Down, but not out! The lady “bodge-it” lives on.

Last night the heavens opened its storm drains across the Lower Ebro Valley. Boy did we receive some rain! Lovely for the olives and the mandarin groves, but not for pelting down on our finca´s old flat roof.

Our roofer, could not have been called back to the UK at a worse time, but it couldn’t be helped. He did make a valiant start on repairing it with the aid of our one son home on leave, on one of the few sunny days we have had over the last few weeks. But it is so darn hard lifting concrete via the bucket full up and down the ladder and no electrical hoist. Besides I was struggling to assist on the old concrete mixer while nursing a gout ridden right elbow. I know – I am only a woman!

In the the afternoon we had to abandon it as we could not get the concrete up fast enough before it was drying. We needed more labourers. These we have recruited for when the roofer returns in a fortnight.

The issue is the old roof is flat and meets an extension that is sloping away and has been flat tiled. The join had Spanish tiles across them in brick line formation. So what we were trying to do, was to put a slope on the old flat roof, remove the Spanish tiles and overlap the sloping roof . So a third of the Spanish tiles had been removed so we could start work. However, we only covered half the distance we planned to and so the water has been pouring in the uncovered bit where the buildings meet.

At 4.00am this morning I gave up trying to sleep. Walked blindly into our bathroom and thought I was being attacked by two fire hoses. The rain was gushing in through the bathroom ceiling. Luckily I had, had the foresight not to switch on the light as we have hidden ceiling lights and gauged most of the water was finding an exit through the ceiling sockets. We have beautiful white panel slotted ceiling – well for another day, anyway. I fumbled about in the linen cupboard and laid out on the floor what big bath towels I could find.

Now to check on the rest of the house. Our bedroom and second bedroom had two very large wet patches and we have a new crack in our traditional ceiling board and very close to the bed. Nothing I can do about that at that time of the night. Shuffled barefoot into the utility room and nearly skidded out the back door. To say it was leaking like a sieve was an understatement, but all I could find were 2 mop buckets in the dark – well water and electric don’t mix. Well, it would have to do until morning.

I collapsed on the couch, thankful that the lounge was dry and the kitchen. I could only assume Mom’s room was dry. My head was splitting. Stress, lack of sleep and struggling to think how on earth I am going to cope for another fortnight until “he” would be back.

I must have drifted off but woke with the  the resolution, there “must be another way”.  Okay all our taupaulin covers were ripped last winter with the gale force winds off Mont Caro. But I hadn’t given up yet! So I was up and rummaging about under pool room and terrace-cum-garage to see what waterproof coverings I could find.

I found a huge old deflated dingy, and 3 very good quality, heavy plastic lilo beds. Got you! You can laugh, but if it slows the rain down, I am happy.

Up goes the extension ladder and I drag these up onto the roof and nearly fall off in the process, being one of the ladies that suffer with vertigo. I kept saying to myself, “Come on girl.You can do it! Focus on the problem not the height!”

I laid them on top of each other across the gaping joint and then , fortunately found two big grey roofing blocks left up there. Weighed them, down at each end and then piled all the rubble (that was still up there) on top of it. That is not going anywhere in the wind and rain -well, hopefully not his week anyway, but should “make do” for the bathroom problem.

Now next room – found some flat floor tiles and laid these on top of the others but not so the joints line up and have weighed them down with bricks and the remaining rubble.

I have lived in Africa! I have seen how the “kraal” houses hold their roofs on …

Being born in Africa has made me more resourceful. Yet, living in Spain teaches you to be frugal and possibly a problem solver through necessity, especially when a finca reformation over runs budget.

This lady “homesteader” may be down in spirit, but not out! The lady “Bodge-it” lives on for another day.

Leave a Reply