“For after the rain …

… when with never a stain”

Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Daemon of the World, Part 1

We drove up with light rain forecast. I glanced at the iPhone. I was about to say ‘It’s raining in Marbella,’ when, suddenly, it was.

But the pueblo was its usual sunny self. I busied myself in the garden, while he cleaned the fridge and pulled it out to clean behind. A good distribution of tasks I thought.

‘It’s meant to rain tonight,’ I said. Partner has little faith in the weather forecasts on the iPhone and iPad. One is Yahoo, the other is The Weather Channel.

But lying in bed, even he was forced to admit in the early hours that it was raining as we listened to it plopping gently — and then not so gently — in the patio.

Come morning, we took Snowy out in something of an intermission, when it was just spotting. By the time we got back, it was downpour time. I gazed sadly at the rain as we were out of bread, but it was the sort of rain that no one in Spain ever ventures out in.

We watched it and listened to the soothing noise, splashing on the terrace, dripping onto next door’s hideous metal chapas, dripping … dripping … Partner suddenly got up and went into the dining room. Ah yes, dripping in the dining room too.

‘Do you want a bucket?’ Ever helpful me.

‘A bucket? It’s leaking right across the ceiling! And don’t touch the light switch!’

Always good to have lots of buckets
Always good to have lots of buckets

I waded in. Half the room was flooded, admittedly it wasn’t ankle deep, but it was still very wet. I remembered the dip in the roof we’d noticed a few years ago and panicked.

Meanwhile, Mr Practical had already started moving everything and mopping up. I was instructed to dry and move records, books, and all other clutter that was in direct line of inundation.

Books moved to bedroom to dry out
Books moved to bedroom to dry out

Next, he jabbed a few holes across the crack where the water was coming in to release the pressure.

We didn't really want the ceiling caving in so a few holes should prevent that
We didn’t really want the ceiling caving in so a few holes should prevent that

Did next doors have a ladder? (Ours are in Gib.) No. But never fear, a decorator always has more gear than necessary, so he used one of his trestles to investigate the roof. By now the rain had stopped after an hour or so of mopping, drying and moving.

He spends his life up a ladder
He spends his life up a ladder

The rooves on the old houses are made of cane and mud, with tiles on top. There are vertical beams every 60 cms for this precarious covering to balance on. The cane on one part of our roof had rotted away. It comes free out of the bank of the stream and had been there for at least sixty years.

The debris from the roof
The debris from the roof

José came to interfere help as usual and ordered Partner off to the arroyo to collect new cane. After farting around for some time trying to cut it to the right length, Partner jumped in the Land Rover and went to the builders merchants for sand, cement and racillos. No idea what they are in English or the correct word in Spanish but they are a long flat sort of oversized tile that fitted between the beams instead of messing about with cane. Then the proper (original) roof tiles are replaced.

José, helpful as ever …
José, helpful as ever …

Partner finished work about 6.30 pm when it got dark. He’d been working since about 9 am. Before that he’d cleaned the bathroom, while I got on with some editing. The final touches were to drape the old Caranex tent thing over it while the cement set. Total cost for materials: €8.40 (he went back for an extra bag of sand).

Caranex over repair, weighed down with bricks and tiles
Caranex over repair, weighed down with bricks and tiles

Estimated cost for someone to come and do it? Hundreds of euros, maybe less if we got one of the local blokes.

And apart from the repair cost, the other good news was that the oak sideboard and table weren’t damaged. Phew! I was so relieved I even got out the beeswax and polished the sideboard before it got sheeted up again.

Oak table with protective covering – lucky that was on
Oak table with protective covering – lucky that was on

The next day we took the Caranex off, and I cannibalised it for potentially useful bits before we chucked it.

Damp towel and Snowy enjoying the sunshine after the rain
Damp towel and Snowy enjoying the sunshine after the rain

Anyway, the alcachofa liked the rain. I chopped it back according to my book after it had bloomed, although Spaniards never do that. Now there are four separate shoots growing!

Thriving alcachofa, in front basil, rocket, Rosemary, and lettuce just behind the rosemary
Thriving alcachofa, in front basil, rocket, Rosemary, and lettuce just behind the rosemary

The post-rain rose is for Sonel, after her lovely blog post about roses past their prime. I even managed to capture a buzzy that I didn’t know was there. Vision with post photography hindsight.

Sun scorched, damp, but still a creation of beauty
Sun scorched, damp, but still a creation of beauty

And after the rain, a walk down the arroyo, now running with a small stream, and lots of wild flowers. Autumn is like spring here as things come back to life after the long hot summer.

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And, back to the beginning, drip … drip … drip. The hot water tank in the flat was leaking this morning.

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77 comments on ““For after the rain …

  1. Oh dear unlucky lucky you. With El Nino we have a very dry summer and even with the borehole I can still see things shrivel up. So I can put up with the one leak here, husband person missed this one when he got up on the roof last time and now it is simply too darned hot.

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    • Alternatively I could write about the shit parts of my life, but who the hell wants to read that? One pet. Just Snowy. Unless you count El, the cockerel.

      Lucky? We all make our choices ;) Where to live has always been an important one, usually by the sea in my case.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ruth. As I said, dog – or cat – pix never hurt. He can be beautiful. Usually when he’s asleep.
      Well, it certainly rained inside, but it wasn’t raining when the water heater started dripping. A rather wet couple of weeks, one way or another.

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  2. Those are all very good pics. Sorry to hear about the roof quitting on y’all, but I suppose it’s a good thing Partner got it fixed even better than before.

    By the way, what sort of plant is alcachofa?

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    • They’re just a record. I’ve written so many blog posts and looking back, I’d have forgotten what happened if I hadn’t. So, partly, it’s for me.

      Old rooves are just that. Bit more work needed next time I think.

      Artichoke. It’s one of those words I think first in Spanish. Sorry. If you’d ever seen them, you’d recognise them immediately. Don’t they grow them your way? Med/sub-trop climate?

      Liked by 1 person

      • They probably do, although my family isn’t a big fan of artichokes, so I probably won’t end up growing them.

        Mostly the vegetables I’m going to end up growing are ones that my dad likes. That garden is not in yet; that’s for next year or so.

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        • Flowers are pretty, but I love growing veg. I don’t have much space, so it’s pots and three crop rotation. Alcachofas are perennial though, I really need to move that one, but it is so happy there …

          Depends what your dad likes I guess. Mine grew toms, cuc, carrots, cabbage, Brussels, broc, but never beans (which he loved) or potatoes. I just have a go at everything and see what works :)

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank God you were actually there. If you’d been elsewhere during the deluge things may have become pretty ugly pretty fast. (note: odd, is English)
    And partner really does spend a lot of time up ladders (and variations of) apparently. Nice that he’s so competent (and you so able to jump in with the other stuff so that he can do the climbing).
    Does no one use umbrellas in that part of the world? If everything stopped here for rain we’d be in trouble. Not that we’ve had overly much, but it’s forecast for the next week, at least.
    I enjoyed the photos — loved the walk ones, as well as the flood ones. Nice mix — and practical tips mixed in. I’d have never thought of making holes to relieve pressure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup we were well lucky. When we took off the protective covers, we figured it hadn’t happened before. Odd is English? Or English are odd?
      He is hellish good up ladders. He has nice calves :)
      The rain we get destroys umbrellas. And it just bounces up and soaks the bottom half. It’s probably a Spanish thing. ‘It’s raining. Let’s stop.’
      Thanks.
      I wondered what the hell he was doing ramming more holes in the ceiling!

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  4. Isn’t it great to have someone who just gets on with sorting things out rather than standing about wringing their hands….

    Raining here too…luckily at night this time rather than starting after lunch.

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      • Oh yes…the sound of rain at night is lovely….as long as I have remembered to take in the sheets from the line…
        These days they just have to stay there and dry out in the morning as getting past a welter of dogs roused from sleep and ready for fun while carting in a ton of wet washing is now off limits.
        I am becoming distinctly laid back these days.

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  5. Beautiful photos and thanks for the mention and the rose. It’s gorgeous and you’re very sweet. Mr Fly made sure he was in the shot as well. :D

    I am glad the rain didn’t cause too much damage. I just love rainy weather, but not when there are leaking roofs. That really sucks and I didn’t know you must make holes in the ceiling. Now I’ve learned something as well and it’s a good thing to remember for just in case. I am also glad that beautiful table of yours wasn’t damaged. It’s really beautiful!

    Snowy is adorable as always. Such a good boy and you know I love seeing photos of him. Thanks!

    Such beautiful views on the walk. Russel is just like Snowy. Always ready to go. :D

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    • Thank you Sonel. I was looking at the roses and immediately thought of your gorgeous post. I don’t know whether it was a fly, hadn’t seen any around, or a small bee/wasp.

      I like the rain. But yes, not in my dining room :( It was a useful lesson. I thought ‘why the hell is he poking holes in the ceiling?!’

      Snowy is ‘sometimes’ good. No mostly really. Sooooo affectionate. He’s usually ready to go, although he might look a bit surprised when he’s curled up on a bed/sofa/chair :D and has to think about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad to hear you got your Spanish leak fixed and that you have such a talented partner who can turn his hand to such things :-). Sorry to hear about your Gibraltarian leak though :-( these flipping boilers do my swede in. We’ve had 3 go in three separate properties in 6 years. Our current one went National Day weekend last year and it cost a packet to get someone in to replace it over the holiday. Why can’t we just have ‘proper’ boilers? I don’t mind paying more if it avoids that ominous drip drip dripping! Sorry, rant over! :-)

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    • Thanks, yeah, he’s pretty useful. They’ve got a two/three year life expectancy. Think there was the one when we bought, which lasted a year or two, then, the first one we bought, and this is the second. How on earth did you get one replaced on ND weekend? Nowhere is open!!

      Gib factor. Crap boilers means more sale and more work. They cost between less than a hundred to nearly two hundred for labour, depends which rip-off person you use, but he does ours and our neighbours, let alone boiler cost (50 litres – less than 200). But yeah. I wonder if it’s the desalinated water or just crap boilers? Don’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a good thing you were there when this happened, or you could have had a real disaster on your hands. Hubby always prides himself on how little it costs for him to fix something as opposed to calling in the so-called professionals. I’d love some of your rain right now. Snowy looks so relaxed. It’s a dog’s life for sure. :)

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    • Hi Sylvia, yes total fluke. Must have done something right :) Your husband is amazing. He must be hyper. No more rain – for now …

      Snowy has had the life of Riley with us from a few weeks old. How can you deny anything to a puppy thrown out so young?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t know how anyone could ever walk by Snowy and not want to pick him up or pet him. See he’s settled into his role as supervisor.
    We are intrigued by the roof construction. (Sorry about the leak, but good you were on site.) Amazing the cane lasts that long. Couldn’t here with all the moisture and humidity. Old style stucco isn’t a good idea for construction. We used to have a “Spanish” architecture rent house that was once a Dr. office in a medical prof. area of the city, but with the construction of a massive elevated freeway segment and a huge city hub bus transit center, the neighborhood went in to massive decline. Such a lovely house with a red tile roof – and a basement (rare here), we had hoped to restore it and live there, but we would have needed a pack of vicious guard dogs, prison style lights, and barbed wire. People brave enough to risk the “frontier” were coming home from work finding thieves had even stolen the heavy vintage doors with beveled glass (valuable for suburban yuppie rebuilds and sold in flea markets). So we rented it to United Fund Community Daycare/preschool for years. Sometime they put on gutters (without permission) which filled with leaves and backed water up under the tiles causing leaks. We personally got up on tall ladders and ripped down those stupid gutters and had to get help repairing rotten wood supports under that before roof repairs. We carefully removed and stacked the tiles to save them from rushed/not concerned workers until they could be put back up. At one point we couldn’t support the repair bills and had to sell the place. Fortunately a private school bought it (better than the porno store that wanted it). The school unfortunately was broken into repeatedly, but it’s still there and the house still in good repair. So sad every time we go past it on the elevated. But getting up and dealing with that roof was scary. And you have to keep the roof in good repair. We did keep the massive door and someday hope to use it inside. Here, they just don’t offer that kind of hand carved detail much anymore…or we can’t afford it!
    Dogs out during an intermission with more rain/cool front about an hour from here.
    Always enjoy your pictures. Hope the house is content now and you can enjoy being there.

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    • Snowy is still wary of some people but getting better with people and dogs. The roof is interesting. Bit like daub and wattle or whatever it was called back in the Middle Ages, learned about it in history classes as a young teen.

      Weird history of your rent ‘house/school/whatever’. Want to post pix of door? Or have you already done?

      Dog intermission done here for today. He’s gone to bed.

      Thank you. I hope house is ok too. We’ll be back to check. But meanwhile I need to write about the water heater saga …

      Liked by 1 person

      • Architecture, no actual real construction is a oddity. You are right. A bit of Olden Times hanging in there. I should clear out around that door and get a picture of it – maybe the old house, too when we’re in town. It makes me a bit sad to see – like a dowager lady. It’s big and of that elegant era.
        Will wander by later once it starts raining as another front comes in. Want to try and walk both dogs to give them a change of scenery – and the backyard a rest. Snowy would approve.
        Hot water heaters. UGH. Fingers crossed on this one. (also another long story here…)

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        • Where we live because of climate and poverty, people just build their own houses out of whatever is/was cheapest. V primitive.
          Sounds good. Look forward, if I don’t miss it. Saw some gator pix on yours, yet to catch up and read though. Do the gators walk in rain I wonder? The Podenco doesn’t.
          Water heaters. Yeah. Think we’ve replaced every single one in every house we’ve had. My fault for buying (cheapest) houses.

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          • Found materials building happens here in places: near colleges and by those who are trying to live simply or those with firm eye on the budget and willing to keep things in good repair.
            Snowy is the wise one. The German dislikes rain. You have to drag her out, but she realizes the sooner she’s done, the sooner she gets to go abck inside. Unlike Molly who just sees cool rain as party time – it rarely gets past her outer coat, but we may get her some sort of rain cape if the winter is wet.
            For stupid reasons ( hot water closer to faucets) the current trend is to put hot water heater/tanks in the attics here. It does keep pipes from freezing, but you can get a waterfall when you least expect it. Our older houses had them sensibly in the garage with good insulating blankets on them. We relocated the ones in our last house. Really don’t want to have to do that big of a job here…moving would be easier at this point.
            Cheap houses don’t always mean bad houses – sometimes just need some hands on work and someone willing to do it.

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          • Less found materials around these days. No one seriously makes cane and mud rooves.

            Snowy has no raincoat, he’s easy to dry off. Pippa had one though. Far too much fur to get wet. Loaned one of his coats to a friend, just in case we, well, you know, maybe one day, so that’s why it’s a loan.

            Water tanks (cold) used to be in the loft (pressure), but immersion heaters were usually in the bathrooms in the UK.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. Crikey, what a nightmare – but I guess it could’ve been so much worse. I’d never have thought of punching those holes. We’ve had water coming up through the floor at work – part of our office carpet is covering a drain. Which gets blocked. Health and Safety? Ha!
    It’s quite comforting to know you get torrential rain in Spain. It’s been solid here all day – just in time to ruin all the bonfire parties 😀

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    • Could have been much worse. We’ve had leaks to be fair to be honest. Buckets in the loft and all that. The hole punching was really clever.

      Water and drains? You should contact Env Health. Should be able to put an order on the council. Oh wait. They are the council …

      Spanish rain is brill. Just not in my dining room. I remember looking at the rain in our back yard as a kid and dressing Sindy in her wellies and waterproof. But solid is the word. Not torrential. Spanish rain buckets and then some.

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  10. Well sorted.

    My flat roof leaks in very heavy rain and particular wind. The landlord got a man to re-cover the flat roof, and then to fiddle with his covering- not believing me it was still leaking, it could not be, it had been re-covered- and still the roof leaks in very heavy rain and particular wind, a few nights every year, and yesterday morning. Lucky it is in the corridor.

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    • Thanks Clare.

      There are mostly flat roofs in Gib. Standard treatment here is clear off all rubbish, sweep down, make sure it’s all dry, apply fibreglass and two pack bonding, and apply Decathane (rubberised paint). This is all expensive. Spain uses caucho which is a cheaper option as it includes fibreglass within the paint.

      What was the roof recovered with? Was it a total recover? Or partial? Well, not that I can help really, but you should really be able to proof flat rooves correctly.

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  11. Older houses have theses quirks, we like them too. Even now with a new-ish roof on the house at Taylors Arm whenever we get heavy rain, I do a check of the rooms. Not long after the roof was replaced due to the mini tornado damage, during heavy rain I encountered a cascade of water down the living room wall – inside. The roofers fixed the guttering on that side of the house straight… but there’s not one bit of that old house that is level, so directed the water in under the eaves. As with your deluge, fortunately we were in situ, and the effect was only a bit of wet carpet which as it was summer dried soon enough. As the G.O. says the old house will always need a bit of work but even without, it would see us out.
    Nice in the moment/place pics. We have a similar red rose. I hope soon to be able to reciprocate with a few newsy this is what’s happening at my place posts, as I so much enjoy yours.

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    • Haha. Yes I like leaking roof quirks too. Pros and cons. I like the rest, so, shit happens. Love your laid back attitude about your internal leak! Deluge! Flood!
      Thanks. I’m so looking forward to your stories. Best of luck with your move.

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  12. Bloody hell! I have to admit though, it came across funny as I pictured you both lounging/listening to the drops and chatting about the rain while your dining room was flooding.

    On the other hand, I remember when I bought my first house here, got a call at work from Pat, “Kitchen’s flooded, the ceiling is buckling and water’s coming through it!” Needless to say, I grabbed my coat while explaining to manager… “Gotta go, Pat needs me!” Sod explaining everything, that can be done later. Got home in twenty minutes what usually takes me forty-five. straight to turn off water mains. There was no point in trying to tell pat where and how… would have taken longer than it did me getting there and doing it, then not sure she would have been able too with her lack of strength. Ended up getting complete kitchen remodelled and new ceiling. Cost a bit more than a few quid.

    Glad yours was a relatively easy fix.. and much cheaper! ;) Still it can be worrisome! :)

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    • Well it was funny in retrospect. Just not quite so funny wading in there and seeing water, water, everywhere. Hmm. I actually know where to turn off the water. One of the things I’ve always learned. But always good to make sure the tap’s not seized. New ceiling and new kitchen? Eek!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lol. Many disasters can be funny in retrospect. Good thing you do. ;) It wouldn’t do Pat much good even if she did, unfortunately. She just doesn’t have the strength for such tasks due to her muscle wastage. That’s why I cut the veggies. ;) (Yes, the V word… Ooh, don’t tell gollum!)
        It started out with getting the ceiling done, then one thing led to another… well, you can probably guess… and, five grand later…

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  13. Well I think you did magnificently all ends up, and especially partner with his cut-price repairs. Such a blessing that the possessions didn’t get waterlogged. That is too horrible to contemplate.

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    • Thank you Tish. Not sure which was the greatest worry, the oak furniture, the vinyl records, or some of my far-too-large book collection. Some of them were just fiction paperbacks, but you can see in the books in the bedroom on the floor, The Kitchen Garden, which is one of my fave gardening books, and in front of it is an out of print veganic gardening one, so I was concerned about them. Of course, they were on the table because I was using them so hadn’t put them home in the bookshelf :(

      What is too horrible to contemplate is the ceiling collapsing …

      Liked by 1 person

  14. The Rain in Spain falls mainly on Gibraltar !! :-) Or so we Squaddies sang in 1960 whilst taking shelter from the torrential downpours, by jumping INTO the Nuffield Pool at Little Bay. It seemed the sensible thing to do at the time!

    Travelling East to West through Southern Spain in the Lorca region we hit what the locals called “La Gota Fria” ( The Cold Drop) in the year that the Ryder cup was last played at Valderrama. Linked somehow to ” El Niño” this was a broad cold weather front, moving slowly from the Straits of Gibraltar Eastwards through Granada and marching relentlessly onwards through Lorca and ever more Eastwards till it hit the fertile plains of Southern Murcia. There it stayed for over 24 hours and virtually wiped out the entire fruit and veg. crops which covered that area The river Guadalentín which flows through the town is normally a dried up bed made into a hard standing for the locals’ convenience, On the day we pulled up behind a long queue of vehicles, the river level was several inches over the top of the single bridge’s roadway . Great tree trunks,old abandoned trucks and cars were all floating down and being piled up by the force of the current against the bridge’s superstructure.

    Absolute chaos. We decided that that was enough for the day, did a smart about turn and descended on a rapidly filling up roadside motel, checked in an snoozed mightly for several hours. By 10 pm the rain has ceased, it was warm with a light breeze drying all around. We found the floods had peaked and fallen, leaving a right tangle of vehicles, trees, and even a domestic fridge heaped up on the northern flank of the bridge….. A restaurant beckoned and in we went to try *Carne a la Piedra” Ox steak thinly sliced, served raw and cooked in a flash on a red hot stone. Washed down with an excellent ‘tinto de la casa’ we tottered back to the motel and finished off our adventure with coffee and liqueurs in the bar.

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