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FUELLED BY RIOJA

After two long years in England, when Spain was an itch that had to be scratched, a golden opportunity came along, which couldn't be ignored. So here I am back in Spain ~ again, just me and my dog on the sunny Costa Blanca, ready for another adventure!

MAYBE IT'S JUST RIGHT TIME ~ WRONG PLACE
31 July 2014 @ 18:26

Here at Eye on Spain, we have heard quite a few times from an unhappy lady who has found herself living in what sounds like simply the wrong place for her in Spain.

People want different things from their surroundings don't they. Some want absolute peace and quiet, and can live quite happily in what others might describe with a shudder as, isolation.

Some expats looking to settle in Spain long term, might prefer a buzzy place, with other English speaking people to engage with.  So really everyone has to do lots of research, so that they can make an informed decision about where to live in Spain to suit not only themselves, but their family too, and give themselves the best chance of creating the lifestyle they want.

I spent many years living in a rural, traditional Spanish village where there was no souvenir shop, no 'real' fish and chip shop, and no 'English' bar, upmarket or otherwise within, a 100km radius.

This truly was a one horse town with no horse. The tiny streets and alleyways, derelict buildings and tired, but solid, huge wooden doorways, would not have looked out of place in (old) Bethlehem.

At weekends, children played safely outside in the village square till the early hours, and during the day, at lunchtime, local news was broadcast from the town hall, via a series of big loudspeakers, strategically placed on various street corners and the very loud signal of an impending message was worthy of an international security alert. 

It never failed to scare me or my dog.

No need for gossip on the streets, if someone died at 12.15, respects were being paid by 12.30. A very 'Heath Robinson' approach, but it did the job effectively!

A handful of shops provided the basics of everyday life and many villagers had more than one job. The village postman was also the slaughterman at the local abbatoir, then, he rounded off his day, by serving his slaughtered cow, red hot and crispy from the barbeque at a restaruant where he also worked as a waiter.

Small fincas set in olive groves surrounded the village and in a doorway you would often find a very old lady selling large jars of family produce from a rickety table. No words were usually exchanged during the transactions, it was all done by sign language. Not because her buyers couldn't speak Spanish, but more because she was totally deaf.

I agree it sounds idyllic, but there is one thing that spoilt this little bit of Spanish heaven, and that was, the Englishman abroad.

Before the village was first 'discovered' by a few mature Brits, my guess is that life there was very quiet. I expect a minor irritation could have been the local 'young gun' in his souped up car, playing his music just a bit too loudly. But a quiet word from the Guardia Civil was usually enough to nip that in the bud.

But all good things come to an end, and in this case more British arrived, and they weren't just passing through.

Whilst there, I witnessed first hand how some English conducted themselves in this sleepy village, and what struck me was that this was SUCH an unusual place to attract the kind of people who seemed to want to live there.   Nearly 2 hours from a beach, over an hour from any town worth mentioning, and to be honest unless you were at least 60 years old, nothing much to do.

Just what was it that attracted the 30 year old, tattooed man, with matching earrings who clearly just wanted to be left alone to ride his quad bike like a maniac through very narrow backstreets, at all hours of the day and night. What fun that must have been for him. But not for anyone else.

Why would the parents of two high spirited lads of 9 and 11, relocate there to live in a house where some rooms had no roof and the sky was their ceiling. 

Boredom for them was trouble waiting to happen, and it did, when they chased a local farmer's elderly pig, with sticks, shouting so much that the pig collapsed and died.  Of course the parents were most indignant when the farmer quite rightly denounced them and wanted compensation for the loss of his animal.

Word soon got round, and the family gained a bad reputation within weeks of arriving. Subsequently their mother spent her days hanging from her balcony calling their names every few minutes, attempting (for damage limitation) to have them in her sight all the time.

They were grounded for the most insignificant misdemeanour, and in some ways that was easier for everyone; at least their Mum could relax then, because it was the only time she ever really knew where they were.  So much for a 'better life for the children'.

I recall another occasion, when during a warm summer evening, whilst the Spanish were celebrating one of their many Saints,  a very drunk 20 something English girl, threw her drink over another English couple, and overturned their plates of food.

A row eruped into the streets, with the sounds of 'fight, fight, fight', from the expats, literally fighting for airspace with the beautiful singing from the local Church choir during what was, to them, an important religious festival.

As you may imagine, not one of the 20 or so English men in the village had a job.  They had 'plans' and 'ideas', mainly dreamt up over copious bottles of San Miguel. They had no job in England, and I wondered what thought process made them leave the UK for a better life, only to recreate the same lifestyle they were so anxious to leave behind.

No effort was made by them to speak Spanish, no effort made to integrate with Spanish life. They just went and found other, like minded expats, and sat outside Spanish bars using the same expletives you might hear at any spit and sawdust pub at any hour of the day in England.

The only thing they seemed interested in cultivating was a good 'green' crop, grown easily on sunny terraces, and hidden from prying eyes with curtains of plastic sheeting, which always gave the game away in any case.

Or to put it in a more gracious way, maybe those bored English expats had simply settled in the wrong place for them. Perhaps a different village or town might have suited them much better.  There may have been work to occupy them, more things for their children to do, or maybe they would have behaved the same no matter where they were.

But can you just imagine, 20 or so stoned Spanish nationals, arriving in a sleepy English village, overtaking the pub on the green, disrupting the locals and fighting amongst themselves at the local Church fete?

Would it be tolerated?  By jove I don't think so!

 

DID YOU VISIT MANY PLACES IN SPAIN BEFORE DECIDING WHERE TO SETTLE.

IN RETROSPECT, DID YOU MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE?

 

 



Like 5




5 Comments


SandrainAlgorfa said:
01 August 2014 @ 21:59

Love this Rosie. As you say, it would never be tolerated in England, so why should we expect the Spanish to put up with such behaviour. Okay, they're a very laid back race, but nobody should have to lay back that far, just because people don't do the research.


toolman2 said:
02 August 2014 @ 10:13

I have sat looking at this for ages and I can't find the civil words to express my disgust at those sort of people who call themselves British. I might try again later.


fazeress said:
03 August 2014 @ 09:02

I've just read your complete blog to date and enjoyed every minute. We too are living inland (40 Km's from Malaga) in a Spanish town with a small ish proportion of ex-pats (not all English) and love it. We have to try out our limited Spanish as very few locals speak English which I enjoy and we are 5 minutes drive from the centre in the Campo where it's peaceful and our nearest neighbours are the goat farm across the road (about 200 metres) and about the same distance to the right of us. However we are also 5 minutes walk from our two local bars and restaurants. Couldn't be better really. I'm looking forward to hearing more from you Rosie 😊


fazeress said:
03 August 2014 @ 09:02

I've just read your complete blog to date and enjoyed every minute. We too are living inland (40 Km's from Malaga) in a Spanish town with a small ish proportion of ex-pats (not all English) and love it. We have to try out our limited Spanish as very few locals speak English which I enjoy and we are 5 minutes drive from the centre in the Campo where it's peaceful and our nearest neighbours are the goat farm across the road (about 200 metres) and about the same distance to the right of us. However we are also 5 minutes walk from our two local bars and restaurants. Couldn't be better really. I'm looking forward to hearing more from you Rosie 😊


Liscky said:
03 August 2014 @ 11:17

As you know I just kind of landed and got stuck... I definitely would have benefited from a more thoughtful approach :D

Wonderful post as always!


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