Friday, December 31, 2010

Article: New Toons On The Blog - Home

Here is another posterous blog that is well worth looking at!

New Toons On The Blog - Home

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have you downloaded our end of year report yet on the facebook page. Listen how you can do so.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Harvest

Winter Harvest

People here can’t shut up about their pueblos, or native villages. Just about everyone here in Valencia except me has one and they talk about theirs in reverential tones.  They sneak away from here every chance they get to visit for holidays, long weekends—or puentes (bridges ) as they are called in Spain—and even entire summer months.  If they are friends of mine and their pueblo is nearby, I am generally rewarded with huge bags of produce from the countryside. I came home last night with a bike basket full of oranges and mandarins.  The winter harvest is in and I’m covered in an avalanche of oranges and the only way out is eating. Perhaps I’m just being polite here but I have noticed that oranges always taste better when they are gifts from friends.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

What do you think will happen in 2011?

The Spanish property market in 2011 has some interesting challenges. What do you think will happen in 2011 then in the Spanish market and the rest o the European market. I of course have my own opinions as expressed in my market report for 2010 on our Facebook page which you should really look at if you are interested in Spain as a whole but I would really like to know your opinions too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Madrid-Valencia: 90 Minutes by Rail

And that is fast!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Progress and Plans for 2011 | Houses for Sale in Spain

How the end of year and the start of 2011 is shaping up. Houses for sale in Spain, Valencia Property, work in Spain and mortgages.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Culture Spain: living in Spain with officialdom (‘make ‘em larf!’)

Culture Spain: living in Spain with officialdom (‘make ‘em larf!’)



It is a moment of relief tinged with dread!  You are living in Spain and encounter officialdom.  This a part of Spanish culture that can challenge the best of us.  However, if you are living in Spain then, somehow, you will need to find a strategy that works…

Imagine, after waiting for what usually seems like hours, your number finally comes up in lights and you walk across that large space separating the waiting area from the chair that has just been vacated. No matter whether it is Telefonica, Endesa, Hacienda or the local town hall, the look on the waiting face says it all.

You don’t have to be a mind reader to interpret that, ‘Oh God, another ****** guiri (foreigner) with a sheaf of papers, this will take hours’ look. No doubt the offical is thinking that they will be late for their coffee break or actually have to do something – all because of this unwelcome intrusion into what they had hoped would be a morning’s light workload.

What should have been a simple bureaucratic exchange becomes, inevitably, a confrontation, with the official doing all he/she can to show the foreigner, even the ones with good language skills, that this is Spain.  Not just ‘this is Spain’ but ‘this is how things are done when you are living in Spain’ – however illogical it may appear to the uninitiated.

In the worst type of encounter, voices become raised and only the fear of disciplinary action stops the official from throwing you out of the office.

However, I have a formula that usually works…

Before each encounter with officialdom, I make a bet with myself about how long it will take to get the first smile or the first laugh.

As a first step you have to weigh up the opposition, but there’s plenty of time for that and while waiting you will be able to predict whether that spotty youth in number 4 will succumb to your wit more quickly than the well-endowed matronly lady in number 2. (Forget the bald but with side-hair-combed-over-the-top-of-his-head guy in number 3; he will never smile, much less laugh). And watch out for how they interact with their fellow countrymen.

In a large town or city officials will probably not recognise the person sitting face-on, but in small towns they will certainly know their cousin, ex-, mother, cousin, son/daughter. This makes my formula easier to operate, even guaranteed to succeed in such places, although I admit I have never had the opportunity to try it out in the great urban centres that are now as impersonal as the USA or the UK – but a sense of humour is a sense of humour wherever you are.

The trick is to make that grim, unsmiling, face lighten up and for the first time look at you as if you may be something other than a stupid guiri.I am not boasting when I say I can usually crack it in the first 60 seconds from sit-down, but then I have had a lot of practice and have studied officials’ Achilles’ heels, humour-wise, for decades.

Of course, when dealing with officials, you have to stretch the truth a little. I have never seen a football match in my life (sorry Clive!), but who knows that – apart from my wife and a few kindred souls? Therefore, when you ask the boredom-personified official shuffling his papers in front of you, “Didn’t I see you at the Málaga match last Sunday?”, he will prick up his ears.

Quite likely the official doesn’t like football either and, almost certainly, he was not at the match (nor were you!) – but he may just be an aficionado and that fact will allow him to react to what he believes to be another aficionado, at least with courtesy. I promise you will get a smile and, if you can follow it up with a remark like: “Actually, this was my first football match and I was taken by some Spanish friends….” Then the chasm reduces to a crack.

This is only an example. There are many such remarks that will melt the ice and that are critical to anyone living in Spain.

I asked a lady at Hacienda (the Spanish tax office) the other day whether it was true that they were all going out on strike in sympathy with the air traffic controllers and I got more than I bargained for. She broke into guffaws of laughter, nearly fell on the floor, and shouted around the office what I had just said – with a correspondingly gratifying response from her fellow bureaucrats. They will never forget me there.

It won’t always work though. I was stopped at a police checkpoint the other night and asked to take a breathalyser test. I made some obviously inadequate remark to the young officer about: ‘was it true that the government cutbacks had reduced the number of hours he had to be out late chasing drunken drivers like me (I had just left a funeral)?’ 

Unsmilingly, he told me: ‘Pongase serio! (‘Be serious!)……’

It was a rare failure.  However, if you intend living in Spain then it really is important to understand Spanish culture and recognise that dealing with officals here is an art form and one worth studying carefully – if you want to succeed quickly in getting anything done!

RELEVANT INFO:  How to Move Safely to Spain

Written by Andrew Linn who has lived in Spain for over forty years.  Andrew also writes for Spanish wine and food – a Blog for anyone with a passion for Spain, Spanish wine and the food of Spain.

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Domainface Pro Has Launched | Entrepreneur Solo

As you will know if you have been following the story of how we put together the "Secrets to Living and Working in Spain" book. One of the suggestions we have for anybody wanting to set up a new life in Spain has been Domain buying and selling. The tool I have been using to do this for the last year has now come out into the open and is ready to purchase. Domainface pro is a brilliant Swiss Army Knife for finding the perfect Domain for your business or to develop a website and sell the site. Check out the link and get yourself a copy of Domainface pro.

Then when you want sme help with it just download the copy of our Domaining Chapter from the Work in Spain book. It is totally free.

How bad is mobile phone service in Spain? Listen to this about Vodafone!

Valencia Property New Website Up and Running

Finally after a hell of a lot of work, thanks Steve at, we have the new look brand spanking new Valencia Property website up and working. Please go through it and give me your opinions about it so i can totally disregard them as I like it ;-)

So get over to the site and have a look. We like it. Do you? 

More properties will be up and running very soon too including the one I have just made the video for in Els Poblets. Like it? Then buy it.

YouTube - Bargain Property in Els Poblets, Alicante

Fantastic property in Els Poblets at a fraction of original cost price for sale. 149000 Euros for a brilliant home suitable for permanent living or as a holiday home that would get good rental income if marketed right. Communal pool, shared gardens and a whole lot more. Check out the video for more information and mail me on for more details.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010



An analysis of the Spanish economy (Part 1)

There has been much speculation in recent weeks that, after Portugal, Spain is about to join Greece and Ireland in requiring a bail out from the EU/IMF. Naturally, Spain’s politicians deny this is the case, wax lyrical about the austerity measures they have announced (under duress), the strength of the Spanish banking system and that market speculators are the problem.

As a result, there have been innumerable articles about Spain’s economic and financial situation and a lot of disparate information published. As an Anglo-Spaniard with a financial services background and many years of doing business in Spain I have had, for a number of years, serious concerns about Spain’s economic management and the strength of the Spanish banking system (I wrote back in March 2009 how the Cajas in particular were a disaster waiting to happen and look what has happened to them).

So what do the numbers and various reports tell us about Spain’s economy?

Looking at the Spanish economy as a whole, based on various measures, e.g. growth, unemployment and productivity, Spain is in a very weak position (as the EU’s 4th largest economy) versus its peers.


Well, for a start there has been an over reliance on tourism and construction, especially residential property, while Spain has a small manufacturing base as a percentage of GDP versus the EU average. In fact, since joining the euro which led to the property and consumer driven economic boom, very few efforts have been made to diversify the Spanish economy via the development of other industries (the main exceptions being banking and clothes retailing).

In fact, the vast majority of businesses in Spain are small, i.e. 10 employees, with no critical mass to compete internationally. Many are family owned business serving the domestic and, in many cases the very local market, e.g. bars and restaurants. Apart from a few exceptions, exports of value added physical products have been extremely poor – quality, competitiveness and a lack of export culture being the main culprits.

Just in terms of competitiveness – Spain’s productivity has gone backwards versus its major competitors. Culture, e.g. nice lifestyle and restrictive working practices are major reasons for this but, for me, equally important factors are the quality of education and bureaucracy, an over complex and inefficient legal system and endemic corruption. In fact, a recent World Bank report placed Spain 25th in the European league of countries with favourable climate for entrepreneurial activity and 147th (out of 183) for the high cost of closing a business. Hardly an incentive for people to start a business.

Looking at education, a recent IMF survey placed Spain’s quality of education below the average of leading EU countries with one of the highest drop out rates from secondary education – 30% versus 12.9% for Germany, 17.3% for Holland, 23.1% for Italy and 23.4% for France. Language skills are essentially zero versus major competitors – without going into detail this is mainly due to censorship (under Franco who didn’t allow foreign language films or TV programmes); teaching methods (emphasis on grammar and learning by rote); and a lack of interest from much of the population – why do we need to speak another language when we have Spain and Latin America.

At the same time, there has been an emphasis on encouraging people to get a university degree – with the consequence that the quality and relevance of degrees has suffered. Also, the quality of Spanish university education seems to be pretty poor – there are only 3 Spanish universities in the European top 100 .

In a recent report by Everis, a leading consulting firm based in Spain, 100 experts stated that urgent changes were needed to the Spanish education system to focus on developing knowledge, innovation and talent. They said that the Spanish education system should be more transparent and focused on finding an adequate balance between quality and quantity; university and professional education and training; and classic competences versus modern competences. They also commented that there were big socio-cultural obstacles to change.

One of the indicators of the failings of the Spanish education system, along with poor economic management, is the fact that with an unemployment rate of more than 20%, 49% of the unemployed are less than 25 years old while the level of unemployment amongst the 45+ age group is also very high. This amounts to a talent gap which will take generations to solve – even if the correct policies are adopted.

So, in short, Spain does not have the human capital to compete effectively in an increasingly globalised world and many of its most talented and qualified people, e.g. doctors, engineers, architects, have left the country to work abroad. Interestingly, as I finished writing the first draft of this article, the Spanish government announced a five year “Integral Industrial Plan” which will involve an investment of €83bn between 2011 and 2015 to:

o improve industrial competitiveness;
o encourage R&D;
o foster growth and dynamism of SME’s;
o encourage exports; and
o strengthen strategic sectors.

So, at last, there is recognition of where some of the long term problems lie within Spain and an important step in the right direction. Nevertheless, there is still much to do especially, as noted above, in the area of Spanish education..

Robert Tenison is an Anglo-Spaniard with over 30 years experience of doing business in Spain across a number of sectors. He has been living in Spain for the last 9 years and is the author of the novel Deadly Secrets, a story based in southern Spain about corruption, bribery and murder related to the urban planning process.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Valencia Property | Houses for sale in Spain

Hi Everyone

The Valencia property website is down and not working. This is because the new database and look are currently propagating onto the server. So keep an eye on it and you may well see the finished article up and working before I do because it will suddenly start working at some stage in the next 24 hours, or maybe even 24 minutes!!!
If anyone notices that the website is up and running then send me a tweet to @grahunt or tell me on the Facebook Page of Valencia Property (You might want to "Like" the page while you are there too)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Work, work, work and uploading property into a database

The Latest Bargain Property For Sale in Valencia. Huge and well priced

This great property for sale in Montroy has just been brought down in price considerably. Large and imposing in a good area with five bedrooms, three bathrooms and large grounds with pool and gardens. Well worth a look. Set near to both Montroy and Montserrat this is an excellent buy at the moment.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Just Around The Corner, Valencia Property Changes | Houses for Sale in Spain

Valencia Property Changes next week with the new site and to accompany it the end of year report which you will get totally free. Keep watching this space and you will see the new look first and we would like your comments on it of course.




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A Few Thoughts on Lifestyle

This is a great post about lifestyle in Valencia

A Few Thoughts on Lifestyle

I would have to say that one of the most important aspects of my life is how I live my day-to-day life. If I repeat myself you'll have to excuse me but it's an important matter. How do I effect the things that we must do on an almost daily basis? As I have said many times, I haven’t driven an automobile in over four years. It has been over 12 years since I depended on an automobile to go to work or for any aspect of my daily living. I have lived in an urban setting during all this time and all of my needs can be met either on foot or by bicycle. For me, this has made all the difference.

For the rest of this post click below.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Every now and again we get a menu #fail in #Spain Scum!

Barack Obama What Are You Doing?

I have just got this email to my esteemed self so it must be genuine right?


"I am David Garfield, Chief Campaign Officer of the PRINCIPAL CAMPAIGN 

I write to seek your sincere assistance in transferring the sum of £28M GBP 28
million Pounds sterling.

I discovered my office has some excess funds amounting to 10 million Pounds
recovered from donations and grants from democrats around the world during our
election campaign and pleas for support for our incumbent president Barack
Hussein Obama, According to plans, The excess funds was to be used in clearing
debts owed by Mrs Hillary Clinton during her campaign programs.I thought there
is a better way of expending this funds.I want this money to be used to
alleviate the poverty and sufferings of children in Iraq and Africa and donate
to Charity organizations around the world.

My plea to you is that you assist me get this funds out of the United Kingdom
where it is presently lodged safe and for your assistance ,you will 
have a fair
percentage of the total money and all investments shall be under your

This simple transfer process could be arranged in less than 3 working days.

I await your sincere response,

David .A. Garfield.
Chief Campaign Officer,
Barack Obama Campaign Office."


How can you do this to us Barack. I knew you didn't think much of Hilary but let her pay her debts!

(For those of you who think I don't get it by the way... I do)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Keep your eyes peeled in the next few days!

Keep an eye out for what is coming up from Valencia Property in the next few days. Our end of year newsletter with a full study of the Spanish property markets and opportunities and much much more including the promised new website. Exciting times.


Gerry Gow, Paul Mariner and Cialdini’s Principles of Completion and Scarcity | Blokes on the Blog

Something I knocked up for a website I write in. Anyone remember the 1978 Panini sticker collection?

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Monday, December 06, 2010

Do you think they are excited?

The Ave arrives soon

Back and Firing on All Cylinders... Almost | Entrepreneur Solo

How a technology fail can be viewed as a little bit of a blessing if you treat it as a learning experience.

La FIFA y el Vaticano · ELPAÍ

Brilliant article by John Carlin in El Pais about the World Cup decision. 2026 in Greenland anyone? Use the translator if you don't get Spanish!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

A Great House in Montroy To Buy | Houses for Sale in Spain

This great house for sale in Montroy is huge, has a load of land and pool and comes furnished and with a car thrown in for good measure.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The New Valencia Property Site | Houses for Sale in Spain

How the plans for the new Valencia Property website were thrown into confusion by the breaking down of my Mac, six days and counting.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Fancy traveling fast?



Madrid Valencia AVE (courtesey of Manchego)


Very soon it will be possible to travel from Madrid to Valencia in a little over 90 minutes!  This is great news – and finally connects the capital of Spain with its third largest city, in a time and way that justifies Valencia’s growing importance (and prestige) as a European city renowned for its commerce, sport and art.  

Until the 19th of December travelling from Madrid to Valencia will continue to take a somewhat wearisome 3 hours 45 minutes.  This is enought to dissuade most people from travelling between Madrid and Valencia for the day – let alone the thought of flying to Madrid and then taking a train to Valencia. Or vice versa, of course!

However, a train trip of only one hour 35 minutes between Madrid and Valencia – a journey of 391 kilometres?  That is a different thing altogether!

Cutting the time of the train journey between Madrid and Valencia by more than a half has been made possible by the opening of a new high velocity train service (the AVE or Alta Velocidad Espanola).  This requires a ‘bespoke’ train line and is the one from Madrid to Valencia I have seen being constructed over the past few years.  It has somewhat fascinated me, as it seems to slice its way, like an arrow, across the Spanish countryside.

I say ‘like an arrow’ because this line is going to be carrying a high speed train between Madrid and Valencia that can travel up to 350 kilometres per hour – although it will normally be going a slightly more sedate 330 kph!

The Madrid to Valencia AVE will carry a rather appropriate maximum of 365 passengers divided into two sections.  There will be 4 club class coaches, accounting for 71 seats, and 8 tourist class coaches with 294 seats.  The whole train will be some 200 metres long with two ‘tractors’ doing all the work.

RENFE are Spain’s national rail service (rather like British Rail of old in the UK -before it was broken up) and are rightly proud of their newest ‘baby’.  Because of this, or perhaps for PR purposes, they are kindly giving away 50,000 tickets to the Madrid to Valencia AVE at greatly reduced prices.  If you want to travel between the 19th December 2010 and the 9th January 2011, you can buy tickets for the Mdrid to Valencia AVE at up to 60% off!

So, if you fancy a ride on one of the world’s newest high speed trains then contact RENFE and get a cheap ticket whilst you can.  Certainly, you should not hang around – at the last count RENFE had sold 34,000 tickets virtually within the time it took to announce that an offer was available!

The Madrid to Valencia AVE, when going direct will take 1 hour 35 minutes.  However, when not direct it will stop at Albacete, Requena/Utiel and Cuenca and take 1 hour 50 minutes.  There will be thirty trains a day with (you guessed it!) fifteen going each way. For the record, in Madrid, you will need to go to the  Estación Puerta de Atoche and in Valencia the Estación del Norte.

Finally, RENFE expect 3 million passengers a year to use the new Madrid to Valencia AVE.  I have no idea how they came to this conclusion but, if correct, it would suggest that you should book well ahead if you think that you will need to travel by train between Madrid and Valencia, once the AVE is up and running.


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About Me

Today is a new day, the sun is in the Sky. I wake up this morning and greet the new day.