Never Mind the Boris…

So. The prophecy came to pass and the worst nightmare for those who were clinging onto the faint hope that the Tories would lose the election and that Brexit would be cancelled has come true.

Never mind the Boris – Brexit means Brexit and the UK will go crashing out of the EU leaving Remainer Brits in Spain (guilty as charged. I grew up as a Single European under Jacques Delors) in the kind of wasteland that TS Elliot would have dismissed as too bleak.

I
went to bed on the night of the election with the faint hope that I
would wake up to the news of the biggest upset in British political
history. An early morning glance at my Twitter feed, however, abruptly
put an end to that.

A Hungarian friend in the UK, whose family fled in 56, was inconsolable on Twitter, so I sent a ‘virtual hug’ to her. Yes. That is a thing. Seconds later we were being trolled for being ‘fairies’. Troll hunter that I am, I immediately sprang to her defense.

“How dare you” I replied. “I’m a gnome”.

My
second thought was what action I should take now that Brexit now seems
inevitable. After deciding that it really was too early for rum –
although a significant number of my friends seemed to be hitting the
carajillos earlier than usual – I reasoned that it would be a good plan
to tidy up the bits of paperwork that were still outstanding, on the
grounds that most other Brits would be banging their heads on the
kitchen table in quiet desperation.

It
now turns out that I am missing one particular piece of paperwork that
might be a bit of a problem. My original plan of building a cabin on the
back of one of the boats, rowing out into the middle of the lake and
declaring myself an offshore financial centre has been scuppered by a
lack of water, Spanish citizenship might be tricky and I’m loathe to get
a Green Card by an arranged marriage in Lepe.

So in the meantime I’m stocking up on canned food and medical supplies heading back to the hills and barricading myself in the Casita. Where I intend to sit tight until I qualify for a Scottish passport.

Never mind the Boris indeed!


Marie-Noëlle Erize honoured at Malaga Awards

Popular Marbella Media professional Marie-Noëlle Erize (pictured above, left)  won Most Outstanding Woman in Business at the recent Farola awards.

Now in its fourth year, the Farola Awards, organised by the Centro Provincial de la Mujer in Malaga of the Instituto Andaluz de la Mujer (IAM), was held at the Instituto Andaluz del Deporte.

The awards brought together the most outstanding women in the categories of Business, Sport, Culture, Hospitality, Science, Education, Media, Social Justice and Equality, with the aim of recognising and rewarding outstanding female professionals in Malaga.

The prize winners were Marie-Noëlle Erize, for her professional career in the fields of Communication and Public Relations with her agency MN Comunicación, the female sailing team ‘Woman Essentia-Les Roches’ (made up of María Fiestas, Marina Casado, Ángela Pumariega and Lucía Guerrero) in the Sport category, Isabel Conde Marín for Culture, Alejandra Pérez Muñoz for Hospitality, Mercedes Siles Molina for Science, Teresa Vera Balanza for Education, Ana Isabel Bernal Triviño for Media, Yolanda Verdugo Delgada for Social Justice and Solidarity and Noemí González de la Plata for Promotion of Equality.


Specsavers Ópticas seasonal collection for foodbanks

Specsavers Ópticas Marbella and Fuengirola have launched a campaign to collect non-perishable food for those in need on the Costa del Sol.

It has joined the Operación Kilo Campaign, thanks to a collaboration with the Costa del Sol’s Food Bank (Bancosol). Bancosol distributes food via charities and associations to help the most vulnerable people in society. They contribute to a network of food banks operating throughout Spain which is currently supplying food to 1.5 million people. Specsavers Ópticas will be collecting food for them until the end of the year.

Bancosol are particularly in need of the following non-perishable foods – oil, milk, tinned foods and meals, beans and pulses. These products can be dropped into Specsavers Ópticas in Fuengirola or Marbella.
You can find them on Avenida Ramon y Cajal 6 in Fuengirola, by the bus station, or on Avenida Ricardo Soriano 12, next to Massimo Dutti. Donations are very welcome in both stores until the end of the year. Visit www.specsavers.es to find your nearest store.

The directors of these opticians are asking for donations of food in return for their free eye test and encouraging anyone who recently had a free eye test to also join the collection and bring in some food to donate.

Find out more about the important work Bancosol is doing on their website www.bancosol.info or follow them on Facebook @bancosolmalaga


Last of the Summer Fines

Now that the summer crowds have migrated north, you don’t have to approach each trip into town like a cross between the Dakar Rally (water, GPS system, local currency for parking meters) and 'Mad Max'.

It's not all plain sailing, however. The, ahem, ‘eccentric’ driving styles of many of the chromed up 4x4s and AMG Mercs with German number plates that you may have seen roaring along the coast means that you have to keep your wits about you. It’s also a wise move to be at one with your inner self and develop a Zen like sense of calm. This is especially true if someone comes up hard and fast behind you and starts flashing to get you to move over – even if you are unable to at that precise moment.

I find a cheery wave when you finally let them past infuriates them even more.

All in all, however, it's not been a great month for me on the road. I broke the unbreakable Landcruiser again, but the up side was that the grua driver was an old friend of mine. Although to be honest I've been contact with the tow truck companies so many times over the past few years that I'm on first name terms with most of them. I'll be a little upset if I don't get Christmas cards.

Then there was the rather large fine that I received while delivering newspapers. I stuck the Landcruiser in a “loading and unloading” area and, on my return, found a Policia Local firmly placing a ticket on the windscreen. When I politely pointed out that I was, in fact, unloading, he (equally firmly) replied that this was only for commercial vehicles.

“It's the law” he said, fixing me with the sort of look that convinced me that any further argument might result in anything from a quick look through my documents to a full cavity search, then and there, at the side of the road.

My mood wasn't lightened by the fact that later that afternoon I was driving one of the Banus back roads and spotted a small speedboat parked on a bend. I know the proper technical term is usually moored, but this was marooned high and dry at the side of the road.

I spluttered my indignation and wondered what the fine would be for that particular traffic infraction. If there wasn't one, I pondered, perhaps I should just start delivering by boat and declare myself an offshore financial haven. Either that or a piratical paper delivery service! I drove on and debated if it was too early for rum...


Kempinski's lavish Christmas!

Kempinski Hotel Bahía has certainly put the sparkle into the festive season this year, not least with an 11 million Christmas Tree!

The five metre tall tree has been decorated by Debbie Wingham with 11 million worth of jewels and precious metals. Debbie, a world famous haute couture designer turned couture cake designer, has created some of the world’s most exclusive couture cakes, decorated with jewels and valued at over $15 million. She counts Katy Perry, Drake and Justin Bieber among her celebrity clients.

Debbie and the Kempinski Pastry Team have also created an edible art installation, which will be displayed at “Diamonds and Champagne” event on December 28. At the cocktail dinner each guest will be handed a champagne glass on arrival, and at the bottom of each glass there will be a diamond. The twist is that one of the diamonds is real and a certified gemmologist will view each diamond until the real one is found, with one lucky guest will walking away with a diamond worth over 2,500.

The now traditional life-sized Gingerbread House is also on display as well. Created each year pastry chef Malika, the house takes over three weeks to complete.

*The Lavish Diamond Christmas Tree and Gingerbread House will remain on display till  January 6


Hello! Lionel Richie to play Marbella in 2020

International superstar Lionel Richie will play Marbella next summer.

The first big name to be announced for summer 2020, the "All Night Long"  and "Dancing on the Ceiling" singer will perform at Starlite on Monday July 27, as part of his greatest hits “Hello” tour.

“I am so excited to bring my Live from Las Vegas album to life and to share it with my fans," says Richie. "Also, I’m really looking forward to going on tour and performing for everyone this summer – it’s going to be one big party.”


Another killing on the Coast

And so it continues

Police were called to a beach in Mijas Costa on Wednesday morning with the discovery of another apparent drug related killing. The grisly find was made by  passerby at around 9am.

The body of a young man laying face down was found close to a beach bar at  Peñón del Cura. He had been shot several times, and the killers were so brazen that they left gun casings on the beach.

This is the third slaying on the Coast in a month. How much longer before an innocent bystander is killed?

Photo. GoogleEarth


Marbella Architects win Best in Europe

The recent finals of the International Property Awards in London saw a big win for architecture and design on the Costa del Sol, with the BRIGHT development company taking not only Best in Spain but also Best in Europe in the category Architecture Single Residence.

Their entry, Villa Alcuzcuz, located in the hills above San Pedro, is the Coast’s first luxury environmentally friendly home built to Passive House Regulations and Standards, guaranteeing more than 75 percent saving on energy costs compared with a standard new build.

The UDesign Architecture Studio is the creative force behind the Bright brand. “We’re very excited about this win, because it’s a win for the entire architecture and design sector in southern Spain,” saidJason Harris, CEO of UDesign, who, along with Michael Rodziewicz, current CEO of BRIGHT, set up the company with the express aim of creating exceptional spaces that improve quality of life through pure design.

They are also in the process of developing another project in the Marbella area: Vista Lago Residences, a luxury development of eighteen designer villas in Real de la Quinta.

“Everyone here is trying to build and design a better villa than the competition, contributing to a hotspot of creativity that keeps pushing the standards higher and higher,” adds Jason.

Held at The Savoy hotel, the International Property Awards cover eleven different categories in architecture alone. Judged by a panel of 80 international independent experts in all aspects of design and architecture, the emphasis is not only on design and innovation, but also on sustainability.


The victim's Audi is taken away

Gangsta's Paradise?

Another week in Marbella, another gangland slaying.

The victim's Audi is taken away

Local and national papers back in the UK ran lurid accounts of the death of Peter Andrew Williamson, gunned down in a professional hit as he sat in his Audi outside his house in Riviera del Sol.

The killing came less than a week after a man described as 'Arabic' was shot and killed and another serious wounded at their apartment, less than 15 minutes' drive from the latest shooting.

When you consider that 2019 also saw the murder of Puerto Banus personality Marco Yaquot, (above), gunned down outside his villa in San Pedro, as well as the discovery of bodies close to the Istan Road as well as on the main A7, you begin to get more than a little concerned about the direction that Marbella seems to be heading in.

Spanish business records show Williamson was registered as a self-employed agricultural sector intermediary specialising in “international trade”. He had been arrested by Spanish police in March for using a transport firm to send cannabis resin from Malaga.

As in the shooting in Marbella earlier in the week, Police are looking at the killings as a “settling of scores” between drug gangs. Those of a cynical disposition could argue that means the case is pretty much closed. There has been little in the way of leads in the Yaquot case, or the drug dealer machine gunned in his garage in Sierra Blanca the year before that, or the Spanish gym and beach bar owner who was shot by a gunman on the back of a motorcycle as he parked the car at his daughter's communion.

In the past two decades Marbella has changed beyond all recognition as the town has gained a reputation as party central for both wannabe bad boys (and girls) and serious criminals. You only have to see the number of powerful luxury cars driven by guys who look like they are filming a Rap Video to get the sneaky suspicion that perhaps they didn't all get their money from prudent saving schemes or a private equity venture.

For better or worse, Puerto Banus seems to have embraced the 'flash the cash' culture, and the Port has seen the arrest of several wanted criminals on a bit of down time, seemingly thinking they are untouchable in Marbs.

You could argue that Marbella has always been a sunny place for shady people, going all the way back to London crime figures Freddie Foreman and Charlie Williams in the 80s. But these latest slayings seem something different altogether.

While Marbella tries to entice the super wealthy with its gastronomy, climate and lifestyle, and the Police are seemingly stretched in keeping tabs on the drug smuggling free for all that its the Campo de Gibraltar, perhaps a settling of scores doesn't rate very highly.

But if the “Gangstas Paradise” attitude continues, where “What happens in Marbs, stays in Marbs” can include disappearances and killings, then Marbella needs to take a long, hard look at the problem before it spirals any further out of control.


Triple A launches 2020 calendar

Forget putting up your tree or decking the halls with boughs of holly.

In Marbella we know that Christmas is on the way when animal charity Triple A launch their calendar.

The 2020 Calendar, is full of the colour, smiles and optimism that the charity wants to continue.

Made with love by great professionals and better animal lovers Carolina Cuesta (design, info@canprint.es), Talia Giraudo (www.thoroughlygorgeous.com)  and Kevin Horn (www.photographermarbella.com) the calendar, that features picture perfect pets and heartwarming stories, can be purchased in the shelter, the Puerto Banús street market on Saturdays and at Triple A events.

Its is also available in Finland via info@secondchancerescue.fi and Germany via  jana2@helfende-haende-ev.com

Don't forget that Triple A is also holding a festive charity event at Seagrill at the Puente Romano on December 15. More information at www.tripleamarbella.org