Friday, May 14, 2021

Another warning

So far this year we've had lots of warnings for rain and wind. Now for something different, we have a warning for high temperatures. According to AEMET though, it won't last. The forecast for Monday onwards is for temperatures in the mid 20s. 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Egyptian grammar

You have to put your eye after the beetle. Only if it is a past participle should it come after the snake,

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Good advice

 The Town Hall in Bigastro puts the message clearly, "the state of alarm may have ended but the virus is still out there".

Lowering our guard at this point could easily cause another rise in infections. 

Just to make the point, there have been two more deaths in this area due to coronavirus in recent days.

One of the deaths was recorded in the Orihuela Health Department and the other in Torrevieja. 

That makes a total of 449 deaths since the pandemic began - 198 in Orihuela and 251 in Torrevieja. 

Stay safe! 

Hands, face and space. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

A move towards normality

 This lunchtime, Pamela and I returned to the Sports Centre in Orihuela for our second doses of Pfizer vaccine. I don't have data about how many doses they are administering at the centre but, judging by the speed at which they are getting through injecting folks, I would guess it is in the thousands each day they are open. 

For those who haven't been yet, the system is very efficient. You get a text message to your phone giving you your appointment, you turn up at the right time and are directed to an administrator who records your details and gives you a red card that shows which version of the vaccine you had along with the dates when you had your first and second shots. 

The other good news is that you can now book an appointment with your doctor which can either be by telephone or face to face. 

Telephone appointments are convenient when you just want to do something simple like renewing a prescription but are pretty useless when you have symptoms that you need to discuss. For example, if you need your blood pressure checking or a sounding of your chest, a telephone appointment will not help.  

Monday, May 10, 2021

Foolish, foolish people

When the official state of alarm in Spain ended on Saturday, revellers were quick to get out on the streets to celebrate. After six months of confinement, they were determined to party like Christmas, New Year and their birthdays had all come together.

The problem is that, whilst the number of cases of coronavirus here have dropped over the last week, the average is still very high particularly in Madrid, Catalonia, Navarre, Aragón and the Basque Country

Pictures in El Pais from the Puerta del Sol, Madrid show that it was packed in spite of the case rate of 198 per 100,000 for the city. Several squares in Barcelona were apparently also crowded with revellers as they were in Palma de Mallorca.

Perhaps these people should take note of what has happened in India. The case rate there had dropped to what the government thought were safe levels; restrictions were lifted, people flocked to election rallies, religious festivals and large weddings. The consequences have been awful; a rapid rise in cases, lack of hospital beds, limited oxygen supplies and even scenes of cremations out in the street. 

If Spain had managed to vaccinate the large numbers that countries like the UK has, then it might just have been safe to gradually ease restrictions. To abandon them altogether, as happened on Saturday, must surely risk a further rise in cases especially when you consider that the majority of the revellers out on streets were probably from  age groups that have not yet been vaccinated.

Boris Johnson has been criticised by some for being too slow to lift restrictions in England. Whilst I am no fan of his, I think on this occasion, he is right to be cautious. As Jim Ryder, who recently moved back to Liverpool will testify, I was taught to be cautious.  

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Why do they do it?

 Why do some Royals think they are qualified to write children's books?

I understand their reasoning.  You don't have to write too many words, the story can be simple and as long as you commission someone good to illustrate it, the book could look appealing. Add on your royal connection and you should have a best seller. 

Prince Charles wrote "The Old Man of Lochnagar" based on stories that he told his younger brothers. By all accounts it is an amusing tale. Sarah Furguson has also written a few books which are apparently passable. 

Now, the Duchess of Sussex has thrown her hat into the ring with "The Bench". 

In my opinion, it takes just as much or even more skill to write for children as it does for adults. Many have tried and failed.

There are some really good books written for children some of which have stood the test of time and are now being read to  grandchildren and possibly even great grandchildren. 

Among my favourites from my youth are "Wind in the Willows" and "Treasure Island".  I also enjoyed The Famous Five and Biggles books. Among those that I enjoyed with my own children are "The Tiger That Came To Tea",  "The Hungry Caterpillar" and almost anything written by Roald Dahl. 

I haven't read "The Bench" but from comments already made, it is not destined to be a classic. No doubt it will make the Duchess a lot of money at the expense of those who will buy it out of curiosity. 

Garden makeover

When we first came here, we had ambitious plans for the garden area on one side of the house. We planted climbers on the fence, palm trees at the front and lemon trees in the large area at the back along with a cycad. We then proceeded to fill the spaces around with annual and perennial flowers. It all looked good for the first year or so. 

With an abundance of sun and a watering system in place, everything grew rapidly and soon became out of control. I have pictures that show how overgrown it was.  

Age took its toll and I could no longer maintain the garden by myself so we have Los Rubes, who ran the Garden Centre in Bigastro, come every two weeks to look after it for us.

Even they found it difficult. The soil is mostly heavy clay which is hard to cultivate and in which many plants struggle to survive. 

Plan C. Cover the garden with gravel just as they did with the show houses and just have feature plants. 

We are near to completion now with the addition of a couple of planters that are filled with flowering plants to give us some colour.  


Holiday in the South Sandwich Islands anyone?

 Britain has announced the countries on the "green list", those that Brits can visit and return from without the need to quarantine. They would still need to take tests before and after though. 

Although the Valencian region would qualify because of the low rate of infection here*, Spain as a whole doesn't. So, as things stand, we will not be expecting friends and family over just yet and we will not be planning to visit them either. 

The countries on the list are Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands, Israel, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, and Portugal, including the Azores and Madeira. 

You can imagine a take up for holidays to some of those destinations however, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are only accessible by sea and there is no visitor accommodation on them. 

* 41 per 100,000 - Spain average 202 with a high of 463 in the Basque Country. 

That was hot

It should be a little cooler today.  

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Holy Cross

 This will be the second year that the neighbours of the Barrio de la Cruz have not been able to celebrate the traditional fiesta.