Splish splash splosh

Power naps. For some reason I started flagging mid morning and needed a power nap for most of last week. Half an hour or forty minutes later and then I was skipping, well, skip/limping, about again.

Meantime, while I’d been blissfully dreaming about something or other, the rain had started. Can’t remember when it last rained. More than six months ago.

I got up and we sat in the kitchen with the door open watching the rain. Partner had helpfully taken photos while I was doing the Sleeping Beauty routine. It’s soothing to watch the rain. It also means I don’t need to water the garden.

The rain eased off so he took the dogs out for the lunchtime run. Five minutes in, it chucked it down again. On return, it was towel off two dogs and Partner (not pleased to be handed a dog towel!) and give him a change of clothes.

More rain at night. It absolutely belted down. Bounced off the rooves, the patio, everything. We couldn’t go back to sleep.

‘How do people sleep in this?’

‘They probably don’t.’

‘You mean half of Andalucía is awake listening to the rain, drinking cups of tea?’

‘Probably.’

An odd thought.

Then we heard it.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Oh. No.

Regular readers may remember the roof leak earlier this year in our dining room.

Except, when I looked it up, it wasn’t this year at all. It was last year. In fact, it was around the same time. The first of the heavy autumn rains, usually around a full moon.

But … where was the drip? Partner had already checked the previously leaking area but he plodded round the house yet again in the middle of the night/early morning, ie he looked in the other three rooms.

‘The roof,’ I said. ‘It’s coming through the roof and dripping on the up side of the ceiling.’

‘Uh.’

I think that meant yes.

We considered decamping into casa chica (the little house) but decided to take our chances of the ceiling falling in on us. It was hardly as though he could climb on the roof in the pitch dark in torrential rain to do anything useful.

It didn’t. Fall in. In the morning, we searched for water stains. None.

The next night we lay awake again waiting for the rain that never started.

Rinse and repeat. For the third night in a row we repeated our insomnia listening for drips and rain.

Nothing.

On our first night back in Gib, I slept like a log. Gib is normally noisy on a Sat night but three nights listening for water entering the house had taken it out of us.

But that wasn’t the only thing.

Squatters

A British couple in our pueblo suddenly disappeared. They didn’t live in our street, but in new houses a few minutes walk away.

We knew them to speak to and had visited them occasionally for a cup of tea and a chat. Or a glass of wine and a beer if we were lucky.

They were the sort who would wave merrily as they drove past us at the bus stop without bothering to offer us a lift, unlike some of our Spanish neighbours, who would slow down and ask if we were going into town.

B and B were brother and sister, in their seventies. They came in their sixties, complete with pensions, but decided to run a pension to supplement their income. They got fed up with that and wanted somewhere they could park their car outside, so moved to our village a year after us.

A few years ago, we noticed the house was locked up and the car was gone. It was the same every time we came back to our finca. No sign of life. We best guessed one, or the other, or both, had died and left it at that. Not much point in asking around, who wants to know about death? And display a morbid curiosity? Like slowing down to sticky-beak at car crashes.

Last week their neighbour and his friend came to our gate and asked if we had a contact for the family. The friend was interested in renting or buying the house. Apparently the sister had died, and the brother, who couldn’t manage on his own, had gone back to the UK.

Well, we didn’t have a contact so that was a non-starter.

The next day on dog walk duty, Partner wandered past, and saw the neighbour’s friend – in the house and clearing it out! They acknowledged each other and the friend said the house had electricity but no water. Who has been paying the electricity for three or four years?

Huh?

‘Maybe the neighbour had a key?’ I suggested.

‘No. B didn’t like them at all.’

‘So,’ I said, ‘they weren’t asking for a contact for permission, they were making sure we didn’t have one so we didn’t dob them in?’

Breaking and entering, and getting rid of the mouldy rotten furniture ie theft, must constitute burglary at the least.

The following day on early morning dog duty in the dark, Partner saw a light was on in the house. The friend must have already moved in. Amazing. I don’t know what Spanish laws are on squatting but in the UK, if you could get in without breaking and entering, then it used to be difficult to evict people. This house was fully secured though, including grilles on ground floor windows and doors, and shutters upstairs.

They can’t get the water connected without some sort of contract, so they must be planning on a dodgy pipework connection to the mains (not difficult according to Partner), and the leccy must still be being paid by whoever.

We spent most of the week shaking our heads at the brazen audacity of it.

Without internet in Spain we listen to the radio for news. Talk Radio Europe.

Coincidentally there was an article about people moving into empty houses.

‘They need somewhere to live,’ said one person.

Fine. We all do. Especially the ones whose homes have been snatched from under them.

If people need homes, maybe that should be a government priority, rather than that of a private individual who may well have worked for xx years, paid or still be paying a mortgage, and suddenly finds themselves homeless?

A lawyer said it can cost €15–20,000 and take years to sort it through the courts. Although there is a firm that employs large people who suggest – legally – that the temporary residents move out. Guess which would be my option?

This illegal occupation is happening in Murcia and Barcelona, added the lawyer, but not Andalucía.

Oh. Yes. It. Is.

Austerity measures. Bale out banks. Fleece the people. Turn a blind eye to the most important investment most people ever make – their home.

What a crock of shit.

Don't you invade my house. Or else.
Don’t you invade my house. Or else.
Advertisements

60 comments on “Splish splash splosh

  1. Gee whiz, that is some audacity. Wonder what happened to the brother? Maybe he died as well. Looks as if the squatter just got himself a house-maybe. My roof leaked too about 2 years ago and I didn’t have the where-with-all to get estimates for a new roof. Finally the ceiling caved in where I used to make my bedroom but I had moved out of that room 4 years prior. Last year I finally bit the bullet and paid for a new roof to the tune of $7,500 or so. The room is still a mess and has half a ceiling. I cleaned up what fell down and turned the room into a junk room. Getting old and not caring sort of comes easy. And I don’t want to fork out the money to fix the ceiling.

    Like

    • Ironicallyit was always the brother who was poorly. Mind you the sister went into the local hospital for cataracts and they operated on the wrong eye! The brother had kids in the UK so guess he’s being cared for by them if he’s still alive. If the squatter has got himself a house he’s sitting pretty, they’re on the market for around €240K. The cheeky toerag has even parked his car on the drive.

      We’ve considered a new roof. Cane and mud only lasts so long. I say ‘considered’ as I’m more prone to mending as necessary.

      I’m so with you on getting old and not caring.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, it seems housing needs or wants are as confusing in the Gib as they are elsewhere. Here housing costs are still rising. At some stage we will have a crass. Experts have been saying that for years. I do hope the leak gets fixed.

    Like

    • The housing dilemma is in Spain. The Gib housing market/needs is different again. Basically the average worker or unemployed person in Gib on £6.28 an hour hasn’t a snowflake’s hope in hell of buying a one-bed flat, at starting prices of £135K, so they either rent across the border in Spain where it’s cheaper (rentals start at £700 a month) or, if they are lucky, get allocated government housing, rental at £20 a week. It’s a totally artificial and skewed market.

      Like

  3. Oh, wow. I have always been amazed (and disgusted) about the laws protecting squatters. It should be possible to have some large policemen hurl them out on their ears (onto gravel, preferably) straight away. I am not a cool, calm and collected person, and if it happened to me I would probably wind up doing time for assault with intent to cause severe bodily harm.
    You need to creep into the ceiling – even if only to put a bucket up there. Otherwise one day the ceiling will come down on you in a sodden mass. Been there; had the wrecked furniture.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I checked this morning and the UK law on squatters has changed so it is now a criminal offence re homes. Quite right too in the case of domestic properties. Spain though is another kettle of fish. Trying to reclaim your own property ain’t easy.

      I would hire some thugs rather than doing it myself. Not that anyone would be physically intimidated by me. Verbally possibly.

      Can’t get to the ceiling. Originally there weren’t any and the rooms were open to the roof. Ceilings were put in but there is no access to the roof space.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It should be a criminal offence whether used as a permanent home or not.
        Wonder why the Spanish ate so lax? Mañana-itis prone?
        No wonder you have a problem with that roof. Would there be space enough between roof and ceiling to move in if you installed a hatchway? The alternative is to wait until the leak wrecks a bit of ceiling and then you’ll know where to fix.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I lived for in a Villa for three months in Cannes. I was during the festival. It was an eight seven bedroom place directly across from the med. I had come to live there because my concierge at the hotel I was staying at suggested I might like to live there. I moved in, but I first had to give my new landlady a check so that she could turn the water back on. I also had to buy a bed and bedding. The whole place reminded me very much of ‘Great Expectations’ and there was the fact that the front door had received at least some damage. I don’t have time to go into detail but I managed to leave without without much incident but later on I discovered that the concierge and her boyfriend had been squatting the entire time. She claims to not to have know a thing about it and I believe her. Perhaps I’ll go into it more some other time. Oh, the owners apparently just showed up one day and were quite surprised to find my friends there.

    Like

  5. They squat land here….the law allows it if you don’t shove them off within three months. Supposedly a measure to allow people access to land, but what usually happens is that a developer hires people to squat a desirable property…if they succeed, they then make it over to the developer…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ‘So,’ I said, ‘they weren’t asking for a contact for permission, they were making sure we didn’t have one so we didn’t dob them in?’

    People like this are very tiring, having to figure out what they’re really up to.

    Like some here, I care much less now about keeping things in order – except for the roof, gutters and drains. With those things I’m up the ladders like a shot to prevent further damage. But beneath it all, I’m not so sure where I left the vacuum cleaner these days.

    Like

    • Yeah. The cynic in me usually goes for the worst option. Sadly I’m usually right. Later, we noticed the top window boarded up and one of the sliding doors on the balcony. Had he crawled across the roof from the neighbour’s and entered that way? Ugh. I find it all despicable.

      Living with a skilled construction worker I’ve been imbued with the external fabric is most important. Well, apart from when damp spores are oozing out of the wall. So our outsides have always received attention.

      We have a load of vacuum cleaners. Used occasionally to clean sofas of dog fur.

      Like

      • Apparently :-( and they’ll get away with it if the couples’ family don’t know. Presumably if they get away with it for long enough, they’ll have rights over the place regardless of the fact that they don’t own it. So unfair :-(

        Like

        • The UK used to be like that, in that you could get a fee simple after years of occupancy. Spain, as ever, is totally in the backwoods and squatters immediately have more rights than the owner 👿 especially if they empadronarse at the ayuntmiento. I really think it’s criminal and was pleased to see the UK had made it an offence. A property is the biggest investment most people make in their lives and having it stolen is not good news. At all.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I can relate to the rain, although we learn to sleep through it. We’re on the first of 8 straight months of downpours. Squatters here too, kind of scary armed ones that we’re advised to avoid. This is the US, after all. I hope your troubles get fixed, both kinds.

    Like

  8. Welcome back to your blog, skippy… er roughseas. 😀

    I never hear raindrops; I would have to feel them. But that’s not always a good thing. Do hope you get it sorted

    Squatters… Every property owner’s nightmare!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We are eagerly waiting for rain. I like storm sounds and rain. While sleeping to the background of rain motivates sleep for many here (we rarely have tornadoes, so few worries) it seems like a waste of good natural music sometimes. One of the things I don’t like about this house is it is so insulated for sounds that you can’t hear nightime rain. Grew up around corrigated tin roofs on the farm – fun for me, but my dad hated them. Logical as those get extremely hot here in summer….and there’s the reflected glare.
    Squatting has been an issue here off and on since the 70’s. Once they are there, it is a problem requiring various levels of legal/law enforcement depending on the state.
    Unfortunately as this is a growing area with people coming here for jobs, scams are far too common with some crimminal taking info/pictures off real estate websites, then posting all that on Craig’s list (at far too reasonable for the area cost) as a rental. Jerks trick people, take deposit money (often in high dollar gift card format), sometimes hand over keys (the crooks sometimes break in and then change all the locks – or promise to meet them there with the keys). Neighbors or real estate agents call cops when they see a moving truck pulling in. I really feel sorry for the victims.
    We also still have old houses damaged by hurricanes or floods that have been abandoned – which often become drug houses or places for homeless people. The city goes through a multi year process to notify owners, give list of repairs that must be made and taxes due, but after a couple of years the city can take the house if the owner doesn’t contact them or decides not to fix the house or pay taxes. Meanwhile the wreaked house is a neighborhood nusiance until the courts had it over to the city. Often by then the house has to be torn down – but the lot will be kept mowed and cleaned (usually) by the city. Considering the poverty and homeless population in this city, i wonder why the city doesn’t start a training/work program for those who need a job and want to learn skills to repair/replace the houses and turn them into low income/public transitional housing. Sounds possible, but maybe that’s just me.
    Nothing wrong with sleeping beauty if it gets you up and hobbling again.
    (My damp detector here would be stabbing one of those moisture meter probes into the ceiling, then cutting access to roof…and I’d be living with ceiling needing patching as a result for months. Maybe it was a fluke…Hope so. Listening like that does tend to cause sleepless nights)

    Like

    • I like rain and storms too. Preferably on the outside though.
      I’m not really up on squatting. Hence I didn’t know the UK had changed the law. It was a huge shock to see someone moving in when we KNEW they didn’t have permission. Partner was talking to a Spanish neighbour about it, ‘oh, they’ll be renting,’ she said. ‘Oh, no, they, are, not.’
      Yes, the place was looking tacky after three/four years without occupants, still doesn’t alter the fact it belongs to their family. Very bad. Karma may get them in the end though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree. The home has an owner and this guy doesn’t have any right to be there. Will be very interested to see what ends up happening…any chance neighborhood will put some pressure on the guy? Too polite and willing to live and let live? Sad no one knows how to contact owners – seems like there would be tax records or something. The owners who worked to buy it would be so angry someone is mooching off their hard work.
        Looking shabby 3-4 years wouldn’t raise an eyebrow here – years, fires from homeless, rats, and drug/prostitution raids, and years and years of neighborhood complaints tend to be what draws attention and eventual action by the city to get the owners to take responsibility to either fix it/secure the building/tear it down – or hand it over to the city. A very long process.
        Now if the house is in rural areas or smaller towns, it could stand there with dignity until it fall into itself and is reclaimed by the land. There is some dignity in that?
        Once again big cities and crowded areas interrupt the natural cycle of all things.
        We are still waiting rain although there’s clouds – so fingers crossed there’s enough time for Molly’s walk. Hasta later

        Like

        • Yup. Not just too polite but people in my area still lve with the Franco legacy and that includes not denuncioing anyone. If it’s not their business and it causes no obvious harm …
          It’s in a terrace so unlikely to fall down. The new ‘tenant’ has got rid of mouldy rotten furniture (3/4 years of unoccupation in a damp environment) and is tidying the place up. What to complain about?
          One resident in the street has his house for sale and lives in a piso in the local town. Since The Occupation, he has been in residence in his house every single night. Paranoia methinks.
          With the recent rain, the street has had water drainage problems. There are more houses in that short stretch of street than there are in our much longer ones. The old ones are the best ones.
          The girl and boy are back into their sofa routine. As am I. I need walks more than they do!

          Like

  10. I hate the sound of drips when they can’t be located. We have a new roof (well’ an almost finished new roof) on our building, so I am not quite as paranoid about the sound of drips these days, but having a record of past leaks still shadowing my ceiling, I can appreciate your concern. May the roof self-heal (one can always dream) and any potential leaks never materialize.

    There was some scary news (to me, as a relatively new home-owner) a few years ago about people in eastern Canada who owned a house or apartment (and I believe actually lived in it) losing rights to their place because someone fraudulently got hold of the land title papers and then sold their home to a third party. Because the third party was the most current registered owner, the real owner (the one living in the house, who had bought the house, and never sold it) had to move out, and was not entitled to any compensation. And — worse yet — still had to pay off their mortgage. I have no idea at all how that could work, but apparently there was some weird legal thing that gave the scammed new purchaser (assuming s/he really was scammed) rights to the property. The owner lost all rights. I heard that this can’t happen where I am, because of the laws being worded differently or something, but the insanity of this….!

    Like

    • Self-healing would be good. Next best would be discovering where it is so we could fix it.

      That’s a nasty spooky story. I was reading something by a Spanish lawyer about the various options for getting people out. An obvious one includes getting some evil-looking thugs, and the best one to me – breaking into your own home when the squatters go out and changing the locks again! The lawyer didn’t recommend either of those. In fact he only recommended … getting a lawyer.

      There’s apparently a similar scam going on in Spain – so many empty holiday homes – russian/eastern european gangs break in and then rent/sell the properties! Frightening. Given it’s the biggest expenditure in our life (depending on whether you have children possibly) one would like a little more legal protection for ownership rights.

      Like

      • on a totally different note: I read your review of Timmy’s book, and wanted to say a huge huge THANK YOU! On a few counts. Since I know how honest you are, the comments and rating are gifts. Ta! (Oh — and I agree!)

        Liked by 2 people

Thanks for visiting roughseas whatever your interest and, if you comment, a bigger thanks.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s