Summary of Georgina's story
Georgina's story was written at her request in November 2012 as a warning to other expats living in Spain. Although she herself has now returned to the UK, at the time of writing her husband was still alive and this brief summary of her story is her warning that much of this need not have happened.
Well, here we are at the final letter of the alphabet! The letter Z, which is called "ceta", is pronounced the same as the letter C when it is found before an E or an I, that is as a soft, unvoiced "th" sound. The Z is always spoken in this way in standard European Spanish, although in South American Spanish it is pronounced as an S, as it is in some areas of Spain, notably Andalucía.
Check to see if yours is one of 4m EHIC cards expiring this year. The free European Health Insurance Card gives you access to EU (plus a few other) state-run hospitals or GPs like a local. In other words, if it's free for them, it's free for you. The EHIC is usable in the EU's 27 member states, plus a few others. It is important to show your card before treatment, and keep any receipts.
In Spain state healthcare is free, but check they accept your EHIC card first as some hospitals and health centres also offer private healthcare. See http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinSpain.aspx.
Full help & links at www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/free-ehic-card, but three key rules...
a) Check all your family's cards. 4 million expired in 2012. Renew it or it is invalid.
b) Always keep it with you. Each person needs to visibly show theirs to use it.
c) EHICs are free, but don't Google them, you may get sites charging £15. 'Fast track' applications don't exist, avoid getting caught out.
Sadly, far too many are caught out through Googling 'EHIC' and end up paying through an unofficial website. If this has happened to you, it's unlikely you'll be able to get your money back. However, it's worth contacting the site straight away and asking for a full refund, just in case.
There are several ways to register for a card:
Call 0845 606 2030.
Generally, it will take about 7-10 days for it to come through, though it's worth applying early so you get it in good time for your holiday. If you have lost your card, or it has been stolen, call 0845 606 2030, or from abroad call 0044 (0)191 218 1999. For more emergency info, it's also worth taking the free, printable Little Lifesaver travel guide (www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/travel-print-guide) with you when you are away.
If you've any questions about the application process, there's also now an official EHIC Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/NHSBSAEuropeanHealthInsuranceCard?ref=stream) where you can get help from the EHIC NHS team.
Over the last 12-18 months more and more householders have complained about 'Bogus' gas service maintenance men, how much they charge and whether they are legal or not.
Costa Cálida International Radio have constantly put out warnings about these gas men; where they are (many thanks to the listeners, who advise us, to advise you) and what to do about them. We do appreciate that not everybody listens to the radio, or may not have heard the warnings. With this in mind, we have undertaken to try to get the correct information from Repsol regarding this problem, so below is a quick resume about our findings and hopefully with this advice to hand it will stop anybody else being 'conned' by these so-called gas men. We have heard stories that householders have been charged over €200 for approx 1 hours work, and have been escorted to the bank to get the money to pay the bill.
The first thing all householders need to know is that Repsol do not do 'cold calling'. They operate an appointment-only system, so if these 'service engineers' knock at your door, without an appointment, they do not work for Repsol. They may well work for another service company that is permitted to service gas appliances, to use the Repsol logo, and be a completely legal and registered company, but do not work for Repsol, and as such are only trying to earn a living, not a crime.
With this information in hand, ask for identification and bear in mind, once you have allowed them into your property, it is your responsibility to make sure that what they are purporting to do to your gas appliances, is with your agreement and to your satisfaction. Once they tell you what they are intending to do, always ask how much it is going to cost. If possible get the estimate on an official piece of paper, not a scrap from the drawer. If they refuse this simple action, very politely ask them to leave, and come back later with the right paperwork. Always try to avoid any confrontations. If you then give them permission to do the repairs etc, it is your responsibility to pay the bill/factura and as such you have no recourse for complaints. If they do work for Repsol the factura will be on official Repsol headed paper.
Please remember that gas hoses and regulators have a shelf-life and as such should be checked and changed regularly. The orange gas hose should have a date on it. That date indicates when it should be checked and changed if necessary. If used outside on BBQ's, they will deteriorate quicker than hoses in the house on heaters and water appliances.
Mazarrón commemorated the 8 December with an honour to its patron saint, La Purisima Concepcion, with various acts taking part in its festivities. In the morning, the nursing home "La Purisima" welcomed the Mass, as every year, and was taken by the Priest of the Santiago Apóstol and San Antonio de Padua, Julio Romero. The event was attended by the Mayor of Mazarrón, Ginés Campillo, the Deputy Mayor for Urban Development, Francisco Garcia, City Council Members Maria Martinez and Miguel Garcia, and Junior Queen of the Fiesta, Ana Cristina Hernandez. At the end, everyone present shared a breakfast with hot chocolate.
The beginning of November in Santa Pola (Alicante) saw the Campeonato de España de pesca Mar-Costa (Fishing Championship of Spain, Mar-Costa) for U-16 y U-21 categories which was attended by two athletes from del Club de Pesca Puerto de Mazarrón (Puerto de Mazarrón Fishing Club), one in each category, and achieving outstanding performances, resulting in two medals.
Mazarrón Town Hall was in attendance at the Murcia Turistica Stand at London's World Travel Market (WTM) Fair. The aim of the Council was to achieve the greatest possible number of contacts to achieve a greater presence in the UK market for the promotion of Mazarrón.
Mazarrón Town Council recently gave due recognition to 4 athletes from Mazarrón Taekwondo Club for their recent achievements. Juan Mendez, Ruben Garcia, Antonio Mendez and Marina Moreno received congratulations from Mayor of Mazarrón, Ginés Campillo, the Councillor for Sports, Andres Valera, and the Councillor of Citizen Participation, David Fernandez, in a ceremony held in the Salón de Plenos de las Casas Consistoriales in front of various friends and family.
Mazarrón Town Council and the Association of Parents of Children with mental disabilities in Mazarrón (ASPADEM) have signed a collaboration agreement for activities related to the maintenance of the pool that the Association has in the neighborhood of La Cañadica. The agreement was signed by the Mayor of Mazarrón, Ginés Campillo, and ASPADEM president, Juan Zamora.
The Social Centre for the Elderly of Puerto de Mazarrón is celebrated its twentieth anniversary during November with an extensive programme of leisure activities and initiatives. Among the activities was the inauguration of the exhibition "Ruta del Vino de la Región de Murcia".
Mazarrón Town Council recently destroyed various trade items seized by the local police in Mazarrón in the fight against illegal sale and trade. Items seized and destroyed were of various kinds such as shirts, polos, pants, underwear, perfume, sunglasses, belts, watches, and CDs among others.