Sunday, August 05, 2007
We visited Olvera again on Friday to do some final bits of work in the house before we head back to Scotland. The main task was to get the water switched back on... I walked down to the workmen who were laying the new street next to ours and in my best Spanish asked if they had a key to switch the mains water on for me. "Neccesito Fontenero" - You need a plumber was the reply... Goodey! However they did point over to a chap measuring the road who looked like a plumber because he was wearing blue trousers; so over I went. The guy walked up with me to the house armed with a small spanner - I tried turning the tap last week with a spanner and knew this wouldn't work... To his credit he wondered off and got the real tool. He explained they didn't turn the water on unless the owners were there just in case of ruptured pipes. Well what did you know, a large gushing noise was heard and water came spurting out some brickwork in the kitchen - damn! I then asked him to switch it off and again in my best Spanish asked him to switch it back on once I've turned the water tap off at the water meter in the front of the house. It held and we had control of the water in our hands. Our neighbour was with us during this work and was egging us on to ask the guy for the tool so we could do this ourself!!
Anyway, we had to smash away the brickwork to get to the mains pipe, cut it out and replace it with a temporary rubber pipe giving us back a supply of water!
The rest of the day continued where Louise painted the front room getting rid of the grey concrete brickwork we left from last year - much brighter now! The following day we pulled in more tiles of the kitchen to investigate for termites and removed the kitchen cupboards and chimney wood.
Removing the chimney wood was quite fun - there is an extractor fan underneath along with a switch. The cable was wrapped around the wood and would have been live, so I isolated the electricity from the mains and armed with my screwdriver immediately electrocuted myself on the "neutral" which in Spain appears to be constantly live. My father in law always carries around a testing kit when he works on anything in Spain and now I know why - don't trust anything!! I cut the cable out and left it hanging. I manage to shock myself again by inadvertently touching a slightly bared portion of the cable insulation - dammit!!
I also rewired the light on our second floor to use new black metal lights we'd bought a while back which converted more lights from the old 125V to the new 240V. I did this really carefully since I didn't want another electric shock!
We feel a lot better about the house now since we know the termites have probably been attracted to the house because that water pipe has been leaking for a while! Pulling the tiles off revealed good solid walls with little activity in them and confirmed the termites are subterranean. We have water and 240V electricity and most importantly - no termite food - so it is now practical to spend time in and do up as we go!