Thursday, July 19, 2018

Can you imagine?

Funeral of the parish priest D. José Galiano.

The townspeople accompanied the parish priest from the Plaza de la Constitución to the city of Orihuela, carrying their religious banners.

Can you imagine that happening today?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Another front cover

I was delighted to find that, yet again, one of my photos has been used for the front cover of the Fiesta brochure.

Last year, I was only able to take pictures on occasions when Pam and I were not involved as 3rd Age King and Queen. Still there are a handful of my photos from previous years inside the book.

Apart from the Coronation, when Pam and I will be back on the stage, I will be back in action with my cameras.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Moors and Christians in Orihuela

The two parades of Christians and Moors groups will take place this Friday and Saturday with the following details:

 viernes, 20 DE JULIO A las 21’30 h. desde la Calle Ocarasa Solemne Desfile de Entrada Cristiana. Abriéndolo las Banderas y Boato de la Asociación, Armengola 2018 y Escolta.

BANDO CRISTIANO Embajador Cristiano 2018: Isidro Hernández Lozano.
Comparsa Caballeros de Tadmir
Comparsa Caballeros del Oriol
Comparsa Piratas Bucaneros
Comparsa Caballeros de Santiago
Comparsa Seguidores de Arún y Ruidoms
Comparsa Contrabandistas
Comparsa Caballeros del Rey Fernando
Comparsa Caballeros Templarios

Itinerario: desde C/ Ocarasa, por C/ Aragón, Plaza San Sebastián, Avda. de España, C/ Calderón de la Barca, C/ Loazes, C/ Alfonso XIII, finalizando en la Plaza de Alfonso XIII.

 sábado 21 DE JULIO A las 21’30 h. desde la Calle Ocarasa Solemne Desfile de Entrada Mora. Abriéndolo las Banderas y Boato de la Asociación, Armengola 2018 y Escolta.

BANDO MORO Embajador Moro 2018: Enrique Riquelme Terrés.
Comparsa Moros Viejos de Abén-Mohor
Comparsa Moros Nazaríes de Abén-Humeya
Comparsa Moros Musulmanes Escorpiones
Comparsa Moros Almohábenos
Comparsa Moros Negros Egipcios
Comparsa Moros J’Alhamed
Comparsa Moros Abdelazíes
Comparsa Moros Realistas
Comparsa Beduina
Comparsa Moros Almorávides

 Itinerario: desde C/ Ocarasa, por C/ Aragón, Plaza San Sebastián, Avda. de España, C/ Calderón de la Barca, C/ Loazes, C/ Alfonso XIII, finalizando en la Plaza de Alfonso XIII.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Not the World Cup

I suspect that many of you will be glued to the World Cup final which kicks off at 5pm tonight. Or maybe you will be watching the men's final at Wimbledon.

Meanwhile, in France, riders in the Tour de France will be facing 15 sections of the dreaded cobbles that feature in the Hell of the North, Paris to Roubaix Spring Classic.

Worth a visit

The people who ran the Roma bar moved to the new Bar Pujante, next to the park. This is their menu which includes some very tasty dishes and snacks..

Friday, July 13, 2018

Available from the 18th July

The book for this year's fiesta will be available from next Wednesday.

The list shows the places where you can go to collect your copy.

As a bonus this year, the first people to collect their books will get a reusable bag as a gift.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Worth a visit

The Town Hall have taken back control of the pool and restaurant at La Pedrera and are doing a great job running it.

The two pools are in excellent condition and the restaurant offers up very good value menus of the day along with snacks to keep you going.

The only downside is that there is no shade at all in the pool area.

Villas Andrea

The latest in my series of photos of the estate from above.

Monday, July 09, 2018


Spain's new government is working on a Bill of Law, or Royal Decree that will once again make free healthcare universal for everyone living in the country, irrespective of their legal status.

Back in 2012, the PP government cancelled 900,000 SIP, or healthcare, cards – of these, 150,000 were held by immigrants with no residence permits, and others by people in varying situations but who were not paying Social Security contributions, such as low-income cash-in-hand workers.

European Union citizens were less affected – those who had never been employed or registered as self-employed in Spain, and were not in receipt of a State retirement pension from any country, were able, in some regions, to pay a monthly fee of around €110 to guarantee them treatment, and in others, were automatically able to sign up to the system as long as their annual gross income did not reach €100,000.

For non-EU citizens in Spain in this situation – which would have included the British if the system were in place post-Brexit – their case was more complicated and, depending upon their region, they had to rely on private health insurance.

Tourists resident in the EU could obtain emergency care through their EHIC cards, defined as any medical issue that could not wait until they returned home, and holidaymakers from elsewhere needed to be covered by travel insurance.

It is likely that holidaymakers will still need to meet these requirements, but that residents – even if they are not registered as such – will be treated.

Although it is hoped the UK will continue to make annual per-head contributions to Spain for its State pensioners' healthcare after Brexit, the Spanish government's new stance sends out a fresh message of reassurance to any who feared they may be left without access to a doctor.

For your diaries

Although you could buy tickets at the door, please note that the seats are numbered. If you want a particular seat, then it might be best to call at the Town Hall.

Look after your feet

And remember that it is illegal to drive in flip-flops here in Spain.

Dare we hope?

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Saturdays in July

Los Altos de la Pedrera are going all out to make the place a first choice venue.

The swimming pools look fabulous and the restaurant has been smartened up.

Lunch time menus sound tasty and offer good value for money.

Now, for July they are offering live music for those who go up there for a meal on Saturdays.

NB I haven't tried their food personally but speaking to those who have, it is recommended.


We watched the game last night between England and Columbia. At times it barely resembled football, it was more like war.

Sadly, the referee failed to stamp his authority early on so the Columbians took it upon themselves to surround him and argue every decision. Then the England players, at first composed and disciplined, decided to join in.

The Columbians also indulged in grappling throughout and even saw one of their coaching staff give Raheem Sterling a deliberate and totally unnecessary nudge as he came off at half-time. Then there was the deliberate head butt on Henderson that the ref failed to see.

There was another element of dirty tricks when Harry Kane waited four minutes to take his penalty, Colombia's Johan Mojica scuffing up the penalty spot amid scenes close to anarchy as others tried to get inside the England captain's head.

I don't have the match statistics to show how many yellow cards were handed out, more than I have ever seen at a game before.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Made my day

Chris Froome's anti-doping case has been dropped by cycling's world governing body, the UCI.

The substance - which Froome says is used to help manage his asthma - is permitted without the use of a therapeutic use exemption but only within certain doses.

Team Sky said Froome was only 19% over the limit - not double as has been previously reported - when the adverse test was adjusted to take account of dehydration.

They also claim 20 other tests conducted on Froome during his victory at last year's Vuelta a Espana did not need any "further explanation".

"The same individual can exhibit significant variations in test results taken over multiple days while using exactly the same amount of salbutamol," Brailsford said.

"This means that the level of salbutamol in a single urine sample, alone, is not a reliable indicator of the amount inhaled".

Decision based 'on expert opinions'
A UCI statement says that "on 28 June 2018, Wada informed the UCI it would accept, based on the specific facts of the case, that Mr Froome's sample results do not constitute an AAF (adverse analytical finding)" and "in light of Wada's unparalleled access to information and authorship of of the salbutamol regime, the UCI has decided to close proceedings against Mr Froome".

The statement added: "While the UCI would have obviously preferred the proceedings to have been finalised earlier in the season, it had to ensure that Mr Froome had a fair process.

"The UCI understands that there will be significant discussion of this decision, but wishes to reassure all that its decision is based on expert opinions, Wada's advice, and a full assessment of the facts of the case."

Of course, none of us should have know anything about this. However, the Guardian published a story by journalists Sean Ingle and Martha Kelner. Totalling over 1,500 words, the essentials were summed up by the 11-word headline: Chris Froome fights to save career after failed drugs test result.

Where did the journalists get their information?

Team Sky’s star and Bradley Wiggins were part a group of 25 athletes who had their data stolen from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and published by Russian hackers known as ‘Fancy Bears’. It was the second such leak in a week involving athletes from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Footnote: Fancy Bears are an anonymous cyber espionage group responsible for leaking confidential information from the worlds of politics and sport. 

Their earliest work included hacking Georgia's government ministries before the Russian army invaded the country in 2008.

Since then, Fancy Bears have targeted the White House and the CIA and were responsible for the email hack of the Democratic National Committee which is thought to have badly damaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency. 

The group has infiltrated computer systems of several foreign governments and were accused of trying to disrupt the 2017 General Election. It is also suspected that they had involvement in the BREXIT referendum. 

Many believe that they are working on behalf of the Russian Government who, it is claimed, fund them. 


Hopefully there will be sufficient water in the river for the canoes - who knows?

Friday, June 29, 2018

Some dates for you

Knowing that there are residents here at Villas Andrea who organise to have their family and friends over for the annual fiesta, here are the important dates to put in your diaries.

There will be a special party organised for third age citizens on Friday 10th August.

The coronation of the fiesta courts will take place on Saturday, 11th.

The tape race will be on Sunday, 12th, the same day as the children's parade and the concert by the Bigastro band.

Tuesday the 14th is the date set for the floral parade and Wednesday 15th for the comparsas parade.

The 16th is the day when the town will celebrate Mass in honour of San Joaquin and at night the procession of the statue followed by fireworks.

For full details, see the official programme that should be available shortly.

The work is now complete

The Provincial Council of Alicante has completed the tasks of reordering and updating the Municipal Archive of Bigastro , a project that has involved the organization, analysis, description and classification of 663 files along with about 3,800 computer records.

The work, developed over eight months, has also included the digitization of 8,000 images belonging to the minute books and the installation of 112 linear meters of bookshelves. The oldest documents correspond to the year 1800 and are part of the funds of the Court of Peace and the Book of Records series of the Municipal Board of Health of 1804-1805.

Collaboration with the Town Hall of Bigastro began in 2002, when the first agreement was signed to organize its documentary collections. Since then, a total of 2,065 files have been organized and 6,969 computer records have been made.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Biker's lunch

The ear splitting roar of finely tuned engines, the gleam of polished chrome and the smell of oil and petrol mixed can only mean one thing - the 3rd edition of the biker's lunch in the park.

It will all kick off as the various bikers clubs and individuals ride into town and follow a circuit around. At the end of their tour, they will park up on Calles next to the park where there will be food, drink, music and Gogo girls.

Fonta and I will be there with our cameras to bring you photos. 

That's what I call hot

My friend in England tells me that it was very hot in Liverpool yesterday. I wonder what he would make of the temperatures here in Bigastro.

Serious running

There is nothing to stop anyone taking part but be warned, if you are not at your peak of fitness, you will be quickly left behind.

I expect my friend Fonta will be there to take some more excellent photographs.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Permanent residence

It seems that the Town Hall was just a temporary location for the Bigastro Archive.

Beach life

Look at the beach at Torrevieja in this photo from MeteoOrihuela. We're not even into July and the beach is a sea of parasols, not a scrap of sand left for any latecomers.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Star gazers

Following an interesting talk and a presentation by Aurelio about the life of Thomas Villanova, the townspeople got to look at the the stars through the two telescopes that had been set up.

Dead fish on the beach - not good!

This from MeteoOrihuela

Yesterday, hundreds of dead fish appeared on LaMarina and  LaGola Beaches near the small communication channel between Santa Pola and  the Mediterranean.

According to some people, if it is not due to chemicals in the water, it is most likely natural. The waters stagnate in the river, the sun heats the waters, the level of nitrates and CO2 rise, leaving the fish without oxygen.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A different viewpoint

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Lunch sorted

Note, this is not at Camping La Pedrera, This is the newly opened cafe next to the swimming pool.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Turning up the heat

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A big improvement

You can see the completed new roundabout in this photo from the Town Hall. It joins Calle Joaquin Moya Martinez to the CV95 and gives safer access to the industrial estate.

First photo

As a beginner pilot, I have taken my time getting to know my drone and the first few flights were just to familiarise myself with the controls. I am delighted with the performance so far, Dji have done a great job making this drone easy to fly and control.

 Today I thought it was time to check out the camera and see what it was capable of. Again, I am impressed. For a 12mp camera that is so small in size, it takes good photos. Next stage is to take it to other locations and get more photos and then move on to video.

A dronie! 

True blue

We are blessed with a blue sky most days in the summer months - that is true.

I'm not sure I have ever seen it quite as blue as in this picture posted by MeteoOrihuela on Facebook.

My opinion is that the photographer went a bit over the top with the saturation slider!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Did I mention my admiration for the Skoda Karoq?

Skoda, Spain keep trying to tempt me with pictures of the car on Facebook. This is their latest shot of  a Karoq 1.5 TSI (petrol turbo) with a DSG gearbox (7 speed automatic) in the beautiful Red Velvet colour.

Yours or mine for only 24,710 euros in the Ambition version or 27,350 euros in the Style version.

Is this take 3?

Clouds and bad weather marred the first two attempts. Surely, this time the sky will be clear enough for a good view of the stars.

Third time lucky?

Monday, June 18, 2018

Nothing phases Spaniards

When they extended the wall behind the houses on Calle Alemania upwards, we did wonder whether they were going to leave it as grey concrete blocks. We also wondered how they might get up there to finish it off. The answers came this morning when a huge crane arrived and parked across from the road below. Its purpose was to carry a cradle holding a man who then had the task of rendering the wall. Hiring such a crane would not have been cheap nor would it be an easy task to position it right. No pasa nada - they just got on with it.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sung with passion

Last night, Tony Ortuño, Antonio Larrosa and Efrén Pamies played a concert for us in the newly inaugurated Lo Chusco park in Bigastro.

Their style is what I would describe as Spanish poetic ballad rather than flamenco music. Easy listening is probably the right category for the songs, certainly delightful to listen to and well worth going down for.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Thank you Jean

One of our neighbours kindly looked after our raffle tickets for us when Pam and I left the Charity Event yesterday.

I can count the number of times we have won in a raffle on one finger (possibly two) so it came as a great surprise this morning to find Jean at our gate with not one but two prizes. Thank you Jean, that was very kind of you to bring them round.

As I said in my previous post, I hope the event made a lot of money for AECC. After a quick check, there was about 850 Euros in the pot before we left which is a fantastic amount.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Disturbing facts

AECC (Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer) tell us that half the population will have some form of cancer during their lifetime. That was certainly born out by the tales we heard today. So many who have or had one form or another of cancer, it was frightening. The only encouraging fact is that detection and survival rates are improving year on year.

We sincerely hope that those who are currently undergoing treatment or who are now being monitored succeed in their fight against the big C.

Sadly, there are a few of our neighbours who lost their battles with cancer and are no longer with us including the husband of one of the organisers who passed away eighteen months after retiring to his dream life in Spain. Joan is a very brave lady who works hard to help others and gives tireless support to AECC.

A great afternoon in excellent company

It was great to see so many people we haven't caught up with for so long. It was also delightful to find so many of our Spanish neighbours enjoying their day in our company.

Many, many thanks to Darren and Joan and everyone else who was responsible for organising the event - I hope you made a huge stash of cash for AECC.

PS I apologise to anyone who was there that I missed.