The Leaning Gazebo of Pinoso

It was a perfect spring morning, with sunshine filling the front room of Dave and Lyne Simpson’s recently built villa in the mountains in Spain, near Pinoso. Becky, their young daughter, played outside with Max the dog, the scent of almond blossom wafted through open French doors and birdsong completed the idyllic setting – and yet Lyne wore a frown, which deepened with each passing minute. Dave sat opposite, scrutinising a pile of garden furniture brochures on the coffee table. They all lay open on wooden gazebos, in all shapes and sizes. She could almost hear the cogs grinding away in his head and braced for the inevitable.

‘Lyne,’ said Dave, finally looking up.

Here we go, she thought.

‘You mentioned to me how it would be nice to have a gazebo?’

‘Yes.’ She drew the word out.

‘Well, I reckon I can build one. It doesn’t look too complicated.’

Her frown turned to a smile. ‘Dave, my love, you and DIY are not the best of friends – remember the guinea-pig hutch?’

‘I should have used longer nails.’

‘The thing fell to bits the first day. They’re not exactly Wolverines. Becky was distraught, poor thing.’

Dave waved his hand dismissively. ‘She got over it. Anyway, we managed to save one from the cat.’ His face brightened. ‘Just think about it, sitting under a gazebo with a glass of wine and watching the sun go down. We’ve been in Spain for nearly a year now and it’s about time we did something with the garden.’

‘I agree with you about the garden, but you building a gazebo? I don’t know.’

‘There’s that timber the workmen left when they build the swimming pool. And I’ll get really big nails this time.’

Lyne’s frown returned. ‘Shouldn’t you use screws and things like that for a gazebo – and concrete or something for the floor? It can get a bit windy some days.’

‘Nah,’ said Dave, glancing back to the brochures. ‘Using screws is too much like hard work – and I haven’t got the tools. As for concrete, we can do that later. I’ll dig holes in the ground.’ He pursed his lips and nodded confidently. ‘You leave it to me, Sweetheart.’

‘But, Dave, I really don’t think it’s a good idea.’ Her words followed him out of the room.


It would have been a quiet afternoon if it hadn’t been filled with the sound of sawing, banging and cursing. Lyne couldn’t bear to look outside and decided the study and computer was the best place of refuge as construction of the gazebo ground painfully on. Checking out various websites, she found what she was looking for: a professional carpenter based close-by on the border of Alicante and Murcia. She made a phone call then caught up on face book.

The sun had fallen low in the sky when a sweating, grubby Dave walked triumphantly into the house.

‘Un-cork the bottle, Lyne – you have a gazebo!’


Lyne kept her eyes firmly shut, just as Dave had instructed. As he led her onto the land surrounding their villa, a little voice inside told her to prepare for the worst.

‘You can open them now,’ said Dave. ‘Dah dah!’

The little voice had been right. ‘It’s… it’s…’ Lyne struggled for a word that wasn’t offensive, ‘interesting?’

‘Great, isn’t it?’

‘Should it be leaning like that?’

Dave walked over to a timber upright and gave it a hefty thump. ‘Adds character – this gazebo is as solid as the rock of Gibraltar.’ The words had no sooner left his mouth when the lean became more pronounced.

‘Watch out, Dave!’


‘Never mind,’ said Lyne handing a beer to Dave as she sat down next to him on the patio sun-bed. ‘I’ve found a professional company to build our gazebo, Woodworks Direct; they’ll be here early next week.’

‘But, Lyne,’ said Dave looking hurt, ‘I can-‘

‘No you can’t,’ she said firmly. ‘You’ve got flower beds to make, trees to plant, stone chips to spread out. There’s plenty to keep you busy. You’re right about the garden needing doing, and you’ve got wonderful green fingers. Give me a lovely garden – please?’

A week later:

‘It’s a beautiful Gazebo, isn’t love,’ said Lyne, taking a sip of wine and tapping the wooden floor. ‘It’s worth every penny, and you’ll soon get some plants climbing the sides. This is the beginning of our new garden. It’s over to you now.’

‘Yeah, they’ve made a good job,’ said Dave grudgingly. ‘I’ll need a wooden garden shed to keep tools in, though.’

‘Woodworks Direct do those as well. I’ll give them a call.’

Dave’s expression brightened. ‘May be I can have a go at building it?‘

‘Don’t you dare!’


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