Sunday, April 23, 2017

Holidays

My friend, Scout John, reminds me that Monday is a holiday in Bigastro to celebrate San Vicente Ferrer. There will be a procession including the band and a special communion.Shops etc will be closed.

The next holiday will be on May 1st.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Testing times

In England, vehicles have to be tested when they are three years old and then every year. In Spain, you have four years of grace for cars followed by tests every two years up to 10 years and thereafter a test each year.

Our Skodas have now reached the four year mark and therefore needed ITVs (Inspeccion Tecnica de Vehiculos). This is done at an Iteuve  centre, NOT a garage and the nearest one to us is at San Bartolomé close to the Vega Baja Hospital.

The last time I had a test done there, I booked it online. You can no longer do that for this particular centre. You can phone up and make an appointment or call in and make an appointment however, we decided to take a chance on waiting in the queue.

Timing is everything because there are busy periods and quiet periods. We've been there and seen long lines of vehicles waiting and other times when there have just been a handful. I imagine early in the morning would be good but we opted for lunch period instead.

You need to know what your car's registration sounds like in Spanish. Sometimes they will just call out the registration and other times the marque or model of the car. Listening for the letters is a lot easier than trying to catch the number before and make sure you catch the pista (1, 2 or 3 at  San Bartolomé). What you hear can be a little confusing though and varies between each tester.

If you are English, they will help by giving directions in their version of English. However, it is relatively easy to learn a few words and phrases in Spanish that will help see you through in case they don't.

Bonnet - Capote
Headlights – Los Faros
Full beam- Luces altas
Dipped beam- Corto alcance
Las Luces Traseras- Back Lights
Las Luces de los Frenos – Break lights
Luz de emergencia -Emergency light
Luz de marcha atrás- Reversing light
Limpiaparabrisas- windscreen wipers
Izquerda – Left
Derecha – Right
El Freno de Mano – Hand Brake
El Volante – Steering Wheel

Ten minutes and it is all done. Hopefully, like us,  you get a certificate with Favourable printed on it and a sticker for the windscreen.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

April 19th - International Bicycle Day


Also, of interest to those who own a bicycle, is the national register of bicycles. For a small fee, you register your bicycle. You get an indestructible sticker which identifies your bike in case it gets lost or stolen.

For hay fever sufferers


Monday, April 17, 2017

The Encounter

The Encuentro yesterday followed the pattern set out over the last few years.

The statue of Mary, dressed in a black cloak as a sign of mourning, left the church accompanied by ladies in black with mantillas on their heads. She was carried by men dressed in long cream gowns with red cuffs and sashes. They are all members of the Hermadad de la Virgen de Belen.

It was then the turn of  the statue of Jesus, carried by men in black suits, white shirts and gold ties, to leave the church. Ahead of Jesus was a group of children in blue robes and behind, a group of ladies in oyster coloured dresses and white mantillas. They are all members of the  Cofrafia del Cristo Resucitado.

Jesus was processed along Calle Mayor to Calle Maestro Grau, Mary was processed along Calle Purisima to the same street accompanied by the sound of a lone drum. It was on Calle Maestro Grau that a carpet of flowers and greenery surrounding a picture made from dyed rice grains had been prepared

Jesus arrived first and was manoeuvred around the corner in a series of backward and forward movements. He was set down on boxes to await the arrival of Mary.

In front of Mary was a man carrying the banner of the Hermanadad. He approached the statue of Jesus with a series of bowing movements made with the banner. The banner was then taken backwards to where the statue of Mary was waiting on Calle Purisima. Mary was carried down to within a few metres of Jesus and set upon the ground. This was the point of encounter, Mary's black robe was removed and a silver crown placed on her head.

Once the crown was in place, a confetti bomb showered the statue, white doves were released and the firework salvo started

After salutations between the groups were exchanged, Mary retreated back to Calle Purisima followed by Jesus. The band then accompanied the pair in procession along Calle Purisima.

At two points the processions stopped and neighbours threw flower petals from their balconies to the statues.

Finally, the procession reached the church and the two statues were set to face each other. Whilst Jesus was lifted aloft, the front of Mary's paso was dropped to the floor. This was repeated several times before the two statues were taken back into the church for Mass.

I know that this is all traditional but I do wonder why it has to take place so early and why they chose Calle Maestro Grau - possibly one of the most ugly backdrops - for such a beautiful ceremony.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The crack of dawn

Well worth getting up for. I have my camera ready to take down with me to record this for those of you who like a lie in on Sundays. That includes Mrs W who doesn't do ungodly hours.

Mind you, unless you are out for the count or have earplugs, you'll know when the moment of encounter has taken place.

They have a few fireworks ready to set off at that point and then again when the procession returns to the church. Don't bother going out to watch them though, because they will be just white puffs in the sky.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A gripe

Pam and I shop at Mercadona, San Louis and generally we are very happy with the experience there. The shop is large enough to cover most of our needs but not so large that it takes an age to find the all items on Pam's list.

However, we do have one major gripe with the shop and that is with people at the checkouts.

You see, Pam is used to the kind of service that she got in British supermarkets. When she shopped at Sainsburys, they would summon someone to help pack for her and they would place the scanned items so that packing was easy.

The same applies in most other British supermarkets including Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Asda. In those that don't have personnel to help pack, the assistants will help bag the items making sure that similar things go together.

Apart from three of the people at Mercadona who do place the items in a way that makes packing easy, the rest simply scan the items and then almost throw them down piling items on top of each other.

Then when they have finished piling everything in a jumbled mess, the unhelpful attendants look at you as if to say "hurry up, we have customers waiting".  There is even one man who will walk away from the till rather than try to help.

Apart from making it difficult to pack, heavy items end up on top of fragile ones. It doesn't take a lot of common sense to realise that putting a bag of potatoes on top of cakes is not a great idea.

The three exceptions are more than helpful. They carefully place the items that have been scanned in a logical way, they put the wine bottles in the special bag that we take with us and even bring heavy items like bottles of water around to the trolley. We can only surmise these three have been trained properly, just a pity they can't pass that training on to the rest.

Change to the route


Those of you who are intending to go to Orihuela on Friday to watch the General Procession should take note of the changes to the route. These have been made to avoid passing a building which is considered unsafe.

The new barbecues

The Bigastro Town Hall has now reopened La Pedrera Recreation Area after work carried out to improve this natural space.

The improvements consisted of extension and adaptation of the barbecues to fire regulations. Also repairs were made in the area of ​​the picnic area, public toilets and the creation of pathways and bridges. Security has been heightened with the installation of CCTV for control and monitoring of the site.

It is now necessary to obtain municipal permission to use the barbecues. You must submit an application to the Town Hall before making use of the barbecues, who will be hand over the keys for access.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Outstanding!

The Spring concert promised to be good and it did not fail to deliver.

Although Diego has not forsaken his classical roots, he wanted to try something different and so put together a programme of music from the 60s and beyond. There were selections from Coldplay, the Beatles, Queen, Michael Jackson etc etc.

You will find my photos as usual in the left hand sidebar along with my album from Palm Sunday.

For those who wish to listen to the concert, it is available from my Dropbox account.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/77vq89og014gyvy/Concert.wma?dl=0

You will likely have to download it to your computer first to play it - enjoy!!