Former Huddersfield gymnast and pub landlord Brian Hayhurst and his wife Elaine are ex-pats who have lived just outside Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol for 20 years. He writes every week for Huddersfield Hub.

Our hearts go out to the residents and business owners on the island of La Palma where the volcano has caused widespread destruction with 6,000 people evacuated.

There have only been two such eruptions in 50 years but this one is surely likely to put people off visiting, let alone living there.

Meanwhile here on the Costa the search is closing in for the arsonist who started two fires near Estepona.

Police are looking for a bald-headed man fleeing one of the areas on the evening of one fire and it has been revealed his car number plates were covered.

The good news is that horticultural experts are convinced that many of the rare trees engulfed will re-seed and come back again once the rains come.

The protected fir tree

Meanwhile, close to where we are, some friends had a 60ft tall protected pine tree in their garden and were desperate to remove it as the needles and cones dropped were killing off any other plant life beneath.

But, being a protected species, they could have faced fines up to €5,000 if they cut it down. With the help of neighbours, who were also troubled with the mess it caused, they were finally granted permission to drop it at a cost of €2,300 – and they were told to pay for 20 new trees to be planted.

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These trees can harbour a deadly processionary caterpillar whose hairs contain poison which can severely harm children and kill pets if touched.

They are the product of a moth which lays eggs high in the pines in tent like nests. Each April they leave their silken nest and move down to ground level where they blindly follow each other nose to tail in a long procession until they find fertile ground and burrow down. It’s an amazing world we live in.

Reservoirs are running low

A quick round up of happenings in the local press, TV and radio here:

  • Many are annoyed at losing total coverage of Channel 5 on all devices in Spain and throughout Europe;
  • Charlie Mullins OBE (main image), the famous and wealthy owner of his London Pimlico Plumbers, who is renowned for generosity at charity events on the Costa, is seen regularly in our area where he has property. He has sold his company and will be concentrating on music and a potential property business here;
  • Water levels in all the main reservoirs feeding large sections of this province are desperately low. Some levels are down to 23% but authorities, who are confident it will soon be raining, are still not giving any advice about water saving;
  • Camp sites have been filled to overflowing over July and August with a more than usual influx of motor homes owned by holidaymakers from many different nations. Some have mentioned that they have travelled through the borders of several countries with no document checks;
  • June 30 was the cut off date for people to return their pesetas to the Bank of Spain. But there’s a staggering €92 million worth still out there somewhere. That’s a lot of loose change down the back of sofas.
  • Ex-pats are delighted that the dreadful PCR tests on return to the UK will be dropped from October 4. One friend said: “Enough of being ripped off by the rich pharmaceutical companies, and will make trips less complex.”