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Spiralling compensation culture in Benidorm

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The CEO of Thomas Cook, one of the UK’s leading tour operators has admitted that action needs to be taken to clamp down on the false compensation culture which is costing the industry millions of pounds. Cowboy firms actively encourage tourists to make false claims of food poisoning, promising to reclaim the entire cost of the family holiday – something which is unique to British holidaymakers. HOSBEC, the Hoteliers Association in Benidorm said that they do not have this problem with any other nationality – only the British that come on packages through a tour operator, namely Jet2, Tui, Thomas Cook and Monarch. In one year the claims rose from 1,000 to 10,000 – an absolutely bewildering statistic.

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Benidorm Series 10 castings

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Eager fans hopeful to be cast as extra’s in the forthcoming ITV comedy series Benidorm queued up anxiously outside the Hotel Melia in Benidorm this morning. Filming of series 10 – rumoured to be the very last, is due to commence next month – although no specific date has yet been confirmed publicly. Those overseeing the castings were too frightened to even utter a word without a written say so from London – somewhat paranoid behavior! Good luck to all those that attended this morning – the afternoon session is from 4pm until 7:30pm

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Benidorm 9 airing in March

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The time has nearly arrived for parts of the resort to be turned into a film set as Tiger Aspect are back in town for what is rumored to be the very last ever series of the ITV comedy series Benidorm. Some will be breathing a sigh of relief at that news but rather like marmite, you either love it or hate it. Series 9, which was filmed here last year will hit our screens on Wednesday March 1 – 9pm in UK and 10pm here in Spain. The usual suspects will be back including Jack Canuso – Mateo; Janine Duvitski – Jacqueline; Tony Maudsley – camp crimper Kenneth; Johnny Vegas, Elsie Kelly and Selina Griffith who make up the Maltby family; Danny Walters and side kick Nathan Bryon – Tiger and Joey and of course Sherrie Hewson, the harassed Solana manager Joyce Temple-Savage.

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British Bookie in Benidorm

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An extraordinary achievement has been made here by an expat - the very first LEGAL British run bookmaker in the whole of Spain is to open in Benidorm, which unsurprisingly, is called the “British Bookie”! Everyone who lives here knows the difficulty and complications involved in getting any kind of paperwork sorted, whether it be applying for an NIE number, Spanish driving license or residencia. So multiply that a hundred fold and you can just begin to imagine what Kath and Peter – the proud owners of the British Bookie, located next to the Gallowgate Bar have been through these last months… and to think they left Glasgow to come and take it easy!

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Living the Dream in Benidorm - or not

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With the current series of Bargain Loving Brits in the Sun, you’d be forgiven for thinking that every British expat that moved to Benidorm lived on a caravan site – a complaint I have heard many times from those settled here. Villamar always features regularly, although in last week’s episode, La Toretta made an appearance for the first time. The name of the program certainly implies that it is a bargain to live there and you would be forgiven for thinking it is full of last chance types scrapping by on their last euros. If you are looking for a cheap lifestyle then campsites are certainly not that... as I discovered.

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The Angels from Bargain Loving Brits TV

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The new series of Bargain-Loving Brits in the Sun is back on Channel 5 and last weeks episode featured two selfless expats – Linda Soler and Priscilla Pearce and their mission to save abandoned dogs and rehome them. There has been an incredible amount of people asking about these two wonderful ladies and the work that they do here in Benidorm, so I met up with them over the weekend to find out more. It was Cilla's idea to approach the television company, purely to raise awareness and interest in their cause… and it has certainly done that. The response has been phenomenal and following the program gained an extra 300 members on their Facebook group in one day – social media is a huge platform for them… mission accomplished!

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Eco-Vida...Helping the homeless in Benidorm

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Whilst we are snuggled up in our warm homes or apartments, looking out excitedly at the hailstones falling in Benidorm at the moment – or yesterday’s snow across Calpe, Javea and beyond, spare a thought for those that do not have that luxury… the homeless. Temperatures have plummeted over the last few days and that prompted Martin Kyme, President of Eco-Vida and his volunteers to reach out, to the often forgotten of our society. They went out - yesterday to Benidorm and today in Alicante, searching out for people sleeping in doorways, abandoned building and under bridges where they handed out blankets, food and hot drinks… all of whom where so appreciative. Many were just happy to have someone to chat to for a bit and receive some dry blankets in this awful weather.

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Costa del Snow!

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We heard the weather warnings but laughed… until waking up this morning that is! Yes it really was snowing along the Costa Blanca – not much in Benidorm, although if you check out the forecast for tomorrow it shows Benidorm is due some! Forget the shorts and flip-flops… although I did see many this morning walking around the Rincon area and pack your winter woolies instead. Just look towards the mountains framing Benidorm and you can clearly see the snow capped tops.

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Dee Kelly coming to Benidorm

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Not long now till the very first Benidorm Tattoo Convention takes place in the resort…. and one of the special guests that will be attending is Dee Kelly – remembered and better known to many as White Dee from Benefits Street. The three day convention is taking place over the busy St Patrick's Day weekend, when the resort turns into a sea of green and on the Sunday, it is the crazy Spanish fiesta of San Jose, which sees the Burning of the Fallas at midnight. It will certainly be a very busy weekend here!

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Fake football shirts confiscated

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The Guardia Civil have seized counterfeit sports goods with a street value of over €30,000 from four shops in Benidorm. 664 football shirts from Barcelona and Real Madrid as well as branded Nike and Adidas tops were confiscated and four people arrested. Fake goods are widespread here in Benidorm, especially at the weekly markets, where you can easily purchase ‘designer’ handbags, sunglasses, watches, logo t-shirts and premier team football tops.

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Benidorm welcomed in 2017

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The last day of 2016 was a glorious one in Benidorm – beautifully warm with plenty of people on the beach catching some rays. It's quite astonishing how warm it was even compared to the Costa del Sol, where apparently it was coat and scarf weather!
Once again the Town Hall put on a party to bring in 2017 down on the Levante promenade – and it was packed. Thousands turned out – residents and holidaymakers, armed with bottles of cava, hats, streamers and poppers.

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Repeat offenders!

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I am not referring to the criminal fraternity by that statement, but those that keep coming back to Benidorm again and again. Normally it’s the glorious weather that brings them here, but that was rather hard to believe last weekend. Although we have desperately needed rain here – the reservoir at Guadalest was virtually a quarter full back in the summer, it was gentle continual rain we needed to allow the water to gently absorb. Instead what we got was a torrential unrelenting downpour lasting over 3 days, which washed away everything in its path. Video clips on social media highlight the destruction that Mother Nature unleashed – dustbins floating along the Avd Mediterraneo, manhole covers blown off, cars being swept along residential streets and sadly a death in La Cala. Yet on Tuesday morning the sun was back out and shining again – it is almost surreal how it can change so quickly from one day to the next.

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'The Fat One" ... must be time for El Gordo!

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There is exactly a week left until the El Gordo Christmas lottery is drawn on December 22. El Gordo, meaning "the fat one" is an annual event held in Spain and sends Spaniards into a state of hysteria. I have never known such a gambling nation and queues form outside lottery shops and kiosks daily in the lead-up to the day. It is managed by the Government under "Loterias y Apuestas del Estado"- the Spanish lottery organization. 30% of the ticket sales go to the Government in taxes and the remaining 70% is paid out in prizes, meaning the more people that play the bigger the jackpot. It is a win win situation for the Government as any winnings over €2,000 are also subject to a 20% tax.

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Leroy Merlin opens in Finestrat

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The new Leroy Merlin opens in Finestrat tomorrow, a haven for DIY enthusiasts – and as a special promotional offer, are offering 15 per cent OFF all purchases made on the day! The Mayor of Finestrat Juan Fransisco Perez and the Director of Leroy Merlin Spain, Ignacio Sanchez officially inaugurated the store today, ahead of tomorrow’s grand opening.

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News Snippets

  • All about the shoes +

    Jimmy Choo - the luxury British shoe company has been sold to American rival Michael Korrs, for nearly £900 million. Jimmy Choo was founded be a Malaysian designer in the 1990's and shot to prominence after being featured in the hot TV show Sex and the City
  • British passports +

    The UK voted Brexit yet it seems ludicrous that a French or German company may win the contract to produce British passports after 2019! One Tory MP is outraged stating that British passports should be manufactured in Britain, in a British factory employing British people - and not many would disagree with that.
  • Worse airport +

    Luton Airport has been voted Britain's worse airport in a survey conducted by "Which?" again. The airport has retained the title for the last 5 years and in response a spokesman said "We're disappointed"!
  • Vanilla prices +

    The price of vanilla pods have surged following a cyclone hitting the tropical island of Madagascar - which produces half of the world's supply. A kilo cost £250 prior to the cyclone but now more likely to fetch around £650. Vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavour and because of the shortage, you may find it a challenge to find supplies in shops.
  • Sunday roast +

    The traditional roast of meat and two veg has fallen out of the Top 5 of Britain's favourite meals. There has been an 11 per cent slump, which equates to 157 million fewer roasts being served up in the last year. Much is thought to be due to people adopting a healthier lifestyle and the time it takes to prepare.
  • Learner drivers +

    From next year learner drivers will be allowed on UK motorways - but only with an approved driving instructor and in a dual-control car. A survey conducted on newly qualified drivers revealed that many avoid motorways out of fear and that this will help them and also teach them the correct way to navigate the often fast paced traffic and how to exit correctly.
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