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Doubts and certainties

Despite her tender years Maggie has seniority. She took up residence in Spain on 21 August 2004. I was with her then but I had to return to the UK and didn't finally arrive in Spain, along with Mary the cat and the MGB, for good, until 7 October 2004.

We bought the house in Culebrón on 10 January 2005. My diary for that day says, as we turned the key in the lock for the first time: "I didn't feel elated, I didn't feel doubtful. I didn't think we'd made a dreadful mistake. I didn't think we'd got a bargain. I'm not sure what we've got and I'm not sure how it will all pan out when the dust has settled."

Yesterday we signed the contract on our new rented flat in Cartagena, that's the fifth flat we've rented here since we started our Spanish adventure back in 2004. This time we're slap bang in the centre of town, within yards of Puertas de Murcia one of the streets with the big chain clothes stores on it. We expect it to be a great place to live.

As we turned the key in the lock I didn't feel elated, I didn't feel doubtful, I didn't think we'd made a dreadful mistake. I didn't think we'd got a bargain. I'm not sure what we've got and I'm not sure how it will all pan out when the dust has settled.

We knew that we were sacrificing things for the location. With the money we're paying in rent we could probably have got a really nice place on the outskirts but we wanted town centre - for the life, to enjoy the vivacity of Spain - the marcha - and we also thought it may be safer, trafficless, for Eduardo the cat.

There were two things that we'd accepted about the flat right form the start. The first is that it has only one bathroom; it will be the first time that Maggie and I have ever shared our habitual bathroom in all our years together. The second is that the flat is totally enclosed and has no views whatsoever; blank walls and our own internal patio are the only vista.

It's odd about choosing a house. So far as I remember I've never spent more than a few minutes looking around the houses or flats that I've subsequently lived in. When we got into the flat yesterday it was all a bit of a surprise. I didn't really have much of a memory of what it was like. It probably wasn't as good as I'd remembered, more enclosed somehow, and I thought some of the furniture was quite horrid.

What I do know is that, as we arrived back in Culebrón and I looked around I thought how much I like our house.


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I need to qualify this a bit further. It's easy to find a place if you are willing to pay an estate agent. The other options involve walking around random streets looking for to rent signs with your mobile phone to hand. We've only ever done it a couple of times and it has not produced good results.
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The estate agent method is the most straightforward but also the most costly. The standard charging process…

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When I wrote the last post on this blog - Looking for a flat - I should really have written it on the Life in Culebrón blog because that's where I am at the moment.

In fact, apart from working in Cartagena it looks as though my links with the place are about to be cut. I am in the process of signing up for a flat in La Unión and the logic of naming the blogs must mean that the active ones are the places where I have a kettle. La Unión and El Culebrón.

There is a tab at the top of the page to navigate there or this is the link

Casting off

School term is over in Spain. It's summer. Nearly everyone from Cartagena is at the beach. The town is quiet and we are done, at least till the new academic year when I'll be back to do a bit more English teaching.

We've cleared everything from the flat. We've carted our belongings up the road to Culebrón. We've handed over the keys of the flat. So goodbye to town life for a while and goodbye to Cartagena till I get back there in hot and sticky September.

In the meanwhile you can follow our adventures (sic) at Life in Culebrón