Sunday, February 04, 2024

Let it rain - please!

It might seem strange to our friends and family in England who have suffered deluge after deluge this winter but we would really like some rain to fall here in Spain. 

Of course we don't want a storms like those in September last year and certainly not a repeat of the three days in September 2019 that caused widespread damage. 

In Alicante, we are not the worst off for lack of rain. 

After more than 1,000 days of drought, the Catalan government has formally announced a state of emergency, extending water restrictions to Barcelona and the surrounding region.

It is estimated that 500mm of rain needs to fall in Catalonia to make up the deficit. Water reserves have fallen below 16%, a level low enough to trigger the emergency declaration.

The drought is not confined to the north-east of Spain. In Andalucía, in southern Spain, two successive hot, dry summers have devastated the olive harvest, reducing production by 50% and doubling the price of olive oil. The grape harvest has also been poor in much of the country as even vines struggle to survive.

Tourist industry bosses say that while it’s easy to point the finger at golf courses and swimming pools, 80% of Spain’s water is consumed by agriculture.

Long before the climate crisis entered the equation, Spain was living beyond its means in terms of water, damming and diverting its few major rivers to irrigate the market gardens in the southern desert regions of Almería and Murcia.


Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Obscene!

It is often said that, whilst the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and it is true. I don't know about you but I put this down more to greed than graft.  

Whilst we might focus on pop stars and sportspeople like footballers, corporate executives are included in this group. Remember the days when stockbrokers drove round in Porches and quaffed champagne in clubs after work. They flaunted their wealth in front of the poor and boasted of the excessive bonuses they received. 

FACTS! 

Half of the world's net wealth belongs to the top 1% of the population. 

The top 10% of adults hold 85%, while the bottom 90% hold the remaining 15% of the world's total wealth. 

The top 30% of adults hold 97% of the total wealth.

I read this morning that investors have taken the issue of Elon Musk's 56 billion dollar pay package to court. The court decided in favour of the investors. It is said that Musk is worth 210.2 billion dollars that makes him the second richest person in the world behind Bernard Arnault. 

Does anybody really need that much wealth?

Monday, January 29, 2024

Respect

 One of the things that strikes us most about living in a small Spanish town is the care shown to older people. 

It isn't that senior citizens are treated badly in the UK but they don't seem to command the same respect that they do here in Bigastro. It is easy to feel that we are, in many ways a burden in England. Here, our experience is valued, we are given support and love. 

That was very evident in the theatre production on Saturday. 


Sunday, January 28, 2024

Percuseve

We have enjoyed many performances by the theatre group Percuseve. They have explored a variety of themes over the years from art to education. 

The group have toured their productions and won prizes in competitions.  

 The latest production, “A RITMO DE CARICIAS” is a musical that honours grandparents. 

Through theatre, percussion and rap, twenty high school students from CE Severo Ochoa in Murcia, directed by their teacher, Miguel J. Sáez Pérez from Bigastro, transformed their bodies into musical instruments to bring to the stage themes of great social importance such as loneliness, technologies, love, friendship and illness, among others.

You can find my photographs from last night in my folder in the sidebar. 



Sunday, January 14, 2024

Spectacular!

 It was billed as an exhibition of a wide variety of dance styles. It was due to start at 7:30. Knowing it would be popular, Pam and I set off in good time to take our seats. 

Problem 1 - parking. The parking at Eurener was full as was the street alongside. Not only was there the dance show on, there was a table games event that had attracted up to 500 people. 

Problem 2 - finding seats. I'd asked for seats to be reserved so that I would have a good position to take photos. However, the message hadn't got through and there was barely a spare seat in the Auditorium. 

Seeing me with my camera, a very kind lady gave up her seat for me and Pam found a seat on the opposite side of the aisle. 

The show commenced with the little ones who danced to rapturous applause. 

It was a challenge to get photos - the combination of very low lighting and fast moving dancers was difficult. 

For those who are photographers, my pictures were taken at 6,400 ISO, full aperture for the lens and even at that my shutter was showing as low as 1/15th second. 

Fortunately, the camera I was using has body stabilisation which with lens stabilisation prevents camera shake. However, it can't stop blur from subject movement. 

I could have doubled the ISO to enable faster shutter speeds but then digital noise, which reduces definition, becomes a big issue. In my days of using film, these pictures would have been impossible  without resorting to flash which is a huge no no at events like this. At least I got pictures with my digital camera!


Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Feral cats

 There have been a number of complaints about feral cats on our estate. People complain of them crapping in their gardens, on their porches etc etc. 

Years ago, a feral cat gave birth to kittens on the furniture on our porch. The cushions were covered with blood that I had to clean off. She then hid the kittens under our shed and came to feed them each day. 

I managed to block off the route to the underside of our shed and the mother took her kittens elsewhere. I'm not sure what happened to the kittens or the cat after that.

Some of you will call me cruel for evicting the kittens. However, we didn't want them in our garden and there was no easy way to move them on. 

Apart from any other consideration, we live next to a protected area where the wildlife is an important feature. An abundance of feral cats can easily upset that balance by transmitting diseases and killing small animals and birds. We've had feral cats bringing dead rabbits and rats into the garden before now. 

Why are the cats here?

 We are well aware there are some people on the estate who put out food for the wild cats. That must stop. There is a lot of finger pointing going on with mostly English people taking the blame. 

Hopefully, there will be notices posted in the near future telling neighbours not to put out food and encourage wild cats. Then, some time in the future we will be rid of them. 

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Banged up to rights (almost)

In 2012, the former socialist mayor of Bigastro, José Joaquín Moya, was sentenced to seven years of disqualification from employment or public office for a crime of prevarication due to various "irregularities" in the public auction of some municipal land in the area of ​​La Pedrera .

According to the ruling, provided to EFE, the events occurred between June and August 2005 when the sale of a plot of 35,000 square meters in favor of the company Promociones Alicante Torrevieja SL for 160 bungalows and a hotel, and another 45,000 square meters were processed for a nearby golf course.

In criminal court number 3 of Orihuela, the mayor and municipal secretary, Antonio S.M. (also sentenced to 7 years of disqualification), incurred several illegalities that violated "essential" rules of legal procedure.

Moya, who was mayor of Bigastro for 25 years until he was arrested in 2008 for one of the other reasons for which he has been investigated, acted arbitrarily by, for example, not meeting the deadlines for submitting bids for the auction (he opened the escrows two days before the expiration of the period) and for not requesting the required permits from other administrations as these are protected lands.

Now the Seventh Section of the Provincial Court of Alicante in Elche, has sentenced José Joaquín Moya, to four years, six months and one day in prison and 11 years, three months and one day of disqualification as the perpetrator of a crime of embezzlement of public funds and another four years of disqualification for employment or public office as the perpetrator of a crime of administrative prevarication.

As published on November 22 by OKDIARIO, José Joaquín Moya, senator of the PSOE at the end of the 80s and mayor of  Bigastro  embezzled 70,000 euros, as stated in the sentence.

The case for which the aforementioned José Joaquin Moya has now been convicted makes mention of the irregularities in the processing of the General Urban Planning Plan (PGOU) of Bigastro for the creation of a new urban sector, as well as for appropriating 312,000 euros paid by the promoter of that plan as urban development agent between 2005 and 2006.

The Court has also sentenced the former secretary of Bigastro City Council, of which Moyá was mayor, to two years in prison and five years of disqualification as the author of a crime of embezzlement and another four years of disqualification for a crime of prevarication. administrative committed by omission.

The sentence, however, is not final. And it can be appealed to the Supreme Court. In addition, it also establishes that José Joaquín Moya must compensate the Bigastro City Council with the amount of 162,000 euros and, jointly with the other defendant, with another 150,000 euros.

Socialist mayor for 25 years

In the case of José Joaquín Moya, the man now convicted by the Provincial Court of Alicante was, at the time, a relevant figure of Alicante socialism. Above all, in the last years of the last century, which is when it acquired greater prominence. In those years, he was not only mayor, but a deputy in Congress and a senator.

José Joaquín Moya was mayor from May 1983 to October 2008 having won six elections in the town.

But, on October 28, 2008, he was forced to leave the Mayor's Office because that day he was arrested along with the intervening secretary and two businessmen for what was then an alleged urban planning crime.

As has been said, Jose Joaquín Moya was also a senator, although for a period of just two years, between 1986 and 1988. In the Upper House he was a member of the Justice Commission and the Petitions Commission. But, in addition, he was also a deputy in the Congress of Deputies. In this case, for three years, which ran between April 1983 and April 1986.