– Tuesday 20th January 2015

A very mild start to winter here has finally turned into its usual cold/ dark/ and wet (Spain gets really cold too, believe it or not!).  Luckily the forestry work around El Pocito over the last two years left a lot of pine in handy sizes, so this is providing the fuel for the wood-burner this year, which I would have otherwise cut myself with a chainsaw.  All the 300 trees in plots are now planted out and I am busy trying to finish the terracing work next which has been waiting for two years.

Income is still my biggest preoccupation (along with loneliness).  The UK Department of Works & Pensions has just confirmed there is no way they are ever going to refund a single penny of the 26 years of pension contributions Maureen made.  I am not eligible for any benefits whatsoever in Spain.  There is no possibility of finding work here (this region has the highest unemployment in Europe).  And now my gardening boots have just worn out, the 14 year-old van I rely on needs some serious repair work, and each day something else breaks or requires replacement.  Luckily I have some really good friends out there, who responded immediately to my previous request for help, and that has kept me afloat so far, but I still need to find the rest of the £3000 a year.  If only sixty people reading this were prepared to pledge 5 euros a month (60 euros) that would be solved.  As someone who worships frugality I hate to ask this, but if you feel you can help please get in touch (monkeyandsofia@yahoo.co.uk). Phil.

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