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Nigel Winter RIP

Nigel Winter RIP

It was with great sadness that we heard that Nigel Winter died on 20th May 2020 in his early seventies. He had battled with illness for many years. But that did not stop him from founding SIP (the  Society International of Pedralba) and organising the annual Christmas carol Concert at Pedralba for many years. Nigel was a powerful baritone and his solo rendition was one of the high points of the concert. Nigel with his wife Tracy, were also regulars at the Pedralba wine society, though his health permitted him to drink hardly at all.  He has been a friend to us for over 10 years and he will be missed.

Nigel’s favourite poem, read by his son William at his funeral


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

By Max Ehrmann © 1927

Expat Funerals in Valencia

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.

Nigel Winter RIP

Ambient Control in Valencia

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

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).

Valencia air pollution
Valencia air pollution

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.

HEPA filter fans
HEPA filter fans

A thought about protection against COVID19 and air borne viruses.  A typical mask will only cover your mouth and nose, but not your eyes, which are also susceptible.  To have the best chance of avoiding the virus, we all should wear something to protect our eyes.  If you don’t use glasses, to be on the safe side, you should use an eye protector, when out shopping or in an area with other people.


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.

dehumidifier solves problem of an exterior wall with damp

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

Mosquitera Alicantina
Mosquitera Alicantina

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.

Accoustic / Thermal Insulation
Accoustic / Thermal Insulation

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.

Water Quality

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.

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.

sine wave vs electro-magnets
sine wave vs electro-magnets

For more information on Hydroflow and how to buy it, please visit, 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.

salt softener

Reverse osmosis

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.

Property Management Plus

To get more ideas on how to optimize your home , please complete the Contact Form.

Callan English on-line – aprenda ingles rápido

Callan English  online is the fast way to learn English.  It uses the Callan Direct Method , which has succcessfully been used to learn English for many years.

Central Point in Torrent is one of the few language schools to offer the Callan Method for teaching both English and Spanish.  Since the lock-down, classes for adults and children are now available  on-line.  So now you can be anywhere and join in a class.


The Callan method is almost 100% oral.  It’s based on question and answer, with lots of repetition to reinforce the learning.  The emphasis is on pronounciation, and in no time at all, you will be able to make yourself understood. Callan English on-line is the fast way to learn English.

The First Class is Free

Please send complete the Contact form, to join in.

Click Callan Method  to see the Callan website that explains more, wiht videos and sample pages.

Here are some examples of Callan questions and the answers

Stage 1
  • Are you standing on the floor?
  • No I’m not standing on the floor, I’m sitting on the chair

Contractions are introduced from day one!

Stage 2
  • What’s a window made of?
  • The window’s made of glass
Stage 4
  • Is the River Thames as long as the Nile?
  • No, the River Thames is not as long as the Nile , it’s shorter than the Nile
Stage 5
  • If you won a million pounds, what would you do with it?
  • If I won a million pounds, I would ….   take a long vacation
Stage 6
  • Do you think governments generally have too much power?
  • Yes, I think governments generally have too much power
  • Or No, I don’t think governments generally have too much power

The questions for kids are of course quite different.


Callan Español on-line & Learn Spanish fast

Callan Español  online is the fast way to learn Spanish.  It uses the Callan Direct Method , which has succcessfully been used to learn English for many years.

Central Point in Torrent is one of the few language schools to offer the Callan Method for teaching both English and Spanish.  Since the lock-down, classes are now available on-line.  So now you can be anywhere and join in a class.


The Callan method is almost 100% oral.  It’s based on question and answer, with lots of repetition to reinforce the learning.  The emphasis is on pronounciation, and in no time at all, you will be able to make yourself understood. Callan Español on-line is the fast way to learn Spanish.

The First Class is Free

Please send complete the Contact form, to join in.

Click Callan Español  to see the Callan website that explains more.

Here are some examples of Callan questions (preguntas) and the answers (respuestas)

Stage 1
  •  ¿El Método Callan es un método lento?
  •  No, El Método Callan no es un método lento; es un método rápido
Stage 2
  • ¿Los ingleses prefieren el café al té?
  • No, los ingleses no prefieren el café al té; prefieren el té al café
Stage 3
  • ¿A dónde tienes que ir si quieres nadar?
  • Tengo que ir a una piscina, a un rió o al mar, si quiero nadar
Stage 4
  •  ¿Una ensalada muy salada es saludable?
  •  No, una ensalada muy muy salada no es saludable; es poco saludable
Stage 5
  • ¿Siempre intentas conseguir la perfección en todo lo que haces?  Si o No?
  • Si, siempre intento …….  No, no siempre intento …..
Stage 6
  • ¿Cuál es el problema más grave de tu vida en este momento?
  • El problema más grave de mi vida en este momento es ….. mantener mi Español durante el ´lock-down’


Residency Made Simple

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.

white and green nie
White NIE (Tax number only) vs Green NIE (tax number + residency).

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.

Green NIE Card
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.

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 – probably 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.

The Future

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:

Doing it Right

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

Plantain Pancakes – gluten free

The plantain pancake makes a good dessert with strawberries and cream or yoghurt or iced cream on top. Enjoy!


  • 1 large green plantain, peeled
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup of milk
  • ½ tsp stevia or sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • Coconut oil / butter/ oil for cooking

plantain pancake


  • The plantain will often be hard to peel. Make a slit in the peel lengthwise, followed by slicing it into thirds, then a knife to peel.
  • Place the ingredients in a bowl or blender. Blend until you have a smooth batter.
  • First put a little oil or butter into a non stick pan. Then cook like a normal pancake.
  • The pancakes freeze well

makes 6 pancakes

If you can’t add milk,  then use two eggs per plantain.
If you want a fluffier panake, add a pinch of baking powder

The Eating

Best with cream and strawsberries
30 seconds in the microwave to bring them back to life, if  they have been in the fridge.

Rusafa big balcony

Big balcony
Big balcony
  • Quiet 2 bedroom apartment, 2nd floor with easy stairs
  • Sleeps 2 or 4, with foldable bed
  • Air con in Sitting room, fans in bedrooms
  • Cable WIFI Internet and big TV
  • Dining table seats 4
  • Main bedroom with en suite bathroom
  • Second bathroom with bath
  • Close to Bailen metro, good buses to politecnic and beach.
  • Close to Rusafa night life .. but not too close to be noisy.
  • Available for long stays

Beach Front Luxury with Indoor Pool

  • Luxury 3 bedroom apartment on the beach in La Patacona
  • Sleeps 6
  • 2 bathrooms with showers
  • 1 Double bedroom with king size bed en suite bathroom
  • 2 twin bed rooms. all with fitted cupboards
  • Large sofa in lounge with smart TV
  • Fully equipped kitchen with dish washer, washing machine, fridge freezer
  • Centralised air conditioning
  • Large terrace with conservatory
  • Central heating for winter
  • Private parking accessed by a car lift
  • Communal Swimming pool, sauna & gym
  • Rented for 260 euros a day during the summer
click Calendar on Spain-Holiday to view availability and book your holiday.
  • Sheets and towels
  • Duvets and bed covers
  • Beach towels
  • hair dryer
  • Coffee Maker
  • Juicer
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Views – Yes
  • Communal pool – Yes
  • Shops – Yes
  • Restaurants – Yes
  • wheelchair accessible – Yes
  • Car Necessary – No
  • Smoking inside – No