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Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain

Random thoughts from a Brit in the North West. Sometimes serious, sometimes not. Quite often curmudgeonly.

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 11 February 2021
11 February 2021 @ 13:24

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable. 

- Christopher Howse: 'A Pilgrim in Spain'


Worrying news: It’s reported - reliably? - that an unexpected side effect is found in 10% of patients who’ve overcome serious contagion - diabetes.

Even Moore worrying: While most European countries - and the USA - are seeing a decline in the death rate, Spain isn’t. See the 3 and 7 day averages here.

But some good news.

Living La Vida Loca in Galicia/Spain  

The Russians are coming. To some parts of the country anyway. Back to the past -  a business concept that involves saving costs on rent, decoration, and personnel.

Spain’s democracy is said to be a little less ‘full’ that last time it was assessed. Covid hasn’t helped, of course.

My neighbour is having his garden fence replaced, involving the removal of huge chunks of granite. Yesterday someone was hitting one of these with a sledgehammer. When I suggested he put on safety glasses, both he and my neighbour laughed. And the latter's riposte was that the guy had 'true Galician eyes'. 'Different from everyone else's in the world, then?' I asked. To no reply.

A slice of country life from Lenox

And María's Tsunami, Day 10

See the article below - largely a Google translation - on the obstacles now facing Brits who want to move here. It's not impossble, of course. Just more difficult. Back to the past again.

The UK and Brexit

Not a problem for some, it seems. It's an ill wind . . etc: Rapacious veterinary contract firms - known for hiring cheap, newly qualified foreign vets and hiring them out at top rates – the provision of a 'complete [EU documentation] service' is a license to print money. Hard-pressed companies desperately needing have incomprehensible EHCs for their consignments, are having to pay anything from £150-250 a time for each certificate. The government is footing the bill [other people's money, of course] for certifying food products destined for Northern Ireland, to the tune of £150 per document each time a certificate is needed. Very profitable opportunism at the expense of taxpayers.

But, anyway, this answers my question about different coloured ink requirements . . . If loads are being delayed or rejected for "the wrong kind of colour", this is down to the official veterinarians. Who, being foreign, might not understand the clear instruction on the form to use a different coloured ink in some parts of the form. (For reasons unknown, by the way.)

These comments are taken from ¨Richard North's post of today, in which he concludes: This is bullshit. The Commission has completely lost sight of what they are trying to achieve. All it takes is a bent vet to sign off the form and take the money, to make a mockery of the system.  . . . Interestingly, people now ask for Brexit "benefits". Well, what Brexit has done is expose us to the full force of a shitty system that we've been instrumental in supporting for the past 50 years (since before we joined). Inside the 'walls' of the Single Market, we have been shielded from the realisation of quite how bad it really is. Now we're exposed to the full horror of it, it might motivate us to do something about it. And pigs might take off.    

The EU 

More - from this article  - on the debacle of the trip to Moscow of the EU’s ambassador: Rather than getting EU-Moscow relations back on track, Borrell’s visit drove them to a new low . . . German broadcaster Deutsche Welle said his visit was “perhaps the biggest shambles” in the EU’s short-lived history of international diplomacy. Some are now even calling for Borrell’s resignation.  . . .  The fact that Brussels appointed Borrell as its chief diplomat despite the central role he played in Spain’s post-referendum crackdown on Catalonia means that every time the EU wants to send a message on human rights, it risks facing ridicule. Not a great couple of weeks for Brussels.


The video presented by the Democrats to the impeachment hearing. Shocking. And meant to be, of course.

The Way of the World

The devaluation of language.  . . . A letter I received yesterday from a money exchange company I've used began thus:- Dear valued client. We are closing your account, as we have decided to focus on business clients only. Perhaps their spellcheck dropped the 'un' off 'valued'.


A phrase and a word new to me:-

Llegar contrabajo:  To be in work (Literally: To bring a double bass)

Cateto: Hick, hillbilly, country bumpkin.

English/Spanish Refrains

It's an ill wind that blows no good: No hay mal que por bien no venga

Finally . . .

If you’re thinking of checking your ancestry via DNA test and hope to believe the results, you might want to view this first. And then select one of the better  - but still far-from-perfect - options.


Settling in Spain, "mission impossible" for the British after Brexit 

As of December 31, they have to abide by the immigration regulations like other non-EU citizens. 

Settling in Spain becomes an arduous and complicated task for the British after the UK's departure from the EU, effective December 31, since with it they have seen most of their privileges as community citizens disappear, such as receiving public health care, coming without having a job offer or moving without crediting financial resources to support themselves. 

This is an issue on which experts in Immigration and British associations such as Brexpats in Spain coincide, which brings together more than 20,000 citizens of the United Kingdom who live on Spanish soil and who have been "fighting" to avoid the materialization of Brexit for the last four years. Although it is already a fact, there are those who have not yet assimilated the situation, says the Marbella lawyer and specialist in Immigration Ricardo Bocanegra, and many are upset at the procedures that they are now forced to do. 

Accustomed to being citizens of the European Union, they have begun to feel like "foreigners in our country", says the Marbella lawyer, who considers that the real problem is not for those who are already here, but for those who want to come from now on. 

Abiding by the immigration rules like other non-EU citizens

From January 1, the British who are thinking of settling in Spain must abide by the provisions of the General Immigration Scheme, whose conditions are "very strict," says Bocanegra, and they will be required the same as any other non-citizen. community. 

This means that they will have to prove, among other issues, that they have accommodation to stay, financial resources to support themselves if they do not work and medical insurance that provides them with health coverage equivalent to that provided by Social Security itself. 

Their newly acquired status also affects everyday issues such as driving vehicles, since since there is no reciprocal recognition agreement between the two countries, British people who want to drive a car must obtain a valid driving license in Spain for what they will have to do the necessary tests and pass an exam. 

This issue generates great discomfort, especially among those who already live here, since previously no process was necessary, while since the announcement of Brexit and until the end of the year the British driver's license could be exchanged for the Spanish one, but to those who move from now on there will be no other option but to be examined, adds Ricardo Bocanegra. 

"No more coming to Spain to find a new life" 

For the youngest, "Coming to Spain to find a new life like I did is over," said Brexpats in Spain treasurer, said Sharon Hitchcock, who has lived on Malaga's Costa del Sol for more than thirty years, with regret.

When she moved, she did not need to have work lined up or prove she had resources that were "higher than the amount established each year by the General State Budget Law to generate the right to receive a non-contributory benefit" in order not to become a burden on Social Assistance in Spain ", indicates the website of the Ministry of the Interior; if not, otherwise it is complicated, according to the experts. 

According to Hitchcock, the position in which Brexit has left them represents a change "for the worse" and a throwback to the 80s that is "very sad" and she insists that, as things are currently, the only people to move will be those who have significant financial backing. 

This new situation - with difficult demands to cope with  - does not favour British pensioners who wish to retire in Spain, a large percentage of whom to date used to settle in the areas of Malaga, Alicante, Mallorca or the Canary Islands, says the president of this entity, Anne Hernández. 

The elderly have their pensions and many also have some savings, explains Hernández, which before the UK left the EU was enough to live here. 

However, now they have to adapt to the new conditions and meet the strict requirements established by Spanish law, some of which are very difficult to assume - such as taking out medical insurance with coverage that, due to age and pathologies, is "almost impossible" for them to pay;  or prove they have in the banks an amount of money that the majority do not have, concludes the president of Brexpats in Spain. 

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