Living in Spain, warts and all

Posts tagged ‘Big Brother’

A Week of Endings and Consternation

As far as anything can be considered conclusive in Spain, I have to say that this week has indeed been a week of endings.

On Wednesday I called at the caja (cashpoint) to draw some cash from our personal bank account, in the knowledge that the balance was getting perilously close to the edge. To my surprise, I was greeted with a balance reading some 3,500€ greater than expected. On investigation, I find that I have received my refund of IVA for the December quarter with more rapidity than expected.

My first item of consternation, though, is that the deposit has been made into my personal account. At the outset, I was instructed quite clearly by my assessor to open a dedicated business bank account, details of which he holds in relation to all business transactions. He has never had my personal account details. So how did that happen, then?

On Thursday I had a call from the oficina técnica to say that their inspectors would be calling on Friday to check that all works had been carried out in accordance with the submitted project documents. I therefore called the office of the engineers who carried out the sound tests, because their report was the only outstanding item from the “condiciones” list that details all necessary items for submission before the licencia de apertura can be issued. So Thursday evening (blimey! what efficiency!) this report was couriered to me. And I am pleased to report that we passed at every point and at every time of measurement. Result!

On Friday morning, when the three técnicos arrived from the ayuntamiento, I had all papers ready to submit.

One técnico (the oldest and clearly the most senior) hit us immediately with the complaint that we had not submitted plans to put up fencing or to put gravel down on the land within its perimeter. We pointed out that the fencing merely replaced old and rusty fencing that already existed in front of the kennels on the terrace edge. Also that gravel was required given that in wet weather the land would otherwise become nothing more than primaeval soup – as witnessed quite graphically by the state of his previously pristine quality leather shoes.

But he was having none of it. Apparently our ingeniero should have included in the project a detailed plan of the whole terrace area, rather than just the barn and the new runs in front of it. So we now have to submit further plans. Salvador, the ingeniero, thinks they are trying to expand the scope of the project so that they can hit us with extra licence fees …

The youngest of the técnicos scurried about with a camera, taking more pictures than even the most self-respecting wedding photographer – presumably so they have a full visual record and can therefore easily check at any point that we don’t sneak an extra brick into the finished product.

The third técnico sat down in the kennels office with me to go through the list of papers.

But his list bore absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to the one I received with my consent papers.

When I queried this, he blithely replied that these were all additional requirements. Oh! Forgive me! I have been so busy, what with the damned project and the chasing up of all things necessary according to the first list, that I have been sadly remiss in attending my bloody TELEPATHY LESSONS.

So I have to chase even more papers! The most ridiculous and potentially expensive of which is that I am now obliged to have a contract for cleaning with an authorised DDD business (desratizaciones, desinsectaciones, desinfecciones). This, on top of the contract for removal of poisonous residues, and the contract for removal of cadavers. I want to know if every other commercial dog kennels in this country have to fulfil this list too, or is it just me?

The general opinion amongst my friends (of all nationalities) is that the powers-that-be haven’t got the foggiest idea what is in fact required, given that nobody has ever before asked el iltmo ayuntamiento de Bullas for such a licence before, and so they are making it up as they go along, and are throwing everything possible at me just to cover their own backs.

Sounds highly plausible to me.

Anyway, I managed to get together the rest of the second list quite quickly- apart from the new plan from Salvador and the DDD contract, and a further fianza (deposit) that I have to lodge for the duration of the business (quite why, nobody can really explain to me). So I went back to the oficina técnica before close of play on Friday.

There, they also made me sign a document that stated the following:

The existing building does not respect the distance from boundaries required by (… relevant law) even though it  is considered out of ordenance (because it is older than the legislation). In these circumstances, I can only be granted a  provisional licence (eight years, they’ve given me).
For all this I pledge to stop using or to demolish the works and installations when the ayuntamiento requires it, explicitly renouncing any right to compensation.

Not particularly reassuring, is it?

As I was on the point of being dismissed, I lost my cool a little. I said that I really had no resources left to pay for more plans, or more contracts, or another fianza – that I need to begin to trade. I was, at this point, frustrated to the verge of tears.
Probably, therefore, because they really didn’t want to have to deal with a major hissy fit on my part in their offices so close to lunch time, I was at last given a document that stated that I could begin to trade immediately as long as I undertook to present the outstanding documents within one month.


Two years and one month after I was first granted the right, in principle, to pursue this undertaking, I am finally

I went into the police station (policía local) on Saturday morning, to ask if I needed a licence (or at least permission) to hold an open day for a new business on Sunday 22nd April.

The police officer on the desk, whom I have never seen before (he certainly wasn’t involved in the Mucky, Sticky and Loopy episode) looked me in the eye and said, “Oh, for the residencia canina de lujo?”
“Er, yes,” I replied tentatively, wondering how the hell he would know that.
“Very nice,” he continued, chattily. “Will you be running it on your own?”
I looked at him quizzically.
“I mean, with your husband being a fireman in the UK,” he explained.

OK, now I’m really afraid.


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