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Arguing about all sorts: the third year of our Spanish adventure

This account of our life in Spain is loosely based on true events although names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. I have tried to recreate events, locales and conversations from my memories and from my diaries of the time. I may have also changed identifying characteristics and details of individuals such as appearance, nationality or occupations and characters are often an amalgam of different people that I met.

We could have come a cropper
31 March 2014 @ 18:26

A few years later I read an article in the Granada province newspaper, Ideal, which starkly illustrated how we could have come a cropper. A British man was sold a finca for 90,000 euros in a small village in the Alpujarras in 2005 and spent an additional 25,000 euros doing up the house. In 2007, someone turned up and said they were the owner. The two 'sellers' had cheated the British man by selling him something that didn’t belong to them (pocketing 90,000) and the real owner had had his house fully restored (gaining 25,000 euros worth of improvements). The two 'sellers' were sentenced in 2013 to one year in jail and ordered to pay the money back (there would have been no way to enforce this and they'd probably spent it all anyway).
Well, sorry, but when I read the full story I was very suspicious that the real owner waited two years whilst the house was vastly improved, before declaring it was his. I wonder, what are the chances that in a village, where everyone knows everyone else and they then see some stranger working on a house for a year, that no-one speaks to the 'former' owner about it? And the owner just happens to be absent for two years... Mmm.
I was also intrigued to read in the same report that what had impelled the British person to move to the area was when he read ‘Driving over Lemons.’ The book had also influenced our decision to move to Andalucia. Even though Chris Stewart had indicated in the book that a newcomer might come across cheats for example, this was presented in such a way that you felt, as the reader, that you too could brush aside these issues with the same ease the author suggested he had. If I was going to be extreme, I might say he was unconsciously part of the fraud that led people to believe such a new life would be trouble-free. The book was well-written, entertaining and dishonest. I'd have preferred it to have been less well-written, but honest. Our experience in Spain up to this point suggested that only the most robust should dare begin a new life in a country that was corrupt to its core. 
Of course, had we been less lucky, we might have been victims of fraud. We had after all bought a casa with no title deeds, whereas the British man in the article wasn’t such a risk-taker. In his case, everything seemed to have been done properly with the notario and lawyers and he had no reason to suspect anything was amiss. 
I thought what a shame that an innocent person should fall victim to these criminals.  Having had a lot of experience of being cheated in business*, I was quite au fait with the feelings of anger, disappointment and even humiliation that this led to. And this was sometimes made even worse when the sabelotodos ('sabe-nada' more like) then argued it was the victims' own fault for what these bastards had done to them.

*I wrote about the subject of being cheated on my other blog:


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