Sunday, 29 October 2017

Our Spanish Adventure - Part One

Last week there was a comment on TMP in response to a review I did of my 1813 campaign.   It implied how lucky I was to have retired to Spain with a wife who enjoyed wargaming.  It made me realise how lucky I have been, and prompted me to write a series of blogs about why we made the move.

Why Spain?
Why now?

2004 was a critical year for my wife and I.

First I reached my 60th birthday

Second I was diagnosed with prostate cancer

Third I was made redundant

Fourth we decided to move to Spain

Reaching sixty is an important milestone.   You realise that big changes are about to take place.  You will soon finish full time work.   You will have to take steps to ensure that the best years of your life are not already behind you.

Being diagnosed with cancer is frightening.   You suddenly realise that you might not be here next year.   It is not something you can ignore, you have to come to terms with it.

In normal circumstances being made redundant is also frightening and life changing.   But in these circumstances it was just another challenge.

Moving to Spain would give me hope and a project to work on.

In 2004 everyone seemed to be moving to Spain.  The papers and TV were full of stories of people packing their boxes and making a new life for themselves in Spain.   Like most things in the papers and on TV, there is a lot more to it than is at first obvious.

In the 1990s Jan and I had done a series of walking battlefield holidays.  Four of them in Portugal and Spain.   You don’t see a lot of the usual tourist spots on these type of holidays, but you do meet a lot of locals and get a real feel for the country.

In 2003 we had our first “proper” holiday in Spain.   We spent two weeks on a winter walking holiday in the Canaries.   It made us appreciate how pleasant the winter months can be, and to dread spending our retirement in the UK.

Our previous long term planning for retirement underwent a major review.   We booked up one of the many free house viewing holidays then available and explored the possibility of moving to Spain.   That first venture was a real education, and we discovered more about what to avoid than to see anything we were tempted to accept.

By the end of 2004 I had completed my treatment and we had decided to seriously consider moving to Spain.

Next week I will explain some of the detailed planning prior to the move.


Jonathan Freitag said...

I look forward to this series very much!

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Jonathan

Thanks for your comment

Hope that it lives up to your expectations!



Willie Anderson said...

Very interesting Paul looking forward to the next post.

Ed M said...

Thanks for sharing your personal story--as I approach that "certain age," thoughts of shifting into another lifestyle are inevitaby thickening--even without the shocks of redundancy and a life threatening diagnosis (fingers crossed). Happy to be reading your blog 13 years on from all of that. Looking forward to continuing to do so.

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


Although I don't see my wife and I following your example and moving to Spain, we are thinking about moving house in the near future. We would love to move somewhere warm, but more importantly we need to move to a house with fewer stairs.

I will be following your description of how you moved to Spain with great interest.

All the best,


JWH said...

Seconded! I have picked up some of this story from incidental comments in other posts, but I'm looking forward to reading this told in a more complete way.

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Willie

Thanks for your comment.

I am never sure how much personal history I should put on a wargame blog. But I am going through a quiet period with our wargaming, and at a loss what I can post on the blog. We are still wargaming most days, but nothing new is happening. Wargaming played a large part in our decision to move, and since we moved here. So I hope the story will prove interesting from a wargame point of view.



thistlebarrow said...

Hi John

thanks for your comment.

I will also cover our attempts to find local wargamers, which might prove interesting.



thistlebarrow said...

Hi Bob

Nice to hear from you as always.

I know that you have retired recently, so I imagine that you have gone through much of what I will cover.

Apart from wargaming and walking our major consideration in moving to Spain was the weather. During my last few years at work I was fortunate to be able to walk to the office each day. This meant a lot of contact with our English winter weather. The prospect of what to do in Salisbury on a wet and cold Monday morning played a large part in convincing us to move to Spain!

I hope that you will cover your coming move on your own blog.



thistlebarrow said...

Hi Ed

Thanks for your comments.

Retirement is a big life changer for all of us, but with the benefit of hing sight I can assure you that it can be a change for the better.

Our life has been much fuller and at least as enjoyable and full filling as it was before we retired.

When I was working I can remember older retired friends saying "I don't know how we ever found the time to fit work in". I find myself saying the same now.

But in the early days at least you do have to work at being retired. The great advantage is that you can then fill your time doing the things you really enjoy - rather than having to work to live.

Good luck when you finally take the leap.



Jacko said...

We are all the better for your move to Spain as I thoroughly enjoyed the brief time I played, as as well as reading your creation and tinkering on various aspects of the rules.

All the best.


Ray Rousell said...

I shall look forward to part 2! Keep up the great work.

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Jacko

Thanks for your kind words. Its very encouraging to get such positive response. Sometimes it feels like I am just writing for myself (which I am really). So it is very pleasant to get so much response.



thistlebarrow said...

Hi Ray

Thanks for your comments. It is very rewarding to get such good response.



'Lee. said...

Hello Paul,
I have been following both your wargaming blog and your 'Spanish' blog for quite a number of years now, often showing my wife some of your wonderful pictures taken on your walks. A few years ago you gave me the advice not to consider a move to Spain until retirement, well as I'm just about to hit the big 60 and with UK house prices finally on the increase again we are seriously on the look out for a house in Spain to retire to. We have done hours of research on the internet and talking to other expats, Valencia is our chosen location. I look forward to reading your thoughts and experiences on your move to Spain. I was surprised to read about your diagnosis, I was not aware of that, but would like to send you and your wife the very best wishes for the future, and keep up the wargaming!


thistlebarrow said...

Hi Lee

Thanks for your comments

Its nice to think that my walking blog might have encouraged another wargamer to consider a move to Spain. As you will know from the blog, Valencia is a lovely part of Spain. Most "brits" think of Benidorm, but there is fantastic scenery within half an hour drive of the crowds, which most never see.

You will be pleased to hear that house prices here are much lower than 11 years ago when we came here. Then they were at their height, but suffered even more than the UK in 2008. And they have been slower to recover. So this is a very good time to be considering a move.

My health problem was a shock, but has turned out to have had a positive outcome. I am now clear, though I still have to attend a check up each year. But without it we would quite likely not have decided to move to Spain.

I hope that you will visit us next time you are in Spain. And if there is anything I do to help with your plans just let me know.

best regards