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Showing posts from January, 2012

Get out of that one if you can

We got our house insurance renewal notice a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was a bit steep. 410€ for 30,000€ of contents and 150,000€ buildings. I think the premium has more or less doubled since we first took out the policy six or seven years ago. The renewal isn't due till next month so I did a bit of ringing around and quickly found another company offering slightly better cover some 90€ cheaper. I signed up for the cheaper insurance.

Just to avoid any problems come the renewal date I thought I'd tell the old company that I wouldn't be renewing the policy. Now I don't like ringing Spanish customer services. I don't like it because they make me pay for the call with their stupid 902 numbers (the equivalent of the 08457 numbers in the UK) which are excluded from our free calls packages and I don't like it because I have to speak Spanish.

I like email or writing a letter. Plenty of time to think and very impersonal. There was no mailing address on the renew…


Cartagena is in the Region of Murcia. Lots of Britons, lots of EU citizens, live in Murcia. Alicante province has even more Britons, even more EU citizens.

Driving licences all over the EU all have a very similar design. It's dead easy to swap a British, or Belgian or Dutch driving licence for a Spanish one but lots of Britons (I'm going to stop adding in other European countries now but I'm sure you've grasped the point) prefer the home grown product. So, if by the simple device of getting a  friend or relative in the UK to allow you to use their address you can hang on to a driving licence made in Swansea that's what lots of us prefer to do.

How legal a non Spanish driving licence is for an EU citizen resident in Spain has been a perennial bar room topic for years. I had my own understanding of the regs around driving licences and I sent my licence to be changed to a Spanish one last July just before I'd been officially resident for five years. The replaceme…

We three kings of Orient are

As I came home at lunchtime the streets in the centre of town were heaving with shoppers. In the little square by the Icue statue there was a long queue of youngsters waiting to have their picture taken with whichever one of the Three Kings was on duty. I know it wasn't the African one, Baltasar, and I don't think it was Melchor because, if memory serves me right, he has a big white beard to prove he's European so it was probably Gaspar the darker skinned Asian representative. I could be wrong of course because I wasn't brought up with the iconography of the Three Kings. Strictly Santa Claus in Yorkshire.

At work this evening one of my students seemed most put out that I'd never heard of Swarovski jewellery or more particularly their glassware. He'd bought his girlfriend something from their range for Christmas. Just to make sure that the message was rammed well and truly home my last student of the evening asked if I was ready for Christmas. She confessed to …