Thursday, October 19, 2017

That was complicated

Our eldest daughter, Jemma, planned her 40th birthday party in late January. We booked flights to Birmingham and back with Monarch in February. We also booked to stay in a hotel near to Jemma's house.

As you probably all know, Monarch went out of business on the 2nd of this month throwing our travel plans into complete chaos.

That morning I desperately searched for alternatives and found no empty seats on flights to Birmingham. The only flights I could find were with Jet2.com and Ryanair to Manchester. Since we had no intention of flying Ryanair and risking a cancellation, I opted for Jet2.com. The first flights I tried to book disappeared  during the process and I had to rapidly find an alternative or risk not flying.

In the meantime, our friends from Norfolk were desperately trying to phone us to suggest we fly to Norwich where they would pick us up and drop us off later (they too were going to the party and staying in the same hotel).  Too late, the booking had been made.

Our youngest daughter in Sale offered us a bed for the extra nights and I managed to grab the last remaining seats on a train from Manchester to Wolverhampton and back. This all added to the cost and of course we could not count on a refund from our Monarch booking.

Kudos to the Civil Aviation Authority in Britain who offered us seats on a plane to Birmingham in a email the night before our flight was due. That was too late though, we were already in the UK. I do wonder what the fate was for those stuck in the UK - there was no arrangement offered by the Spanish authorities to get us back to Alicante. 

Was it worth it? Of course, we would not have missed Jemma's party for the world.   

Thursday, October 05, 2017

The true situation

- In the last regional elections, pro-secession parties in Catalonia decided to unite around a single issue - independence. They not only failed to obtain a majority of votes, but also lost votes in relation to previous elections. Surveys, including those paid by the separatists, show that support for independence is a minority and declining.

- Catalonia is not "oppressed". It is one of the most prosperous regions of Spain and its citizens enjoy a high standard of living and one of the highest degrees of self-government in any region of Europe.

- The party traditionally headed by the regional government of Catalonia has used over the last 30 years public money to promote a separatist agenda through education and local media and has been illegally funded with a corrupt scheme in which contractors had to pay bribes of at least 3% for any public work they made bids for.

- The region of Catalonia has never existed as an independent political entity and was part or the Kingdom of Aragon, which merged dynamically with the Kingdom of Castile in 1492 to create the Spain we know today. There is no "union", as in the UK. Catalonia is to Spain what Rousillon is to France or Cornwall is to England.

- Spain is a parliamentary democracy, with a constitution that can be amended. A vote on territorial secession would require such amendment and the support of a qualified majority of Spaniards.

- No country or international organisation (with the exception of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela) has supported this movement.

So why the fuss? As the economy improves and support for independence diminishes, the separatists fear "losing the train" and, breaking with Spanish and regional laws, have embarked on a campaign to present the central government as "evil" for not allowing a regional referendum that does not comply with the constitution (widely approved throughout Spain, including Catalonia). This noise also hides regional corruption scandals and establishes separatists as victims of the upcoming general elections.

The secessionists claim to have won the vote but did they?

The referendum was approved by the Catalan parliament in a session on 6 September 2017 along with a law which states that independence would be binding with a simple majority, without requiring a minimum turnout.

The referendum question, which voters answered with "Yes" or "No", was "Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?". The "Yes" side won, with 2,020,144 (91.96%) voting for independence and 176,565 (8.04%) voting against, on a turnout of 42.58%.

It is widely believed that many voters who did not support Catalan independence did not turn out to what was in fact and illegal referendum. It is also said that the organisation of the ballot was so poor, it was possible that many voted twice or more times.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

King Felipe's speech

The King of Spain took the unusual step last night of addressing the nation on television.

Good evening,

We find ourselves at a critical juncture for our existence as a democracy. In these circumstances, I wish to address all Spaniards. We have all witnessed the facts that have taken place in Catalonia, with the illegal declaration of independence as the final goal of the Catalan executive (Generalitat).

For a long time, certain Catalan authorities have repeatedly, consciously and deliberately flouted the Constitution and their own Statute of Autonomy, which is the law that acknowledges, protects and safeguards their historic institutions and their self-government.

With their decisions, they have systematically infringed legally and rightfully approved rules and have shown an unacceptable disloyalty towards the institutions of the State – a State of which, by the way, those authorities are the highest representatives in Catalonia.

They have violated the democratic principles of the rule of law and they have undermined Catalan society’s harmony and coexistence, unfortunately even to the point of driving a wedge within it. Today, the Catalan society is fractured and at loggerheads.

The Catalan authorities have underestimated the affections and feelings of solidarity that have united and will long unite the Spaniards, and with their reckless behavior, they may be even endangering the economic and social stability of Catalonia and of Spain as a whole.

In short, this has been the completion of an unacceptable attempt to take over the historic institutions of Catalonia. Those authorities have unequivocally and categorically placed themselves outside the law and outside democracy. They have tried to break Spain’s unity and national sovereignty, which is the right of all Spanish people to democratically decide on their life together.

Therefore, and in light of this extremely serious situation, that requires everyone’s commitment to pursue common interests, the legitimate powers of the State have the responsibility to guarantee constitutional order and the normal functioning of the institutions, the validity of the rule of law and Catalonia’s self-government, based on the Constitution and their own Statute of Autonomy.

Today I wish to send several messages to all Spaniards and in particular to Catalans. To the citizens of Catalonia —to all of them—, I wish to reiterate that we have been already been living for several decades in a democratic State, which provides constitutional means for anyone to defend their ideas within the law. Because, as we all know, without respect for the law, there is no possible democratic coexistence in peace and freedom, neither in Catalonia, nor in the rest of Spain, nor anywhere in the world. In a democratic and constitutional Spain, they know that they have space to coexist and get along with all their fellow citizens.

I am well aware that in Catalonia there is also great concern and anxiety about the Catalan authorities’ behavior. To those who feel that way, I assure that they are not, nor will they be alone; they have all the support and the solidarity of the rest of the Spanish people, as well as the absolute guarantee given by the rule of law in the defense of their freedom and their rights.

To all Spaniards, who are living through these events full of sadness and distress, I send a message of calm, confidence and hope.

These are troubled times, but we will overcome them. These are very complicated times, but we will get through them. Because we believe in our country and we are proud of what we are. Because our democratic principles are solid and strong. And they are like this because they are based on the wishes of millions and millions of Spaniards who want a peaceful and free coexistence. That is how we have gradually built the Spain in these last decades. And that is how we must go forward, with serenity and determination. On this road, in that improved Spain that we all desire, Catalonia will be there too.

Let me end these words, addressed to all Spaniards, by emphasizing once again the Crown’s firm commitment to the Constitution and to democracy, my own dedication to a climate of understanding and harmony among Spaniards, and my commitment, as King, to the unity and continuity of Spain.

English version by María Luisa Rodríguez Tapia.

An apology

This is the reply I got from the mayor of Bigastro regarding the cancellation of the lunch on Sunday.

You will notice in the second paragraph that the Third Age club has resumed their Sunday night dance sessions. The mayor hopes that some of our English neighbours will attend and teach the local people some typical British style dancing.


Buenas tardes Keith y Pam,

lamento mucho que os haya ocasionado alguna molestia la cancelación del almuerzo del Domingo.
Agradezco vuestra recomendación y tomamos buena nota de ello.

Aprovecho para informaros que a partir del domingo 1-Octubre se ha reiniciado la actividad de baile en el Centro Social organizado por la Asociación de la Tercera Edad. El horario es de 18:00 a 22:00.
Espero que sea de vuestro interés y que participéis de esta divertida y saludable actividad. 
Sería muy interesante que vuestros vecinos y amigos británicos participasen y enseñen bailes de salón típicos de vuestro maravilloso país a los bigastrenses.

Un fuerte abrazo.

Teresa María Belmonte Sánchez
Alcaldesa Presidenta Ayuntamiento Bigastro
C/ Pza. de la Constitución, 1
03380 Bigastro (Alicante)
T. 96 535 00 00 | F. 96 535 08 07

 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Very sad

At first we used to fly to the UK with Jet2.com either from Alicante or San Javier. Then we tried Monarch and found that the timing of their flights suited us better.

Since then, we have flown to the UK exclusively with Monarch and even gained Silver Advantage status which gave us priority check in, priority boarding and an extra 10kg luggage allowance. We also paid the little extra to enjoy more legroom.

As many of you will know, Monarch collapsed on Sunday morning leaving thousands of stranded passengers and many more with booked flights that will no longer happen.

We feel really sorry for the employees who were loyal to the company and only got to know that they had lost their jobs on Monday morning.

The options for us are now limited. As far as I know, Flybe, Easyjet, Ryanair and Jet2.com fly to the UK and if you are prepared to have a stop of in Barcelona, Vueling also operate some routes.

Out of those options, we would be extremely reluctant to choose Ryanair who seem cancel flights at the drop of a hat. That doesn't leave us with a lot more choices.

Of course, someone will want to step in and fill the gap left by Monarch. That may be one of the existing carriers or it maybe someone new to Alicante, only time will tell. In the meantime, a sad farewell to Monarch - you served us well.

It didn't happen

So what was the lunch like on Sunday?

On Monday I told you about the special lunch that was scheduled for Sunday at 2pm. That was to be followed by chocolate at 7pm and then dancing to the group, "El Duo Montana". It was planned to coincide with the International Day for the Elderly.

Pam and I did not have the chance to go down and collect our tickets so we just turned up at the Third Age Centre at about 1:45 on Sunday expecting to find a buzz of people waiting to go in.

What we found was the bar was open but the centre was closed. There were a handful of people enjoying a Sunday drink and chat but no signs of any preparation for a meal.

It turns out that the lunch was postponed and the dancing was just the regular Sunday evening event organised by the Pensionistas Club.

We don't know why lunch was cancelled - possibly from lack of interest or maybe it was just too short notice. We were only glad that nobody from Villas Andrea turned up other than us. It would have been embarrassing to say the least if people had heeded my advice on Monday.

Note to the Ayuntamiento: if you need to cancel an event for whatever reason, please put a notice on Facebook to let us know. The word of mouth system that informed those that live in the town did not reach as far as Villas Andrea:-(


Sunday, October 01, 2017

A standing ovation

I have to say that I was surprised how many empty seats there were at last night's concert. I can honestly  say that, those that weren't there,  missed something very special.

In the first part we were entertained by the Armonica de Cox and they were damn good.

Following a short interval, the band from Bigastro took to the stage and performed as we have never heard them before. As I remarked to Christopher, who plays the flute, Diego has upped the game yet again.

My photos are available for you see via the sidebar. I have also uploaded my recording of the music  at.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The music

It is not often that we get to see the programme of music before a concert - here is the one for Saturday.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The details



Trust me, you will enjoy the day. 


 From our experience, the meal will be be well worth the 12 Euros price for the tickets - you will definitely not go hungry!! Nor will you want anymore to drink.

 Whether you stay for the chocolate and the dancing is up to you. If you do though, I can assure you of a warm welcome from our Spanish neighbours and an enjoyable evening.

PS You can always watch Strictly on catch up!

A difficult situation

Spanish state prosecutors on Friday lodged a formal accusation of sedition against individuals thought to be responsible for the disturbances of Wednesday night in Barcelona, when Civil Guard patrol cars were vandalized and officers had to be escorted out of the Economic Affairs Department building by the regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra.

The protests came after the Civil Guard on Wednesday staged a large operation against organisers of a planned independence referendum in Catalonia that resulted in dozens of searches and 14 arrests, including top Catalan government officials. Around nine million ballot papers were confiscated, seriously compromising the logistics of the vote.

Supporters of the referendum say that the state is being heavy handed in its approach. They say that the measures taken which include shipping in thousands of officers to take control, are reminders of the period when Franco was the dictator.

The government's position is simple, the referendum is illegal and should not go ahead. They will do all that is required to prevent it from taking place. It has put the mayors of many towns in a difficult position - if they allow public premises to be used as polling stations they are breaking the law. On the other hand, ff they ban polling in their towns, then they risk losing the votes of those who are in favour of secession.

Thomas Villanova

For those of you who want to know more about this illustrious son of Bigastro, there will be a conference followed by the opening of an exhibition about his life and works.

We have to thank Pascual Segura for his tireless work researching, not only ThomasVillanova but many other facets of the history of our town.

Finished

We believe that last night was our last appearance as Third Age King and Queen for the year. Our final call of duty should be the coronation next year for the couple that follow us.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

A special day for us

In 1990, the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons as recorded in Resolution 45/106. The holiday was observed for the first time on October 1, 1991.

As you might expect, the Councillor with responsibility for 3rd Age in Bigastro is organising something special for the occasion and would like us all to be involved.

Watch this space for more details to follow.

Such a beautiful occasion

Last night, Pamela and I were invited to attend mass at the church in our capacity as 3rd age King and Queen.

Before the mass there was a floral offering to the Virgin of Bethlehem who you understand the church is dedicated to. Then there was mass.

What followed though was the interesting part. From the nursery school, Bigastrin, a group of musicians serenaded a procession which included church dignitaries, members of the council etc.
Those of you who have been to Patio Andaluz restaurant on the N332 at Punta Prima, will have seen a similar group of musicians, dressed in black, from the University of Murcia.

When the procession arrived at the church, the doorway was covered with a curtain. The musicians continued with their serenade outside the door.

At the appointed time, the curtain was dropped to reveal the statue of the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus in her arms. She was clothed in a white cloak and the throne on which she stood was decorated with flowers including beautiful red roses.

The serenade then continued until about 10:45. After a couple of speeches,  we finally had  a brief firework display.

Apparently, this is an annual event - one which Pamela and I knew nothing about. We've watched the procession on Sunday but were unaware of this beautiful tradition. You can be sure that we will not miss it next year, I will be down there with my camera to get you some photos.

In the meantime, tonight is the final mass to honour the patron of the church. Following the mass, there will be a procession of the statue following the route taken during the Encuentro.

Pamela and I will be there, along with the Juvenile and Infant courts, dressed as we were for the final procession for San Joaquin - i.e. booted and suited complete with our sashes and Pam wearing a mantilla instead of her crown.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Do you like good music?

A chance to compare these two great bands.

Pam and I will be there. I'll be taking photos and also recording a sound track.

Brush up our Spanish

Apparently, this is organised for Thursdays at 4:30pm in the ViaVen. I am told that Kurtis is a very good teacher with a lot of years of experience.

Monday, September 18, 2017

More for your diary

It seems we are to be called on again to take part in this fiesta as 3rd Age King and Queen.

We will be taking part on Saturday in the floral offering and then again on Sunday in the mass and solemn procession.

For your diary

The association dedicated to helping those suffering with alzheimer in Bigastro has announced its programme for the week around the world day for this condition. Of particular note is the theatrical production on Sunday, 24th September in the Auditorium at 5:30pm.

The Cajón de los Lagartos ...

Made in the 60's, this box was used to transport the stands of the Bigastro Musical Union, to the numerous performances in Bigastro and other towns.

Due to the large size and weight, there used to be two musicians in charge of moving the box Once the box was emptied, it was often used as a stage for the director.

Known popularly among musicians as "the box of the Iagartos", the drawer fulfilled its function for decades.  It was abandoned and later forgotten in one of the old sites of the Musical Union of Bigastro from where it has now been  recovered fifty years on.

PS In case you were wondering, lagarto in Spanish can mean lizard or alligator, scoundrel or even sharp as opposed to lagarta which is a slang word meaning bitch!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

An enjoyable evening

When you consider that Bigastro is just a small town in the Vega Baja, it is quite remarkable that there should be anyone of note that was born here. The fact is - there are several.

Francisco Grau is one of its famous sons. He rose to the rank of General in the Spanish army, the first musician to ever do so.

Now we learn that an important scientist was also born in Bigastro 280 years ago and last night we paid homage to him.

Pam and I received our invite from the lady mayor in our official capacity as 3rd age king and queen.

After the introductions and a speech by the lady mayor, she unveiled a plaque to commemorate Villanova and to declare him a favourite son of the town. FOur of the townsfolk were then presented with mementos of the occasion - we thought they were possibly distant relatives but could not be sure.

Then the theatre group, Lugarico, accompanied by members of the town band, presented a short history of the  life of Thomas Villanova.

El Lugarico, led by Aurelio Murcia, had very little time to prepare and so it was a challenge for them. There were also several technical problems with the microphones which did not seem to phase the participants. In fact, they turned the situations into comic moments which the audience appreciated.

It was all very well done and was a great credit to those who took part.

You can see my photos in this album. 


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Local weather

Storms in this area can be very local. For example, it can be pouring down in Bigastro and dry in Jacarilla.

Last night, we had a downpour that lasted half an hour, no more. The total rain from that was 5mm. Further up the coast though in Alcoy, it rained pretty much all night peaking this morning at 8 am. In Pinosa, there was over 28mm of rain in half an hour and Alicante had  similar amount of rain but over a four hour period.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Relief at hand

Those of you who are getting fed up with the heat of summer will be pleased to learn that the temperature is forecast the plummet on Saturday when rain will cool us all down. It will then remain cooler, at least for the following few days.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Saturday night

On Saturday, Bigastro will be honouring one of its sons, Thomas Villanova.

Tomás Manuel Vilanova studied philosophy and medicine at the University of Valencia. However, his broad interests also led him to study physics, chemistry, botany, mathematics, pharmacy and astronomy, as well as numerous languages ​​(Latin, Greek, Arabic). He also learned  modern languages from his travels in France, Italy, Germany and Hungary.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Good to be back

After a wonderful week in Mallorca (staying in the old part of Palma), Pam and I are back home in Bigastro.

You can find my photos from the trip in the album Palma, Mallorca. I've set it out in folders to make it easier for you to locate photos of interest.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Let off lightly

We might have complained at the time about the amount of rain that fell but looking at the figures, we got of lightly.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Unpredictable weather

After a dismal start, yesterday turned out to be mostly dry and there were even periods of sunshine.

That all changed at about 9:30pm when you could hear thunder in the distance. As the storm approached, the lighting bolts were quite spectacular and filled the sky with light. The rain was intense but thankfully only  lasted for a short period of time.

Forecasts for today vary considerably because the atmosphere is quite unstable. For sure it is heavily overcast so who knows, we could have another thunderstorm or we might get lucky and be let off.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Thanks to Eva

In response to my request for a photo of Pam wearing a mantilla, I have this mobile shot of us at the end of the procession.

The Brotherhood of San Joaquin kindly brought seats for us to watch San Joaquin return to the church and the firework display that followed.

PS The mantilla was kindly loaned to Pam by our excellent neighbour Eladia. Not only did she loan the headdress, she came to fit it for Pam for both the mass and the final procession.

PPS The pin you see me proudly wearing in my suit is the one presented to me by the President of SUMB at last year's concert for San Joaquin.

There you go

The forecast for today and tomorrow. Cloud cover for both days with weak showers this morning and moderate rain this afternoon. Tomorrow will be much the same but with the possibility of intermittent thunderstorms.

Actually, I can hear thunder rolling in the distance already and we have had some rain overnight.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Rain to come

It might or might not rain heavily during the next two days as DANA passes by. Whatever rain we get will be mucky rain - damn!!

More from the Fiesta

Some more pictures of Pam and I at the Fiesta. However, I don't have any photos from the final procession or the mass in the church where Pam was wearing a mantilla. If anybody has any photos of us, I should be very grateful for copies.






Thursday, August 24, 2017

I don't think so.

After the Brexit vote friends told me not to worry, things would be all right - just wait and see.

The pound has tumbled more than 15 per cent against the euro since the UK voted to leave the EU in June last year.

Sterling on Wednesday fell to a fresh eight-year low – an official rate of just over €1.08 against the EU’s single currency. Worse still, travellers obtaining last-minute holiday cash from Southampton Airport’s Moneycorp branch on Thursday were getting just 87 cents for every pound.

Economists at UniCredit wrote in a note to clients on Thursday that the “upward trend” in the euro’s value against the pound “is showing no signs of slowing down”.

Strategists at Morgan Stanley add that the pound’s weakness “is no longer inspiring foreign buyers to come into the market”. They said that they are more optimistic on many other currencies, including the otherwise weak US dollar, and that they think buying the euro against the pound is the most sensible trade at the moment, indicating that they expect the single currency to become even stronger against sterling in the short term.

Last week strategists at the US bank said that the pound would be worth less than the euro on official exchanges by early next year.

When the Euro was last on par with the pound, we thought those were black times. As the pound gained strength, we thought they were behind us. Now it looks like the situation could be even worse.  And it isn't just people like us that are suffering. All of the imports to Britain are going to be more expensive so our friends and family will also be worse off.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Timings

For those who want to see the Vuelta, these are the timings.

Damn

When I read that Sunday's stage of the Vuelta a Espana was starting at Orihuela and then passing through Torrieveja, I assumed they meant the city. From the city, the route would have taken the CV95 by passing Bigastro which would be perfect from my point of view.

Having now seen a proper map, it seems that the stage will actually start at Campamor on the coast. Furthermore, it will not pass through Torrevieja because the mayor says he cannot provide enough police officers to patrol the roundabouts in the town. Instead it will run along the N332 towards Guardamar del Segura.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

All over for us.

After waiting so long for this year's fiesta where Pam and I were due to be crowned Third Age King and Queen, it is all over.  We have enjoyed every moment, right from the coronation to last night's procession.

There are so many people we want to thank:

First of all our fantastic neighbours, Pepe and Eladia who have helped us prepare and even taxied us down to save us parking and walking.

We would like to thank our family and friends who came over from England to support us. Along with them were our many Spanish friends who were there for us.  

Then there were the members of the Fiesta Commission, especially Carlos, Manuel and Eli who  helped us each day.

The lady mayor who took the trouble to ask us regularly how we were and whether we were enjoying the Fiesta.

The Brotherhood of San Joaquin and especially the one who directed us around last night.

Trini Alcaina and Fonta Bigastro for taking many photographs.

And last but not least, the people of Bigastro who gave us such support and cheered us on.

Now can I ask a favour. If you have any photos, not just of us but of the Fiesta in general, can you let me know. I'd love to have them to make up an album of memories of this fantastic time in our lives.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Relive the moment

For those who missed last night's fantastic concert for San Joaquin, here is the audio file.

What a surprise!!

Our neighbours, Manuel and Eli organised for an ad hoc band (Da Capo) to come and play for us in our garden this morning. Those who live at Villas Andrea will have heard them as they toured the estate.

Black is Black

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Archie - a winner

We were delighted when Jemma's best friend, Laura T wanted to come and support us at this year's fiesta and bring her two children, Erica and Archie with her.

It was wholly appropriate that our son-in-law, Dave should take part in the Carerra de Cintas. Laura's son, Archie agreed to ride on the rear carrier.

Their first attempt was good but Archie just failed to hit the mark.

The second run was more successful when Archie managed to win the tape with Pam's name on it.

How lucky, a) to win a tape and b) that the tape gave Archie Pam's sash.

Archie has given our granddaughter Molly the sash which hopefully she will keep as a memento of this special celebration.

Team GB

Having our family and friends over gave us the opportunity to take part in the Infant Parade this year. It was Jemma's idea that we should go as Team GB to fit in with the Olympics theme.

Whilst she sourced the flags and the medals, I had T-shirts printed for us all. The idea seemed to be well received by the onlookers.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Muy contenta

This was taken at the party we hosted last night for our family and friends at the Bar Roma.

Pam and I were delighted to be joined by a selection of our Spanish friends who have made us most welcome and have helped us to integrate into our new country.

See my album for more photos.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

We escaped

Yesterday was a pleasant sunny day here in Bigastro. Elsewhere though, there was a real downpour with the worst hit place being Denia.

The Fiesta continues



SATURDAY, AUGUST 12th, 2017


11:00 a.m. THE TAPE RACE


Bicycles return for San Joaquín to Calle Purísima. Enjoy this ancient tradition and win a sash that our court has prepared for the occasion. How many of the tapes can you get?


Refresh yourself by taking a free granizado.


Midday
UNCLE TRACTOR


As it has become traditional, the uncle of the tractor, accompanied by a charanga, will begin to tour the streets of Bigastro refreshing and encouraging all the neighbours and visitors.


8:00 p.m. THEMED CHILDREN'S PARADE


This year the theme of the children's parade will be "OLIMPIADAS", departing from Barrio Nuevo street, accompanied by the Children's Court of Queens.


00:00 hours


INAUGURATION OF THE FESTIVAL PARK


Inaugural parade starting from Calle Aureliano Diaz, where the Festival Commission, accompanied by the Municipal Authorities, Court of Queens, Pregonero, Comparsas and the Sociedad Musical de Bigastro, will proceed to the inauguration of the party venue installed as is traditional in the Huerto del Cura Park.


PERFORMANCE OF "IMPOSSIBLE VERSION"


The showman David Moreno, finalist in TU CARA NO ME SUENA TODAVIA, presents his new musical project IMPOSSIBLE VERSION. Accompanied by 5 great musicians, Moreno and his band will pay tribute to different artists of all eras and styles (Fito, Dani Martin, Shakira, Julio Churches, Camilo Sesto, Eros Ramazzotti, Louis Armstrong, Estopa ...) imitating the voice of these artists and interpreting their music and medleys with songs of today and yesterday. You've will have never seen so many singers on one stage! A lot of humour, good music and a constant interaction with the public, with a very theatrical staging.


MOBILE DISCO


At the end of the performance there will be a disco until the dawn with Dj Sergio.




SUNDAY, AUGUST 13, 2017
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
ALTERNATIVE LEISURE
Video consoles, for all in the Polyvalent Room of the Municipal Auditorium Francisco Grau.


Midday
UNCLE TRACTOR


The uncle of the tractor returns, parading the streets of the municipality, accompanied by a charanga. Laughter and fun are assured.


8:30 p.m.
GREAT COMPETITION PRESENTATION PARADE
Have a great time enjoying this refreshing parade – don't forget to take a bucket of water to liven up the party.


00:00 hours
POPULAR OPEN AIR DANCE TO "DÚO ATLANTIC"


In the Plaza de la Concordia, the Festival Committee has prepared the performance of the Atlantic Duo that will liven up the night with a wide musical repertoire, so as not to stop dancing throughout the evening.


01:00 a.m.
THE BEST TRIBUTE TO MECANO LIVE


Melissae pays tribute to our passion for the 80's and especially for the music of MECANO.


Musical show that will make us relive the memories that are linked to the great successes of this legendary band from Madrid. More than a score of songs from the first albums to the last year's, will surely connect to the audience with their magical energy.


And then, discomóvil with Dj. Robles.


MONDAY, AUGUST 14, 2017


10:00 a.m. to Midnight.
2nd ALTERNATIVE LEISURE DAY


Last day of consoles with the latest games, in the Polyvalent Room of the Municipal Auditorium Francisco Grau.


Midday
UNCLE TRACTOR
The uncle of the tractor says goodbye to our municipality until next year, as always touring new streets accompanied by charanga.


8:00 p.m.
FLORAL OFFERING TO SAN JOAQUÍN


The offering will begin with the traditional parade from Aureliano Diaz Street, where the court of queens accompanied by the comparsas, authorities, commission of parties, neighbours and the Sociedad Musical de Bigastro, will arrive at Plaza de la Constitución where they will make floral offerings To our Patron Saint Joaquín.


8:30 p.m.
HOLY MASS IN HONOUR OF SAN JOAQUÍN


11:00 p.m.
CONCERT BY THE MUSICAL UNION OF BIGASTRO, in the Plaza Constitución.


01:00 a.m.
THE HAPPY'S


The happy effect is to get together a lot of friends and share many of those legendary songs, sing them together and feel that everything we have lived for has been worth it.


QUEEN, POLICE, ROLLING STONES, ELVIS PRESLEY, SOCIAL SECURITY, DUN CAN DU, THE GUARD, THE SECRETS, MANA, TEQUILA, ALASKA, BRUNO MARS, JACKSON FIVE, ETC ...


THE HAPPY'S are: Antonio Hidalgo, José Ramón Soler, Willy Salas and Alex Thomas


Followed by a DISCOMOVIL with DJ RAFA

TUESDAY AUGUST 15


10:00 a.m. PASACALLE
La Charanga will tour the streets of Bigastro, enlivening residents and visitors.


7:30 p.m. ENTRANCE OF THE BANDS
The charangas, who accompany the comparsas in their parade, prepare the festive atmosphere for the multicoloured parade.


8:30 p.m. GREAT MULTI-COLOR PARADE
The comparsas, along with the Children's court, the Juvenile court and the Third Age King and Queen, will take part in the multicoloured parade that as always will begin in the street Barrio Nuevo.


01:00 a.m. DAWN
A grand pasacalle welcoming our big day, with the music of Sociedad Musical de Bigastro, will parade the streets of the municipality filling them with joy as they announce that the day of our patron Saint Joaquín has already arrived. At the end there will be a grand firework display and then a Discomovil with Dj Sergio


02:00 a.m.
CHILDREN'S FIREWORKS IN THE CAGE


03:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. ADULT'S FIREWORKS IN THE CAGE (LA CORDÁ)


Both of these events will take place in the street Acequia, with the participation of the Association of Carreteros of Bigastro.


"The Bigastro Town Council and the Organising Committee of the parties are not responsible for the improper use of gunpowder outside the established places and timetables"


05:00 a.m. to 07:00 a.m. FIESTA REMEMBER


At the end of the Cordá, in the Park Huerto del Cura, FIESTA REMEMBER with Dj CHUMI .


WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16th


09:30 a.m. MASS


11:30 a.m. Parades of the Bigastro Musical Union Society, from Aureliano Diaz Street to the Church Ntra. Señora de Belén accompanying the courts of 2017 along with members of the council.


12:00 HOLY MASS IN HONOUR TO SAN JOAQUÍN, which will be sung by the Manuel Moya Choir.
At the end of the Mass, in the Plaza Constitución, there will be a GRAN MASCLETÁ.


8:00 p.m SOLEMN PROCESSION OF OUR PATRON, SAN JOAQUÍN, carried on shoulders by the members of the Brotherhood of San Joaquin. Upon the return of San Joaquín to the church, a GREAT FIREWORK DISPLAY organised by pyrotechnics Ferrández of Redován.


01:00 MUSICAL PERFORMANCE BY THE LA ESPARTERA GROUP The group will animate the last night of our party, with a mixture of rhythms from a flamenco background.


And then, DISCOMOVIL until everyone drops with Dj Rafa.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 17th


In the afternoon, LA MURGA will, as always, make a mockery of what has happened in our municipality and in the country. Political satire at its best.


"HAPPY FESTIVALS" The Organizing Committee of the San Joaquin 2017 Festivities is not responsible for the use of gunpowder outside the authorized hours and venues. Likewise, the Commission may make changes to the schedule of acts it deems appropriate without prior notice.



Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Radio stars

Pam and I waiting to be interviewed by Paco Murcia for Radio Sureste, the day after the coronation.

A few reminders





Tuesday, August 08, 2017

From one extreme to another

Today we can expect extreme heat with an amber warning.

Last night it was a lot more comfortable than it has been over the last few days and that will continue. Daytime temperatures will also drop to something more normal.

However, there is a price to pay and that is the cloud cover, the possibility of rain and even a thunderstorm. Fortunately, it won't be mucky rain this time so you won't have a big clean up job to do on Friday.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Touch and go

Fortunately , our family members arrived just in time for our coronation. Here we are afterwards in need of a drink!! Many thanks to my great friend Fonta for the the photo.

Our crowning moments.

 Thanks to my good friend Fonta, we have photos of the coronation on Friday night





Friday, August 04, 2017

Heads you lose.....

Inland the temperature is high and the humidity is low. Escape to the coast and the temperature is lower but the the humidity is higher. Either way, you don't win.

Pop your head outside this morning and you will see it is foggy.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Jailbird

Cristiano Ronaldo is facing four counts of fraud for tax evasion worth €14.7 million, committed between 2011 and 2014.

In court, his spokesperson said Ronaldo would not be making any statements.

The case against Ronaldo is still at the investigation stage, which means that no members of the public will be allowed inside the courtroom.

The 32-year-old player allegedly used a corporate structure created in 2010, the year after he signed with Real Madrid, in order to “conceal from tax authorities his income in Spain from his image rights.”

In the Virgin Islands alone he is thought to have deposited €150 million of income from his image rights.

Cristiano Ronaldo is not the first famous soccer player to face similar charges. On May 24, the Supreme Court ratified a conviction against Barça forward Lionel Messi for tax fraud. He was given a 21 month sentence which he is unlikely to have to serve He was also fined 2 million Euros.

Under Spanish legislation, evaded amounts upwards of €120,000 a year become a crime punishable with one to five years in prison. Cristiano Ronaldo’s alleged fraud surpassed this threshold every year between 2011 and 2014.

The player reportedly told fellow players on the Portuguese national team that he wanted to leave Spain because he felt as if he were being treated as a criminal.

Sorry pal but people who defraud the tax authorities ARE criminals and should be dealt with as such.

It could be yours!

Those of you who have been before will know all about the "Carrera de Cintas".

For the uninitiated, a wire is stretched across the street. On the wire are tapes, each with the name of a queen or dame. To collect the tape you have to poke a wooden stick through a plastic ring whilst riding on a bicycle. You can see Alberto succeeding this task in the second photo.

You then exchange the tape for a sash from the person whose name corresponds. This year Pamela, as Third Age Queen, will be presenting the sash below to the lucky person who collects her tape. It could be you!*



* PS I recall Scout John saying he would have a go when Pamela was Third Age Queen.

Of course he may have to collect a few tapes to get the one with her name on it Best of luck John!!!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Santa Ana

It is a tradition that the Fiesta Queens, along with their courts, are presented for the first time at the Fiesta for Santa Ana - less than a week before the coronation.

So, last night Pam and I went down at midnight to the park where the statue of Santa Ana is kept in a niche. There was a disco in progress; some were dancing but most were sat around tables enjoying refreshments on what was a warm night. We too bought drinks from the bar and sat down and waited for the event to take place.

Members of the Fiesta Commission along with the Juvenile and Infantile courts arrived shortly after us and we all assembled at the side of the stage ready for the presentation.

At the scheduled time of 12:30 am, the lady presenter went on to the stage and made the announcements. First up were Pam and I as Third Age King and Queen. The reception we received from the crowd was two much appreciated rounds of applause.

We were followed by the Infant Court and then the Junior Court. There was a short speech followed by a few words from the Mayor. Fifteen minutes, it was all over and we were able to return to our house.

We would like to thank the Fiesta Commission for organising the event and the people from the town who gave us such a warm and friendly greeting. Pam and I look forward to Friday now and our coronation.

Friday, July 28, 2017

We are counting on you

Just to remind all our friends and neighbours both English and Spanish, this year's coronation of the Fiesta Queens will take place on Friday 4th August at 10pm. Pam and I would be delighted if you could come along and give us your support.

A moment of fame

Those of you who can get TV Vega Baja might want to watch the programme, "El Mirador" from yesterday.

In the programme, Pamela and I , along with the infant queen and the juvenile queen, were interviewed about this year's fiesta.

A late night

But I can assure you it will be worth stopping up for.

Chris Froome in action

Chris Froome, four times winner of the Tour de France, will be riding in the Vuelta a Espana this year.

It is unlikely that I will ever get to see him ride in France so I will take the opportunity to see Froome near the start of this stage.

Sunday, 27 August 2017 - At 176.3 kilometres, the 9th stage in the Vuelta a España travels on flat roads from Orihuela to a summit finish in Cumbre del Sol. If you look at the route, it takes you from Orihuela to Torrevieja and so it is likely that it passes through Bigastro.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Religious acts during the Fiesta

PROGRAMMING OF RELIGIOUS ACTS

SOLEMN NOVENARY IN HONOUR TO SAN JOAQUÍN AUGUST 6 TO 14

Working days: Visperas at 8:00 p.m. and Holy Mass at 8:30 p.m.

Festive days: On Sunday, August 6th and 13th, Holy Mass at 10:00 am.

Friday 11th: SANTA MISA DE CAMPAÑA, in the Plaza de la Concordia.

MONDAY, AUGUST 14: OFFERING OF FLOWERS AT 8:00 PM AND HOLY MASS AT 8:30 PM (EVENING OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE VIRGIN), there will be the delivery of medals and bylaws to the new confraternities.

(The Brotherhood of San Joaquin asks the participants in the Offering to bring, if possible, bouquets, to facilitate their placement in the floral framework that surrounds San Joaquin on the facade of the Church)

TUESDAY AUGUST 15: FEAST OF THE ASUNCION, HOLY MASS AT 10:00 am.

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 16: SAN JOAQUÍN FIESTA, HOLY MASS AT 9:30 AM AND MAJOR MASS AT 12:00 MIDDAY, sung by the choir "Manuel Moya".

8:30pm. PROCESSION OF THE PATRON SAN JOAQUÍN.

The first week

This is the programme for the first week of this year's Fiesta.

Pam and I would be delighted to see you at the Coronation where we will become Third Age King and Queen. We will also be at the tapeo on Sunday 6th and then at the Dinner Dance on Friday 11th.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 4th, 2017
8:30 PM
COLLECTION OF THE QUEENS
The Festival Committee accompanied by the Union Sociedad Musical de Bigastro will collect the courts of the outgoing queens from 2016 and the court of incoming queens of the Fiestas Patronales 2017, ending the tour along the streets Aureliano Diaz and Purísima. They will be accompanied by Council Members and the Principal Speaker.

10:00 p.m. ACT OF CORONATION OF THE PATRONIAL QUEENS 2017

In the Huerto del Cura Park, the traditional  Coronation of the Court of Queens 2017 will take place, honoured by the pregonero - Mr. Agustín Pastor Fuentes.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 5th, 2017
12:00 Midday TAPEO

We start with the first day of tapas in the Huerto del Cura Park, with the participation of bars, cafes and restaurants.

3:30 PM

Do not move from the park.  Have you had a good meal? Now you can enjoy the music of  DJ Robles, who will liven up the afternoon and the same establishments will serve drinks.
5:30 pm PLAYGROUND

Children will be able to enjoy the attractions installed for them in the Parque Huerto del Cura.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 6th, 2017

12:00 Midday TAPEO

Second and last day of tapas in the Huerto del Cura Park.

3:30 PM  We continue here with good music provided by DJ Rafa.

5:30 pm CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND


FRIDAY, AUGUST 11th, 2017

6:00 PM

CHILDREN'S FAIR

In the vicinity of the E.I. Bigastrín we will install a Children's Park, with games for all ages.

8:00 P.M.
DINNER DANCE
The Festival Committee have organised a DINNER-DANCE, in the E.I. Bigastrin, for a small fee, sign up at the Town Hall (limited capacity). Dinner will be enlivened by the "TRIO EVEREST".

Our day has come