Within about half an hour of the sad news of the death of Michael Jackson, I startled to receive text messages from many people. Some people find these types of messages sad, funny, sick or helpful as a way of dealing with the news.
This phenomenon appears to be peculiar to we Brits. When I mentioned the texts to my Spanish and German colleagues, they were astounded and had not heard of such messages. They insisted on seeing some and their reactions were no different to anyone else’s, proving I guess that we are all the same
This got me to thinking (a rare pastime those who know me might add), why is it that news and gossip travel so fast and why is it so often elaborated and twisted and turned into “Chinese whispers”
The latest story doing the rounds about driving in flip-flops is a case in point. This conjures all sorts of images. Do the Guardia Civil randomly stop drivers to inspect their footwear? Is there a foot fetisht in the Policia Local?
Who knows how these things start, though I imagine in this case, a driver was involved in an accident and when interviewed, the police noticing that flip-flops were being worn probably came to the conclusion that as these are pretty likely to make your foot slip off the pedal, booked him or her for negligent driving. The rest of the incident is ignored, but the rumour factory picks up on a driver being fined for wearing flip-flops
Why do I mention this?
Well such stories become “urban legends” and sometimes but not always contain a grain of truth. For example, many young men arrange to have their stag weekend in Nottingham because legend has it that females outnumber us chaps by at least 3:1. Well this was the case during WW2 when many men went off to war, but was certainly not the case when I was growing up there as a teenager in the 1960’s, but the myth persists
Where I live in rural Spain, we are surrounded by orange and lemon groves. On arrival here, a fellow Brit advised me with total conviction that we are allowed to pick 100 pieces of fruit per year. Really, who’s counting?
This led me to consider the amount of information/legend/rubbish that is given by your average “bar room lawyer” as the absolute truth. So, to help clear up some of these legends, I am going to discuss the timescales that apply when importing a vehicle into Spain, as this is where much confusion arises
0 days. How long you can drive a vehicle on public roads after is has been SORN (Statutory Off Road Notice) at DVLA. There is a clue in the title
1 day. The amount of time that you can own a UK vehicle before importing it. In fact, you can legally take ownership of a UK registered car in Spain and have it registered to you without your name ever appearing on the UK logbook
2 months. The length of time that you have from the date of application of FIRST Padron to re-register your vehicle without paying registration/import tax. Your Padron should show the date of application (Fecha de Inscripcion or Fecha de Alta); this is the date that counts. N.B. there are other aspects that need to be considered too for exemption to be granted
3 months. The normal length of validity for an insurance “green card” allowing you to drive your vehicle outside of its registered country. Once the green card has expired, then so has your insurance cover
There are a quite a few in this category which gives cause to the most confusion
The period between ITV inspections for vehicles between 4 and 10 years old
4 years. The age of new vehicles before the ITV inspection is due, though imported vehicles must always have an initial ITV
30 years. The age of a vehicle before it can be imported as historical. Historical vehicles can be imported in the same condition as which they were made. So, if it was not made with seat belts, fog lights or indicators, it can be imported in that condition. Some would argue that fitting indicators to a Spanish car is a waste of time, as they are rarely used!
Any age. There is no minimum or maximum age of vehicles for import purposes
1 nanosecond. The elapsed time between a traffic light going green in Madrid and the first car horn sounding!
Now I can already see that this information taken in isolation will be spouted down the bars as gospel because “that bloke wot writes in the CBN says so, so it must be true”
Ah yes, as of today, the above information is true and correct. Next week, next month or next year maybe not, because the rules, regulations, laws and flavours of the month change regularly.
The other factor is that not all of the above points can be taken in isolation; some work in conjunction. For example, to avoid the registration/import tax, the vehicle has to have been owned for 6 months and the Padron has to be less than 2 months old
Well I hope to have settled a few arguments, but no doubt I have started a few more as we all like to think we are right, don’t we?