covering both the German Occupation and the present day. A mix of family drama, mystery and love, the books have a wide appeal to readers of all ages.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Rachel, for inviting me to take part in this unusual blog tour! And, yes, I haven't given up on the dream of a little place in Spain for frequent escapes ☺


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