Living In Mallorca

Relocating to Mallorca


Spain and the cold

I was warned about the cold!

But until you experience it you can’t quite comprehend it. Temperatures are not as bad as the UK but living in a home with no central heating it is the damp along with the cold that gets to you.

We have joked about how soft we have got over the years and how it was only in recent years we actually had central heating in the UK. But when you awake to inside temperatures of 14 C coupled with condensation streaming down the windows you just want to huddle up in something warm. Simple things like getting stripped off to have a wash (daren’t have a shower until the condensation has gone) is something you dread doing.

The heaters seem to take forever to raise the temperature and goodness only knows how much the electricity bills are going to be as the electric fans whir away in an attempt to remove the condensation and heat the place.

Finding my shoes in the wardrobe covered in mould I realised just how damp the walls were and how the oil filled radiator needed to be left switched on in the bedroom. After all that is where we are sleeping and where your body is at its most vulnerable.

But this has not put me off.

I know that when we get our own home we will have to remember during the hot summer months that winter will come again and that one of our main priorities will be to ensure that we are prepared for when it turns cold again.

Meanwhile we grin and bear it – and look ahead waiting for the change in seasons and hope that Spring is just around the corner.


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Property Purchase Update

The proposed completion at the end of this week is not going ahead.

At the moment the seller is waiting for his bank to inform him of the settlement figure for the mortgage on the house and it is taking longer than he hoped.

So in an effort to prevent us from being disappointed the estate agent is suggesting we focus on the early part of March.

Oh well, the money is here in the bank, our solicitor is ready, we are ready, just the bank we are waiting for. C’est la vie – or should I say ‘que sera’.

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Items in Storage that I Miss

Out of all the items in storage there are a few of my favourites that I miss.

  • My dishwasher – goes without saying that once you have been used to a dishwasher doing it by hand soon becomes a chore!
  • My wok
  • My pressure cooker
  • Pots and pans – here there are only a limited supply as it is a holiday apartment and my old favourites I miss.
  • My bowls and other cooking utensils
  • My hand whisk
  • My artwork supplies – how I could have done with my paints and brushes to calm me down in recent weeks!
  • My toenail clippers – they are growing so long and ordinary nail clippers can’t cope

On the whole I remembered the most important items but just being in a muddle all the time can be a little frustrating.  How I long to have my filing unit so I can file away important paperwork and be able to find it at a moments notice.

I would like to be able to grab clothes according to the weather and not be limited to the small amount that I thought would suit but don’t!

I need my personal bits and pieces to feel that I am actually belonging here and not just visiting.  Nothing spectacular just my own ornaments; photo albums; knick-knacks etc.  You know those sort of things that make your home actually feel like your home.

Oh well hopefully not much longer.


The Warmth of Spain

Driving down to Magaluf on Friday the sun was shining, the mountains to our right and the almond blossom out on the trees reminded me of why I was here. The utter beauty of the island, which I don’t get much time to appreciate on working days, was the reason all those years ago we fell in love with this island.

Then today we sat out on the balcony and watched the coming and going of people arriving at their weekend and summer second homes. There was a flurry of activity that we haven’t seen since we arrived here in November. In a local bar the sound system was being tested in readiness for the coming season and I smiled as memories of summers gone by came to mind. This year we are going to see the emergence of life as summer arrives and I am looking forward to the experience.

This afternoon we nipped out to do a little shopping at Lidl and the friendliness of the cashier and the warmth of the people in general reminded me again of my reasons for leaving the UK.

I realise that the three months that we have been here have been fraught with Bureaocracy and stress as we have tried to get everything sorted but hopefully the worst is over and the best is yet to come.

I look forward to, hopefully, a problem free completion of our purchase and settling into our new home. To once again get our own possessions around us and to feel settled.

Yes a couple of little reminders of why we are here.

Everything else will get sorted – mañana.

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Barclays and Me got there in the end

After a day when my mobile phone bill must have racked up quite a bill we got there in the end.

My day started with calls to Barclays at 9.30 and I was passed from one department to another with each one informing me that I could not transfer my money without either going to a UK branch or writing a letter. Both of which were impossible bearing in mind the timescale I am working to.

As I explained myself over and over again I felt liked was banging my head against a brick wall but still they insisted I could not do it.

Finally my patience gave way and the poor recipient got full blast. After all this was my money, I was hundreds of miles away and by the time the postal system had got to work I would have lost the house. They offered to escalate a complaint.

Trying to speak to someone in authority was an impossibility and trying to get their fraud department to allow debit card payments until the full amount had been paid to Moneycorp also seemed to be an impossibility. “It’s the computer that does it” I was told.

In the end after 3 hours of continuous calls I got told that I should attempt to put the payment through and when it was declined I should phone the fraud department and they would unblock the card and allow it to go through.

Payment one was declined and I spoke to them; try again I was told. Still declined. Try again in half an hour and then in half hour intervals. Hooray one payment went through.

So as I set my timer for half hour at a time I held my breath each time praying that the payment would go through.

Payment two – success, half hour break. Payment three – success – set the timer – and so on until finally at 3 pm the final payment went through!

Then at about 6.45 pm I received a phone call from Barclays complaints department in which they apologised for the problems and the inconvenience and offered to pay my phone bill. As goodwill they credited £25 immediately to go toward the bill and asked me to let them know if it came to any more.

Success finally. The money has left my account and is en route into Moneycorp. Next it will start its journey across to my bank here in Mallorca and should arrive Friday morning.

Phew I know why they used to keep their money under the mattress!

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Who owns my money – the bank or me

Just when you start to get excited about the prospect of moving into your own home there is always someone to dampen your enthusiasm. In my case this time it is Barclays Bank.

Our offer has been accepted; the proposed completion is the end of next week; Moneycorp have grabbed and secured the money at the best exchange rate they could get but Barclays will only let me transfer it at £10,000 per working day!

If you call into a branch in the UK they can transfer it all they say. Well Barclays you have my new address. I am in Mallorca!

Well you can try paying £30,000 on a debit card plus £10,000 online per day. But the Fraud Department may block it and then you will need to phone them. After a couple of times they will probably let the money through!

How pathetic and that is going to go down well with Moneycorp!

It is for your own protection they say. Well I am giving you authority to do this. Sorry there is no-one in Barclays you can talk to to do that.

But surely I can pre-warn someone that I wish to transfer this money. Sorry no. You have to wait until the money is refused and then call them and then reissue the debit card payment again.

Just who does this money belong to? I was under the impression that it was mine.

Why can’t I speak to someone in authority instead of a computer generated programme or a call centre telephone banking assistant who has no authority whatsoever?

Here in Spain I have the mobile phone number and email address of my personal banker. Here they address me by my first name and I do likewise with them. At one time in the UK you used to be able to contact your bank manager, now you speak to a call centre.

When I get my lump sum from my pension I was considering putting it in a long term savings account in Barclays in the UK. Now I will keep it well away from them.

Customer satisfaction – not with Barclays.

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Winter in Mallorca

As I look out the window this morning the sun is shining and the sky is blue with fluffy white clouds. The temperature at 8.30 in the morning is nearly 13 C. If this is a winter in Mallorca then I am happy.

It is interesting watching and experiencing the weather patterns. Last night the wind from the land suddenly picked up and we pulled balcony furniture safely close to the doors and closed all shutters. It comes and goes so quickly but it is no surprise to us. You only have to look at the shape of the trees near the coastline to realise how strong the winds can be.

As I took some rubbish to the bins it was strange. There did not appear to be any sign of life. All shutters were closed, no people were wandering around and even the feral cats seemed to have disappeared and gone into hiding.

Chatting to Carles on Saturday he said that perhaps there will be one more storm and then as we head into March and Semana Santa the weather will slowly start to settle and warm up as Spring begins.

I look forward to watching the change in life as weather warms, the humidity levels lessen, the almond blossom floods the island and animals and humans alike look forward to warmer nights and the return of people as shops and bars open and the tourist season begins.

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Relocation Update

I just realised that it has been a few days since my update.

The reason for this lapse has purely been the days have flown by in a haze of work, exchange rate crash, ups and downs, confusion, worry and optimism. If that sounds confusing well that is because it has been.

The bank problem is ongoing but hopefully that will be solved. We went to Magaluf again and the letter to the bank was written and sent to the bank. Hopefully they will reply favourably. A translation company has been booked and paid for to translate both the bank letter and our marriage certificate.

The money has been paid ready for the registration of the car and we have been asked to take the car manual with us for the engineer who is producing the engineers report. Then it will be the equivalent of the MOT and off to Palma to register the vehicle and pay the car tax. Oh and not forgetting to organise the car insurance!

Meanwhile the pound crashed and the money we had put by for a house seemed to be disappearing rapidly. I began to doubt whether we could afford anything and woke in the early hours wondering whether we had made the right decision and if we should give up and return to the UK.

Our estate agent was pushing us to make a decision on a house we had seen and so I told him I did not think we could afford it anymore.

Plan C would have been to buy on the mainland where property prices were within our price range. So we started looking online to see if that was possible.

An email from our estate agent threw us back into the game when he dropped the price on the property and once more we were in with a chance.

So to date we have an offer being put forward with the option contract going back and forth between our estate agent and our solicitor. When and if they agree with the wording we have the deposit ready to put down.

The pound seems to be recovering slowly and hopefully it will continue to rise and make our purchase a more comfortable decision.

My work has been chaotic and living out of a suitcase (almost) for 3 months is starting to be a strain – both emotionally and financially.

But we have now got our NIE numbers – hooray one step forward! Also we are registered at the tax office and have our page of bar coded numbers so that we can hand them over when needed. I just have to find out what I need them for…