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Preview: El Casareño Inglés

El Casareño Inglés

If a job's worth doing it's worth doing well.

Updated: 2018-03-06T07:45:05.329+01:00


CAFOD: Refugee Crisis: children’s dreams


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What if they were our children?  Well, they are to God.  Please help.

Peregrinación en Galicia


I think it's been five years since I was last in Spain.  Well, I'm going to be back for a couple of weeks in September.

I'm walking the camino ingles to Santiago de Compostela.  I'm not just doing this for my own benefit though.  I'm also raising money for refugee relief efforts through CAFOD.  Please see my JustGiving page.

Lo echo de menos


Despite all my grumblings over life in Spain I really miss Casares right now. I want to go back and stay there forever.

I really HATE the UK with its stupid rules and rapidly decreasing freedoms. The place deserves a proper revolution, and the sooner the better.

La corrupción y blanqueo de dinero


Many of my expat frinds have commented on the apparently endemic corruption on Spain. I always regarded it as an unavoidable feature of life here and never made any moral judgement on it.

At a low level, it appears as a way of topping up meagre salaries.

I am now aware of a whole new dimension of corruption which I find morally offensive. I have discovered that council employees are paid bonuses according to how much benefit they can avoid paying out to claimants that are entitled. The level of these bonuses is such that said council officials can go out and buy a new car or put down a mortgage on a house. So, those who have no advocates who can fill in the forms and write letters the way that ticks the right boxes are denied money that they need. We are not talking about benefit fraud here; this is denying hard-working families money to food in their children's mouths. So, instead of helping those that need it, the council employees are lining their own pockets.

So, you ask where is this corruption to be found? Well it's NOT Spain. It's in the UK! The so-called bastion of fair play has stooped to the lowest form of moral corruption whereby money is withheld from the most vulnerable and defenceless.

If you want to get benefit in the UK you need an advocate to fight for you. This is why certain groups are so successful at getting it. They have the systems in place to get it for them; and good luck to them. I shall be putting this to my MP with a view to having the "civil servant" who invented this scheme forced to apologise to every failed genuine claimant for the rest of their lives!

Rant over.

Con titilación y experiencia.


Poor Maria Rosa. I hope she didn´t get too many calls for her services; or maybe her maid services were what she described.

Un regalo para Lucy


Meet Winston. He should be good enough to get her through the streets of Setubal. Unfortunately too wide for Casares.
I've ridden in this very behemoth some years ago. Vision is a bit poor, but frankly it's an advantage not to see the car you've just run over and crushed.
Fuel economy is poorer, at about 8 mpg max on four-star only.
Comfort is basic, but then you're so padded out with helmet, gloves etc. that the extra layers absorb the bumps.

The Average British Soldier


It's that time of year again when we remember those who fight to protect us.

BBC - southerncounties Interactive - Calling all Expats


BBC - southerncounties Interactive - Calling all Expats

Will be contacting the Beeb shortly. Our story appears in the local press tomorrow.

Diez mil lectores. ¡Qué va!


Many thanks to the readers out there who have visited so far, ten thousand views and counting...

We are in the middle of an exchange student visit at the moment in the hungry cottage. We hadn't bargained on a "tall, dark and handsome" 14 year-old from Germany; our preconceptions were someone more like Tom's own size (a bit short like his mum). Still, he's clean and well-behaved. The only downside is that he's vegetarian, but does at least like fish. I thought that I might have to go out and get a whole new cookbook - we are confirmed omnivores in the hungry cottage.
The school itinerary looks quite curious. Today, for instance the students are off to London for a "cultural" experience; London Eye and Tower of London. I'm not quite sure how this squares with the billed lunch at Burger King!
This weekend we will be free to give our own cultural education. I've suggested a pub lunch, possibly Portsmouth Dockyard and in the evening a fish 'n chip supper. Lady wife agrees on the food menu, but quails at the expense of the Dockyard tour, 55 pound sterling for a family ticket (only five people). A lot depends on the weather, the wind and rain will have to ease a bit first.
So much has happened since leaving Casares. The Teacher Training fell through after failing to get a grant. Didn't qualify as a home student because I'd been out of the country for over three years and failed as an EU student because that won't pay for a Masters course!
To help pay the bills I briefly did a paper round, then managed to pick up a cleaner's job at a local school.
I had applied at the end of November for a driver's job for a local company but had to wait around for ages for the CRB checks to go through. Surrey County Council were fine, but East Hants have been a complete nightmare (as is true for almost every department in Penns Place). They wouldn't accept the letter of good conduct from the Spanish Ministry of Justice (that Surrey did) and insisted I get another. This had to be done through the FCO and British Consulate in Málaga. I got the request off before Christmas, only to find on enquiry that the application was sat on some FCO "merchant banker's" desk in London in late January. And they wanted 121 pounds for the service. If you go in person to the Ministerio de justicia office in Málaga they'll do it for you for 8 euro. I could literally have flown out and done it myself for less than the FCO charged!
Eventually I got the paper back and so now I have taxi driver licences for Hampshire and Surrey (which explains the Facebook profile photo).
Not that taxi (or school bus) driving is an end in itself. I am retraining for something much more lucrative...



This is the end of the road for my blog on life in Spain. Mainly because I no longer live there (and won't be moving back anytime soon), but also because I've (e)migrated my contact with my friends to Facebook, which I find a much better way of staying in touch. If I make further entries here it will be to do a bit of politicking. One of my good friends from the last project I worked on in Spain has taken up the cause I see.

I will still be visiting Blogger from time to time to check up on what's going on in Spain.

Lydia Cacho


For Spanish readers, this site is highly recommended. If you're not a Spanish reader, you can find her here in Wikipedia.

Tolerancia cero


We have finally managed to get a rented house about a quarter mile from where we lived up until 2002. We're still getting settled in and are eagerly awaiting the delivery of a washing machine and fridge.
I've changed career totallyand am retraining to be a science teacher at secondary school. I've had some weeks at a school in Fareham observing teachers at work. As would be expected there is zero tolerance to bullying there.
The same cannot be said of the school our children attended in Casares. I have the photographic proof of injuries to our children to proove it. Strange how the teacher kept saying that our children walked into doors. Ten times in one day? I think not! I cannot think of any teacher there that would keep their QTS* more than a week given the lies they tell and outright racist attitudes they hold. In fact, I'll go through the standards one by one to show you how they fail non-Spanish children and let down their own. That will have to wait for another post.
I've got to get back to my coursework now, there's so much to do and the standards here in the UK are so high.
* Qualified Teacher Status

El retraso a nuestro pais


Well, we escaped from Casares and Spain.

Once we have ourselves established in something better than a caravan, we'll start with the dirt on Spain. At least at this range they can't touch us and their threats mean nothing.

Strangely I don't find the English rain depressing, more refreshing.

Al final de la carrerra.


(image) I'm into the last hour at work now. Tomorrow we'll be doing our final packing.

The project where I've been working is also almost finished now. The platform will be floated next week I'm told and will sail shortly afterwards.

Our plans involve me going into teacher training in the UK. Carole is undecided about what she's going to do. We'll be on the road for the next week - Eurotunnel is SO much cheaper than the ferry.

Then we'll have to find soewhere to live in the UK. Buying a house seems stupid at the moment, so we're going to investigate alternative accomodation. More on that later.

Lo haremos para ella


Owing to a number of issues it looks like our life in Spain is drawing to a close.
The problems we've encountered I'll save for later once we've left.
However, to guarantee our childrens' health and education is why we came to Spain in the first place. Now it seems we must leave for the same reasons.
I don't believe that Spanish society has changed at all whilst we've been here, nor do I believe we came with "rose-tinted spectacles". Our childrens' needs have changed, and that alongside the darker aspects of Spanish society and institutions have made us realise that Spain is not where we want to be.
Where next? We have a number of options, but we'll almost certainly be moving house during the summer holidays. We'll probably rent the house out short-term and sell later, unless any of you dear readers are interested.

El PSOE inicia los trámites para expulsar al alcalde de Estepona


MADRID, 17 (EUROPA PRESS) - PSOE headquarters have started the process of expelling the mayor of Estepona, Antonio Barrientos, from the party following indications of his involvement in an alledged corruption scandal over planning applilcations, according to PSOE sources.

Those sources also say if other socialist counsellors are implicated the party will expel them also. Policía Nacional officers are currently searching municipal offices. The mayor arrived at the town hall at 0910 accompanied by officers to carry out a search. The Puertosol building where the planning (counsellor Rafael Duarte, PSOE) and tax (counsellor Francisco Zamorano, PSOE) offices are located are also being searched.

Un mundo pequeño y mentes más así



Whilst out on a scouting trip at an hotel near Cádiz, I discovered this cart. It has come from less than 20 miles from where I used to live for many years.

After the last post I was called by social services to register their disapproval of what I wrote. I was also asked to call the current social worker back to arrange an appointment. The thing is that my wife has had enough of it. She sees that no progress has been made regarding the treatment of the children at school (i.e. blatant racism), and constant stonewalling by the authorities when it comes to doing anything that requires treating foreigners with dignity.

She (my better half) therefore has no wish to see the social worker again, and has forbidden me to call her. I must obey.

Lately I've not been posting much. The main reason has been I've been preoccupied with finding a new job after the current one ends in the summer (no fixed date yet). All the local staff agree that this is probably the best job they've had (or are ever likely to have) in Spain. No Spanish employer would treat their staff so fairly. I know only too well after previous jobs here. It seems highly likely that the next job will involve emigration from Spain.

I've (mostly) enjoyed my time here and have made some good friends in the last six years. For SWMBO it has been unending struggle against racism, obstruction and rudeness.

Rather than rant myself about all the things that went wrong, I shall let SWMBO do it - she's been contacted by the Daily Mail for her story.

¿Qué ha pasado con abril?


A whole month has slipped by without a single post.

The main reason has been our occupation with Suzie, her baptism at the local church, the baptism of a neighbour's baby, that baby's health problems and of course doing battle with the State over our rights.

The last item goes back to our arrival in Spain. We soon discovered that we qualify for familia numerosa which gives not inconsiderable benefits, especially when it comes to taxation. We first applied in 2005 and got the book last summer, after two years of jumping through hoops put there to stop extranjeros applying. So the book arrived just in time for Suzie's birth which meant we had to immediately ask for a re-issue or lose the entitlement. Suzie is now almost nine months old and we're still fighting the Junta. This despite the fact she was born here in Andalucía.

After a useful relationship with Miguel Angel, a genuinely caring social worker who made every effort to help us through the system, he has moved on to another case. The new SW is a complete waste of space. Unhelpful doesn't even cover it. We patiently explained to her that the Junta's position on the familia numerosa is not only unlawful since it goes directly against the European Accession treaty that Spain signed and against the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties, but that the Junta's attitude is institutionally rascist, openly discriminating against EU citizens who are guaranteed equal rights before Spanish law. Her reaction was to side with the Junta, saying that "Spain is a special case and Spaniards have special rights reserved for themselves". Not in social equality they don't. She should re-read the above-mentioned treaties.

We will give her one last chance to break the logjam, then it's off the the press, lawyer and European Commission with the case. I don't think the Spanish government will want to hand back their Social Fund grants to Brussels on top of the 63 million euro they've had to repay to the CAP.

Español para hablar con la sirvienta.


Many thanks to Juana la loca for finding this one - be careful you understand some Spanish before taking lessons. My children can always help with the ruder words.





I finally got the taxi entitlement - but didn't have to do the taxi exam to get it. If you want to know how you'll have to guess, it's not something I'm going to advertise, but it didn't involve bribing anyone.

No more paying for parking at the airport.

I'll be celebrating this weekend.

La atención al cliente no existe en España


Honestly, it's a foreign language to them. You can practically guarantee good service is only provided by extranjeros; argentine waiters, romanian builders, english mechanics etc.

Go into any Carrefour or El Corte Inglés here and you'll see what I mean. Staff who are supposed to be serving customers take a perverse delight in ignoring them and prefer to chat to their colleagues or on their mobile to friends and family or merely pick their noses rather than do the job they're paid for.

The concept that their salary is actually paid by their customers seems to escape them. I remember reading last year that of all Spanish companies that go into the export business, a third have abandoned it after just two years. Probably because they've pissed off their customers so much.

The crap service par excellence is of course provided by any state-run organisation or business. The complaints against Telefónica are legion, having passed into urban legend many years ago. They feature on expat bulletin boards on a monthly basis. However, even they are exceeded by the Health service, Town halls, Tax authorities, in fact any arm of the state.

Now I know why. In spain, to get a public service job you have to sit oposiciones, a sort of board exam. The interview is purpose-designed to weed out any extranjeros that have the temerity to apply. I know because I once applied for an English-speaking role at the local town hall (to deal with the english-speaking ratepayers). Needless to say the job was awarded to a local who could hardly string together a sentence in English, let alone communicate effectively. The impression I was left with was that this is racism by the back door, pretending to offer jobs to foreigners, only to exclude them in biased interviews.

And the photo? A colleague bought a car on French plates. It took 14 months to get the car registered here in Spain involving umpteen visits to the gestor to get it sorted. I even once had to go to Cádiz itself to visit tráfico there to check what the gestor was saying was true - he was lying out of his arse! Needless to say he won't be getting any repeat business or recommendations from me.

Juegos de niños II



As you can see, Charlie is getting creative with her Christmas present (mobile phone). So far none of the children have come back to me asking for a credit top-up, so I guess they're not making many calls.

The only fly in the ointment has been Lulu's phone which did not come with a cable (or Bluetooth). I've been completely unable to find a cable for it so we are still waiting for her photos, and the phone memory is full.

Juegos de niños


With another child's birthday approaching, I have to decide what to buy. Charlie's preferred gift would be a Nintendo DS, but at over 200 euro, it's a non-starter. Besides, we already have a free X-box for them to share, courtesy of the ADSL service we bought a couple of years back.
Charlie will get her second choice, the last in the Harry Potter series of books. This time she specified it had to be in Spanish as she reads it faster. I think all the children like the series judging from the games they play - Charlie's photo is entitled "Hermione contra Ron".

Otro heroe muere



Although I stopped playing D&D some years ago, my son has started playing thanks to a set of books sent out by "Lawful Good of Cowplain" (even that name is derived from EGG's influence).

His game allowed my imagination to run free, allowed me to get my Chemistry degree (a story for another time) and introduced me to many friends, and indirectly to my wife.

Thanks Gary, I owe you a lot. Rest in peace.

PS: I've been reading the Troll Lord Games bulletin board, so far the Man has warranted 551 replies and over 156,000! views. The board is open at the moment for guest posting if you want to leave your condolences.

Lo que me fastidia de los españoles


(image) "I will stay only in a country where political liberty, toleration and equality of all citizens before the law are the rule."

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Partido Popular take note.