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“I first contacted Paul because we needed an interpreter to help resolve an issue at Sevillana, the electricity company. He was very efficient and effective and the problem was quickly solved. I have since used Paul in other official settings, including my bank, Unicaja, the Provincial Payments Office and the Administrator of our Community of Owners. Excellent value for money.”
Bill Douthwaite, Ronda, September 2009

Review of 2011 PDF
Saturday, 31 December 2011 19:00

Well, what a year it’s been! From smoking bans to earthquakes, from toppled politicians to general strikes, from issues with dogs to problems with water, from deaths to births.

Oh, and Ryanair was up to its usual tricks, of course!


A proper smoking ban is finally introduced in Spain, so that we can now go for a drink without having to inhale other people’s smoke. Yet cannabis is allowed? Click Tobacco no, cannabis sí!

Ryanair starts 2011 as it left 2010 - mired in a row with the authorities! This time it is a row over charging if passengers arrive without their pre-printed boarding passes. Click Ryanair boarding passes row

Spätzle auf Spanisch, a documentary about the long-standing links between Montejaque, Benaoján and German partner town Knittlingen, is aired on German TV. Click Spätzle auf Spanisch!

One of my best friends, John, also a hispanist and hispanophile, dies.


We move house. There was probably other more important news this month, but we are so busy, we don’t notice! Click Third time lucky!

Geoff, another friend and contemporary at university, dies.


Spain celebrates 25 years membership of the European Union. Click 25 years in EU

It is announced that there are four million “black” workers in Spain. That means lots of income tax not being paid. It also means that the unemployment figures are probably even worse. Click Four million 'black' workers in Spain!

A series of strikes at Spanish airports are threatened. The issue is the proposed privatisation of some airports and probable redundancies. Click Airport strikes throughout Summer?

The maximum speed limit is reduced to 110 kph – to save fuel – but is restored to 120 a few months later. Click Slow down!


Ryanair introduces another new charge. Click Ryanair up to its old tricks

Easter rains ruin the Semana Santa processions throughout the region. Click April showers ...


The Spanish local elections result in a huge shift to the right. Many councils change hands, even in traditionally socialist Andalucía. Click Local elections

Earthquakes rock the town of Lorca in Murcia. Click Earthquakes hit Spain

Ryanair blackmails Spain over fines imposed by government. Click Ryanair blackmails Spain


Ronda gets a new council formed by a coalition between the Partido Popular and  the Partido Andalucista. The new mayor, a woman, Mari Paz Fernández, is from the PP. Click New mayor for Ronda

Júzcar, a village in the Serranía de Ronda, is chosen to promote the latest Smurfs film and is painted blue! Click Júzcar – the blue village

We run into problems with dogs and a neighbour. Click The Wild Wild West of Ronda


The running of the bulls festival of San Fermín, takes place as usual in Pamplona. Click Siete de julio

Zapatero resigns and announces general elections for November. Click "Mr Bean" calls it a day!


We became grandparents for the third time – Lotta is born on 4 August. Click Grandad

The weather is unbearably hot! Thank goodness for shade, swimming pools and sangria!


The Feria de Pedro Romero in Ronda is again a success, despite la crisis. This is an important time for us, as Frau W and I met at the feria in 2008. Click Lovely Rita Meter Maid

The poignant 10th anniversary of 11-S (9/11) is remembered throughout the world. Click Where were you?


The former mayor of Ronda, Antonio María Marín Lara, is arrested on charges of corruption and is released on bail. Toti vows to clear his name; the question is will he manage to wriggle out of it this time? Click Ex-Ronda mayor arrested at last!

Winter arrives with a vengeance at the end of the month with freezing night-time temperatures. Click Winter is here!


20 November is the 36th anniversary of Franco’s death. Click  20-N or 20 November

It is also the date of the Spanish general election, which the PP win by a landslide. The new PM is Mariano Rajoy. Click PP landslide

A high-speed rail freight route is announced, which will devastate one of the most beautiful valleys in Ronda. A vigorous campaign against is started. Click AVE high speed rail route would cause ‘total destruction’ of valley, Tunnel plea for Ronda valley, Don't ruin Ronda's valley! and Tunnel vision in Ronda


We do a grand tour to visit family in Germany and England, but are glad to get back home. Click The Grand Tour

We get back home to no heating nor hot water, which makes us thing about all our problems with water in recent times. Click Problems with water

UK PM David Cameron isolates the UK from the rest of Europe over plans to renegotiate the EU contract. This means the UK will have no say in the future direction of the Union.

As we scoff our grapes at midnight, and make our buenos propósitos del Año Nuevo, New Year resolutions, we can wonder what is in store for us in .....

..... 2012!

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

© Paul Whitelock

This is an expanded and more personal version of a similar article written for the Olive Press website.

Tags: 20-N, 20 November, Antonio María Marín Lara, benaojan, David Cameron, Earthquake, European Union, Júzcar, knittlingen, lorca, Mari Paz Fernández, Montejaque, New Year resolution, pamplona, paul whitelock,PP, Ryanair, san fermin, semana santa, serrania de ronda, smoking ban, spain, Spanish general election, Spanish local election, Spätzle auf Spanisch, strike, Toti, Zapatero, ¡Feliz Año Nuevo, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,


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.

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