Already a successful accountant in England with a string of high-end careers behind her, she and her husband, fireman John, decided to move to Spain.
So what, you might say. Thousands of people do that every year.
Ah, but not like Debbie Fletcher. That whole boozy, lazy, fun in the sun around the villa pool, All Day British Breakfast and grey, permed hair syndrome wasn´t for her. She and John bought a piece of land in Murcia and built a stunning home on it, but they didn´t stop there. In fact John doesn´t stop long at all, dividing his time between saving lives in England and helping his superwife in Spain!
An inveterate animal lover, as well as a natural entrepreneur, Debbie now has her own Luxury Dog Kennel business and is working on the creation of a beading business, should she ever finds herself in the [unlikely] predicament of twiddling her thumbs.
Actually, that should perhaps be “thumb,” because the incombustible Debbie - in a previous life surely the leader of the weapon-wielding Amazons – has suffered all sorts of injuries in her six years of hard, physical graft in Spain and recently damaged her thumb.
Not that that will stop her, of course. Being severely bitten and scarred in the leg by a spider a few years ago only led to the writing of her wonderful book, Bitten by Spain.
Given that there´s a big chunk of Spain between Murcia and Madrid, I didn´t really expect to have the pleasure of meeting Debbie. Then she and John had a party to inaugurate the kennels and invited “everybody” on Facebook.
Fast-forward to one escocesa, one asturiano husband and one small española daughter waiting for Debbie to lead them through the wilds of Bullas to her craggy domain. She jumped out of her car to greet us, jumped in again and remained in perpetual motion until we left our Murcia weekend behind – and she´s probably jumping as I write.
Well, we were bowled over, me in particular, since I´d read her book and everything seemed familiar to me, such are Debbie´s powers of expression. I wanted the tour – meet the handsome, friendly but Spanish-challenged John, pet the enormous dog Marcos, the sweet husky Qivi, put our finger into the deep, round scar left on Debbie´s leg by the Spanish spider, say “´ello” to Cookie the cockatoo.
And gawp in utter amazement at the beauty of Debbie´s home on a bluff looking down into a valley, crowned by their “magic mountain,” a sort of promontory to which they must surely pray for bureacratic expeditiousness from their terraza on full moons, sipping full-bodied Murcian wine.
With her qualifications in interior design, Debbie designed and decorated the house, full of picture windows, gorgeous rustic furniture (that turned out to be made of mango wood) and perfectly complemented strong and neutral colours.
The inauguration was a great success as everyone, including us, was blown away by the gorgeous kennels waiting to provide the discerning dog with everything it could want – mosaic bath, private run area, underfloor heating and, of course, Debbie´s care and concern.
The joy didn´t stop with the party. Despite their responsibilities, Debbie and John held a wonderful Thai dinner party for us along with some lovely English folk who live nearby (Debbie caters Thai Banquets professionally as part of her plan never to sit down) and Malassie and I were invited to choose a piece of jewellery from the many Debbie has made in her beading classes. Not only that, but I was presented with a copy of the re-issued Bitten by Spain.
Quite frankly, Deborah and John Fletcher are among the most generous, industrious and lovely people we´ve ever met and Spain´s very lucky to have them.
So go knock on their door. They´ll only be converting the second outhouse, keeping chickens and parrots, running their businesses, taking time out (John) to drag people from blazing buildings, planting their vegetables, holding banquets, blogging and writing books.
Sitting about really, so why not turn up and give them something to do!