“Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
And so say all of us! The work that’s going on around us – with neighbours prettifying their properties or building extensions – has now reached fever pitch. After what seems like years of non-activity, people are taking the plunge and going for it. Heavily laden lorries are delivering huge amounts of stuff, tradesmen are arriving early and knocking off at 10.30 for breakfast and 2.30 for lunch, maybe returning later in the afternoon.
As one neighbour remarked sniffily, “well, the town hall is not giving out any permits, so your guess is as good as mine.” It seems the Spanish are more likely to get away with ‘illegal’ constructions of any type than we incomers. The newly-built (this year) house across the valley (one of three Spanish-owned properties that have popped up recently) is now in the process of being adorned with a swimming pool.
Compared to all of this, our own project was rather more modest and I would imagine a lot less costly. I can’t see many having the vision to create something of natural beauty from virtually nothing like Joe has managed to do in his inimitable way; grovelling around in the basura; collecting sand, aggregate and cement from the local stores in a dodgy trailer to save the delivery charge and then eschewing mechanical help to power his way through 1.5m of rock.
I’m talking about what we grandly call our plunge pool, which I mentioned in passing a few posts ago. The idea germinated while Zoe and Jamie were here as we rather got the taste for splashing around in water via the plastic pool. Hey presto! Our cracked and unused 3,000 litre depósito had suddenly found a new use!
The ideas came thick and fast and organically grew, rather like the pool itself. Why not continue the sexy curve of the stone wall completed a few months earlier, and put a wall around the pool? How about having a small waterfall using the plastic pool’s little pump – would it be powerful enough? Shall we use up the concrete blocks, terracotta tiles etc that we have lying around?
The hole was lined with a layer of sand and we then had to avoid knocking scalpings into the yawning chasm as anything sharp would have torn a hole in the base of the depósito. The thought of it leaking and the subsequent difficulty in repairing it was not something worth contemplating.
Amid lots of checking and double-checking of measurements, the brute was laid on its side like a beached whale and slid into place over an old sheet draped decorously around the hole. It was fun deflating the plastic pool with its 5,700 litres of water, about half of which was siphoned off to the depósito, the remainder being gratefully received by the plants in the garden.
Joe had already done some preparatory work inside the depósito to re-site the inlet and outlet holes for the pump, but it did unfortunately necessitate a quick dive to check all was ok. It was at this point that a humble depósito was upgraded to the official title of ‘pool’.
The pool wall was constructed of double thickness blocks infilled with cement and the plan was to continue the curve and join up seamlessly with the existing stone wall, to mirror what we’d done the other side of the house.
We bought a few things; traditional clay roof tiles – amazing how cheap they were – and also the floor tiles put on top of the finished pool wall. The pump was hidden within the wall behind a home-made pine door and it was a tense moment to see if it would be man enough to cope with the height needed for a nice little waterfall.
A few coats of our signature brown paint and some Moorish designs around the side later, and it’s almost ready for use. As I’m not quite as athletic as Joe, there is only one thing left to do and that is to fit a ladder so I can get in and out.
We commandeered the Mitsubishi’s stainless steel one (why would anybody want to get on the roof of a 4×4 anyway?) but it’s not fitted yet. There’s no great pressing need at the moment as, although the air temperature is warming up nicely, the water temperature is hovering around 22 deg, so maybe it’s not quite warm enough for me.
We’re very pleased with how it’s all gone, and how it looks. It’s tucked away behind a lovely stone wall and a semicircle of Arizonica trees, through which you can glimpse the stunning backdrop of the Sierras. I can’t wait to take the plunge!