Part of the problem is that we have too much stuff. Not only do we have too much furniture for a small house, we managed to bring every single bag of paper insecurity with us to Spain so our cupboards were crammed full of papers dating back some 20 years.
After all, when I started in journalism, on my first day, I was told I MUST keep all my old shorthand notebooks. It turned out the company had an injunction against it by an unmentionable firm, due to some rather sloppy reporting and editing, so it was decreed ever afterwards that all notebooks should be kept for centuries.
I followed this faithfully in my private life until this last fortnight when I chucked away half my life in a desperate attempt to gain decent living space.
Anyway, project dining room - cupboards and bookshelves emptied - temporarily housed in sitting room.
Walls needed repainting big time. A combination of neglect (working in Gib), humidity, and dust, had left them looking very sad and dilapidated. Still, have painter as partner and it was all soon as good as new. Took less time to paint the walls than it did to sort the wretched papers, and dust off all the books.
The window frames and shutters were washed down with sugar soap, they had a zillion coats of varnish on when we first put them in, and they looked as good as new after their sparkling treatment.
All the furniture was washed down too, and then polished off with beeswax.
Sheeted up and ready to go
Bookshelf emptied and sitting room full of transposed
A closer look at some of the books piled up all over the sofa - poor dog had nowhere to lie
But a quick wave of the magic wand (only took a week) and the books have mysteriously disappeared from the sitting room ...
... and are back on their shelves
Paintings back, desk clean and tidy, and shutters looking like new
Finally, we ate at our dining room table for the first time in rather too many years than I care to remember - it had become habit just to drop things on there until it was piled high with junk.
And when we weren't working on the dining room we decided to give the terrace garden a good hose down. Moving nearly 100 plantpots from one side to the other and back again isn't a lot of fun.
But there were some bright moments.
Tea kept us going (this one is Assam).
Next doors helped too - one day they cooked us tortilla and made a salad for our lunch.
And after a hard day's work, we usually chilled out with some sort of salad mix - here with olive pate and vegetarian slices.
Next installment - the kitchen.