Living in Spain, warts and all

Well, helloooo! How the devil are you both?

I used to blog when there were only twenty-four hours in a day, even though it was a struggle sometimes. Now I have managed to warp time and fit twenty-six hours into the afore-mentioned day, but alas the authorities here got wise to it and so have increased their demands upon me in direct proportion. More of that later.

I confess that my desire to blog waned suddenly and rapidly after my last blog post in mid-October when we were at that time presented with two sudden and unexpected deaths, a murder, a mangled thumb (mine) and the inevitable but nonetheless horribly sad loss of my grand old Lady Jade. Such events do not inspire me to write – try as I might, I cannot find it in myself to be light-hearted about any of them.

I am, utterly regardless of authentically-signed notes of absence from both my Mum and the Doctor, still firmly in the sin-bin for my recent inactivity of the verbose kind. Apart from ear-ache from the pair of you, I also have a new publisher to whom to answer. The previous publisher of Bitten by Spain has decided, for whatever reason, that he is ditching all his expat titles. They have, fortunately, been expertly fielded by Jo Parfitt of Summertime Publishing, who is determined both to save them from oblivion and, moreover, to better them.

To that end, I have been working with Jo on edits and additions, and Bitten will be re-released soon with go-faster stripes – I’ll let you know. Jo quite rightly insists that I must put in some legwork regarding its promotion, and that the blog must not languish.

And you thought the drivel had dried up.

It’s also time to bring you up to speed regarding the hellish demands I am facing in order to open a fully-legal business here in Spain…

We are pretty much finished with the refurbishment work on the section of the barn for which we have permission to create boarding kennels. I will, I promise, be posting photos soon. It has been a tremendous amount of work – had I realised this at the outset, I would have refused to embark on the whole crazy idea. Likewise if I’d realised it would take so long to elicit a decision from the ayuntamiento in the first place. But I was ignorant on both scores, and so we have waited and then slaved.

However, I am really pleased with and proud of the product, and eager to open up to the public – if possible, before I reach pensionable age or the date with my maker (whichever comes first).

The venerable gentlemen of the ayuntamiento have other ideas, though.

I have a list of conditions to meet before they with grant me the licencia de apertura.

– all dogs must be shut away in the inside runs between the hours of 10pm  and 7am. I must have a sound test to check the levels of noise that can be heard outside the barns (in the campo with no resident neighbours barring the rampant wildlife) when a simulation of a barn full of dogs is played inside.


Can you imagine the noise that is produced by the bars in the middle of town right next door to residential properties?

And of course there is always a background cacophony of baying dogs from one finca or another round and about – all dogs being left outside to wander at will, natch.

What? Why?

Oh, and by the way, this is going to cost some 700€ and (of course) takes time to coordinate.

– I must have compulsory registration as a small producer of residuos tóxicos. Dog crap, I presume? Which will, by the way, be going into a dual-tank total oxidation depuradora. Unlike all the goat crap that is left like heaps of monster mutant currants along the camino from town, all over the footpath that weaves its way down through our terraces to the river below, in the river itself …

And to register, I must have a (paid) contract with a company to remove said waste when required. Oh, and pay the appropriate taxes.

– Because we have the depuradora, we must obtain authorisation for its use from the Confederación Hidrológica de Segura. The Segura is a large river of importance in south-east Spain and runs through the Jaén, Albacete, Murcia and Alicante districts. It is beautiful in parts, utterly rank in others. I am not on it. Our little tributary, the río Mula, running through the valley as a stream, empties (occasionally – more often than not it is dry 10km downstream of us) into the Segura some 60 km away.

The depuradora, at the top rim of the valley, produces water that is 95% pure and would never reach the stream – unlike the goats that actually paddle in the stream (see note above).

– I must also have a (paid) contract with a firm to remove and incinerate any cadavers. Either that, or I must provide walk-in refrigeration for them. I am assuming that this refers to clients that meet their demise here rather than, say, to venerable members of the ayuntamiento who just might, one of these days, push me over the edge and into the abyss of murderous insanity.

– I must also obtain certificates of installation for fire-fighting equipment, and for the electrical refurbishment. Invoices are not good enough and (of course) there is a charge, and a waiting period, for the certificates.

– And finally, I have to have the project signed off by Salvador, our ingeniero agrónomo. This costs another thousand on top of the thousands already paid, and the paperwork has to go before the colegio (equivalent to a professional institution) to be stamped visado (seen/passed) and also costs money.

Nothing in Spain happens quickly, unless it involves preparation for a fiesta.

Lots of things all needing to happen at once happen even less quickly.

I was registered as autónomo (self-employed) on 2nd January. I am therefore already having to pay my self-employed contributions – which are around 260€ per month and are flat rate, regardless of income – without being able to earn a single céntimo because I don’t yet have my licence to open.

I now understand fully and with deep feeling why so many of the countrymen of my adoptive home work en negro.

Comments on: "Three deaths, a murder and a plethora of paper cuts" (11)

  1. Absolutely ridiculous Debs and just shows why it is impossible to imagine a quick exit to the “Crisis”
    Click on my name below to see my post about this. It is truly ridiculous comparing Spain with any other country.

    • Oh, I could go on … and on … and on.
      And I haven’t even started on the duplicity of treatment doled out to the Spanish and to me!
      You’re absolutely right about the dismal outlook for exit from crisis. My top priority there would be to apply a percentage base for payment into seguridad social. The change was made in France a couple of years ago and suddenly (quelle surprise!) thousands of people were able to register.

  2. Oh Deborah! What a time you´re having. It´s just so frustrating living here, somewhere between Kafka and Coco the Clown. Right here in the middle of Alcalá dogs bark incessantly on balconies to their lungs´ content, shit all over the middle of the pavement and those of the pitbull persuasion sometimes go without a leash or muzzle. When I ask Spanish friends why things don´t work as they should – or work in such inscrutable ways – they just shrug and say “Dinero”. Everybody taking a cut. When you finally get your kennels open we must have some sort of blog cyber bash to celebrate! I´m very glad to see you back at your keyboard and look forward to the cleansed, toned and moisturised book!

    • Exacto, chica!
      The biggest issue levelled at me is that I am in a zona protegida, and so they must guard the environment carefully.
      Meanwhile, they have just flung up large electricity pylons a little further down the valley to carry luz to casitas on the other side of the river. Furthermore, they are currently destroying a bridle path that runs on that side of the valley through the pine forest with road-making equipment so that cars can use it!

  3. First off, Petal, so glad to see that you are not bereft of life and nailed to the perch – yet! As for the emotional torture, lunacy and environmental destruction, that’s par for the course at both ends of the Med! The one advantage to living here is that if things/people push too hard there are ‘Men in Black’ for hire at reasonable rates of remuneration 😀
    Good luck with the crap! Which reminds me, loved the book – I really did! keep on truckin’!

    • Thank you for your kind words. In reality, I lied – I stopped blogging when I was heart-broken that you were reading Bitten and then went very quiet. I thought you hated it. At around that time, I had a 1* damning review on Amazon, and thought it might be you!
      Still not sure quite how to take it given that the expression “Good luck with the crap!” reminded you to comment on the book finally.
      I just couldn’t bring myself to write more if my most admired blog-pal thought my work was abysmal!
      I don’t think we need Men in Black in Spain to remove the nuisances – I am informed by Spanish neighbours that a gun and a septic tank are the only props required. And, let’s face it, they should know.

  4. Welcome back! It’s been awhile and you’ve been missed. So it’s two steps forward, one step back (or rather three steps back)? I sense between the lines that the end of the tunnel is in sight, though. Really looking forward to being bitten all over again.

    • Hi hun. Am I allowed to address such a famous and successful author as such still? I stand in awe of your energy and dedication, and only wish I could emulate you even at a 10% level. So does Jo wish the same thing.

      Right now I’m sprinting to stand still, but yes – I’m hoping that it will all be resolved soon. I promise to post regularly (unspecified) and also to recommence reading all the wonderful posts out there from my personal collection of favourite and talented bloggers. Forgive me for my absence on that score.

      I think this process has drawn all my teeth, so I might be gumming rather than biting …

  5. 'Mr Fletch' you said:

    Well done & Congratulations,’The Wife’….. for getting the blog up and running again! After absent months from the keyboard, you can finally return.

    How dare these people from the council inflict so much aggro on you………THAT’s MY JOB!


  6. […] mentioned in passing earlier this year (Three deaths, a murder and a plethora of paper cuts) that I have a mangled thumb. This came about late October last as John and I were insulating and […]

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