The project begins

The first phase of our project is the renovation of the patio. This was in an advanced state of decrepitude with crumbling walls and weeds growing between the gaps in the stones. Our plan is to build an outside lavatory facility. There was one here before but it had collapsed and, as there is only one bathroom in the main house and this is on the first floor, another is essential. Next to it there will be a spa, and the whole of the floor of the patio will be concreted and laid with slate.

Work begins

Across the patio is a building which the architect told us had to be demolished. We will replace this with a new structure which will comprise an office on the ground floor and a studio above. A small stable will be converted into a utility room and a large storeroom remains. Steps from the patio lead to a small room above the stable which we will use as a store and another large room connecting this to the new studio. We are going to take the asbestos roof off this room and create a terrace off the studio which will have fine views and be very sunny.

The building demolished

The weather has been extremely unsettled over the last few weeks but our builders, Stephen and Alex, have stuck to their task valiently and Rudi, the intrepid lorry driver, has braved the swollen river and muddy banks to deliver building materials, so we are making progress. Yesterday, the structure which will house the lavatory, bidet and wash basin was completed even though it snowed in the afternoon.

It is not always warm & sunny in Southern Spain

Materials being delivered

As well as some photos showing the progress of work, here is a view from our land taken this morning showing that it is not always warm and sunny in Southern Spain. The ruin is typical of this area where there used to be many large farmhouses. During the latter part of the 20th Century, families moved away from their rural properties, which lacked facilities such as electricity, regular water supply and sanitation, to the comforts of houses in the towns. Although the men still go to their farms to tend to their olive groves and fields, Spanish women prefer the comforts and social life of the towns and so the properties have fallen into neglect. Quite a few of these houses have been bought by foreigners, particularly British, and reformed into substantial country houses. We will shortly be able to offer a selection of the properties for sale, some in need of renovation and others completely reformed.

We are also starting a blog about life in this part of Granada – http://www.lifearoundloja.blogspot.com

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About Margaret Merry

I grew up in Falmouth, Cornwall, England where, after leaving Falmouth High School, I spent a year at Falmouth School of Art. Then followed three years at Hornsey College of Art in London where I obtained a Diploma in Art and Design. I then spent a post-graduate year at the West of England College of Art in Bristol where I gained an Art Teacher?s Diploma and a Certificate in Education of the University of Bristol. I lived and worked in Truro for over 30 years and became one of Cornwall's most popular artists. My paintings have been exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Paris and London and have been bought by collectors from all over the world. I have published 4 books which became local bestsellers - 'The Natural History of a Westcountry City', 'Margaret Merry's Cornish Garden Sketchbook', 'Sea & Sail' and 'Tidal Reaches'. In 2002 I moved to Spain and now live in the little coastal village of Las Negras in the heart of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata. I now get my inspiration from the dramatic scenery of Andalucia and its old cities, towns and villages which I usually capture in watercolour. I also enjoy figurative art, particularly nudes and dancers. For these paintings I use artists' soft pastels. I have written and illustrated 3 children's books - The Wise Old Boar, The Lonely Digger and The Adventure of Princess The Pony - which have been published in the USA.
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