Ramadan, Moroccans, work, garages, money – and dogs

It being Ramadan, the local Roccy (Moroccan) workers seem to be doing even less than normal. According to Partner who is ensconced with them on an office refurb job.

So it’s no smoking, no drinking, no eating, and apparently not much working either.

They often get their prayer mats out during the day to face Mecca and do the usual incantations. During Ramadan, they just seem to fall asleep on them, as you would if you don’t eat during the day. Extremely silly idea at the best of times, even more so working in the construction industry. They would probably prefer a total shutdown, like Lottie wrote about in Indonesia. But Gib isn’t an Islamic country, so don’t work during Ramadan = lose job.

These Roccies aren’t exactly spring chickens either, with a few being in their 60s. Anyone in their 50s (like my youthful partner) is a ‘joven’.

Most of them have a place in Morocco. And families there. Or they have two places in Morocco, who knows? All their money earned in Gib basically goes back to Morocco. It’s a bit like Asians working in the UK and sending money back to families in India and Pakistan. Or cross-border workers taking their money out to Spain.

One of them isn’t planning to return to Morocco when he retires, the others are. The non-returner is viewed with a disapproving eye for wanting to remain in Gib. I’m not planning on returning to the UK, but there again I don’t send my non-existent wages home to family over there. But the culture, ideals and aspirations are to work for as much money as you can get and then go back home.

It’s a bizarre life, many of these men (they’re all men because Moroccan women stay at home or do cleaning jobs like the one I met at the bus station on the last post) have spent 40 or more years here.

They might go back for holidays, or over the weekend as we have a weekend ferry from Gib to Tanger. I’ve worked away from my partner for periods of time and we still have separate commitments, eg me doing the bus run back to the finca. But 40 years away from home until they retire?? Let’s hope they don’t drop dead just before they reach pension age. Unless they have life insurance I guess.

And speaking of work, and eating or not eating, here is a quick update on the latest breakfast/lunches. Usually a carb-based pot, pasta/rice/potatoes, and a fresh salady pot. This one has tomatoes, olives, avocado, shallot, cucumber, gherkin and sweetcorn. ‘Mmmm,’ said Partner as he walked back in with Pippa at approx 7am, ‘that looks yummy.’ Then he dived into the previous night’s left over veg stir-fry and said that was delicious too. Shit! I must have done something right.

pot

The sweetcorn is tinned, Maiz Bonduelle, probably not available outside Spain/Gib. It only has sweetcorn, water and salt. Very good. No sugar added. Why would anyone add sugar to sweetcorn? It’s probably genetically modified too for all I know, but you can’t win all the ethical arguments.

I arrived late at the GibJobCentre. By which I mean a week late not a few minutes. I explained this, and the employment officer assured me no I wasn’t late, they were still open. Obviously, or I wouldn’t have got in. (They close at 12.30, and that’s not just summer hours, that’s all year round). Eventually she got the fact I was a week late.

I asked if she wanted to hear my excuses for not turning up on the right day. She didn’t. We looked up some jobs that I won’t get, so may not apply for. The job centre has changed yet again, with the adverts now being just outside the employment officer section, having been moved from a dedicated room. Apparently they are moving the adverts (what few there are) elsewhere at some point. The changes leave me shaking my head – for what value is all this?

The call centre that was meant to have stopped is still operating. For some jobs. I asked about construction for Partner (idle curiosity seeing as he has a job). No painters/decorators, and that’s call centre work? Ah, that will explain why in 12 months the call centre hasn’t called him despite more than 40 years experience and trade papers?

I wandered off bemused and called at a garage where one of our Land Rovers is currently residing.

‘I need you to get the part numbers for me,’ said the mechanic (in Spanish as he ain’t too hot in English apparently and nearly freaked when he realised he had to speak to a guiri).

‘I need to get underneath and look for the problem,’ he added.

Puzzled. This is a garage with mechanics. You have had this vehicle for two weeks and haven’t looked underneath or diagnosed the problem. You expect me to work out which parts you need to fix the brakes? Brake tubes? Cylinders? Well? Do you want me to give you a list of every single brake part for a Land Rover? (There are a lot). We could do it ourselves if the Idiot Partner hadn’t gone and got a job.

I went to the shop and bought olives, gherkin and sweetcorn (as above). At least that was a successful mission.

The next day I bit the bullet and tackled the bills for the block which are every six months. I’d had a nag that the crap management agency that was previously employed hadn’t done them right. They’d hiked the original figures by 40%, which they needed to cover their management costs to send a lot of paper around internally and reminders out to us naughty non-paying residents every month. Good use of money that. For them. I went back to the original figures and added 40%. This is not a difficult sum to do. The company allegedly had qualified accountants although adding 40% to something doesn’t really need a chartered accountant. Out of 15 flats all the figures were wrong.

They were only slightly wrong, and I do understand the concept of rounding up and down and all the rest of it. I can even do NPV, so I have a basic grasp of sums.

So why bother for small beer? Well, because rates, property taxes, and in this case community charges are all based on square footage/metreage. I don’t want it to be unfair because some idiot can’t work out how to increase the charges by a whopping 40%, and in fact it was doing the block out of £30. I know, picky, anal, call it what you will, but it was driving me up the wall.

Most of the bills were hand delivered by me to the mailboxes in the block. Two people had already paid up front before the bills were even due. Thank you nice people.

I emailed three absentee landlords and one who flits between here and Spain. In less than 24 hours I heard from three out of four. The flitter will pay at the end of the month. Fine. The notorious long-term non-payer about whom I have written before whinged on about his long-standing complaint and said nothing about paying. Another has asked for bank details to transfer money. Nope. Just put the cheque in the post. And I haven’t heard from the other continual non-payer.

And you know what, the good thing about having a house overflowing with paperwork is? Sometimes, you can use that old paperwork. Five years ago, this block had exactly the same non-payers, overdue by 16 months, 27 months and 30 months in arrears. When, or if, we take legal action, I shall be using my old pieces of paper.

Ironically, my largest most unfavourite non-payer (the one who cleared off to Colombia on holiday with his £4K Grand National winnings) owes virtually the same now as he did back then. A hundred pounds more now, but more or less it’s the same in the scheme of things – £1126.

The payers seem happy. And looking back over the years, some people just don’t intend to pay. They didn’t pay then and they aren’t paying now.

To finish with a dog link, for those of you who like dogs. (If you don’t then why are you here? but anyway). My friend Vicky has written about Jasper on her latest post. Vicky, like me and other friends, homes rescue dogs. Vicky often has photos of her dogs on her blog, so I do recommend a visit.

As Andrew/Lulu moaned about Pippa not posting of late, here is Pippa. He’s also over on Everypic, as are all my other dogs. In fact Pippa’s on more of my blogs than he is on his own. Sorry Pipps. Salad pots, Land Rovers, bills, shopping seem to get in the way.

gd2

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44 comments on “Ramadan, Moroccans, work, garages, money – and dogs

  1. The food does look very good and you even seem to pick a bowl colour that accentuates the ingredients. Yummy. (Except gherkins. No Gs thanks). Ramadan is always a tough time for muslims but they generally regard it as a good exercise in self discipline. Perhaps your garage mechanic should be introduced to the concept of self discipline and get off his backside and do something. Is that unduly harsh? I don’t think so. It may be one reason why the Northern European countries believe there is a lesser work ethic in the Southern states and resent bailing the lazy Bs out. Pippa is a fine looking dog and now I understand the fur situation – must be tough being a Husky in the Med. / Iberia. Lulu says ‘un abrazo” to Pippadog.

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    • The salads are better than boring old sandwiches or eating out. I love gherkins. Deeeelicious. It’s the whole idea of something that tastes fresh and crisp and not sad and warm. And boring. Plus, to be pedantic, it’s pretty healthy.

      I think there is a big difference between Muslims not working in Ramadan countries where they have shutdown and Muslims working in non-Islamic countries where they don’t. And in construction, working ten hours a day in hot weather without something to eat or drink strikes me as plain ridiculous.

      A bit like Shabbat for Jews except – they don’t work Shabbat. Or Sukkat and all the rest of them, where they do nothing until sundown. But I suppose Islam like Buddhism is relatively new. Jewish people are not so silly as to not eat when they work.

      As for the mechanic. No it’s not too harsh. If you say you can fix it fine. If you haven’t a clue what you are doing and want us to order the parts, stand over you, supervise you, and then pay you for doing the job that would be helpful to know. I can see the poor Santana being towed away to another location for us to fix the brakes …. At least we know what we are doing.

      Personally I don’t have a work ethic at all, but I do resent other people claiming they can do something and then wanting me to do half the work. No different to lawyers and accountants who want you to provide all the information so they can sign it off.

      Pippa is extremely well known in Gib on account of being far better looking than either me or Partner, neither of whom would stop anyone in the street. Nor would we get perfect strangers rushing up to us to give us an abrazo. Which he regularly receives. He sends un besito back to furry Lulu, she can have lots of his fur too if she wants.

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  2. Nice to have an update on Pippa.

    Its a pity they can’t fix the date of Ramadan. It must be very hard for Muslims in July when, atleast in the UK, its daylight from before 6am to after 10pm. Atleast in December they’d only have to fast between 8am and 4pm. As for Muslims in Sweden…..

    I’m guessing the variance in day length between summer and winter is less the more south you are, atleast until you get to the Equator. My guess in part is based on your photo of a September sunrise at your Finca at 8am ish. I also remember being in The Canary Islands one December when it was light until about 6.30pm but darkness then fell very quickly.

    Garages can be very stupid sometimes. I remember getting a phone call from the garage one time telling me the cost of fixing my car’s brakes was going to be something fairly reasonable in the scheme of things and did I want them to do the repair.

    I felt like saying “No, I’ll drive round with no brakes instead” but the trouble with saying things like that is people don’t always get the sarcasm and might just take me at my word.

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    • I truly snorted at that one. Fortunately without a drink in my hand. The best one was one we did have brakes repaired at a garage and Partner paid up and drove off. Stopped down the road, or rather didn’t stop. Wait, you’ve just repaired the brakes and not checked them? Oh, no we don’t do a test drive any more. We didn’t go there any more. Hence learning how to do brakes. I feel a brake refresher course coming on.

      Yes, the variance is less. A bit like when you have endless daylight all night in Scotland. I keep trying to explain this to partner but he still gets in muddled. Australia was pretty similar to the Med too, always dark within the same two hours all year round.

      We’ve got roughly 12/13 hours here of daylight. I think fasting for a month for religion is particularly silly but that is just my view. If they are working I think they should at least be allowed a drink to prevent dehydration. I wonder how many Muslims there are in Sweden? or on the north pole perhaps?

      Pippa despairs about his blog and reluctantly accepts me posting the odd photo here, because he realises I have such a busy life with incompetent garages, useless job searches and all the rest of it.

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  3. I was struck at one point by a similarity to here in NL. Many people here commute via aircraft to jobs working at the Athabasca Tar Sands (see wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athabasca_oil_sands). The work there pays very well–130,000 euro annual salaries are common among skilled tradespersons. It’s a difficult life though. The shifts are long–usually 12 days. Typically the commuters have families they must leave behind for 10-12 days at a stretch and the returns for 3-4 days at a time necessitate long ‘plane rides. But still, it’s relatively safe, well regulated and very lucrative.
    And people have bills to pay.
    Loved the picture of ‘lunch’ my bowl of turkey/vegetable/noodle soup somehow lost its flavour :-)

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    • I looked up the link. Whacky. Good money though. And it isn’t going out of your country either is it? Whereas much of the money earned in Gib does go elsewhere. Long shifts? My partner’s working ten hour days. He ain’t getting anywhere near 130K euros. I wish. Not even 30K euros.

      A decent lunch pot isn’t hard to throw together. I used to loathe sandwiches when I did office work. And I always wanted to eat everything as soon as I got to the office anyway! Easier not to take anything.

      Soup’s OK. He did get sick of vichysoisse after three days though!

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    • That’s exactly my point. And these men are working ten hour days. Can you imagine working for ten hours on a building site without eating or drinking? Ridiculous. They ought to get an exemption from their mullah.

      I know I’ve been so lax with Pippa’s blog. It’s partly because I have to log in as him so it means logging out as roughseas or opening a different browser.

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  4. I have been cobbling together tax receipts so I can relate to the bills-paperwork tedium. I’m only inspired by the thought of tax returns. Food is more my thing. Those green olives look great. The G.O. not being one for standard salads I have been emulating your salad pots, and he munches away quite happily on a chopped, chunky salad with dinner, especially if it has olives in it.
    I know very little about Fly In Fly Out work, or FIFO as it’s called here. But, being in the earthmoving industry everyone wants to tell the G.O. their story they heard about how you can make your fortune in the far distant mines… however the devil is often in the detail. Some have done very well out of it. Those with specific goals and commonsense. It’s not an easy life regardless of which end you’re on, the distant worker or the stay at home worker.
    And, it’s no fun being apart. Prior to living back in Sydney with me, the G.O. lived and worked 6 hours drive away, and mostly worked 6 days.
    It’s a shame we aren’t closer, I’d love to take Pippa on my morning walk… but not the afternoon one where I get all my cat pats :)

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    • Our tax return form arrived this week or last week, or recently anyway, it has to be in by end Nov. I say our tax return by which I mean, his that I fill in. Plus I have to separate accounts for the self-employed side of work. I always have the best of intentions of starting it early and submitting it early and always end up doing it at the last minute.

      We were having some rather nice marinated olives (thyme, spices, chillies, garlic) but we’ve gone off those and back to plain stoned ones in brine. Probably a cleaner taste for summer. I thought the GO wasn’t one for anything green/veggy? Partner is good, not only does he have it at work for breakfast and lunch, he’ll eat it in the evening too if I decide to make one! Trouble is, the fridge gets emptied rather too fast.

      At the last firm, when work was coming to an end some of the Spaniards were talking about some wonderful job in South America with big bucks. It sounded somewhat dangerous, can’t even remember whether it was mines or rigs. One of them asked A if he wanted to apply for it and he just looked at them as though they were totally stark raving lunatics. There is a time and place for that sort of work, usually when you are young and single, not when you are married, nearly 60 and have adequate funds to survive.

      I’ve had to get used to A going out to work again! And he’s only five minutes walk away, but it was nice having him around all the time. The first few days I kept waiting for him to walk back in from the shops (OK that’s the real reason as I now have to go to the shops occasionally) or wherever, and the house felt really empty, even with Pippa lying around. Pippa says he thinks the afternoon walk sounds extremely interesting and is looking at flying into Kingsford Smith asap. Have dog passport, will travel.

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      • That’s exactly what I was getting at re FIFO! I see the wife of a FIFO worker I know spending a lot of time on Facebook liking ‘stuff’, evidently a new flash house is in her plans… which would annoy the shit out of me if I was him.
        The G.O. has come a long way in vege eating terms. He still has his never ever veges but will now happily eat a quite a varierty of salad and acceptable vege stuff dressed with olive oil and balsamic, red or white wine vinegar.
        That happens to me when the G.O. has weekends off, or we go away. I get used to being on my own mostly, then I get used to him being around and do things like set 2 places when he isn’t there.

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        • It’s back to the comment I made about getting food for him at parties isn’t subservient it’s just mutual respect. It’s like I get up with him to make the food for him. While I’ve earned decent money in the past, it isn’t happening now and so I contribute what (little) I can to the relationship. That’s not a ‘poor me’ statement, it’s just how life is for now. And if he wants to spend the money he earns on maintaining the fleet of Land Rovers that’s also fine by me. Otherwise, after living costs, the money he earns goes into savings.

          Vinagre de Jerez is our vinegar of choice, apart from anything else it is local from provincia de Cadiz, plus it’s not as sweet (or as expensive) as balsamic. The occasional service station stop for chips for Pippa does provide sachets of balsamic though so we do indulge then. They must be hellish expensive to produce. Great when they give me four packs :) Two to use and two to save. We use red wine vinegar sometimes, and white wine vinegar on my hair. No dressing in summer as it’s just too rich, especially when he’s taking food to work and not in an eski.

          My great aunt used to set two places after her husband had died. My father would visit her before lunchtime and look at the two places puzzled. ‘It’s for Charlie,’ she would explain logically and rationally. My dad came home and we all decided she was losing it. Another aunt sent christmas cards from mary and jack after he’d died. Clearly another candidate for the SSRIs. Trouble is, as I get older, I can imagine doing it too. It suddenly doesn’t seem so mad. On the bright side, my mother never did it!

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  5. Loved reading about the other folks rituals of prayers, fasting, work habits, and so on. I really don’t know that much about other religions and have never cared to learn other than I know more about catholics and the Jewish simply because of exposure to those religions.

    The food in the blue bowl looks so good. Do I ever wish that I could still eat that that kind of food.

    Pippa is such a handsome dog and looks really good in the photo. I know he is the other love of your life. A house to me is not a home unless there is at least one dog that lives with the humans or is it the other way around?

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    • Well, I’m not remotely religious, but I do find it interesting. I must write a post about Judaism in Gib, especially as we live in the Jewish quarter of town. Jewish people here are strict orthodox and it is an interesting contrast to the ones who I grew up with as a child. I always try and make sure I am aware of major Jewish holidays here – especially when I am fixing meetings for our block. I find Islam interesting, and the Moorish culture and heritage in Spain is outstanding.

      I used to hate taking sandwiches to work, so I do try and make sure he has something tasty and substantial for his breaks. I always cook extra rice/potatoes/pasta for the basis of the one pot, and the other is some combination similar to the one above. I forgot to add that it also had marinated roasted peppers in too.

      Pippa says he knows he is handsome because everyone keeps telling him so, but he thanks you nevertheless. I think it is the other way round. After all it is his sofa, and he tells me when it is breakfast time. Plus, he decided he would live with us, when he found us on the street. Our dogs are always the loves of our lives. Partner likes the quote about ‘pat the wife and kiss the dog.’

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  6. Those olives look really good. I also like the sound of your delicious pots. Your partner will always come home while you’re preparing such yummy meals. :) I really can’t imagine how anyone could possibly be expected to do a day’s work on an empty stomach, either.

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    • I stole some of his food today! I walked up to his job at lunchtime to tell him what was going on (long story and not for the blog), had a bite of his sandwich, ate some salad, and drank his tea ! The tea was wonderful. Sometimes tea just hits the mark.

      It sounds silly but I have serious concerns for Muslims during ramadan who are working in physical jobs. Bad enough doing office work, but, construction, in the heat of the day? I think it is ridiculous. They are going to get dehydrated and it is just not doing them any good. And for what value? Aaaagh!!!

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        • Most of them normally take tea to work, as does Partner. Sometimes they will have a refresco (fizzy drink). But nothing in a ten hour day? I was desperate for a drink of his tea when I met him at lunchtime after walking to different parts of Gib, but I wasn’t actually working. These men must really flag, and at their age – a lot of them are 60+ – it just can’t be good. No doubt it will be worth it in Paradise …

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  7. How sad is it you have all this paperwork ( and double checking numbers) and it’s not even an office job. The neighborhood is lucky you take time and keep an eye on it – here the management companies would rob you blind without anyone/elected board noticing. Wish we had your overview system.
    I didn’t realize some places shut completely down for Ramadan – that would make sense for some occupations. We have quite a large Muslim population – the sports reporters always make a big deal out of the players who fast but keep up practice/games schedules. I always felt sorry for the kids who must be starving all day long – it is optional for them in some families.
    Your migrant workers sound just like Texas and the Mexican workers (all occupations). Often the men are here living jammed in apartments sending money back home. Been that way forever. If they bring their families, schools and health services suffer badly, so better if an “official” guest worker plan could be developed. Most do not want to retire here – extended families are back home. Those not from here don’t seem to understand how it’s worked here fine. Illegable immigrants live in a cash under the table society though. That’s not going to change. But they do need to do something to make sure employers pay proper wages – and do actually pay them. Too many taking advantage of a “shadow” workforce.
    My dad used to grow sweet corn. Sometimes I can find it here, but it isn’t the big pretty ears people prefer, I guess. The idea of putting gherkins in too is clever. Must try that.
    I hate car repair shops. So much better when we worked on our own, but there isn’t time now. I’m sure the mechanics hate us because we want to know exactly what was found and what they did – and to see the old parts if replaced. You get so tired having to watch every little thing. Miss the days when you could trust people.
    Pippa looks charming. As long as he gets his photo shots, he’ll be happy to just stay cool.
    Great post as usual – enjoyed the visit

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    • Well, the good thing is that, being a control freak, I’m in charge of the block, and my partner gets the work. I did try getting a few quotes a couple of times but it was more work than it was worth, plus it delays getting the work done. So he gets it, we use our contacts, and stuff the three quote principle. If people want three quotes a) they can pay me for my time and b) Partner will undercut it. So that’s simple. I want a quality job at a fair price to the block. It is managed better now than since we have ever lived here. Got a cheque for block charges yesterday from a resident who said exactly the same thing. Another couple have said they will pay at the end of the month when they get their salary. Fine. I’m not into pressurising the regular payers.

      I am totally obsessive when I think something is wrong and have to correct it. The paperwork is easy but only because I have run boards/meetings for years. If I was able to charge for it, I tell you my rates would not be cheap but at least it would be a good job. The previous company did nothing except employ a cleaner twice a week and generate a lot of paperwork within their own system ie one department would send another department an invoice (I have all the paperwork after taking over). They put up the charges by 40% to cover their own costs. They wanted to increase them yet again to actually do anything to the block. I’ve done repair and maintenance within the current budget. They were taking 35% of the annual income. I”d probably charge 10 or 15% to do it competitively.

      Some countries shut for Ramadan, but they are Muslim countries. We aren’t. Interesting there is an option for some kids. One of the co-workers goes home for lunch and we have speculated if he has a drink or smokes a joint. Probably doesn’t eat.

      It’s funny how our societies mirror each other so far away. I suspect it comes from being so close to a border. And then there is the Hispanic twist too. My biggest gripe is with cross-border workers who come here to work, spend nothing in Gib, take money out because life is cheaper in Spain, while there are Gibbos out of work. At least all the Roccies live in Gib and spend their money here. And the Morocco/Gib relationship is an odd one. When Franco closed the border, Gib relied heavily on Morocco. So …..

      I’m thinking about having a go at growing my own sweetcorn. It doesn’t seem too difficult after a quick read about it, so maybe for a future veg plot. And so striking too :)

      The garage redeemed itself slightly over the last couple of days. But that’s for another post. Maybe. Sounds the same as us. When he’s not working, Partner will talk to the mechanics and usually stand over them to supervise … Mostly he gets on with them alright, I think it’s the craft trade empathy. And of course, not only am I doing all this, and garages are notoriously sexist I’m doing it in Spanish. I’ve spent the last two days not speaking English or not even being aware of what language I was speaking!

      Pippa says thank you and he hopes to have a post up when all the drama stops.

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  8. Long post but love it and the way u described your life. I so loove the pictures and hope ur partner get a good job. M also job hunting and I wonder why the newspapers haven’t called me despite my three years experience and was rejected by one. Guess, I take something in PR/Comm till something better arise. I’m almost broke but know that bigger and better things will line up.
    Cheerz

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    • Thanks Vishal. Partner’s job is OK, just long hours :( And he’s too old for it!

      Well the newspapers haven’t called me either and I’ve got a few more years experience. PR/Comms is good, I did that for years too. I published a number of newsletters and newspapers, I tell you, writing, subbing, editing and publishing your own paper is very good. You’re still writing and working in journalism, and you will learn extra skills. Go for it.

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  9. Interesting post – enormously; made more so by the comments. Fasting a month? Wouldn’t a person die?

    Re the nonpayers – I truly believe that money is an energy passing through hands and it will not serve them well, not, to hold onto their $$$, shortchanging others, denying others. It just won’t fare well.

    I chanced by here on a comment you left elsewhere. Great blog.

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    • I wrote a reply to this the other day but greedy WordPress ate it. They fast during the day, they can eat/drink/smoke when it’s dark. Sorry, I should have explained that.

      Indeed. Bad deeds come back to haunt you. Not necessarily anything to do with the people you have originally harmed ie the people in this block, but karma will sort them in the end. Apart from that, on a practical level, the directors have to sign approval of all flat sales, and if we do approve any, outstanding dues get deducted from the sale price. So either way, they don’t win out.

      Thank you. I find comments are a great way to find an interesting blog. I do check out other peoples’ blog rolls too, but sometimes what suits one, doesn’t suit another. Comments are a little more indicative.

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      • Comments are indicative, I agree. I meet lots of interesting others via following the commenters back to their home. Sometimes I simply cruise blogs. It’s like reading a magazine but better!

        Thanks for your fuller answer – One meal a day then – that’s different indeed!

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        • I have met a couple of great bloggers through commenting on other blogs, and the Daily Post. The only thing is, my comments were usually controversial or at best disagreeing with the post! And they were interested enough to visit. But do we all really need to agree about everything all the time and write ‘great post’?

          I have blogs I read and don’t comment on, and ones who I do comment on regularly, usually the ones who visit mine. It’s courteous and normally there is something of interest there anyway.

          Can’t remember the last time I read a magazine. Usually pick up the free ones, do the sudoku and throw it away.

          I daresay they could have three meals a day if they wanted. Just has to be after sundown and before dawn. It’s interesting because it’s a bit like Jewish people having strict rules for Shabbat, I think they can eat, but they can’t work, can’t use a pen, can’t use anything electronic, that’s a 24 hour thing from Friday sundown to Sat sundown. But I’ll write about Judaism later when I have some decent pix.

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  10. hhehe we talked about same topics different views. I feel like saying that actually it depends how people takes work and efforts in general. In Malaysia, where people takes work more seriusly, they keep doing their daily activities. Same in Bosnia. Im Morocco, life is more calm and work can be also take too relaxed. When I was living there, lots of time I had to hear things like: do not work today. take a vacation (obviously in my Spanish job, even when is online, I cannot simple not show up and not inform in advance).

    Big hug!!!

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    • Ha! Was on the road heading back up North when I read this post and struggled to comment on my little tab, but now it is even more interesting with all the additional comments! I remember how aprehensive I was at first to comment on your blog. Had to take a deep breath and just go for it hopeful that I wasn’t making a complete arse of myself – realising from your responses to others that your comments tend to come straight from the hip , which they should and anyway I have very broad shoulders – but still didn’t want to look completely dumb. Anyway your further explanations and insight has always been apreciated. Have loved getting to know the nitty gritty bits of Gib and Spanish life.

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      • I was so sorry when you said that originally about finding it difficult to comment on my blog. It’s not meant to be intimidating! It started off as trying to tell people what it’s like being a British ex-pat in Spain (ie YOU MUST BUY A SURGE PROTECTOR) and it’s just changed over the years.

        I think as I said at the time, anyone who takes the time and thought to make a comment is valued. But if I don’t agree then I will argue, but I think that’s valid. Straight from the hip? I think you mean blunt, I would like to say honest. Hey, it’s a blog. If it was PR I would phrase everything differently. It’s pretty WYSIWYG really.

        And on the flip side of the coin, I really enjoy reading about your life in SA. I think I told you the first date my partner asked me on, was to go to SA. We still haven’t got there. Yet. Maybe one day.

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        • Argue you must. Problem is you do it so well:) I would expect nothing less than honesty. Blunt, yes, that is what I meant. See, there I go again, not quite getting it right;) I get all intimidated by your smart journo insights and world knowledge….I have enjoyed your blog emmensely though, as I keep repeating like a stuck record. I know you talk with grand authority about Gibraltar!

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          • I only argue about topics where I think I know something about the subject. And if someone knows more than me, then hands up and I’ll shut up. Trouble is I make the mistake of arguing on other peoples’ blogs and that is not popular, believe me.

            There are also different types of arguments: opinions, experience, logic, reason, ethics, factual etc etc. If I’ve got most of those I’ll pitch in. If I haven’t I don’t.

            Nothing wrong with straight from the hip except it takes longer to type than blunt. And therefore in newsprint terms, it would cost more money. Plus, as far as I know, it is an Americanism, and I am not American. It is as accurate though.

            Journo insights? Nah, just snipey me really. My skills and expertise were for a different era. No-one wants thinking people these days. I joke not.

            World? Europe, Indian sub-continent and Thailand, Aus and NZ, and North Africa. No Americas in there and no South Africa :( No far east. And I haven’t been out of Europe for years.

            OK, I’ll admit to saying that I do have reasonable info on Gib although often courtesy of partner’s work situation. I’ll do a gib update soon but I have sprained my ankle and need to keep it up most of the day so can’t compute v often. This is the first day back and now I need to crash out with swollen foot.

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          • You are ‘hard-core’ arguing on other peoples blogs! I suspect that you would emmerse yourself in ‘local’ partner or not, and no matter where you happen to be, which makes for great blogging -. Sorry about your ankle – that sucks. Hope you are up and about soon.

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          • People are welcome to argue on my blogs but if they don’t know what they are talking about, well, you know the answer to that one.

            I thought blogs were for discussion, so that’s why I stupidly disagree with people. But when they start talking about Gib without any knowledge then I tend to lose it. As I do about rescue dogs or homeless people, or whatever.

            I’ve started a post, thanks, but I just have to lie down. Whole foot is looking wicked. I am hobbling around the flat and getting nowhere fast.

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    • @ Barbara, yes, many of us are writing about Ramadan, because when our lives touch Islam and we have Moroccan friends, then it has an impact on our life. I just feel it is difficult for them to work hard without food or water during the day.

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      • Yo nunca viví Ramadán en Marruecos aunque la gente me habla de esos días con mucho cariño y muchas familias me invitaron a pasarlo allí para ayunar juntos y romper el ayuno juntos. En Malasia por ejemplo, que lo viví este año, se veía a la gente tranquila. Hay muchos marroquíes en Gibraltar?

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        • Si, hay muchos.

          Eso porque de historia, pero tambien cuando la frontera estaba cerrado, los marroquies nos ayudan.

          Por cuatro semanas el marido trabahaba en una oficina (en construccion), todo sus companeros eran marroquies. Ya, en otro sitio, hay dos or tres, no recuerdo. Son buen gente, pero los companeros espanoles tambien son buenos. El marido es el unico Britannico en la empresa :D

          Las tiendas de verduras en Gib son de las marroquies tambien. Todo habla espanol, un poco de ingles, pero eso no importa. La lingua franca de Gib es espanol! D

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