. . . has been derelict for
years and looks more like a compact tip with potential for improvement. One wall has caved in.

On Monday 27th June Jorge the builder called round to ask if we needed any work done. As it happens, the granite house does need a couple of minor repairs, and we discussed these.
One of his workers, Pedro, likes working with stone. He said the pigsty wall needs pulling down then rebuilding. He asked about our plans for the sty and I explained that it will one day be a roofed barbecue area. He suggested adding a curved stone wall beside the sty around an old mountain oak which is next to it and making a shady sitting place there – I agreed it would be nice.

On Tuesday Jorge returned to tell us he could start next Monday, maybe even on Friday. “Good,” we said. “Start when you can, but there’s no hurry.”

Thursday morning at 9.30 a van, a lorry and four men arrived with Jorge. They unloaded a cement mixer, piles of building blocks and metal flashing, and Jorge had a level chalk line pinged in the north wall ready to dig a yard-drainage channel. Then he put in string lines for the excavations for steps descending an earth slope beside the house on the east wall. A ladder was raised on the south wall ready for the installation of a line of flashing.

Pedro eyed up our overgrown wreck of a pigsty disapprovingly. We wrote a list of what is included in the estimate, and Jorge went away. Pedro and I talked a little about the pigsty again. He called over the workers and had the overgrowth cleared, fallen stones moved away and a trench dug around the sty.  

Getting into the swing of it now, he ignored the repairs listed on the estimate and set a big stone step beside the sty, then had Daniel prune the oak tree. The step became an entrance and continued into a wall, with all four workers sweating in the hot sun and with the shade temperature at 36°C.
Mário made cement and took soil away. Jorge returned in the late afternoon and admired the progress on the sty. He commented that he didn’t know about the wall and it isn’t in the estimate. I admitted it is something of a surprise to me too, and was totally unplanned. However, Pedro clearly knows what he’s doing so I’m prepared to pay for him to do it.

Left: Pedro working on the wall.  Above: Mario.
The team of four worked on the wall for three more days, clearing the rocks from inside the sty on Monday.

Below: Daniel positioning heavy stones for Pedro. They also started on the original plan, making a flight of five steps along the side of the granite house, which will make the walk to the apartment safer.

However,  after five days on site two delays occurred; one over delivery of the stone flooring for the sty/barbecue, and the other over step heights. The builders went elsewhere after Tuesday 5th July and are due back “soon”. That was over two weeks ago . . .

 Update:  1st August and still waiting . . .