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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

Three Bites to the Cherry
10 August 2021 @ 10:25

There’s been quite a lot of traffic on the Social Media about whether or not to support British bars – or perhaps ‘British business’ in general. Some people argue that, since we are living in Spain, we should be supporting the Spanish. I wouldn’t be surprised to read somewhere that the Spanish are of the same opinion. However, we all need to make or earn or, at least, obtain enough money to keep us going, Spaniards and Brits alike.

There are, broadly speaking, three different types of Britons coming to Spain (if you consider this part of the Iberian peninsular as being ‘Spain’ since most towns around here now have more foreigners than they do locals). Three types.

The first are those who live here on monies from ‘home’, perhaps a cheque in the mail from parents grateful to hear that you are ‘doing well over there’ and have no thoughts ‘of returning just yet’. More seriously, there are many of us who live comfortably on an income. They typically are retired and have time to travel around Spain, perhaps ‘Parador hopping’ or the occasional shopping trip down to Marbella or Gibraltar - or maybe they prefer to spend their time at home, gardening or entertaining. This group, as far as Spain is concerned, is most welcome. They spend freely and they don’t ‘take away anyone’s jobs’. Despite some indignant Facebook posts to the contrary, I think that the majority of Brits living in Spain fall into this catagory. These days, there's an unfortunate sub-group among the long-timers - those who have failed to get their residence papers - the ones worried now about the precise meaning of the ninety-day rule.

The second group is those who wanted to come and live here, perhaps tired of the modern society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Appalled, maybe, by Brexit and its unstated disdain towards foreigners. Sick of the dull grind where people grudgingly admit that ‘they manage’ with any apparent enthusiasm for their sad existence. They move out here, perhaps a little younger than the first group, in search of a better life. They will have to work here to live, perhaps a bar or some small business to keep them going. It is this group that attracts the attention of the Facebook brigade. Should we support them or should we prefer to use the Spanish, they wonder.

I agree that this is a wonderful place to live and if – all other things being equal – a Briton opens a business then we should be glad to help and favour him with our business. Why on earth not? It’s hard enough here – Spanish clients are not generally going to come in droves, the taxes and stock are usually a bit higher and the rules can be a bit tighter. Witness the Brits who took over a bar in my pueblo some years back. They were told they couldn’t use the terrace. A year later, now with local owners, the same bar is spread all over the terrace and halfway into the street.

Furthermore, there is always small teething problems associated with running a business in a foreign country. An evidently brand-new bar owner once asked me how to cook some sardines as his Spanish customer had evinced some interest in enjoying some with his beer. ‘Bloody hell’, I told him ‘not the foggiest’. I feel sorry now – he shut a few weeks later.

It’s a shame when people come out here, full of hope for a better life, with their children and their possessions, only to find that their plan for a small business will run up against indifference, jealousy, obstructionism or other trials. We should support them not just as ‘fellow Brits’ but as people who have made a gamble with life. They didn’t sit still.

The third group, small but always in evidence, is made up of ‘chancers’. They will be running on dry and without any thought to return to their country. They will live vicariously off the rest of us, either cadging drinks, working for a morning painting our wall, or perhaps, coming up with a small con. It's hard pulling the wool over a Spaniard's eyes, so their prey will be their 'Fellow Brits'. If things go pear-shaped, they can always do a midnight flit.

However, they too are welcome. It sounds savage back there in Rochdale.

...

*Many thanks to those who enjoy my articles - most appreciated! To those with criticism on some of my remarks - all I can say here is 'noted'!



Like 5




8 Comments


jane27 said:
10 August 2021 @ 11:41

You are so right; it is totally savage back here. Our bags are packed to return, even on a ninety-day cycle.


sdeleng said:
10 August 2021 @ 12:33

I didn’t understand the last negative comment. Your posts are great although not relevant to my remote El Maestrat mountain life


anthomo16 said:
14 August 2021 @ 10:38


Love your articles tho challenge the "distain" bit when Boris and Pritty allow hundreds per day to come across the channel. Most of which are men, men who have left their wives and children to survive in war torn conditions. Personally I would turn their boats around and give them an almighty push back to wherever they came from. I love coming to Spain even if it is for one month at a tie and prefer to spend my pension there than here in the UK. I could and would live on tapas and a vino or two.



TravelswithCharlie said:
14 August 2021 @ 10:49

Yes you covered the issues well. We prefer to be exiles from a country we no longer recognise.


TravelswithCharlie said:
14 August 2021 @ 10:59

Only just read the sad account below of life in little England. The market economy has no social elements to it.


Lagalesa said:
14 August 2021 @ 12:38

I confess to being one of those who prefers to give my business to Spanish tradesmen/women. When we have employed Brits in the past we have felt disappointed in the standard of work and also felt ripped off. We have also heard tales of this happening to others. This applies to British run estate agents as well!

We have always found Spanish workers reliable, extremely hard-working (so much for the "manana" attitude!!) and very laissez faire about payment (this may be the manana attitude? lol)

As for those Brits who have lived here for donkey's years and are now panicking post-Brexit - well, they have had plenty of time to sort themselves out and should be grateful that they were able to live "under the radar" for all that time!!





wodger said:
14 August 2021 @ 12:53

Dreadful here in the UK ,supermarket shortages , fresh food with short shelf life , prices rising by the week, not enough drivers for the bin lorries, over crowded staycation hot spots, staff shortages in hospitality, care, NHS, etc. Our loyal hardworking EU citizens have gone back home thanks to brexit. Stay where you are and enjoy the lifestyle.


wodger said:
14 August 2021 @ 12:53

Dreadful here in the UK ,supermarket shortages , fresh food with short shelf life , prices rising by the week, not enough drivers for the bin lorries, over crowded staycation hot spots, staff shortages in hospitality, care, NHS, etc. Our loyal hardworking EU citizens have gone back home thanks to brexit. Stay where you are and enjoy the lifestyle.


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