Dear Sir,
I have followed the “Changing Places” articles by Shirley Roberts with interest. However my husband and myself do not agree with a section of this week's article published on Thursday, 17th August in which it gives the impression that in the U.K. it is not possible to live on one personÆs salary and here it is - myself and thousands of other people would dispute this fact. In the U.K. we both worked hard to pay for a mortgage however we did have at least one day off per week usually two and Bank Holidays as well û we did have some quality time together and with the family and could afford to go on holiday 2 or 3 times a year. We moved here some 11 years ago, and yes, we both spoke fluent Spanish (which is very important) however it has been tough working all hours possible and in all types of work including manual (not what we were used to in the U.K.) and we have had long periods of struggling to make ends meet. We now both work in different jobs in the “tourism” industry and work very long hours, we have one day off a week - not the same day together and even then we are both on call - and yes, we hardly see each other or friends and family - and we are not permitted any time off at all from April to end of October. We cannot survive on one salary û and we now we have just a moderate mortgage to cover. Despite our language abilities and our experience we are still paid just the average salary as most people on the island are - 950 euros to 1'200 euros per month - the extra hours we do are not paid but are expected and “part of the job” - if you don't like it then find something else!!!. Then November comes and the winter starts, I have no work for 5 months, my husband for 3 - 4 months - a loss of 8-9 months salary every year, we struggle from month to month and the winter is direààààhowever careful we are by not going anywhere and spending the minimum nevertheless by January our money has run out and we run into debt to cover the next few months and start the summer season yet again using the first 3-4 months income to pay off the winter debts. We are not alone; there are thousands of people on this island - locals as well as those who have moved here in the same position as ourselves and surviving through year after year. Our two children live here both married to Mallorquins with two young children each, they both have to work full time to manage the cost of daily living plus the mortgages on their modest homes - village houses not lovely villas or apartments. They spend very little time with their children and in the long school holidays the children have to attend “summer school” or are looked after by friends or family in order that the parents can keep working or they take holiday time off separately in order to be able to care for the children. They do not have a family holiday or time together, go away anywhere, or go abroad like most Brits expect to year in and year out and often several times a year, on this island people just do not have that kind of disposal income. Yes, this is a beautiful island - we love it, the people and the way of life but don't ever think that life is easier here than in the U.K. - it isn't and the weather doesnÆt always compensate not when you are working every day with no time to enjoy it. Yes the sun shines more, people work longer hours but at the end of the day making a living in this present day and age is tough unless you are the lucky few with high paid jobs or a private income our friends and colleagues and most people we meet are the same as ourselves. I feel that there are many people on this island, who will agree with me,
Yours sincerely,
Ann Simmons, by e-mail


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