Thursday, January 30, 2020

This article from the Guardian is reassuring

British citizens living in the EU remain confused and worried about their post-Brexit healthcare and pension provision, despite the fact that both issues were settled satisfactorily in the withdrawal agreement, a Guardian callout suggests.

More than 100 of over 600 British nationals on the continent, who responded to the callout, cited fears of shrinking pensions and losing the right to medical treatment.

“I am very concerned about healthcare after 2020, which is as far as the UK government is prepared to guarantee cover,” wrote a 78-year-old in Italy. “I also receive a UK state pension which may not increase as it would if we lived there.”

Another in Spain said: “As a pensioner, I’m worried that my healthcare agreement will be rescinded; I could not afford to pay for private health insurance.” A third, aged 67, in France, said: “Nothing seems to have been agreed. We are all really anxious.”

Laura Shields, spokesperson for the lobby group British in Europe, said healthcare and pensions are “actually the two bright spots in the withdrawal agreement. There’s a lot else to worry about, but not those.”

Much of the confusion has arisen because of announcements last year about the rules that would apply in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The signing of the withdrawal agreement, a legally binding international treaty, means these are no longer valid.

In September, the government warned that if the UK left without a deal it would continue to fund the healthcare costs of Britons living abroad – mainly pensioners – who benefit from reciprocal healthcare arrangements for a maximum of six months, or 12 for people with pre-existing conditions.

Similarly, the government said that if no withdrawal agreement was reached with the EU, it could only guarantee that British state pensions paid to people living on the continent would be uprated as they are in the UK until 2023.

“People have been focused on these no-deal arrangements and many are not aware of what’s in the withdrawal agreement,” Shields said. “You can understand their worries – if you are 85, have a terminal illness, and no idea what’s happening next”.

Public uncertainty and concern have not been helped by the fact that some EU states have not updated their Brexit information online to take account of the withdrawal agreement, Shields said.

Under the withdrawal agreement, at the end of the transition period in December 2020, anyone with an existing British S1 reciprocal healthcare form will continue to have their healthcare costs met by the government, as long as they remain legally resident in their host country.

An S1 form will also entitle the holder to a UK European health insurance card for treatment when travelling within the EU. Pensioners living on the continent will also continue to be entitled, under UK law, to free treatment in the UK.

Any British nationals working in their host country and paying into its social security system will continue to be covered for healthcare. The withdrawal agreement also states that British state pensions – and all other benefits paid to non-residents – will be uprated annually during the recipient’s lifetime.

With 80% of the estimated 1.3 million Britons on the continent of working age or younger, the withdrawal agreement’s failure to guarantee continued rights to freedom of movement, cross-border working and cross-border recognition of professional qualifications for Britons was of real concern, Shields said.

“The settlement for healthcare provision and state pensions is actually quite satisfactory,” she said.

An uphill climb

Walking up these hills in daylight is a real challenge, Running up them at night with just a torch on your head is close to lunacy!

Building a forest

Is it really a year ago?

Since I was last down there taking photos. 

A reminder

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Weather set fair this year.

For more times than I care to remember, the weather for the Medieval Fair in Orihuela has been dreadful.

There have been occasions when the wind blew stalls over and others when you'd need at least an umbrella if not a warm coat to survive.

This year it is forecast to be mild., calm and dry. 

Voices in harmony

Sheila Rowlands tells me that the Crescendo Choir will be performing at the SALT Church from 6pm to 7:30pm on Saturday 8th January. They will be asking for a 5 Euro donation.

For those who don't know, the SALT Church is located at: Calle Daya Nueva 12, Poligono Ind. Levante II  Los Montesinos.

The Crescendo Choir was formed in 2004. It is regarded by many as one of the best ex-pat choirs in the area. They perform a wide variety of genres ranging from musicals to spirituals, from pop to classical and all types inbetween

Crescendo gives several concerts each year and has raised thousands of euros for charity. 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Get into the rythm

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Give a hug day

And feel the benefits to you and the person you hug. 

Advance notice

Mucky rain!

That was too close for comfort

We heard distant thunder in the night and I know there was torrential rainfall because my pool is near full.

We just had the loudest clap of thunder I can recall hearing which means it must have been almost directly overhead. At the same time the electricity cut out (thankfully it came back within a few minutes). It isn’t just raining, there are hailstones battering down on us.

Folks, this is another bout of foul weather to follow on from the “cold drop”in September. I hope we don’t get flooding in the town again - that would be the last straw.

Monday, January 20, 2020

The state of the promenade at Torrevieja

We escaped lightly

The storm Gloria seemed to pass us by. There were periods of heavy rain  yesterday and the wind picked up gradually until about 9pm. Then it died down until 7am when it picked up again but just as quickly calmed back down. We will continue to have spells of rain lasting through until Wednesday but nothing too dramatic.

Other parts of the region did not fare as well. In particular the wind and sea surge on the coast was dramatic. Locations on higher ground had snowfall.

Search the Internet and you will find photos and videos of beaches that suffered badly wih waves up to 5m high crashing over buildings and leaving debris across the sand and on promenades. It seems that, yet again, there will need to be a massive clean up operation to prepare the coast for Summer. 

Precautionary measures

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Rain stop play

Rain is forecaast for the weekend lasting until at least Tuesday.

Sunday is of course when we normally would have a mass outside the church followed by a blassing of the animals. Whether that will now take place remains to be seen. 

Fire at Alicante Airport

Aena had to close Alicante Elche AIrport when a fire broke out at about 2pm yesterday. Thiry five flights were cancelled - 14 departures and 21 arrivals. The airport was evacuated and remained closed all day.

There was a meeting this morning to determine whether the airport could be reopened from noon today.

Their latest production

Friday, January 10, 2020

Bless the budgies

and the rabbits, snakes, goldfish and anything elese that people care to take along. 

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Does anyone know

We seem to have more than one fibre optic cable in the trunking to the estate which I assume means there are options available to us.

Pam and I are still using the original Telefonica ADSL connection which has been laregely reliable but is expensive and of course snail's pace in comparison to fibre. Also, fibre is symmetrical which means that we would have the same speed to upload as download. Hardly anyone phones us on the fixed line so losing that would be no loss.

My neighbour has a fibre conection with Vega Fibra but I wondered what other choices thre were and what people's experiences of them were.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Listen to the band

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Last night and tonight