My God! What have we done?

My God! What have we done?

Secret Serranía contributor Paul Whitelock recalls the time when he and his first wife, Jeryl, were looking for a property to buy in Montejaque or Ronda. Here is what happened during a visit to the area with their son Tom in October 2001.

27 October 2001

“Are you awake?”

“Yep. Can’t sleep.”

“Me neither.”

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?


“My God! What have we done?”

Light on. 3 am. It’s mid-October 2001 in the tiny village of Montejaque in the Serranía de Ronda mountains.  The house is cold and damp. Someone has disturbed the dogs penned in on the outskirts and all hell has been let loose!

The evening before we had agreed to buy and had put down a deposit on an apartment in the nearby town of Ronda.

We saw the flat in the late afternoon at the end of a long hot day viewing totally inappropriate places offered by our Spanish estate agent.

Had we panicked?  At the time we didn’t think so, as we’d been looking for over a year, but in the cold, damp, dark, sleepless early-hours of an Andalucían autumn morning, we had begun to question the wisdom of blowing most of our recently matured endowment on a jerry-built flat in a community of owners, all of whom were Spanish.

What had we done?

Fast forward nine years to 2010 …

Well, our little flat, which we called Piso Blanco, turned out to be a sound investment.  It has given our family, relatives and friends several years of fun holidays.

When we bought a run-down little house around the corner in 2003, our flat was an ideal base, as we set about renovating the house, christened, rather predictably, Casa Blanca.

Forgotten a tool?  No problem!

Hungry? Just nip up the road to the flat for a bite to eat.

Loo out of action?  There was another 50 metres away.

Tired?  Take a siesta in the flat.

Five years later, Casa Blanca, now renovated, had to be sold to finance the purchase of a house in England for the recently divorced me to live in, but Piso Blanco, the apartment in Ronda lives on and continues to be enjoyed by family and friends, as well as Rita my new wife (we married in 2010) and I, both now residents. If we fancy a night out in Ronda and don’t want to drive home …..

Update – February 2021

Times and circumstances change and I sold Piso Blanco in February 2019. I even made a small profit, a rare phenomenon in the current financial climate.

Unhappy with the ridiculous interest rate on savings (0.025% I think) I decided to invest in another property to do up. I bought Casa Pablo in Montejaque in October 2020 and started work on the reforma. After several weeks of stoppages caused by Covid-19 lockdowns the work has stalled yet again, but we’ll get there in the end …

Note: This article forms part of a trilogy with Montejaque Diary – First Ever Stay and The Houses That Jack Built

Paul Whitelock

About Paul Whitelock

Paul Whitelock is a retired former languages teacher, school inspector and translator, who emigrated to the Serranía de Ronda in 2008, where he lives with his second wife, Rita. He spends his time between Montejaque and Ronda doing DIY, gardening and writing.