All posts by knowall

Future of this website

As it is the 1st of January 2020, I thought I would have a think about what I can do to improve the “kn0wall” website.
The fact is, I moved back to the UK 5 years ago now, and although we have been to Spain on holiday on a couple of occasions since, I am beginning to lose touch with laws and developments.
Because of the UK leaving the European Union this month, many of my articles about residency will become obsolete. I will be deleting obsolete or potentially inaccurate content during the next few weeks.
In the future, my intention will eventually be to close down this website. The forum may continue until the hosting runs out (August 2021), but I do not intend to spend any more money on maintaining this site.
If you have been a user who has been helped by this blog then that was my intention. I believe that having no information at all is better than having false information. Thanks for your understanding.
All the very best, knowall, (John Palfrey).

Earthquake 26 February 2019 Huércal-Overa

There was an exceptionally strong, although minor earthquake today Tuesday 26th February 2019 at 11:44 GMT (12:44 pm local time) centred around the area near the motorway junction for Albox. (Venta Overa) in Almería.
It registered at 3.6M which is stronger than most of the recent small tremors.

Here is an image of the effects on a map. It was felt as far North as Puerto Lumbreras, as far East as Mojácar, as far West as Purchena and as far South as Almería city!

Population changes in Almería

This article shows how population has changed in the last year for every municipality in Almería province:

Some examples are:
Albox up from 11,144 to 11,481 (+337)
Arboleas down from 4,538 to 4,463 (-75)
Cantoria down from 3,371 to 3,251 (-120)
Partaloa up from 915 to 975 (+60)
Oria up from 2,230 to 2,265 (+35)
Almería up from 194,515 to 195,389 (+874)
Zurgena down from 2,939 to 2,877 (-62)

How to get rid of black algae

Black algae attack – how I got rid of it some years ago:

Here’s an unedited entry from my diary in July 2007 when I had black algae outbreak in a 10×5 metre pool of classic tiled concrete construction:

“With pump off, I brushed off every bit of black algae that I could see. This took more than 3 hours of hard scrubbing. Whilst doing so I dropped shock chlorine onto the floor in the position where I was working and also used a chlorine tablet on the bottom of the pool, which I placed over really stubborn marks after brushing them. I then went back to the stubborn marks and brushed again until it was all gone. In total I put in 20g/cubic metre 1.5kg in total into the 75 m3 pool. This should have raised the level of free Cl to about 20 ppm (I hope).
The water, incidentally, was crystal clear prior to and during this operation. I found a small reservoir of algae hiding in a skimmer flap. Between the flap and the float chamber was a layer of black algae, this was cleaned and disinfected.
I then vacuumed the pool to waste. I put 4 Cl tablets into the floating dispenser and fully opened the water vents for maximum dispersal.
I am now running the pool pump for 24 hours continuously.
Tomorrow I will check for algae growth and probably vacuum to waste again.”

This did get rid of the black algae, but it is very difficult to eradicate. Eventually the installation of a salt water chlorination system kept it from forming again. I hope this is helpful to anyone battling black algae which normally tries to take root in the grout of tiled pools. Fibre glass pools are not usually so badly affected.

Page reviewed 31 August 2017

Gota fria storms and floods, Almeria – December 2016

The recent storms on the weekend of 17th – 18th December 2016, were a late gota fria which are usually a phenomena in Spain  in September or October.
Here are some videos from around the region, (Almería, Murcia, Alicante) showing some of the effects.

Tragically, an old man washed away and drowned in Alicante.

Rio Almanzora at Arboleas, normally a dry river bed!

How did I get the name “knowall”?

You might wonder why I chose the nom de plume “knowall”…

It’s quite simple. When we moved to Spain, we would often have visitors who were interested in our new life. Some even wanted to try it themselves and they had so many questions to ask.
I would answer them as best as I could. I didn’t know it all then and I don’t know it all now!

I would say that with all these questions being answered people might think I’m a right know-all, so when I joined the Arboleas forum about 2005? – I chose the name knowall and used this avatar of “Baby Einstein” (Not my image, I really don’t know who owns it).

My intention was to post facts and reliable information and to challenge falsehoods. This made knowall a bit of a “Marmite” character. I was a moderator for a while, whilst the forum was owned by Jason Mitchell.
Knowall is now banned from the Arboleas forum! (9th April 2020)

My own forum has been going since 2010. Feel free to come and join us.
There is a lot of useful information there, but this website brings it all into one place.

So, now you know!

Fly tipping and dumping in Arboleas and Almería

Fly tipping is a problem wherever there are people who have waste, and that is pretty much everywhere. So it does need to be discouraged by laws and by practical steps:

Fly tipping near El Toyo

On a recent visit to Almería I was disgusted at the state of the “Rambla Rambliza” near El Toyo. The rambla was filled with waste, from building materials, dug up pavements, ASBESTOS roofing (a clear health danger), toys, hundreds of pairs of shoes and everything in between.

In Arboleas, where we have lived, there is now a new “Punto Limpio” which is a proper recycling centre. It does make a small charge for the disposal of some types of waste.
The problems seem to come, when people are charged, however small the cost, they will take any opportunity to fly-tip, or dispose of inappropriate waste in the dumpsters meant for domestic waste at the sides of the road.

Perhaps there would be much less of this kind of behaviour if the recycling centre stopped up front charges and added a few Euros to the local IBI bill. That way, people would still think the service is “free” – even if they are actually paying through their local town hall taxes.

It would also remove the administrative burden of collecting cash at the Punto Limpio.

Page reviewed 20May2020

Do I need to wear a cycle helmet in Spain?

I saw this question posed on a local forum and researched it:

The short answer is YES, all cycle users should wear a helmet, children and adults.


The longer answer is that according to the latest law, it is compulsory that those under 16, as riders always use bicycle helmet protection wherever they ride.
For riders over 16 years of age, the use of helmets is compulsory on intercity (out of town) roads and it is advisable in urban areas.

As with many Spanish laws, this makes interpretation a little difficult. How I understand it is, if you are out of town (speed limit generally over 50 kph) wearing a helmet (casco) is compulsory as an adult.

Knowall’s advice: If you value your life and your head, wear a cycle helmet at all times when cycling, in or out of town. I do!

Source of info: DGT Ministerio del Interior website

Advice to UK residents in Spain after the “Brexit” referendum

It’s easy to understand why any UK expats resident in Spain will be nervous at the result of the June 23rd referendum, where the people of the UK voted to leave the European Union.

However, my advice is not to panic at all, as there has been absolutely no change yet in any laws, rights or regulations.

I would recommend that you guard any existing paperwork which proves your entitlement to residency. It is almost certain that the UK and Spain will do everything possible to protect the residence rights of all Spanish citizens in the UK and vice versa.
It could be that you will need to show that you had that right prior to a certain date, so if you do not have a “Certificado de registro como residente comunitario” saying that you have residence “con cáracter permanente” I suggest that you get one now.

The government are unlikely to trigger article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty until the end of the year and it will be 2 years more until the UK actually leaves. Politicians in the UK are currently talking about January 2019 as a possible target date for the exit of the UK from the EU.

If you intend to return to live in the UK, the uncertainty is likely to affect any sale of Spanish property to UK buyers, but many buyers of property in Spain are now from other European countries, such as Belgium, Ireland and Northern Europe, so there is still a good chance of a sale. Ensure that your agent is targeting countries in Europe, as well as the UK.

So, please don’t worry, nothing has changed yet and there will be lots of notice and negotiation prior to any significant changes taking place.  This whole process is going to take a lot of time.