It started off as a garage. My neighbour told me I needed to go to the town hall and obtain a permit. So I went, my Spanish was coming along nicely, I was confident.
The town hall, ayuntamiento, was a backroom in a small terraced house. They didn’t speak Spanish, they spoke Valencian. OMG, I was learning the wrong language. A Wallis & Grommet wrong trousers moment.
I muddled through, paid some money, understood a man called Architecto would visit. If OK, they would inform me.
Time past, I paid another visit. The Architecto should have been, I was told, I must have been out. As he hadn’t commented negatively I would be OK to start work. I spent several days laying a concrete base and had concrete blocks delivered. Five palettes of blocks. The garden was now a builders yard.
Bright and early (it was always bright), I mixed a batch of mortar and enthusiastically laid the first block. Life was good! No it wasn’t. By the third block a little van pulled up in the drive. The man from the town hall (house) was telling me I had to stop work. The lady that owned the field behind me had complained and I didn’t have a building licence. I showed him the receipt he had given me. That turned out to be for the tax I had to pay on the building project. It got worse. I could not build a garage there (next to the field) I had to be five metres away. Oh! I conveyed my disappointment at having to lay a complete new concrete base in front of the old one. No, that was not possible either. I had to be twelve metres from the road. He helped with the tape measure, the conclusion, my garage could be up to 1.5 metres long. So. They’d let me build a bicycle shed.
I gestured in dismay at the piles of concrete blocks surrounding us. He shrugged his shoulders and said “Piscina”. Was he taking the pisc? “Swimming pool,” my neighbour commented, lurking behind an oleander. Hmm. “Piscina?” I asked. “Si,” he confirmed, gesturing for me to take the end of the tape measure. After measuring distances from road and boundary, scratching acceptable size limits in the dirt, he patted me on the shoulder and left.
Much research, a lot more concrete and even more blocks. Lots of steel reinforcing bar. I bought myself a tiny digging machine. It took three months. But it looked like a proper swimming pool. It was!