Winging it

A view to fly for

It seems an age since light has flooded into our little house in rural Mallorca. Only the front door is open while we have the builders working on the roof; all the other external shutters are firmly closed to protect the windows and other glazed doors from debris – and the occasional dropped tile – falling from above (usually followed by loud shouting in Arabic). Having been going on for just over two weeks, our mole-like existence is set to continue for a few more days yet . . .

From flying tiles . . .

I’m not complaining, because the workers seem to be doing a brilliant job, working like the artisans that they clearly are, but I miss being able to see the country views through the windows. Although the weather has been lovely, we feel pretty much confined indoors because the area around the house has become a rather hazardous zone; we have a pretty impressive hat collection, but they’re mostly of the straw variety and unlikely to deflect the pain from a flying terracotta tile.

. . . to flying predators

So, to remind myself of what I’m missing, I’ve found a photo (taken with a zoom lens) I took from the sitting room one day, of a kestrel checking out the Mediterranean cypress tree just outside the house. Given the current level of noise around here, I doubt there are any kestrels to be seen at the moment . . . but they’ll be back. Impressive, eh?

The rain in Spain could be less of a pain

Testing, testing  . . . yep, the roof appears to be watertight. We’ve had enough rain over the weekend on Mallorca to put the repairs to the test, and the various buckets that usually come into play during stormy weather haven’t been necessary. The timing of the repair project couldn’t have been better: the builders finished applying the concrete over the roof surface on Thursday evening . . . and the rain started on Friday.

Black is black

The house currently looks like a total reformation project. The Boss has swathed all of the window shutters in black plastic to protect them from concrete splatters – and the plastic will remain until the tiles are back on the roof and the workmen have headed for projects new. Now I know what it feels like to be a mole . . .

At 7.50am this morning, the gang reported for duty. There was even a modest amount of stomping about on the roof – which must have been slippery after all the rain. But by 8.30am, they were sitting in their minibus, eating their second breakfast, and peering out through the misted-up windows. And that was the last we saw of them for today. Rain stopped work – and rightly so; we don’t want any builders sliding off the roof, thank you!

An unexpected visit

We’ve probably all heard negative stories about Spanish builders, so here’s a positive one:  On Friday – a public holiday here – Juan, the senior foreman, drove out to our house during a heavy shower, to check that we didn’t have any leaks inside the house. Now that’s what I call service.

Who lives in a house like this? Er, we do.

Pussycat Palio

After a weekend without builders, the men are back at our finca in Mallorca. And they’ve increased in number. The foreman told us this morning that rain is forecast for later this week and they’re keen to ensure that we have at least the new lining on the whole roof, so that we don’t have any serious leaks indoors. So an extra pair of hands has been drafted in to speed up the process. And the decibel level of the conversation level has ratcheted up too. They’re speaking Arabic, so I’ve no idea what they’re talking about, but it sounds jolly lively.

A pillow of stones

As I write, the men have just finished their lunchtime siesta; after they’ve eaten their packed lunches, they stretch out on the ground and have a snooze. It really can’t be comfortable, with so many stones in our field, but they return to the job – and their ongoing conversation – with renewed vigour.

During their break, while things are quiet again, we catch up on any phone calls and snatch a bite of lunch outside, on the one part of the terraces that hasn’t been taken over by stacks of roof tiles. For a change, we’re eating alone: our family of outdoor cats heads for the hills as soon as the builders arrive. None of them is keen on strangers. We’ll not see them now until this evening, when all is quiet again.

In fine race form and waiting for nightfall.

And they’re off!

But we’re certainly hearing them. In the middle of the night. One or two of our outdoor cats have previously ventured up onto the roof, but now that the tiles are off and there’s a smooth flat surface up there, it’s become the venue for what sounds to us (beneath it) like the feline equivalent of the Palio di Siena horse race.

The cats are clearly having fun, even if I’m not really enjoying the disruption, dirt and the din. Still, I have tomorrow to look forward to: I’ll be out for a couple of hours, as I have a dental appointment. I never thought there’d come a day when I’d rather have a back tooth extracted than stay at home . . .