4/12 – Business Nearly Setup!

December 4, 2006 | No comments | Blog

Emailed a local popular magazine today to ask them about advertising and we got onto the subject of computing, their editor said that he was looking for someone to write a computing column for them on a monthly basis (advantage would be that BlueMoon would receive a 50% discount on any advertisments!), so I have arranged to meet with him tomorrow to discuss what he is looking for – you never know!

Also went to the solicitor again today, everything is on track (well as much as it ever is in Spain!)
All the paperwork is signed, I should have a temporary CIF number by this time next week – then, and only then can I start working (doing anything before means a large fine!)

Every company in Spain has a CIF number (unique number) assigned to them, without this number you can’t even blow your nose! I tried to register a domain name and buy some stock from an online computer store, and I couldn’t do either of these things because I don’t have a CIF number!

After I receive the number I can start to advertise, work, pay social security payments (and therefore receive medical benefits etc), receive a state pension, pretty much everything is based around this number.

When we arrived back at the urbanisation the Christmas lights had been turned on in the urbanisation – over the past 2 weeks the gardeners have been winding rope lights around the large palm trees in the gardens of the urbanisation, they look really nice, but quite strange to see Christmas lights in such a tropical setting.

We went home and celebrated with a pizza (yes I ate my first pizza over the weekend – what next paella – not sure about that!)

Trisha (one half of the couple that we met at the “newcomers club”) rang for Liesl this evening to give her the details of a table top sale she had seen advertised in Gran Alacant so Liesl is going to book us in so that we can sell some of our wares and hopefully lots of her cards!

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2/12 & 3/12 – Fantastic Weekend!

December 4, 2006 | No comments | Blog
Had a great weekend…

On Saturday we went down to the “newcomers Club”, hoped to meet new people and find out a bit more about the social scene around us, it wasn’t all that we had hoped, it seemed a little ‘clicky’, but we did find some interesting information about the rail system in Spain and how cheap it can be with a particular card (if you are a pensioner!), so we will try to remember that for 30 years time – lol

We did end up speaking to a nice couple – Gerry & Trisha who were in the process of buying a holiday home in Gran Alacant, we agreed that it would be nice to meet up before they went back to the UK in two weeks time.

I met up with Mark (the guy that organises the “newcomers club”) and talked to him about a local Lions Club that he is trying to get off the ground (you know, they have them in the UK, quite like the Rotary Club, but less business orientated – http://www.lionsclubs.org/), I was interested in being one of the ‘founder memebers’ so I ended up agreeing that Liesl and I would share responsibility for being treasurer!

Not sure what I have signed us up for, but I guess time will tell.

On Sunday morning we went to “the Clot”, a piece of seemingly waste ground at the bottom of the hill, opposite the beach, it turns out that this is a wildlife reserve – you would never know by driving past!

We went because we had seen a post on the Gran Alacant Forum that guided walks were taking place. We were the only 2 that turned up, a real shame as I get the impression that the walks will only continue if there is demand for them; however it was a great bonus for us as we had the guide “Miguel” all to ourselves, he spoke very good English, however we agreed with to continue in simple Spanish to give us some practice – what a genuinely nice bloke, so willing to accommodate!

So, we had a guided 2 hour walk in stunning surroundings, having the wildlife and plant life pointed out to us as we walked – WHAT A FABULOUS SPANISH LESSON!

The best part was it was totally free, “buen precio” We were loaned a set of binoculars each and we learned more about the wild and plant life in our area in that time than we had ever known before – even saw some bunkers that were built on the land during the Civil War – although thankfully never saw action!

Afterwards we signed up for their newsletter and for some volunteer work – hopefully we will meet more Spaniards and further improve our language skills.

The only pity was that Hetty was not allowed to come as she may have frightened some of the lizards and snakes away – yea right!

Afterwards we went into Alicante to try to find a little craft market that we had stumbled across the previous Sunday, my sense of direction didn’t let us down and we soon found the place – hehe

It was tiny, only about 25 tables, all full with the wares that the locals had made and were trying to sell, Liesl was interested in whether she would be able to sell the cards that she had made and enquired, in Spanish, as to what the process was (I was impressed!).

We eventually found out that they would welcome her contribution and that we should come back at 10am next Sunday to sell her cards, they were only really interested in whether they were ‘hand made’ or not – they are so they are welcome!

The cost – nothing – “buen precio” yet again!

Following the booking of our next social event – lol, selling hand made cards in a very Spanish area of Alicante to the predominantly Spanish people there, we decided to have a wander around the rest of old Alicante – a really pretty place, narrow streets, old buildings and churches nestled in between shops, and then openings where courtyards had been made, people sitting around chatting and children playing – very nice, also helped by the fact that the day was fantastically sunny, around 21 degrees in the shade.

Finally we walked back along the harbour, saw the thousands of fish milling around between the million pound boats, what a place!

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The Story So Far!

December 4, 2006 | 1 comment | Blog
We had moved, lock, stock and barrel to Gran Alacant (near Santa Pola) on the Costa Blanca.
Liesl had stayed behind in the UK for a day with a great friend, Dave to get the house ship shape and ready for the new people to move in.
The next day another set of sterling friends, Chris and Linda gave her a lift to the airport (Chris even too time off work!) where she met her sister Adelle for a tearful farewell. Liesl then left to fly ahead of me and arrived a day before I did.
With the help of more good friends Bob and Jackie, she readied the apartment for the arrival of the furniture (and me). To be honest, without these (and many more friends and relatives like my brother Nick, his wife Sez, my longest suffering friend Donnie and too many more to name) it would have been much more of an ordeal than it turned out to be – everything went pretty smoothly really on reflection!
Just as “my old man” had said, I followed the van all the way through France and Spain for 3 days until we arrived at the apartment, then we set about the work of cramming a detatched four bedroomed house with double garage into a 3 bedroomed apartment – well it didn’t work, we had loads of stuff without a home, we just had to be inventive where we stored things – suffice to say it’s a good job that we don’t have a cat!

I had taken 6 weeks holiday from work to help complete the move and setup our lives in Spain, we hoped that the house sale would complete during that time, however when we got to the final week of the time off work (note that I didn’t refer to it as a holiday!) it was clear that I would have to return to the UK to continue to work until the sale completed.

I returned to the UK on the 5th December 2006, it was cold! Amazingly Dave offered for me to stay with him and even for me to use his car, which was incredably generous of him, whilst I was there so we got into a routine where I dropped him off at the station in the morning and then drove to work and then collected him in the evening after I had got home, I think that he was constantly disapointed that I didnt have the dinner ready for him, on the table for when he got home! Chris and Linda also offered for me to use their second car if I needed it whilst I was back in the UK – it really was humbling to know that these people were so willing to go out of their way to help me.

Thankfully the house sale exchanged on the 8th November and my work accepted 2 weeks notice, I am sure that Dave was glad to be getting rid of his lodger so that he could get his house, car and life back and so that the steady stream of ‘visitors’ could once again beat a way to his door – joke Dave, honest 😉

… and then I was back in Spain before the end of that month – boy it was good to be back, but now what????

We had always talked of me setting up a small computer business in Gran Alacant, but we had done nothing practically about it – now was the time to start! I had already read a book about the best type of business to setup, but after visiting the FAB (Foreigners Advisory Bureau) I decided to take their advice and plump for a simple partnership agreement business with Liesl, it was much cheaper to setup and didn’t have the administrative cost overheads that the S.L (Spanish Limited Company) business I was intending to setup had. The business was going to take 2 weeks to setup, it’s now half way through the first week and I have to return tonight (the Spanish work strange hours!) to sign the papers – scary but exciting!

“The Spanish tend to start work early (between 8 and 9), work until around 2pm and then they tend to go home (or to the beach in the summer) until around 5 or 6pm when they start work again until they finally finish at about 8 or 9pm. This late finish leads to them eating every late and it’s usual for restaurants to be full of non-Spanish at 9 but fully occupied by the locals
at 10 and 11pm.”

Liesl has been under tremendous pressure to continue to work at a job that challenges her and it’s been very hard for both of us because of this pressure. Its also difficult as we have not had much time to make friends or speak any Spanish – the Spanish here speak such good English that when you attempt to communicate with them in their own tongue, they simply reply in English – I guess they want to practice their English as much as we want to practice our Spanish, although its pretty frustrating.

The plan moving forward (in no particular order) is….

  • to make a determined effort to get my business off the ground
  • to get Liesl doing something that she enjoys more
  • to socialise more with Spanish people
  • to find quality time to spend with each other
  • to try to spend an hour each day immersed in the Spanish language
  • to invest the money that we have made from the house wisely!

lol – what a list, I wonder how we will get on!, here starts our Spanish Adventure!

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