Showing posts from 2011

Water damage prevention

For those who don't know it, we've had extensive water damage. This was caused by a faulty float switch . Apparently these kind of switches tend to fail. When the water level in the tank drops the float will hang vertically and activate an electrical water gauge, and the tank is filled. When the water reaches some level, the float will float vertically (thanks to a counter-weight) and the gauge will switch off. In this case, the float didn't switch off the gauge and water flowed out of the tank, eventually flowing out of the machine room, into our bedroom, down the stairs, down the second floor... all the way down to the kitchen. Five floors down! To prevent this from happening again, I've taken two measures. 1. I adjusted the counter-weight of the floater so that is has less free space. 2. I created an additional float switch in series with the original. I bought a standard water closet floater and build a switch into it. It works! There are three problems


Just a note on politicians. Today, the municipal elections are being held. The mayor of Madrigal de la Vera told me last week that he had seen me on the census... I have the right to vote. Immediately after, he told me they were going to repeat the course I gave last year (implying a well payed job for me). That's a politician!

On traffic signs

Real life experience on the Spanish highways, through-ways, byways, and other roads. You'll always get lost! No kidding, this is the way Spanish roads have evolved... organically. Every single time I'm going someplace new, I get lost. I was ever so happy when Nieves gave me the GPS. However, you can't rely on it for everything. In Madrid it gets confused by reflecting signals from high buildings. There are roads that are not mapped, etc. I've been talking with some Spanish people I know and they also tell me they get lost ever so often. The problem are the traffic signs. There are non-existing signs . Those are real sweeties. Imagine coming to a roundabout and there is no sign whatsoever...  There are late signs . You are traveling  at 90Kmh (or more) and you see your exit as you fly past. Single occurrence signs . No comment. There are small signs . Very much related to the late signs, and of course with the single occurrence sign. WTF signs . You are travel

How to lose a client, forever.

We have changed our dry cleaner for a number of reasons. Our former dry cleaner is a very nice man, so it took us some heart to change. Here's the story. We try to have a clean business. As clean as can be. That includes the bedding and towels that go strait to the dry cleaner. Every Monday it gets picked up and every Thursday it gets returned. No problem there. The sheets should all be folded the same way. That facilitates the bed making. But this was not the case, so we told him about it. 'That's because of the new girl' was the reply, but nothing changed. The sheets should be grouped for size. That should be obvious. It's highly annoying to try to make a double bed with single bed sheets. So, we told him. 'Ah, it's easy to tell them apart' was the reply, but nothing changed. So, when a friend of us started working for another dry cleaner, we gave him the business. And I called our former supplier. I just told him we were going to try the other

Cleaning business

Ours is the cleaning business. We established that when we first started. Everything should be clean as can be. My wife calls that 'mother in law clean'. That's clean! We do the studio apartments from left to right, from top to bottom. We dust, vacuum, wash, rinse and polish. In most hotels, cleaning is done in 20 minutes. We spend two solid hours in each apartment. We do the stairs, the dining rooms and the toilets. The restaurant kitchen is cleaned daily. We got a very good review last week and one of the things they found was the cleanness. That's exactly what we want to offer to our clients.


At long last we started in the restaurant business. How long has it been? About 14 years all in all. We wanted to live here in this area. Some 6 years ago we thought about starting a restaurant, and 3 years ago we bought this house for reformation. It was a long and heavy night. We were two persons in the kitchen and two in the dining room, and we ended around two in the morning. The food was good, according to our customers, so we're happy. But, we did start on a wrong footing as we gave credit to our customers. They left without paying.

Next stop: Open for business

Hi U all, We'll start the restaurant with (about a year delay) a birthday party. A Spanish will celebrate her 60th at our place. We're a bit nervous. After that, we'll open shop for the general public. Dutch Croquettes, Dutch Tomato Soup, Dutch Sauerkraut Pie & Dutch Apple Pie. How's that for 'La Casa del Holandés'? We are going to hire a cook to get started, and hopefully we'll be able to employ her full time. That would be good news.

Closing - April Fools Day

I'm sorry to inform that due to the crisis and our financial situation, we're out of business, and we haven't even started. It's a crying shame, but that's the way it is. We've been talking with the bank(s) but they won't offer us more credit and no investor seems to be interested in taking a share. I haven't talked about this with my family because it just feels so lousy to think what they must think of us. The good news is that the bank will take over the mortgage when we turn over the business to them. And I've found a few pupils, I'm giving English conversational classes now as well as informatics. We'll be living in Villanueva again.  --- Ok, nobody bought it. Lousy fools' day joke.


The latest pictures. I haven't written in a while as we're busy with the startup. We'll be giving dinners to our guests as of next week. Wish us luck. Cascada del Diablo - The Devil's Waterfall   First test with friends. The Kitchen We still don't have plates or cutlery... Latest pics of the bar - no wine yet...

Eat it

Finally, one week after the kitchen was installed, today we cooked here. Yes! Overcooked tuna. We still have a long way to go before culinary perfection. We're working on it. We are trying to be ready to launch the restaurant by the end of this month. Let's see what the future brings. Still so much to do. The menu has to go to the printer, the table cloth has to be ordered, just as the dishes, glasses and rest of the tableware. This weekend, Valentine's, we're booked full.

More Kitchen & stuff

Today was interesting, as we were not here. The kitchen guys told us the oven would arrive on Monday and they'd be installing on Tuesday. As they didn't call, we went to Candeleda to bring my car to the auto body shop as someone hit my car a week ago. Then we went to Villanueva to give our bills to the accountant, have a coffee with some friends, buy kitchen material from another friend who went out of business. Also, we cooked, cleaned house, shopped and ate. When we finally came to Madrigal again, we saw the truck of Jofrima and I knew they were there for us. Yes, they had been working all morning and a lot of stuff was there already. Luckily we had given them a key. We unloaded the kitchen material we had bought in the morning and then Jofrima arrived with 'the oven'. Tomorrow Jofrima will finish installing the kitchen, and on Friday 'the oven' will be tuned. On Saturday we could be serving guests (alas, that will not be the case, the Vet has to authorize us


Mathematic doodling with Vi Hart . I'm not such a mathematician , but this really rocks. It's high speed English, so hold onto your chair, relax and have fun.

Kitchen & stuff

Spain is different. Yeah, we all know the slogan, but most people don't realize there's a deeper meaning to that phrase. I'll, eventually get into that, in another post, but for now, let me tell you that the Vet has to approve our installations. The veterinarian. The animal doctor. He has the last word on the opening of our restaurant. Sad, but true. At this moment we are installing a crystal screen just for the Vet (and maybe a little bit also, for hygiene). The same carpenter is making us a wine rack. Looks good, I'll post a photo shortly. I'll mail the photo of the empty wine rack to wineries asking them to fill it. As from today, the kitchen is being installed. The fridge hardly fitted through the kitchen door and we have some damages. The extractor hood hangs, but needs further installation. So, I've been supervisor these last days. A tough job, but somebody has to do it.

What's the meaning of it all?

Let's rob the title from Monty Python's 'The meaning of Life'. This is my very first blog-post although I've tried a few times. The goal of this blog is to document my life in Spain, in a way. I intend to write every once in a while about what's going on as a means to stay in touch with my family and friends. I've been writing 'public' emails ever so often since a couple of years ago. Now, I'll just blog. Also, I've been thinking. About Spain, about life, about business... So, I'll write about those things too. Nothing fancy. Simple ideas. I'd like to get feedback about these. Let's see how it goes.