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My Home, Sweet Home, in Andalucia

Actually in Vera, Almeria

The old town of Vera, which lies at a mere 10km distance from the Mediterranean Sea, at 15km of the well-known bohemian town of Mojacar. A residential Spanish town, with a long history and a peculiar culture that one only gets to understand by living there for a while.

It has all the necessary facilities from schools, to banks and a medical centre.

Home from home, for the suitable visitor

This is the view from the little balcony outside the main bedroom. A little park called The Plaza of the Andalucian Poets, where children can play safely.

And for those inclined to take a stroll in the evening or before breakfast in the morning, our local Rambla (the man-made river bed) is at 50m distance, at the end of my street.

Well, my big heart moved downstairs, where it can grow even bigger!

Sometimes people stop to admire it.

I had worked on a project previously, for renting this house out as a writer's retreat in Andalucia, but that was before the crisis hit Spain badly and before I witnessed so many home owners who fell victims in the hands of unscrupulous tenants, so I abandoned it in 2011. Now (2015), I'm resuming this project.

Having been a rental agent in the region before my last job in ValdeSerra College, I am aware how much effort one needs to spend to avoid problems, both small and big. I am convinced I couldn't find an agent who'd be prepared to spend that much effort in protecting me and my property against improper use... so, I chose to not hire one.

However, I do have a healthy dose of faith in the goodness of human nature and, with the right introduction and the respectful approach towards what is a beautiful home, warts and all, somebody may just as well enjoy a home from home, be it as an escape from colder climates during the winter months,  or on a long term basis as such.

The house is actually a duplex, with a large open-space living room, a kitchen, 3 bedrooms, 1 on-suite bathroom and a guest bathroom in the living room. Outdoor living is cozy in 3 areas: the patio by the entrance to the house, the balcony and the back patio.

The first two get the sunshine for the most part of the day, until around 3-4pm, whereas the latter gets the scorching sun around midday, as if under a magnifying glass. With adequate shading, this can still offer adequate outdoors dining space, just outside the kitchen and the living room.

The climbing plants are screening the upstairs balconies by now, offering significant privacy and shade, not to speak of the admiration of every passer-by.

The staircase is of marble (Rojo de Alicante), which fits in nicely with the flooring on the ground floor. There is no handrail on either side of the stairs, which was  a deliberate interior design choice of mine...

However, this is a priority of mine this year, to ensure that I make the house suitable for a family with children or for disabled people.

Bono, my guardian, is perched at the bottom of the stairs, named after the then Defense Minister of Spain :-D

The solid wood round table, seating four people is still there and the top of the sofa you see in the picture above is now in the corner, in front of the mirror.

Under the staircase, there's room and sufficient powerpoints (4) for the TV, DVD player, the satellite dish receiver (for the usual free channels, but including the BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Euronews, CNN, sports/fitness channels and all the radio channels one can think of). Due to lack of use for such a prolonged time, I would put you in touch with D-Match, who installed it and could easily pay a visit to re-calibrate it, if needed.

With a comprehensive library, from floor to ceiling on the right, which is my pride and joy, here you can see the entrance to the kitchen and the sliding door to the back patio, where one can enjoy 'al fresco' dining, just like in the front patio with the garden, shaded by fully matured plants.

On the left of the sink, there is a gas cooker, with oven as well as the washing machine. Basic, but functional.

I preferred the rustic look in the kitchen as well, to the modern fitted kitchen cabinets. Not as functional though...

Three rooms upstairs: a bedroom, a dressing room and a study

From the double bed, perched on a good, healthy mattress, one can watch the sunrise from the comfort of this bed... The space on the left is now taken by a big shelving unit, with drawers, housing my linen & towels.

I altered the plans of the house, in order to have an en-suite bathroom (below).

There are two portable gas heaters in the house: one for upstairs and one for downstairs. Apart from this, there are two A/C with heating units: an Orbegozo in the living room and a more silent LG in the bedroom. However, I'm not sure if these are still working, given the prolonged period of non-use. There is another electric heater in the bedroom, with a coal flame simulation and 3 heat levels with a fan behind it, within a pretty fireplace unit in this bedroom.

The study room is where I used to spend most of my time, working on a project or another. It would probably be a good idea to keep it as a study for my guests. It has Internet access, but no phone line I'm afraid.

The dressing room is next to the bathroom and it also has an additional double futon bed, which I will change for another comfortable bed, either for children or for an extra guest in the house, depending on circumstances.

The bathroom is small, but functional, with a 170cm long bathtub with Jacuzzi facility (both water and air jets), toilet and sink built into a cabinet... no bidet!

The hot water is by bottled gas heating, however much I wished to install solar heating and hot water facilities when I first bought the house.

Where is it located?

Without disclosing its exact location, the house is at 2min walk from the Lidl supermarket, at 5min walk from the Mercadona in Vera and 1min from the bus station, where one can take some comfortable coaches to visit the whole of Spain, should one be so inclined. It is conveniently located at the back entrance of Vera, very near to the ring road taking one to the motorway for Almeria and Murcia. From here one can reach the airports (Almeria within 1 hour and Alicante within 2 hours, at a push).

From this corner you can (just) see my house, with the white car in front.

Taken from the same corner, at the end of this street is the Lidl supermarket.

On taking the bold step in going to China, I left my home as it was, locked the door and prayed that no damaging events would occur in my absence. After all, I used to look after so many properties that people would only visit once or twice a year... if that.

I have considered renting it out for long term, but I've never found the trustworthy type of tenant, who'd leave me free of headaches and heart palpitations. However, should the deserving guests be introduced to me by trustworthy friends and if it happens they like the house, I would open the doors to welcome them from my heart.

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