The first estimate came in at a price that broadly tallies with Tim's costings for the project.
The second came in at... Well, put it this way: take the first estimate. Double it. And then add just a little bit more for good measure, if you really fancy chancing your arm.
It's 'anomalies' like this that make a project like ours a total minefield. A minefield that you're forced to negotiate in heavy, ill-fitting boots. My advice - for what it's worth - is don't buy a property abroad unless you're prepared to do a whole lot of painstaking research. Really.
(Disclaimer: In my case, I got Tim to do it, but we all know I'm physically allergic to money management matters.)
It took us over a year to find and buy a house we loved, and there were too many near-misses and dodged bullets along the way for my liking. And there have been quite a few chancers (like this builder), to boot. At the same time, we've met some wonderful people who were incredibly generous and helpful and sincere.
It would be indiscreet of me to go into details here. Take me to O Cantinho and buy me a bottle of Casal Garcia, however, and I'll spill the lot. Just before I start telling you - again and again and again - that, while one can't be too careful, this is still the best thing that Tim and I have ever, ever done. Ever. *Hic*