Tag: Spain

UK bottom of ‘quality of life’ study

Spain came out second from the top in a recent study by uSwitch on the quality of life across
Europe. The UK did not fare so well, coming out at the bottom of the table. Despite earning
more money than average Europeans, Britons are not as happy. Not helping the fun factor is
the lack of sunshine, the high retirement age and the third lowest health spend as a
percentage of the country’s GDP. Workers in Britain have five and a half fewer holidays and
food, fuel, alcohol and cigarettes all cost more in the UK than elsewhere in Europe. Only 5% of
those Britons surveyed said that they were happy.
Spanish people can expect to live just over a year longer than people in the UK, and enjoy the
highest number of holiday days in Europe with 39 days. Spain also has the lowest alcohol price
of the 10 countries included in the survey.

Torrevieja requests clarity on Plusvalía

The local council has presented a motion to the national government in Spain
asking for clarification of the situation regarding collection of Plusvalía tax.
This is the tax collected by the town hall from the seller when a property is
sold. How much Plusvalía is payable depends upon the property’s rateable
value and the estimated increase on the land’s worth since it was first
There have been problems with the tax in that it has been charged even
where people have not made a profit on selling their property. However, they
have still had to pay the tax on an alleged increase in the value of the land
even though this has not translated into a capital gain for the person selling.
Recently cases have gone to court and some sellers have received their
money back. Now, tax collection agencies such as SUMA are refusing to
collect the tax due to the uncertainty of the situation.
This loss of tax revenue is having a major effect on town councils, particularly
ones like Torrevieja where the transfer of property has always been a major
source of income. In 2016 the town council collected €18,970,765 and this
reduced to €8,785,960 in 2017. A loss of €10,183,611. In 2016 the collection
of Plusvalía represented 19.5% of the total revenue of the city to 9.68% in
The situation has become even more acute because not only are collections
reduced but money has been paid back. In the last four months of 2017,
€282,964 was collected but €980,509.82 had to be returned which represents
a loss of €438,430 to the local budget. The continued loss of this income will
have a significant impact on the town’s ability to finance its projects.
The motion that the town council has submitted, supported by SUMA,
requests that the Spanish government amends the current law to better reflect
the actual increase in the price of the land, where such an increase exists.

Lane Discipline Explained

There have been a number of reports in the press regarding drivers in Spain being fined for driving in the
centre lane of a motorway, even when the road is clear. This is an offence and drivers who do so can be
fined, but the reality is, other than we drive on the right in Spain, there is no difference to the UK, where
“middle lane hogging” is also an offence.
Looking at how the two countries compare on roads with more than one lane in the direction of travel, if
we first look at the UK, and what Rule 264 of the Highway Code states.
“You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a
number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely
Comparing that to Spain, where we drive on the right, in fact the rule says as far to the right as possible,
Article 31 of the Reglamento General Circulacion is where we see rules for normal traffic flow explained.
“On roads with more than one lane for the direction of travel, the normal flow of traffic is in the right
hand lane, although you can use the other lane(s) when traffic circumstances dictate”, there is also an
extension of the rule which states “provided you do not hinder the progress of another vehicle”.
Although the wording is slightly different, bearing in mind the Spanish version is an interpretation for
ease of understanding and not a literal translation, the concept is the same. Under normal traffic
circumstances, unless traffic determines otherwise, in the UK we should always drive in the left-hand
lane, in Spain we should always use the right-hand lane.
The problem has always been one of understanding the rules of the road. The concept forms an integral
part of UK driver training, and has done for many years. You only have to look through historic copies of
the Highway Code and you will see the rules clearly printed. But it is a rule seemingly difficult for many
to understand.
In 2004, the UK launched a pilot scheme with road signs pointing out the correct lane discipline, and yet
these were still largely ignored.
More recently, the UK changed their procedure for dealing with drivers who remain in the centre lane,
by changing the procedure for reporting the offence and making it punishable by fixed penalty notice,
thus drivers can be fined on the spot and be 100 pound out of pocket.
Back in Spain, the same process is already in place. That is why drivers are issued with on the spot fines,
not because they are targeted for being foreigners or any of the other excuses that have been made, but
because driving in the right-hand lane is the normal procedure for the flow of traffic, and the fact that
“nobody else was around” is not a justifiable excuse for committing any offence.

Art competition

– a lovely, lively day
The Ray Scott Art Competition and Exhibition 2017 was a lively day last
Tuesday at La Herradura in Los Montesinos with more than 80 paintings
on display over 40 were entered into the Competition with approximately
the same amount in the Exhibition.  One hundred plus visitors came to La
Herradura and once again they were invited to submit The People´s
Choice this went to Glyn Whiting for Dog Tired who also took first place
with this painting in the category "People".  There are almost too many
winners to mention but the other first places went to Elaine Sissons,
Gladys Marsh, Pat Whelton, Nicola Moran, Pamela Heathcote and
Susanne Sayers.  There will be a full list of winners placings,
commendation certificates and photographs by Kristoff on the Facebook
pages Elche Children´s Care Home and Susan Reader.
Many thanks to our three judges this year Suzanne Stokes, Gloria Howes
and Roger McCrea they take on a very difficult job and the time they gave
is much appreciated.  Special thanks go to Jackie Nevin who did all of the
admin work and liaised with the artists, and to helpers on the day Abi
Johnson, Lynn Nicholls, Judy Denny and Jennie Lowe.  Thanks also go to
Avalon our main sponsor of this event and all of the many companies on
the logo board who all sponsored the prizes and certificates.  Plans are
already underway for The Ray Scott Art Competition 2018 so stalwart
artists and hopefully new artists please get painting!

Spanish equine sanctuary rescues yet another skeletal pony, confirming disturbing trend

A severely malnourished pony stallion showing signs of physical abuse is now in the care
of Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre in Rojales, Spain.
Rescued from the streets of Algorfa in conjunction with Almoradí police on September 21,
the pony known as Fudge is the sixth rescued by the sanctuary in five months, confirming
an alarming trend of ponies being abandoned in public places.
“When we started the centre nine years ago, we were rescuing animals that had been
locked away and left to starve,” said Easy Horse Care co-founder Sue Weeding. “Now,
they’re literally being dumped in the streets.”
The influx of ponies is putting the centre under increasing financial pressure as it looks to
provide the medical attention and care each abused equine needs.
“They all come to us needing castration and with a whole host of health problems,” said
Sue. “We pride ourselves on caring for them properly. We don’t just give them a bit of food
to keep them alive.”
The latest rescue, which has gained international attention, was found in a skeletal state,
with a massive infection in one eye and showing signs of what could well be deliberate
physical abuse. A visible scar on his neck suggests Fudge suffered a significant blow that
left two of his vertebrae broken, causing him to walk with a wobbly gait.
Donations to help cover Fudge’s rehabilitation costs are gratefully received and can be
made online: easyhorsecare.net/donate/one-off- donation.
“This old boy is about 20 years old and it's absolutely heartbreaking to think what he’s
suffered through,” said Sue. “It will be a time game for this fellow and we'll just take it one
step at a time. Whatever the outcome, we will give him anything and everything he needs,
and a whole lot of love on top.”
Miniature ponies like Fudge can live well into their thirties, so once he’s had time to grow in
strength, Fudge’s infected eye will be surgically removed and he’ll also be castrated. But in
the short time since he arrived at the centre, he’s already shown remarkable improvement.
“When we arrived to rescue him, he wouldn’t even lift his head,” explained Sue. “Now he
calls out to us and eats all day. I think he believes he’s in paradise now.”
Fudge’s rescue takes the total number of equines at the sanctuary to 108. While Sue and
her husband Rod Weeding continually work to re-home their rescues, they worry that
without other options, the number of equines in their care will only continue to grow.
“The situation is dire, because if we don’t take them, they’ll stay where they are,” said Sue.
“And how can we, as caring people, say no when there’s no one else?”
The Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre relies entirely on donations to fund its important
animal welfare work, including the feeding and care of the centre’s horses, ponies and
donkeys rescued from abuse, neglect and abandonment.
Donations of cash or items for the centre’s network of six charity shops across the Alicante
province are gratefully welcomed. A pick-up service is available to collect large donated
items such as furniture and each shop also offers a delivery service for large items
purchased in-store.
The Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre, located just outside Rojales at Partido Lo Garriga,
59, opens to the public on the first Sunday of every month between 1pm and 4pm. Free
horse tours run throughout the afternoon and refreshments are available in the café. For
more details and directions, please visit www.easyhorsecare.net

A big thank you from the orphanage

Pyjamas, sportswear, pants and t-shirts, were just some of the items that
those donating to the San José Obrero charity have enabled them to buy.
Julie from Carmens Bar in El Chaparral and her customers have been raising
money to fund the purchase of some much-needed items for the 70 children
who live in the orphanage.
The money has been raised through donations and also through the weekly
raffle with the winning prize of a free Sunday roast. Now, added to this
fundraising activity, the bar is selling charity calendars which have been
produced by Andy Ormiston with the support of a number of local businesses.
Lyn and Ken Adams have been assisting Julie in collecting the money and
working with the orphanage to make sure that it is spent on what’s needed
most. ‘We asked them to send us photos of what was bought with the money
and they replied almost straight away,’ said Lyn. ‘It’s good to see where the
money has been spent, and of, course, it reminds us of what they need more
of too.’
The collections continue and more donations and raffle entries will be
gratefully received.

9th October celebrations

On the 9 th October there was a public holiday in the Valencian region to
celebrate the community. El Día del Comunitat Valenciana is an annual event
which perhaps was tinged with reflection this year on the relationships
between regions and the nation state. The flag-raising ceremony took place in
the Plaza de la Constitucíon.
Many councillors were in attendance including the mayor, José Manuel Dolón
who had some words to say about the special relationships and function of
the regional administration. ‘Valencia is part of the Spanish project,’ he
explained. ‘We do need, however, fair financing and investment in our
infrastructurewhich is a necessary part of service delivery here.’
The mayor is calling for investment in the N332 which remains an ongoing
debate between regional and national money lenders as to who is responsible
for providing the finance.
Others in attendance included the Guardia Civil, the sea captain of Alicante,
representatives from different societies, the Salt Queen and her entourage.
The band, la Unión Musical Torrevejense, played hymns relating to
Torrevieja, the Valencian community and Spain. The soprano Conchita Pérez
Boj was also there to sing.

Spanish woman now third-oldest in World

Spain’s Ana María Vela Rubio is now officially the third-oldest person on earth after the
death of Jamaica's Violet Mosse-Brown aged 117-and- a-half. Ana María, if she is still alive
at the end of next month, will be celebrating her 116 th birthday.
Born in Puente Genil, Córdoba province, Ana left school at age 11 and became a seamstress
before moving to Catalunya in the 1940s, where she still lives. Ana was a compulsive
bookworm when her eyesight still allowed her to be, despite her lack of formal education.
She began going to the La Vereda nursing home on a day-centre basis aged 104 and moved
in as a resident aged 109, where she has always been among at least four or five others aged
over 100.
She is not bed-ridden, but every day the staff get her up and put her in a wheelchair and,
although she, like many other residents, eats liquidised food, she ‘eats very well’ and
‘doesn't look her age’, staff say.
Her only surviving daughter, who visits her regularly, is aged 90 – the rest of her children
have died from old age – and her grandchildren are now in their late 60s.
The only two people on earth older than Ana María are Chiyo Miyako, from Japan, who is
five months older than Ana at 116 and four months, and the woman who now takes over
from Violet Brown – Nabi Tajima, also Japanese, who is 117 and one-and- a-half months,
born on 4 th August, 1900.
Jamaican president Andrew Holness confirmed on Twitter this morning that Violet, the last
person alive on earth born when Queen Victoria was on the throne, had died. She was born
on March 10, 1900 and has been the oldest person on the planet since April this year, after
the death of Italy's Emma Morano.
Spain, known for having one of the longest life expectancies on earth – currently 83 for
women and 79 for men – has several residents aged 100-plus in every province and at least
seven of its 17 autonomously-governed regions has one or more residents aged 110 or
more. The country is home to the third-oldest person, and third-oldest woman in the world,
and also the oldest man on the planet, Francisco Núñez Olivera, who fully expects to be
alive on 13th December this year when he is due to celebrate his 113 th birthday.
He became the planet's oldest man in August following the death of Yisrael Kristal from
Israel. Two years ago, he became the oldest in Spain and showed he was still doing
remarkably well for nearly 111. Francisco said back then that he 'would like to live another
couple of years', and so far his wish has come true.
Recently, scientists placed the natural limit of human life at 125 years, but nobody is
thought to have lived that long and the world record until now has been Frenchwoman
Jeanne Calment, who died aged 122.
But Mbah Gotho from Indonesia has official documentation to show he was born on 31 st
December, 1870, meaning if he lives until New Year's Eve, he will be 147 years old.
His papers need to be independently verified to award him the title of longest-ever living
human, however – others who have claimed to be older, James Olofintuyi, 172, from
Nigeria and Dhaqabo Ebba from Ethiopia, 164, were unable to prove their age officially so
cannot be considered as world-record holders. To date, Mbah Gotho's papers have not been
authenticated, meaning he is still unable to claim the top spot.

English is the official language in the air

A European Union rule that requires English to be the official language between pilots and
air-traffic controllers has come into force – and, curiously, even applies where both parties
share a native tongue that is not English.
The rule only affects airports with over 50,000 international flights operating per year,
meaning Madrid’s Adolfo Suárez-Barajas and Barcelona’s El Prat will become ‘English-
only’, but many others, such as those in the Canary and Balearic Islands, will still be able to
choose the language they wish to speak in.
Aiming to streamline communications for maximum security, pilots and air-traffic
controllers having to speak English is not a problem, since being able to do so fluently is a
basic requirement of their job.
But pilot unions in Spain SEPLA and USCA say it is ‘ludicrous’ to require this when both
pilot and air-traffic controller are native Spanish-speakers. Captains on board Iberia, Vueling
and AirEuropa – all three being Spanish carriers and typically staffed with natives – will
have to talk to the control towers in Barcelona and Madrid, also staffed with natives, in
USCA and SEPLA criticise the fact that the move ‘has not taken into account’ the criteria of
the professionals involved, and that using a language which is a foreign tongue to both rather
than the native one they share ‘is unlikely to bring about any potential air safety
Also, the unions say previous research by the State Air Safety Agency (AESA) has shown
that in a crisis situation where fast thinking and action is vital, it is better for the people
involved to use their mother tongue to communicate in order to avoid misunderstandings or
split-second delays that could ‘compromise security in delicate circumstances’.
USCA and SEPLA also point out the irony of a situation which means pilots from Spain can
speak Spanish to air-traffic controllers anywhere in Latin America, given that natives share
the same language, but cannot use it when speaking to each other in Spain.
“For effective communication the best solution is, without doubt, for air-traffic controllers
and pilots to use the native language they have in common,” say the unions.

Raising money for suicide awareness

It’s the perfect combination if you can raise money for a worthwhile cause
whilst having fun. That’s what a group of volunteers have been doing on
behalf of the Samaritans in Spain. They took part in a sponsored Zip Wire at
La Rufeta to raise money for suicide awareness.
The Samaritans in Spain receive many calls from people who are
experiencing such emotional distress that they are considering taking their
own life. Through encouraging people to talk and giving time, the volunteers
who are on the end of the Samaritan’s help line provide a much needed
listening ear.
However, it’s also important that society generally is aware and understands
the issues associated with suicide, depression and mental health generally.
There is still stigma around the subject that can prevent people from coming
forward when they really need to.
Events such as this are hoped to raise awareness generally amongst the
public. On this occasion it was organised by Maureen and Colin Smith of San
Luis, Torrevieja. Those participating included Maureen, Colin, Johnno, Kath
and Alex. Recording the event for posterity and a little publicity too was
Warren Bradley. Thanks go to all those who took part on the day as well as
those who sponsored them.

Children’s book published for local Brit author

British author Steven Dale, who lives in Santa Pola, is celebrating having his first children’s
book published. Planet Mirth Adventures One, by the Port Talbot-born author, has been
published recently by Austin Macauley.
How exciting would it be if you could explore a world where you could meet a chocolate
crocodile, or where toys can be found growing on trees? The planet of Mirth comes to life
through the dreams of a little girl named Mia, with a collection of gnomes guiding her
through the wonderful sights and sounds contained in the book’s five stories. As well as a
safari trip, Mia enjoys two celebrations with Mirth's resident gnomes, as well as taking part in
exciting competitions; tales which the author hopes will spark the imagination of any child or
the young-at- heart.
Steven said: “I wrote this solely for my three grand-daughters. My daughters encouraged me
to get it published and now my dream has been realised.”
Steven has been happily married for 38 years. He has two daughters and three
granddaughters. He currently lives in Sanat Pola where he, until recently, worked as a vocal
entertainer. He’s now retired from singing and concentrates all his efforts on writing.

Puppy farm mothers rescued

Pets in Spain animal charity has rescued three more puppy farm mothers from an illegal puppy mill;
making a total of 16 recently rescued. Made to endure a life of pregnancy and puppies the dogs
were kept in cages in a filthy outdoor shed all of their lives and forcibly impregnated every six
months to produce puppies to sell.
Now aged 5-7 years they were to be discarded due to ill health and taken to a killing station. Pets in
Spain animal charity collaborates with animal groups in Spain to free puppy farm used and abused
mothers and fathers. The charity aims to take them into foster homes, provide them with all
necessary veterinary treatment, care and rehabilitation.
One of these mothers has tumours in a mammary gland, this occurs frequently in un-spayed female
dogs, another has proved positive for Leishmaniasis. When they are well enough all three need
surgery which will include their sterilisation. An appeal for donations to help the charity fund
veterinary treatment for rescued puppy farm dogs has been launched.
Pets In Spain is a registered charity in Spain run entirely by volunteers. It does not receive any local
or regional government funding. The charity registration CIF No is: G-54669262. To donate by bank
transfer or setup a monthly direct debit the details are:
Account Name: Pets in Spain, Bank: Sabadell, IBAN: ES14 0081 0687 7700 0168 1672, SWIFT/BIC:
BSAB ESBB. Donations by Paypal to: info@petsinspain.com or please call 645469253. Email:
info@petsinspain.com Web site: petsinspain.com