‘Goodbye, Matey’ – saying farewell to good friend and expat original

10806285_10152629581125819_4592342401354258962_n“Hello, matey” was Paul Witty’s usual greeting, coupled by his big, warm smile. His sudden death at only 48 years of age, by what was probably a heart attack, has come as a sad shock to all those who knew him from his time living in Granada.

He arrived in Nicaragua 13 years ago with his partner, Mijo Schyllert, and bought and renovated a house in front of Convento San Francisco. He opened a cyber café (The Binary Base) in the front sala, but this was a short-lived distraction from his true calling, which was enjoying life on his terms and developing property to his unique vision. His house in Granada is probably the only one in town to boast a fireman’s pole, which he put in as a quick exit from the viewing deck.

Feb-Abril 05 057Paul was a man of defined tastes. His favorite film was Withnail and I, his favorite music was Led Zeppelin. His favorite car was his Land Rover. His short wheel-base “Landy” was a passion that was not always easy to live with. He stripped all the paint off it to leave it nude to its aluminum skin.

It must have been one of the most unreliable and expensively assembled Land Rovers in the history of mankind. It was not uncommon for Paul to have a minor spare part Fedexed from the UK to Granada, then find out it was the wrong piece and have to start the whole process all over again.

Paul took up permaculture and dreamed of moving to a self-sustained, rural existance. Often his friends mocked him gently for his apparent apathy about making his dreams become reality, but he moved to Tarragona, Spain and bought an off-grid farm with hundreds of olive and almond trees.

P1000372Sometimes it seemed Paul was at his happiest when he had something to complain about; over the next couple of years, developing his property became an enjoyable agony for him. But the result was beautifully realized and fit-for-a-magazine farm. His visions always had an integrity to them that could make him seem inflexible but he was ultimately justified. Paul was noticably more at peace with himself and the world.

Recently Paul and Mijo had been tiring of  living quite so remotely and had started the process of moving to a more social existence in Menorca. Our thoughts now are with her. He was a lovely man, a wonderful host, and always the guy everyone wanted to sit next to at dinner —Paul just made you feel good and will be sorely missed.

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