Exciting news this week! La Chanca Life is expanding, with the acquisition of the house next door!
Jeanne’s father, Vic (see the About page for a reminder on the characters in this story!) has bought it as when it came on the market it seemed like too good an opportunity to lose.
Not only will it provide more space, it will also mean we don’t have to worry about getting bad neighbours or having the view down to the sea blocked.
An added bonus of having Vic on the street is that his age (I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that he is 94 years young) and venerability give me some street cred, as both the Moroccans and Gypsies really respect their old folk and look up to and after them. So to have him sitting in his chair on the street gives me an air of respectability! (As nobody here understands a woman living alone.)
Not that he will be moving there permanently, as he has a very nice peaceful country life with Jeanne in the wilds of Bedar, but a change of scene is good from time to time.
The house belonged to a Morrocan family, a young couple with a little boy. They originally said they were moving into it as they had sold their house a bit further up the street. Then they decided to sell both properties to move out of town closer to their work in the horticultural industry.
In the end the sale of their other house fell through and they are staying on the street, which is nice because they are a lovely family and say that we are now their family too and they will escort us on a visit to Morocco any time!
Which is great as I’ve been wanting to take the ferry across to north Africa for ages – it leaves from the port literally just across from the end of the Avenida del Mar, a ten minute walk from the house.
So, the new house is currently being gutted to adapt it to Vic’s needs and also to create extra space for guests and musical activities. Hopefully the work won’t take too long, otherwise I’ll be complaining about the new neighbour with all the dust and banging!!
At least it was our own skip blocking the road this week!
So what with all that going on, plus various trips and a bit of work thrown in, my blog output has suffered. I’m back on track now though and raring to go.
The purchase of the new house has highlighted one unpleasant aspect of life in La Chanca, however – the way animals are treated here.
When we went up to the terrace of the new house, we could see over the wall to next door and were appalled to see a poor dog, alone in his own excrement with no shade and only a bowl of stagnant water to drink.
I suggested calling the animal rescue centre but in the end we decided it was better just to try to look after him a bit until we could find out who owned him.
So Jeanne climbed over the wall and cleaned the terrace, I brought up clean water, dog biscuits and a blanket to lie on and we made him as comfortable as possible.
The dog (not the most beautiful of specimens, poor thing, with his ears clipped) was so happy, he started jumping up wanting to be petted.
Our very nice builder, Pepe, said if anyone asked he would say he did the clean up so we wouldn’t suffer any repercussions.
Anyway over the next couple of days things improved for the dog, a gypsy woman came to clean up properly and one of the young lads working with our builder said he would find him a home if the owner didn’t want him.
Meanwhile Jeanne met the family that own the house (and the dog) who are apparently going to be extending their adjoining house into that one, just like we are doing with the other.
Apparently the dog isn’t allowed inside because of the mess! Anyway, one way or another the dog will be properly looked after from now on.
Not everyone in the community treats animals badly, but there are a fair number of dogs cooped up in tiny sheds, birds in cages and a horse tethered in a yard all day long.
There’s nothing we can do about it directly without being seen as interfering in their community – the same with the rubbish that blows around the streets and cascades down any available hillside.
But I do believe that gradually, as more children are educated and more people start taking a pride in their houses and environment – and yes, also if more houses are sold to people outside the community – that type of thing will improve.
The word ‘gentrification’ springs to mind, and I would hate to see that happen such that the original community is displaced and priced out of their own area.
But basic aspects like cleanliness and treatment of animals can surely be improved, maybe by acting by example, without taking away or compromising any of the dignity or identity of the place and its inhabitants.
Time will tell, so keep reading and I’ll let you know how we get on with the new project and how and if the community becomes affected by our presence on the street.
In the meantime as not a week goes by without someone saying they have a house to sell and do I have a friend that wants to buy, I am thinking of setting up an estate agency!!