Our Welsh friends Colin and Margaret,(plus Roger from Devon, in England) rolled up to the Peaceable Kingdom right on time yesterday, bearing great sackfuls of cheddar cheese and Polyvinylacrylate. (One of these is for eating. The other is for sticking concrete to plaster to wood, etc. It´s not a good idea to confuse the two, but it only has to happen once.)
We barbecued a great pile of lamb chops with rosemary and yogurt, Paddy made couscous and green beans. The herbs were from our garden, the firewood from the mountain of scrap out back, the lamb from Justi and Olivia´s flock, and the new wine was from Leon. Everyone feasted hugely. Roger, a retired lawyer with a plummy accent, told us about owning two donkeys and one-tenth of a racehorse. Colin and Margaret, who stayed here back when the house was intact, said this blog exaggerates the dire nature of our condition... the place is in a lot better shape than I let on!
So my apologies for misleading anyone. We DO have a roof, and a second floor, and even some walls in there. So all is not lost!
Anyway, we all repaired to the Irish pub in Sahagún after dinner, where the Guinness flowed freely and many opinions were aired. In the middle of all this Paddy´s mobile phone trilled out its merry ¨Mexican Hat Dance" tune, which means someone is calling.
Pad went out into the entryway to answer, as Real Madrid was playing football on the big screen and little else was audible over all our opinions.
It was Mario, the Head Bozo, the builder who walked off our house rehab job back in August with about 30K total in extra Euros in his pocket. (For some reason making business calls at 10 p.m.) He told Paddy he really wants to come back to work on the house.
Paddy was so gobsmacked (and maybe a bit Guinness-ed) he didn´t know what to say. So he told him to call back in the morning.
And miracle of miracles, Mario did. (Only a half-hour late, and right in the middle of our morning arrival at Moratinos, which also included a loose dog and a roofer.)
The phone call tells us a thing or two:
Mario must´ve gotten some legal papers finally, and realized he´s in the doodoo unless he does something quick
OR Mario is going to try to get some more money out of us
OR Mario´s really going to honor the contract and do the work agreed-upon.
OR We´ll get nasty and legal on his butt and try to make him cough up about 30,000 Euros, which will take a long time and may never happen anyway, seeing what a sad sack this bugger is.
So. Back on the phone with Paco the Red lawyer, who seems to think putting Mario back to work is a good idea.
Things are moving along. I really had hoped never to see Mario´s scavey old face again, but hey... even if it means he just does another couple of weeks of work before he buggers off again, that´s two weeks of work done that we already paid-for. We already have estimates in hand from other contractors, so we´re ready when and if that occurs. (if he does it again we´ll just call the cops this time.)
Hey! We´re going to have a habitable house one of these days!
The weather continues gloriously sunny and chilly as a well-digger´s knee. The Sahagún apartment doesn´t have a thermostat, so it gets pretty nippy there at night, too... but I am glad we have that place to go.
Our buds rolled on to Rabanal del Camino this morning. They are part of the ´working party´ that closes up the English Confraternity´s fabulous pilgrim hostel up there in November... that is how we know these guys. We were volunteer hosts at Refugio Gaucelmo the summer of 2003, and Colin and Margaret were our replacements. Great people, like most hospitaleros. And now if we ever want to hang out in Wales, or Devon, we have a place to go!
If we ever get out of here. By the time our Dream House is finished we may have neither the money nor inclination to ever leave it again.
Unless, of course, it is Thanksgiving time. In which case tradition dictates we go to Paris.