Changing a lock is very easy, provided you can open the door. So if you have an old front door lock that is becoming a problem, change the barrel before it stops working altogether.
Unsrew the central bolt that holds the barrel in place.
Then slide the barrel out. If it won’t slide out, insert the key and twist until the catch lines up and the barrel comes free. You don’t need to unscrew anything else, unless the door handle mechanism has worn out and needs replacing.
New barrels come in all sizes. So best to take the old one to the hardware shop.
Graphite powder eases a lock
If a key becomes difficult to turn, or a new barrel refuses to turn, you can solve the problem with graphite powder. Squirt a little on the key and slide the key in, then turn it left and right.
Graphite will only release an old lock for a while. So best to replace the barrel before it seizes up altogether.
If you are in Valencia, and need a locksmith to open the door, who won’t charge and arm and a leg, I recommend Clemente – Tel: 609 65 38 21
In the Muvim (close to metro Angel Guimera) there is an “adventure of thought” guided exhibition, that makes you think. Not for the under 10s. Click Muvimfor more, also to check that it is open. The exhibition was suspended temporarily at the time of Covid19
Death comes to us all eventually. It is difficult at the best of times, but worse when you are not prepared and put under pressure by the funeralistas who want to sign you up.
We are friends of the British International Cemetery in Valencia and have helped in the organisation of funerals. In fact, Marcela is a trustee of Cemetery foundation.
We recommend Funeraria La Esperanza, who provide a good service at a reasonable price. It includes laying at rest & funeral service in their tanatorio in Paiporta, crematorium in Valencia and extra days in the mortuary, if needed. Very often in Spain, they will want you to have the funeral, before family have had time to get here.
Funeraria Esperanza are on tel: 963 46 59 67 , but they only speak Spanish. So contact us on 651 378 241 (whatsapp), if you need someone to make the call for you. Marcela can also organise for an Anglican priest to officiate at the service.
Finally you may be interested in a plaque on the wall in the garden of the British International Cemetery in Valencia. To leave a mark on Valencia, fill in the contact form or whatsapp 651 378 241.
Valencia is a great place to live, but humidity, air and water quality can be a problem. The humidity makes it colder in the winter and hotter in the summer, while clean air and water are essential for our well being.
Air quality in Valencia is not as bad as in some cities, thanks to the proximity of the sea. But on a bad day in the summer, from afar, you can see the city shrouded in an almost yellow vapour. Breathing city air is akin to smoking 10+ cigarettes a day, and is not good for you (understatement).
The best way to combat this in the home, is to install a good quality HEPA filter fan. You may need more than one. A HEPA filter will eliminate 99% + particles in the air and give you relatively clean air when you are at home.
A thought about protection against COVID19. It is NOT an air borne viruses. It is a microscopic virus that attaches itself to water droplets, ie as in a mucus cough. So the only time a mask could be useful is, when you are close to other people. Even then, a mask will only stop the virus entering via your mouth and nose. Your eyes are still vulnerable.
There is no benefit in wearing a mask, if you are walking in an empty street. On the contrary, a mask will reduce the ozygen intake, which will compromise your immune system.
So if you are out and about, DON’T wear a mask. Rather carry it, just in case a policeman comes into sight. If you see someone walking without a mask, show solidarity and take your mask off.
This may be hard to believe but there is a Cure for Covid in the form of Chlorine Dioxide Solution (CDS) , not to be confused with bleach that is not to be drunk in any circumstances. Click official CDS website to see www.andreaskalcker.com, or visit my blog for links to videos of doctors supporting the use of CDS.
If you have an air conditioning unit, the dry setting is good to reduce humidity and make it more comfortable.
If you don´t have A/C in a bedroom which suffers from damp, a portable dehumidifier is a relatively cheap way to reduce the problem.
when you buy a dehumidifier, check for noise level (decibelios) and water capacity. A 3 litre collector is optimum.
In the summer, direct sunlight can make a room unbearably hot, A built in rolling blind (persiana) can help, but leaves the room in darkness. Also persianas are often plastic that does not block the heat as well as other materials.
A external roll down awning (toldo) is one solution. Another is the typical slatted rolling blind (mosquitera alicantina). The slats should be wooden for best insulation
A Ceiling fan in the bedroom also makes a big difference.
If you have a thin exterior wall between you and the heat in the summer and the cold in the winter, you should consider insulating the wall.
For best sound and temperature insulation, you must insist on top quality felt insulation. If you leave it to the builders, they will put in the cheapest.
If you are on the top floor or have noisy neighbours above, ceiling insulation is an option. It will make the room warmer in the winter and not so hot in the summer.
Tap water in Valencia and the mediterrenean seaboard is very hard. Limescale is the principal problem. There are also more nitrates in the water than found in other areas. Finally chlorine is needed to keep the water bug free, that leaves the water with a bitter taste, especially if it has had to pass through old pipes in an old building.
A good carbon filter will make the water taste better.
Hard limescale is precipitated when there is a change of pressure or temperature, and attaches itself to the walls of the pipes. A layer of limescale in the pipes reduces water pressure and causes problems with gas water heaters that require a good flow to ignite. Limescale also builds up on the electrodes of water heaters, increasing the cost of heating water and shortening the life of the water heater. It also shortens the useful life of washing machines and electric kettles.
Electronic Water Conditioners
To combat limescale, we recommend the Hydroflow electronic water conditioner. Hydroflow uses sine waves, that are not to be confused with the much less effective electro-magnetic signals generated by regular electronic solutions.
For more information on Hydroflow and how to buy it, please visit www.aguaeco.com, which is devoted to ecological water conditioners.
Salt based water softeners
We do not recommend salt based water softeners. They prevent limescale, but do not remove existing limescale. The softened water causes corrosion. Worse still, the water from the tap has a nasty taste. To cap it all, you have a bulky unit that needs to be refilled with salt regularly.
Reverse osmosis (osmosis inversa) fitted under the kitchen sink is a good way to get water free of chlorine and minerals. It will taste better; but it may be devoid of healthy minerals like calcium that we need, and you will have the ongoing cost of replacement filters. If you decide to go for Reverse Osmosis, it is important to get a direct flow system with a remineralising filter. If it is not direct flow, you will lose 30%+ water. Remineralization will make the water good for you. But if you are short of space, a Brita filter will do the job, especially if it is combined with a Hydroflow
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What’s wrong with my white NIE? is a common question. A white A4 paper with a NIE number does not give you residency rights in Spain…is the answer.
If you come from outside Europe you know all about the challenges of becoming a resident in Spain. Up till Brexit, this was never an issue for the Brits. Now it is.
Brits in Spain need the right papers. We can help you get them.
Residency vs Tax Residency
You can be resident in Spain, and tax resident in the UK. So even if you only use your holiday home a few months a year, you should take out Residency in Spain.
White NIE vs Green NIE
To be strictly accurate, only the White A4 paper is a NIE: Identity number for foreigners (Número de Identificación de Extranjero). Once issued, the number becomes your permanent ID number in Spain. The Green document is recognised legally as a NIE , but it is officially a Certificate of EU Citizenship (Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la UE). The Green NIE is issued when you become resident in Spain.
If you want to buy or rent property or open a bank account in Spain, you need a NIE. The quickest way to get one, is to apply through the Spanish Consulate in your country. The white NIE number does not give residency rights, but allows you to start the process if you wish to stay legally in Spain for more than 3 months.
When you apply to be an EU resident in Spain, you will have to provide this A4 white document among other papers. When your application is accepted, your Id number satys the same, but you will be issued a green card, before it was A4 as above. This NIE card, in conjunction with your passport, will be your legal ID in Spain.
Your first Green NIE expires after five years
Your first Green NIE is valid for five years. When you renew it, it becomes ‘permanent’ , with no expiry date. It is likely that new residents will not have the same rights as permanent residents. So If your Green NIE has an expiry date (Fecha de caducidad) in 2020 or before, it is important to get it renew it before The UK leaves the EU.
The TIE identity card
The NIE is being replaced by the TIE (Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjero) a proper card with photo and finger prints. UK citizens will find it easier to get their TIE before the UK leaves the EU in December 2020.
Applying for Residency
As a Brit, you can still apply for Residency. This is a comparatively simple process, if you do it before the end of the transition period – December 2020. But getting an appointment can be difficult. So the sooner you start the better. When you get the appointment, it is best to go with a fluent Spanish speaker, as the Spanish police have little patience if you cannot understand them and they cannot understand you.
After December 2020, Brits without residency will be like any other non-european without residency. You can legally stay in the EU only 3 months at a time. At the end of 3 months, you will have to leave the EU and not come back for 180 days. You may even need a visa.
In due course, UK citizens, that are resident in Spain, with have to change their Green NIE to a TIE Identity Card for Foreigners (Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjero), an identity card with a photo. But this cannot be done until the UK has left the EU.
For more information regarding Brexit and your residency rights: you can check these two sites:
Marcela Mattenet is totally bi-lingual. She has run a language school for 15 years. For many years, she has helped her teachers and others get established in Spain. She has also worked as an interpreter and translator for five EU projects.
Since Brexit, she has worked with ‘Brexpats in Spain’ helping Brits in and around Valencia get their residency formalised. She works with a specialists lawyers, immigration or tax, when a case is complicated. So there is no chance of you being misled, that can cost you dearly.
Marcela expat service includes:
Advice on NIE renewals, driving licences, schools etc
Help with medical insurance, home or car insurance.
Getting apointments for you at the right office.
Attending meetings and making sure you get what you need.
To get some help with your papers, please fill in our contact form