Share This Page

Latest Comments

Client Testimonials

"When I bought an apartment in Ronda in 2001 and a house in 2003, Paul was an invaluable help in my dealings with estate agents, lawyers, at the bank and at the notary. It’s too risky to do it all without a competent interpreter. Many do, but I would strongly advise against it."
Dr J Burgess, Warrington, UK, January 2010

Neighbours! PDF
Saturday, 19 February 2011 00:00

Last night I attended a meeting of the Asociación de Vecinos (AVV) for our village. It all seemed very well organised with a detailed agenda in advance and chairs set out in rows with a top table in the meeting room of a local hotel. But I’d been to meetings in Spain before and they always turned out to be anarchic and chaotic and achieved little. Would this be any different?

On arrival I introduced myself to three men standing outside where the smokers stand, although oddly they weren’t smoking. I then moved inside where I saw a few neighbours I’d already met since we moved in, including Esteban the log man, who’d delivered a very fine cartload of firewood to us that very afternoon. I introduced myself to the presidenta, Alicia, and gave her our details so we could join the AVV.

I took a seat in the front row – this has been my policy for years, as it’s much easier to concentrate and you’re less likely to nod off! The meeting started more or less on time at around 8.10. The presidenta rattled through the financial report before we then went on to discuss important issues such as IBI (council tax), the potholes in the access road to our village, the provision of street lighting, the flooding of the arroyo, the siting of the rubbish containers and the location of a base for the Asociación. We also chose the destination for the annual outing in May – El Castillo de las Guardas, a nature reserve in Huelva.

So, despite my worst fears, the meeting had been relatively ordered and very productive. We finished business around 9.45. The treasurer, who turned out to the husband of the presidenta, asked if I was stopping for a drink. "Sure", I replied, expecting a quick beer before I went home to a rather late dinner.

Uh-uh! This is Andalucía! We entered the hotel’s restaurant where a long table was set out with jugs of cold beer, wine, bottled water, glasses and napkins.  It looked like a wedding reception. We sat down and I was formally introduced to the 50 or so people there, who applauded, which was nice.

Then, over the next hour and half we were plied with plate after plate of tapas and many drinks refills while we put the world to rights, I was quizzed about our origins (for some reason the rumour had gone round that Frau W and I were Swiss!) and I posed some questions of my own.  I learned that there are over 60 households in our village, including places hidden in the hills that I’ve yet to discover.

All of a sudden it was time to go and we all headed home, in my case much later than expected. Everybody had gone to bed, so I flopped in front of the TV and promptly fell asleep ..... to dream of our new home, our new, ever-so-friendly vecinos and the invitations I’d received from a couple of them to visit. Things are looking good.

© Paul Whitelock

Tags:  Asociación de Vecinos, AVV, neighbours, presidenta, El Castillo de las Guardas,  paul whitelock,


Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

read more