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.
We left sunny Edinburgh after a short family break and returned to a turbulent landing at Malaga airport.
As yet, the well-publicised red dust storms had not arrived but we were warned on our lift home by the driver to get ready for it.
“How?” asked I. Avoiding an answer, he replied: “The supermarket shelves are empty due to haulage driver’s strikes, struggling with high fuel costs.”
He went on: “The fishermen have tied up boats leaving people with no fish or food. The good news is that President Sanchez has persuaded the government to reduce vehicle fuel costs by 20 cents per litre.
“He has also set a cap on rent rises of 2%, stopping some greedy landlords from causing financial heartache.”
Elaine and I walked into our home to find the fridge had tripped, probably due to electric storms, meaning we had to dump all the food which was floating in the melted ice, and no cold drinks to round off the break.
But now, after the Sahara orange dust has been cleared, we are almost back to normal – apart from tall, hard to access white buildings which are going to be so hard to clean up. Now there’s a lucrative job for someone with a cherry picker and a pressure washer!
READ MORE: Brian writes every week for Huddersfield Hub – catch up on what you’ve missed right HERE
And the reservoirs are nearly half full, which should please authorities anticipating a busy Easter here on the Costa del Sol. Although there is a massive shortage of hospitality staff.
The high winds and heavy rainfall have caused €450,000 damage to Marbella and Estepona’s beaches and walkways, and the orange covered snow in the Sierra Nevada here, is steadily turning white again.
Watching the harrowing TV coverage of the conflict brings to mind two young Ukrainian men who came to Spain to seek a better life, 20 years ago, which highlights to us, the Ukrainian tenacity and determination.
Although in those days it was easier to live ‘under the radar’, but Jok and Voz found work and friends immediately in the urbanisation where we lived along with other Yorkshire residents.
As master builders, they set about skilfully building walls and extensions after setting off to walk in darkness 10km from the far side of Fuengirola, dressed in tourist clothing so as not to attract attention, and carrying tools etc in sports bags.
They would undertake a 10-hour day, sometimes in baking heat, then walk back to their tiny apartment. They were quickly in demand and now, highly respected, have a most successful – and legal – business as residents.
Brits coming to holiday and live in Spain have, for a long time, been leaders in the international visitor market here on the Costas, 30% according to airport arrivals.
But the tourist board is now targeting the German holidaymakers which they say is more lucrative. According to National Institute of Statistics, German tourists spend much more than Brits on gastronomy, culture, golf and beach life.
Meanwhile in Madrid Spaniards are delighted to have in the city, the Rolling Stones in June who start their first of 14 gigs across 10 countries.
And a strong City Council voted unanimously to revoke the golden key awarded to Putin in 2006 because of the barbaric invasion of Ukraine.
We hope our Yorkshire friends and family are coping with the weather along with the horrendous energy cost hikes.