The reason we wanted extra burglar bars fitted, and doors replaced, was because we were planning to visit Australia this winter. We wanted to leave the house secure and watertight. We had contacted our builders in March, thinking that would give them plenty of time to complete the job.
Nine months later they finally turned up to begin work in earnest. But things never go smoothly in our village. Their arrival coincided with a major overhaul of El Hoyo's sewage system and a resurfacing of the main street. Unable to bring their equipment to our house, the builders shrugged and disappeared again.
"I guess we should check our passports," I said to Joe. "Then we can book flights as soon as the building work is done."
To my horror I discovered that our passports expire in January. I hurriedly researched the renewal process for overseas residents. A hefty fee of £295.72,(ouch!) a signed declaration form and two passport photos were required. That seemed simple enough.
"Have you ever seen a photo booth anywhere?" I asked Joe.
He thought hard. "Nope, I don't think so. I guess we'll have to go to a photography shop?"
Our neighbours, having never been out of Spain, had no idea where we might find a booth or shop that produced passport photos. So we went in search of a photography shop.
"Passport photos? No, we only do weddings, family portraits and fiestas," said the assistant, surrounded by galleries of arty photos showing smiling brides and happy families...