Saturday, February 09, 2008

Cretan Adventure: Episode One.

Alright, I feel completely out of the loop at the moment because, for the last four months, me and Caroline have been living on Crete, specifically, living in the house we bought there and trying to solve its numerous problems. Now, before I hear cries of, “Rich fat bastard author!” let me point out a few facts: it is still possible to buy a place out there for less than it would cost to buy a garage in Essex, there’s plenty of people reading this who earn a damned sight more and are worth a damned sight more than us, and we are unencumbered by children, but, most important of all, mine is a job that can be done anywhere in the world. Glad to get that bit out of the way.

We went to Crete in October aware that we would have plenty to do. The house was provided with a shower, sink and toilet in an untiled bathroom and though there were sockets and light switches in the walls there were no lights – just wires sticking out of the walls. The only furnishings there, were the kitchen sink unit, a cupboard above it, and a set of shelves. The walls had been repainted, covering up the mould, and the water and power were off.

First off we stopped in a hotel in Heraklion while visiting our lawyer to collect the deeds and buy some essentials. Caroline got some bedding and a kettle, whilst my first aim was to get hold of an electric drill, then we drove a rental car on the two hour journey to Eastern Crete. Upon our arrival there we discovered from the agent that the key was in the usual place, under a rock on the window sill, then found out from him where we might be able to get hold of a bed which, making a mockery of deliveries from British firms, turned up that very evening. We were in quite easily, since we were expecting to sleep on liloes that night, and spent the first evening by lamplight sitting on our suitcases, drinking Metaxa.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Neal,

Y'know your humble abode really looks like a little bit of all right, although I hope that's not a bullet hole to the left of the inside doorway! In any case start up problems are exactly that - Start up - and, in my experience, are quick to disappear. Now, have you chosen a suitable writerly name for your retreat?

Best,

Jonathan K. Stephens

Chris said...

“Rich fat bastard author!”

Well, three out of four isn't bad. ;-)

So, that's where you've been - you'll have to get internet access sorted out, Neal: this blog needs updating.

Looks very idyllic, though - written with a slight pang of envy.

hutch0 said...

Looks rather good; I'm deeply envious. So, is it just a bolthole from the British Winter, or the first step towards emigration?

Bob Lock said...

How much are you charging for your fans to come over and spend a week or two?
Are you going to have a pool dug and will we eventually have internet connection?

Neal Asher said...

Jonathan, I'd be utterly unsurprised if there were bullet holes somewhere in the stonework. The place is, after all, some centuries old and on an island that's had no shortage of that sort of action. I've yet to detail all those 'start-up' problems. Does a flooded bedroom at 5 in the morning on New Year's Eve count?

Chris, yes it does look idyllic and certainly will be in the Summer (in winter it's bloody cold since utterly uninsulated) just so long as I don't get scorpions dropping on my pillow again.

hutch0, well, one day the guy doing our tiling built a snowman made of hailstones on our terrace, so its not said bolthole. Yeah, the first step towards emigration.

No swimming pool, Bob - they're more trouble than they're worth. Maybe I'll get some other building and do it up for fan visits...

Alex Cull said...

Mmm... Metaxa. Good stuff, that. The house looks fine and sturdy, and I wish we had walls as thick as those. Even a Prador would have difficulties bashing through, I'd have thought!

Kirby Uber said...

love the new pictures of the place. 8) at a moments notice i can have all my books in a back pack and be on a plane. so. heads up on that. ;p

dave hutchinson said...

Big step. You were talking about this last year, but are you sure? I know Crete's not a third-world country and I know you wouldn't have made the decision without doing a lot of homework, but...ah, hell, no, the best of luck to you. You earned it and nobody has the right to question how you spend your money.

My wife and her girly friends went to Crete on holiday a couple of years ago and she came back raving about the place. She wants to live there too, although she really wants to live on Santorini.

(hutch0, the Blogger sign-in procedure being one of the things that have changed while you've been away.)

Ire said...

having a swimming pool so near the sea is considered a sacrelidge in these parts of the world ;))
good to see you back!
Irena