Finca renovation

There are some people who can not resist walking past peeling paper or paint, and ripping off the offending piece. I am one of them.

I think the attraction to ripping off and ripping out is that you can appear to achieve an awful lot of work in a short amount of time at the cost of a little energy. And you get to make a lot of mess too, so I had a fine time at the finca last week.

The problem is, that trying to maintain two properties a few hundred miles apart and balancing work commitments of 60 or 70 hour weeks, with no weekends off, inevitably means that one (or both) get somewhat abandoned.

We’d painted the outside of the finca last summer, but the inside has been sadly neglected.

In both Gib and Spain, the wet and humid winter weather inevitably leads to damp walls, and, with all the dust around – the damp spores and the mould start to grow.

So winter means regular washing of the dark spots. We’ve used Johnstone’s anti-mould paint in Gib and it has been pretty good at keeping it at bay, but once the winter deluges start, so does the creeping mould.

Inspired by our efforts in Gibflat though, I decided to start on the interior finca walls. The outside faces west, and if there is a torrential deluge with a westerly wind – it starts to chupa through.

Well, much to my utter surprise, the walls started cleaning up very nicely. Now why hadn’t I done this before, I wondered. [And no, it wasn’t because I was time-wasting on Facebook, because I have no internet in Spain]. It could have been because I was cycling, or walking, or swimming (summer), or gardening, or anything but doing boring stuff inside the house when it is so nice outside.

Partner was impressed with my efforts – for once – and rushed to help with the ceiling. Once started there was no stopping us. The walls and ceiling were scrubbed clean in the sitting room and then I started on the destructive work. All loose and flaking paint and half the walls was merrily hacked off by me, and he began the slower and somewhat more skilled process of putting back.

So progress in a week or so:

Draughts – I won – and the board never came out again after the first day

Sitting room walls washed down, remaining loose plaster hacked off, holes rendered with sand and cement, and smaller ones with some Easi-Fill that we had kicking around. Then a coat of Benjamin Moore acrylic primer sealer was applied.

Clean wall

Sealing the stains

Outside walls were rendered, and a big hole in our path was repaired with concrete [Bren might have fallen down there], the walls were sealed, and coated over with a couple of coats of masonry paint.

Polishing the rendering

Completed path, painted walls

Dining room and bedroom walls were also destroyed where appropriate, waiting to be filled on the next renovation trip. The mess on the floor in the bedroom pix is a mixture of paint, cal (limewash), plaster, and some render.

Admiring my mess work

Ah yes, very good

My mess work on the other side of the bed

Waiting for next time

We probably did something else too but all I can remember is working, sleeping, and eating. Put it this way, I took the usual supply of books and came back with them unread.

And …… I cropped the first lot of rocket and lettuce leaves. Very good. I bought some of the local fresh asparagus that can be found growing wild in secret places – if you know where they are – that the Spanish always get to first, and learned that you need to chop off considerable amounts of hard chewy stems and concentrate on using the tips. Also helps to blanch/parboil it first if you want to use it in paella. Which I did.

Salad leaves

Wild asparagus

Food for hungry workers


The winter jasmine – still not quite in bloom


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