Up until now, non-resident Britons have only been able to enjoy a 90 day stay out of 180 days per year following Brexit. | M.J.U.


It seems that hot on the heels of France, Spain is also baying to drop the 90-day rule for Britons with second homes in the country. Up until now, non-resident Britons have only been able to enjoy a 90 day stay out of 180 days per year following Brexit. This has led to many UK buyers selling their dream properties and it has undoubtedly proven hugely damaging to the Spanish economy. Frankly, it didn’t take an Einstein to work out how losing lucrative spending by foreign buyers throughout the year, particularly in lean seasons, would lead to foreign property stock being sold and a depleted economy.
Whether the petition by the Spanish government is heard by the EU is anybody’s guess but hopefully strength in numbers will have an effect, with France also determined to change the situation. It’s frustrating how Brexit really brought penalties to those of us wishing to either live or have homes in Spain, and indeed in other EU countries.

Even the additional paperwork following Brexit was costly and I’m talking about obtaining Spanish driving licences, TIE cards et al. If one had plenty of time, a lot of legwork could be done as an individual, thus saving the cost. Sadly, I work every day and have zilch time to hang out with a picnic in government offices awaiting my moment in a snaking queue. Therefore, like many friends here, I paid to get a competent agency to cut short the admin, waiting time and to handle the paperwork. It was worth every penny but so much of this was only necessary because of Brexit.
Let’s hope common sense now prevails and that the ludicrous and arcane rule is kicked into touch.

Kai and Angela on Strictly Come Dancing 2023. Photo: Facebook

Strictly Predictable

Another season of Strictly (yawn) and another season of pointless, breathless headlines about the TV show, accompanied by the numerous tear-jerker stories of each of the contestants. All of them have something to cry about and a back story to make the steeliest of us shed a tear. Cynical, moi?

The Strictly press team ruthlessly churns out these Eeyore stories to all the media to keep the show in the forefront of viewers minds and to enable contestants’ individual heart-breaking back stories to be fed to a hungry, emotionally drained public. The news is hideous and depressing at the moment, and it’s only going to get a heck of a lot worse so of course we all need cheering snippets and Strictly, with is swishy ballgowns and good cheer, ticks all the right boxes. I don’t see any harm in this. It’s better than taking Prozac, I suppose.

All the same, I do wish that contestants just got on with the show without having to lure the public into voting for them for emotive reasons. One of the few mentioned who bucks the trend and doesn’t seem to have a tragedy like a malevolent albatross lurking on her shoulder, is tough old boot, Angela Rippon. But even then, she is of course lauded for being in her late seventies and so the implication is that she should be deserving of the trophy for her age alone. Angela Rippon is quite an experienced dancer as it appears are others. You therefore have to wonder how many really haven’t performed before or have some background in dance? Very few, I’d hazard.

Unfortunately for Rippon, while other contestants expose trembly lips and wring their hands, she remains defiantly confident and optimistic about her abilities and chances on the show which is lowering her ratings with the public. No one these days wants someone to appear happy, balanced, and full of self-belief. Instead, the easiest way to succeed on TV, is to appear miserable, complain about your lot, look downbeat and be full of self-doubt – oh and naturally, to have a harrowing back story. Everyone has to blub these days to have any credibility and it does become a bit wearing. There sure is a lot to blub about in life but as a society we must try to keep a grip as the whole world falls to pieces around us. Nothing is stable and there’s a lot to be frightened about but on a wild sea, buoyancy isn’t a game.

But back to Strictly. The only reason any of these so-called celebrities are on the show is to earn a packet and often to revive washed-up careers, and who can blame them? Still, it should be a fair playing field and contestants should be awarded on merit and skill, not on their own sob stories, however compelling.

Risk of volcanic eruption in Iceland remains high
Risk of volcanic eruption in Iceland remains high


Poor old Iceland. The island has been greatly affected in recent years by volcanic activity and with their usual stoicism, local residents continue to take it all in their stride and carry on, regardless. The Icelandics, as I discovered last summer, are a sensible, warm, and pragmatic bunch. No hysteria or sob stories going on over there, thankfully. This is all the more impressive when you see the terrifying images of roads torn apart by seismic activity and huge cracks criss-crossing across peoples’ beloved homes in and around Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Rekjanes Peninsula. After 800 years of inactivity, a volcanic eruption in 2021 marked a significant change on the island and a new phase potentially of more frequent rumblings and incidents. At least 4,000 inhabitants have had to be evacuated and have no idea if and when they can return home. What kind of home, if it still exists, will they return to? Perhaps Strictly sign-ups could learn a lot from these brave and philosophical people who know the score and in the face of extreme adversity find the willpower and grit to accept their lot with dignity, resolve, and grace.