I guess you could include F****** A in the above but the F here alludes principally to the façade, floors and other fixtures and finishes. But firstly, the finishing and the closure of yet another chapter in my working life. The teaching year in Barcelona is beginning to wind down and I have started to say my goodbyes to ‘students’ some of whom I have known since I started teaching four years ago. Goodbyes uttered on a scale starting from the very poor English, to Spanglish and through to the very good. Along the way I have inadvertently picked up some good friends, got a good insight into Spanish and Catalan life and culture and would say that it has truly been one of the most enjoyable work experiences in my somewhat chequered career. The life of the peripatetic teacher is coming to a close. For my part, the teaching was largely learnt ‘on the hoof’ and one quickly learnt that students initially knew a sight more than the teacher about grammar and its associated terminology. Ultimately, the teaching was the easy part. It has been the 70km round trip to Barcelona on each working day and the getting about the city by metro, bus or tram between classes that proved tiring. Leaving the house just after seven in the morning and returning around nine at night, with the following day’s material to be pulled together after dinner. I’m not grumbling. It has been a bag load of fun and has provided me with a reasonable income in an alien country where I can still hardly string a sentence together in the local lingo, be it Catalan or Spanish. So to one and all thank you and “Fins aviat!!”.

Back at the site. Having seen numerous samples of differing renders applied to the outside walls, a recent trip to Girona and a visit to see a project Pere is working on sealed our decision. Thus that same texture and colour is now being applied with the customary aplomb of Vicents and the others that we are now almost taking for granted. The swirl and movement of their arms is almost discernable in the finish, key stones are left exposed and these contrast wonderfully with the mottled grey render finish.

On the basement floor intricate coils and lines of red plastic piping have been laid over sheets of expanded polystyrene which in turn look like giant pieces of white lego. Concrete is now being poured on top of this and when finished this will be our floorcovering – a continuous sheet of satin smooth concrete set against stone walls and white ceilings, cool in summer, touchy feely “calentet” in winter.

The tiles we purchased some weeks ago in Castelló are now in place in three of the bedrooms as bed heads, helping to underline the individuality of each room.  Elsewhere terracotta tiles – tova – are being laid. The dining room looks superb and we have all but chosen the tables and chairs. Easy one might think but trying to put the finishing touches to the rooms has been anything but.

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