Tag: Spain

New Ambassador to Spain

The new British ambassador to Spain is a former Brexit chief who will replaces Simon Manley next year. Mr Manley CMG will step down from his role as the British Ambassador to Spain next summer and be replaced by a Brexit communications director.
Manley, 51, has held the post since 2013, but in 2019 will make way for Hugh Elliott, who is the current Director of Communication and Stakeholders at the Department for Exiting the European Union.
Father-of-three and Oxford graduate Manley wished his successor a ‘heartfelt welcome’ to his new job.
Elliott, who has held several high-level posts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) since 1989, said: “It will be a pride and a pleasure to represent the United Kingdom in Spain and take over next summer.”
Despite his Brexit credentials, the FCO claimed the reason for Elliott’s takeover of the role from Manley is that ‘appointments change every 3 to 4 years.’ Elliott will hope to emulate the illustrious career of his predecessor, who had many highlights as a British envoy, including receiving a cooking lesson from the three-Michelin star-winning Spanish chef David Muñoz.
Another key moment of Manley’s diplomatic tenure was the recent Tertulias event, where Harriet Harman, Boris Johnson and Ed Miliband were accompanied by the ambassador in the 30th annual Anglo-Spanish celebration of bilateral and cultural links.
Manley said: “It has been the best charge of my diplomatic career, a great honour, and a pleasure to work to reinforce the bonds between our two great countries – and I’m not leaving, I have nine more months!”

Vandals desecrate RBL memorials to brave British soldiers

There was outrage amongst members of the Royal British Legion as a cross to fallen war
heroes and an RBL time capsule were both found to have been vandalised in recent
separate attacks in Mil Palmeras and Torrevieja.
Mil Palmeras, the RBL time capsule which sits alongside the Remembrance Garden in the
forecourt of the Catholic Church Capilla de las Mil Palmeras was attacked. The time capsule
sits under a heavy glass cover which looked as though it had been shattered with a heavy
bar or hammer. The time capsule contains a number of specially chosen items which depict
the establishment and evolution of the Orihuela and Costa District Branch. This includes
documents, photographs and CD’s all of which were laid in whats was thought to be a safe
haven for future generations to enjoy.
Committee member and RBL Standard Bearer Eddie Coleman, was first to notice the
smashed cover and has since been hard at work repairing the damage. He had to remove
the ruined glass and cover the plinth with a temporary top until such time as a new cover
can be ordered. Mr Coleman also said that whilst he was carrying out the repair he found
evidence of drug usage by the side of the monument.
In La Siesta, just outside the Parish Church, the marble base of the cross standing in the RBL
Memorial Garden has also been damaged by someone using a heavy object and although
the incidents are thought not to be related, it’s a double blow for the organisation, which
now has to pay for the repairs. The base of the cross also appears to have been dealt several
heavy blows with a hammer. The mindless vandalism has left the rectangular base smashed,
resulting in several thousands of euros worth of damage.
The vandalism in La Siesta was first noticed by Pastor Keith Brown, the Chaplain of the Royal
British Legion in Spain North, who regularly visits the monument to pay his respects.
Keith said: “I was absolutely mortified when I first saw the destruction that the vandals had
caused. Although I have asked around, nobody seems to have any information about the
incident so there seems to be little that we can do. I will be speaking to my fellow priests at
La Siesta Church, along with the President and Chairman of the Torrevieja RBL branch to see
how we can stop it from happening again.”

Harold via email asks:
Hi Aunty, could you please tell me how to completely remove AVG from my laptop as I’m sick of it popping up every time I start Windows and when I go on the internet. I did the free upgrade to Windows 10 about a year ago and following your brilliant advice I have been using the built in Windows Defender and Malwarebytes and I am happy this is enough security.
Aunty Says:
Hello Harold. The standard way of removing AVG is through ‘Control Panel’ ‘programs and features’ (either right click on the Start icon or type control panel into the search box) but if you´ve tried this and it still appearing then maybe try AVG’s handy removal tool which you will find by typing AVG REMOVER into Google.
Valerie via email asks:
Hello Aunty. I recently bought a second hand Acer laptop that is supposedly less than 12 months old but I seriously have my doubts. It keeps randomly freezing at no particular time and sometimes it restarts with no warning, and when it restarts it is has a message something like “Ooops the disk needs to scanned and repaired” I have taken it back to the shop where I bought it from in Montesisnos but typically it doesn’t ever go wrong when it’s there. It is not in that bad condition and I have Windows 7 Ultimate. Any suggestions?
Aunty Says:
Hi Valerie. Its difficult to be 100% sure but this sounds typical of an overheating problem, or possibly a dying hard disk. Before you do anything you should make a backup copy of any personal photos & documents just in case the laptop’s hard drive completely packs up. A quick and easy fix that you can do yourself is to check that all the air vents around the sides and underneath are clear from dust & fluff. I’m a tad curious that a “less than 12 month old” laptop should have Win7 because the newest version of Windows (Win10) has been around for nearly 2 years and its predecessor (Win8) is getting on for 4 years old. Anytime I have seen a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate (or Enterprise) it has been a cracked copy. Can you send me the make/model Valerie and I will investigate further.
Ben from La Zenia asks:
Hi Aunty I hope you can help me. I have signed up for my Water bill (Agamed) online but when it arrives in my email inbox, I can read it on the screen but I would like to download (and sometimes print) a copy. It comes attached as a PDF file but when I double click to open or download it, a window appears asking “open with” and “choose the program you want to use to open the file’. I have to scroll through a list and choose Adobe Acrobat Reader and everything seems OK but how can I stop it asking this every time?
Aunty Says:
Hi Ben. There should be a box you can tick to ‘always use the selected program’ which will stop the message re-appearing.
Well that’s it for this week. Email me your questions to auntyvirus@costablancapeople.com and I will see what I can do.

Hard work pays off for Footwork duo

Danielle Dickie and Neve Bradley,are about to fulfil their dreams of becoming professional dancers ,
when they take the next important step by attending UK Performing Arts colleges in September
this year. Both have auditioned and been accepted and are very excited at the adventures which lie
ahead for them.
The girls have attended classes at Footwork Dance Studio in ballet, tap modern, jazz and acrobatics
under the tuition of Principal Erica Dorrill 3 or 4 days a week over a period of time. Their progression
has been such that they have reached a standard to allow them to take the next steps to become
professional dancers and performers.
Principal Erica Dorrill said: “Everyone wishes them lots of luck for the future. Both girls have worked
extremely hard and proved to be a great credit to the Dance School.”
Erica added, that she will be sad to see the girls go, but is happy in the knowledge that when
students take the next steps towards their chosen career, you have done your job correctly.
If you are interested in taking part in classes, at Footwork Dance Studios, they have classes for
everyone, from 2 years through to adults, with the eldest member being 80 – proving it’s never too
late to join a class. Contact Erica on 662003823, email: footworkdance@hotmail.com or check out
the facebook page ‘Footwork Dance Studios Spain’.

Habaneras is 13

 
To mark their thirteenth birthday, Habaneras is offering its customers chance
to win one of 13 prizes. They will hide 13 unusual ‘cats’ around Torrevieja
which will appear each day between 1 st to 13 th March. If you are one of the
lucky people to find one then you should bring it to Habaneras and claim your
prize.
On the 17 th March there will be a grand prize draw at the centre when the
winners of the 13 raffle prizes will be announced. Prizes include tickets for the
musical Tadeo Jones, a getaway for two and many gifts from their stores. This
will be accompanied by a matsuri-style cocktail party with an opportunity to
taste sushi and other Japanese delicacies. You can even try some ‘golden’
wine.
The birthday of Torrevieja’s commercial centre comes at a difficult time. With
the new Sunday trading hours commercial centres like Habaneras will find
themselves losing out. A particular concern is that the restaurants and cafes
that are based in their facilities will not attract customers on their own.
Although they are not obliged to close during the Sunday shut downs, there
will be few people in the centres to use them.
In order to still keep people coming when shops are no longer trading,
Habaneras is advertising ‘Family Sundays’. The shops may be closed but
there will be a range of fun family activities to take their place. The activities
include recycling workshops, a city vegetable garden from 12pm until 3pm
and games, competitions and crafts for children.
From 4.30pm until 8.30pm there will be a free zip wire and salsa and bachata
dance classes from 5pm until 6pm on Sundays. From 12pm until 6pm there
will be a free nanny service with professional childcare for children and
toddlers for those wanting to take part in these activities. Through adopting
these measures the centre hopes to keep people coming to its shops, cafes
and restaurants.

Goodbye and thanks to the Flower Club

Torrevieja Flower Club has been a very popular local club, operating in the
townfor the past thirty years. The organisers have arranged floral
demonstrations and coach outings at regular intervals and it has been a major
fund raising organisation, not only to keep themselves going but to donate to
worthwhile causes.
Most recently the club presented a cheque to Councillor Carmen Morate of
€1,500 to benefit the organisation Animalistas Torrevieja which helps provide
care for the lost and found animals in Torrevieja. Animalistas Torrevieja were
founded in 2012 and volunteers help at the animal shelter and in other ways,
supporting the welfare of animals. They assist with the adoption of animals,
the castration of cats programme, animal foster homes and help the animals
to socialise.
A cheque was also presented to the Stroke Support group. The group are
based in La Siesta and has offered support since 2007 to those people who
have suffered from or are supporting someone who has had a stroke. They
help provide advice and assistance with the rehabilitation process and help
with the purchase of wheelchairs and orthopaedic beds. Sandra Lambe is the
chair lady of the Flower Club. She is particularly appreciative of what they
have done in supporting her son who had five small strokes in two months
when he was in Torrevieja.
Unfortunately, it now looks as though these may well be the last donations
that the club is able to give.
A loss to the local area
Torrevieja’s Flower Club was started thirty years ago by Margaret Atherton
and Alma Villiers. Over this time it has brought a lot of pleasure to those
attending the regular flower demonstrations from September to May.
However, unfortunately, the club is now having to close. As its members have
got older, the number taking part has reduced and some of them have
decided to return to the UK as a result of the uncertainty of Brexit.
As a result, the committee has found it more difficult to recruit and it’s not an
easy job to make sure that the club continues to be a success. There is a lot
of hard work and fundraising involved including supporting and entertaining
the flower demonstrators who must be brought over from the UK and are
accommodated during their stay.
Sandra Lambe joined the Torrevieja flower club 25 years ago and has been
the chair lady over the past 12 years. She is sad to see the club fold but no
one has been prepared to step into her boots. She has decided to step down
in order to spend more time with her husband who has suffered from ill health.
‘I do hope that someone will in the future start the club again,’ says Sandra. ‘It
is a shame that the club has had to close.’ She hopes that there will still be
opportunities to enjoy floral demonstrations, however. ‘There is a floral club in
Moraira so I will get a coach organised for their demonstrations now and
again.’
On behalf of its readers, Costa Blanca People would like to thank the Flower
Club for the enjoyment it has brought its members and the donations it has
made to the town.

Donation to homeless men

Imagine living without electricity, running water, sanitation – all the conveniences of
modern living. People living rough on waste land in Orihuela Costa face just that.
But now they have a petrol-driven generator, provided by a local church and a charity,
and at least can charge batteries to have electric lighting and can use low-powered
electric appliances.
It’s all thanks to the contributions from the congregation of the International Christian
Assembly in Torrevieja and Help at Home Costa Blanca, who jointly bought the 200
euro generator.
It was presented to those living rough by Carmen Perez, president of the charity and
church pastor Rafael Restrepo.
In addition, the church and charity have given the homeless in the area food parcels,
blankets, bedding, clothing, cooking utensils and personal hygiene items.
It was the idea of Eileen Mayes, past president of the charity and a member of the
church who realised there was a group of people living from hand to mouth beyond
the reach of social services’ facilities.
“There are a multitude of reasons why people end up homeless or living rough –
mental problems, marriage break-ups, things going terribly wrong in their lives which
they cannot cope with. There is no excuse for any country in the developed world to
allow people to slip through the net and turn their back on them,” said Eileen.
Pastor Raphel agreed. “It is wrong for people here in Spain to have to live this way and
there should be somewhere people can go where they have a permanent roof over
their heads and have the basic needs for modern living.”
Carmen added: “There is some accommodation, but this is in Orihuela town, miles
away from the coast and there is no provision here. Sadly the council in Orihuela think
most people on the coast are all financially secure second home owners who come
here for holidays.
“The truth is far from that. Sadly there are too many expats living on the coast who
don’t register on the Padron, don’t vote and don’t figure on council statistics, and as
the Padron is used to allocate funds per area, much money which should go on
providing facilities on the coast instead goes to Orihuela town and the surrounding
villages.”
Eileen added: “We need to get people on the coast organised to get this dreadful state
of affairs sorted. People forced to live rough because of a lack of social services care,
are out of sight and out of mind. But a lack of council funding for Orihuela Costa is
there for everyone to see every day of the week. It’s staring you in the face with roads
full of unrepaired potholes, of pavements not maintained, and if you need an
ambulance or fire service be prepared to wait ages because they have to come from
quite a distance. Lives are at risk and it needs to be sorted.”
She added: “These homeless need to have a secure home in which to live. Not be living
under the constant threat of eviction on top of all the other hardships they are facing.”

A new beginning for the Royal British Legion Concert Band Spain

One of the Costa Blanca’s favourite band’s has decided to change its name and reform as the Royal
British Legion Concert Band Spain.
The original band was formed in 1993 when seven musicians from various musical backgrounds
came together and formed The Oompah band. With no other bands in the region they were in great
demand so the Oompah Band formed two additional bands, The Vega Baja Big Band and the Phoenix
Concert Band.
Since those days, the band has played at hundreds of events around the Costa Blanca. It has also
seen the arrival of their new Musical Director, David Last.
David has vast experience of the music world, including service with the Queens Own Buffs and at
the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall. He was also the principle at the Lyceum School of
Music in Manchester, he had his own youth band and for a time he was also a woodwind player with
the Territorial Army Band of the Royal Artillery.
Following the arrival of the new MD, many of the band members felt that a new stimulus was
needed for the band, so after consultation with senior members of the Royal British Legion, the
decision was taken by the band to reform under their new name.
However the transition is not quite complete as the MD is determined to provide the band with a
completely new image as they join the long list of bands that are currently affiliated to the Military
Charity. He is now in the process of having formal jackets tailored for every member of the new
band, together, of course, with new banners for their music stands.
It is hoped that the costs of the new clothing and equipment will be covered by sponsorship and
donations from local businesses. Already, two pledges of 500 euro each have been made by 'IBEX
Insurance' and by the UK company 'Surface Protection'. More funds are still needed though to cover
the remaining costs, so the RBL are now seeking any company or business that might like to help
with those costs. Additional information can be obtained by email at:
orihuelacosta.chairman@gmail.com
We do know that the music of the RBL Concert Band Spain will be wide and varied, ranging from
swing, through classical to musicals.
Since their new launch, the Royal British Legion Concert Band Spain continue to rehearse every
Tuesday 1.30pm – 4.30pm at the Municipal Library in San Miguel de Salinas.
Currently there are a number of vacancies in the band for musicians of all nationalities and in all
sections.
For more information please call David Last on 638 10 80 78 or Gloria on 679 576 591

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
purchased.
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
2017.
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
past.”
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!
 

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