Proper Gran Canaria Jobs: English Teaching Jobs In Vecindario

Operations manager and PA to MD: Jobs available in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Operations manager and PA to MD: Jobs available in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

An established language academy based in Vecindario is looking for two teachers; One full-time position and the other part time.

Here’s the description…

The English Centre in Vecindario has 2 positions available for Native English Teachers from 3rd October 2016: One full-time, teaching children and teens in the afternoons and evenings, and the other part-time, teaching young children twice a week in the afternoons.  Please contact Gordon on 696953092.


Proper Gran Canaria Jobs: Operations manager and PA to MD

Operations manager and PA to MD: Jobs available in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Operations manager and PA to MD: Jobs available in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

A Gran Canaria-based website and app development company is looking for two people to fill positions in their Las Palmas offices. The jobs are for native English speakers and you need to be comfortable in a startup atmosphere and web-savvy.

Here’s the description of the two jobs: Read More


The Guru Guide To Making A Spanish Will In Gran Canaria

Why you must make a will in Gran Canaria and how to go about it
Dying as a foreign resident in Spain without a valid will is a wildly inconsiderate thing to do as it leaves your family and inheritors mired in bureaucracy at the worst possible time. 
Spanish inheritance law is spectacularly illiberal and controls exactly who you can leave your assets to when you pop your flip flops.

Here’s how it works …

When you die, your assets are divided into thirds.

  • One-third goes to the kids. Each one gets an equal share.
  • Another third also goes to the children, but you get to decide how much you leave to each one. However, a surviving spouse gets dibs on this third while they are alive.
  • The last third of your assets is yours to give away as you please.
  • If parents survive their children, the resulting pie chart of shares is incomprehensible.

If your assets consist of cash and shares, it’s easy enough to divvy them up. However, as most people in Spain invest in property, dying almost always causes problems.

For example, what if granny won’t move out of a big house even if the grandkids want to go to university and their parents can’t afford it? And does anyone have the contact detail for that long-lost brother in Venezuela?

Fortunately, foreign residents can avoid the whole issue.

The benefits of dying as a foreigner in Spain

The Ley de Herederos Forzosos applies to Spanish nationals and foreign residents. However, guiris can avoid it by making a Spanish will that specifies that they want their estate to be governed by their home country’s rules.

This is why it’s now essential to make a will if you are resident in Spain and don’t want the Spanish state to decide what you can do with two-thirds of your estate.

NOTE: The law changed in 2015 so you now have to specify that you want your home country’s rules to apply to your estate. Prior to 2015, it was automatic.

Source article (in Spanish).

A Spanish will is essential for most Gran Canaria residents

If you’re here as a teacher, rent a flat and spend all your spare money on rum, you don’t need a will. But as soon as you buy a property, get married or breed, you do.

Buy you can’t just scribble down a few instructions and then forget about it; Spanish will-making is as complex as you’d expect.

To start with, there are three types of will.

The three types of Spanish will

  • Testamento abierto: An open will and the most common type. It must be drawn up by a lawyer or notary, witnessed, and a copy registered with the central repository of wills in Madrid.
  • Testamento cerrado: A secret will that is registered by a notary but remains sealed. This kind of will is popular with pirates and vindictive pensioners.
  • Testamento ólografo: A verbal or handwritten will. Verbal wills must be witnessed by at least five people (only three during an epidemic) who then have to tell a notary what you said after you die (and agree with each other). A handwritten will is much simpler as it doesn’t need witnesses or a notary. Once you die, however, a handwritten will has to be verified and this can take time.

Make a will in Gran Canaria: Just go to a lawyer or notary

As you may have gathered, it’s best to get decent advice before you die and blight your family’s life for a generation. The easiest way is to go to a Spanish lawyer in Spain (one who speaks your language) and get them to draw up a testamento abierto or testamento ólografo (which you need to write out by hand; isn’t this fun).

A basic open will doesn’t cost more than 50 euros to get signed, stamped and registered at a notary in Gran Canaria.

Tips on dying neatly in Spain

Consider funeral insurance, which means that someone else deals with the paperwork and haggles with predatory funeral providers on your family’s behalf.

Have a separate will if you own property or assets outside Spain. For example, if you own a British property, it’s best to have a British will that covers it.

Don’t nominate an executor in your Spanish will unless you are advised to by a lawyer. In many cases it confuses things and makes the whole process far more expensive.

Inheritance tax in Gran Canaria

Here’s some good news; the direct families of most Gran Canaria residents and even non-resident property owners  in the Canary Islands get a rebate of 99.9% of the inheritance tax due. This applies to EU and EEA citizens (and Brits for now). See this detailed article for more details.

This exemption became law in 2016 for two reasons…

Other areas of Spain offered the rebate and lots of Spanish people and wily foreigners were moving their money to more generous autonomias to avoid paying inheritance tax.

Inheritance tax in Spain must be paid before the assets are released and many people simply couldn’t afford to inherit.

So, in summary, you will make a will in Gran Canaria, won’t you? Yes, you WILL!

Read More


7 Reasons We Love TV Mucho & You Will Too

TV MUcho gives you high quality and legal UK television anywhere in the world

TV Mucho is the best way we know to get UK television in Gran Canaria and here’s why…

It takes seconds to install

TV Mucho comes in a box and all you do is plug it into your television and your internet. The whole process takes a minute and you’ll be watching your favourite program before you can say “me gusta mucho”.

Founder Vincent Weberink designed the whole system with his mother-in-law in mind. It was only ready for the market when it was easy enough for her to use.

There are no dishes, cables or gizmos

The TV Mucho box looks like a Discman (remember them?) and comes with one cable to connect it to your TV and one for power. To be precise, it’s 12,85 x 12,85 x 3 centimetres.

All you do is connect it to your internet supply via Wifi or cable and that’s it.

You can get rid of all those yellow and red cables that connect the laptop to the TV and forget about the satellite dish on the roof.

All you need to get UK TV is a tiny TV Mucho box.

TV Mucho is completely legal

You can get UK TV online of course, but the quality is patchy, it’s probably illegal and the sites that stream it are riddled with spyware and dodgy links.

With TV Mucho you avoid all this aggro because the whole system is completely legal. The company has negotiated broadcast rights with all the channels you get and beams them to your TV set from a data centre in Switzerland.

Watch TV on your TV

How many times have you given up watching a program because it kept freezing, or because the sound was out of sync with the images?  Forget pixellated images and endless buffering; with TV Mucho you get great quality TV right on your main television screen with no delay.

It’s cheap as chips

TV Mucho costs just 10 euros per month and you can stop and start the service whenever you want.

You get all your British TV favourites on your television for about 25 pence per day.

You can take it anywhere

The TV Mucho box works anywhere so you can use it in Gran Canaria or anywhere else in Spain, then take it on holiday anywhere in the world.

All you need to watch TV Mucho is a television and an internet connection.

New channels all the time

Right now you get all the most popular UK channels like the BBCs, ITVs, Channel 4 & 5 and TV Mucho is adding new channels all the time.

Try it now

TV Mucho are offering a free trial to 50 people in Gran Canaria. Just fill in this form and you get to be one of the first people in the world to get UK TV in a box. Or visit the TV Mucho website for more info.


Legal Expat TV Now Live Across Spain

TV Mucho Expat TV is a new and completely legal way to watch Beritish television in Spain

 

Ever wished you could watch British TV in Gran Canaria any time you wanted? Legally, and without any complicated hookups or dodgy websites?

Well, now you can, thanks to Gran Canaria-based pioneers TV Mucho.

TV Mucho’s home television box just plugs into any television and internet (wifi and cable) and gives you instant access to al the top British TV stations.

We’ve been testing TV Mucho for a week and we can say that it works perfectly.

The picture you get is high quality and the system is fast and really easy to use. It takes two minutes to set up and all works via a simple remote control.

Testers Needed

It’s taken two years for TV Mucho to negotiate legal rights to show British TV abroad and to develop a system that is easy to install and use.

Now, TV Mucho are about to launch their service across Spain and Europe. After seeing it in action, we think the world of expat TV is about to change forever.

These guys are the Spotify of television.

But before the launch, TV Mucho want to be absolutely sure that their system works perfectly so they are asking for 50 Gran Canaria resident volunteers to test TV Mucho boxes for a week.

The TV Mucho Trial has now ended and was a huge success. You can buy TV Mucho boxes from the website


Mucho TV: The Spotify OF Expat Television

TV Mucho Expat TV is a new and completely legal way to watch Beritish television in Spain

When was the last time you downloaded a song from a dodgy file sharing site? It’s been a while, right?

There’s just no need to do it anymore.

With legal music sites like Spotify, why fill your device with viruses and spyware just to listen to a song? It’s far easier nd safer to pay a few euros per month for unlimited and completely legal music.

The same goes for films and TV series. You can risk finding online, or just sign up for Netflix and watch whatever you want.

But what about television?

Somehow the internet revolution forgot television.

It’s always been difficult to get good quality British TV online.

Okay, you can watch television online, but it’s a faff, often terrible quality, and hosted on websites that try and trick you into clicking on dangerous links.

And it always fails when you most want to watch something.

And, of course, it’ one thing squinting at Eastenders on a laptop and quite another to watch it on your television.

The expat TV revolution is here

Just like Spotify revolutionised music and Netflix radically altered the way we watch films, change is coming to expat TV in Spain.

And this time, the revolution WILL be televised! In your living room.

TV Mucho: Watch British TV the safe, easy & legal way

TV Mucho is a revolutionary new way to plug British television into any TV anywhere in the world.

It works, it’s legal and it’s simple to set up and use.

TV Mucho comes in a box and all you have to do is plug it into your television and the internet. The setup takes two minutes and you get all your favourite UK channels straight away.

Channels including BBC 1, BBC 2, the ITVs, Channel 4, Film4, BBC news, Sky News, Channel 5, CBeebies and CBBC.

And you can take your TV Mucho box anywhere in the world and have British TV on tap (well, on television).

I want British TV at home right now

Welcome to the television revolution. Go to the TV Mucho website right now and order your box.

It costs just €79 and price includes six months of free UK TV. After that, all you pay is €10 per month.


The Guru Guide To Surviving Gran Canaria Kid’s Parties

Kid's birthday parties in Gran CanariaThe Hum is an ultra-low frequency sound that drives people crazy around the world. Its origins are a mystery unless you’ve ever been to a kid’s birthday party in Gran Canaria.

As a Guiri parent of small children in Gran Canaria, you get excited the first time they are invited to a local birthday party. It’s a sign that the sprogs are fitting in at school and that their parents want to get to know you.

If you’re lucky, you end up at an outdoor asadero where the kids roam free and the parents get on with the most venerable of Canarian traditions; eating, drinking and talking too much all at the same time.

Unfortunately, most children’s parties in Gran Canaria happen at an entertainment barn known as a centro de ocio, ludoteca or jugadero. On paper, they offer everything needed for the perfect birthday party experience for child and adult alike; large play areas, entertainment, plenty of food and drink, BAR, etc.

Imagine sitting on comfy sofas sipping a cold drink and chatting while the kids are whisked away to a playground so vast and fascinating that they stay for hours. They finally emerge full of healthy food and surrounded by friends.

It’s so much fun that you all come back the next week even though it isn’t anyone’s birthday.

Hahaha! Just like the Hum, this perfect party venue is probably imaginary.

And the reality of kiddie parties in Gran Canaria is grim.

Death by party?

With one of the world’s sunniest climates, why are most birthday parties in Gran Canaria celebrated in dingy bunkers?

And why is forced out of dodgy speakers at 120 decibels?

And does it have to be dodgy salsa? Every time?  For three hours!?

And is there really no alternative to tortilla, white bread sandwiches, and crisps?

The hum explained

As a kiddie party get into full swing, the music, screams and shouting reverberate and amplify.  The sound distorts and grows until you feel like you’re at a rave inside a car ferry halfway across the Bay of Biscay. During a hurricane.

When scientists get round to studying the Hum, they’ll find that it starts in Gran Canaria’s birthday venues and spreads around the world. It’s not aliens that are driving us mad, it’s the Macarena.

Grin and bear it?

You’re probably thinking “oh, come on, it can’t be that bad”, or “just grin and bear it, for the kiddies”.

And yes, you can maintain a polite conversation around a bowl of crisps and a warm Coke. And the kids will eventually get so exhausted that they’ll sleep through the effects of the junk food and lurid sweeties.

Unless you’re unlucky and it’s your sprog that sustains a serious injury in the ball pit, or tantrums out and has to be dragged away in hysterics. There’s always one!

The mathematics of survival

Anyone can survive a party, but let’s do some maths here.

Each child is in a class of 20 and gets invited to at least 15 birthday parties per year. That’s more than one party per month. For 10 years.

If you have two or (god help you) three kids, the maths gets terrifying.

Just go to the beach

We live on an island with one of the world’s best climates. It’s warm enough to have an outdoor party almost every day of the year.

So please, when it’s your little Juan’s turn to host a party, hold it on the beach, or in a park, or a plaza.

But not at Katapum. Please god, not at Katapum!


The Guru Guide To Gran Canaria Driving Licences

Everything you need to know about the Gran Canaria driving licence renewal and swapping

Everything you need to know about the process of renewing  or swapping a Gran Canaria driving licence

Renewing a Spanish driving licence in Gran Canaria is now a simple procedure. All you need is to pass a few simple medical tests.

You don’t even have to visit Las Palmas or go to Tráfico as the whole process is handled by the medical centres that do the tests. Most aren’t that busy and you can walk in and get it done on the spot.

Where are the medical centres?

There’s at least one medical centre doing the tests in every big town on the island

There’s a full list of recognised medical centres on Tráfico’s website, but it covers the whole of Spain and is  485 pages long. Tráfico also has a printed list at the information desk.

Just Google it!

What do I need to take?

Your old driving licence, passport and residencia paper. You don’t need a photo as the medical centre takes it for you (check this with the centre in advance).

What’s in the medical test?

Nothing too strenuous: To pass, you have to answer a few questions about your health and lifestyle, then play a computer game a for a couple of minutes. Don’t worry if you get a lot of beeps during the game as almost everyone passes.

Then, you do a hearing and simple sight test, answer more questions and have your blood pressure measured.

That’s it. The medical centre then submits the application for a new licence for you.

Do I get my new licence straight away?

No, you get an A4 piece of paper that is valid for three months (but isn’t valid outside Spain). Your licence is sent by post and should arrive in less than six weeks. It’s worth making sure that the address that Tráfico has on file is the right one (ask at the medical centre).

If your new licence hasn’t arrived within three months, go to tráfico and tell them.

How long is the new licence valid for?

A new Spanish standard driving licence (Clase B) is valid for 10 years provided that you are under 65.

For over-65s, your licence is valid for five years.

How much does it cost to renew a Gran Canaria driving licence?

The medical test costs €35-60 euros depending on the medical centre. The ones right by Tráfico in Las Palmas seem to be the most expensive.

You also have to pay €23.50 to tráfico for your licence but the medical centre handles the payment so you don’t have to go to a bank.

Can I renew a Spanish licence that has run out?

Yes.  You can just go to a medical centre and get it renewed.

Do I need to change to a Spanish licence?

European law changed in 2013 and all foreign residents (EU; EEA) in Spain now have to change to a Spanish licence once their national licence runs out. If you have a national licence that is valid for more than 15 years or valid indefinitely, you have to change it for a Spanish licence within two years of becoming resident in Spain.

NOTE: There’s been a lot of confusion about this rule, with Tráfico saying one thing and police another.

However, Tráfico is now telling all EU and EEA residents that they have to get a Spanish licence once their national one runs out, or within two years of becoming resident if their national licence is valid for more than 15 years.

Any Brits wondering how Brexit affects their British licence won’t get much sympathy from Tráfico. Their advice was to change licences now just in case Britain leaves the EU completely.

How do I change to a Spanish licence?

The procedure takes two trips to Tráfico. On the first visit, you hand in all your paperwork. Tráfico then checks your licence with your home government. Then it sends you a letter and you go back to hand over your licence. You get a temporary licence and your Spanish licence arrives by post within six weeks (if you’re lucky).

Allow at least six months for the entire procedure.

To start the ball rolling you need the following…

An appointment booked on the Tráfico website here: You can’t just rock up and do it on the spot. Make sure you apply for a cita previa for “canjes de permisos de conducción europeos”.

  • This form, filled in
  • Your NIF or NIE (original and photocopy)
  • Your passport (original and photocopy)
  • Your current licence: It needs to be valid (original and photocopy)
  • A 32 x 26 mm photo showing your face (no sunglasses, hats, etc)
  • One more piece of paper that you don’t have. This one is compulsory.

The procedure costs €27.70 and you can pay by card in Tráfico (it no longer accepts cash for any procedure or fine payment).

See this English Tráfico form for more details.

Over 65s may need a medical test to change over to a Spanish licence.

Non-EU citizens

For non-EU and EEA citizens of countries with recognised licences, see this informative form.

Citizens of Japan, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Monaco and Andorra, see this form. You need to do the health tests to swap your licence for a Spanish one.

Citizens of other countries, see this form, then go to Tráfico and ask.


The Guru Guide To Gran Canaria Schools And Education

Guide to Gran Canaria schools for expats

Guide to Gran Canaria schools for expats

So, you’re moving to Gran Canaria with the kids in tow and wondering about schools. Here’s our Guru guide to Gran Canaria schools and education.

Choosing a Gran Canaria school

The first decision you have to make about Gran Canaria schools is what type of school you want the kids to go to.

If you’re moving to Gran Canaria permanently, it may make sense to put the kids in a school where they meet and interact with local children and learn about Canarian life.

If you are on the island for a work contract, chucking the kids into the State system for a couple of years may not be the way to go.

Another important consideration is budget. The international Gran Canaria schools are expensive, especially if you earn a Canarian salary. But to a certain extent you get what you pay for. Especially if you want your kids to go to a foreign university.

Most of the options beyond local state schools are in and around Las Palmas city.

Here’s a guide to the main schools in Gran Canaria.

International schools

Gran Canaria’s big four English-language international schools are the British School, Canterbury, Oakley College and the American School. The first three focus on a British-style education while the last does things Yank-style (and has igloos instead of classrooms).

All have decent reputations and charge like they know it. Expect to pay 600 euros per month per sprog, plus extra for transport, food, uniforms, etc. They provide a decent education and modern teaching methods but don’t be surprised if class sizes are higher than they are in expensive private schools elsewhere.

If teacher happiness is a measure of a school’s quality, then the big four do well as their staff tend to be loyal and to stick around for years.

The big four international Gran Canaria schools are all based on the outskirts of Las Palmas about 15-minutes drive from the centre. The British and Canterbury also have infant schools in the south so the little ones don’t have to slog up the motorway every day.

The Canterbury and Oakley are for-profit schools while the British School is a foundation.

Then there’s the Heidelberg and the Deutsche Schule focusing on German, and the Liceo Francés de Gran Canaria doing French.

Anita Conrad School in Las Palmas goes all-in with a trilingual education in English, Spanish and German.

Since Gran Canaria’s Norwegian colony is based in the south, the Norwegian school is in Patalavaca.

 

Bilingual schools

Schools like the Hispano-Ingles and Colegio Arenas offer bilingual education for people who can’t quite make the full international school fees or want their kids to have more of a grounding in the Spanish education system.

While many parents are happy with them, English teacher turnover is higher than it should be. They have a bit of a reputation for asking for long hours and for having large classes.

In south Gran Canaria, Colegio Almas teaches lessons in Spanish, German and Chinese. Colegio Arenas also has a south school.

See this complete list of bilingual schools in the Canary Islands.

Concertados

A step up from state schools, colegios concertados are funded by the state but run by private organisations (in many cases the Catholic church or orders of nuns). They receive the same amount of money per pupil as a state school and then try and find innovative ways of getting more (everything from fundraising BBQs to extra charges for bilingual classes and online pupil reports).

Most concertados manage to offer a decent education and cost parents about 1000 euros per year in assorted fees, plus extra for uniforms, after-school classes, and food.

Examples of concertado schools in Gran Canaria include Claret,  Maria Auxiliadora Salesianas, and Teresianas. They are run by the Catholic church but have to follow the Spanish curriculum when it comes to things like evolution, etc. However, they are religious schools and can be a little heavy on the Jesus stuff.

Públicos

Spanish state schools vary from the grisly to the decent, depending on location and on how they are run. They offer the Spanish curriculum and most still focus on remembering stuff rather than being creative. To assess the colegios públicos in your area, ask the locals and other foreign residents. And make sure you get your application in on time (see below).

Note that while public schools are free, you do have to pay for school books and equipment. Order the books as early as possible as textbook publishing in Spain is a complete racket and there’s always a slight shortage to panic everyone into not noticing how expensive they are.

Montessori schools in Gran Canaria

The alternative crowd in Gran Canaria clamoured for Montessori schools for years and then a load opened up, at least for young kids. There’s the Montessori Gran Canaria in Vegueta, the Ludus and Escuela Montessori in Tafira, and the Casa de los Niños in Arucas.

Homeschooling in Gran Canaria

Homeschooling is in a legal grey area in Spain. The constitution guarantees freedom of education but all children must attend a school from the age of six. Some foreign residents do ignore the law, but the authorities can a dim view of it. It’s only recognised officially in Catalunya.

Se this article for more details.

There’s a Spanish homeschooling community on Facebook.

Nursery schools in Gran Canaria

There are lots of private nursery schools in Gran Canaria but the quality varies. Some sell themselves as early learning centres, some focus on Montessori-style activities, and some are basically daycare barns. The best way to research them is to ask both locals and foreign parents for referrals. Nurseries in Gran Canaria are cheap compared to most European countries.

Applying to Gran Canaria schools

The island’s international and bilingual schools are easy to get into provided you can stump up the cash. It can be harder to get older kids into a particular international school as they are popular and spaces don’t open up that often.

The bilinguals will always find a way to jam an extra kid into a class.

Overall, it’s harder to get kids into popular concertados and públicos than into the private schools. You are competing with lots of budget-conscious local parents who all want the best for their Juans and Marias.

Admission to state schools and concertados is via a points system where your address, financial situation and all sorts of other esoteric details count. You have to choose three schools in order of preference, then hope for the best. The closer you live to your school of choice the better but be careful with putting a relative’s address as popular schools do check.

There’s an official application season for state and concertado schools; it’s called the matrícula. The dates are announced on the Consejeria de Educación website and vary depending on age group.

Miss it at your peril!

In 2016, the matrícula for infantil and primaria (3-12 years olds) was June 10-20. For secundaria and bachillerato, the 2016 matrícula was in May.

School hours

There’s a lot of variety with some schools starting at 08.00 and others at 09.00. They break up at 13.00, 14.00 or 15.00. Most state and concertado schools have breakfast clubs and after school food (comedor) and activities (actividades extraescolares) to help parents working split shifts. These are pretty affordable.

School holidays

The Canarian school year starts around the 10th of September and is divided into three terms.

Christmas holidays don’t start until the 23rd or 24th of December but go on until at least the 7th of January after Reyes. School lasts until June, but the exact break-up date depends on age and the school.

Schools all take off official Spanish and Canarian fiestas and also have a few days a year that they can choose as holidays. Often they use them to make a Tuesday or Thursday fiesta into a long weekend.

Written by Laura Leyshon: Las Palmas’ resident property and relocation Guru.


Guru Guide To Gran Canaria Pest Control

Pest control in Gran Canaria

Pest control in Gran Canaria

As a hot place Gran Canaria has its share of household pests but none of them are dangerous. Here’s the Guru’s guide to getting rid of everything from woodworm to Jehovah’s Witnesses. 

Big cockroaches

Known as American cockroaches, the big brown cockroaches you get in Gran Canaria get everywhere but rarely in numbers. Most of the time you find one or two in a flat. If you find lots, there’s somewhere warm and safe where they are hiding.

Check manholes, pump rooms, inside double plant pots, etc.

The best way to kill one is with a shoe. It’s quicker than chasing them around with a can of insecticide. That whole myth about the eggs spreading if you squash a cockroach is nonsense ( trust me, I’m a zoologist).

To keep them out of the house, buy a persistent spray and spray entry points like doors and windows. Also, give plugholes a quick blast as cucas love hiding in pipes. Use bleach on kitchen surfaces and clear away all food remains at night.

People often advise using boric acid to kill cockroaches, but it hasn’t worked for us. They just seem to eat it and get bigger.

Remember Alf?

Adult cucas can fly perfectly well, but only do so on warm nights.

Little cockroaches

If you find lots of little cockroaches in your kitchen, you have a problem. Known as German cockroaches (although the Germans blame them on the Russians), these little monsters live in colonies behind kitchen cabinets and fridges and are remarkably persistent.

Either get the fumigators in or prepare for a long campaign of persistent insecticide and sticky traps (look in Chinese supermarkets).

Mosquitos

Gran Canaria mosquitos don’t carry diseases but they are a pain. The best way to keep them out is with gauze blinds but this is tricky with aluminium windows.

Instead, use the plugins that release a smell that mozzies don’t like. Use the ones with a phial of liquid and you get a mozzie-free month for about three euros.

Read this Gran Canaria Info article for more tips on mozzie control,

Woodworm

Known as carcoma, woodworm just love the warm conditions in Gran Canaria and turn solid wood doors and picture frames into powder in just a few years. Look out for woodworm pooh on your windowsills and by doors (it looks like sand).

Treat affected areas with a specialist carcoma spray from a ferreteria. Repeat several times.

Giant woodworm

If you have a pine door, ceiling or verandah, look out for giant holes up to a centimetre across. You may also hear grinding sounds at night that stop when you tap on the wood.

Holes and noises mean your pine is infested with longhorn beetle larvae and is doomed without treatment. Blast any holes with carcoma spray and if any of the wood feels soft, get an expert to look at it. With time, longhorn grubs can eat through even the thickest pine support beams.

Termites

Termites aren’t as common as woodworm in Gran Canaria but sometimes infest wood beams that are in contact with the ground. Use specialist sprays and get an expert to check support beams.

Ants

Black ants about two millimetres long tend to come in from outside in search of food (especially sweet stuff). Keep sugar and all perishable food in sealed containers and zap any ant trails with persistent insecticide (hide the cat first).

But first, follow the trail back to its source and dump a kettle of boiling water down the holes.

If you find tiny, golden ants about a millimetre long, you have pharaoh ants. They seem to love toothbrushes and Lyles Golden Syrup.

Pharaoh ants are a pain as they seem to survive most treatments. Hygiene and insect sprays keep them at bay.

Lizards

Gran Canaria’s giant lizards (up to 80 centimetres long) are an endemic and heavily protected species and you aren’t meant to touch them.

That said, if there’s one in your living room or stuck in the bath, just poke it into a bucket with a broom and chuck it over the fence into the neighbour’s place.

Never pick a lizard up by the tail as it’ll fall off and thrash about while the lizard leaves a trail of blood on the carpet.

Big ones bite. Hard!

Geckos

Geckos are harmless and eat mosquitos. If you have one in the house feel privileged and don’t spray the room with insecticide.

Mice

Everyone who lives on the ground floor gets a mouse in the end. Often you’ll find chewed up newspaper along with droppings and a musty smell. Gran Canaria mice aren’t all that bright and walk straight into traps baited with a square of Cadbury’s dairy milk.

It’s fine to use sticky traps to catch mice. It’s not fine to throw the trap in the bin without putting the mouse out of its misery first.

Jehovah’s Witnesses & their ilk

This is one is mercifully simple. It’s illegal to go door-to-door in Spain peddling religion. If you find God-botherers on your doorstep just invite them in, lock the door, and phone the police. They will escape out of the window and won’t come back.

Or just tell them that what they are doing is illegal and watch them scarper.

Alex Bramwell