There is a famous song in My Fair Lady, sang by Rex Harrison, entitled, “Why Can’t a Woman be More Like a Man?” Well that may need an awful lot of debating 😉 but veterans of JC will recall that up until quite recently, the admin team were all of the “fairer sex” (lol) and it was about time we added a bit of testosterone to the team.
Having had a few moans about the fact that there were no men about on the group to put the girls in their place, we had a think and decided that “there can be only one” and we were as thrilled as Baldrick with a turnip, when Kenn Walters agreed to be the 4th steerer of the Good Ship JC. For those of you who do not know Kenn very well, he is a super guy who lives here in Javea, has his finger on the pulse and ( as my mum would have said) “knows his onions . Not only that, but he has a wicked sense of humour too.
So now I will stop waffling and introduce to the first of many blogs by the man we will now all know as “Captain Sensible” ……………………
Shock, Horror, – The Shocking Truth About Common Sense…. (it isn’t common)… – Read all about it.
Welcome to my little blog post which I have been conned into writing, (er, I mean asked nicely), by the Indefatigable Loraine. I will be posting all sorts of quirky observations every now and then, (when Loraine digs me in the ribs), hopefully with the intent of bringing a smile and delivering a little information along the way to the good citizens, (well alright then, to anyone who cares to read), of Javea and it’s surroundings.
With a nod to my fellow Javea Connect Admins, (who semi affectionately call me Lammykins), and other blog contributors (such as the ingenious Dan Dare, who I have heard refers to me as Digby (the character, – not the bar), as well as “Grumpy”), I guess a couple of sentences first about me;
English born, but having lived outside the UK for over 35 years, with a German wife and daughters and having picked up a few trophies, qualifications and businesses along the way, (and the good “drinking stories” that go with them), I have lived in Javea for 17 years (as a legal resident). One of the things I do to earn a crust, involves research and publication, (yep, for my sins I am a registered journalist with press pass – So have an automatic corner seat in any bar on Fleet Street), so have a background and almost reflex reaction to “check out the facts” when I see something posted which I don’t know the law on or am unsure about… I honestly thought, in today’s “information society” that EVERYONE did this more or less automatically, but have learnt in my time as an ex-pat that this is sadly not the case…
So, just to get it rolling, a few old “hoary chestnuts” for me to pontificate upon, –
“Common sense, isn’t”
Hoo boy, I see debates about things concerning this daily in JC or in conversations around and about. “Why were we kicked out of the water when the red flags were flying?”, “I just got stung by a beasty critter that looks 2 foot long and has nasty sharp pointy teeth, – should I go to the doctor?”, “Why do the police keep stopping people and scaring me with all their guns and stuff and looking in cars?” – You see what I mean? It doesn’t take a degree in applied headology to just think sometimes, (and consider before posting), if there might not be good sense which could be well applied?
“If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t”
We struggle valiantly to try and keep the adverts and promotions of this sort off JC, but time after time I hear about someone being taken for a ride, (talking of which, more later!). A major fact to remember is that Spain isn’t a “nanny” state, although it DOES have some good consumer protection laws, and methods to complain officially, they are not as all-encompassing as in many Northern European countries, (especially the UK). – A great litmus test is “would I go ahead and do/buy/rent this “back home” with this same information?”. I’m sorry if you bought a great “off plan” building for 50,000 in an area where it obviously should have costs 300,000 but it never got built, or if that card and IP TV deal delivering all the different pay TV channels er, “legally” and saving you 70% of the channels costs compared to the UK, stopped working, or if that car you bought privately ended up having a bunch of debt registered against it, I really am. Even in Spain, always apply the answer to the hoary chestnut above, – “If in doubt, check it out”, or in the case hereabouts, go to a gestor or accountant or advisor, of which we have an abundant supply of excellent people in the Javea area, speaking all sorts of languages.
“People who don’t respect or obey the law, are outlaws”
I still see debates on all sorts of things concerning the “need” to be legal in Spain for, (pick randomly from list), Cars, Boats, Businesses, Taxis, Residency registration, Fishing, Taxation, Investment, etc, etc, ad infinitum and suggestions on ways to “dodge”. Again, like the “litmus test” above, – would you break the law of your own country on one of these things if you were living there? If the answer is no, then why would you expect it to be different here? (If the answer is yes, well then Jesse, you keep an ear out for that midnight knock pardner, and good luck). It IS easy to check out the rules relating to these things, there is an abundance of information in English even, online and just like “back home” in Spain also “ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law”.
“This is legal where I come from, why isn’t it here?”
HeeHee… Bless ‘em all… National Laws ARE different and mainly take precedence over EU laws/regulations. Ignoring them won’t make them go away either. Just a quick check online about something normally clears up the differences and leaves you able to make informed choices about what you have to do to comply with Spanish laws. Taxis, Boat charters, Airport runs, Uber, etc are all either requiring special licenses AND Insurances, for registered tax paying businesses here, with special conditions applied, etc, or are flat out illegal. If in doubt, ask to see COMMERCIAL licenses and insurances issued in Spain, and/or once again, ask a gestor/solicitor, don’t rely on opinion or rumour, (as you will get dozens, many incorrect).
“I have a valid license/certificate for xyz in my country, what do you mean it isn’t recognised here”
Strangely the same is true in most countries, even those in many cases which are part of the EU, they have these pesky things called national laws. I had an “International driving license” and a “International Competency Certificate” for my boat, “International Olympic firearms registration” and a “International First Responder / CPR” certification upon entering Spain, and have had to change every one into their Spanish equivalent in order to remain fully compliant with local Spanish law, in many cases having to take competency tests once again. A pain I grant you, but actually this is identical to the laws in EVERY EU country and most other countries I am aware of. Then there are the many instances we see of “training courses” being offered in Spain under “International” headings, which in fact are not valid if you want to use the license offered in Spain, except in some case if you are a visitor (in the case of boats for example) or want to use the training elsewhere. Be truly aware and cautious of these, and ALWAYS ask if the “certification” given is recognised and is fully legal in Spain by the Spanish authorities if you take the course, especially if you are a Spanish resident, (and don’t get me started on “training courses” which guarantee a license/certificate at the end of the course… See my ”too good to be true” point above).
“Why are the laws so strange and different here?”.
Hmmmm, er, because we are in a different country? Actually, many laws and rules are very similar to other UK and European countries laws and regulations. There are some good primers around, especially from National Embassies, which do try and help their citizens understand the differences in basic laws, – worth a read if you have never done so before. In specific instances though, as said before, lots of good gestors/solicitors around here who can help explain things and try and keep you “on the straight and narrow”.
And thus endeth my first rant/opinions/pontifications on a bunch of stuff (technical description of this issue of “War and Peace”). Hope some of it helps with reconsidering the “common sense” points and hope some of it helps as a general checklist for those of us wanting to live “above the radar”. For those reading this but trying to live below the radar in these interconnected and governmental data sharing times, I can only quote the vintage comedian Dave Allen, – “May your god go with you”.