To obtain the Baja Consular, the British Consulate required five documents … including a Voter Registration Certificate we obtained on March 15.

The paperwork for Customs clearly states that the Certificado  de Empadronamiento must have a later date than the Baja Consular certificate.

We got another Certificado dated April 15.


By the time I made it to the Business Class lounge at O.R. Tambo International Airport on March 28, 2011, clutching my one-way ticket from Johannesburg to Malaga (via Frankfurt), I was ready for all the free champagne I could lay my hands on.

The flight was brilliant; I was on the new A380, sitting upstairs with all the other Business Class plebeians. I didn’t even feel the take-off, and was so pleased that our pets’ first-ever flying experience (assuming/hoping they were somewhere beneath me on the same ‘plane) was so serene.

Husband Kevin was waiting at Malaga airport for my arrival, with friend Paul (and his big van, which could accommodate the animal cages), and we went off to Customs to pick up the two Jack Russells (Dithers and Daisy), and Jerry the cat. There was a long delay there, and a lot of discussion in Spanish about, “Well, the interval between the rabies injections and the titre testing should be 60 days, and you’ve got only 30 days.”

The paperwork/injections schedule had been a nightmare to comprehend … but we ended up getting all of the pets loaded into Paul’s van, and they cried for the next 90 minutes on the drive to Montejaque. They have all settled in now, and are loving the Spanish sun and the long walks on which we take them, morning and night.

Since my arrival on March 29th, we have had a great deal to organise.

The ITV (equivalent of the MOT in the UK; i.e. a certification of soundness) was due on our Ford Ka by March 31st. We were told we would have to make an appointment at the testing station in Ronda. Our appointment was booked for 10 minutes after we arrived there. And the car passed with flying colours, hoorah! Then we went to Vodafone to see if I could re-activate the number of my stolen Spanish mobile ‘phone. Yes, no problem … and no charge. Then we went to the Ford dealer to get a second key for the car. Yes, no problem … done within 20 minutes and only seven Euros. (And everyone says that everything in Spain is manaña)!

The only manaña experience we have had was with the delivery of our IKEA kitchen for the new house. We went to IKEA on the Tuesday to order the cabinets and appliances, and were told they would be delivered to Montejaque on the Friday, sometime ‘during the day’ … and that the delivery people would call when they were near the village.

At 12:30, I got the telephone call: “This is IKEA.”

“Excellent!” I said.

“Not excellent,” he replied. “We have a problem with our lorry, and cannot deliver until tomorrow.”

The build-it-yourself kitchen arrived in the afternoon, and was transported down to the house within an hour by the duper (mini-dumper) in three trips. From Sunday morning until midday on Tuesday, Kevin and I put together cupboards, wall cabinets, chests of drawers, a carousel and a larder cupboard, and built the frames for the oven and microwave, plus a sink unit. After nearly 20 hours of working side-by-side with brackets, screwdrivers and wooden pegs, we knew for sure that IKEA is a four-letter word … along with all the other expletives that we uttered!

On Wednesday, our friend Alan (a cabinet maker) came over to measure up for the counter-tops, plinths and cornices we need – which we then went to buy at IKEA on Thursday. These will be delivered on April 20th … after which, Alan and Kevin will start lining up the cabinets, and Alan will cut and install the countertops and hang all the cupboard doors.

Meanwhile, Cristobal’s team of three ladies are doing a fantastic job of painting the walls and ceilings. As soon as they’re finished, and have cleaned the house from top to bottom, the electrician will come to install light fittings.

Then we just have to wait for our 40-foot container of furniture from South Africa, which is scheduled to arrive in Cadiz on May 1st, to be transported to Malaga a couple of days’ later, and to be trucked up to Montejaque on or around May 7th … by which time, Kevin will have returned to Johannesburg to work out his last month with Michelin; so I will co-ordinate the delivery and placement of the furniture, pictures, curtain rails, etc. in time for his return on May 26th.

Whilst still in Johannesburg, we were made aware of the paperwork that would be required to clear our shipment through customs in Cadiz. The most difficult to obtain was the ‘Change of Residence’ certificate, which had to be issued by the British Embassy/Consulate, and which would state that we had not lived in the E.U. in the past 12 months; otherwise, we would be liable for 18% import duty on the declared value of our shipment. The Consulate in Pretoria refused to provide this certificate (we later found out it could only be obtained once we had arrived in Spain).

Thanks to Cristobal, who scanned and sent them to us via e-mail, we were able to get all of the other documents, including: a Certificado de Empadronamiento; a letter from our bank to confirm the validity of Kevin’s signature; a copy of Kevin’s N.I.E. (identity document); and a certified copy of his passport. After obtaining the Baja Consular, and before sending the documents to the moving company’s agent in Cadiz, we asked Cristobal to verify we had the correct paperwork.

“According to the instructions, the Certificado has to be dated later than the issuance of the Baja Consular,” he said.

“But we couldn’t get the Baja Consular without the certificate,” I told him.

“No problem,” he replied, “I will get you a new one, dated the day after you went to the Consulate.”

(I bless the day this wonderful man came into our lives … and I feel sorry for anyone who has had to deal with this bureaucracy without their own ‘Cristobal’).


Despite all the running around we have done, we have also found time to play …

We’ve been to a birthday party, had lunches, drinks and tapas with friends, enjoyed dinners at El Elefante Amarillo in Montejaque, and attended a book signing at Molino del Santo in Benoajan Estacion – the author of the book, Tony Bishop (who also lives in Montejaque), has written a comprehensive guide to some 30 half-day walks in the area. (No, we haven’t had a chance to go on any of them yet!)

I was also invited to attend the monthly GITs (Guadiaro Independent Traders) meeting, which was followed by a quiz night at El Gecko in Cortes … and our team won, knocking into second place the chap who had won all of the previous quiz nights! I hope Karl, Paul, Stuart and Judy will join me again next month to defend our title.

I also hope there’s a question about the paperwork required to import your goods duty-free into Spain … I’ve got the answer to that in both Spanish and English, and can also precede it with all the four-letter words uttered during our IKEA kitchen-building experience.

Subscribe to the Olive Press


  1. IKEA in Malaga is like a little lost world of bliss and normality. The Spanish must truly wonder why their own country cannot be run like an IKEA store. Enter the doors and you are whisked into an alternative reality called “a properly run business”.

    Here the people actually phone YOU with updates, offer haggle-free refunds and no-questions-asked replacements. The floors are cleaned, the windows are polished, the staff are well trained and offer excellent customer service. Even IKEAs food, which is as cheap as chips, is better than 95% of the restaurants in Spain.

    Perhaps IKEA could take over Spain’s government?

  2. Fred, one can’t say the same for IKEA Jerez. It started out with a bang as “properly run business”, but that did not last. We were not surprised. It’s in a state of slow-motion chaos every time I have been recently. For my last visit they especially laid on rows and rows of dead and brown plants in the gardening section, just to demonstrate what happens when you can’t be bothered to water. The place just looks like a disorganised mess most of the time. Even the restaurant can’t be bothered to open on time or offer any of the things they promise.

  3. That’s a shame, the Malaga one seems to be run far better. Time to take some photos and put it on the blogs methinks. The management might take notice then. Spain is not consistent, unfortunately.

    I noticed at IKEA Malaga that the Spanish just come in for the food lol.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.