Working holiday

Gotta love an extra-long weekend. Hey we live in Gibraltar and Spain.

The Mediterranean is our oyster. What to do??

And we both suddenly decide this is the right time to spring clean. It’s not even Spring (Clean) Bank Holiday. Something wrong there.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday morning, clean the flat (just the usual, wash walls, floors, furniture, get rid of all damp, iron, hang washing out due to sulking tumbly….)

Sunday drive back to Spain, OK, slight break, chill out on the terrace waiting for the chick peas.

Monday – waaah!! (oh, that was today!! seemed like years ago) Did my head in. Pay a load of bills a) at the water office. The water company happens to have offices across the border in La Linea, but I can’t pay there for my finca bills. I have to pay where the Spanish finca is. We can only go back at weekends and they open Mon-Fri from 9-1pm. Globalisation and computerisation don’t seem to have hit Aqualia yet.

But luckily Spaniards revel in Semana Santa and Holy Thursday (ie Maundy Thursday) and Holy Friday (Good Friday) are their big days. By Easter Monday they are all back to work. Including the water office. Zing pay three months worth of bills.

And the post office, zing, pay another few months worth of bills for the electricity company. In fact, when I arrived there were only 33 people in front of me. The ticket machine said 32 and mine was 65. Gloom. Nice Spanish woman said: ‘Senora, mira, hay un ticket en la mesa con un numero bajo de tuya.’

[There’s a ticket on the counter with a lower number than yours].

Thank you very much Senora, says me, and only had to wait for 15 minutes or so.

Go to the chicken food man, the supermarket, the health food shop, the other branch of the health food shop to buy more of the delicious vegetarian mortadela and tempeh.

Oh, and then fit the new screen for our chicken house.

Another work in progress

Bed frame, picked up some years ago.

Garden wire, patronisingly generously given to us by a client who was moving house so had no further use for it. Someone’s rubbish is always etc etc etc

Cable ties were bought.

Time for some food. Left over chick pea soup and some mortadela sandwiches with light tapas.


Then a drive back to our other life. Back to Gib, more work.


What holiday was that one, remind me again?

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36 comments on “Working holiday

    • I had a thing about table cloths at one point!

      I still have loads. Anyway, anyone happy with left-over soup, vegetarian sandwiches (I did say it was veggie morta didn’t I?) and a bit of salad is no problem at all.


  1. A looks busy, but the difference is he’s doing his busy, not busy for someone else.
    I like days like that, when all the little annoying catch up jobs are done, then looking back later in the day, relaxing with some good food, with a nice feeling of achievement.
    Even better when the weather’s good :-)


  2. I had a bit of holiday this weekend as well.lots of this and that got done..
    It is nice to do those chores, cleaning etc and sit back to relax with a nice meal.

    Looks delish!!


  3. Moving to Gib next week so reading your blog has been great (particularly employment info from your post back in Feb – I’m moving over with a view to find work when I get there, but I’m moving from previous work in the Gaming industry so I’ve got my fingers crossed that all should work out once I’m there).

    Anywho, the reason for my comment – You mention visiting a lot of places to pay billds, utilities, etc – Is this pretty common in Gib, there’s no monthly Direct Debit payment system or anything like that option? Seems alien to me not to have automated payments so will need to get used to that!


    • Thanks for your comment. You should be ok with previous gaming industry experience, even better if you speak a bizarre combination of languages like Swedish, Lithuanian and Portuguese. ;)

      The bill paying saga is in Spain, Gib is easy so no worries there. For some reason the water and electricity come (monthly) on the same bill, and telephone is also monthly – you can pay both by direct debit. The only one I pay in person here is the rates which is only quarterly, and it is a few minutes walk away from me, so pretty easy. I think they have introduced direct debit since I came, I picked up a form but it seemed more work to fill that out and take it to the bank than it does to nip up the road for a few minutes!

      Of course if you choose to move to Spain to live at some point, then it might be more complicated, as you will probably need a Spanish bank account etc etc. You can pay Spanish bills through the bank but we never have.


    • Yeah, sure. The companies I emailed over the holiday weekend got back to me, I confirmed the order, and they managed to send it by superfast carrier pigeon, which landed at the flat last night at midnight so we fixed it in about ten minutes flat.



  4. That’s a classy new screen for the chicken house. Worth bearing in mind for when we complete our life by having chickens… a few years off yet though. Isn’t that what long weekends are for cleaning & jobs. We had an extra long Easter weekend so we could return our house (where we don’t live full time) to rights after 3 month’s absence during Summer/growing season inside & out… nice feeling when it’s done.


    • The screen is so they can get lots of fresh air and light when we aren’t there. It was easier when we were there all the time as we could let them out and lock them in at night – there are too many cats, rats and the odd snake around. I’ll write more about chicks later…

      ‘Growing season inside and out’ !! love that one. The penalties of having two homes eh? I don’t know what long weekends are for – lots of people seem to go away, although it seems that maybe I’m not the only one who has spent this last one working, and yeah, a good feeling of achievement. Even if I would rather have been out on my bike or out walking :D


  5. Oh yeah – about the tumble dryer – Eco lecture:do you really need it? I mean REALLY? Do you really need to use electricity to dry your clothes? Tut tut tut tut! Wasteful consumption. Air drying clothes is way better for them, too. and really, how many hours of sunshine a year do you get there?


    • Forgot to answer this one. Normally the stuff gets hung out. But when you get the odd few days of non-stop rain, you have a partner who needs clean clothes for work every day, including white overalls, and a dog whose throws on the sofa need changing and washing every day – you need somewhere to dry them all. I’m not buying seven sets of everything for the few weeks of the year that it rains. Spain is easy, no tumbly there, and everything gets hung out in the patio under the roof. Gib is also a different climate. Takes longer to dry too as more humid, even when it’s not raining!


      • Ahhh….how hard can life be :) hey I know life in Spain and Gib includes hard work and not everyone lives in a modernized villa! :) But still, I did enjoy my time in Spain and am somewhat envious of your life style – plastic washing up basin and all!


        • I don’t think my life would suit most people :D Certainly nothing like the sound of your super flat you described recently in Budapest (?). The dust and the damp are the killers. I’d never have cleaned the house every day in the UK!! Probably one of the reasons I still struggle to do it here.
          I wouldn’t want a modernised villa. Which is why we didn’t buy one and we have resolutely refused to change our house. It serves perfectly well as it is. As does the washing up bowl. I feel I am going to become known on the blogosphere as the woman who has spent ten years washing up in cold water, in a plastic bowl, and throwing the water over the wall…….


  6. Where do you get the vegetarian mortadela??? Yum. And btw, I love how you are re-purposing so many things —
    Oh, yeah, and what is it with the folks who expat to Spain and get chickens??? My author-acquaintance Victoria Twead (Chickens, Mules, and Two Old Fools was her first book) has done the same thing. Another friend of mine (an American in the US) is learning to train her chickens with CLICKERS!!!


  7. I seem to remember you recounting a conversation with your Spanish neighbours at your finca about both Falklands and Gib. I’ve just been having a conversation with some Spanish people about the Falklands, and decidedly to helpfully ask them when they were giving the Canary Islands back to their rightful Moroccan owners. Most responded with a deluge of abuse, but some saw a similarity in the situation.



    • It comes up every time José wants to have a tease basically so we all respond with our rigid point of view and then skip onto the weather or food or the lack of money/work etc etc I found the building site conversation particularly interesting between a Moroccan living in Gib, a Spaniard living in Gib, Spaniards living in Spain and a Brit in Gib, and all working in Gib. Again, there was some teasing but the bottom line pragmatically was that everyone was more than happy with the status quo.

      I’m always surprised the Canaries don’t come up more often in respect of the same issue. Or maybe I don’t get to see it if it does. But you would think there would be a case for restoration of aboriginal/Guanche rights, heritage, culture, etc etc at the minimum. All that anyone knows is that a few people can whistle well in La Gomera. Otherwise the canaries are sun, sand, sea, cheap fags and cheap booze, although not as cheap as Gib, I add quickly.

      In any event, I think self-determination is the critical issue and it is not the remit of political or military leaders or those who shout loudest as Kirchner seems to be doing.


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