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Only Joe King

A light-hearted look at life in Andalucía and Spain in general. Its good points and its bad. This blog doesn't pull any punches.

Serendipity IX - "Pink Floyd" at the Bar Dolar
Thursday, November 30, 2023

I finally got around to taking my car to get two new tyres fitted (see Serendipity VIII). The work was scheduled to take an hour, so I walked to a nearby cafe, Bar Dolar, to get breakfast and catch up with my accounts. This is what happened.


Bar Dolar

I walked in. There was a scattering of folk taking an early breakfast - it was just past 9.00 am.

I ordered my cafe con leche and rebañada de pan con aceite y tomate, settled at a table and got out my paperwork to do my accounts. I suddenly became aware of the sound of sublime guitar playing. When I glanced up at the TV, I saw Dave Gilmour (ex-Pink Floyd) playing in a live concert. Wow!




"Pink Floyd"

For me, Gilmour is one of the true great rock guitarists. When Sid Barrett went AWOL from the sixties group and Gilmour replaced him, this band got better overnight. Their Dark Side of the Moon LP is arguably one of the best albums in history. When keyboard player Roger Waters got jealous of Gilmour's playing and good looks, he took his bat and ball home and broke up the group.

Back to the concert. 

The band was playing new music to begin with, when all of a sudden the familiar opening chords of DSOTM started up. The quality of the live performance was as good as the original album. I didn't get much accounting done!





Rock memorabilia

The decor of Bar Dolar was intriguing. Take a look at the photos I took:

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Serendipity VIII - Things can only get better!
Sunday, November 26, 2023

Yesterday got off to a bad start. Turning into the polígono industrial in Ronda in the early hours of darkness, the kerb jumped out and hit my front nearside wheel! Here’s what happened next.


Early Morning Blues

Blimey! I thought. I’ve nudged kerbs before in the Ciudad Soñada, the streets being somewhat narrow, but this felt different; the drive became lumpy and didn’t feel right.

Rather than stop and risk getting stranded, I struggled on at snail’s pace to my regular petrol station about half a kilometre away. I pulled up and investigated the damage. Omigod! The tyre was in shreds with two gaping holes. It was as flat as the proverbial pancake! There was no point in trying to re-inflate it.





Then I remembered that this car, a Peugeot 2008, had a spare tyre, unlike my three previous cars, a SEAT Leon, a Ford Focus and a Mazda RX8.












Out with the jack

It was probably 45 years since I’d had to change a wheel, but, come on, changing a wheel is like riding a bike, isn’t it? You never forget how to do it.

Well, perhaps that’s not quite true, but I managed it in the end. Although, I have to say I shouldn’t really be doing jobs like this at my age, and certainly not in in a temperature of zero degrees Celsius!

Time for a coffee to calm my nerves, before heading to Casa 87, the house I am doing up for a Liverpool couple who contacted me out of the blue, after surfing my website,


Casa 87

I sorted out a few things at the house before heading off to Ronda to source some items of furniture from Solidarios en Ronda, the local charity for homeless people, and Pepe Mariscal, the second-hand dealer. I picked up some great stuff from both places, all at good prices.

Time was running out now to go to the tyre centre, so I decided to postpone until today, Saturday (mistake, they’re shut on Saturdays!)


Aussie serendipity

Back to Friday. At Pepe’s I met a couple from Australia. Kati, French, and David, English, were on extended furlough in Ronda, with a view to emigrating here. A much more pleasant encounter than my earlier encounter with the kerb!

Back at Casa 87, I spent the afternoon painting, before heading home to get ready for our dinner date. Rita and I had decided to spend the evening in Ronda tapeando.


De tapeo in Ronda

We got side-tracked by "Ene de Nati", a rather expensive boutique that the missus likes in Calle Remedios. I nipped to a nearby bar for a wee (and a tubo), where I was accosted by a rather stunning lady and her bloke. Liz was Mexican and Bernd was German. They were on holiday here from California, where they live.

After a pleasant interlude I returned to the missus who had managed to run up a sizeable bill for a woollen suit and a long winter overcoat. As we left the shop, we bumped into Lis and Bernd, I introduced Rita and we all went off for a drink together at one of the many bars on that very street.

Sat at a table outside – inside was full - my wife had a good old chinwag in German with Bernd, while Lis and I spoke Spanish and English. All of a sudden it was quite late, so we decided to break up. Bernd even picked up the bill.

They went back to their hotel, and we went in search of some tapas, which had been our original plan. The place we wanted to try out was closing, so we headed for our old favourite, Las Maravillas on Calle La Bola. It was heaving, but our waiter friend, José Luis found us a table for two.

So, we had a delicious light meal to round off the day, before heading home and to bed after a delightfully serendipitous day.







© Joe King


Tags: Casa 87, Ciudad Soñada, de tapeo, Ene de Nati, Ford Focus, Las Maravillas, Mazda RX8Pepe Mariscal, Peugeot 2008Ronda, SEAT Leon, Solidarios, tapa,

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“The Trial of the Lonesome Pine”
Friday, September 22, 2023

Older readers will remember fondly Laurel and Hardy’s version of “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine” (1937).

[Listen here].

This, however, is the story of the trial we have undergone of the lonesome pine tree in the garden next to mine, which for a dozen years has been threatening to fall on our house. Years of asking the owner of the abandoned finca to take it down, his inertia and the lack of progress made no difference at all.


Progress? - No

Then my neighbour died suddenly three years ago. His three heirs couldn’t agree on what to do with the property. Two wanted to sell it and one did not. The one who did not, the son, was meanwhile living at his majesty’s pleasure in Alhaurin de la Torre gaol, later transferred to the high security prison in Huelva. What had he done, I wonder?

So, the Will was frozen, and the matter ended up in the hands of lawyers. Nothing to be done, despite the patrulla verde (a section of the local police responsible for environmental matters) declaring the tree to be dangerous.  My hands appeared to be tied.

I tried to make a denuncia, but was told that I could not as the property and its Will were sub judice. My insurance company was not interested, as no damage had yet been caused. If the lonesome pine fell on my house and damaged it, then they would pay out! Doh!


Progress? – Yes!

Then, all of a sudden, at the end of August this year, I was informed that they would be felling the lonesome pine in the middle of September. Yay!

True enough - over the course of two mornings, the day before yesterday and yesterday, 20 and 21 September, two tree surgeons cut the pine down from the top a little at a time and cleared the branches that had fallen onto my land.

They repaired my damaged fence, I tidied up and put my garden back together, with the various plant pots in their rightful places.

A section of my garden was no longer in the shade. Maybe my vegetables will grow better from now on.

The trial of the lonesome pine was over, after more than 12 years!


© Only Joe King


Tags: Joe King, Laurel and Hardy, lonesome pine, next-door neighbour, patrulla verde, pine tree, sub judice, the trail of the lonesome pine, tree surgeon

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In the Family Way!
Wednesday, May 24, 2023

"In the family way" used to be a euphemism for being pregnant when the p-word was taboo. It was more often than not used to refer to a young unmarried girl, who had got herself "up the duff".

In Ireland the girl would have been forced to give the baby up for adoption, it has since been revealed to the eternal shame of the Roman Catholic Church.

Older readers will remember the 1966 British film "The Family Way" starring Hayley Mills.




Our family way

We were visited by family recently; my daughter and her two young sons - my grandsons - came for a short stay during half-term. And, boy, did we have a fun time!

It didn't start well, though - they missed their flight!

They had an early start and my daughter didn't have her contact lenses in. 

She mis-read the gate number for their flight. She read 5B, when it was actually 58! Both gates exist but at different ends of the airport, London Stansted, which is now huge.

What to do? She felt she couldn't disappoint the boys, aged six and three, who had been so looking forward to seeing Grandad and Oma (German for Gran - my wife Rita is German).

We all went online to search for flights later in the day: my daughter, her mother (my ex-wife), Rita and me.

We found one with easyJet, but when we tried to book, the last seats had been sold five minutes before!

We found another with Vueling from and to different airports: Gatwick to Sevilla instead of Stansted to Malaga, but that was no problem.

She booked at a staggering cost of 700 pounds Sterling for the three of them! Well, last-minute, half-term week .....

Next - how to get from Stansted in Essex to Gatwick in Sussex? Mum's taxi to the rescue!

So, instead of arriving in the middle of the day, they got to us late at night and 700 quid poorer!


Holiday with Grandad and Oma

Over the next few days, we packed in loads, chocolate con churros, ice creams, children's playgrounds, the beach, Belgian tapas, playing in my garden (Felix even helped me plant some seeds).

At the end, my daughter and grandsons had a lovely, if expensive, holiday.

The family way .....

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On the lookout for a new car? Marketing mistakes.
Monday, May 8, 2023

If you’re thinking of buying a new car, be careful! You might end up with an off-road w**ker, a sh**ty sports car, a dungmobile or a car that doesn’t go, writes Joe King.


Yes, it’s true!

A Mitsubishi Pajero shouldn’t really sell at all in a Spanish-speaking country, because "pajero" means wanker, ie someone who masturbates. Yet this model, similar to a Shogun, is very popular all over Spain.

A Toyota MR2 has no place on a garage forecourt in France, because MR2 in French is pronounced “emmerdeux”, which, you guessed it, means shitty.

The Rolls Royce Silver Mist classic car had to be renamed in Germany, because "Mist" means dung, not the right image for such an expensive luxury car.

The Opel/Vauxhall Nova was renamed the Corsa for the Spanish-speaking market, simply because to describe a car by saying “it doesn’t go” is plain stupid.

Other celebrated faux pas have been the Mazda Laputa, because la puta is the Spanish for whore. This model was renamed in Spanish-speaking countries, though strangely not in the USA where Spanish is the second most-widely spoken language after English. Much to the amusement of many Hispanics.

The Fiat Marea didn’t sell well in Spanish-speaking markets either, since marea means sick, puke.

Another Italian marque, Lancia, planned to launch the Marica but it never got further than the drawing board. Marica is the Spanish for "queer" or "homosexual"!

Volkswagen have had several dodgy moments with their model names over the years. Golf and Jetta were either daft or problematic in some markets, although they got away with "Käfer", the cult classic VW Beetle. I find Polo funny; the car with the hole in the middle (cf. Polo mints ad campaign).

So, bear all of this in mind when choosing a new car.


Moving away from cars, the Germans had a problem with Vick vapour rub, because of the pronunciation (“Fick” means f*ck!), so the spelling was changed for German-speaking markets to Wick, pronounced “Vick”.

Then we have Colon washing powder and Bimbo bread in Spain, Pschitt lemonade in France, not to mention ShitBegone toilet paper, Wack Off insect repellent and Minipussi snacks in China.  Drinks named Sars, Cok, Erektus, and Fart hold little attraction for me, and as for Homo sausage and Shitto hot pepper sauce, well, I’d need MyFannie kitchen roll to mop up the sick!

Even where foreign language translations and cultural misunderstandings are not the issue, things can still go wrong.  Take the unfortunate advertising slogan for vacuum cleaners in the USA: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux”, or the relaunch a few years back of Reed Business News with the branding: “If it’s news to you, it’s news to us!”

I’m off now to “bite the wax tadpole”, the Chinese for (drink a) coca cola.  No, seriously, back in 1928 that was the result of the company’s first attempt to find a suitable transliteration into Chinese characters for their product.  Fortunately, and after much research, the name was changed to something which can be loosely translated as “happiness in the mouth”, which is much more palatable.




Happy motoring!

© Joe King


About Joe King

Joe, not his real name, is a bit of an enigma. He has lived in the Serranía de Ronda for many years, but prefers to fly under the radar.

He doesn’t take life too seriously, except in the case of Covid-19, but even there he can see the funny side.

He prefers to use a pseudonym and an anonimised photo.




Tags: Bimbo, Coca cola, Cok, Colon, Corsa, Electrolux, emmerdeux, Erektus, Fart, Fiat, Homo, Joe King, Laputa, Marea, marketing mistakes, Mazda, Minipussi, Mist, Mitsubishi, MR2, MyFanni, Nova, Opel, pajero, Pschitt, puke, puta, Reed Business News, Rolls Royce, Sars, ShitBegone, Shitto, shitty, sick, Toyota, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, VW, Wack Off, wanker, wax tadpole

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Friday, March 31, 2023

Not the British TV channel, Independent TeleVision, but the Inspección Técnica de Vehículos - the Spanish equivalent of the MOT test.


How does it work in Spain?

It is quite different to the procedure in the UK, where the car owner looks for the cheapest quote from an approved MOT testing station, chooses one, rings up, makes an appointment and drops the car off. At most garages they offer a while-you-wait service, so you can relax, get a coffee, read a magazine or play with your mobile phone, while the mechanic gives your car the once-over.

In Spain, you make the appointment online at your choice of testing station. These are are not garages, but designated testing stations run by the regional junta. They only do vehicle testing and there is usually only one per locality. You turn up on the designated day at the appointed time, present your vehicle details (ficha técnica), pay the fee (I paid just over 30€ earlier this week) and wait your turn.When your registration comes up on the digital display in the waiting area, you drive to your alloted línea and remain in the car.

When summoned, you drive to the first point on the "line", which is emissions. Then it's lights, horn, windscreen wipers, seatbelts, tyres and brakes, followed by an inspection pit examination of the underside of the car, ie steering, brake poads, suspension, shock absorbers, etc.

If your vehicle has passed you get your pegatina, window sticker, and a paper report.

If your vehicle has failed you have a short period in which to get the work done and re-present the vehicle to the ITV station, There is no additional fee for the re-test like there is in the UK.

So the car owner has to "work" unpaid, AND pay a fee which is higher than in the UK.



How often is the ITV?

The first ITV on a car falls due on its fourth birthday, then every two years up to 10, and after that annually.


I just had the first ITV on my four-year-old Peugeot this week. There were several deficiencies, but the nice man passed me anyway, on the understanding I would get the faults, particularly a problem with the brakes, fixed straightaway. I got new front brake pads fitted yesterday.

Happy motoring!

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Best economy in Europe?
Tuesday, January 31, 2023

By Only Joe King

Which European country has the most successful economy in Europe at the moment? Germany, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden? The UK, following a successful Brexit? Ha, ha, ha!!!

Nope, amigos míos, it’s SPAIN!


Economic growth

According to the latest figures, in 2022, Spain had the highest rate of growth among European nations, at 5.5%.

At the other end of the league table, in bottom place, below Russia, is that newly independent offshore island, the United Kingdom, despite all the advantages of Brexit

Russia is in a self-inflicted state of chaos, brought about by the illegal invasion of Ukraine, yet their rate of growth is above the UK, despite draconian sanctions, economic isolation and secuestered bank accounts abroad.

Spain has achieved this mark despite the challenges posed by the war in Ukraine, Covid-19, the energy crisis, supply problems, inflation, the rise in interest rates and the global slow-down.

Not to mention domestic issues such as the Catalunya question, the pardoning of Basque terrorists, domestic violence, abortion, VOX, Morocco, Solo sí es sí, strikes and the ongoing Covid-19 threat.

Yet prime minister Pedro Sánchez is pilloried throughout the land, even in former PSOE strongholds like Andalucía. He is not expected to form the next government after the general election later this year.

Despite being regarded on the world stage as statesmanlike, Sánchez is clever, charismatic and good-looking, with his command of English, French, Italian and Portuguese. Unlike his predecessors Mariano Rajoy, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (nickname Mr Bean), José María Aznar and Felipe González, who were mono-lingual when in office, and his presumed successor Alberto Núñez Feijóo, who is about as charismatic as ….. Sir Keir Starmer ….. and who speaks only castellano and gallego, surely a serious disadvantage for a senior politician nowadays.



So, well done, Spain! The future is looking promising with the return to pre-pandemic tourism levels.


Population growth

Alongside this economic growth, the population is also growing with a surge in foreign immigrants moving to the country. Spain is now home to more inhabitants than ever before. Census data published this week by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), puts the number of people registered as resident in Spain on January 1st 2022 at 47,475,420, a historical high, and 90,313 more inhabitants compared to the previous year (a 0.19% increase).

The increase in population is mainly due to a rise in the foreign population, which increased by 102,784 people to 5,542,932 people and now accounts for 11.7% of the national total.

In Málaga province alone in 2022, the population grew by 5.3%, ie 14,343 people. In the province of Málaga, foreigners now account for nearly 17% of the population, although in some municipalities the numbers are much higher.

In Benahavís 60% of the population is foreign, in Cómpeta and Sayalonga over 40%. In Fuengirola 37%. In Manilva, Nerja and Torrox the proportion is above 35%. One third of the population of Mijas is foreign.

Of these recent newcomers, the most are British (despite or, more likely, because of Brexit), followed by immigrants from Italy, Argentina, Germany, Russia, Colombia, France, Venezuela, Morocco and Poland. The total of registered British residents in Malaga province is over 56,000. From Morocco there are over 33,500, Italy 14,400 and Germany 9,500. Poles are relative newcomers and number 2,300.



With the Andalucia regional government offering tax breaks for foreigners who invest in property here, these numbers are likely to increase in the near future.


© Joe King



El País

INE (Instituto Nacional de Estadística)

SUR in English



Further Reading:

HOW TO ….. BUY A HOUSE by The Crazy Guy  


Tags: Alberto Núñez Feijóo, Argentina, Benahavís, Brexit, Colombia, Cómpeta, Crazy Guy, economic growth, Felipe González, France, Fuengirola, Germany, INS, Italy, Joe King, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, José María Aznar, Manilva, Mariano Rajoy, Mijas, Morocco, Nerja, Poland Russia, Sayalonga, SUR in English, Torrox, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Wikipedia


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Honour Amongst Thieves
Wednesday, January 25, 2023

By Joe King

Joe King lost/mislaid his wallet last Friday night. He and his wife had gone out with another couple for dinner in a nice restaurant. After the meal he had his wallet out to pay. That’s the last time he can remember seeing it. The following morning when he looked for it he realised it was nowhere to be found!


I rang our friends to see if it had fallen on the floor of their car. Blank!

I rang the restaurant. The person who answered (our waiter from the night before, I think) replied that the cleaning lady hadn’t mentioned anything. A strange answer. Hmm!

I rang the Oficina de Objetos Perdidos at the Policía Local in Ronda but nothing had been handed in. “Try again on Monday,” said the bobby on the phone.

Mmm! It looked like my wallet containing 300€ in cash (I’d just been to the cajero), all my IDs, driving licence, health cards, tarjeta65, store cards, etc, was gone. Bugger, that meant I’d have to block my bank cards as a matter of urgency. Over the weekend I cancelled everything I could, which was not much, because most places do not have a 24 hour emergency telephone at weekends.

It then occurred to me that I was due to fly to the UK for a funeral in a few days. I had my passport still, but would I get back into Spain without my residence permit (TIE)? According to the internet, No, I wouldn’t! S**t!

On Monday morning I passed by the Policía Local. They had an amazing array of wallets, mobiles, ID cards, which had been handed in, but not mine, unfortunately.

So, next I went to the Comisaria de Policía Nacional to make a denuncia, necessary for applying for a duplicate TIA and driving licence. They reassured me that I would have no problem re-entering Spain after my trip abroad. Phew!

The rest of Monday I spent applying for a new Spanish health card, EHIC (European health card), and tarjetasesentaycinco. I also set in motion the process of getting a replacement TIE and carnet de conducir.

And I bought a new wallet to put all my new cards in, when I get them.

Tuesday was a local fiesta so I couldn’t do much.

On Wednesday first thing I got a phone call from the Policía Local: they had my wallet! Amazing! I went to collect it immediately. It had been posted to them anonymously.

I checked the contents: everything was there …. Except the 300€ cash, of course!

So, it seems reasonable to conclude that whoever found my wallet, either in the restaurant or on the ground outside, snaffled the cash and sent the remaining items to the cops.

But thank God for that! That’s why I called this piece “Honour amongst thieves”. At least the “thief” was nice enough to let me have back all the stuff that he or she didn’t want, saving me a huge amount of stress, inconvenience and cost. Most places don’t charge for replacement cards, just some banks, the DGT and Ministro de Interior.


But, this episode turned out to be very costly overall; especially the meal on Friday night:

110€ for two meals

300€ “stolen”

Total: 410€

The dearest meal for two I’ve ever had, by far!

A harsh lesson, to boot!

The food was delicious, by the way!laugh But it always is at Restaurante Almocabar in Ronda.


© Joe King


Tags: Almocabar, bank card, cajero, carnet de conducir, comisaria, denuncia, DGT, dinner, driving licence, EHIC, European health card, Joe King, oficina de objetos perdidos, policia local, policia nacional, restaurant, Ronda, Spanish health card, tarjetasesentaycinco, TIE

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FREE at last!
Friday, December 23, 2022

FREE is Joe King's word of the moment.  He feels he has been set FREE since Covid-19 disrupted his life in 2021. He has written about this on EyeOnSpain.  He has also written about working for free.

In this article he writes about getting stuff for FREE.


FREE at last!

I like the word FREE. In English FREE means something different according to the context:

FREE in the sense of liberated physically, emotionally, spiritually or psychologically, or released from prison.

FREE also means cost-free or unpaid. 

Other languages have two words, eg Spanish 'libre' and 'gratis'; French ​​'libre' and 'gratuit' and German 'frei' and 'umsonst' or 'kostenlos'.

I  imagine FREE meant a lot to the late Nelson Mandela after he was released from imprisonment on Robben Island in 1990 after 27 years of incarceration.

I guess FREE also meant a lot to disgraced former tennis player Boris Becker when he was released from gaol in the UK this week and deported to Germany.

As for me, I became FREE of the stifling nature of conventional behaviour after my brush with the Coronavirus in 2021. You can read about that in 'Rebel With a Cause'

I also believe in the notion of barter and working for nothing. I wrote about that in 'Working for free. Why? Er ... Why not?'

I am also attracted to recycling and upcycling, which I write about below.


Getting Stuff For FREE

It’s amazing what you can get for nothing. You just need to keep your eyes open.

You can get a lot of stuff for nothing in the UK. When I bought my last house there, the vendor left the place pretty much fully furnished. She didn’t want a penny for it all.

The website Gumtree offers lots of free items too. Before I emigrated to Spain I got a very nice leather Chesterfield sofa off that very website, which I gave to my kids when they were first setting up home in London after they graduated. It has since been passed on to others, also free of charge.

My son Tom was given a car by a friend of his mum’s, old yet fully serviceable. He and his wife ran it successfully for a couple of years.

Here in the Serranía de Ronda, there’s free stuff too.

Over the years our good friend Jill has given us a nice jacket, that belonged to her late husband, a TV and an antique jug.

Some years ago, when I was doing up a house in Ronda for my then girlfriend, we were twice given a load of smooth stones for the garden by the builder’s merchant. He couldn’t be bothered to raise an invoice, he said!

Three years ago I took a fancy to an oak bookcase in our local hotel’s reception area, Hotel Palacete de Manara. I started negotiating a price with Álvaro, the owner, but in the end he just gave it to me for nothing!

In the second-hand emporium Mi Altillo in Ronda, I enquired about the price of a rather nice Spanish grammar book that was on sale. Juani, the kind owner, just gave it to me!

Another local hotel, Hotel Ronda Valley, is going to give me three wall lights which match other lights I already have but which are no longer available to buy. I offered to pay for them, but they wouldn’t hear of it!

Our acupuncturist, Doctora Luz Calderón, gives us a free session from time to time. That’s much appreciated by all of us who go, as a session is normally not cheap.

Something I’ve not tried yet is a free hair cut at Peluquería Vicky in Calle Lauría in Ronda. Every evening you can get your hair cut by a trainee for nothing at all. Makes sense to me!


FREE from the tip

You can often get decent free stuff from the basura.

Over the last couple of years, while renovating my old house in Montejaque (Málaga), I've acquired the following from the 'tip': tiles, three framed pictures, a kitchen drawer unit, shelving, sheets of new hardboard, cupboard doors, books and pallets.

The tiles are laid, the pictures are hung and the kitchen unit is refurbished and installed. The shelves are up and the books displayed on them. The hardboard lines the walls of a built-in wardrobe and the cupboard doors have been upcycled. The pallets have been chain-sawed into firewood for the winter. To be sure it burns quickly, but it costs 100€ less than a dumper-load of logs.

I knew an Irishman, Seamus, in Setenil de las Bodegas (Cadiz) who virtually furnished his house with things left at the rubbish skips.  

A month ago I spotted a set of six dining chairs at a basura in Ronda – they just needed a bit of TLC.

Last summer I got a bead curtain for nothing (over 100€ new) and a nice wooden coffee table which I’ve restored. Both were left at the rubbish point near our house.


FREE coffee

And the number of times when I go for my early morning coffee and I go to settle up, somebody has already paid for mine.

Amazing! Who needs money?

I reckon if you really put your mind to it, you could almost live for free.

© Joe King


Tags: antique, barter, basura, bead curtain, books, Boris Becker, car, chain-saw, chair, Chesterfield, coffee, coffee table, Coronavirus, Covid-19, cupboard, dining chair, dumper, EyeonSpain, firewood, free, frei, Germany, gratis, gratuit, Gumtree, hardboard, Irishman, Jill, Joe King, jug, kitchen, kostenlos, libre, money, Montejaque, Nelson Mandela, nothing, pallet, Peluquería Vicky, picture, prison, recycling, Robben Island, Ronda, rubbish, Seamus, Serrania de Ronda, Setenil de las Bodegas, shelving, Spain, television, tiles, tip, TLC, Tom, UK, umsonst, unit, upcycling

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“Lola, She Was a Showgirl…..”
Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Joe King has known five Lola’s in his life – one was a transvestite; two are animals; and the other two are/were ….. show-girls!









Lola the “Tranny”

The first Lolwas the presumed transvestite in the 1970 pop hit “Lola” by The Kinks. Although I rocked along to this controversial* song at the time of its release (I was 20 back then), it took on a new significance 45 years later when my actor son Tom Whitelock appeared as the bassist Pete Quaife in a year-long run in the award-winning West-End musical “Sunny Afternoon” at the Harold Pinter Theatre, London.Tom Whitelock

*The song was originally banned by the BBC because the lyrics contained a reference to the commercial product Coca Cola. This was later changed to Cherry Cola and the song was allowed to be played.


Lola, the Original Showgirl

My second Lola was the protagonist in Barry Manilow’s seminal 1978 work “Copacabana”. Lola was the poor unfortunate showgirl in his most famous song. She had a s**t life, ending up as a jaded, ageing showgirl mourning the loss of her murdered lover Tony.


Two Animal Lola’s

The third and fourth Lola's were both animals – pets. Lola the donkey, lovely beast, is my next-door neighbour. When I was in the garden, she always used to come to the fence to say hello and I love her to bits for the unconditional love she offered back.

The only problem with Lola is that she likes to do the donkey equivalent of singing in the shower – at 3.00 in the morning!

She still lives next door, but no longer comes to the fence to say hello, for she is tethered. The reason being that she preferred the grass on my side of the fence, and over several weeks earlier this year, in trying to reach it, she destroyed 60 metres of my wire fencing.

So, she is now hobbled, to prevent her doing further damage while I am in dispute with Lola’s owner over who pays for new fencing.

The other animal Lola is an altogether more unpleasant beast, a horrible dog that lives in the village, and is never on a leash.

Not only did she bite me on the leg last year, but she also takes great delight in crapping in front of my front door. I’ve placed five-litre plastic bottles of water there (the local Spanish do that, and it seems to work for them) and I’ve disinfected the area with the Spanish equivalent of TCP, but Lola still manages to dump on my doormat on an almost daily basis.

In truth, I don’t know that it is Lola, but it is! And if I can get a photo of her in flagrante delicto I can denounce her owner who will cop a fine of 1500€!

Be neighbourly, I hear you cry. Not in this case!


Lola, the 12-year-old Showgirl

The fifth Lola is a delight, the 12-year-old daughter of a Chilean mother and a German father. The family lived for a couple of years in the next village, but Lola and her dad are now back in Germany.

Lola really was a “showgirl”. I met her at the local drama group Proyecto Platea in Ronda, where we were both members.

Her first, and last, role was in “Le malade imaginaire” by Molière, in 2021.








“Her name is Lola, she was a showgirl
But that was 30 years ago, when they used to have a show
Now it’s a disco, but not for Lola
Still in the dress she used to wear, faded feathers in her hair
She sits there so refined, and drinks herself half-blind
She lost her youth and she lost her Tony
Now she’s lost her mind!”



© Joe King


Tags: Barry Manilow, Chilean, Copacabana, dog, donkey, German, Germany, Harold Pinter, Joe King, Kinks, Lola, Pete Quaife, Proyecto Platea, showgirl, Sunny Afternoon, Tom Whitelock, transvestite, West-End

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