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.
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.