Living in Spain, warts and all

The plot thickens

Inma’s office have just emailed me.

They have spoken again to the oficina técnica this morning to ascertain the nature of the tests to be carried out.  They have been told that the tests are indeed in accordance with the Real Decreto 1367/2007 which demands that the noise levels are recorded with animals in situ.

Further, that I have permission to put my dogs in there for this to take place.

Finally, that I must provide contact details for my esteemed neighbour, whose land abuts mine right behind the barn (although his house is some 300m away) and who has caused me all the problems so far. This is because they need to put measuring equipment at his house.

OK. I have a couple of issues with this.

This is the guy who, when we first bought the land some seven years ago, informed us on first meeting that he owned our barn because it was built on his land. We had to pay a topógrafo to ascertain that this was not so. Following that, he said that, because the barn was situated on the party boundary (which would be illegal today but it is too old for this law to be applicable) he would make sure that we could never do anything with it … unless we paid him 9,000€ hush money.

Of course, we declined his generous offer. However, we were still fairly new to Spain, and also intensely aware that we were coming to a very rural area, where everyone is related to everyone else in the village, as witnessed by the sheer number of extra eyes / oddly-placed ears / hunched backs etc. So we diverted our attention away from the barn (in which we had originally intended to create our home, just as all the locals had done) and concentrated instead on renovating the old casita further down on the land, even though it was a great deal smaller.

That, of course, turned out to be a different story – we paid a builder and his architect to validate the antiquity of both buildings, and to submit plans to renovate the casita. Unbeknownst to us, this didn’t happen – the work went ahead without licences, although we were told that all was in order.

The house was denounced – I’ll give you just one guess by whom, because that’s all you’ll need. He couldn’t possibly see the casita from his land – he must have driven into town and back out along our camino to take a look – and he then asked to see the licences, which weren’t there. So he denounced us. He was, please note, at the same time building a second illegal house of his own just behind his first. But obviously in his feeble brain, natives are allowed to do what foreigners must not. Or something.

Not only was it denounced, but it was also sealed off by the police, since Mr Personality has relatives in the town hall.

Anyway, back to the kennels. We have therefore been über cautious, with the development and opening of a business in the barn, that we comply to the letter.

He has tried his damnedest to prevent it. When the notice of intent was posted, he wrote a three page letter of objection stating that we would create too much noise, too much smell, too much damage to the beautiful environment in which we live (‘the lungs of Bullas’, as he put it). Besides which, we were sancionados (previously fined for wrong-doing) and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to touch the barn/create a business/breathe.

It is apparently for this reason that the ayuntamiento have demanded so many different papers of compliance.

So, my worries are as follow. How much do you think he can impede the sound tests by refusing or at least considerably delaying access to his land? And, further, would you think him capable of placing a dog near the testing equipment and making it bark long and loud? Am I just being paranoid?

Or am I learning from a master about thinking like an utter bastard?

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Comments on: "The plot thickens" (19)

  1. This will come as a surprise to most – but words actually fail me right now.

  2. cess-pits come to mind!

    • Not sure what you’re driving at there, Alan. Do you mean see him off and stuff him in one? (ie: the standard procedure here, apparently, according to neighbours and friends)

  3. Holy shit Debs … what a total twat … I wish I could think of something helpful to say … what IS his beef with you? Is it worth asking at the town hall why this man has an issue with you being there? In all innocence sort of thing?

  4. kentgirlnolongerinfrance said:

    One assumes that they have to place more than one lot of recording equipment for this test – surely it’ll be a bit odd if the only one to record barking is the one on his land? Or is that not the way it works…?

  5. You’re right to tread carefully – tip toes and egg shells spring to mind. I wish I could offer a bit more than moral support.

  6. Av and Iain said:

    It is strange that he has never denounced the hotel right across the valley from his house which is nearer than your place and which can play loud music all afternoon and well into the small hours. I forgot, that is Spanish owned and probably by a relative of his and will have all the licenses needed,,,,,,,,, Of course, if he refuses to have the test equipment on his land then his case gets weaker. But I would get his refusal in writing…… Or find out when the hotel next has an all night function and do the test then assuming Inma can differentiate between noises.

  7. Good point, well made.

    I know he makes a big fuss about the bar next door to his house in town.

    I don’t need to seek his approval for the placing of the test equipment, the engineers do. Presumably with police back-up?

    As for differentiating between noises …. who can tell? Even if it just picks up a range of frequencies that includes ‘normal’ barking, there are any number of dogs dotted about in fincas up and down the valley, left out all day and all night and without company. They howl just to communicate with each other! Do you think they will be filtered out? No, me neither.

  8. Could we all “out” this guy? We have blogs which are for writing about important issues when necessary. Is there a way of protesting against him with name, address and photo that would be legal? Couldn´t we get the press to check him out, all write to El País? Show him up in public? Who the hell is he anyway? Is he rich, famous, dangerous, owns the pueblo? I mean what´s going on here is a grave injustice so why should he get away with it? I think that the voice of us expats – who have all suffered from the idiocy afflicting this country – has been silent too long. I see the políticos all sitting around yapping about “la imagen de España” as if the country had anything other than a ridiculous one to preserve. Now everybody´s up in arms about cuts, job losses, etc. but as a group we expats have suffered exclusion and discrimination for years. Why shouldn´t our voice be heard too? Any takers?

  9. I’m feeling the pain, Mo, I really am.
    But I have to keep a few things in mind.

    Firstly, this really is Deliverance country with everyone related to everyone else – so it’s hard to say anything about anyone to anyone without offending someone.

    Secondly, I don’t know the beast. He is a hateful, spiteful man, and my other immediate neighbours detest him too (and they are all Spanish locals). He has pulled a few nasties on them, too – for instance, when they all grouped together to pay the large sum of money required to bring electricity cables to this neighbourhood, he reneged and opted out – then subsequently tapped in at a later date. They don’t forget. But they don’t seem to be able to do anything about him. I do know he has relatives in local government …

    Thirdly, despite the fact that I have many supportive Spanish friends here, we cannot forget that we are indeed extranjeros – and that the Spanish, by their own frank admission, are racist.

    Finally, they don’t seem to see it as idiocy. It’s a long-standing, deeply ingrained way of life to them!

    • Never having lived anywhere else “foreign” (apart from nearly two glorious years in Santa Barbara California as a student) I´ve no way of comparing Spain with any other country. However, my hubby says the “sin” of Spain is “la envidia” or sheer envy. It thrives, he assures me, in the kind of Deliverance country you´re dealing with where people will have feuds for decades over a couple of centimetres of land. So I suppose this guy just doesn´t want you to have a living, así de sencillo, and is doing all he can to prevent it. It´s very Lorquian, though not poetic at all!

      • He’d be happier if I didn´t breathe.

        The one thing that keeps me smiling through all this is the thought that he must be spitting feathers that w’re goping ahead with it in spite of all his efforts.

        Cannot wait for the fiesta de inauguración. Normally, I hate fireworks, but boy will there be some explosions that day!

  10. Needs a TV programme on the idiocy of Spain for the whole world to see!

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