Today is the start of clearing and tidying the grounds. The JCB and Bobcat are back and started on moving piles of stone and levelling mounds of earth, also moving and olive tree to where it will shade the drive. They have some work ahead of them as the grounds / garden is a cross between a building site and a quarry.
Amongst the piles of stones is a smaller heap of shaped flagstones. Having finally spent longer than 24 hours there we decided the path round the back needs extending to give us a small patio area. This will get the late afternoon and early evening sun. It will also give us a private area to sit out when the main courtyard is in use by paying guests. Another cost overrun but what the heck!
Looking back over the last 18 months I am very happy with all the "extras" decisions we have made even if they all added to the final bill:
• making the Lamia kitchen smaller so we could gain a second bedroom
• knocking through two doors from the Lamia dining room into the bedrooms
• doing the aesthetic reconstruction on the front cone
• restoring the pizza oven
• creating a second driveway which enabled us to block up the original entrance and have an enclosed courtyard
• paving the *whole* of the courtyard by widening the flower bed (and our budget)
• building a low perimeter wall round the entire plot (there was no demarcation between our land and the farmer's field)
New wall, flower bed and courtyard
Daniele came and presented us with a final schedule of costs that was nearly double the original base estimate, partly because that base was the bare minimum required to make it habitable and partly because of all the extras we opted for. Since this will become our main (or at least equal first) home I am happy to have spent the money. Also, as Daniele points out, to come back later and do more extras would cost much more. There have been economies of scale and logistics doing all the work while the specialist stonemasons, other trades and equipment are already on site.
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