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The swimming pool

In May, the shutters were installed (stage 9), but there was still a problem with the tiles. The floor tiles had arrived but could not be installed before the wall tiles, and everything else depended on the tiling. To save time the builder started on the pool (stage 12). As usual Steve sent us photos.

In June we went to Portugal again, with the particular aims of arranging for stained glass windows to be made for the hall, and settling the kitchen design. There were lots of flowers in bloom. For the first time Claudia came to see the house.

We found the workmen at the house grouting tiles (stage 8) and building the fireplace (stage 6). Most of the tiles had finally been delivered and installed, but around half those we had chosen had not been available in time, and had been replaced by others that Steve chose for us.

We also found that Steve had applied for planning permission for a house on the plot he owns below ours, and was building a wall behind his pool, to ensure that he would not be overlooked when the house was built. He suggested we should build a fence higher than planned along our boundary wall to make sure there was privacy on our side too.

The hall window project had been worrying us, because it was likely to be very expensive and we were not sure the result would be good. When Steve and Abel took us to visit the glass factory and we met the young man who cuts and assembles the glass, we were immediately reassured. He clearly knows what he is doing and produces some very nice work. We spent a long time talking to him and choosing which glass to use for the windows.

For the kitchen we looked at samples of granite for worktops, and agreed on one we liked, as well as a colour for the units which would go with it. We took ourselves to the kitchen appliance store and saw hundreds of ovens, hobs, fridges, dish-washers, too many to choose from. We kept finding that we liked the Siemens appliances best. They would be the most expensive!

We also took a critical look at the garden and its possibilities.