The month of May 2022 has mostly been about THE NEW KITCHEN! I’ve had another birthday, it came and went in a blur of delivery, dismantling and construction.

Part of the delivery! 158 boxes, we were supposed to check each number against the invoice…..impossible
Day one, some drawers put together and boxes unpacked and organised
Ready to start on day two

Of course as in all things “Crompton” it was not straightforward. The fitting team of a man and his wife worked extremely hard from 9 am until 7.30 pm on Day Two with hardly a break except to sit in their van for a quick ciggy and just two cups of coffee for the lady.

Busy, busy, busy!

However Ikea had not told us, or maybe it got lost in translation, that they don’t do plumbing so they had not plumbed in the sink and dishwasher. Also a part was missing to enable them to fit the gas hob. So on the evening of 5th May we had a lovely new kitchen but no hob and no sink!

But now we have moved back in and are almost there! The press open cupboard doors above the breakfast bar need replacing (on order). The fitter put handles on them by mistake so now they have screw holes in!
Mosaic tiles on order to provide a splash back behind the hob and maybe to cover the existing frieze around the middle. We decided not to go to the expense and disruption of replacing the wall and floor tiles as well.
Installation of under cupboard lighting is in progress and a new window blind needed, out of stock for now

We continued to use the motorhome for the essentials of washing up and cooking anything that required the hob until Nigel was able to sort out the sink and dishwasher. So there was a considerable amount of DIY needed to finish off. Despite these setbacks we are extremely pleased with it so far and it is looking very smart and practical. We have loads of storage space which includes many drawers instead of low level cupboards, much easier to access as we get older and room for us both to sit comfortably at the breakfast bar. There are still a few outstanding issues, not helped by the numerous different deliveries and workmen we have needed struggling to find us. Despite sending detailed directions (albeit translated by google) one delivery was still made to the campsite next door despite me writing “Do not approach via the campsite, it is a no through road.” It took a little working out where this particular delivery might have ended up when I got a message saying “I have given it to a girl in a caravan!” Grrrrrr! Luckily the “girl in the caravan” was very polite and said “no worries”.

Quite a transformation, the very colourful but rather dated original kitchen.

In the midst of this we have also had a team in to paint the inside of the house (all white) as we realised after painting the kitchen ceiling it was a daunting prospect for us to do ourselves with high ceilings and beams in all the rooms. We were lucky to get someone able to do it as quickly as we did, another result of the wet weather as they had outside jobs booked but couldn’t do them, so kindly fitted us in instead.

The weather has changed as you might have read in the news and we are currently in the middle of an unusual early May heatwave. The strange thing is that looking back on last year’s photos things in the garden are still weeks behind owing to the cold wet spring. This time last year the long awaited Jacaranda was in full purple glory whereas now it’s still in tight bud, bar a few wispy blooms that have opened. It’ll be very welcome when it arrives! I’ve started to use the pool again, it’s certainly very refreshing at the moment.

I had a hastily arranged whistle stop return to the UK on 7th and 8th May for our latest grandson’s Christening. I had only found out about it on my birthday, 3rd May during my phone call from Andrew and got off the phone wondering if it would be possible. There were flights at convenient times for €34 return so it seemed a no brainer as long as I had somewhere to stay. A quick WhatsApp exchange with my friend and ex colleague Julie and her husband Rob and B&B and very obliging chauffeur was arranged. It was a great weekend and I was really glad I was able to go, even the horrendous Manchester airport Monday morning security nightmare in a two and a half hour queue is now fading from my memory!

Proud Grandma moment
“How did you get here, Grandma?” asked Hattie with a big smile, the children didn’t know I was coming.

Back in Spain, the garden is bursting into summer life….I mentioned everything being later this year, well we can’t complain about lack of colour. I can’t name them all, sorry!!

One of the olive trees looking more ornamental by the day! Constantly needing a trim, it grows really fast!
Mr. C’s al fresco Sunday breakfast treat!
We picked up this rope on a beach last November, it’s still Poco’s favourite play thing!

I’ve no more news on the Stone Curlews that we thought might be nesting in the olive groves. We still hear them regularly but after we got back from our last trip in the motorhome they were no longer sitting in the same spot every day. So maybe the young had fledged and moved on.

Current highlight of the month is another crepuscular bird we have heard but not seen. Red necked nightjars are around and about shouting at us from about 10 pm onwards for several nights.

Little did I know when I wrote that a couple of weeks ago that we would soon have another spectacular garden visitor, Nigel noticed owl pellets under one of our Californian pepper trees just a few afternoons ago and when he looked up, there was a splendid long eared owl roosting there. It seemed unfazed by us and the dogs and stayed about 15 feet up just a few metres from our house for several hours. A great photo opportunity and we are still chuffed about it. He had gone the next morning and he hasn’t been back yet to our knowledge. It’s our first sighting of one of these beautiful creatures.

Long eared owl in the pepper tree
This tiny (Pygmy?) shrew, no longer than my thumb saved himself from a watery death when he fell in the pool by clambering onto the chlorine dispenser from where we were able to rescue him.
Maybe he’d make a tasty snack for a long eared owl!(For scale, the lettering is 3mm tall)
I don’t think I’ve published a blog post yet without Ditto in, so here he is! Oh, checking back before I publish, I realise he’s also in the kitchen picture taken on the day we viewed the house….oh well, you can’t have too much Ditto!
Dear old Belle will be 13 next week, here she is having a snuggle with Poco.
And that Jacaranda I mentioned. In full splendour now a few weeks later. Even better against a blue sky but it’s a bit grey this morning!

Counting down now to Sweden at the end of next month, we fly up on 23rd June and return on 4th July so next month’s blog might be slightly delayed!

Hasta Luego, todos mis amigos