I imagine that most of us have had a pet in the house since we were of the tenderest age all those years ago.
I certainly did.
Now we read that, while some of the Animal Welfare Law hasn’t yet been ratified thanks to a conspicuous lack of government, other bits of it have. We don’t (yet) need to take lessons in how to entertain a pooch – which we have done, as above, since we started (besides which, one is pretty much up to speed, with Walkies, Din-dins and Down Boy!).
But, let’s see – one can no longer take the dog out to go shopping and leave him tied to a post outside while we pick up a box of milk, some chocolates, a tin of dog-food and a free English-language paper (to wrap it all up in).
There’s anything up to a ten thousand euro fine if you are caught. More, probably, if your mascota (the Spanish name for pet) bites the nice policeman during the inevitable altercation.
To cure this problem, supermarkets have beggars which sit, slumped, outside the entrance. For a small consideration, they’ll be happy to look after Fido and you will be able to shop at your leisure.
Maybe throw in an extra tin of Chum for the hobo’s dog, or indeed a frosty can of beer for the deadbeat himself.
We must now take more care and not leave our dogs in the house alone for long – or chained up outside either. Felines have a bit more liberty, as is only proper, but run the risk of returning home through the upstairs window a few grams lighter that when they left having been caught by one of those peculiar catch-neuter-release people that are always leaving food out for the feral cats.
There is also a list of pets which we just flatly aren’t allowed to keep. It’s easier just to note the few one can – which pretty much comes down to dog, cat, ferret (who on earth keeps a ferret for a pet?), tropical fish and that thing you shouldn’t get wet or feed after midnight.
All this, plus the looming dog insurance at around twenty-five euros a pop (while a very good idea as any postman will tell you), which may be beneficial to our furry (or scaly) friends as the legislators provided; although I rather think that there will be more than a few accidents or inexplicable losses of surplus critters of one sort or another to be reported in the inside pages.
Some causes in Spain remain sacred, and hunting dogs and fighting bulls, of course, need not apply.
El Comercio has an exhaustive list of the new Animal Welfare Law do’s and don’ts here.
‘Migrate to live in a micro-town: “I would rather be here than in Barcelona”. Families from Ukraine, Syria or El Salvador put down roots in tiny towns thanks to the 'Oportunitat 500' pilot program. The initiative has been a way for 28 families of migrants and refugees to develop a vital project in a rural environment and try to establish themselves in the 28 host towns of less than 500 inhabitants spread between Gerona, Lerida, Tarragona and Barcelona’. El País has the story here. Indeed, says El Cronista here, ‘These two small towns in Spain give you up to 3,000 euros to move there: the requirements are minimal. In response to depopulation, several towns in Spain are offering economic incentives to attract new residents. From direct compensation to rental benefits, discover the locations that pay you to move and live among their streets’.
From 20Minutos here: ‘How to kick out a tenant who doesn't pay? These are the new eviction rules’. The article looks at the latest Ley de Vivienda from last May.
An artist called Erik Harley has set himself up as an expert on what 20Minutos describes as speculative and corrupt architecture. In the article, he is showing visitors the leading white elephants and vanity buildings in Madrid. Erik has written a book which explores these constructions in a dozen Spanish cities: ‘Rutas por la España del Ladrillo’ (here).
Airbnb, short-term tourist lets, booking.com and the whole new business of renting out the spare room are beginning to find resistance from the neighbours, angry at the late-night noise, the hike in prices – or the scarcity - on long-tern rents, and the rattle of those little wheelie suitcases on the cobbles. The Mayor of Seville, we read at 20Minutos, is fed up and plans to put a veto on the tourist apartments to stop the "incipient turismofobia" in that city. The Local meanwhile, says that ‘the Canaries are considering limiting short-term holiday rentals, which represent a staggering third of available accommodation in the archipelago’.
20Minutos has the prices of discounted holidays for Seniors with the Imserso for 2023-2024 here. The Government’s Imserso webpage is here.
From Sur in English here: ‘Spain's recovery bolstered with more Brussels' cash as the plan to introduce tolls on every motorway ditched. The European Commission has given the green light to extra 93,500 million euros, as long as the country moves to promote rail transport in a bid to help slash greenhouse gas emissions’.
Following the final defeat through lack of support for a simple majority for Núñez Feijóo last Friday, ‘The King has proposed Pedro Sánchez as the candidate for investiture after the new round of consultations that concluded this Tuesday. The Congressional Speaker Francina Armengol says that she will call the plenary session “when the situation is sufficiently mature,” in reference to the negotiations. The date for the plenary session must be held before November 27th…’ El País reporting here. Sánchez will need to agree with the smaller parties once again – with Sumar the first pebble in his shoe.
‘‘‘We were the party most voted, so we should rule”. A claim which hides a deep contempt for Parliament and the law that regulates it: the Constitution. Also for what the citizens vote for – all of them, not just ‘los españoles de bien’ – the Good Spaniards. Feijóo insisted a lot in Congress on being the representative of 11 million Spaniards, a sum in which he also included the three million Vox votes. But the leader of the PP appears to fail to notice that the absolute majority of seats against him represent more than 12 million citizens, with the same rights as everyone else’. From an editorial by Ignacio Escolar here.
According to ECD here, Alberto Núñez Feijóo plans to break off relations with Vox: “It is the only way for the PP to govern again”. ‘…He has found that, with Abascal's party as a partner, “it is very difficult, if not impossible, to regain power.” After the failed investiture last week, Feijóo has decided to confront the populist mantras of Vox in order to once again unite the entire centre-right around the PP. He has concluded that this is the key to the future of the right, and that it is the only possibility for the PP to return to the Government…’ What, we wonder, about the bi-partisan deals in various autonomies?
The Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, and the Andalusian president, Juan Manuel Moreno, have come to an arrangement after 21 months of confrontation and they have agreed to the temporary withdrawal of the irrigation law (read: ‘permanent’) that threatened the wetlands of Doñana in exchange for an extra injection of 350 million euros for the Huelva region (and the strawberry growers). The story is here.
‘After more than a decade, Portugal will no longer be a tax haven for foreigners (mostly retirees and digital nomads) who, by residing in the country, have enjoyed very favourable tax conditions. The Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, declared this Monday that as of January 1, 2024, the privileged tax treatment will end. “It no longer makes sense to maintain it,” he said…’. The news comes from La Vanguardia here.
‘The wonders of Spanish Spiders… not the myths!’ An interesting article written by Molly Grace for Inglorious Bustards here. Molly makes the point, by the way, that: ‘…In terms of Spanish arachnids and their interactions with people, it’s worthy to note that there are 0 cases of spiders killing anyone here in Spain’.
Feral cats can be a bother (especially when ‘colonias’ of them appear, together with well-meaning providers). The Olive Press has a report about the issues of these animals which are disrupting protected areas and species including nesting birds at the mouth of the Rio Segura in Guardamar (Alicante).
Diario Red refers to an article in El Mundo regarding the Palace’s plans to rehabilitate the Emeritus following the theatre of the past few years; having, we read, put all the blame on the ex-sovereign and thus leaving the Palace immaculate. Juan Carlos would certainly like to return to Spain – at least more often than an occasional sailing weekend in Sanxenxo.
From El Mundo here: ‘Carlos Fitz-James, Duke of Alba: "The nobility must be loyal to the country and serve the King". Unlike his mother, Carlos Fitz-James rarely agrees to appear in the media, but he makes an exception here to take stock of his life on the eve of his 75th birthday. "His status as Duke marks his existence," say those close to him, who define him as "a special being."’.
VoxPópuli looks at how many people speak their co-official language in the various regions with two idiomas. In short, not everyone speaks Basque in the Basque Country. Catalán is the third most widely-spoken language in Spain and is spoken by 14.2% of all Spaniards, says the article (we include here the Balearics), while English has a penetration of 14.7%.
Not that the Spanish media would find it newsworthy, but most foreign children resident in Spain soon develop their own version of Spanglish. From El País in English here: ‘Spanglish and beyond: The evolution of Spanish-influenced dialects in the US. If you’ve ever visited cities like Los Angeles, Miami or New York City, chances are you’ve heard a linguistic mash-up that feels both familiar and foreign’.
‘Spain rolled out a new animal welfare law. It has many contradictions’ says Euronews.
An article here from Autobahn strongly recommends not importing your car from the USA or the UK to Spain.
A documentary due to be released at the Marbella Film Festival on October 6th by the Swiss director Sven Rufer is called ‘The Invisible, Modern Slavery in Europe’ and deals, says El Diario de Huelva, with those who must work in the fruit farms of Huelva. Meanwhile, elDiario.es reports of ‘Hunger and desolation after another fire in the temporary settlement of Palos, the largest bidonville in Huelva. The latest fire caused in the shanties has once again put on the table the need to offer alternatives to people who, despite the help of non-profit entities such as the Cruz Roja, live poorly in “inhumane conditions”.’
Spain has a national cricket team which appears to be doing well, if there’s the small problem (?) that not a single player on the team was born here. La Vanguardia introduces us to the equipo, which is made up mostly of Pakistani settlers, with a few British and South African immigrants. We wish them well in the European championships to be finalised in Cártama (Málaga) between the 16th and 20th of this month.
‘Spanish Bureaucracy – how to deal with red tape in Spain. People love to complain about Spanish bureaucracy. But does it have the reputation it deserves? Is it really that bad?’ Read this article at The Chorizo Chronicles and you’ll see (if you didn’t know already)
The Spanish sometimes get hot under the collar about some peculiar British version of Paella which is on sale in the counties. Directo al Paladar has just discovered the tasty-sounding paella con chorizo croquettes and, all considered, is not amused.
Researchers and archaeologists led by Michael Donnellan have discovered mysterious artificial walls under the Gulf of Cádiz that could – they say – be the remains of the fabled Atlantis. República has the story.
A terrible fire swept through a giant discothèque late on Saturday night in Murcia with thirteen reported dead and 24 injured. The disco (divided into three) had no opening licence(s) and had received a closing order from the city hall back in January 2022.
A Reader sends me a link to Live and Invest Overseas, which says ‘We offer real-world, no-nonsense advice for people looking to live, invest, retire, and do business overseas’.
Les Surfs (wiki) were a Malagasy pop group based in France in the sixties. They recorded in several languages, including Spanish. Here they are on YouTube with Cuando Te Digo Que Te Amo.