Yvette Cooper moved from Kent to Lo Crispin with her husband Mike 10 years ago, and for the last 6 years, she’s been President of Phases 3 and 4 of Lo Crispin Urbanisation. As well as that, Yvette is Chair of the 9 Presidents on Lo Crispin, liaising with the Ayuntamiento and Algorfa Mayor Manuel Ros Rodes on behalf of the whole of the urbanisation. Add to that Yvettes’ duties as President of Lo Crispin Residents and Cultural Association (LCRCA), and we have one busy lady indeed! I was delighted that she was able to find time to talk to me about life on Lo Crispin.
Yvette and Mike were so delighted to move to Lo Crispin, having looked at and rejected several properties in the area beforehand, they had a problem when the removal lorry arrived with their stuff. The driver called from Quesada to ask for directions, and they had no idea, as they didn’t know their address, or even how to get there from Quesada! Luckily one of their new neighbours was able to direct the driver, so they at least had a sofa to sit on and a bed to sleep in on their first night in their new home.
Once they settled in, Yvette and Mike lost no time in settling in to life on their community, which they describe as ‘No other.’ Yvette said:
It’s a bit like living in the UK in the 1950’s – everybody helps everyone else. You can let the children go out and play without worrying about what may be happening to them, and something I really appreciate is that, as a woman, I don’t worry about walking around late at night alone. That’s something I wouldn’t be comfortable with back in Kent.
There’s no doubt in Yvette’s mind that the glue that binds Lo Crispin together as a community is the Lo Crispin Tavern, run by David Ferrandiz. Since the Tavern opened, David and his family have invested a lot of time and money to make it a hub of the community, building a spacious beer garden and a large children’s play area. It’s quite common for mums to meet the children off the school bus and stroll up to the Tavern to have a cool drink in the shade while their kids play on the trampoline and other equipment.
There are more than 900 homes on Lo Crispin, and Yvette considers it’s a great location for families, since all the properties are large villas or houses, with plenty of space inside and out. There’s plenty to do on the urbanisation, with lots of family-oriented activities being organised, and lively Quesada is less than 20 minutes walk away, or a few minutes by car.
Lo Crispin is a ‘Best of Both Worlds’ place to live, set as it is in agricultural land, yet so close to the AP7, all of Spain is easily accessible. And the golden sands of Guardamar are just 10 – 15 minutes away by car. It was the quiet countryside surrounding Lo Crispin that attracted Yvette and Mike to make their home there, and they have never regretted it.
Yvette loves her work as President, and was instrumental in organising Lo Crispin’s first official Fiesta, in collaboration with the Mayor and the Ayuntamiento. She was worried about the parade to conclude the celebrations, wondering what would happen if the timings were not right. However, one of her Spanish friends reassured her there was nothing to worry about because, ‘Everyone will be p***ed by then anyway, and won’t care!’
As it happened, everything went really well, sober or not, and Yvette recalls feeling really emotional when we saw how many people had turned out to watch the parade. The fiesta is set to be an annual event, and people from all over Algorfa are really looking forward to it.
As President, Yvette is always busy, dealing with whatever arises, but there are times when, with the best will in the world, she really can’t do anything. Two incidents particularly stick in her mind – the Stolen Palm Trees and the Smelly Fires. She explained:
One resident asked what we were going to do about the palm trees on the main road through the urbanisation, because 27 had been stolen. Of course, we went to look, but there was no evidence of trees being dug up, and we couldn’t understand how anyone could steal so many trees without anybody seeing or hearing anything. It turned out that some trees had been felled due to disease, and there were only the stumps left. That resident still contacts me regularly to ask if we have found out who stole our palm trees!
Another resident complained about the smell from fires locally, which made it impossible to put out washing or have the windows open. Despite a thorough search, Yvette couldn’t identify the source of the fires. What seemed very strange was that the resident was oblivious to the pungent smells coming from the herd of goats of farmland just across the road!
I asked Yvette if she had any general advice for anyone planning to make their home Around Algorfa, or anywhere else in Spain. As well as backing up the excellent advice from David Wren, President of R1 Community La Finca, Yvette had a couple of useful points to make:
- Learn some basic Spanish, because if you offer just a little in Spanish, you’ll get so much more back. Even if you’re not fluent, just a basic level of Spanish helps your neighbours to warm to you, and they’ll appreciate the chance to practice their English as well.
- Get used to the paperwork – there’s lots of it, and it can be very slow. Just be patient with the process; it will all work out okay in the end.
Yvette and Mike had personal experience of the slow-moving wheels of Spanish bureaucracy. When they applied for their SIP cards, so they could access health services, they paid so many visits to Almoradi Health Centre they were on first name terms with the staff! At least by staying calm and being patient, they didn’t get so stressed they needed to try out the Spanish health service immediately.
As Scarlett O’Hara famously said – ‘Tomorrow is another day!’ That’s a good attitude to take to life in Spain as well, because the people you are dealing with may be laid back, but they are also some of the healthiest and longest-living people in the world, so they are doing something right!