Tuesday, July 16, 2019

We missed it all

Pam and I have just spent the last week in Sale with our grandchildren. I understand we missed another day of suffering heat and two earthquakes.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Now that is hot!!



Thursday, July 04, 2019

Was that fibre cable?

Yesterday, we saw workmen who looked to be installing cable in the telephone ducting. Surely, this must be the fibre optic cable that we were promised.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

The Town Hall celebrates 75 years

Many thanks to Pascual Segura for this fascinating account.

Until the 1940s, Bigastro Town Hall was located at number 12 in the Plaza de la Constitución, a space that today is occupied by a modern building of housing and commercial premises. The poor condition of that old building of 165 m2, which included the jail and open courtyard, led to the consistory commission in 1942 to the two expert masons, Joaquin Moya Martinez and José Alcaina Esteban, a report on the state of municipal buildings .

The report, presented in 1943, ruled the poor state in which they were, and for that reason the mayor, Manuel Fuentes Torres, made the decision to auction all the municipal properties to deal with the acquisition of a space that would serve as new Town Hall.

Thanks to the money raised from the auctions, the house of the then secretary of the Town Hall of Bigastro, Juan Gálvez Gálvez, was purchased for 40,000 pesetas, commissioning the project of adaptation of said house to the architect Severiano Sánchez Ballesta, who approved the acquisition of the property affirming that "the structure of the building, its architectural style and the consistency of its walls and work in general, are well designed".

In August of that same year of 1943 they began works that culminated in December to adapt the house of the secretary to a Town Hall, with offices, court, archive, plenary hall, etc. In June 1944 the building was ready for the workers to make use of their facilities.

From June 1944 until today 75 years have passed. A work of adaptation of an old house to which subsequent rehabilitation works followed.

Over the course of those 75 years, Bigastro has travelled a path of prosperity, improvements in infrastructure and services, social and cultural advances, etc. A path that prospers with a newly named Municipal Corporation, which has as its Mayor-President, Teresa María Belmonte Sánchez and the councillors Antonio José Meseguer Cabañés, Alejandra Moya Celedonio, José Manuel Maíquez Moya, Nuria Andreu Mompeán, Manu Giménez Terrés, Teresa Moya Moya, Mª Carmen Medina Oltra, Raúl Martínez Campos, Olga Soto Pardo, Joaquín Sáez López, Nora Taj Lidón and Aurelio Murcia González, to the municipal representatives in charge of protecting this anniversary.


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Try to keep cool


Monday, June 24, 2019

Looks familiar


Quirky dancing seems to be a traditional feature of celebrations for Corpus Christi.

These two pictures from Orihuela show two groups performing dances that should look very familiar to my English readers.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Mosquito season is on us

Female mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs in. They don't like clean water or chlorinated water though, they prefer water that has been standing.

Once they have somewhere to lay their eggs, the females go into breeding mode and stock up on blood for energy. That is when they will bite you to extract blood. Unfortunately what they leave you with is a dose of their anticoagulant that causes swelling and irritation.

If you want eliminate mosquitoes from your garden, patio or balcony, then you need to make sure there are no pools of water they could use to breed in.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Note the route

It is well worth going down into the town on Sunday afternoon to walk this route and see the magnificent work that the neighbours have done to prepare for the procession.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Corpus this weekend


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Photo Rally 1

With my fellow photographers, receiving our diplomas.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

What a shambles

It seems that the contest to find the replacement for Mrs May has descended into a farcical situation where each of the candidates feels the need to come clean on whether they ever took drugs. Michael Gove confessed that he took cocaine, others smoked cannabis or opium and Boris Johnson thought he might or might not have snorted cocaine - it could have been icing sugar which either did or did not go up his nose.

They all believe that, one way or another, they can deliver Brexit by Halloween or maybe not. In spite of overwhelming evidence that a “hard Brexit” would cost Britain dearly and in any case would be blocked by parliament, most say that would be their default option. The EU have categorically said that there will be no more negotiation so where does that leave us?

When Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair, Johnson said they should have had a general election to give him a mandate from the public. I wonder whether he will stick to that principle if he is elected? Indeed, will any of them risk “going to the country” to confirm their position?


Monday, June 10, 2019

The big clean up

Now that we have more visitors to La Pedrera as a result of the opening of  Ruta Alquibla, there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of litter.

In an ideal world, everyone would take their bottles and plastic bags home with them but sadly we no longer live in that sort of world.

We know that plastic waste is a real danger to wildlife which is why environmental organisations are putting their weight behind this initiative.

This is not a problem confined to Bigastro. Throughout the country teams will be meeting up on the 15th June to clear up their areas of natural beauty.

All that you are asked to do is give up one hour of your time between 7:30pm and 8:30pm to help clean up the leisure zone.

As the slogan says, "we are part of the problem and part of the solution". 

NB You may have noticed a team of workers in yellow vests cleaning up the roundabouts. This is an annual campaign for which Bigastro receives funding. In time they will cover the whole of the town and clean up verges pathways, parks etc including those in our urbanisation.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Photo rally

Having submitted a few photos for this, I'll be down at the Sala Polivalente tonight at 8pm ready to collect my diploma and T shirt.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Spotted on beaches at Mazarron



The Portuguese man o' war is a highly venomous open ocean predator that superficially resembles a jellyfish but is actually a siphonophore. Each man o' war is actually a colony of several small individual organisms that each have a specialised job and are so closely intertwined that they cannot survive alone.

If you spot one, let the authorities know and DON'T RISK TOUCHING IT. Although their poison rarely kills humans, it can be extremely painful.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Little Ana

 Some of you will remember Ana Moya who taught us Spanish in the first years that we were here. The middle girl in the pink is Ana's daughter who is also called Ana.

The occasion is the coronation of fiesta queens in Molins and Ana is one of the three Infant Queens for 2019.

The format of the ceremony was slightly different to that in Bigastro but was equally delightful.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Noisy weekend


Friday, May 31, 2019

Try again

Last photographic competition I misinterpreted the theme. This one is very clear.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Let's look more closely

If we go back to 2007 (the first vote that Pam and I participated in) the PSOE had the majority with 8 seats and 58.24% of the vote. The total of votes was 3,981 which represented 88.82% of those eligible to vote.

Yesterday, the PP held on to their 7 seats with 48.29 % of the vote. The total number of votes was down to 3,504  which represented 74.49% of those eligible to vote. As the caption says, 40 more votes for the PSOE would have given them the seat awarded to the Liberal coalition.

Looking at it another way; in 2007 the PP got 1,525 votes, yesterday they got 1,666 - just 142 more but that was enough to give them 2 more seats than they had in 2007, On the other hand the Socialists were only given 1,341 votes yesterday which was 955 less than they got in 2007 losing them 3 seats. Possibly,  some of those that once voted for the PSOE have changed their allegiance to the PP but also many may have stopped voting hence the reduced turnout. 

Looking at the country as a whole we see that the total number of voters increased and the abstention rate fell from 4 years ago. We can also see that the PSOE were the winners overall. However they lost out in the "jewel in the crown", Madrid and the Madrid region.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The results

The PP have maintained their majority with 7 seats (the same number as last time). The Socialists still have 5 seats and Aurelio clung on to his one seat.

You can probably hear the celebrations from the Town Square which will continue into the night.

Fuelled up and ready to go

Tradition dictates that the party faithful meet up at 7:30am on the day of the election for breakfast before heading off to the polling stations. There they will be helping out in various capacities.

For the General Election, Pam was there with them but an early morning get up is not her style. She will join them later today to do her stint.

If you have seen my photos from the final meeting of the campaign which was eventually held in the Auditorium, you will see how determined they were during their last push. Each of the candidates spoke and delivered a clear message to the audience.

Of this you can be certain, if the PP fail in their mission to get Teresa reelected as Mayor, it will not be through lack of effort.

Please don't forget

Whatever else you do today, don't forget to go and vote. Whichever party you chose to give your vote to, the important thing is that you show your support.

Friday, May 24, 2019

That's a promise she will keep

On your behalf, I thanked Teresa this morning for taking the trouble to come to La Pedrera. In reply she said that it was "an interesting experience".

Teresa went on to say that, if her party are still in power, she will arrange a similar meeting every year if that is what we would like. I felt confident enough to tell her that we would very much appreciate regular meetings.

Third time lucky

It seems that the Liberals, who have a meeting scheduled for the Centro Social Integrado at the same time, have  objected to the PP holding their meeting outside in the Plaza de la Concordia.

The suggestion is that the PP meeting should now take place in the Sala Polivalente in the Auditorio Francisco Grau but I have yet to see confirmation of that on Facebook.

Special thanks

In addition to my thanks for your attendance last night, I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to those of you who took the time to thank me for this blog especially Jim Ryder.

My first post was made on January 6th 2006. Since then I have written 7,373 articles.

I apologise for the odd misspelling and for any grammatical errors that you find. In my defence, I would point out that some national newspapers do a lot worse than I do. 

Once more, I would like to thank Jim Ryder for his kind words. I hope that the 1st of June is a red letter day for you and your family!

Please take care

Work has begun to install lighting on the Vereda el Molino as far as the Municipal Sports Centre.

You are advised to take care as you drive along that route during the next two weeks.

Once the work is completed, speed bumps will be installed to make it a safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Closures and parking


This one is for Saturday. 

The final push

Today, each of the parties in contention will be making their final push for your votes on Sunday. The Liberals will hold their meeting in the Centro Social Integrado and the PSOE will be in the Plaza Constitucion. I haven't seen any information at all about Cuidanos.

The PP had originally intended to hold their meeting in the Parque Huerta del Cura. However, following an objection from the PSOE, it has been moved to the Plaza de la Concordia.


A huge thank you

On behalf of my wife Pam, I should like to thank all of those residents who took the trouble to go up to the Restaurant La Pedrera for the meeting last night. It was very kind of you all to show such support for her candidacy.

I'd also like to thank Teresa Maria Belmonte Sanchez, Teresa Moya Moya and the other candidates for being there to answer questions and concerns that people have before the election on Sunday.

It has been a long while since the residents here have had an opportunity to make their voices heard, last night put that right. There were legitimate concerns raised which the Mayor listened to carefully. I firmly believe that the valuable points that people raised will not be ignored and will, where possible, be acted upon in due course

As I said last night, Teresa has worked long and hard to improve the town and resurrect it from the mess that is was in. She strikes me as one of those rare politicians that actually put the needs of the the town before their own personal political ambitions.

I will certainly be voting for her and I hope you do too. Thank you all once again for turning up and supporting Pamela.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

More documents on show


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Oh dear

Some people just don't photograph well.

The day after Teresa May tells of the changes she has made to try and win votes for her Brexit plan, most of the British newspapers have savaged her.

One of the most Tory newspapers out there leads the pack with this front page story entitled, Desperate, deluded, doomed.

Just to reinforce the point, they have included three images which I am certain Mrs May would prefer them not to publish.

I am no fan of Teresa May but I think that this is just a tad cruel. Imagine the lady's reaction when she sees this.

PS In their reaction to this new proposal. some MPs have chosen colourful expressions. The best I have read came from Green MP Caroline Lucas  who said Ms May had done no more than “put lipstick on a pig”.

The PP manifesto








Dirty tricks

It seems that members of a rival party (not the PSOE) have been delivering envelopes with voting papers inside telling the recipients that they are votes for the PP.

Fortunately, someone checked the contents of the envelopes and reported the matter to the Partido Popular.

This is not the only scam that people get up to in elections here in Spain. It is common practice for people to try and vote more than once by visiting different polling stations

In the recent General Election, one town recorded a turnout which was greater than the number of eligible voters.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

I was shocked

I have to confess that it has been a few years since I last walked around our urbanisation.

This afternoon, Pam and I did a quick tour in the car following Pam's walk around last night.

Most of the houses have been well maintained and look every bit as smart as they did when they were first constructed. There are others though that have been altered beyond belief and no longer fit in with the original scheme, e.g. garden walls that have been built up in ways that make them incongruous with their neighbours.

We also saw constructions close to boundary walls. When we wanted to replace our wooden shed with a brick built one, we were refused permission on the basis that we could not have a permanent structure closer that 3 metres from any of the boundaries.

The derelict houses and the land surrounding them give the appearance of an area in decline. To add to that, the sorry state of some of the pavements and the rut across Canada de Andrea makes the urbanisation look sadly less appealing than it once did.

The Council has some responsibility for the state of Villas Andrea and I am sure that will be conveyed to the current Mayor at the meeting on Thursday. However, I believe the owners of properties must also take a share of responsibility for the overall appearance of Villas Andrea.

Next meeting for the Liberals


Voting this weekend

As you are no doubt aware, Sunday, 26th May is yet another polling day here in Spain. This time we are being asked to select both a local council and representatives to the European Parliament.

WE ARE ELIGIBLE TO VOTE IN BOTH OF THESE ELECTIONS.


You should have received cards in the post that tell you where your polling station is and which table you should go to. In our case, we will be going to the Auditorium Francisco Grau, Mesa C.

Polling stations will be open from 9am to 8pm and there will be people there to guide you to the right room.

How to vote


You will likely have received envelopes with voting papers in them from the main parties*. These will either have been delivered to your door or put in your letterbox.

Pam and Teresa, as candidates for the PP, have been round to most of you by now. If you missed them though or they missed you, I'm sure there will be papers available for you at the meeting this Thursday in the Restaurant Camping La Pedrera at 9pm.

The blue envelopes and papers are for the European election and the white ones are for the local election.


The papers for the Partido Popular


You can either use these to vote or you can pick up envelopes and papers at the polling station, it is up to you.

YOU WILL NEED SOME FORM OF IDENTITY

A passport is the most acceptable form of identity for those of us who do not have a Spanish DNI card but you could take your Spanish driving license instead. The important thing is that the document has a photograph and it MUST NOT be a photocopy.

Unless you are determined to make a protest vote, please make sure you have the appropriate voting papers in the envelopes and that you have not written on them. Put them in the right boxes and you are done.

Whilst you are down in the town, why not pop along to the Parque Huerta del Cura and find out what the Hawaii Market is all about.

* Remember, you are not voting for a particular person, you are voting for a party. The number of seats that each party will win will depend on the percentage of votes they receive. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

This week’s round of meetings


Something for the weekend


Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Sports Centre gets some attention

It is 40 years since the municipal sports centre was first built. At last, the access to it is getting a covering of asphalt. The first phase, covering 65% of its surface, has already been completed. The perimeter walls have been repaired and the perimeter wall of the football field has been painted.  On Tuesday an electronic scoreboard will be installed.

The second phase will begin next week with the design and construction of an athletics track,  lighting on the Vereda del Molino and the placement of speed reducers for greater safety of the users of the sports centre.




Thursday, May 16, 2019

Swimming courses for this summer


The PSOE manifesto





Tonight's meetings

Tonight's meetings are as follows: the PP will be at the Parque Santa Ana, the Socialists will be at Calle Antonio Maura and the Liberals will be at Parque de la Cruz



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Improved waste management

The plan for the improvement of waste management in Bigastro continues to advance.

"We have improved the economic and service conditions with the collection contract that was signed last year. It has allowed to reduce the rate of garbage that we pay all bigastrenses.
We have gone from paying € 140 / year to paying € 80 / year. A reduction of 43%.

We have agreed with the Consorcio Vega Baja Sostenible selective collection of special waste through this mobile ecopark that comes every Thursday to Bigastro .

We have started renewal of the selective waste containers and placement of other new ones in more streets and clean points of the locality.

 Composters have been placed for the reuse of organic waste in all schools, in the leisure gardens and in the green point of the industrial estate."

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

From the Telegraph

Our family and lots of our Spanish friends use WhatsApp to communicate with each other.

WhatsApp has urged users to update their messaging app after concerns were raised that hackers could inject spy software on to phones via the call function.

The Facebook-owned company said the spyware was spread by an “advanced cyber actor”, and infected multiple mobile phones using a major vulnerability in the app.

The spyware, developed by the secretive Israeli spyware company NSO Group, has the ability to give hackers full access to a phone remotely, allowing them to read messages, see contacts and activate the camera.

WhatsApp confirmed that a “select number” of users had been victims and that the bug and that the bug affects all but the latest version of the app on iOS and Android.

The attack involved cyber hackers using WhatsApp's voice calling function to ring a device. The surveillance software would then be installed, even if that call was not picked up.

The Financial Times on Monday evening reported that cyber hackers had been using the loophole up until Sunday evening, when it was used to target a UK-based human rights lawyer.

A spokesman for NSO, which is believed to sell its spyware to intelligence agencies and nation states, said that it was investigating the issue. The spokesman said NSO “would not, or could not” use its own technology to target “any person or organisation”, including the UK lawyer.

The vulnerability was also used to target a researcher at Amnesty International, which is fighting for the NSO Group to have its export license withdrawn by Israeli government.

NB If you use WhatsApp and your phone is set to automatic updates, then the app will already have been updated making you safe from this intrusion.

For your information

As I announced before - the official meetings, organised by the PP will be at;
Parque de la Cruz, Parque Santa Ana, Calle Antonio Maura and Parque Huerta del Cura.

If you want to see the full presentation by the PP (the "hard sell"!) those are the venues to attend on the dates and times indicated.

The planned meeting in the Restaurant at Camping La Pedrera will be less formal.

It has been called so that the candidates can listen to the residents and get a feel for what concerns people, what they would like to see done and their proposals for further development of the town and Villas Andrea.

PS If I get notices of any other parties that intend to meet with you, I'll post them here on my blog.

Liberals

Add caption


When I receive an English translation, I will post it for you.