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.

Towards the end of this week, winter definitely descended upon the Costa del Sol with the forecast dark clouds, gusting winds and turbulent seas.

And as Elaine and I took a stroll on the seafront it was obvious that sunseekers could soon be short in numbers as businesses commence their usual November close down. But then, not unexpectedly, bright and sunny weather came back 24 hours later!

I certainly needed my winter woollies when I went on a historical walking tour of Mijas Pueblo with the very knowledgeable Alan Boardman.

He is a voluntary worker for a charity called ‘Simply Surviving Group’ which, as the name suggests, sets out to assist and help those in need.

Elaine and I have been up to Mijas dozens of times, but over a three-hour tour around this compact white village perched half way up a mountain, I was absolutely fascinated and enthralled with the torrent of Alan’s information as the small group visited places away from the usual tourist areas.

The iconic, much publicised Mijas donkeys were discussed at length, with Alan firstly saying: “I am an animal lover but these working donkeys have endured many animal rights group interventions, saying that they are mistreated and should be in fields, not a taxi service for tourists.”

Probably the most photographed thing in Spain! A bronze donkey donated to the municipality by the Lions Club

Alan explained: “These particular animals (65 in total) have been owned by nine families over generations, who take great care of them.

“They are rotated every three hours to be stabled and later taken to various homes in the village each day to be generously fed.”

He continued: “They are regularly inspected by vets and continue to be enjoyed by millions of visitors, especially large groups from cruises.”

READ MORE: “The biggest thing for Huddersfield in anyone’s lifetime” – how Huddersfield town centre is going to change beyond recognition. Click HERE.

The donkeys are from the oldest breed in Europe and are very strong. The popularity with them began in the 60s as they were used to bring fish up the 9km steep hills from Fuengirola port, or carry marble down from quarries for sale in the village.

These soft-mannered animals were stopped by tourists for a photograph followed by a tip the farmer. As the tips became greater than their farming income, the farmers decided to offer the taxi tours.

I must briefly mention that during the lockdown the village was a ghost town leaving desperate people on the bread line.

The village was once declared the poorest throughout Spain, yet some decades later had the most millionaires in the country, due to tourism.

A typical street in the pueblo

Meanwhile, the claim by Lawrence Whiteley over his wrongly enforced tow charge by police was to have come to a close as I took the original receipt to a senior police officer in Las Lagunas.

The friendly officer passed a piece of paper across his huge oak desk saying: “Go up with this to the compound and get the money owed. Police did make a mistake.” So off I went.

The stern, well-built compound boss was in a tiny office surrounded by acres of cars and scooters, some must have been brought in years ago.

To cut a long story short, he turned down any idea of handing out money. “You need confirmation from the Town Hall before this money can be paid out,” he blurted, and sent me on my way.

A phone call with Lawrence confirmed that we will continue the paper chase when he comes back in January.

This whole episode highlights just how difficult it can be getting through the mountain of bureaucracy to be surmounted here in Spain, something we have endured, like many others over the years. The saga will be resumed in the New Year…

READ MORE: If you missed Lawrence’s story or want to catch up with Brian’s blogs click HERE