Monday, July 28, 2008

S.A.T.Animal rescue

Bec has been wanting a dog for quite a while now, now she is in the position to have one she made an appointment and went to the S.A.T. Animal rescue at Dolores, they have over a hundred rescued dogs at the moment ranging from young puppies to older dogs, from small to large, there is a lot of work involved in looking after the animals and undertaken on a voluntary basis, new volunteers are always welcome for what ever amount of time they can afford. There are also the charity shops in Almoradi, La Marina and Guardamar, that need staff to help.
If you want a dog, there is plenty of choice and taking one in need of a home, is a great way, The telephone number of the centre is 966 710 047, to get there from Benijofar, Benimar and Rojales go over the Rio Segura and carry on to the roundabout under the main road to Guardamar, following signs for Elche. Go over first roundabout and also the second one, signed Daya Vieja and Day Nueva, at the next roundabout take the 3rd exit signposted Dolores. Follow this road straight through to Dolores, about 6km. Pass the new school on right and take Elche direction at the roundabout. After 200 metres you see Cartonajes Vega Baja with a green roof and car port. Turn left directly after it and proceed 300 metres to the road on the right signed Vereda del Pozo. Turn here and SAT is the last property on the left, number 48,this is about 3 Kilometres along the road. please park on the road. The centre is open every day 11am - 1pm (except Wednesday when closed for Vet visits)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A bit of a whinge

Had a hectic day so bit of a whinge here, we love Spain and don’t complain too often. So here go let’s get it all off our chests at one go.
As we say bit of a hectic day yesterday, Market day of course also Dia opened up again, hurrah isn’t it looking good. We also had promised to help out a friend cleaning a house they are moving into, the lights fused half way through morning, darn it. With some on line assignments to complete too we were pretty bushed by evening so decided to nip over to our favourite Chinese Restaurant in Benimar for a meal. Now one of the reasons we like living here is because we can have a meal outside, just love “people watching” over a nice meal and a glass of wine. Nothing to whinge at there you’re thinking, well yes actually. New smoking laws have had a detrimental affect on el fresco dining. Of course you could always get some one at the next table smoking but with tables set pretty far apart not a problem. What is a pain now though are the smokers who choose to dine inside in the chill of the air-conditioning. No inside smoking of course so what to do? Simple nip outside between each course for a quick drag no problem. Not for them maybe but as they constantly hang around between the tables a real drag for us non smokers, Special thanks must go to the Brit guy who was a cigar smoker, Just had to get a blast of his noxious weed between every course, right next to our table. Got a feeling his taste buds are only slightly less then his brain cells. I mean what could he have tasted of the food after the amount of time he spent smoking.

No we are not finish yet. Strolled home on a still very warm night, big old moon. The bar in the square was very busy as it often is this time of year. Many Brit families now the school holidays have started. Can someone please tell us why so many parents, who would not let the kids out of sight back in UK, let there primary school age children run around the streets unsupervised? Last night a gang of same thought it would be a good idea to ring a few door bells, this was well after 11. Now we know that’s not late in Spain but tell that to our elderly Spanish neighbour living alone and all locked up for the night, or the guy who has to start work at 5 tomorrow to beat the heat of the day, thanks kids and parents one and all, another blow for the Brit reputation abroad.
And last but not least it is in fact Fiesta this week in Benijofar, it’s the fiesta season after all. What to complain about there you ask? Dare I say the now “traditional” disco with dance music, that’s played all night until 8 this morning and yes we could hear it in Formentera. Tonight we are off to the caves for a little music ourselves, local musicians and artists trying to keep the community there alive and vibrant. They are now only aloud to play from 10 to 12. Oh the irony of it all. Just love Spain. Ah that feels better.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bird Watching

We have enjoyed bird watching for a lot of years now and love a trip to La Mata when the weathers not to hot. Even sitting on the roof terrace in the evening gives us such good sightings of birds, bats too for that matter. We have been meaning to stop at the bird hide of the main road into Torrevieja for ages now and finally got around to it a couple of weeks ago. We have had sightings of Harriers and Terns in this area with of course the lovely pink flamingos.
One thing that worried us when we did pull in to access the viewing platform was the fact that the gate to the parking area was padlocked. This meant we could not turn around without a great deal of manoeuvring, well done to John for his excellent motoring skills.
However it looks like the poor access will not be the issue that prevents us from returning. A few days ago when we drove along that particular road we saw a “bird” of a different kind has taken occupation of the area, a dama de noche who does not restrict her activities to the night time but can be seen sitting under a brightly coloured parasol by the entrance to the hide. Eager clients, with less driving ability, or other things on their minds, do not seemed worried by having to back their cars out onto the main road. We wonder if the car park gates have been keep locked in an attempt to dissuade the area being used for the world’s oldest proffession.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Property prices fall

For anyone hoping to sell there property here now is definitely not the time. The only places that are selling are going at eye wateringly low prices. Some people just cannot afford to hang on any longer so are taking whatever they can get. With the inflation in UK and here dreams of nipping over every few weeks to enjoy time in a holiday home are fading fast. Flights appear to be more expensive too so that’s having an effect.
It’s ok if you want to sell and buy another place because it’s a sell cheap buy cheap situation. What we seeing happen now is those people who cannot get the use of their property here are selling to avoid continuing outgoings. Even if you are not coming over you still have bills to meet.
We have seen apartments as low as 37.500 euros, 2 bedroom apartments for 50.000.

Banks are foreclosing on mortgages too, we spoke to someone only yesterday who has sold and had to take out a loan to pay off the mortgage. There are over a thousand new unsold properties in Formentera alone. Property Developers are finding themselves in dire straights. Some unfortunate people who have bought off plan may never see their property built or their money refunded.
The glut of unused properties has also affected rentals. When we first came over 4 years ago 500 euros a month seemed to the going rate you can now get two bedroom apartments for 300-380 including utility bills. Good news for the low paid here at least and for young people who want to leave the parental home. As they say it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


With Dia still closed we are finding Inter Marche gets pretty busy these days we normally shop between the two but we do like the Bacon from Dia. Unlike some expats we do not buy “British” bacon, or sausages for that matter. We do like to have a cooked British style breakfast every now and then, not to often though have to watch the cholesterol levels. More often than not we have a typical Spanish breakfast and really enjoy it. Toasted bread, chopped fresh tomatoes, olive oil and fresh ground black pepper and our local sea salt of course. We add a bit of a twist with fresh basil, which we are never without, and crushed garlic in the oil. This is a popular thing to eat in the Valencian region, believe me when you have tomatoes ripened on the vine and good quality virgin olive oil it’s delicious. You can buy the tomatoes for under a euro a kilo at the moment. I know some people add the spicy Spanish sausage to make a really substantial meal, we just prefer the tomatoes. The popularity of this breakfast waned in the 1980s but go into most local bars mid morning and you will see it being consumed these days. Another naughty but nice breakfast is Churros, deep fried dough sticks eaten with thick melted chocolate. There a great place at the top of Guadarmar that sells this, you can always find a Churros and Chocolate vendor at every street market. You need to get in the queue early at Rojales market or you find the chocolate has run out, they serve them heavily coated with sugar when this happens. It’s a very very sweet treat and all in all we prefer the tomatoes, sitting out side surrounded by our plant pot garden it’s a great way to start the day

Monday, July 14, 2008

Gardening in Spain

If there is one thing we miss about UK it’s a garden. Over the years we have created five gardens out of wilderness in UK and a made over a couple in Australia. It is a very satisfactory thing to do. It takes time and effort of course but its well worth it. When we moved into our apartment in Spain we pretty soon realised we would just have to get some plants. Four years on we have had our successes and our failures but we cannot imagine our outdoor space without plants.
One thing we have struggled with is getting climbing plants to cover the wooden frame we put up on the lower solarium. Fingers crossed two climbers have at last reached the top of the structure and hopefully will start to form a roof of leaves and flowers.
Another problem with this type of gardening is keeping pests at bay. We have had several invasions of aphids, both green fly and woolly. You really need to keep a close eye out and remove them as quickly as possible. They can cover your plants almost over night, the geranium moth is another serious problem, In fact many of us in this area no longer bother to try and grow geraniums.
We are very much of the plant it and wish it well gardening brigade. That is we don’t waste time and precious water trying to nurture species that are just not happy with the conditions we can provide. We water, we feed, home made from horse muck soaked in water, we talk to them. Lots grow some do not. Some of our most successful are self seeders or have grown from fruit pips and seed pushed in the soil of a handy pot. One thing we had never grown before was cacti but we now have a really nice collection. These have been either purchased for 60 cents from Domtis or grown from cuttings. They may well be the only ones that survive if we don’t get some rain here soon.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Slip Slop Slap

The weathers a wow at the moment, with warnings about the burn factor on local english radio every day. Despite this the lobster brigade are very much in evidence especially around the pool. Its not advisable to be out sunbathing between 11 and 4 when the sun is at its hottest. Babies under 12 months should be kept in the shade and covered up with a high factor sun lotion or sunblock. Young children should play in the shade, and make sure they wear sunhats and a high SPF lotion. Protecting children from the sun not only prevents painful sunburn, it also significantly reduces the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Babies skin is very much thinner than adults. Infants have thinner skin and underdeveloped melanin, their skin burns more easily than that of older kids. However sunscreen should not be used on babies under 6 months of age, so they absolutely must be kept out of the sun. When you do go out dress him or her in clothing that covers the body, including hats with wide brims to shadow the face. Use an umbrella to create shade.
Its alarming to see very young kids in the pool or anywhere else for that matter, without hats or adequate shade. With the sudden increase in the temperature there have been some alarming incidents of adults getting very serious burns, falling asleep out in the sun seems to be a favourite. So be like the Australias:
SLIP SLOP SLAP. Thats slip on a teeshirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Moors and Christians parade

Last night was the final parade of the Rojales Moors and Christians Fiesta, A large crowd watched at least two hours of procession. The costumes and outfits were spectacular and the almost theatrical display, along with the bands provided a really atmospheric event.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Empadronamiento Renewal

I have just found out that it is necessary to renew your Empadronamiento at least once a year, The Empadronamiento is the official record of all the people who live in a particular community, by law everyone who resides in Spain should be registered in the community where they live.
Based on the number of inhabitants, a city or town receives money from the government to provide services to those who live within its juridiction, which means that if you’re registered or empadronado, then the city receives money to provide services on your behalf, for example police, fiestas, road cleaning, caring for parks and gardens. It’s therefore in the city’s best interest and its inhabitants to have an accurate count of who is really living or owning property in the community and using (or potentially using) the public services.
So for example if the government think that the population of a town is less than it really is they will only allocate funds for a smaller police force.

You also need proof of empadronamiento to register a vehicle in your name, use certain public services and enrol children in school.