I think this will do nicely…

So, where were we?

I’ve just remembered I have a blog, and it’s well overdue an update. I’d just started meeting to play sport, touring the local eateries, with weekends exploring Andalusia but then, lockdown. This was not full lockdown by any means, but meant we were suddenly restricted to just our local region or municipality for the foreseeable. Bars were suddenly to be shut after 6pm and the play parks (a lifeline in these times of work from home childcare) – closed. The region we were in, Casares, was so small it didn’t even contain a supermarket. We had an opportunity though, our 2-month lease was up, and we could move again. The problem was, where?

We’d left it a bit late to be sure, we had a week to find somewhere before the new restrictions came to be. In the meantime, my wife had been exploring job opportunities and had remote interviews with various opportunities back in the UK and here in Spain – well, Gibraltar. We had tried to keep our expectations realistic but then had to consider a potential commute to Gibraltar. This at least kept the house viewing net to a decent size, it had to be maximum 30 minutes’ drive to Gibraltar (aka Gib or the Rock, which I’ll now refer to freely to any of the above going forward). There was also the consideration for a local Nursery’s for our 2-year-old daughter, which until recently, the thought of potential full time childcare again felt like an unrealistic dream. This made the net even smaller, anywhere that had the facilities and childcare space for my daughter shot to the top of the list.

We were very much aware that this could also be our last place we were staying, so the location would be key. Every place we’d been so far suddenly went from a list of things we did want but instead a well-defined list of things we don’t want. It’s seems daft but it simply comes down to location, location, and location.

We wanted to be as near to the coast as possible, areas for a 2-year-old to play without constant threat of traffic, and local amenities (pubs) we could walk to. The opportunity to get around without constant need to get in the car was the ideal. We needed space for both my wife and I to work from home. With upkeep requirements kept to a minimum. Outdoor space sure, but the garden or pool didn’t suddenly seem so essential anymore. We’d also noticed that during our stay our budget was suddenly able to stretch a little further. The places we originally couldn’t even consider were suddenly within reach. Impact of the winter season, coinciding with the COVID-19 downturn in tourists, the short-term rental market was working in our favour. Decisions, Decisions…

As you’d expect we’d lined up a few places dotted around the coast, with locations getting closer to Gib, we were becoming more and more ex-pat by the day. English was suddenly the most heard language without exception, but the facilities and locations were ticking the boxes. Some properties had been impacted massively by the downturn in people staying, unoccupied for months, with no one there to flush out the drains, the smell on entry was horrific.

As we’d progressed with our house viewing plans. My wife had a phone call, she’d got the job. But which one? Were we suddenly going home to the UK or what? My mind was racing around the opportunities/ impacts of this decision.

The confirmation came, it was the job in Gibraltar. We were staying. My wife was surprised. So, you’re happy about this? I’d surprised myself too. Definitely. This is amazing news! Suddenly with this realisation, the choice of place to stay became straight forward. There was an ideal apartment, overlooking the beach. Close walk to a local port, with bars and café’s a plenty. Play areas and more importantly, a nursery with space to start in December. I was calculating the route already on google maps. I could get there in 15 minutes walking. Oh look, there’s a bakery on route. Nursery starts at 9. My work starts at 10. The possibilities for what I could do with that free 1 hr in between were suddenly endless!

We made the move the following weekend just as the new restrictions came into play. It was a short move in the end, just 10 minutes further down the coast but what a difference. The sunrise in the morning as we open the blinds was astonishing. I think this will do nicely…

Morning sunrise…

Next, lockdown and the ‘rainy season’… oh and Christmas etc etc.

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