Monday, July 26, 2010

Unbelievable But (Maybe) True

The narrow donkey track - the one that goes up to Tito's and a few other houses in Mojácar pueblo, has been widened to fit a car as seen in this picture. The culprits are the promoters (whose crane has blighted views of Mojácar for the past three years). The plan is to have cars driving up and down this narrow ramp into a parking for the apartments being built there - even though it's on 'relleno', rubble, and looks rather dangerous.
But, how can cars turn upon themselves in a narrow one-way street, the only access to Mojácar? Well, you build a roundabout in front of Zaida and have traffic going counter-current on that section of the road. Then, of course, those cars leaving the narrow ramp, unable to see the road below them to their right at all, will have to pray that no one is coming.
Of course, we'll also lose a few parking spaces along the way...
What does the mayoress and the town hall architect think of this?
It's wonderful. Good for one promoter at the expense of an entire community.
Now that's how we do things around here.
Later: I'm told that the promoter 'misunderstood' the permission and that the Calle San Sebastian will not be open to traffic and furthermore that the town hall has threatened to put a 'no entry' sign there. Well, time will tell...
(Note - I've added the word 'Maybe' to the headline)

Friday, July 23, 2010

This is Not Americaaa...

The following essays which have appeared on this blog have been ordered to be removed or amended by an injunction from the Vera Court!

Vulgar Stories From Marbella - March 2010
The Cyber Squatter - September 2009
Title and essay - October 2008
Tits on Page Three - September 2008
Title and essay - February 2006

Old Glories, December 2009, was edited to remove any offence to the judge.
Blevins Franks – Independent Financial Adviser - March 2008, was edited to remove any offence to the judge.
The title of an essay written in July 2007 has been changed to ‘A List of Surprising Websites’ and part of the content has been censored to comply with the order from the Vera Court.
Blimey - May 2006 has been edited to comply with the injunction from the Vera Court
The Entertainer, a Couple of Bits – April 2006, was edited to remove any offence to the judge.

Monday: my lawyer has appealed this ruling.

No 'comments' please, but you can write, suggest, ask, inform or advise me on this subject at my email lenoxnapier (at) gmail (dot) com.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Very Visible Complaint

I remember an Iveco truck that used to drive around here years back with a sign painted on the roof air-spoiler which said 'Este camion es una mierda'. This truck is a piece of crap. The sign must have worked as the truck eventually disappeared from the roads and the driver was duly seen with a new one. I hope he preferred it.
Perhaps the owner of this Peugeot has a similar idea. I saw the car parked in Almería on the weekend...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A New Friend

Hands up anyone who knows what that thing is picking lice out of my hair.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Property in Spain

There has been a certain amount of excitement among the Northern European settlers in Spain after the head-on critical attack on President Zapatero from a rogue MEP during the plenary meeting in Strasbourg to close Spain’s six month presidency of the European Union. The attack came from Marta Andreasen, an MEP for the Euro-sceptic UKIP (an odd party perhaps for Ms Andreasen, a British citizen who lives in Barcelona and who has a marked Argentine accent, but then the Über-Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan was born and raised in Peru and he doesn’t seem to think much of foreign politicians either). Andreasen compared Zapatero’s treatment of the mainly British owners of ‘illegal homes’ as approaching something dreamed up by President Mugabe, the Zimbabwean despot. There’s a video of her comments and Zapatero’s indignant answer here.
This comes after the new housing tsar for Andalucía, the ex IU mayoress for Cordoba Rosa Aguilar, said in a recent meeting in Cadiz that there are 300,000 illegal homes in Andalucía.
And God knows how many more in the rest of Spain.
There are in fact three different problems that home-owners, whether Spanish, European or foreigners must face, although oddly, most of the ‘victims’ of these problems turn out to be Britons. The three (essential) problems, misunderstood unfortunately by both Ms Andreasen and Mr Zapatero (if he cares) are ‘Land Grab’ (a popular concept where property is expropriated and the owner charged for urbanisation costs for his remaining stake, all for publicly sanctioned commercial reasons), ‘Illegal Homes’ (homes are planned, built, marketed and sold – almost always to Northern Europeans - and only then found to be illegal, thus leaving – apparently – hundreds of thousands of property owners in a extended state of doubt, stress and judicial uncertainty) and lastly the ‘Ley de Costas’, the Coastal Law which started out as a military order to allow clear fields of fire on the Nation’s coast and beaches. Now, while no one is clear on the rules (which vary from one municipality, owner, authority and situation, to the next), the Coastal Law can mean that no one can build within a certain, variable, distance from the water-line unless the rules are bent, ignored or, in some cases, satisfied with a fine. The 1988 version of this law will, apparently, be debated in the Spanish parliament this autumn, so maybe some sense will finally be made of it.
But let us return to Andalucía and the housing tsar Rosa Aguilar. Her predecessor, recently removed from his job after masterminding the demolition of one house in Vera, Almería, in 2008 – and causing a hullabaloo across the world (oddly enough, even in Zimbabwe during their elections) – had talked of homes being ‘ilegal’ and ‘legal’ and something very andaluz between these two extremes: ‘alegal’ – which would translate as something like ‘illegalish’. An elegant solution where everyone wanders off and talks about something else. Unfortunately, many of the illegal houses don’t have water or electric connections and, not being registered officially, the owners can’t pay property taxes or, of course, vote.
Rosa Aguilar thinks that the answer might lie in forcing the owners of these properties to pay urbanising costs which, at least in Chiclana where she made the remarks (a town with 15,000 illegal homes or more), costs per household would be in the region of 40,000 euros. Meanwhile, she has set up a Citizens Forum with a number of women’s groups (for some reason) to ‘establish a permanent dialogue between the Andalucian Department for Housing and Public Works and social groups’.

Later (June 20). The consejera Rosa Aguilar was in Albox today and met with members of AUAN and agreed to the association joining the 'Citizens Forum' from September.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Communication Breakdown

Our home is in sight of the Moviestar antenna on top of Mojácar’s hill, yet none of our mobile phones work inside the house. Some friend tells me that this is because we live in a Faraday Cage (which is stupid). Nevertheless, whatever the reason, and I’m thinking ghosts, coverage drops down to nothing once inside the house, which causes me all kinds of crackingly amusing little problems as the result of not knowing that someone has just rung, and consequently either missing a call or having to answer them back at a future and sometimes less useful time. The phone I have will, if I get the buttons pressed in the right order, allow me to hear a message but will not retain the number of the caller so, if I don’t write it down on the first instance, it’ll probably be lost. I need to wear glasses to read the little dial on my phone, which takes pictures, movies, emails, games and other obscure services and yet is designed for eagle-eyed boy scouts and won’t work in any meaningful way inside our house.
So, I go outside to dial. This sometimes doesn’t work either and a few people have complained about me walking down the street (of a very quiet unlit neighbourhood I might add) in my underwear while swearing at my mobile phone.
Also, I can climb onto the roof and this sometimes works and, of course, othertimes doesn’t. No, I’m not going to dress to phone – not until I buy one of those Ipods with the little camera in it.
So anyway, I have had three calls in the last couple of days. They were all received while both my useless phone and I were in residence and were therefore not answered. These calls, as the recorded messages leave me to believe, are from a friend who wants to meet me on Friday for dinner. Now, the last call included the information that the local house-phone where my friend is staying was down but that not to worry because the cell-phone number was such and such. That’s right. A ‘cell-phone’. I would have to call an American mobile number just to confirm a chicken n chip night out which was going to cost less than the phone-call itself. So, biting the bullet, I went outside with a pen and my glasses and punched in the one two three messages with the irritating voice (‘you have received a call today, at three thirty five and a half…’) to hear the message again and write down the number. But as usual, and I’ve climbed a tree for this, no coverage at all.
My webpage is bust today as well. I write a blog about Spain and have some interesting points about Zapatero’s summation of his six-month presidency of the European Union and the attack against him delivered by Marta Andreasen (see here) but the page is down. Perhaps Moviestar has bought my Russian server.
God, I hope not.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A New Indalo for Mojácar

The Indalo is a straight-backed figure with open legs and extended arms holding a half-circle over his head. A totem that started out as a protective agent that kept any bad luck away. Perhaps the half-circle is a rainbow or some kind of umbrella that keeps off the tempest, the thunder and the odd lightning-bolt.
The Indalo has been connected with Mojácar since the dawn of time and is more properly called ‘el pequeño hombrecillo mojaquero’ or ‘the little Mojácar man’. A crude painting over a door or perhaps some stones artfully laid in the ground to create the figure, people used it as decoration and for good luck. It is true that there is a poor copy of the figurine scorched on the wall in an underground grotto together with other cave-man daubs in the mountain village of Vélez Blanco, but our noble totem is clearly older – perhaps a rendition of a visitor – an early tourist perhaps – from another land.
By the 1960’s, re-christened as ‘Indalo’ by a group of Almerian artists based in and inspired by the singular beauty of our pueblo, the figure was easily recognisable across Europe, both as light gold jewellery and as a heavier cast iron decoration, as the Mojácar Man. We had one of the latter type bolted to the grill on our car and another one stood on the chimney of the house – sorting out any bad-tempered demon that dared to come close.
In around 1988, the mayor of Mojácar allowed an advertising agency in Almería to exploit the Indalo for various ends, and a new and somehow more modern version, by now a hump-backed totem twisted by a withered leg – the sort of thing that the Spanish artist Miró would no doubt approve of – soon appeared as the image for the entire province. Mojácar was rewarded with a brand new logo by the agency, a sort of mountain squiggle with a sun above it. Most original in a country like Spain. It didn't last any longer than the next 'moción de censura' when the mayor and his pals were ousted in a 'palace revolution'.
So we returned to the Indalo, unwillingly sharing it with the other 102 municipalities in the province, together with the region's tourist board.
But now, a new version has arrived to complement our medieval town with its narrow streets and stark white houses clustered on a steep Moorish hill under the clean blue sky. The entrance to our town has been dignified with a new roundabout crowned with a fresh interpretation of our good-luck totem. A one-legged figure in a permanent state of semi-tumescence.
But, ignore that. Look at its head.
This one makes me think of visitors from the stars. Perhaps that’s what an Indalo really is, a space-suited figure from the Planet Clunk.