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.

On top of the current hurdles to surmount when considering a Spanish holiday, another potential nightmare MAY have to be considered if you are going to stay with your folks here.

A somewhat overlooked requirement set out by the 26 Schengen countries in Europe is the ‘Carta de Invitacion’ – Letter of Invitation, which MAY be asked for prior to boarding a plane for your holiday.

And with the number of groups turned away recently at the airport gates, people have now this added dilemma, as the letter may take up to two months to obtain. I put the word MAY in capital letters as MAY is the operative word.

Laid out in the UKgov website it informs travellers to get their hosts to start long before the trip to get the letter.

READ MORE: Catch up with Brian’s previous columns right here

This was brought to our attention by a young lady, Jane, who works at a local restaurant hoping to bring her mother over, as she has done dozens of times to stay with her for a couple of weeks.

Jane now, to get this letter, has to download a form (in Spanish), negotiate for a nightmare appointment at her local police station, take the completed form along with…wait for it…copies of both passports and Jane’s original, her rental agreement or deeds if an owner, where mum is to stay, updated ‘Padron’ – Town Hall Registration, resident cards, phone and email details etc!

She then has to pay the admin fee of 74.31 euros at a bank and wait for the letter to be processed, which could take 20 days.

IF approved and an appointment arranged to collect, the letter has to be posted to her mum, ready for presentation at the airport.

Any added guests must pay an extra 7 euros each, and they all must have a return ticket along with sufficient money to live on whilst here – 95 euros per night.

So, do you risk it and just hope you are not asked for the Carta or go through this palaver? Jane is seriously considering a cheap Air B&B and collecting her mum to take her home. Here people are waiting to see if the Spanish government adopt this EU ruling.

It is not clear what happens if the letter is lost in the post. And what about backpackers and the growing number of motor home travellers…Answers on a postcard please!

Elaine Hayhurst finds a new friend at the donkey sanctuary

In less serious news, Elaine and I visited a local donkey rescue centre last week – ‘Donkey Dreamland’, tucked away in the hills above La Cala.

The open day was attended by lots of interested people who were taken around the now, full to capacity paddocks, and shown the amazing work being done by a dedicated army of volunteers. Some of these adorable donkeys have been desperately mistreated in the past. It’s lovely to see them wander into the seating area and enjoy human contact.

Following the speed restrictions imposed throughout Spain, we have many friends who, like us, are now watching their speedos whilst driving. This distraction could eventually cause accidents. How ironic.

Hey-ho, the sun is shining in the bright blue sky. Bye for now.