Apparently the Spanish government is planning on developing the area around Ronda.

I first went to Ronda many years ago when the place was supposedly riddled with bandits. Whenever I got on a bus it would stubbornly sit in the yard for ages waiting for what was pompously called the army detachment. This usually consisted of two seventeen year old conscripts looking scruffy and bewildered, and nervously fingering rifles. Luckily they pointed the guns at the roof of the bus otherwise I think most of the passengers would have got off, preferring to walk home.

I never encountered any of these bandits either while walking the roads, or travelling by rickety bus.

Occasionally I would be met by peasants along the dusty tracks and invited back to their homes. Way out in the campo people lived in caves. These were not hollowed out of rock, but simply dug into the side of a low hill, or even set inside a small bank by the side of a dried up water course.

When I went wandering around this area twenty years ago I noted that no-one lived in any of these caves any more. Instead they had been turned into places for growing mushrooms.

I never found Ronda particularly attractive. Sure, I walked across the bridge and looked down into the gorge, but so what? I also remember an interesting day out with a couple of sisters who lived in a dusty concrete box on the edge of town. And a terribly hot day spent looking for a doctor because my travelling companion was ill. Usually I was glad to get out of town.

Nowadays the government is putting in a motorway up from the coast. At the moment the road winds through a sturdy mountain range, and the journey is a trifle jerky. On the other hand, what is the problem here? Does one really need a motorway to get to Ronda?

In one of the valleys is the tiny village of Jorox where I stopped to film the Molino del Rey, which is for sale on the Unique Property site. Do have a look.

I suppose I might as well drop in a plug here, and mention that I do movies of homes for sale, for a price of course, so if you have somewhere unusual to sell and think a movie might make your ad stand out from the crowd, do talk to me.

There’s a comfortable eatery on the Ronda bypass where I had a nice meal of pork in tomato sauce, chicken livers, and potato salad with small snippets of onion and a hint of tuna, with some fried aubergine in honey to finish.

This fried aubergine and honey is on several of the menus these days. I thoroughly recommend it.

Not much partridge on the menus though, despite the fact that the birds are everywhere. There were several scurrying up the track by my hotel in the misty morning. It had been raining, and was very chilly. Southern Spain this spring has not been a congenial place to be. But the tart morning air was refreshing as we had breakfast in the courtyard with the sound of the gamelan of cows down the valley, while in the distance on the slopes of the mountain we could hear the sheep bleat and the new lambs plaintively cry.

The river was dry despite the rain, but the bushes were full of frogs chirruping merrily.

Ronda may be a dusty dump but the surrounding countryside is lovely. However, I was en route for Valencia, so, after breakfast, we headed north.

Investing for a pension

Investing for a pension

I’ve been doing a lot of research for my new pension newsletter, The Big Pension. The aim is to find investments suitable for a pension scheme that will return at least 10% p.a. plus the rate of inflation.

So far I have found myself inundated with schemes. Those of you who cant find somewhere relatively safe to park your money and get a good return are in luck. The returns available at the moment are lucrative and plentiful.

The problem for borrowers is that the banks are not lending as they used to, and that means private sources of finance have to be found. That is good news for savers who want to lend out at good rates.

I’m finding a lot of freeholds for sale which are already leased out at very attractive rates. The general return on investment (ROI) is in excess of 15%, and that figure can be improved no end by taking on a mortgage at, say, 60% loan to value. Your underlying security is safe and solid. Your return should continue to be good. If the lease comes to an end you can sell with vacant possession, which means the sale price is higher than the price was when you bought, as you bought without vacant possession. It’s a win-win situation.

I’m also finding a lot of interesting deals on productive land, such as timber investments, and agricultural deals in various countries.

I’m also finding some interesting deals in the USA which I have avoided for the past seven years. The secret is to know where to buy and what to buy. I think I’ve found a very lucrative little niche area, and the returns are very good indeed.

Do have a look at the scheme:


Own a Pub

I dont know what’s going on. Pubs are still closing down at a rate of knots. Most of them are in the North of the UK. What’s the matter with you guys up North? Why aren’t you drinking more beer?

I haven’t been North of Lincolnshire for a long time so I dont know what the beer‘s like these days, but there used to be some splendid ales for sale. Whenever I went through Yorkshire I used to make a special detour to Ripon to put as many crates as I could get into the boot of the car from that excellent wine shop on the corner of the square. Ripon Jewel was the one. It was my favourite beer bar none. Unfortunately it doesn’t travel very far south.

On the other hand I have been tasting some excellent beers in the south recently. One that is well nigh perfect is Kohinoor by the Windsor and Eton brewery which is currently for sale in my local Wetherspoons pub. I’ve been popping in there every morning for a working breakfast, which has included a glass of that splendid brew.

What this is supposed to be leading to is that the latest Unique Property members’ bulletin contains a selection of pubs currently going to auction in Liverpool. There’s a nice looking three storey pub going with a guide price of only £60,000. Keep the bar going, but look at all that accommodation upstairs. You’ve got a home, maybe a spare flat to rent out, and a comfy business on the ground floor.

There is another pub for sale at Runcorn. It’s a large comfortable looking building with a four bed flat upstairs and a price tag of £96,000. I dont know Runcorn at all, but surely it’s not a bad place to live?

Meanwhile, I’m sorry to say that, the excellent beers apart, and of course the superb cheeses, which I shall miss, I shall be glad to get home. I’ve just spent two and a half weeks in the UK and it has not been pleasant. Every day it has not only rained, it has fairly chucked the stuff down. A couple of days back I was driving to the West Country and I could hardly see where I was going. The trucks in front were just a darker shade of grey in the swirling rain and spray.

And I am bloody cold. I’m sitting here with pullover and jacket on while writing this. Back home I would be in shirt sleeves. And I bet my nispirus are all ready to eat, and the peaches should be ready as well. Hey ho, sweet dreams!