Category Archives: Old Write ups in Spain

Crash

THIS WAS WRITTEN BY ME IN JANUARY 2014

Having a wife and daughter who travel 165km per day to work, there is always one call I dread receiving. On Monday in the middle of a meeting that’s exactly what I received.

Cathy was on the phone sounding upset, I could immediately tell something wasn’t right (it’s not that I am that intuitive but you could really tell). Yup, she’d had an accident. Of course, first question was, “are you all OK?” This was followed by “Where are you?” and “Is there much damage?” This was immediately followed by I am on my way and pray the guy that hit your car is long gone. I darted out of the meeting without giving an explanation, jumped in the car only to realise I had left my jacket behind so I ran back and grabbed it, all without providing much explanation. En-route I rang Cathy to make sure she took photos of the scene of the accident as well as position of the vehicles, damage, road condition blah blah blah. Thank goodness for camera phones. The other driver called the police as required by law where there is damage to property. Here’s where it gets interesting. Police arrived (2 local police on their scooters) shook hands with the other driver and spent a considerable time with him as apparently they knew him. Obviously a lady on her own with a 3 year old and a damaged car isn’t quite as important as greeting a friend, oh yes, perhaps it may have something to do with the fact she was English! Fortunately, both, Cathy and Katja were unharmed, Cathy’s car has considerable damage but still driveable, the other guy’s car had suffered considerable more damage and was certainly not driveable, it had to be taken on the back of a recovery truck!

Basically, the other driver had failed to give way to a car already on a roundabout and proceeded to join the roundabout as Cathy was turning, this resulted in him hitting the side of Cathy’s car with his front end. He damaged every panel on the passenger’s side (this is the side Katja sits in!). Needless to say, he’s not admitted liability and is arguing it’s Cathy’s fault (how, I have no idea but hey ho!) As he’s friends with or seemed to be very friendly with the police officers who wrote the report, we feel it will probably go against Cathy.

As we are insured fully comp, we have to pay the excess and that’s it. If Cathy wins, we get that back, if she doesn’t then we are 300€ out of pocket. I don’t wish to say anything which may be deemed libellous but, corruption, anti-foreigners and many other similar phrases spring to mind! Anyway, I was ¾ of the way there when Cathy rang to say she was on her way back and it was all over. On Tuesday we popped over to sort out the insurance etc etc and have arranged for her car to go for repair and to have a courtesy car in the meantime. The really ironic thing is that having driven in Bulgaria for more than 5 years where driving is at best can be described as atrocious, in winter weather and road conditions more than challenging, if I were a gambling person, I would have put money that either of us would have had an accident there, instead it had to be in Spain! Oh well….

We are both feeling pretty deflated and fed up with Spain, not wanting to wish our lives away but we really want to roll the clock forward by six months, at the same time we are conscious that we have plenty to do before we can leave. Even though  it doesn’t get all that cold in winter, houses are not prepared for cooler temperatures thus making winters not all that pleasant. We are hoping that it will warm up by mid-March which is only 6 weeks away….

Outcome

I am writing this sitting in a bright and lovely apartment in Qatar, it is August 20th and can tell you the outcome of the accident! Hey, guess what? Yup, the claim went against her, nobody seems to understand why but it was deemed to be her fault….. only in Spain can someone be on a roundabout, be hit by a car who fails to give way and the person on the roundabout be found at fault! To add insult to injury (metaphorically speaking as neither Cathy nor Katja were injured) Cathy received a letter from the insurance company to tell her that they will not renew her insurance come August. This was a pain because it was just before I drove the car back to England. Anyway, it was all sorted and it’s all water under the bridge!

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Tell me Why I Don’t Like Mondays

No, you don’t need to tell me, I know why I don’t like them. Sunday evenings feel like standing at the abyss, the clock ticks and Monday is ever nearer!

It has been an OK weekend, we (Cathy) finished off painting the sitting room and entrance hallway, I must admit, it looks very nice! It has made the entrance hallway look a lot bigger.

Friday was a frustrating day, we just found out that Cathy is being taxed on Katja’s free place in Sotogrande School, this is now costing us a lot of money, not only that, but as her contract includes lunch at school, she is also being taxed on that! And the government dares to say that the country is out of the doldrums? Rob from Peter to pay Paul springs to mind. As I wrote earlier on, in one year, 200,000 immigrants left Spain, that’s the equivalent to 547 people per day, every day; these figures don’t include Spaniards trying to earn a living elsewhere. I was talking with a Spanish businessman on Friday, he was very happy that he managed to sell some shares and not lose money. It is a sad state of affairs when not losing money is a cause to celebrate!

I spent Saturday afternoon cycling with Katja, she’s extremely good and becoming very confident. We cycled for the first time together, we rode 6.6km, our average speed was a little over 6 kph. I think for a 3 and a bit year old, that is pretty good. Upon our return, we did some chores in the house then popped out to the bar. Dano and Becky gave Katja a lovely hat and a cat (which I proceeded to name Kiwi). Kati looks adorable in her new hat and loves her cat. She came into our room at stupid o’clock in the morning, stood by our bed like some ghostly figure and all she could muster was, where’s my cat?!

Skipping Sunday, Standing by the Abyss, Roll on Monday! (26/01/14)

I have been meaning to collect the base of a bed I bought several months ago, I managed to collect the mattress as it fitted in my car, however, the base didn’t. I had hoped it would fit easily enough, but nothing ever does. I had to take Kati’s seat out which I really didn’t want to do but hey ho, I did. Just as I expected, it was a real swine to fit back in but I did it. We then did several trips to the skip today, we had several items of furniture we had to get shot of as they were in pretty poor condition thanks to people who shall remain nameless….. After that, we popped over to Joe and Sue’s house to pick up our treadmill. Cathy has been nagging me for weeks that she wants to get into shape as she’s committed herself to some 15 km run in May.

At about 3 we popped down to Marbella to chill out, we took Kati’s bike with us and she had a good ride along the sea front in Marbella. It was buzzing, bars and restaurants were packed! It was lovely walking around in shorts and T-shirt in January! There were even people sunbathing. Then it was back home, light the fire and enjoy a good old fashioned Sunday roast with roasties and sprouts!

It’s the beginning of a new week or as we see it, one less week to go, happy new week to you!

Wednesday January 22

Another day, another Euro, well, this being Spain it’s more like, another day a few Euros poorer!

So, what can I tell you that you don’t already know? It seems like the clock is ticking ever so slowly, we are sitting here wishing it were August, I know, you are probably thinking, silly muppets, wishing their lives away. However, Spanish winters, believe it or not are pretty hard, especially when you live in an old big house. We only have a wood burner for heating, even though temperatures don’t drop that low, it does feel pretty chilly. We will certainly not miss lighting the fire in the evenings and spending 120€ a month on wood. Oh well, hopefully we only have another 4 weeks of cooler weather before things start picking up in March.

We are painting at the weekend, OK, that was the Royal we! Cathy will be painting the areas I rendered last weekend, I will spend a few hours with Katja, we’ll pop into Fuengi and buy some things for her bike and pop in to see mother while we are there.

Not much to report, see you soon!

Refreshment to Labour

I have always sort of been into writing, I’ve had blogs in the past but I never got round to update them. I have done some write ups over the past few months, these are some of the write ups on the run up to moving from Spain to Qatar, chronologically they are out of sync with current stuff as they’ve been written several months ago.

From Refreshment to Labour! (January 20th 2014)

Having procrastinated since the beginning of November, it was time to get the cement mixer going and once more, crack on with the house.

We have 28 weekends left, it may seem like a long time, but in Spain, time seems to go double quick (so does money but more of that later).

Our house is blessed with having briquettes throughout, in a weird sort of way, it works, even though it sounds a bit tacky but it works. However, as these old houses have no damp-proofing, a certain amount of damp is normal. Long storey cut short, briquettes not only gather lots of dust and make a dark house look and feel even darker, that’s problem number one; problem number two which is the most serious, is the fact that damp wasn’t allowed to dissipate or find its way out so they were starting work their way off the wall! I stripped several walls and entire rooms, even nearly managed to electrocute myself as I got carried away with a chisel and hammer! Anyway, I stripped a column in the sitting room back in November and haven’t gone back to it until Sunday.

It was a weird week as Katja managed to come down with the cold I had just got over and in true Kati form, her temperature went sky high on Thursday resulting in a mad dash to Coin which is 7 miles down the road. We saw the same quack (I’m sorry but I really can’t call it a Dr) that we had seen several weeks earlier when Kati was bitten by something by her right eye and it swelled up to the point she couldn’t open it! Anyway, the witch Dr quack checked her over and said she had a cold, wow, I could have told her that bit! She prescribed some medication after scribbling her weight on a piece of paper and done some rough calculations as to dosage. She then printed a prescription saying she had to take paracetamol for 86 days! Needless to say, 48 hours later she was all sorted. It’s during situations like these that we realise how much we miss Dr Stoychkov from Bulgaria and the health care package we had there.

By Sunday we all had cabin fever so had to get out of the house so we popped out to Fuengirola sea front and Kati rode her bike for a bit which did her the world of good and on our return I sponged down the pillar I had done in the morning.

Today (20.01.14) Cathy sent our paperwork off to Qatar, this is already starting to feel like a long move! As Kati would say, “It’s taking too long”!

Last one to Leave Spain, Please Switch the Light Off!

It was with great pleasure that we found out that two of Cathy’s colleagues working with her in the same school where she is now have also accepted job offers in the same school as where Cathy will be teaching in Qatar, they also have kids, one of similar age to Kati so that worked out very nicely.

I read an interesting article in El Mundo on Thursday, the headline was, 200,000 immigrants left Spain in one year! That equates to 547 people every day, which is a massive number.

Many of them had come over to live and work here and as work has run dry, have left. It is hardly surprising we are all leaving in droves. Two instances which really brought it home in the past 36 hours are:

  • A couple living near Alhaurin el Grande in the campo, house was burgled. Rang 112 for police. They were told to ring the Guardia Civil. No answer until the morning. Even then, according to what they said, the police weren’t too interested as they didn’t have an interpreter.
  • Social security payments going up, businesses and individuals being taxed to breaking point, this will affect us, we just don’t know by how much yet.

I have never been in love with Spain, I have always had a bit of a love hate relationship with the place, however, we had some fond memories of the place and whilst we realised it wasn’t going to be an easy move, I don’t think we were really prepared for how much the place had changed. The weather remains good (even though we hate Spanish winters), however, we as many other Brits living here, we feel that enjoying 325 days a year of sunshine, is too-high-a-price to pay for the rest of the rubbish you have to put up with!

Bye for now!