Posts Tagged ‘January’

When we first bought our small apartment in Spain, it followed a fair bit of research (mostly by Sharon) and we even tripped over to Manchester to visit a Holiday Roadshow put on by one of the various T.V. shows.  All sorts of help and advice was available and from here we made what we thought was the good decision to use English lawyers, based in Spain. With our (then) complete lack of Spanish and uncertainty of the rules, we used a company that has their Costa Del Sol branch in Marbella.

banco-santanderWe asked those lawyers to set up a bank account for us in Spain, something that the roadshow representative said was part of the package, but which they, when it came to it, had a reluctance to do. Suffice to say, they made something of a minimal effort to help us with that task and we ended up with a Banco Santander account, at an office on the Puerto Banus side of Marbella – roughly 40-50 minutes’ drive from our apartment.

The manager was ok, he spoke good English and he did what he could to help us get up and running.  However, no matter how many times we tried or what he told us could happen; getting our account transferred to our more local Los Boliches branch was impossible.  We had to trail to the far side of Marbella for all sorts of reasons, including a new debit card for Sharon which could not be posted to our apartment – (“we can only post these to your home address but cannot post them outside the country and your home address is in England”!!).

We also found the local branch in Los Boliches so unhelpful at all stages that we decided to change banks. That isn’t easy over here, there’s no real help from the banks themselves, but we were lucky enough to have Banco Sabadell recommended by the local lawyers we are gradually transferring our business to.  The manager we dealt with helped us with everything he could – which did not include closing our Santander account.  Following yet another unsuccessful visit to the Los Boliches branch (along with a Spanish speaker) we had to go to the Marbella branch (again!).

indexWe phoned first and were assured that we could (only) close the account at the branch that held the account. So off we went.

Only to be told, after they had cut up our bank cards, that they COULD NOT CLOSE the account because there was a c.€55 charge due on 8th January (to cover charges for period ending 31st December). Why couldn’t they take cash for that?  “es impossible!”. Our Spanish speaker was as perplexed as we were but, in the end, we had to leave €100 in the account to pay whatever the exact charge would be on the 8th January.

We are assured that we can then close the account at the Los Boliches branch.


We’ll see.

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Under_way_WasgijSome of you may know that I like to solve jigsaw puzzles. Some of you may not. However, I do enjoy the concentration they demand.

I started doing jigsaws again about three years ago. We’d been away for the weekend with Karen and Dave, at Ipstones and Karen had had one on the go. I was surprised how relaxing it was to just sit and make the pieces fit (actually, to consider which piece fitted where, NOT ‘make the pieces fit’)! Another friend, Carol, was already hooked and many is the time we’d go to her house and find a partially completed jigsaw open in the living room.

Discussion and research told me that jigsaws were good for the mind, especially as people age. So, as a nod in that direction (the avoidance or deterrence of dementia/Alzheimer’s) I began to solve jigsaw puzzles.

Sharon bought me my first [see it here] and that took an age to build. There were lots of dark corners and an uncertainty of which piece fitted where. Then Carol gave me more, often passed on from her mum and/or her friend Jennifer. I also began to buy my own from charity shops. Locally, they were 50p a time and up and down the country they could cost as much as £2.00 and generally speaking, they were all OK. Nevertheless, some had pieces missing, which is frustrating and this is one of the reasons I will not pay the £2.50 – £4.00 that some national charities now want to charge for their jigsaws. Why would I pay that much for something that is incomplete – because there’s nothing more challenging than looking for a piece (or pieces) that are just not there. PLEASEif you know there’s a piece missing, say so when you leave the box with the charityorthrow it away.

Different manufacturers use different qualities of board. One popular brand; King, is one of the more ubiquitous makes but often their pieces fit in more than one place, which is unhelpful. However, they do have a fabulous range of pictures to work with. The best so far, for me has been Ravensburger, a German company. The board they use is thicker and the pieces fit with a satisfying click (ish). A new one to me, of similar quality to Ravensburger is Wasgij, recently to be found in Aldi stores. They have the same satisfying click when pieces fit and there is no doubt about the quality. The one featured on this page is a children’s ‘what did the goldfish see’ puzzle, where you don’t know what is contained on the finished picture.

At home I tend to work with 1,000 piece puzzles but on holiday (I’m in Spain now) a 500 piece puzzle is enough. I have to like the finished picture and one of the best has been Clarke Gable and Vivien Leigh in a poster from Gone With The Wind.

See my Flicker jigsaw album to see all the ones I’ve solved. These are now mostly passed onto friends or relatives.

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