Greetings from Spain – hot and sunny, except for one week in early May when it rained every day, dumping at least 18 inches of desperately needed water on us. This was most unusual and unexpected!
It’s been a hectic few months, full of discovery, change, and fun. We finally cleared the removal firms boxes into the cellar and completed our few alterations and decorating by the end of March, in time for the warm weather and the visitor season. Our decorators did a wonderful job and also gave us a lot of tips about living over here. We used what I can best call “second generation” expats, so we had the benefits of cultural and language similarities whilst benefiting from local knowledge.
Lilycat is fully settled and loving it. She spends most of the day asleep and tends to go out more in the cool of the night, returning several times in the small hours to tell us how much she loves us and please can she have some fresh food. Fortunately she seems to have stopped her habit of bringing in presents at 3am, including brown furry things which ain’t mice!!
We’re also settling into the “mañana” culture. Unless something really needs doing now, it can wait; now it’s getting rather warm in the afternoon it does wait – after all it’s unlikely to rain isn’t it?!😎
We’ve obtained our 5-year residency and we’ll opt for full residential status in a year or two; we’ll get round to registering with a doctor and dentist tomorrow – perhaps! Bureaucracy does take a long time over here, but then that’s really no different from anywhere else.
I’ve been caring for the pool, including learning all about the chemical balances and cleaning, whilst Charlie has focused more upon the garden. Water is a huge issue for us. Our urbanisation is not on mains supply (although it is an option to be explored) and relies upon a local well. Three or four unusually dry winters have seriously lowered the levels and we have to be very conscious about conserving water, notably in replenishing the swimming pool and watering the garden. To this end we’ve invested in a cover for the pool which not only reduces evaporation but keeps the ambient temperature higher; we also save water from when we shower into buckets for the plant pots – it is surprising how much we recycle just when running the shower from cold to hot! And yes, we’ve both been in the pool with the water at 29c and it’s glorious!!
We’ve had a few visitors since March, including my 93 yr-old Mother in law, our friend Ian (a few times), Tracy’s parents (about to arrive for the second visit) and Vanessa, Charlie’s daughter, & co arrive for their second visit tomorrow. It’s great to see everybody and those brave enough to hire a car add to their experiences in more ways than one. I won’t go into detail, but it took us a little while to adjust to driving over here, not just because it’s on the “wrong side”, but also culturally with the plethora of double-parkers, drivers stopping in the middle of the road to chat with each other, the approach to roundabouts and much more!!
Another lovely ‘visit’ was from friends Sheri and her husband Mark and Chris from Eastbourne whom we met for lunch in Malaga when their cruise ship docked for the day there, along with another friend, Lisa, who was staying with us.
We are about to return some of the visits in July and August. Charlie’s back for a week “oop north” to see Cricket, Yorkshire and Family and then has a very swift trip combining London (to see Vanessa), Eastbourne (Alistair and family) and Tun Wells (cricket). I return in August for 10 days which will include my Mother’s birthday (Charlie will also come over for a couple of days then), before we return for Alistair’s and Gabby’s wedding in October.
We are increasingly discovering the Spanish love of Festivals – any excuse for a party! We’ve just had 5 days of our town’s Feria – a riot of colour, music, acts, food, drink etc, including a Feria King and Queen (not a politically correct “ambassador” – please note Eastbourne!!) with half the town centre’s roads cordoned off and a local public holiday. Our neighbouring town (about 8k away) are about to start their Feria this weekend.
We are very fortunate that so much is so close and that the excellent roads are (in comparison with England) empty. Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada are between 90 minutes and 2.5 hours away. We’ve visited all three; Sevilla and Cordoba most definitely warrant a night or two’s stay, especially at (yes, you’ve guessed) festival time!
Finally the EU Referendum. We both have our voting forms and will be voting Leave. We shan’t go into the many reasons why we, as expats, are voting to leave the EU, but we’ve been disgusted by “Project Fear” by Remain and refute the majority of their arguments. But what hasn’t been mentioned is the frightening similarity between the last days of the Western Roman Empire and the state of the EU today. Recently Charlie has been reading a lot about the last days of The Western Roman Empire and can’t help but notice the similarities. To go into an in-depth analysis would entail writing a small book, but in a nutshell below, Charlie has a few thoughts:
1) Both were/are run by a self-serving, viciously-corrupt elite completely out-of-touch with and uninterested in those whom they govern.
2) Members of the Senate in Rome (by far the richest element) were exempt from taxation – likewise our Multi-Nationals and richest individuals avoid tax.
3) Both were/are under severe pressure from refugees fleeing Huns / ISIL.
4) Both were/are under severe pressure from economic migration / invasion – Rome from Germanic and Slav tribes, EU from Africa and the Middle East in particular.
5) Contrary to earlier practices, immigrating communities allowed to settle in the Roman Empire were allowed to keep the own leaders, language and customs instead of becoming Romanised – as groups (notably Muslim) now do in the EU.
6) Rome was becoming increasingly unable to control its own borders, and defence spending as a proportion of GDP was falling – sound familiar?
7) The Eastern Empire was becoming increasingly occupied with Persia and its own migration issues to help the West – sounds like USA with China and Mexico?
8) When in 378 Gothic tribes were allowed into the Empire, the migration was so badly handled that warfare ensued and the Romans were annihilated at Adrianople – not quite that bad in the EU – yet, but the riots are starting.
As I said, just a few thoughts, inspired by books by Ian Hughes, Adrian Galsworthy, Peter Heather.
June 9: 10.20am and it’s already 28o! Forecast says 36o by this afternoon! As the tabloids are fond of saying ‘phew what a scorcher’! 😎😎😎😎
Been reading Gerald Durrell’s Corfu Trilogy books after enjoying the recent tv series – both highly recommended and very funny! Thanks to Gerry I have identified a large black flying creature which I feared was a hornet. It’s not. This chap is a carpenter bee. He’s about an inch long, eats wood pulp and nectar and buzzes around the place in a very endearing drowsy sort of way. They rarely sting but will of course if provoked like any other bee. I’d describe him as the bee world’s equivalent of the Lancaster bomber!
June 10: 6.28am and it’s 24o. Not complaining just wish the humidity would go 😦
June 11: Up very early a) to take advantage of the cooler mornings to get jobs done, particularly as b) it’s England vs Australia later in the rugby! Swing low boys! 😜😜😍😍😁😁
June 13: 41o! I’m officially melting! 😎😎😎😎
June 16: Castillo de Monda – beautiful castle with fantastic views across the valley and mountains
June 19: With ma and pa. Eating outside at Santiago’s on a balmy summer evening with a gorgeous cool breeze
June 22: Trying Mumtaz Mahal curry house in Coin our neighbouring town. Glad to say this place is far better than the last one we tried!
The rest of June we just rested after saying goodbye to our last visitors. Really enjoying our home and lifestyle.