Wednesday, August 23, 2017


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


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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

10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Video consoles, for all in the Polyvalent Room of the Municipal Auditorium Francisco Grau.


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.
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

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.

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.


10:00 a.m. to Midnight.

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

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.

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.

11:00 p.m.

01:00 a.m.

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.


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

Followed by a DISCOMOVIL with DJ RAFA


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

The charangas, who accompany the comparsas in their parade, prepare the festive atmosphere for the multicoloured 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.

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 .


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.


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


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



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)




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
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.


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.

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.

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.


FRIDAY, AUGUST 11th, 2017

6:00 PM


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

8:00 P.M.
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

Our first duty

This is our first calling, the presentation at Santa Ana.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Jellyfish alert

Traditionally, the best way to neutralise a jellyfish sting is to pour vinegar over the area (or male urine if you don't have vinegar handy). But Pelagia noctiluca sting is best treated with a solution of Epsom salts.

Experts say that you should never wash the affected area in fresh water because this can stimulate the chemicals in the sting further. Instead, wash it in seawater.

Never rub anything, such as sand or a towel, over the sting. The best immediate action is to apply intense cold to the area for five minutes, using, say, a plastic bag filled with ice. Any bits of tentacle stuck to the skin should be removed only during or after application of the ice.

Ideally, the victim should be taken to the beach's first-aid post in case there is an allergic reaction to the sting or other complications set in.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

My contribution

La Sociedad Unión Musical de Bigastro está de enhorabuena, pues recientemente ha recibido por
parte de Keith Williamson la donación de 4000 fotografías digitales que recogen las actuaciones de nuestra banda durante los últimos diez años: fiestas patronales, conciertos, fiestas de Santa Cecilia, ensayos, certámenes, etc...
Un valioso legado fotográfico, testimonio de la historia reciente de nuestra sociedad, que ha sido registrado y archivado en nuestro Archivo Histórico Musical, con las adecuadas medidas preventivas de conservación.
Muchas gracias Keith!

Society Musical Union of Bigastro are in luck, because they recently received from Keith Williamson 4000 digital pictures s that cover the performances of our band over the last ten years; Fiestas for San Joaquin, concerts, festivals of Santa Cecilia, rehearsals, competitions, etc ... a valuable photographic legacy, a testament to the recent history of our society, which has been registered and archived in our Musical Historical Archive, with appropriate preventive conservation measures.

Thank you very much Keith!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Did you know?

We all know that permission is required to construct or alter your property here in Spain. That even includes building or extending a wall.

Pam and I wanted to replace our wooden shed with a brick built one but we could not get permission for it to be in the same place. Local regulations say that any permanent enclosed construction must be at least 1.5m from the boundaries of your property. Thankfully, wooden sheds are not classed as permanent.

You regularly read about Brits who have had storage built or porches enclosed being made to demolish them. I even recall reading about one couple who had to demolish a pool because they did not have the proper licences in place. Remember, the responsibility lies with the owner to obtain permission - not the builder.

Now we want the house painting outside to cover up the render that has stained with the rain. Our near neighbour does all sorts or repairs and constructions so we asked him.

Yesterday, he came with the man who will be doing the painting to measure up which I thought was strange. It turns out though that you need permission from the town hall to paint your house and you have to pay a fee based on the quantity of paint and other materials used.Without permission, we could face the possibility of a fine being imposed.

You may ask, "how do they know that alterations have been made?"

Of course, a neighbour or the police may well inform the town hall if they see the work being done but it is even clever than that. Town halls use aerial photos from Google and Cadastral to compare your property with the state it should be in.

So that outbuilding at the rear of your property that you thought was out of sight will show up and could be discovered years even after it was built. It used to be the case that, if five years had passed since the construction, then you were exempt. Valencian law was changed and that period is now 15 years.

PS If you want to see what is on record go to 

Select Localizacion and type in your details: province, town street and number to find details of your property including a photo of it from the road and an aerial photo (which in our case is not at all clear).

Monday, July 17, 2017

Worked on

This official portrait of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla has had a lot of work done on it.

I have a program called Portrait Pro which makes these changes for you. From widening eyes to removing blemishes and even re-sculpting features, Portrait Pro can take years off faces. I  use it with care on some of my pictures including the ones I recently took of Anuta at her wedding.

If you go too far though, the result ends up like this and is no longer a true portrait. Look at Charles, I bet he wishes his face was so young! Well done Mario Testino, you have made a picture that they probably both love - shame it doesn't fool the rest of us.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The heat goes on

This from El Pais.

The heatwave affecting central, southern and eastern Spain produced a new record on Thursday afternoon, when an official weather station at Córdoba airport logged a temperature of 46.9ºC at 3.30pm. This is the highest figure recorded at this spot since the station was built, making Córdoba the Spanish capital with the highest temperature in Spain on Thursday. Another municipality in Córdoba province, Montoro, registered a high of 47.3ºC, making it the hottest village in Spain and the new hot weather record-holder since Spain started to keep track of weather events.

The AEMET state weather agency said that temperatures will ease up slightly on Friday, but did not expect the heatwave to officially end before Sunday.

The weather agency is forecasting a drop of between 1ºC and 3ºC in the south, but the provinces of Jaén and Córdoba are on a “red” heat advisory for the third day in a row, with temperatures that will reach over 44ºC. AEMET has also issued an “orange” warning in 13 other provinces, meaning conditions are slightly less hazardous to human health, for temperatures of 38ºC and over.

Córdoba is set to hold the heat record once again with an expected high of 45.7ºC, followed by 46.4ºC in Andújar (Jaén), 44.2ºC in Écija (Seville) and 44.7ºC in Linares (Jaén). These temperatures are 7ºC to 11ºC hotter than average for this time of the year at these locations.

Meanwhile, the provinces of Granada, Huelva, Seville, Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Toledo, Ávila, Salamanca, Madrid, Badajoz and Cáceres are on an orange heat advisory, while Cádiz, Málaga, Huesca, Teruel, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lleida, Valencia and Segovia are on the lowest heat alert, yellow.

AEMET said that northern Spain would start feeling the heat over the weekend. “For now, the temperature rise in the north will not reach heatwave levels, but could eventually,” said agency spokeswoman Delia Gutiérrez.

The relentless heat will ease up notably in the south on Saturday, but eight provinces will remain on orange heat warnings. That number will go down to five on Sunday.

Past records

According to a study from AEMET, which covers all of the heatwaves in the country between 1976 and June 2017, temperatures above 46ºC have rarely been seen in Spain. Temperatures exceeding 45ºC have been registered on five occasions, including at Córdoba airport in the summer of 2015, and in 2012 when 45.9ºC was reached at Seville airport.

However, the maximum temperature ever recorded in Spain was not actually during a heatwave: on July 23, 1995 the heat at Córdoba airport hit 46.6ºC.

The longest heatwave on record took place in 2015 and lasted 26 days.

King Filipe and Queen Letizia state visit to London

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I didn't know that

I also don't know what it is about. Can anyone enlighten me?

An absolute insult

Teresa May's Conservative Government clearly believes that teaching, like nursing, is a vocation meaning that financial reward is secondary to the satisfaction teachers get from educating children. The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) says there should be a 1 per cent increase for all pay ranges this year.

The result is that the Government’s own figures show that average pay for classroom teachers has only gone up by £300 - less than 1 per cent and have fallen behind inflation by 13 per cent since 2010.

This latest pay announcement will mean that figure increases to over 15 per cent. The pay being offered to newly qualified teachers would be over £3,500 higher if the pay cap had never been applied and schools would have far fewer difficulties in recruiting new graduates.

Compare that with MP's salaries which have increased from £65,738 in 2010 to £76,011 this year. The graph below shows how their pay has increased since 1977 when they were comparable with the average household wage and it shows the massive 10% increase they enjoyed in 2015.

Monday, July 10, 2017


This sounds like an excellent photo opportunity and a barbeque thrown in. What's not to like?

Oh and I nearly missed Chicas GoGO!

Friday, July 07, 2017


Restaurante Vela Beach, Torrevieja.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The problems continue

I've heard this morning about a third break-in at Villas Andrea.

This time it was a house on the edge of the estate and the people were in the house at the time. They were upstairs and the break-in occurred downstairs.

There is of course no way of knowing whether these are the same people each time or different ones.

Monday, July 03, 2017

The far away light

Do you know that our path around the sun is elliptical? In January, we are at the closet to the sun and today, we are the furthest away.

Of course, here in Spain we are a bit closer to the sun than our friends and relatives back in England.

An occasional treat perhaps

Fried fish and chips were something I had every Friday lunchtime when I was a young lad living in Morley, Yorkshire. We also had tripe and onions regularly and large Green's pork pies for tea.

Every Sunday we had roast meat with potatoes and vegetables followed by a pudding of some sort with custard. Mondays, we would have the remains of the joint cold  served with potatoes etc.

Was it any wonder then that most of my family were overweight?

These days, Pam and I very rarely have fish and chips even though I still thoroughly enjoy them. We only have a roast lunch if we go out in England  on a Sunday and a pork pie is a treat every few months when we go to Iceland (the shop that is, not the country!).

Friday, June 30, 2017

A complete reversal

From a situation where this area was the hottest part of Spain, on Saturday things will change. Whilst temperatures elsewhere will rise from today, temperatures here will plummet by up to 8 degrees and we could even see a spot of rain.

As the notice says, if you are planning to go to the beach, Sunday will likely be a better day.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Living in an oven

In spite of the forecast, the cloud for much of yesterday did keep it feeling cooler. The good news is that, cooler air from the north will reach us by the weekend bringing temperatures down to something more normal.

I stepped outside last night and instead of a nice cool breeze, I was hit by a blast of hot air.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Football cheats

Like many Brits living in Spain, we make an honest declaration each year and pay our taxes on time.

I read somewhere though, that a fair number of Spaniards try every which way to avoid paying their taxes and that many get away with it. Footballers are amongst the highest paid people in the country, especially the super stars that play for the big teams. They are also the biggest cheats when it comes to paying their taxes.

 Here are some examples:

 Lionel Messi and his father were found guilty of tax offences when they failed to declare €10 million in income from image rights, for the period 2007 to 2009. Both were sentenced to 21 months in prison but Messi’s father later saw his sentence reduced to 15 months after being deemed an accessory to those tax crimes. It is now possible that Messi will not go to jail because this is his first offence and he has now paid off his tax debts.

 Manchester United manager (former Real Madrid coach), José Mourinho has also been accused of having failed to pay €3.3 million to Spain’s tax authorities in 2011 and 2012 and for failing to declare income from image rights.

Lastly,  Portugal and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is being accused of a €14.8 million tax fraud by Spanish prosecutors after allegedly having used a shell company in the Virgin Islands to hide image rights income from 2011 to 2014.

Bad news

Those living near the junction of Calle Alemania and Calle Inglaterra will have heard the commotion at about 11pm last night. Many had come out to see what it was all about.

 What it was about was another break-in. You could hear our neighbours shouting "ladrones".

 I don't have specific details, ie exactly how they attempted to get in to the house or whether they were disturbed.

 We hope that the people affected are safe and that the police can quickly put a stop to this current wave of burglaries.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Pepe, el maestro de la paella.

A fantastic way to spend an afternoon. In great company (both English and Spanish)enjoying this superb arroz con serranas y conejo.

Great entertainment for just 10 Euros

Getting hotter

Take care

It has been awhile since the last break-in at Villas Andrea and it is possible that people are not as careful as they used to be when we had a spate of burglaries.

I am sorry to report that another home was broken into during  the last few days. The thieves gained access by removing the grill from one of the windows. Our sympathies go to the people who suffered, we hope that they are OK.

The lesson for all of us is to remain vigilant and take whatever precautions we can to stop thieves from getting in to our houses.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The big clean up

Fifteen agricultural workers will play different roles for Bigastro Town Hall this summer. Eleven of these agricultural labourers have started their first day of work this morning cleaning and conditioning of different points of the municipality. Through a subsidy of the Program for the Promotion of Agrarian Employment, these fifteen people will work in public spaces that need maintenance in order to avoid possible fires in urban and rural areas.

This year's state employment program is extended to the recreational area of ​​La Pedrera, as well as to parks and municipal lots located in housing estates and other parts of the urban area, such as the Apatel industrial estate. The different actions also focus on the clearing of rural roads to improve the visibility for drivers on these roads.

The subsidy, granted by the Ministry of Employment for Bigastro, amounts to 45,000 euros to cover 65 working days. The neighbours selected for these tasks must count in the special agrarian regime and have a series of requirements that the Servef demands.

The councilman of Works and Maintenance, José Manuel Maiquez, highlighted this morning that, the contractors "are working in the most needy areas and, especially, plots and places that are close to homes and Where small fires can originate, "adding that" the recreational area of ​​La Pedrera will also be improved, which is a point that we pay special attention to. "

Archive material

At the request of the Mayor, Pascual Segura is in the process of putting together an exhibition of posters, photos and other documents about the band.

Pascual knew that I had taken photos of concerts and so asked me if he could have copies. He suggested that I could burn them onto DVDs.

I have photos dating back to 2009, some are stored on my computer and others on a Network Attached Storage i.e. an external pair of hard drives.

Once I collected all the photos I could find together, the total came to almost 4,000 and the size of the collection weighed in at 46.2Gbs. That would have taken over 10DVDs so I put them on a USB memory stick for him.

As I explained to Pascual, the 4,000 were a mere selection from the thousands of photos that I have taken. Normally, I take somewhere between 100 and 300 photos at a concert and then choose about 40 to 60 to save. I also explained that photos of the band were only part of my collection of photos taken in Bigastro. I have many more photos of various fiestas and other occasions. I would estimate at least 10,000 in total, probably more.

When Pascual came last night to pick up the USB drive, he brought me a book of photographs of Spain taken from the sky. That was a very kind gesture and one which I appreciated very much. The photos in the book are a fascinating collection showing a different aspect of the country which most would not see. It is a book that I will dip into many times.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The boom returns

The construction sector maintains its recovery in the province of Alicante. Promoters' applications to launch new projects have increased exponentially in recent months, but especially in coastal municipalities, such as Guardamar, Torrevieja, Orihuela Costa and Pilar de la Horadada,

In our region, the towns of Torrevieja and Orihuela continue to lead the boom for new housing construction, not only in 2017, but in the last three years. What the data indicate is that the recovery of the sector is consolidated and is accelerating. According to experts,2017 is being turning out to be very productive in the real estate sector. Some of them say that it is possible to reach the housing figures of 2004.

According to the TINSA report, based on data provided by the Ministry of Public Works, new construction visas in Orihuela Costa in 2015 stood at 448, while in 2016 they rose to 1,038, an increase of 132%, a growth much higher than that of Guardamar, with 66%, Torrevieja, with 27%, and Pilar de la Horadada, with an 8% increase in the number of new work visas.

The contrast of Orihuela city
Faced with data from the Oriol coast, the city and districts hardly present any construction activity of new housing, not only during this 2017 but in recent years. In fact, the licenses granted by the Department of Urbanism are practically all directed to promotions in Orihuela Costa, as confirmed by the councillor of the area, Begoña Cuartero, The mayor says that in the city and districts few licenses are given and are for minor works, "generally reforms, but not for new work".

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

For fans of medieval music.