A little bit of an update is required here. Some of you will know that we've been house-hunting for going on 8 months now. And that doesn't count the month Cesar spent in northern Spain just about a year ago. It's all starting to feel like rather a long time. I am, dare I say it, heartily sick of looking at and for houses. This does not bode well for finding somewhere in the near future.
I know that just over a month ago, we saw an old house in Alcala la Real that I really liked; so much so that I persuaded Cesar that we should take a leap of faith and buy it. And then the very next day, we saw a piece of land with a project for a new, modern house that had just been started. We liked that. We liked it so much that just the other week, we spent a morning talking about it with the architect who had designed it. I expressed all my concerns about a family of five living in an open space; the worries I had about a cluttery, messy family committing to modern, minimalist house; our concerns about the time it would take to complete - lots and lots of questions - all of which Rafa answered admirably and convincingly. We left feeling it was a project we could take on.
Then I went back to England for a few days and all my doubts came pouring back. And when I came back, Cesar felt the same. And we haven't tried to re-convince ourselves or each other that it's right. Which in my book means it's not.
And in the meantime, I revisited the old house with the children and I almost had to take a stick to get them up the hill to look at it - it really is a very, very steep street. And no parking anywhere near by. Other people might be able to do it, but we can only see the negatives of living on a 45 degree slope - particularly in icy weather. No, the second visit ruled that one out.
I fear there are no more houses in the vicinity - I've seen them all or ruled them out on the basis of size or price or lack of outside space or state of repair. I could take you to every village within 10kms of Alcala la Real and point out which property was for sale by a Spanish person and which by an English one. I know how long they've been on the market and if and by how much they have dropped the price. I've seen big ones, small ones, ones with patios and terraces, ones with high ceilings and one with low ones, ones with winter kitchens, ones with summer kitchens, smelly ones and sweet ones - but I haven't found the one I want.
I am now hoping that if I turn my back, the perfect house will come creeping up on me from behind, tap me on the shoulder, open its door and welcome me in. (Preferably before the end of April.)
And what can this mean? When we arrived back last night at our 5th floor apartment in the middle of a noisy, dusty, busy street, after a busy day beside the sea - it welcomed us in, patted each of us on the back and it felt strangely like home.