My Home, Sweet Home, in Andalucia

Actually in Vera, Almeria

The old town of Vera, which lies at a mere 10km distance from the Mediterranean Sea, at 15km of the well known town of Mojacar.

Modern as it is, it has a long history and a peculiar culture one only gets to understand by living there for a while.

On taking the bold step in coming to China, I left my home as it was, locked the door and prayed that no damaging events would occur in my absence. After all, I used to look after so many properties that people would only visit once or twice a year... if that. I have considered renting it out for long term, but I've never found the trustworthy type of tenant, who'd leave me free of headaches and heart palpitations.

Home from home, for the suitable visitor

However, should the gracious, deserving guests be introduced to me and like the house, I would open the doors to welcome them from my heart.

This is the view from the little balcony outside the main bedroom - a little park called The Plaza of the Andalucian Poets. And for those inclined to take a stroll in the evening, our local Rambla (the man-made river bed) is at 50m distance.

I had worked on a project previously, for renting this house out as a writer's retreat in Andalucia, but that was before the crisis hit Spain badly and before I witnessed so many home owners who fell victims in the hands of unscrupulous, abusive tenants.

Having been a rental agent in the region before my last job in ValdeSerra College, I am aware how much effort one needs to spend to avoid problems, both small and big. I am convinced I couldn't find an agent who'd be prepared to spend that much effort in protecting me and my property against improper use.

However, I do have a healthy dose of faith in the goodness of human nature and, with the right introduction and the respectful approach towards what is a beautiful home, warts and all, somebody may just as well enjoy a home from home, be it as an escape from colder climates during the winter months,  or on a long term basis as such.

What makes a home?

The house is actually a duplex, with a large open-space living room, one kitchen, 3 bedrooms, 1 on-suite bathroom and a guest bathroom in the living room. Outdoor living is cosy in 3 areas: the patio by the entrance to the house, the main bedroom's balcony and the back patio.

The first two get the sunshine for the most part of the day, until around 3-4pm, whereas the latter gets the scorching sun around midday, as if under a magnifying glass.

The climbing plants are screening the upstairs balconies by now, offering significant privacy and shade.

A barking dog was not an option. Instead... I couldn't resist buying my front door guardian and protector of the house. Somebody in the shop suggested the name of Bono, as that was the name of the Defence Minister in Spain at the time...

The staircase is of marble (Rojo de Alicante), which fits in nicely with the flooring on the ground floor. However, there is no handrail on either side of the stairs and this may make the house unsuitable to a family with children or to disabled people. This was a deliberate interior design choice of mine...

The solid wood round table, seating four people is still there and the top of the sofa you see in the picture above is now in the corner, in front of the mirror (below).

Under the staircase, there's room and sufficient power points (4) for the TV, DVD player, the satellite dish receiver (for the usual free channels, but including the BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Euronews, CNN, sports/fitness channels and all the radio channels one can think of). Due to lack of use for such a prolonged time, the satellite dish is now obsolete, but digital satellite is now popular in the region.

The furniture is arranged differently and the empty wall on the right is now taken up by a comprehensive library, from floor to ceiling, which is my pride and joy.

Here you can see the entrance to the kitchen and the sliding door to the back patio. In the mirror you can also see light coming through a similar sliding door leading to the front patio with the garden, full of mature plants by now.

On the left of the sink, there is a gas cooker, with oven and the washing machine. Basic, but functional.

I preferred the rustic look in the kitchen as well, to the modern fitted kitchen cabinets. Note the cutlery holder - a genuine hunting bullet belt.

Three rooms upstairs: a bedroom, a dressing room and a study

The double bed has a good, healthy mattress and 2 orthopedic pillows are available in the house. You can watch the sunrise from the comfort of this bed...

The space on the left is now taken by a big shelving unit, with drawers, housing my bedding and towels.

I altered the plans of the house, in order to have this bedroom en-suite.

There are two portable gas heaters in the house: one for upstairs and one for downstairs. Apart from this, there are two airconditioning/heating units: an Orbegozo in the living room and an LG in the bedroom. However, I'm not sure if these are still working, given the prolonged non-use. There is another electric heater, with a coal flame simulation and 3 heat levels with a fan behind it, in a pretty fireplace unit in this bedroom, but sadly I have no pictures of it...

The bathroom is small, but functional. A 170cm bathtub with jacuzzi facility (both water and air jets), toilet and sink built into a cabinet... no bidet though.

The hot water is by bottle gas heating, however much I wished to install solar heating and hot water facilities when I first bought the house.

This bathroom also has a small window overlooking the back patio.

The study is where I used to spend most of my time, working on a project or another. It would probaby be a good idea to store my personal belongings in here safely.

The dressing room is next to the bathroom and it also has an additional double futon bed. However, once opened, it will fill the room uncomfortably.

Where is it located?

Without disclosing its exact location, the house is at 2min walk from the Lidl supermarket, at 5min walk from the Mercadona in Vera and 1min from the bus station, where one can take some comfortable coaches to visit the whole of Spain, should one be so inclined. It is conveniently located at the back entrance of Vera, from the ring road taking one to the motorway for Almeria and Murcia.

From this corner you can (just) see my house, with the white car in front.

Taken from the same corner, at the end of this street is the Lidl supermarket.

So, what's the bottom line then?

I'm sure there will be more details I would need to cover before everything is set to run smoothly, but let's take it step be step and have more relevant discussions when the time is ripe for them. A visit to the property can be arranged, for your kind consideration and decision whether or not this suits your needs.

This information will help in the process though - how much will it cost?

I think a reasonable amount for me, would be €100 per week plus bills payable extra. Any weeks that are not taken complete (for example the tenant would wish to arrive/leave in the middle of the week), would be rounded up to the standard €100 in rent. It's not the normal, going rate, it is rather a price on par with rental costs in a basic apartment on the coast, but I would also consider the care and consideration the right tenant would extend as an additional value and it would make me happy to know that this is also paid towards the property and the plants.

The bills will be electricity, water, gas and rubbish collection, with telephone and Internet connection as an optional addition. I cancelled the telephone and the electricity when I left, but they would easily be re-connected on request.

In conclusion, when can I welcome you for a visit?

Hoping that you liked my little presentation of my home, may I extend you an invitation for a preliminary visit? Sadly I will only be with you in spirit, but a good friend of mine can take you there and show you around, and we can talk in person at that time, on her mobile, about any further questions you may have.

The easiest point of contact is for you to use this form to send me a message, shouls you wish to visit. This is going to be a private email, and it will not be posted on the Internet.

In case you have already found your dream home, I wish you all the best and lots of happiness in it. Be healthy, happy and enjoy your new surroundings. With love, Lucia