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The New Housing Development Where Children Are NOT Allowed (FMH: 32)

11 Feb

Over the years, property developers have been coming up with all manner of things to get people to buy brand new houses. At the lower end you can part with hundreds of thousands of pounds to bag a free iPad, to the other end, where you even get a free car, a gazillion Uber credits or even a free holiday.

Obviously, the “free” isn’t all that free when you consider the amount of cash you have to part with, but there, I’m being pedantic.

Anyway, so today I was driving back and I saw a new development which has shot up. It’s called “Casilla De Costa”. It’s located some 8km out of town from Corralejo, but the stark, ultra-modern white buildings caught my eye, and being the intrepid property explorer nosy cow that I am, I turned off to take a look.

Introducing myself to the sales girl, I expressed interest in the development. I was surprised by how quickly it had taken shape and I cooed sufficiently on the tour.

Making small talk I asked a few questions about the place and soon discovered that it was a development where NO CHILDREN were allowed.

I stopped and looked at her to make sure I had understood her correctly. “No children?” I asked again, surprised by the admission.

“Yes,” she replied, unfazed by my surprise.

“OK,” I said, surprised by such a bold policy. “So, how’s that working for you?”

“Very well,” she replied, “we have only one apartment left from this phase left to sell. We have sold all of phase one and two, with just the one apartment left and now we begin phase three.”

“Oh,” I reply, “so what age is a child?” I probe further.

“I think 14 years,” she replies, “not under that, that would be a child.”

I nod and wait for her to continue.

“We find our clientele are older and they don’t want the noise or the children.”

“I see,” I reply, looking around at the perfectly white buildings, manicured gardens and quiet aquamarine pools. “And where do your clients come from?” I enquire.

“All over – Italy, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, some English.”

Walking around the show home I was impressed with the space and quality on offer. The two-bedroom apartment was spacious at 115sqm (including the terraces) and had an upscale feel – something between a hotel and a serviced apartment. At 199,000 euros (excluding the kitchen) I also didn’t feel the price was too bad.

However, while the concept in principle, of no children, may be an attractive proposition to some buyers, I couldn’t help but wonder, how in the future such a policy may be enforced? And what happens when those same owners have grandchildren who they want to visit – do those same rules apply? Is it that no children are also not allowed as visitors?

Casilla De Costa is a really interesting social experiment – I’ll be interested to see in years to come if this succeeds.

On the Holy Paint Trail (FMH: 31)

10 Feb

So one of the issues with having more people in town is that there are also more cars in town – this is an issue because sometimes you need to do some jobs that require a car. So I needed to buy a new brolly base, and the thing is these weigh a lot – like 25kg – which is a lot to carry in my little arms for too long.

So having woken early again today I decided I would beat the crowds and try and get into town to bag a parking spot close by the shop. I could not believe my luck when I managed to get the last spot in the place!

So, anyways, as I decided I was doing housey-things, I decided I would go all out and also now try and find the paint I have been using on the walls for the last few years. Off I went again to a multitude of ferreterias who all shook their heads when I showed them the pot and asked if they had anything like it.

Bored of being told “Non” I decided instead to amuse myself by taking my paint pot for a walk and taking pictures.

Heading back after my alternative paint-walk, I remembered one last place I hadn’t tried yet. In I walk and the guy looks at me unsure, but then his colleague nudges him, mumbles some things I don’t understand and in a jiffy he has produced a paint swatch card. He then painstakingly works out which may be the best match for my paint and offers to make it up for me.

I look at him in awe.

“Exactemente?” I ask, disbelieving I had finally found my holy paint grail.

“Si,” he says, and goes off to do his magic behind the scenes.

Of course, I didn’t need the paint right now. I’ve already mixed water into the leftover dried remains and made do – but now I’m ready for next time!

Here’s hoping he worked his magic and I really did find the exactemente match!

Watch, Wait and Wonder: The Sunrise in Fuerteventura (FMH: 30)

9 Feb

Waking up at 5.30am I was delighted. And I mean it. I was delighted. I ran to the shower, drank a cup of tea and quickly made my way to the car.

The reason being?

I’d read a tip about a great place to go to the South of the island for the sunrise.

Driving down I needed my full headlights on because it was properly black night. Like the sort of black you only see on a picture. There’s barely any light pollution here in Fuerteventura and the stars are so incredibly sparkly and twinkly the entire island is like an outside planetarium.

Arriving just before 7am I got my frontline view direct on the sea – and I was the only one!

The sky was already brightening from the sun who would appear soon.

It was magical.

I may have been disappointed to be given a Dacia as a hire car, but this beaten up navy blue pile of pants is still getting me places 🙂

This was the most spectacular and beautiful start to the day. To watch the sun rise and to understand the warmth and goodness it brings to the planet was truly wonderful.

How Do You Regenerate An Area Without Ripping Out The Soul? (FMH: 29)

8 Feb

Having borrowed a cup of paint (literally), from my neighbour I touched up the ceilings and headed into town.

I’m always keen to see what is happening in the local area and I’ve been impressed in the last few years that Fuerteventura, especially the Corralejo area, has been improving and regenerating.

I’ve seen developments that were mothballed years ago, have started works again:

And many uppers above commercials on the high streets are undergoing big improvements.

There’s also new roads in place and in time, I really hope we’ll see an end to some of these eyesores, which have been around for far too long!

However, and it is a small however, as someone who has been visiting the island for over twenty years it’s hard sometimes to swallow change and to understand that things move on. I know I am very happy for the new bars and restaurant openings, and for those to be sustainable, more visitors need to come to the island…but still, Fuerteventura has a very special spirit and I very much hope this will remain.

I only hope the local council won’t get too greedy in their drive for tourism and pay too high a price for progress.

Curing Condensation Damp In My Canarian Holiday Home

7 Feb

The first thing you need to know about owning a holiday home, is that when you stay for a holiday – it’s never really a holiday. There are always things to do and people to see and you’re always looking for ways you can make things better.

Today I had noticed a tiny black mark on my bedroom wall. Hmm I tutted to myself – don’t tell me I’ve even got condensation in my Canarian property!

So the thing is (and I won’t bang on about this too much) but fresh air and ventilation is really bloody critical to a property keeping nice!

Having already had a vent fitted a few years back, I decided to install another. As much as I can advise people to open windows – I cannot force them – hence the installation of another vent helps me.

Moving the furniture to check on the level of black dot stains I decided I would wash the walls now to nip any future issues in the bud. Chatting to the maintenance guy, he told me to go to the hardware store in town where they sell a really good product that would sort it.

Not wishing him to think me an amateur, I didn’t like to confess I usually just use bleach. So off I go in search of this miracle product.

Arriving at the store I try and explain in Spanglish what I’m after. When that doesn’t work I try to mime. Obviously a charade of condensation was never going to be anything more than a charade and they gave me their computer so I could use Google translate.

“Ah!” they said in recognition of my flailing arms and puffed out breath when they read the Spanish of what I was after.

“No, we don’t have anything”. Was what they said, but in the Spanish version which involved a lot of head shaking and shrugging of shoulders.

And so I go to the next hardware store which is so mega busy they run a ticketing system. I try and check out the shelf of products to see if they have anything suitable, but alas I’m stumped, and grab a ticket instead and wait in line for advice. Twenty minutes later and no further down the line I decide to quit the wait and go elsewhere.

Success! I have a product which even has the black damp spore pictures on it and having checked with the sales assistant on my choice, I make the purchase.

Back at the house I proudly produce my miracle product to the maintenance guy’s son.

He looks at the bottle and mehs.

“Have I got the wrong thing?” I ask, bothered by his despondency.

“No, looks ok,” he shrugs and turns the bottle over in his hands, “it’s just we always use bleach and that does the best job.”

I smile at him sweetly and take back my overpriced miracle product I’ve spent the morning buying.

Next time, I’ll not worry about being an amateur and just grab the bleach!