Sunday, October 01, 2023

Is it overkill?

 It is impossible to fathom out why anyone would want to cut down the 300 year old sycamore tree that stood in Sycamore gap in Hadrian's Wall. The tree was an icon, much loved by locals and tourists alike. 

There are many photographs of the tree, in all seasons showing that it stood up to the worst weather that nature could throw at it. It was the scene of many marriage proposals and even weddings themselves. People scattered ashes under it and hikers sheltered from the rain beneath its branches. 

Whereas most newspapers in the UK have printed an article about the incident, the Daily Mail have gone over the top with no less than 11 articles today. 

That must be a record for a newspaper that normally obsesses and prints countless articles about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  

Monday, September 25, 2023

The golden rule

 I always tell people, "when making portraits with your camera always take at least three". That way you should get at least one where the eyes are open and the expressions are as you would want them to be. 

Last night, I broke that rule and ended up with a photo of our very good friend Ester and her husband with her eyes closed. DAMN!!

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Stormy weather

Tuesday's storm was the worst we have experienced here or anywhere for that matter. 

We were sat outside with our visitors and could see it coming. Within seconds all hell broke loose with hailstones were bombing down on us (they've left some small dents in our cars). Then, as fast as the storm came in, it stopped. I was able to cook our paella out on the BBQ. 

Last night we took our visitors back to the Airport for their flight home. 

All was fine on the way there and half way on the way back. Then a mighty storm came over bringing lightening and torrential rain. Everyone on the road slowed down to a crawl as they struggled to see more than a few metres in front of them. 

As fast as the storm  came in, it cleared and in some parts it looked like there had just been normal rain. Not so in Bigastro though where there was deep standing water on the roads and rocks that had been washed down with the water. There was a car that had come of the road just up from the roundabout at the entrance from Orihuela, Jacarilla and Torrevieja. 

I imagine the new defenses to prevent flooding in the town will have been well tested now. 

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Free for you to take

 I have garden tools that are no longer of use to me (we have a contract with Los Rubios to maintain our garden). If you want them, send me a message and I'll arrange with you a time when you can collect them. 

  • Gardena telescopic tree pruner: extends up to 4.5 m.
  • Dutch-style hoes were used for weeding and breaking up soil.

Todavía me quedan algunas de las herramientas de jardín.

  • Podadora de árboles telescópica Gardena: se extiende hasta 4,5 m.
  • Las azadas de estilo holandés se utilizaban para desherbar y romper la tierra.

Saturday, September 02, 2023

Scams and hoaxes

Pam read a comment on Facebook that said in future we would have to pay a subscription fee each month to continue using the app. That was a hoax and was untrue.  Whilst hoaxes can cause unnecessary concern, scams are much more dangerous. 

Change these settings to minimize scam risks

Make it significantly harder for cybercriminals to target you or family members by changing basic settings. Not everyone will need or want all of these protections.

Make social media private: Set your Facebook, Twitter and other social media profiles to private. If you need a public facing profile, remove information such as your location information and contact information.

Facebook: Limit who can see your friend list or find your profile. A common scam involves creating a fake profile of a real person you know, then messaging you to ask for money. In Facebook, go to Settings & Privacy → Followers and Public Content → select “Who can see the people, pages and lists you follow?” Select Friends or Only Me.

Messenger: Tap your profile photo and select Privacy → Message Delivery. Under Other People, click on Others on Facebook and select Don’t Receive Request. Do the same for Others on Instagram. Under the Potential Connections section, set the categories to Don’t Receive Requests or Message Requests to limit how many tentative connections are able to message you directly.

WhatsApp: Go to Settings → Account → Privacy and limit who can add you to groups and who can see information like your status and personal information.

Phone contacts: Make sure known contacts are added to the phone’s address books so it’s easier to ignore unknown numbers. Next, send unknown callers to voice mail. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message. On an iPhone, go to Settings → Phone → Silence Unknown Callers. This will send anyone you’ve never communicated with straight to voice mail. On an Android device, open the Phone app, locate the menu button (it looks like three dots), tap that, then Settings. Most phones will have options for blocking numbers and caller ID/spam protection in there, although they often go by different names. (If you’re using voice mail to screen calls, make sure the outgoing message is set up and that your inbox isn’t full.)

Assume that people or companies aren’t who they say they are

It’s easy to imitate a real person or organization. Make it your first instinct to ask yourself: Are they who they claim to be? If you have any doubt, go to the next step.

Verify everything using a different channel

To confirm a person or a company is what it claims to be, you need to look for a different contact method. Don’t trust any contact information included in the original message; instead, find the best way to reach the company entirely on your own, such as looking up and using an official customer service number on a company’s website. If you’re unsure, ask a friend or family member. 

“Verify, validate, check. If you got a Facebook message, text the person. Got a phone call? Call the bank,” says Caroline Wong, the chief strategy officer at the cybersecurity company Cobalt. “Figure out a different channel from whatever channel you go the message in.”

Don’t reply, don’t click links, don’t answer the call

Do not engage with possible scams, even if you’re curious. That includes not clicking links from contacts you don’t know. Got a text claiming to be from UPS about a package? Go to the official UPS site instead.

Research the sender’s phone number, email or URLs

Look for any details that will tell you a message is fake, and Google it if you’re unsure. This includes an email address that doesn’t have the right domain (like a message claiming to be from Apple but is not from, a link that goes someplace it shouldn’t or a phone number you’ve never seen. On social media or messaging apps, click through to profiles to see whether they were recently created and appear real.

Worried about being rude? Have a script

If you don’t feel comfortable simply hanging up on a stranger or consider doing so to be rude, have a refusal script ready to go. It can be as simple as, “I don’t do business over the phone, thanks for calling.”

Memorize signs that something is a scam

You didn’t initiate the conversation: If a text, direct message, email or call comes out of the blue, it’s far more likely to be a scam.

You won something: Sorry, you did not actually win anything. Skip messages that say you’ve won money or prizes or are getting a refund.

You are panicked: Criminals want to make you think there’s an emergency. If they can get you to act without slowing down and thinking critically, there’s a better chance they’ll succeed. 

It involves fast payment methods: “Criminals like their money fast, quick and untraceable. Peer-to-peer payment apps are a current favorite, because they allow money to be transferred instantly without leaving much of a trail.

If a stranger asks you to pay them (or offers to pay you) in the following ways, it’s likely to be a scam: Peer-to-peer apps such as Venmo, Cash App, Zelle, wire transfer, prepaid gift cards, cryptocurrency or cash. Don’t share your credit card number, either, unless you’ve confirmed through a second form of contact that the matter is legitimate.

There are payment complications: If someone says you owe money, or claims they’re having issue with a transaction to or from you, investigate. In one popular Facebook Marketplace scam, criminals will offer to pay over an app like Zelle, say there’s a problem, then ask for your email address so they can send a fake email and get your info.

They want information: Not all scammers want money; some are trying to get your address, log-ins and passwords. which they will use later to get money from you. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023


They say that Spanish men have complicated relationships with their mothers. That is obviously the case with Luis Rubiales, the President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation. 

I read this morning that Rubiales mother is now on hunger strike in a church. She is apparently protesting his innocence in the debate about whether the kiss he planted on Jenni Hermoso's lips was consensual. 

I can't help but feel that the situation has got out of hand.  

I doubt whether anyone would think that it was appropriate for Rubiales to kiss Hermoso on the lips in the way that he did. 

Having made the mistake, his best course of action would have been to apologise unreservedly. It was a moment of euphoria where he got carried away. That may have or may not have settled the matter but at least it would have been better than trying to excuse the kiss by saying it was consensual. 

At the same time, Hermoso did not express her concern about what happened until much later. 

Now we have a situation where the ladies say they will not play for their country whist Rubiales is President. The Federation is standing behind their man, mostly everyone else is saying he should go. Where this will end is anyone's guess. To lose your job for a kiss seems extreme. 

Monday, August 28, 2023

When they are gone, they are gone!

I still  have six paintings for sale. 

The deal is this: you offer me what you'd like to pay for my work and I donate 100% of  the proceeds to Acuerdate de mi (the Alzheimer's Association here in Bigastro).  

All the paintings are ready to hang with wire at the back. Buyers collect the paintings from my house and pay in cash. 

If you are interested, contact me at 

Here are the paintings:

Todavía tengo seis cuadros a la venta.

El trato es este: tú me ofreces lo que te gustaría pagar por mi trabajo y yo dono el 100% de lo recaudado a Acuerdate de mí (la Asociación Alzheimer de Bigastro).

Todos los cuadros están listos para colgar con alambre en la parte posterior. Los compradores recogen los cuadros en mi casa y pagan en efectivo.

Si estás interesado, contáctame en

Aquí están las pinturas:

Herbaceous border: Oil on canvas 80 x 50 cms

Parc Guel, Barcelona: Oil on canvas 80 x 50 cms

Cuenca: Acrylic on canvas 80 x 55 cms
Selection of fruit: Acrylic on canvas 50 x 35 cms

Towards the Sierra Callosa: Oil on canvas 80 x 50 cms.

Orihuela from the River Segura: Oil on canvas 80 x 50cms. 

It should not have turned out like this

When the Spanish ladies football team won the World Cup in Sydney, it should have been a reason for great celebrations. Indeed there were celebrations but they have now been overshadowed. 

The team coach, Jorge Vilda, was ostracised by many of the players as the celebrations began. He was at one end of the pitch with his team of helpers and a few of the players, the rest of the players were at the other end. 

The La Roja coach was booed by the crowd when he held the trophy aloft and celebrated victory with barely a pat on the back from his players,

The players claim that Vilda's coaching style did not look after their mental health and well-being and that he often exhibited controlling behaviour. The players alleged that Vildas and his coaching staff searched their bags and claimed they told them to keep their hotel rooms unlocked for inspections.

However, concerns about the coach have paled into insignificance compared the those surrounding Luis Rubiales, the President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation. 

Standing alongside,  Queen Leticia and 16-year-old Infanta Sofía — Rubiales celebrated the victory by cupping his testicles with his right hand. A masochistic gesture that he has subsequently apologised for. 

Worse was to come fifteen minutes later.  When team captain Jennifer Hermoso reached Rubiales to receive her medal, he first hugged her, then placed his hands on both sides of her head. and kissed her on the mouth. 

During the celebrations in the changing room, Rubiales made a surprise appearance. He took Hermoso by the shoulder: she leaned away from him, keeping her hips away from his body. He then said that he’d take her on a trip to Ibiza “to celebrate their wedding.”

Calls have been made for Rubiales to resign but he is having none of it. Spain's football federation are holding an urgent meeting today as its president stays defiant in the face of mounting criticism. He claims the kiss was consensual and that this is all about false feminism 

Luis Rubiales has been suspended from all football activity for three months over his conduct at the Women's World Cup final.