NEVER NEVER LAND
Reminiscing on having lived in nunca nunca campo, or never never countryside for the last twelve years I got to thinking what a huge cultural shift we had experienced in returning to a land where there is so much more freedom, if only freedom of choice.
Despite the multitude of religious holidays, often extended with what they called the bridge when the holiday was say for a day and then other days added either side to make it a reasonable cause for family gets together, celebration and feasting which virtually emptied the supermarket shelves! It is no wonder that the Spanish seem to work the longest hours, but have been assessed as being the least efficient in the EU!
They have a habit of building with the least attention to finish and open brickwork left to the elements and never covered or rendered. When those who tend the orchards and vineyards plough deep to keep down the weeds reducing the ground to dead dust and ploughing to the edge spilling the dusty earth and stones onto the roads which are never cleaned up and left to damage passing traffic.
Forgetting to buy an essential ingredient for that family feast is down to you because you will never find a store open on a Sunday, so ‘Never on a Sunday’ comes into its own in that Catholic Country! It is so easy, as they say to be more Catholic than the Pope.
As we found to our cost the maxim of: ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’, was taken to its limit to the point that essential paperwork required which may be required in the event of wanting to sell a property was never requested or any aspect of the property registered by the generations of Spanish who owned property before us.
So, an unwitting buyer from abroad who would not know exactly what was required would, on their need to sell up, find that documents were missing with deeds and complete lack of registration, almost as if it did not exist, could be considered illegal depending on the locality and certainly no essential piece of paper stipulating that the property could receive water and electricity called a ‘cedula’ which on investigation hardly any property has received!
It would seem that this all stems from the Inheritance Law in our particular locale, varying wherever you are in Spain of course, which states that you can only leave your estate to either children or parents and therefore no need to sell and therefore never registered or relevant documents procured. However, with the recognition by North Europeans that the climate was so conducive to good health, especially for the middle to old aged these vital pieces of paper were never needed when we first bought a house in Spain, but which have become essential as the years have passed and certainly needed now before we could depart.
Now of course the authorities were rudely awakened in the financial crisis of 2008 and suddenly had to change from a never-never land to a tax everything land or risk having your house containing all your life savings reduced to rubble.
There are pros and cons to every place where you might wish to settle and once you come to terms with the mentality of not bothering to finish anything, either in bricks and mortar of the relevant paperwork and if you have not purchased the right size plot you cannot change anything without the chance of being denounced and the relevant fines to pay and the chance that your place in the sun may never become legal again. Such were the joys found and enjoyed in the sunny Iberian state of Valencia.
It is a sad fact that the beautiful country of Iberia is dramatically trying to drag itself from the Middle Ages into the 21st Century with the consequent bringing to light of the fraud and corruption which has been accepted for Centuries putting those who formulated the Laws which favoured the rich into prison while the rest suffer from those same laws with no recourse.
There are moves afoot to rectify the unfairness of never-never land but the law moves slower than a snail and it may sadly take many years, or even generations, to rectify and in the meantime those caught in the net of never-never will continue to pay the price.
Freedom of choice which we thought we would enjoy in Iberia descended into claustrophobia and for me solitude, not being able to master the language! But with a multilingual partner to protect me from the language barrier I was spared any embarrassment.
These reminiscences we realise are merely reminders of the many lessons our retreat in Spain has taught us and which we have benefitted from to enhance our future lives in the green and pleasant land where we now reside called by the Romans Dumnonia or Devon, which they considered anything West of Exeter or Isca Dumnoniorum and according to them was Barbarian land!
Dumnonia is not a pretty name inferring inhabitants being as thick as two short planks which probably gave rise to the expression that those from Devon were a bunch of turnip heads! Oh ! That includes me too, born in Barnstaple, known to them as Barum in the north of the county of Devon which I shall call Ever Land!
With Love, Hanukah & the Angel.