Why buying firewood felt so significant

Buying firewood, was one of the jobs we had set ourselves on our recent visit. Whilst this sounds a trivial thing, it ended up signifying so much more.

This was to be our last trip to our cave house before finally becoming full-time cave dwellers in January 2017. As such, we arrived with lots of luggage (most of our remaining possessions from the last 10 years spent in the Turks and Caicos) as well as a list of things we wanted to achieve whilst we were to be in Spain.

One of the items on the list was buying firewood, to warm us during the first few cold months. After all, we didn’t want to arrive in January to be greeted with cold caves and no way to warm them.  Why we were choosing to arrive during the coldest time of the year after having spent 10 years in the Caribbean is a whole other story … and something we may well be scratching our heads over as we huddle for warmth during those early months !

buying firewood

On our previous visits, I had seen truck loads of wood for sale at Baza’s weekly Wednesday market, and with no better plan in mind decided that we would buy our wood there.

Now, to be honest our previous experiences should have taught us that we need at least a couple of days to get our ‘heads sorted’ when we return to Spain. We had only arrived late Monday after 26 hours of travel from the Caribbean, as well as adjusting to a 6 hour time change. This can be difficult at the best of times, without throwing a language barrier into the works.

But I never seem to learn … so come Wednesday, having had been in Spain barely 36 hours and not having really spoken any Spanish in the previous 3 months, we headed to the market. Having bought fruit, vegetables and of course, pollo asado, we headed to where the trucks loaded up with  firewood for sale park up.

Now I hold my hands in the air, my Spanish has a long way to go and so knowing that the sellers were likely to speak little English, I had practised what I was going to say. As I furtively looked at the wood, I was approached by one of the sellers. Plucking up courage, I asked how much the wood cost – he replied “doscientos ochenta euros” (280 euros).  I understood the cost and it seemed in line with the research I had taken 🙂 What a result !

buying firewood


… and then he carried on talking 🙁

How to shatter your confidence ! I picked up a word here – seco (dry) and no verde (not green), but lost most of it. I reverted back to my comfort zone and asked if he spoke English – the answer was ‘no’.

Confidence lost, I thanked him and walked away.


Now I know I was being a little hard on myself , but suddenly everything seemed so daunting. How were we going to manage in a rural area of Spain, where relatively little English is spoken ?

Fast forward a week.  I had spoken Spanish daily and begun to understand a little more with each conversation. So, it was back to Baza’s Wednesday market, this was our last real opportunity to buy wood before we flew home that weekend. This time I approached, reconfirmed the price and asked when it could be delivered. I managed to provide directions (with the aid of a hand drawn map), understand when he said he would deliver and even ask for a business card 🙂

Now I had not learned any more Spanish since the previous Wednesday. Simply my head was straight, my confidence had increased and more importantly my understanding of what was being said to me had also improved. I went away feeling so different to the previous week. Whilst I know that this was a simple conversation, it signified so much more … with time and practise, I now believe that I will be able to make myself understood and by doing so be able to immerse myself more into Spanish life.

And then things got better … he successfully followed my directions and arrived on time !

But this is only half the story.

He asked where the wood should be unloaded and I just said out the front of the cave. Now it had looked like a lot of wood when stacked on the truck … however,  when he started unloading the wood, I thought it was never going to end.

I think the video below says it all …

Looking on the huge pile of wood that had just been deposited, It suddenly dawned on me that maybe ordering the wood with my fledgling Spanish was the easy part … as now we had to move it and find somewhere to store it all.

Between Josie and I we moved and stacked the wood over the following days and I have to say took great pleasure in the task. Both buying firewood and then stacking it in preparation for our first winter felt like we were putting down the first roots in our new home. Whilst there will undoubtably be many more hurdles, challenges, setbacks and successes – this felt like the first step along that road to making Spain our home.

And now I hope you can understand why buying firewood felt so significant 🙂

As always, you can keep up-to-date with our progress as we begin the journey from the Caribbean to the UK and then to Spain on our Facebook Page.

5 words related to this blog entry …

Firewood – Leña.

January – Enero.

Truck – Camión.

To Sell – Vender

To Buy – Comprar

Our Favourite Walks – Castril

We love the outdoors, and are fortunate enough to have a home in the ‘Altiplano de Granada’ region of Andalucia, which is an area of real contrasts. There is a huge and mainly deserted plain in its central part, surrounded by the mountain ranges of Sagra, Castril, Baza and Orce, with some peaks surpassing 2300 meters. There are also 3 large reservoirs, El Portillo, El San Clemente and El Negratín as well as 2 Natural Parks, the Sierra de Baza and the Sierra de Castril.

Basically, this means that we are spoiled for options when it comes to enjoying one of our real passions – walking 🙂

And not being greedy people, we thought we would start to share some of our favourite walks with you !

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A brief history of Cave living in Spain

Our cave living around the world series has so far seen us in Africa, Asia and Australia. Now we are finally home, as we look at cave living in Spain 🙂

Once I started research for this entry, I quickly came to appreciate the rich history that Spain has when it comes to cave living. What’s more, further discoveries are still being made !

To fully understand cave living in Spain though, we first have to travel back in time … a really, really long way back in time !
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My top Facebook Groups in Spain

So, more of an informative blog entry this time round, about the Facebook Groups in Spain that I frequent the most (yawn … boring – I know). Hopefully thought you will find it worthwhile if you persevere !

This really follows on from my entry on the Forums in Spain that I wrote a while back. Whilst some of these groups are specific to my area of Spain, I am pretty sure that there are similar ones out there, where ever you live. Continue reading

Spanish Market Days

There are many things I love about our newly adopted home of Spain and the list is growing. My favourite though has to be the Spanish market days. This is probably just as well, because in Spain everyday is market day 🙂

In our area of Andalucia, I could go to a different market each and every day.  From the smallest village with a couple of stalls in a single side street, through to the principal town of Baza, where the market truly is King for the day.
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A day trip to Garrucha

What we have not as yet mentioned in any of our blogs, is that just a hop, skip and jump away are a number of beautiful and not too touristy beaches.

As we had our good friends Kes, Sarah and their daughter Charlotte staying with us, what better reason could  there be for a road trip to the coast, but with so much choice, where should we go ?
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Why I love living in a cave

I love living in a cave ! There, I’ve come out and said it, in the hope that others will come to understand why we chose a cave as our home 🙂

As with most things in life it started off quite innocently, in our case with a newspaper article on cave living in Spain.

I was initially attracted by the financial benefits of buying a cave house and the flexibility that gave us  (Josie … no surprise there, and rolls her eyes !).
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Cave Living in Australia

The next in our series on cave living around the world looks at cave living in Australia, revealing a unique underground town.

Coober Pedy is a small Australian town with a population of about 2000 people.  Located in northern South Australia 846 km (526 miles) north of Adelaide, It is well-known as an underground town as well as being the opal capital of the world.
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The horse that ate an iPad

No we are not on drugs (not that we will to admit anyway) , neither have we lost the plot (well maybe a little), nor has our site been hacked ! In The horse that ate an iPad we share our top 10 unusual, unexpected and unforseen experiences from our latest trip to our cave house.
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Our newly renovated cave

How time flies … fast forward 6 months and we were on our way back to Andalucia for a first glimpse of our newly renovated cave.

We were both quietly reflecting on what sight would greet us when we pulled up outside as we had seen no pictures and had no word on the progress of the renovations since meeting the builder back in September last year ( It’s not as bad as it sounds as he was highly recommended and a lack of communication appears to be the Spanish way).

Anyway we need not have worried. Turning the corner there were suddenly 2 very excited people in the car, the caves had been transformed (well the outside at least). The whole exterior of the cave had been patched up and repainted, even the garden had been tidied up !
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