First item on the agenda was the problem of dog dirt. Samantha put forward the view that the problem was not caused just by Spaniards and their dogs. However, she did say that older Spaniards would let their dogs out in the morning to roam at will. We all know this to be the case and worse still, we have all witnessed Spaniards with dogs allowing them to crap on the pavement – leaving it there for someone else to clear up. I cannot say that British people do not do the same but I have honestly never witnessed it. It seems that Spaniards, on the whole, have a different attitude towards animals.
There are by laws to cover the problem of dogs fouling public places with fines that can be enforced by the police. As Samantha pointed out, it is hardly likely that anyone would allow their dog to spoil the pavement when there was a police officer watching. The issue is education and whilst younger Spaniards seem to have got the message, the older ones maybe have not. The hope is that, when the town is cleaned up, people will take more pride and want it to stay that way. We shall have to wait and see.
The big issue at Villas Andrea are the unfinished houses that have been vandalised. They are both an eyesore and a potential health hazard. Those that live near to them are most affected and it is therefore them that complain the most. It is however a problem for all of us because the presence of derelict properties on the estate devalues all of our houses.
Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done about that problem. The council do not have the powers to order the houses to be demolished and the banks or other organisations that own them do not have the desire or the money to resolve the situation.
The other issue that people spoke of was the lack of an interpreter at the medical centre. If there were more than 20% of the residents who were British, we would be entitled to a translator but of course we are far from that number. There was a suggestion that we could look for volunteers who would help out at certain times.
Now I don’t want to pour cold water on a good idea but I for one would not want to risk translating Spanish to English at the doctors for anyone. It would be too easy to make a mistake which could prove to be disastrous or even fatal.
To be honest, if I did not feel competent to understand what the doctor was telling me, I would rather pay 40 euros for a professional interpreter than risk relying on a well meaning neighbour.