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.

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.
Try composting some of your garden waste:

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

Good Nature books for Spain

Here is a list of nature reference books useful for people living in or visiting Spain.
If you have been looking for books about birds, snakes, spiders, butterflies, for use in Almería or Spain and Mediterranean Europe, here they are:
Amazon links are included for your convenience.

RSPB Birds of Britain & Europe

Snakes, Reptiles and Lizards:
Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Britain and Europe

Wild Flowers:
Wild Flowers of the Mediterranean: A Complete Guide to the Islands and Coastal Regions

Collins Field Guide – Butterflies of Britain and Europe

Insects of Britain and Western Europe: 3rd Edition (Field Guide)

Gardening in Spain:
Garden Plants for Mediterranean Climates

I hope that you found this list useful. If you know of other books which would be even better, please do let me know.

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.

Burglaries on the increase in Arboleas

Burglary rate up six times in Arboleas area

Recent reports are that unoccupied houses are being burgled, mostly for easily portable items, such as TV sets.

There have been more burglaries in the area in 3 months (Jan – March 2016) than in the previous 18 months showing an unwelcome 6 fold increase in this type of crime.

We suggest that you join in with community initiatives, such as Arboleas Home Watch and keep an eye on your neighbouring properties, especially if you know that they are unoccupied.

If you are out for the evening, you could try one of these security devices from Amazon. It gives the impression a TV is on in the room, but uses much less power.

As Shaw Taylor used to say – “Keep ’em peeled”

Online doctor’s appointment in Andalucia

How to make an on-line doctor’s appointment:

The website for booking doctor’s appointments has been revised which means that to make an appointment, you need to follow this new link:

You can identify yourself with your personal data: (click on  datos personales) Fill in your health card number and date of birth to access the system.

You can also log in using a digital certificate (click on Identificacíon con certificado digital). Most ex-pats don’t have them.

I hope that you found this information helpful.

Updated 16th September 2018

Information, blog and forum – life in Almería, Spain