Mel and Marshal Dixon bought their house in the countryside in 2017. E. C.
'We have found our own little paradise in Cómpeta'

'We have found our own little paradise in Cómpeta'

foreigners ·

Of the 3,814 people on the population register, 47 per cent are from abroad and half of those have British nationality


Friday, 27 January 2023, 12:42

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Mel and Marshal Dixon first came to Cómpeta in 2009 and rented a house. They had just retired from their jobs in the pharmaceutical sector (Mel) and a factory (Marshal) in Whitby, North Yorkshire.

"We have found our own little paradise here," they said, sitting in the sun outside a café in the emblematic Plaza Almijara. "The weather is nearly always nice here, not like in England," they told us, hours before an unexpected hailstorm arrived to remind them of their country of origin for a few hours.

Cómpeta, at the foot of the Sierra Almijara, has once again just confirmed how multicultural its population is. Nearly half of the 3,814 residents (46.9 per cent, to be exact), have different nationalities to Spanish. Most of the foreigners, again nearly 50 per cent (884), are British according to the latest figures for the population register which have just been issued by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) and relate to 1 January 2022.

Like the Dixons, many other British have decided to leave the UK in recent years, especially after the "disastrous" effects of Brexit.

"We haven't been back to England for five years, although we are going in February," said Mel. "Our children come here with the grandchildren, they love it here. One has bought a house in the countryside, near ours," she said. The couple decided to move to a nearby rural area in 2017.

Robert and Nina are Irish and recently retired from the police force E. C.

Another couple, Rick and Lexi, have only been in Cómpeta for a short time. They come from Leeds and both work in the audiovisual sector as producers. "We're digital nomads," they told us. They have no children and are planning to spend periods of three months here when they can.

"That's the maximum we can stay at present because of Brexit, but we intend to get work permits here," said Lexi, who said she loves everything about Cómpeta. "The food, the people, and of course the climate. It's fantastic," she said.

Also escaping from the cold is Pía Roding, 65, who is from Sweden. She has been in Cómpeta for four months "but I already know I want to live here for the rest of my life," this cook and journalist said.

It was some friends who have had a house in Nerja for more than 30 years who persuaded her to come to La Axarquía for a holiday last year. "And I fell in love with the place. I live with a dog and two cats. I love the people, the tranquility in the village, the hospitality," she explained, sipping a beer at a table in the Plaza Almijara.

As we walked through the centre of Cómpeta in the middle of the day we also met Robert and Nina, who are Irish and have just bought a house in the village. After working as police officers all their lives, they discovered Cómpeta when they came to visit some friends.

"We have been renting a place in the countryside but then we decided to buy somewhere in the village. It's more convenient and it's fun," they said.

Involved in village life

Deputy mayor Rosa Luz Fernández, who is also the councillor for Foreign Residents, said the foreigners play a full part in village life, are very involved in cultural and social activities, such as the Noche del Vino (Night of the Wine), and have joined associations and musical groups. For example, the village now has a choir with singers of more than ten different nationalities.

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