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.

Firstly, our hearts go out to family and friends in Yorkshire and Scotland who have suffered during the recent horrendous weather along with power cuts – the worst in a decade. We do hope conditions improve and everyone will get their electricity back soon.

I spotted a moving story about a monk who built a cathedral out of scrap materials. Justo Gallego, who passed away this week aged 95, began creating a huge church just outside Madrid – (Mejorado) in 1961 from bricks, timber and other materials from building sites, from skips and through donations.

And in a final gesture of goodwill he decided to leave the church to charity to complete his amazing work of architecture created over 60 years.

The new statement by the Spanish Government requiring all visitors to be fully vaccinated is another issue to be overcome by travellers, agencies and airlines etc.

The concern we have is the varying and extortionate prices being quoted for the PCR tests (not the lateral flow test) now required for those going back to the UK.

We have been offered the tests for a wide variety of prices up to £85 each! Where does all this money go for such a simple test, we and many more are asking?

Official figures just reported regarding holiday/second home purchases has revealed that, for the first time ever, Germans have overtaken Brits. This, surely, is the spin-off of the 90-day rule which ‘UK swallows’ continue to be faced with.

There are thousands of good spending seniors who loved to enjoy long winter breaks in the warm climate. But as I have mentioned before, there is a growing number of visitors from Scandinavia, Holland and others from the 26 Schengen countries being welcomed by Spain.

A bit of good news…

Most have heard of the corrupt dealings in the past of some mayors and Town Hall officials who have wrongly sanctioned the construction of homes or use of green belt land here in Spain often making them illegal and unsaleable.

Ex-pat campaigners have claimed a small victory as Andalucia finally approved a new LISTA planning law.

Those in possession of an illegal home can now have it legalised, with certain conditions. There are many out in ‘the campo’ (countryside) who have been unable to sell their properties. It’s a move in the right direction – and not before time!

Now, with property sales buoyant, the legalisation of homes will give estate agents more scope and opportunity.

The work involved in preparing a property for sale is complex and time-consuming but for those agents who are prepared to work hard, travel miles and nurture potential purchasers, there are financial rewards to be had.

Take a €300,000 house – an agent can expect to get a 5% commission after a deposit has been paid and add 21% VAT. This would give them €18,150 but this is often shared with another agent who has had dealings with the sale.

READ MORE: Brian Hayhurst writes every week from Spain and here’s what you might have missed

Finally, stepping away from the bustling Christmas market here I waited in line at a post and package centre.

A lady wanted to send a very cheap child’s plastic helmet back to England. She was mortified when the clerk said: ‘That’ll be €88 including export duties, administration fees and VAT!”

And that’s a regular occurrence – good old Brexit.