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. Here are Brian’s thoughts from balmy – or should that be barmy? – Spain.

It would be pointless trying to summarise the palaver one must go through to leave or get back into Spain at this moment.

There are PCR tests, flight cancellations and heaps of bureaucracy still mounting. Annoyingly the French and German borders are allowing in a steady influx of holidaymakers by car.

And Spain has once more delivered a raft of traffic and speeding laws which even the well informed fluent Spanish speaking specialists cannot understand.

Amongst several silly laws published some time back was – ‘no feeding birds whilst seated on an ancient monument!’

And one I can agree with, but would be difficult for police to enforce, is ‘driving a car whist wearing flip flops.’ Just think about the thousands of unwary tourists leaving the beach with families!

Torremolinos, in line with other authorities, has said all pet owners must carry a spray to remove any of their pet’s urine from public places. Fines range from 50 to 500 euros!

Brian Hayhurst and wife Elaine

I have just had my second vaccination – Moderna, and with no after effects. Elaine gets her second next week.

And also this week I managed to get the over final hurdle in obtaining the new TIE residents ID card.

Such a long and tedious process but, alas, necessary for getting in and out of this beautiful country freely.

Elaine awaits her fingerprint appointment at the police station. One way of ensuring freedom to travel in and out is to purchase a 500k euro property, pay the excessive legal fees and obtain the ‘Golden Visa’. You can see that Spain wishes to attract some rich and big spending visitors.

A most worrying issue I have previously mentioned is the growing number of empty/unoccupied properties being invaded by illegal squatters.

‘Okupa’ is a title for dreaded squatters who, through organised gangs, are taking over ex-pats’ homes, living there untouched by police with free water, electricity etc, which cannot be turned off!

If somehow the owner gets a case through the court in say six months, they may have to pay a ransom of up to 5,000 euros to the squatters.

READ MORE: Brian Hayhurst on Malta’s hand-out to Brits and the millionaires’ playground

If the intruders are not stopped within 48 hours then the legal route is the only way of resolving the problem. And when the owners finally get possession back they usually find most of the valuables and equipment stolen and the house trashed.

The winners are lawyers, courts, locksmiths and the squatters. The losers are, of course, the owners as heavy-handed eviction is not allowed.

There are more concerts, fundraising for charities and bars re-opening offering the usual fine cuisine and entertainment in stunning locations.

And the much-used boardwalk along much of the Costa coastline is constantly being extended to offer a safe and picturesque way of seaside strolling, with beach bars offering tasty food and beverages.

READ MORE: Brian Hayhurst on mask abuse and the world’s most dangerous walkway

People here are adhering to the mask and sanitise rules, and restaurants are shuffling tables to accommodate the regulars who want to dine. Six to an outside table and mask up for a bathroom visit.

Even Malaga airport is trying to improve air quality and save energy by installing four automated vertical gardens.

It is hoped that the huge green facades will reduce sound reflection, and filter harmful pollutants like carbon dioxide from the air.