The British residents in Spain are usually politely ignored by the media, but a fallout from the sad passing of Elizabeth II last week brought us – briefly – to the fore. The local paper says that there are so and so many Brits living in our province and then launches into an article involving the bowlers at some club looking glum and dropping platitudes.
What else can one say on an occasion like this?
In all, we may be 282,000 or so resident here (just to make the point – that’s considerably larger in number than the population of the city of Granada which rests at 232,000), but we aren’t noticed much. How many of us Brit residents are household names to the Spanish? James Rhodes, Tony King, the late Michael Robinson, two or three obscure British hispanophiles who writes books about Franco, Ian Gibson (who’s Irish anyway) and then the fellow on the TV who teaches English (Richard Vaughan, who is from Texas apparently).
My friend Andrew Mortimer (who teaches English to the Spanish Legion) penned an article which appeared in our local paper: Adiós a mi Reina (in English with Spectrum here).
I got interviewed on Canal Sur radio, plus a mention in La Voz de Almería where, as usual, they spelled my name wrong.
Liz Parry (was the editor of Sur in English) was interviewed on the subject in elDiario.es.
The Canary RTVC produced a report about the reaction from the Brit residents.
La Razón has an article called ‘The Little England of Alicante, in mourning for Elizabeth II’. Again, we start with the numbers (know that there are 69,728 Brits registered in Alicante).
Several Anglican services were held in various resort towns, reported or not by the media.
Some books were made available to write down one’s thoughts. I expect the British Embassy in Madrid had a nice leather one.
El Confidencial says that some of the British tourists in Magaluf got pissed and a little lachrymose.
Sur in English had a full front cover (The Queen died on the Thursday, thus giving the editor time to shout ‘stop the presses!’, but – alas - too late for its English-language rivals).
Two regions of Spain declared days of mourning – one day for Andalucía, and three for Madrid. Furthermore, both Felipe VI and his Queen, and old (‘after all, I am the oldest royal that’s alive today’) Juan Carlos and Doña Sofía are all due to attend the State Funeral next Monday in London. From France, President Macron said that the British thought of Elizabeth as their Queen, while the rest of the world thought of her as ‘The Queen’. Nice.
Even Putin was solemn and called her passing ‘a heavy, irreparable loss’.
Everyone is sad, except of course the Argentinians.
See – we’ve forgotten about the British residents living in Spain already…
From Spanish Property Insight here: ‘Valencia City Hall claims squatter invasions are a miniscule problem for homeowners’. It begins: ‘Listening to adverts on the radio you would think that private homeowners are at constant risk of having their homes taken over by squatters, but a new study from Valencia City Hall claims that just 1% of squatter invasions affect homeowners…’
Público here: ‘The Prosecutor's Office also plays down the false alarm about the squatters'
The British iNews puts up back to Panic Mode here: ‘Spanish squatter gangs invade homes of British expats. More than 13,000 illegal occupations recorded last year as gangs publish ‘occupation manual’’.
An odd article from The Conversation looks at the end of the nation state. The thrust is that digital nomads might live in one country, while working for a business based in another. They see themselves, we read, in a sense at citizens of – and loyal towards – their employer rather than anything else. They even have a (so-far pretend) country to be citizens of: Plumia (frankly, I haven’t got a clue what they are talking about – although the people behind the concept are a travel insurance company). We, er, wish them well.
The Washington Post has a useful article on ‘your beginner’s guide to being a digital nomad’.
Digital nomad visas are an increasingly common idea, with a list of countries (including Portugal, Germany, Malta, the Czech Republic and Croatia) green-lighting the system. Furthermore, in many cases, you are your own boss – but, one must beware of ‘burnout’ apparently.
To many of us living at expatriates, particularly if we are retired, nationality is little more than the passport they gave us, and the bother of acquiring another one (particularly in Spain) is not worth the hassle (that, and nobody is going to believe it anyway).
Being a member of the EU was (or is) certainly a plus for expatriates who came from one of the 28 that was.
But largely, and the recent sad passing of our Queen aside, many of us don’t become too tearful on our Nation’s Day or keep our country’s flag flying bravely from the mast above the bougainvillea.
The Spanish see themselves more as regionalist than nationalist – and perhaps the EU’s mistake was to be a union of countries rather than a union of regions. It would certainly ease some of our squabbles if we took that further step – perhaps we will one day.
A quote from the Plumia people: “We’re all enrolled into this automatic subscription based on the coincidence of our birthplace or our heritage, and that really doesn’t work in the 21st century”. This is a business-based observation, but, I think, it is appropriate for the expatriate too – there are after all, a lot of us.
Another fake country, Tabarnia, actually has a physical presence. It is the conservative version, more or less, of the urban parts of Catalonia. Tabarnia, was a joke from 2013, almost forgotten since, until Isabel Díaz Ayuso was chosen last week as its new ‘President in Madrid’. As Miguel Charisteas says on YouTube: ‘the fantasy is strong this season’.
Then there was the recent successful meeting of the flat-earth society in Barcelona.
The local neighbours of the impermanently anchored may not be entirely comfortable with their new vecinos as (we read) ‘Digital nomads clash with local culture’. But then, you know, didn’t we always brush the locals the wrong way?
Perhaps we would do better in the Metaverse.
At the 2016 Conservative Party conference in the UK, the new prime minister, Theresa May, famously declared: “If you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere”.
Bring it on.
From ECD here: ‘Flights from Spain to the United Kingdom skyrocket from 50 to 800 euros after the death of Elizabeth II. The airlines have registered an increase in the demand of people interested in attending the farewell events in London’.
Hipotecas – mortgages – are rising due to the hike in interest rates. From El Debate here, ‘Spain prepares for the rise in mortgages: "I don't know where I'm going to get an extra 200 euros every month". Experts predict that the Euribor will end the year at 2.5%. An average variable mortgage could become more expensive by 2,628 euros per year’.
(To nobody’s surprise) ‘Private pension funds deflate and erode the retirement of three million savers’ says Público here.
Supermarket chains are under pressure from Yolanda Díaz (Minister for Labour) and Alberto Garzón (Consumer Issues) to lower prices on basic items, and Carrefour have put together a slightly unwieldy pack of thirty items for thirty euros (here). Other chains (El Corte Inglés, Mercadona, Aldi, Alcampo and others) are preparing to follow suit says elDiario.es here although El Heraldo says that the supermarkets insist that the prices for fresh food can’t be held steady. The talks continue.
Diesel is currently 15c per litre more expensive than regular petrol. When did that happen?
Antena3 gives the PP a strong lead over the PSOE in intention of vote here.
Guy Hedgecoe has an interesting article here about the leader of the PP Alberto Núñez Feijóo. Will he become the next president of Spain? We must wait awhile to see…
Lorenzo Brown is a US basketball star who has never spent a day in Spain. Nevertheless, he has just been invited to join the Spanish EuroBasket 2022 team (wiki) and to become, jus’ like that, a Spaniard. Say, isn’t that a bit… unfair…? Being a star means you don’t have to faff around for ten years trying to get your nacionalidad española, passing betimes a couple of tests on your knowledge of both the language and the culture. Ol’ Lorenzo won’t know his way around a bowl of gazpacho, but that’s life…
Toni Cantó (wiki) is an interesting chap. He is an actor by profession and was involved in politics from when he was young, beginning with a spell in Ciudadanos, then the UPyD, back to Ciudadanos – holding several political posts in Valencia along the way, then the PP where he almost stood in the Madrid regional elections within the party (he was found to still be a resident of Valencia, so was disqualified). Isabel Diaz Ayuso got him a job in Madrid as the well-paid head of the Oficina del Español, but now we hear that he is moving back to Valencia and joining the new 7NN TV station operated by Vox and other far-right groups (wiki)… VozPópuli has the full story here.
Support for independence from Spain seems to be on the wane in Catalonia. ‘Could Catalonia's pro-independence coalition soon be calling it quits?’ Catalan News here.
‘King Charles III was proclaimed King of Gibraltar during a historic parade in Convent Place at midday on Sunday…’ Item from The Gibraltar Chronicle here.
‘EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has called for cuts to electricity use across the 27 states and windfall taxes on energy firms to tackle high prices. She told the European Parliament that gas and electricity prices had reached record levels and hit all-time highs after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. She called for electricity consumption to be cut at peak hours by at least 5%...’ Item from BBC News here.
From El Mundo here: ‘The Supreme Court has confirmed the sentence in the ERE Case with six years in prison for the former president of the Junta de Andalucía José Antonio Griñán for the crimes of evasion and embezzlement of public funds, as well as the disqualification for public office for nine years for the ex-president Manuel Chaves. The court says that both knew and consented to the "absolute lack of control" of the ERE fraud’.
From Spanish News here: ‘What are the penalties faced by homeowners in Spain for kicking out squatters?’ (There may be an argument here for speaking to your lawyer first)
One can see why the PP isn’t partial to resolving the four-year-issue of the non-dissolution of the current CGPJ, which elDiario.es explains here as being something like the government of the entire judiciary in Spain. Four judges need to be replaced within the General Council of the Judiciary and these will be chosen with two from the Government and two from the judges themselves. Now even more determined not to budge, as the PP learns of fresh recordings from the ex-Commissar Villarejo with the former Minister of Defence María Dolores de Cospedal including nine references to ‘El Barbas’, the bearded one. Mariano Rajoy, perhaps? Surely not.
La Fiscalía Anticorrupción wants to reopen the Caso Kitchen says El Plural as it finds fresh material against Cospedal and Rajoy, but the conservative judge García Castellón refuses to re-open the case. This brings us to an article at elDiario.es explaining just who is this character in a toga: ‘so hard on Podemos, so lenient on the PP’.
The reform of the CGPJ is important for other reasons (participating in the legislation from the Government), and the president of the group, Carlos Lesmes, is under so much pressure that he is now threatening to quit.
‘Photovoltaic generation (solar) breaks its own records in Spain. According to the electricity system operator, REE, so far this year, production with this technology reached 21,001 GWh by this week, exceeding the figure noted in all of 2021 of 20,954 GWh. Indeed, with the data available today, photovoltaic energy has increased its production by 37.3% compared to the same period in 2021…’ More at El Periódico de la Energía here.
From The New York Times here: ‘The Olive Oil Capital of the World, parched. Spain’s Jaén province, home to one fifth of the world’s supply of “green gold,” copes with climate change and threats to its way of life’.
From the Oil Industry: ‘Explains Mariano Marzo, Repsol board member: “If we are going to need oil and gas, and it is clear that they will be necessary for many years to come, we must guarantee their production without demonising them. Failure to do so means tackling an ill-considered energy transition, driven more by ideology than by technology”…’. The Corner has the story here.
(The far-right) OKDiario runs a piece on how well the British look on their monarchy, and contrast it with the rather more bland treatment given towards the Spanish royals by citizens of this country, and particularly by the pesky Catalonians (who, ah, should know their history and behave themselves).
According to Radiocable, both the British Financial Times and the French Libération see the eventual end of the Spanish monarchy.
Due to worries over his age and physical condition, the PP and PSOE are quietly negotiating a plan to bring the Emeritus Juan Carlos a little closer home with a proposed residence in next-door Portugal says ECD here.
Salvar el Rey, a documentary from HBO Max about King Juan Carlos makes for interesting viewing. How the secret service hid some of the King’s activities from the public and so on.
Those curious letters in the Spanish alphabet ch and ll are no more. The Spanish Royal Academy has ruled: they are ‘digraphs’, so they will no longer have their special place in the dictionary between the C and the D and later, the L and the M (just to be pedantic). The rr, by the way – another dígrafo – never got its own place in the now 27-letter abecedario.
Here there be monsters – the map of the Spanish peninsular from the ‘Bestiario de tierra y tinta’ here. Some fun from Traveler, with plenty of spooky drawings.
Andalucía Today tells us that the place to celebrate the Oktoberfest this year is without doubt Torrox on the eastern Costa del Sol (September 22 – 25).
La Desbandada (or ‘desbandá’) was the tragic walk by thousands of malagueños towards Almería and some form of safety during a few weeks at the beginning of the Civil War. As they fled their city, they were bombed, strafed and shelled by the victorious rebels, the Nationalists. Nueva Tribuna notes the exhibition of the terrible event in the Málaga hall of the Centro Cultural de la Fundación Unicaja, while remarking that no mention whatsoever is made of the identity of the perpetuators!
‘It was the longest siege in British military history, lasting three years and seven months, as a small garrison of troops faced overwhelming odds from enemy bombardment, disease and hunger. But on this date 240 years ago the British won a resounding victory. This was the Great Siege of Gibraltar…’. An article from The Times here.
From La Razón here: ‘The oldest active railway station in Europe closes in Spain. The Sant Andreu Comtal station in Barcelona was inaugurated on July 23, 1854’.
NatGeo brings us ten reasons to visit La Coruna. Great photos as always with this site.
Manolo Escobar sings Valencia on YouTube here.