This blog is brought to you, for a change, from on location in Sunny Sedella. Yes, we’re actually here and not having to write about it from a less than sunny outlook. As I start this latest thrilling instalment it’s currently 10 past 9 in the morning, I’m sitting on the terrace and looking out at the white painted houses, with the sun reflecting onto them. We’re not in the sun just yet but it won’t be too long before it swings around and bumps the temperature up.
We’ve been here just over a week now, so what have we been up to? The main aim was to buy a car and I’m happy to report that this has been achieved in pretty quick time. Just to fill in this process a little, when we were over last year, we looked at a few cars but the initial viewings were disappointing. Also, having been advised to give more scrutiny to ones that had been re-sprayed, we eventually gave up. All of them had been touched up, some more than others and none of them massively difficult to spot. Another time, I spoke with one garage, using my less than commanding knowledge of Spanish but arranged to look at a car. “Open at 2” the man said. We arrived closer to three to find it closed and a mechanic also waiting to get in. Just as we were leaving, the owner arrived and proudly took us to look at the car. Before we could get around to checking for any paint jobs, we couldn’t help but notice that there was at least one thing missing. The steering wheel! He wasn’t phased at all and in his less than commanding knowledge of English and my Spanish, we found out that the old one wasn’t very good and so he was waiting for another one. “A new one”? I asked, hopefully. “Another one” he replied. Needless to say,we left it at that and never got round to finding out if a test drive was still a possibility.
And so, we left the car buying to this next visit but, as I said at the beginning, it was to be a determined effort. First up, nice looking car, as far as you can judge by looking at the online photos but up close and personal, it had been re-sprayed here and there and there and there. Not to mention the paint initially looking ripply but then on closer inspection, it appeared that some of the panels looked pockmarked. So, onto the industrial estate just outside the airport and the car shows no signs of re-spraying at all, one small dent but that makes it authentic I feel. It’s parked in the middle of a tightly spaced showroom but a test drive is no problem at all. Mrs S is adamant she wants to sit in the rear of the car, so I get in the drivers seat and the guy who does the valeting gets in the passenger seat and we set off out of the showroom. “Donde”? I ask. “No lo se” comes the reply. “Marbella?” I joke and hardly had the word left my mouth, when a resounding “No” came back, shortly followed by a louder “ROJO”. I saw the red light and braked and assumed he was a nervous passenger because we had plenty of time to slow down. I checked the rear view to see Mrs S smiling happily and with no sign of the Edvard Munch “Scream” pose I’d seen in Asturias. (Those who’ve had the fortitude to be with me from the beginning will know what I mean). The lights change to green and on we go, only this time, obviously concerned I might actually go to Marbella, the valet starts to give directions, adding that it’s a circular route that takes us back to the garage. He asks (in Spanish) if I know left and right, which I think is a bit late to be asking but I take great pride in saying yes. We turn further into the industrial estate and sitting on the side of the road is a rather well dressed lady. When I say well dressed, from what I saw, she was dressed for a night out, except that it was one ‘o’ clock in the afternoon. I didn’t want to cast aspersions, so I didn’t but checking up later, I found out that it can be area that is used by “ladies of the night” (and day it seems). Reading this back, I didn’t actually check it out physically as such, I mean I looked it up on the internet, which doesn’t sound much better. Moving on swiftly, after a brief tour of the estate, we arrive safely back at the garage. I ask the valet if I’ve passed and he says “Yes” and wanders off out of view.
We stay and look over the car again for good measure and it all seems fine and the mileage is low. We are then met by Mario, who we tell about wanting to buy the car and he ushers us over to his desk. We have lot’s of paperwork with us, to cover the usual requirements, passport, NIE number, recent utility bill and a copy of the escritura for the house, to name a few. All goes well until the escritura, which Mario has no interest in. Then after a lot of him trying to tell us in Spanish, showing us a computer screen with bar codes on and me not understanding, I resorted to phoning a friend, who was also not able to fully understand what Mario wanted. Finally, Mario also phones a friend who tells me in English, that we need paperwork from the tax office, showing that they know of our financial affairs in Spain. We’re confused because we bought the house in Spain a few years ago and dealt with the tax office then. He sees my point and tells me that they will contact the head office in Madrid, but that, as it’s Friday and now 2 ‘o’ clock, they’ve finished for the weekend. We tell him it won’t be a problem and will wait for the answer. Mario, then assures us that the car is reserved for us and we leave, feeling pretty upbeat, especially as no one had asked for a deposit. Monday came and the answer was that we could go ahead but that we should bring the escritura with us, yes, the one they weren’t interested in before the weekend. We arrange to go over there on the Wednesday and in the meantime, make sure the bank transfers the money over in time, which wasn’t as straight forward as we thought it would be but the guy in our local bank was fantastic and even phoned the garage to smooth the process through. I’m not sure the queue forming in the bank at an alarming rate behind us would agree but swings and roundabouts as they say. Car insurance is arranged with a phone call and a few e-mails later, we’re covered.
Wednesday arrives and we go to the garage, everything is sorted out quickly and we take over the new car, which of course is now running on fumes. A quick addition of 10 litres is added and off we go, along the motorway and eventually, up the hills and back to Sedella with no problems at all. We plan a trip to Torre el Mar on the Thursday, to go to the market and of course, the almost obligatory ice-cream on the seafront. We leave in the morning and take the alternative route to the coast, through Salares, Sayalonga and Algarobbo. All is going well until just outside Algarobbo, when there’s a loud bang rom the front right side of the car and Mrs S say’s she thinks we’ve had a puncture. Luckily the car is driving ok and I pull into a handy off-road space only a few metres further on. I get ut of the car, fearing the worst and see that the plastic wheel trim has a small chunk out of the edge and the actual wheel rim has about a two-inch dent, from which air is slowly leaking. I jump back in and tell Mrs S what has happened and she feels safe enough with my idea to drive through Algarobbo and park somewhere flat to change the wheel, We get down to the forecourt and change the wheel, with very little difficulty, although I don’t think I’ll ever be considered for F1 pit crew duties. Looking at the damaged wheel I say to Mrs S that it’s a pity the wheel couldn’t just be hit with a big hammer to sort it out.
I’m going to stop there, as it’s now 3 ‘o’ clock and as well as writing this blog today, I’ve been to Competa to buy more wood preservative, so I can finish the painting, stopped off at the nursery for Mrs S to get her fix of orange blossom and to also buy some more plants. If writing a blog is work, then this is my office and I’ve taken a photo to show one of the views from the office.
So, next time, I’ll finish off the tyre story and I can then do as Mrs S has already urged me to do and “Move on”. Although I’m sure she doesn’t mean move on to the industrial estate.
All Images © 2008- TheSlowWalkers