Monday, 16 July 2018

Funny Old Day!

It's been a funny sort of a day, Marcela left home at 7.30am for a meeting of the VeedurĂ­a (Environmental Protection) in Bello, and shortly after I left home to go food shopping in Copacabana, and then onto Bello to buy materials to prepare for the Swimming pool project.

I was going to buy clear plastic sheeting to cover the pool, but it was a 20% more expensive than black, so black it is!

I arrived back home about midday, and then received a call from Marcela before she went to work, she has been dragged out of her meeting by a call from the Planning Dept in Copacabana, regarding the application by 'Enimigo' to legalise the Barbers and apartment above. It appears that he is trying to get our agreement to resolve issues before he is tagged by the Inspection of Urban Affairs, which would save him paying the fines...It isn't going to happen, Marcela has spoken with our other neighbour, and she has said that she will never agree to let things slide, we have been campaigning for over two years to get this resolved.

Unless, he blocks all the windows, reduces the illegal third floor to a minimum of a patio only, then there will be no agreement.

It turns out that he has even produced a certificate to say that the sewerage from the building is piped into a neighbours tank...I don't think so, in fact I am sure not, because the previous owner didn't even know where it went. This has been put to the Planning dept. because without a septic tank, the building can't be habitable, and it has no land to put one on.

Marcela is going to see the Planning Dept, to see what is going on, we have a feeling that 'Enimigo' is trying to do just as we feared, grease someone's palm! So I have told Marcela, that we will put some other spending plans on hold, and use the cash for legal action, but using lawyers and Judges outside the area, so it won't be in the 'Old Boys' network. If it is found that the law is not being complied with, then we will take those involved to Court, including the Planning Dept.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

My Next Project

This project is going to take months, so needs some careful preparation, and it has already got off to a rocky start.

Swimming Pool renovation!  I will be clear on this, we have no intention of refilling the swimming pool during our time here, we don't use it enough, and to be honest, because of that, neither of us has enough interest to  maintain it. so there is always the possibility it will collapse, without water to keep pressure on the sides.

Last night and today, I have been emptying the pool, of what water was left in it (about half), after evaporation and leaks. We had consulted some time ago with the local water company, and were told we could empty the water into the road, as long as it was free of chemicals, and from the number of mosquitoes present, it obviously was.

However doing this seemed to attract some unwanted attention, especially from one of Enimigos, black druggie employees, who decided to take photos, not that I am worried, about that, because I have video of them swilling paint down the road, from when they were working on the illegal apartment.

This is just a clip from the video to show what I mean.

The only people who could take action against us are the Town Hall, but since they have failed in their responsibilities

in repairing the communal septic tank further up the road, and allowed urine etc. to flow down the road for months, I don't think they are in any position to say anything, or at least it gives me ammunition if they do.

Anyway the pump was diverted into our septic trap, and then into the pipe to the stream, we kept checking to ensure there were no leaks in the neighbour's lane below, there weren't, so we were able to dispose of the water.

The pump stopped with about an inch of water left in the pool

This was taken a few minutes before the pump stopped.
I then started bailing out the rest by hand, using a jug and mop buckets, but in the heat, and after 20 buckets, it was exhausting, and getting nowhere, so I talked it over with Marcela, who offered to help when she got home from work, but the shallow end is dry, so I can work on that, and hopefully the sun will evaporate the rest in the mean time.

I have bought myself an oscillating multi-tool, and now the job is to decide which tiles need replacing, and the rest, I will remove all the grout, using the multi-tool, then re-grout the whole pool.

It is going to take weeks if not months, so the intention is to buy enough polythene to rig up a tent like cover over the top, to both give protection from rain, and allow me to continue working even if it is wet. with the pool itself being 6m x 4m that will be a fair expanse of polythene, so I am going to have to rig up some supports. The existing pool cover, would have been too heavy for this purpose.

Once all that is done, the path around the pool will have to be tiled, as the existing path is cracking due to land movement.

Then once it is all finished, we will again consider putting the finca on the market, and moving far  away from here.

Thursday, 12 July 2018


It's been an unsual day today, it was the usual start, dogs walked, Marcela's breakfast prepared for her to take with her to work, and then sit down for an interview at 9am, I had been asked if I would take part in Research on British Expats in Colombia, the Researcher was a very nice Colombian Lady married to a Brit, and currently in the UK, so it was a skype interview.

I'm not sure whether it was because she put me at ease, or because I talked the pants off her (figuratively speaking!), but when it ended I couldn't believe one hour twenty minutes had passed.

Then it was time to change and get back in the garden, I bagged up all the cuttings from the Dame de la Noche, it will take a while to get rid of them, as I will only put a couple of bags out for the bin men at a time, because I don't want to push my luck, and end up unable to dispose of them.

That done, I decided it was time for an early lunch, then a shower, followed by some work in the office, time has flown, it is nearly time for Marcela to come home, and I haven't even thought of having a siesta.

No day would be complete without something controversial, and today is no different. When I was out walking the dogs this morning, I saw a motorcycle parked up, I had seen the offending machine yesterday, but today I took the photo I wanted. Motorcycles here are seen as a necessary form of cheap transport, cheap because many people don't have them street legal. They won't be insured, even with the obligatory third party insurance, they are not maintained, and because they pay out nothing on them, if it looks as if they are going to be stopped they abandon them, or if stopped and the bike is seized it is not worth reclaiming.

Likewise, we all know that motorcycles are made for a maximum of two persons, but here you see whole families on them, as many as six in some cases, and the parents will be wearing helmets, but the kids have no protection. That is why, especially in the rural areas, it is so dangerous if

as on this bike the back tyre is completely devoid of tread, the inner cord is showing through near the bottom of the photo, and yet they use them on our badly maintained mountain roads, without any thought for themselves or other road users. Do the Authorities do anything about it?...No, they at best stop nearby and let the owner know they have been seen, and the bike is quickly put out of sight, it really is pathetic.