We left Spain to live and work in England in August 2003 and by early 2004 we received indication that our tenants who were staying in our family home in Holland were planning to move out. We took the decision to sell this property to release the equity and complete the works we had planned in the house prior to leaving Spain – namely to complete the first phase of our building plans.
This work was completed in April of 2004. Jonathon our youngest son celebrated his 14th birthday in the same month. The house now looked truly refurbished and for the first time since putting in the swimming pool two years earlier, the full benefit of these developments could now be seen. The pool deck was now fully tiled and equipped with elegant but bold balustrade, the garage had been nicely rendered, a new driveway had been built, the main outside stairway from the ground floor to the upper levels had all been tiled and smart large wooden gates marked the entrance to the property together with a dry stone wall that now ran along the south facing boundary of the house. The villa looked fabulous. I returned to Spain and in a week painted the new rendering work. In celebration we formally named the villa : Las Parras
In June of 2004, we finally sold our house in Holland. This helped us to finalise our commitments for competing the first phase of construction works and cover most of the finance needed for the second phase – the new extension!
I asked Abilio of Abilio Costa to complete the Architect’s plans for Las Parras. This work planned to increase the floor area of the house from 180m2 to 340m2 and thereby create 2 new large living areas, a further bathroom, 2 bedrooms and 2 covered Nayas with balustraded balconies. A further benefit was the fact that for the first time the two levels of the house would be accessible from within the house via a stairway. As the bulk of the money was now available, I elected to get underway with the works in early 2005, although we agreed to progress in manageable steps as I had not yet secured all the finance needed to fully complete the work.
January 2005 was particularly cold in the Costa Blanca region with snow falling for the first time in goodness knows how long and although the foundations for the new construction had been excavated out of the bedrock, the concrete could not be laid owing to the relatively deep frost that prevailed. Building work therefore started in mid February 2005. At this stage I was travelling fairly regularly to Spain from England to oversee works and each time I visited, I could see tremendous progress being made.
One visit in April 2005 was with my daughter Fiona and her 2 month old son Harry. Sadly it was Harry’s only visit as he passed away on 13th May 2005 suddenly and without warning. This was a defining moment for our family and although we inevitably carried on, we were all understandably profoundly affected by Harry’s loss. Looking back it caused me to lose momentum although I had not relaised by how much at the time. I had hitherto been fortunate to have sailed through my life without any real setbacks but my energy and enthusiasm for the Las Parras project suffered in the aftermath of losing Harry. Commitment to the ongoing development of the villa had already been made however and we continued with this work until it was finalised.
I asked Abilio to complete some additional garden landscaping work including some paths and the planting of a beautiful established ancient Olive tree. The olive tree was to be a living memorial for our first grandson Harry David Evans: 9 February to 13 May 2005.
By the end of May 2005, Las Parras was fully complete as a villa structure and now comprised a 5 bedroom, three bathroom villa with a swimming pool and terracing overlooking the Mediterranean sea in Moraira. In the summer of 2005, all of the family spent an extended vacation in our newly refurbished villa and we have great memories of that holiday. It marked a turning point in our lives as we had decided to exit our pub restaurant business. At this stage we did not have permanent work in the UK but we were as ever hopeful of better things to come.