Saturday, April 10, 2021

It was a sad day

 Pam and I have said on a few occasions that we hoped nothing would happen to either the Queen or the Duke of Edinburg during the midst of the pandemic. 

After giving  a lifetime of service to Great Britain, we thought it would be tragic if the nation and indeed the world could not pay due respect to them with an appropriate funeral service. It would pile even more misery on to this awful  period in everyone's lives. 

Although there has been a fair amount of scandal and criticism of  some members of the Royal Family  over the last few years, I don't recall any ever been made about Philip apart from the odd gaffe for which we forgive him. 

As we have seen through the TV coverage, Philp's  early life was tough, very tough. 

He served in the Royal Navy with great distinction and then had to give up his promising career when Elizabeth became Queen. He knew that would happen at some point but probably hoped it would not be so soon. 

At a time when men were traditionally regarded as the head of the family, Philip had to take a back seat and follow two steps behind his wife. That must have been hard for him but he never seemed to show it.  

Of course Philip led a life of privilege but he also gave great service and will be remembered for his philanthropic work for young people and the environment. 

We wonder now what the Queen will do. Without her "rock" by her side, will she still want to fulfil her promise to reign for her whole life? I believe and hope that she will continue with other royals taking over many of her more arduous duties. 

Our thoughts are with Elizabeth and other members of the family. 

Monday, April 05, 2021


 I can't begin to tell you how pleased we were to be in the park yesterday for a concert by both the Junior and Senior bands. 

The chairs were all set 2m apart and everyone, bar the musicians playing woodwind and brass, wore masks. 

It was good to be out in the fresh air, listen to some great music and meet up with friends we haven't seen for so long. 

You will find albums of my  photos  in the side bar and here are the links to the recordings I made of the music.

Sunday, April 04, 2021

The Encuentro

 I've gone down to the town most years to watch and photograph the ceremony of the Encuentro here in Bigastro. It is an early call since the procession from the church starts at 7am but well worth while. 

Easter Sunday is the day of resurrection.  The story goes that Jesus arose from the dead this day and the encounter depicts the moment when Mary, who is in grief for her son, meets him and rejoices. 

In recent years the ceremony has been performed in the church rather than in the streets of the town. One year it was raining and so the ceremony was moved and then of course last year it was moved because of Covid restrictions. 

Covid restrictions this year mean that the ceremony has once again been performed in the church. 

That hasn't stopped the traditional fireworks that are set off after the encounter has taken place. I hope they didn't wake you up!

Saturday, April 03, 2021

A clean shiny oven

 I am always wary about recommending work people here on my blog. If someone does a good job for you, it doesn’t automatically follow that they will do a good job for others. We all have different standards and mine might be either higher or lower than yours.

In this case though, I feel confident you will be pleased with the job that Doug does cleaning your oven. 

Doug set up his own business cleaning ovens, a job he says he enjoys. Incidentally, Doug also cleans barbecues, microwaves and extractor fans - all those things we know we should clean regularly but put off because they are messy jobs that we’d rather not do.

So how do you contact Doug? Google Oven Valet, look for him on Facebook, email or even phone him on 654 907 247. He’s based in Benijofar so is pretty local to Bigastro.

PS Doug didn’t ask me to promote him on my blog nor did he offer me a discount for doing so. 

Friday, April 02, 2021



Just look at this photo of the town square in Bigastro, taken in the 80s and posted by Pascual Segura. 

It isn't so much the square itself that is interesting, it is what is and is not behind the church.  That photo was taken possibly less that 40 years ago. 

Be soon I said - be soon

In April, Spain is expecting to receive 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine each week. These doses alone – not counting the other vaccines available – are enough to fully vaccinate everyone in the 80-and-over age group in just two weeks. This should allow the mass vaccination of the 70-to-79 population to begin from mid-April. Some regions will start inoculating this age group earlier than others, either because they have made more progress in vaccinating the 80-and-over population or are planning to overlap the two priority groups (in Valencia 76.7 % of over 80s have received one dose and 41.4% two doses).

PS Those of a certain age will recognise the title of this post as a catch phrase of Hilda Baker

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Fears for a fourth wave

 There are fears of a fourth wave of Covid 19 in Spain as the 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 rises to 152. Read on though because the figures are not consistent across the whole of the country and the rate in Valencia still remains below the critical level.  

Seven territories have an incidence rate above the 150-threshold considered an indicator of high risk: Asturias, Catalonia, Madrid, Navarre, the Basque Country and the North African exclave cities of Ceuta and Melilla. Four regions are very close to this limit: Andalusia, Aragón, Castilla y León and La Rioja. In another five, the 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants remains below 100: the Balearic Islands, Castilla-La Mancha, the Valencia region, Galicia and Murcia.

Further to my post yesterday, the Public Health Committee here decided not to change the age limit for the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine. In other words, it will only be given to those under the age of 65.  An exception was made for essential workers over 65 of which there are very few. 

Interestingly, Germany will only administer AstraZeneca vaccines to people over the age of 60 following new reports of blood clots among younger recipients. France had already made a similar decision on March 19, when it reserved the vaccine for people over 55. 

If you considered these different positions to be valid, then you would not want the Anglo Swedish vaccine at any age. 

I know that some in Britain, including Government Ministers,  believe that Europe is dismissing this vaccine out of spite because of supply issues. However, I'd like to think that European Health Authorities do not take decisions based on politics. Their concerns  may prove to be unfounded by further research but until then it is prudent to not take risks.      

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The waiting game

Well folks, it looks like we were born at the wrong time. 

Pam and I were born in 1947 and so we are 74 this year which puts us into one of the most vulnerable groups for serious complications if we get infected with Covid 19. There are about 3 million of us in the 70-79 age group living in Spain. 

El Pais tells us that, for people who are now in their late sixties and seventies, there is a good chance they will not be getting their shots before mid-April at the earliest. That is because the government’s guidelines are prioritizing the 80-and-over population who are getting the Pfizer Biontech vaccine and under 65s who are getting  the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

There is a chance that the age limit for use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be extended at a Tuesday meeting of the Public Health Committee. 

However, if the Public Health Committee decides to keep the 65 age limit in place, most of the people over the age of 80 will have to be vaccinated before the 70-to-79 age group starts getting calls for appointments. And those between 65 and 69 years of age will have to wait even longer, until most of the individuals in the 70-to-79 group have been inoculated.

The problem arose because there was insufficient evidence showing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be effective in older age groups. However, further studies have proved that the Anglo Swedish vaccine is equally effective for all age groups and the WHO and EMA now recommend removing the age limit.