Viewing 40 posts - 801 through 840 (of 867 total)
  • Buying and renovating a rural property on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees
  • spekkie
    Member

    Having New Year in the UK. 3 years since we were last here – time flies.

    spekkie
    Member

    We’re on the last day of a 10 day trip to the UK. Going to miss my son and our grand daughter when we leave tonight. It has been lovely.

    Mrs Spekkie came down with flu between Boxing day and us leaving Spain on the 28th, and I got it the day we arrived here. Thankfully my sons house is warmer than our flat back in Boltana and we managed to keep warm, take meds and get rid of it before it could turn into anything worse. Reading on-line it seems the usual waves of winter Flu are sweeping across Northern Europe. Let’s hope that’s it now. Our first proper illness in nearly two years.

    Today we will do some last minute shopping before packing our bags and heading to Gatwick for a 2 hr flight home.

    Tomorrow is a public holiday in Spain – “Kings Day”. The day the three kings arrived with gifts to visit the baby . . . .

    We will have the day to ourselves, washing clothes and cleaning the flat no doubt, before getting back into normal life – whatever that may be – on Tuesday.

    We’re hoping for good things this year – nothng extravagent, we dont need to win the Lotto, we just want to set up our business, become self sufficient financially and do the stuff we love – hosting and guiding visitors.

    Fingers crossed!

    Happy New Year to everyone…….

    Edukator
    Member

    Lots of Spanish on the pistes in France this weekend thanks to Epiphany. Don’t forget there’s some building work to do too. 😉

    Feliz año nuevo!

    Premier Icon mogrim
    Subscriber

    Año nuevo? Bit late for that, Feliz Reyes 🙂

    spekkie
    Member

    We popped in and spoke to one of the banks before we left Spain on our 10 day trip to the UK.

    They confirmed what I’d pretty much already guessed – if we can get our business built using private investment, run it succesfully for between 18 months and 2 years and produce a set of accounts showing that everything is going ok – then in principal they should not have a problem re-financing us if we wanted (or needed) to pay back our investors.

    Banks – happy to lend you money when you no longer need it . . . . . 😉

    spekkie
    Member

    Mid January . . . . the sun is shning and the trails are dry….

    It’s not what you would call “warm” here yet, but dress properly and after the first climb you’ll be fine 🙂

    Did a ride today up to the village of Sieste, which is just outside Boltaña and then came back down on Zona Zero route ZZ-18. It’s a nice little loop with some beautiful views of the mountains to the north and of Morcat to the south.

    Parts of the trail that don’t get any sun at this time of year were frozen, but not dangerously so.

    Was nice to get out there and stretch my legs and my lungs – I have some guiding work this week so I need to be up to scratch!

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    Premier Icon 33tango
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    Love Reading this thread spekkie 👍 I’m so impressed with your attitude and what you’re trying to achieve.

    Keep on keepin on 😎

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    I’m jealous still.

    Especially as eldest_oab should be out with you soon…

    Pauly
    Member

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this thread over the last day. Had the pleasure of almost 2 weeks riding the motorbike in and around Aïnsa a couple of years back and now planning our next visit in the motorhome with the MTBs.
    I’ll give you a shout when we’re there! Just joined your FB page too.

    All the best for 2020!

    spekkie
    Member

    @33tango will keep on as long as we can!

    @matt – looking forward to meeting the young man.

    @pauly – approved you this eve. Enjoy the story…. And give us a shout when you get here.

    spekkie
    Member

    I’m showing a guy aroud who’s visiting here from the Labanon. On our first ride we expored the Zona Zero Badlands.

    It was a chilly start while we rode alongside the Rio Cinca but as soon as we climbed up into the hills we warmed up.

    Turned out to be a beautiful day. The difference between riding in the sun and the shade is significant at this time of year – Sunny and warm versus frosty/icy and cold. Thankfully the shadey spots are few and far between!

    You can see from the first photo that the Badlands covers quite a vast area……
    And in the last photo he’ crossing a semi frozen river!

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    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Is that ice?
    By ‘eck

    spekkie
    Member

    Yep – Layer of ice on the rivers down in the Barancos! Nothing to worry about though…..

    spekkie
    Member

    Nehme and I climbed up to the bench on the Partara, then came down the Partara Express. It a good few hundred meters of climbing but the descent is worth it!

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    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    👌

    spekkie
    Member

    There are literally hundreds of Fiestas here in Spain every year. A “Fiesta” is the celebration of the day of a particular Saint and whatever that Saint was the Patron of. Some fiestas are specific to a particular region of Spain whilst others are recognised countrywide. Some of them are also Public Holidays (Bank Holidays), many of them are not.

    Last night in Boltaña was the Fiesta de San Pablo (The Feast of St Paul) who was the Patron Saint of Missionaries. This particular Fiesta is big deal locally, and the town council had erected a dozen or so bonfires of various sizes, scattered throughout the town. At 7pm they were lit and the people of the town all met up at the various locations with their cooler boxes of food and drink. Once the fires had burnt down to a reasonable level they cooked their meat on them. We are renting a flat in Boltaña – about 5km from the village of Guaso where our Project is – at the moment and one of the biggest bonfires was on a small green just 100m from home. We took a couple of bottles of wine, some French loaves and a nice piece of Longaniza (the Spanish equivalent of Boerewors) and had a fantastic evening. A huge communal BBQ at each bonfire with 50 odd people cooking their food, drinking wine and talking nonsense!

    We took some friends, a local British couple from a neighbouring village, with us and spent the evening catching up with them and with all our local Spanish friends. There’s a great feeling of comradery at these events, talking to people I ride with, people I work for or who sometimes work for me, chatting to the small group of Spaniards who attend the weekly “Learn English” Class – the equivalent of the weekly “Learn Spanish” class we go to.

    Everyone wanted to know how our trip to the UK went, and how was our granddaughter. A big bonfire, a drink, a Boerewors roll and a load of friends. . . . . As Mrs Spekkie said afterwards, it’s just what you need sometimes to keep you going when you don’t feel like you’re making enough progress with your “dream”.

    Happy days . . . .

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    spekkie
    Member

    Before Christmas I asked the Department of Commerce, who carried out our original Viability Study, to give us an updated version using some new figures that I had for them. Our circumstances have changed a little since the original study was carried out and I wanted to confirm that everything was still in order.

    I’m happy to say that all is good and our business plan still holds water. The revised Viability Study shows that our business will be able to wash its own face!

    spekkie
    Member

    One of the people we’re talking to re Private Investment asked us if we could provide some sort of proof of the value of the property we own, since that is going to be the security against anything we borrow.

    I asked our Architect, who also owns the local estate agent that we bought the Barn through, and he’s come back to us with an official valuation document.

    I’m happy to say that the current value of the property equals What we paid for it + the cost of the Architects Project + the cost of the Council Planning Permission + a bit of normal growth in the time since we bought it.

    This was good to hear.

    Since any and all the money we borrow will go directly into the repair and refurbishment of the Barn, the value of the Barn will increase directly in line with whatever we spend on it until, at the end of the project, the finished property will be worth more than all of the costs involved in buying and renovating it. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”…..

    So whatever loan we manage to find will always be secure.

    As a bonus, because there is so little property for sale in this area (and none at all in Guaso village) once the property is finished, if for any reason it didn’t make money as a “B&B” we could sell it for enough to get everything we put into it back again, clear any loans or debts and still make a bit extra for ourselves.

    Win Win!

    spekkie
    Member

    Sunny skies, snow topped mountains, dry trails….

    Today life is good!

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    spekkie
    Member

    Whilst storm Dennis and storm Ciara before it, batter northern europe, here on the southern side of the Pyrenees we have been enjoying unusually warm weather for the last few weeks.

    The days have been sunny, temps have be as high as 21 and 22 degrees and the trails are dry, dusty and fast – when I’m not riding I’m working outside in shorts and a t-shirt….. not bad for February!

    It’s still cold at night, in fact it probably feels colder after a warm day than it would feel after a chilly day. This week last year we had snow on the ground and there’s still plenty of time for that to happen this year – but for the moment we’ll enjoy riding, working and hiking in the sunshine.

    Yesterday on my way back to Boltana from Ainsa I had a view of the sun setting behind the church up in the village of Guaso, where our “project” is. I took a quick picture thinking it probably wouldn’t come out any good but was pleasantly surprised…..

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    Premier Icon FB-ATB
    Subscriber

    If we ever get a like button, we’d also need a “Green Eyed with Jealousy” button for this thread!

    spekkie
    Member

    I posted this pic on FB and a friend of mine who lives on the west coast of Ireland told me I was “killing him” . . . .

    🙂

    spekkie
    Member

    Several tough rides over the last few weeks and I’m getting back into it after the winter break.

    Always amazes me how quickly the human body can get itself back into fairly reasonable shape . . . but then it also amazes me how quickly the human body can get itself back out of shape again if you take a week or ten days off!

    Temps this weekend were in the low 20’s again. No one here can believe it because it’s really not normal. This time last year there was a dusting of snow on the ground.

    I’m loving it, but we may pay for the lack of snow in terms of water come summer . . . .

    Premier Icon mogrim
    Subscriber

    Temps this weekend were in the low 20’s again. No one here can believe it because it’s really not normal. This time last year there was a dusting of snow on the ground.

    It’s not that odd – it’s my daughter’s 20th birthday today, and I can clearly remember the excellent weather that we enjoyed that day in El Escorial. Some rain would be good, though – it’s forecast for the end of the week, so let’s hope it actually happens.

    spekkie
    Member

    Same here – end of the week and early next week – but they’re only talking about 1mm of rain.

    We’ll see . . . .

    spekkie
    Member

    This huge abandonded house – “La Capana” – and its outbuildings, which include a Hermitage and a small Church, are beside the trail of Zona Zero Route ZZ-014 “Camporrotuno and the Treasure of Dineretes” ……

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    spekkie
    Member

    Sadly, just as the season should be picking up speed and people should be flocking to our area to ride the Zona Zero Trails the Corona Virus has stopped everything dead in its tracks.

    At the end of last week I had a couple of friends visiting – they arrived from a wet and windy Scotland on Thursday night in their two camper vans for three weeks of riding in the sunshine – and by Sunday lunchtime they were on their way home. Both of them and I are gutted.

    Spain enetered a State of Emergency on Friday and on Sunday evening a severe restriction of movement of people was announced. It started at 8am on Monday morning.

    The trails are closed and there’s potentially a fine if you get caught Running / Jogging or Cycling at all during the next 15 days.

    Local businesses are hoping to salvage something of the Easter holidays, which are very big and very important over here – but I think that’s maybe a big ask given the scale of things.

    I guess we shall see . . . .

    Best of health to everyone.

    Premier Icon big_scot_nanny
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    All the best spekkie, I hope once this initial panic subsides that there is a rapid realisation that normal life must resume, and business comes back. You’re name is on my list!

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    You too Tony – you’re about to get an email from our Jack confirming he isn’t getting on the flight this weekend….

    spekkie
    Member

    Cheers guys!

    Edukator
    Member

    We’re still allowed out on MTBs on the other side of our hill, Speckie, we just need a piece of paper in our pockets, an “attestation”, and to stick in family groups. We took the horses out earlier, it was like being the only the only people to survive a nuclear war, made me think of a book, Die Wand by Marlen Haushofer. Hope your finances hold out.

    KBO Spekkie, KBO

    Ming

    Premier Icon cchris2lou
    Subscriber

    @Edukator, it is not very clear if allowed to ride or not.
    Sport minister said we can’t but we are still allowed to exercise a little.

    My point of view is that if tobacco shops are open so are the trails.

    spekkie
    Member

    Our trails are definately closed. Zona Zero have said so.

    Let’s hope it’s not for long . . . . .

    Premier Icon mogrim
    Subscriber

    Trails are definitely closed in Spain, with potentially large fines if you get caught. Whether it’s a justified ban or not I don’t know, but at least for the moment I’m taking their word for it and staying home.

    Fortunately it started pissing down yesterday and the rest of the week doesn’t look great either 🙂

    All the best to you and Andrea, here in Cataluña life is pretty weird. Now we’re told you can’t even go out in the car together, only 1 person can go to the shops, get fuel or go to work. Living where we do it’s easy to self isolate but not seeing our friends is difficult and I can’t see this ending soon. Hope you keep safe, chin up.

    spekkie
    Member

    Cheers Duncan. Hope you and Trish are well!

    Lockdown has now been extended until 25th April. . . . . and it’s being enforced strictly here. No room for discussion.

    spekkie
    Member

    Hopefully it won’t be too long now before our Lockdown is over.

    It’s going to take a while for life to return to something we recognise as “normal” and it could well end up being different to what we’ve been used to…..but in the end the Mountains will still be silently looking down on us and the countryside will still be there for us to enjoy.

    Loving and living in the Pyrenees . . . . .

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    Premier Icon mogrim
    Subscriber

    Hopefully it won’t be too long now before our Lockdown is over.

    Just grateful it’s coincided with the worst April weather I can remember, Easter was a total washout and the rain hasn’t stopped yet. Makes it a lot easier to put up with being stuck inside!

    But yeah, looking forward to hitting the local mountains.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    the Mountains will still be silently looking down on us and the countryside will still be there for us to enjoy.

    So true.

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