A frustrating day on the Internet, trying to sort out a way to purchase and send Christmas gifts. Needed to start by getting ink cartridges for my printer from Cartridges DIrect, but my cash card had to be verified by VISA which would not accept a UK debit card without a UK postcode. VS would also not accept a Spanish debit card because this needs to be ratified by mobile phone to obtain a pass code which is only valid for 24 hours.
I wrote to customer services by email to explain the problem and ask if I could send a cheque. I got an offer of a 10% reduction with a print-off form to send back with the cheque, which would have been fine except that I need the ink cartridges before I can use my printer.
Finally, a lovely lady called Kath phoned me to try to solve my problem. She suggested various online solutions which I had already tried without success but then cut the Gordian knot by taking all the details by phone, including my UK debit card no. Simple and obvious – but it took a woman !
The other orders will be possible by snail mail as soon as I get the ink cartridges to print off the order forms for my Christmas gift and other personal shopping – medical supplies, seeds etc. which I shall do next week.
Meanwhile I have another uniquely Spanish dilemma. The finca next to mine has been neglected for many years and, since it was overgrown and contained much dead wood, was legally a fire hazard. I have been keeping it in order for my own safety and had permission to take the firewood in return, so I arranged with a Spanish friend to take half for himself, if he cut half for me. But he and others have taken most of the wood for themselves or to sell without honouring their promise to bring some for me. I was not too worried, as the boles of the trees remained and would last me for some time. But today I found that someone had already split and carted away another two of the remaining stumps, so I am afraid I helped myself to some of what they had cut (and obviously left to collect later with their tractor and trailer), in lieu of some of what was promised, and left them a message to come and talk to me.
This sort of thing has already happened on another piece of my own land on the opposite side of the railway which is hard for me to access. It does not have a water source, so I simply left it to look after itself and collected the almonds which grew there every autumn.
To my amazement, this spring the plot had been ploughed and the almond trees carted away for much-prized fuel by the man whose tractor had been hired for the work by the owner of an adjacent olive grove. I remonstrated with him and was promised firewood and almonds as recompense, but so far nothing has materialised. I also negotiated to sell him the land which he wanted for equipment access to his own, but it seems I cannot do this as it is still legally part of my own plot which, according to the land registry, cannot be sub-divided, although part was compulsarily purchased (for the value they put on a few olive and almond trees growing there) to build a road and railway across the plot which effectively made it inaccessible.
I shall have to take this up with him again later, but his mother has died suddenly and it is not the time at present. The village is so inter-related that I have been sympathising with two of my language students, the owners of both a farm and a bar and even the postmistress, on their loss.