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Friday, 17 November 2017

Expensive...

It's been an interesting day to say the least!

My hopes of a simple job on the Montero went out of the window, I left home at 7.30am for an 8am appointment to find Javier already at work, I think he had been panicking because he hadn't finished a job from yesterday, and was still working on it. He said he would start on mine as soon as he had finished. I went off for a walk, paid a bill, had a coffee, and returned at 9.30am, but he was still nowhere near finishing the previous job, I wasn't happy, what is the point in an appointment? He had my number, he could have rung me.

There was no point in getting worked up over it, I still needed the work doing on the Differential, so I walked to Niquía and the Commercial Centre 'Puerta del Norte', on the way I messaged Marcela, as I had planned on being home for lunch, before she left for work, she said she would meet me for lunch, crafty!!!

Whilst I was sat in the Commercial Centre, Javier rang me, but as always when they get excited, Colombians talk too fast, and on the phone, I had no hope, so I told him I would get Marcela to ring him, which she did, and it wasn't good news, the ring gear and one of the pinion gears were worn so much, teeth were missing, and causing movement, they needed replacing, and he needed my consent to order the parts, which should arrive during the afternoon (it sounds as if I know what I am talking about, I don't, I had to look up the parts, I am hopeless with anything mechanical, give me wood any day). Consent given, and having no idea of the cost, I met up with Marcela for lunch.

After lunch, we were only a hop skip and a jump from where we had had professional photos taken a couple of weeks a go, I hasten to add, it was not my idea, but it kept the peace, the photos were due to be ready for collection on Sunday, but we called in anyway, and they were ready.

Marcela was happy, and to be honest they are nice photos, out of about two dozen taken, we had had to select a package of three.


It's amazing what wearing black, on a black background hides, I didn't have to breathe in once! hahaha, although after these on the ground, Marcela had to help me up again afterwards. Now I just have to make the frames.

From the photographers, it was back to Javier, he was in the process of draining my petrol tank, which was nearly full, so how much of it I will get back is debatable. He was going to have to pay for the parts when they arrived, so needed cash, he thought about 500,000 COP, but wasn't sure, we asked him to ring and get a quote, because I was coming back home, which isn't just down the road. It turned out that he was way out, the price is 860,000COP that's without the oil, and the labour bill of 250,000 COP, here that is considered damned expensive, but when you convert it, to £303 / US$400 it seems like a bargain, I hate to think what it would have cost me back in the UK.

Javier showed us the worn parts, and we agreed that we would return in the morning to collect the car rather than him try to rush it, Marcela is staying at her Mum's after work. I handed over the cash for the parts, and then we went on to the Shop, where I left Marcela, and came home to a raptuous welcome from the boys.

As I keep saying, I could sell the Montero, but there is no guarantee the next car would be any better, younger yes, but it could cost me a fortune, this one is costing me about 2,000,000 COP a year in maintenance. Since I bought it, I have had the timing belt replaced, clutch, carburetor , water pump, battery, new set of tyres, and now this. Some time in the future it will also require a new starter motor, but hopefully that will come in next years bills. As long as it doesn't escalate from that budget I'll keep going with it, I have to admit to a certain fondness for this car!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Bloody Cheek!

Last night we received our latest Water Bill, along with it was a letter announcing the annual 'Shareholders' Meeting on Saturday at 8am, the letter goes on to say that the meeting is Obligatory, and there will be sanctions for those who do not attend!

I have to say, the tone of the letter left a lot to be desired, we are 'Shareholders' only in as much as the Water Company is the property of all the residents in the area, you don't actually own anything, as soon as you move your relationship ends. 

This causes a problem for us, Marcela has to work, and when anyone speaks at the normal speed here, which is fast, I am left behind and don't understand what they are on about. As a result I went up to the Office this morning, unfortunately the Manager was not there, so I explained to his Secretary, she thought it was hilarious, I asked what the sanction was for not attending, she said it was financial, I don't understand that, as far as I am aware we have never had a fine in the past, and we have certainly never attended before. I told her that the only option was for me to go up there for 9am, and walk out after 10 minutes, there would be no point in me staying if I don't understand what is being said, and on past history of any meeting here, it will probably last between two and three hours! She said she would get José to contact me when he came into the Office, it's now 2.30pm and I haven't heard from him so far!

It has been a rotten morning, raining for most of the time, there was a short break in the weather, so at least the dogs got their walk. Lunchtime came, and the sun came out, so it was time for some work. Marcela left to take over from her Mum in the shop, and I decided to help her out.

The swimming pool has always been Marcela's responsibility, the last couple of weeks, it has been filthy, because of work going on nearby, so Marcela has spent the last couple of days, getting the chemical levels correct, also getting all the dust and dirt to settle on the bottom, so once she had gone, I set up the vacuum, and gave the bottom it's first clean.


It looks 95% clean now, we`ll just let the last of the sediment settle, then give it another vacuum, this is the problem when you inherit a water tank, as opposed to a pool with built in filters and pump!
It could do with the water topping up, but as the clouds are already gathering again, and the wet season isn't over yet, I'll leave it, to get filled naturally, it will probably be dirty rain anyway, so the cleaning will continue.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Continuing Problems!

Sunday night wasn't much better, the music varied in volume throughout the night, but Monday being a Bank Holiday, didn't bring a lot of change, Marcela spoke with a Patrol on duty at the Station, over the phone, he said a patrol had been the previous evening, but stated the volume was not that high, I checked the video tape, and they had attended at 5.56pm, some sixteen hours after my first phone call.

Marcela had had enough,  having heard a rumour that the Mayordomo had paid off the Patrol from a previous incident about four weeks ago,  without letting me know, she went up to confront the Mayordomo, whilst there, she had an audience of the people renting the Finca, some of whom apologised, then Marcela saw a Police Patrol and caught their attention, they understood the problem, but said their hands were tied, the responsibility being with the Mayordomo to control the Renters, another neighbour passed whilst they were talking and also said he had had no sleep. Nothing was mentioned about the rumour, as we had nothing to back it up.

Yesterday, Marcela spoke with the Administrator of the finca de recreo, on the phone, he stated that he had spoken both with the Mayordomo and the Police, but didn't think there was a problem,  however he accepted it was one for us, and said he had spoken with the family, of which he is part, and although the finca is rented out each week-end between now and Christmas, the family are then going to move in, and in the New Year, they will move in permanently. Marcela informed him that we will monitor the situation, and will take action if the music volume is not controlled. It was left at that.

We have new neighbours, the 'local' outside our gate was used as a Stationers when we first came, but the woman sold the property to her brother, after being empty for ages, it was then a 'restaurant' of sorts run by his daughter, but she never kept to her opening times, and failed, now it is a Barbers shop


It is a really strange place to try this business, because we are half way up a mountain in the middle of nowhere, and it has to support three lads.

On Saturday when it opened, it was humming, but I don't think they have had a customer since, probably because they had cut everyones hair in the area. I chatted with them today, and they are really down, I honestly hope this works for them, because we could have had much worse businesses here.

We are on School holidays which doesn't help, had the kids been at school they would all be passing daily. I made the suggestion, that they put a sign outside, offering half price haircuts to kids under 10, between the hours of 10 and 4, when adults are working, keep that up until the end of the school holidays, and they should then have a good client base, they seemed to think that was an excellent idea, but would extend it to all students, we will see if they follow up on it.

My Montero went in for work on it yesterday, I am not sure what work Javier did on it, but it hasn't resolved the problem, and he didn't work on the differential, which is what he thought the problem was, so I rang him again today, and booked it in for Friday, to drain the Diff oil, remove the cover and put new liquid gasket on it, after it has been cleaned, hopefully that will do the job, if not, I will have to look elsewhere for help.