… but not in Matarranya.
Yes, we’re in Spain. And yes, it’s nice and sunny out here, and warmer than it usually is in most of Europe – but don’t mistake that for lack of rain. Although we sometimes go weeks without rain (and usually complain about that very loudly, as that means either our veggies aren’t growing, or we have to water them) – it does rain here, and quite a lot at times. Most of the time though, it’s just a light drizzle or a quick shower – just enough to slightly moisturise the vegetables, not enough to feed them for days to come.
However, rain in Matarranya is like snow in the UK: although weather forecasts have been warning us for days, we’re very surprised when it does come, and suddenly nothing works. You showed up for a meeting? Nobody else will – it’s raining. Important delivery planned? Well of course the truck isn’t going to drive up to your house today, it’s raining! (and not tomorrow or the day after either, as it will surely be muddy). And where did the masons go? Ah, they can’t be working in the rain, can they?
When we started building, in February 2015, people (outside of Spain) would laugh at our planning. “Building a house like that, in only a year’s time? In a country where it’s always ‘mañana, mañana?’ Prepare to be disappointed!”. However, our experience with working with locals is quite the opposite – when they say they will be there mañana (tomorrow), they show up on time. So when our project manager told us the house could be built in 6 months but the architect said 12 months “just to be certain”, we were confident this was going to work. We planned to move into our new house in March, we invited friends to come and stay (and help out with painting & stuff) in April, we planned a very big party in May – after all, we were assured the whole thing would definitely be built by December, the contract only said March 1st to account for possible delays.
Oh boy, how wrong we were. Apart from a mesmerising inability to plan in advance, most delays were attributed to the rain. It rained after our foundations were dug: we didn’t see a living soul on site for weeks. Rained in Burgos: delivery of the stones was delayed for weeks. Rain predicted here on a Monday: the truck (that already carried our windows) got a call they shouldn’t come this week.
And this is how, about 14 months after the first building day, we’re back to living in our little maset. It’s slightly colder than it was when we left in October (mainly because there has been a big rain on Tuesday, so everything was slightly damp when we moved in), and it’s not as well thought out as when we moved in last summer (as we were assured the windows would be in this week, we thought we’d only be here for a few days and moved all of our stuff to the big house), but we’re happy we’ve got this little maset and it does feel great to be living on our land again. Waking up with the sun, walking to the chicken coop every time a Sanchita makes her “I’ve laid an egg” call, writing this blog while hanging in my fabulous hammock – life couldn’t be better.
On the even brighter side: it doesn’t rain that often in Matarranya.