Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wasn’t it ironic

We received  a leaflet from the Town Hall advising us, among other things,  to keep noise down between 10 at night and 8am in the morning.

On Saturday night and Sunday afternoon one of our Spanish neighbours nearby was obviously celebrating. Every half hour or so a rocket would go off, sometimes they would be in salvos of two or three. They were loud, very loud.  They made an afternoon siesta in the garden on Sunday almost impossible.

In a country where you don’t see fireworks on sale in shops it is hard to understand where they get them from.

On yellow alert

Due to high temperatures, the State Agency of Meteorology (Aemet) have put parts of the Alicante province on yellow alert. Although skies are expected to be a little cloudy, Aemet say that some areas may see temperatures reach 36 degrees C over the next few days. 

The Catalan Autonomous Government have prepared a Plan of Action in case we experience a summer hotter than usual. They are preparing maps showing the level of risk; green, yellow, orange or red.

They say that older people are the most vulnerable along with young children, those with reduced mobility, the obese, those taking part in sport and anyone who is engaged in physical activity. People with cardiovascular, respiratory, mental or chronic diseases are at risk as well as people living on their own, in the street or in poor social economic conditions.

The recommendation is to drink between 2 and 3 litres of liquid each day- preferably water; to  avoid being out in the sun particularly in the middle of the day and to wear sun glasses to protect your eyes.

The areas of the province where temperatures are likely to reach 36 are in the interior and in the north.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Los Reyes


Two years ago it was the turn of John and Beryl, last year it was Mel and Lillian. This year, I am pleased to announce - Gordon and Ann will represent us as Third Age King and Queen.

Many congratulations to them both. We hope they have a fabulous time at the Fiesta and look forward to seeing them crowned on Saturday, 8th August at 9pm in the Parque, ”Huerta del Cura.

NB The photo in the brochure is copyright so I am using my own picture of them instead.

Now to blow my own trumpet:-


In the back of the brochure you will notice that, not only have I been credited with supplying some of the photos but also the cover photo. Muchas gracias, I am delighted to be honoured in this way.

Sin Nadal, no interés.


Nought percent chance of rain all week. Now that is what I call summer weather.

Our daughter's went to see Take That on Friday at Old Trafford Cricket Club, Manchester. The weather was glorious and dry. Those who went to see the show on Saturday though were treated to a downpour. Now that’s the problem with the British summer – good one day – awful the next.

Tennis fans will be pleased to hear that It looks like the weather for Wimbledon will be fine up to Friday when they are expecting some heavy and thundery showers. Of course interest in Wimbledon here faded to nothing when Nadal pulled out.

After heavy rain and thunder on Thursday night which washed a few tents away and some light rain on Sunday, the weather was much better for Glastonbury this year. Headlining acts on the Pyramid stage included Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young.

Those of you who went, had the chance to see veterans, Fairport Convention and Crosby, Stills and Nash along with more contemporary acts. The two acts that stole the show though were apparently Madness and Blur.

The colours of summer


Click on the photo to view it enlarged

We have colour in the garden most months of the year. The succession of flowering makes one part or another of the garden interesting at different times. At the moment it is the back fence covered in lantana , bougainvillea and honey suckle. Next it will be the fence by the gate which is already covered in cobalt blue plumbago which will soon be joined by the delicate pink bignonia. The summer jazmin is just starting to flower – it doesn’t have the most spectacular flowers but it does provide the most heavenly perfume on a warm night.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sounds mad


Stone throwing competitions and now this!

Do you remember making a cart out of some old wood and pram wheels; knocking it together with rusty nails out of the shed and then taking it to the nearest hill to try out?

If you were lucky, the cart survived and you got to the bottom of the hill in one piece. If the piece of wood that you fitted to rub on one tyre worked, then the cart eventually came to a halt. Otherwise it was abandon ship and hope for the best.

For the more ambitious it didn’t have to be a cart, you could race anything you could attach wheels to from an old sofa to a tin bath.

If you want to relive those glorious days, then here is your chance. On the 9th August there will be a competition for “cars without motors”. Be warned though, some of the hills in Bigastro are a little steep.

Summer vacations abroad

Seven 16-20 year olds from Bigastro have been given the opportunity to study abroad and perfect their language skills virtue of scholarships from the Ministry of Education and the IVAJ.

They are:

- José Francisco Pastor(3 weeks in Ireland)
- Ana Mª Perales (3 weeks in Malta - Ministry of Education)
- Isabel Torres (3 weeks in the United Kingdom - Ministry of Education)
- Rebeca Jara (1 month in the United Kingdom - IVAJ)
- Melisa Moya (3 weeks in the United Kingdom - Ministry of Education)
- Elena Rubio (1 month in the United Kingdom - IVAJ)
- Lucia Martínez (1 month in the United Kingdom - IVAJ)

This is a great opportunity for these young people. Nothing focuses you more closely on a foreign language than being in a situation where you HAVE to use it. We speak from first hand experience here!

Potatoes at the roadside

You can’t help but notice the increasing number of people selling fruit and vegetables on the side of roads and at roundabouts. As summer approaches and the traffic increases, we can expect to see more of these people selling out of the backs of vans.

Most are selling just one type of fruit or vegetables; watermelons, melons, garlic or potatoes all at knock down prices. The only reason the goods are cheap is because the sellers don’t have the overheads that they would have at the local markets. Many of the vendors are unemployed people trying to find an honest way to earn some money. As one of them told a local newspaper, "it is better than stealing purses on the beach."

Sampling Spanish food

Those of you visited the market in Almoradí yesterday would have had the opportunity to sample some of the local cuisine - pelotas, arroz clarico de vigilia and various other cocidos.

We hope you enjoyed your taste of Spain.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

According to the Sun

Sources close to the Jackson entourage yesterday revealed how he was injected three-times a day with narcotic DEMEROL.

It is similar to morphine and should never be combined with similar drugs but it seems that Jackson was also taking three 3mg tablets of another strong narcotic painkiller, DILAUDID

And sources said he had recently been prescribed yet another — VICODIN which is an opiate drug derived from codeine.

He also took:-

  • SOMA, a muscle relaxant in 2mg doses twice a day.

  • XANAX, a sedative given to Michael in 0.5mg doses twice a day.

  • ZOLOFT, an anti-depressant, which Jackson took in 100mg doses.

  • PAXIL, another anti-depressant which is also used to treat anxiety and obsessive behaviour. Michael took it in 20mg pills.

  • PRILOSEC, an over-the-counter pill for heartburn.

    The singer was also recently prescribed anti-biotics to ward off a minor infection following recent skin cancer surgery.

  • The drugs were already deadly enough. Patients should not take more than one pain killer at a time. But their effect would have been increased by Jackson’s state of health. He was virtually anorexic and weighed just nine stone despite being 5ft 10in.

    Medics who quizzed him about his lifestyle during the recent cancer treatment were alarmed when he confessed to eating just one meal a day and having a phobia about constantly weighing himself.

    He told one physician he had been taking painkillers regularly since 1985 and had used them to counter the effects of more than a dozen cosmetic surgery operations.

    We will have to wait until the autopsy report is published in six to eight weeks to get confirmation of this. If it is true, then Jackson follows a long line of pop stars who have died following drug overdoses. Such a tragic waste of talent.

    Oh the bells

    Over two hundred people gathered in the town square of Almoradí yesterday  to protest about the silencing of the bells that used to chime the times on the clock every quarter of an hour.

    It seems that the bells were judged to be too noisy with a level twice that permitted by the Ley de Protección contra la Contaminación Acústica de la Generalitat. They tried to adjust the hammer to lower the level but that failed and so the bells now are silenced between 10pm and 8 in the morning. The locals are clearly not happy about this.

    The townsfolk say they will protest every week until the decision is reversed. They are particularly concerned about New Year’s Eve when people gather in the town square to eat their grapes – one for each chime.

    Strange isn’t it. You would think the people wouldn’t be able to sleep with the bells ringing but it is the reverse. Waiting for the sound keeps them awake!

    Town Hall earn top marks for English


    We found this leaflet in our letterbox which the Ayuntamiento have very kindly translated into English for us.

    Whilst the language may not be quite perfect, it is a damn sight better than our Spanish. In any case, the message is clear - treat your town as you would treat your home.

    First off dog fouling in the streets. Pam and I were in the town the other day and watched a woman walking her dog. The dog stopped to foul the pavement and when he had finished, the lady just took the dog away leaving the mess for someone to step on. The lady didn’t even have a plastic bag to remove the excreta.

    The evidence of the problem is all over the town for you to see. It is both disgusting and most unhygienic especially in this hot weather. I can’t imagine how much more the Ayuntamiento can do; they distribute leaflets, install special bins and impose fines. Still the problems persists. Clearing up your dog’s mess is not the most pleasant task but it is the responsible thing to do. I would argue, if you are not prepared to do then you shouldn’t have a dog.

    The second issue is correct disposal of waste. On this score, the Town Hall seem to be winning. There are plenty of  bins around for disposal of waste and lots of recycling points for plastics, glass and newspapers. There even places for clothes and shoes.

    Where they are not successful however, is in the disposal of large items which people still insist upon placing by the green bins. As the leaflet explains, the correct thing to do is take large items and things like paint tins, batteries, old microwaves etc to the EcoParque.

    The last issue is noise. The Ayuntamiento recognises that some people do like to sleep at night. I imagine that fiesta times  are regarded as an exception!  The closing of the Metro club has improved matters in this respect during weekends of summer.

    One of the issues which is not covered in the leaflet is graffiti. I know I’ve mentioned it several times on this blog so you will guess that it is a pet hate of mine. I detest seeing the stuff scrawled over public buildings and even worse, on people’s houses. If you want to create a message for people to see – have it tattooed on your body – preferably your face!

    The overall message from the town hall is to be considerate of others, to take care of our town and keep it a safe and pleasant place for people to live.


    Many thanks to the Ayuntamiento; we are very grateful for the translation and will take careful note of your advice.

    Friday, June 26, 2009

    The news is confirmed

    Last night ,when we had finished watching CSI Miami, we turned over to Euronews just to see what was going on in the world. Across the bottom of the screen was the breaking news about Michael Jackson. Eager to find out more, we switched to France 24 which had a similar news flash on the screen. Aljazeera had better coverage of the story but we knew for something more definitive we needed to go to one of the American news channels.

    The Digital Plus package includes CNN and Fox News channels so we tried both of those. They had in depth news of the story but neither were conclusive about what exactly had happened to the “King of Pop”. There was lots of material related to Michael’s life, his rise to fame, the child molestation charges, his excessive lifestyle and the promised UK O2 Arena tour but only sketchy information about what had happened to him save the fact that he had been rushed to hospital following a suspected cardiac arrest.

    Neither channel was able to confirm what condition the singer was in until at about 12pm, CNN said they had reports that he had fallen into a coma. An expert explained that following a cardiac arrest, it is not unusual for someone to fall into a coma. It all sounded very dire.

    It wasn’t until 12:30pm that reports from the LA Times suggested that Jackson had in fact died. At the same time, Laura, our youngest daughter phoned from Sale nr Manchester to tell us that Sky News were already reporting his death. Still there was no official bulletin, so we could not be sure of the truth.

    There seemed little point in staying up any longer to discover the full facts of what had happened so we went to bed. What struck me though as I was going to sleep was the immediacy of all this information. When we were younger, you had had to to wait until the newspapers were out the next day to hear this sort of news.

    Events such as the death of Princess Diana in Paris in August 1977 and much later the attack on the twin towers in New York on the 11th September 2001, showed that today, news can be made available worldwide - as it happens.

    Whether this is a good or bad thing is not my point. It was impressive that both CNN and Fox were able to assemble such detailed background stories so quickly. It makes me wonder if news services have these obituaries prepared well in advance of a person’s demise. Do they have all this background information ready assembled just in case or do they fly by the seat of their pants when tragedy happens?

    RIP Michael Jackson.

    The worst job in the market


    In the winter it must be great to have the heat from the roasting chickens behind you. In the summer though it must be pure hell.

    It looks like they have sold a lot though because that first rack is empty. The question is, “what do they do with the chickens that are either cooked or part cooked when the market is finished?”.

    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    A further blow

    Just when the owners of illegal houses in Catral thought there was light at the end of the tunnel along came the plans to build the AP-37 toll motorway.

    The project could see dozens of rural homes demolished in the Vega Baja with owners of 'illegal' homes receiving derisory compensation.

    The favoured 'option four' route for the road starts at the AP-7 motorway and passes through Catral, Callosa de Segura and on to Orihuela.

    The owners of properties constructed illegally on rustic land which were set to be 'regularised' under Catral’s new Town Plan (PGOU) have been told the road project has arrived at the wrong time.

    Almost all the houses affected will be considered illegal for expropriation purposes and the authorities will pay only for the land. Engineers have valued the costs of the expropriations and for rustic land they will be paying only six euros per square metre.


    The United States caused one of the biggest upsets in world football by beating Spain in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup. The result has cast an air of doom and gloom over the country.

    Jozy Altidore broke the deadlock on 27 minutes when he turned Joan Capdevila and beat Iker Casillas from 15 yards. Fulham's Clint Dempsey then doubled the lead on 74 minutes when he converted Landon Donovan's pass from close range.

    The defeat in South Africa has ended Spain's world record of 15 straight wins and a 35-match unbeaten run.

    The US opened the tournament with a 3-1 loss to world champions Italy before being outclassed 3-0 by Brazil but they advanced to the last four by beating Egypt 3-0. Spain, on the other hand got through with maximum points.

    Got it right this time

    When my father came to visit us a few years ago, he missed his flight from Manchester to Murcia on the day he was supposed to arrive and had to fly the next day.

    Pops problem was twofold: 1) Jet2.com had re-scheduled the flight to an earlier time and 2) their check-in desks at Manchester Terminal 1 are situated in a different area than the rest of the check-in desks.

    You have to look hard to find the signs that direct you to Jet2.com’s check in at T1. My father spent nearly an hour looking for them, asking countless people in the process. When he finally found them; the flight had been closed ten minutes.

    Jet2.com should have sent an email to inform my father of the change of time. Since I had made the bookings for him and check my emails at least daily, I know that hadn’t happened.

    To be fair, Jet2.com recognised that there had been a mistake and gave him a ticket for the next day. However, that meant that he had to return to my brother’s house in Heaton Moor for the night and travel back to the airport the following day. At least by then he knew where to find the check-in!

    Jet2.com have changed the time of flight that Pamela has booked from Murcia to Manchester. So far, we have received three emails informing us of the change.

    The icing on the cake came yesterday though when a lady phoned on our Spanish landline to give us the information yet again. I don’t know how many flights are affected by the change but, even if it is only a few, it must amount to a lot of phone calls.

    A near disaster

    The night of San Juan has the potential for creating disasters. The combination of lighting fires and children with fireworks is a recipe for something to go wrong.

    Tuesday night there was near tragedy in Alicante when children throwing fireworks, accidentally set fire to scrubland adjacent to a train line. The fire quickly spread to units that were being used to store materials for the construction of the high speed train line (AVE).

    The flames from the fire reached seven metres high into the sky and the smoke could be seen billowing over the city. Luckily the area was cordoned off by firemen before two acetylene gas containers exploded sending the bottles 50 metres into the air.

    Houses in the area were evacuated and RENFE switched off the power to the overhead cable which meant that no trains could run for nearly two hours.

    Luckily nobody was injured.

    The sale of illegal fireworks is rife especially at the time of hogueras.

    A special unit of Alicante local police, set up to control the sale of illegal pyrotechnics during the 'hogueras' fiestas, seized 500 kilos of unlicensed fireworks this year.

    Fireworks are carried around in vans and distributed among an army of sellers on the streets. The storage and transport does not conform to current safety
    standards and the quality of the good being offered for sale is also sub standard.

    In one case a woman was discovered carrying three kilos of fireworks in a pram with a baby inside.

    It’s cooler at night


    Fancy a walk? Then join the local walking club on the 26th at 9:30pm at the Plaza de la Concordia but don’t forget your torch and your reflective jacket. After all, you want to see and be seen don’t you?

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    Steve and Gillian’s album

    For those of you who are curious to know what went into Steve and Gillian’s Golden Wedding Anniversary album, here are the links to the PDF files online.

    The first five pages

    The last five pages

    Bear in mind you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader V6 or higher installed on your computer to view these. And please – don’t try to print from these files or from the photographs I published online before. They are very much reduced in quality to make downloading as fast as possible.

    Much more than music

    It is easy to imagine that Bigastro only excels in music. After all the town’s band and the musicians who play in it have a very good reputation both in the area and nationally.

    However Bigastro has a lot of talent in many other areas. This weekend, the town will be celebrating the achievements of the students from the Beatriz Arce school of dance followed by a gala for those who have excelled in sports.

    Since I have two left feet and am hopeless at sport, I can only sit back and admire their accomplishments.



    Mystery solved

    We happened to be by the post boxes when the lady who delivers our mail arrived yesterday. I asked her about the box at the end labelled “Correos”. One of the residents had wondered if this was a collecting box for post.

    Apparently not. From my interpretation of what the lady said, the box was for mail that was wrongly addressed, “malo” as she put it. I imagine what she meant was that you could return mail that was wrongly put in your box via the Correos box.

    Whilst I distracted the young lady, she cut her finger on the sharp edge of one of the box lids which she also described as “malo”.

    It is not an easy task for the post lady to hold a bundle of letters in one hand and try to open and insert the mail into the boxes with the other. The poor lass either needs three hands or for us to go down and smooth off the rough edges on the box lids.

    Lost Altos de la Pedrera


    One of the plots of land that Star Sol sold was bought by a development company who planned to build 13 houses with a communal grassed area and a swimming pool. The artist’s impression looked very promising and the houses were widely advertised by a number of agents.

    The first houses were built and a show house was opened. On offer were three storey 3 and four bedroom houses – some with basement storage. Each house has sun terraces on the upper floors which in most cases offer superb views of the surrounding landscape.

    Whilst the pound was strong, the first houses sold fairly quickly. Then the builder hit problems. The land they had bought was not good for building. They had to dig down and down to find a firm foundation to build on. This meant that not only did they use a lot more material for the houses, they could only build nine houses instead of the 13 that were planned.

    In the process of digging down, the adjacent road collapsed so they had to build that back up with a solid concrete retaining wall to keep it secure.

    No matter, work continued; more houses were started, the pool was constructed and people moved in.

    Then the double blow of an economic crisis and a weakened pound hit the builder. Work stopped last year, leaving houses incomplete. Since the builder couldn’t pay for the electricity and water that the occupants were using, the services were cut off leaving the new owners no choice but to abandon their homes. So now none of the houses are lived in.

    Hopefully, when the economic situation eases, someone will complete the work and the houses will be occupied as they should be.

    An excellent job

    You can’t help but notice that the team of workers from the City Council have been busy clearing up around our estate. They've done a great job in the  park which looks 100 times better and they have cleaned  all the kerb edges by removing the weeds that were growing there.



    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Celebrating the coming of summer

    At midnight, the Paseo Marítimo Juan Aparicio in Torrevieja will resound to the noise of fireworks in celebration of the night of San Juan.

    The display will combine traditional pyrotechnics with, amongst other things; digital sequences, a thunder bomb and an aquatic section from two different points.

    The display, which they reckon will last for 17 minutes, will consume 800kg of pyrotechnic material.

    Meantime in Guardamar and Rojales the night of San Juan will be celebrated with bonfires. In Guardamar the bonfire will be lit on the Central beach.

    In Rojales, the celebrations will be on the Cabezo Soler where the legend of the Encantá says that a princess lives. She apparently comes out once every 100 years on the night of San Juan.

    Will tonight be the night?

    Bloody rabbits

    It seems that the plague of rabbits this year is effecting the grape harvest in the vineyards at Torrevieja and La Mata.

    The ownwers reckon that 15% of the crop will be lost due to the little furry creatures who eat the buds and the grapes on the vines.

    The 100 year old vines which occupy of 46 hectares survived the epidemic of phylloxera which hit many vineyards only to now be struck by rabbits.

    The eight owners, who pay a nominal rent to the salt company for the land, still make their wine in the traditional way.  The blend of 66% moscatel and 34%  meseguera grape brings the wine to between 14 and 15 degrees of  alcohol.

    Pamela, pass me the shotgun.

    No end in sight

    Whether they agree with bullfighting or not, most would argue that the bullring in Orihuela imageshould be restored if only for it to be used for other purposes.

    However, plans for restoration have hit another setback. Jardinería Obras y Servicios Torrevieja (JOST), the only company that bid for the contract, say that, even with a 40 year concession to run the underground car parking, they cannot undertake the 11 million euro project without public financing.

    Since it was not anticipated that public funds would be used, this must put the restoration back into the melting pot.

    At least the car will still be there

    The first time we went to Elche, I parked my car in a blue zone without realising that there was a meter where I should pay. It was only when I returned, several hours later, that I spotted the sign and the meter.

    I was lucky. At that time I could have incurred a fine or worse still had my car towed away.

    Now there is a change to the law which means that cars parked in blue zones without a ticket, or for longer than the time limit, will no longer be towed but they will still be fined.

    However, cars will still be towed away if the space they are occupying is reserved for disabled people. In this case, the illegally parked vehicle is considered an obstruction that hinders other road users. Illegally parking in a disabled-parking space also brings fines of up to 200 euros.

    Well done

    Twenty five students from the secondary school, “Miguel Hernandez” in Bigastro graduated with the 2º of bachiller this year.  They are the first students to graduate at this level in Bigastro. Previously students had to move to other centres to complete this equivalent to A level.  These students are now set to go on to university.

    Along with the Bachiller students, pupils  from the 4º of the E.S.O also graduated in a ceremony held at the Municipal Auditorium.

    As the Mayor, Raúl Valerio Medina and the Councillor for Education, Mª Dolores Andreu pointed out during the ceremony; the towns project,"Bigastro educa" is now bearing fruit.

    The Ayuntamiento offers its sincere congratulations to all the students who graduated this year.

    Monday, June 22, 2009

    A message from Steve and Gillian

    Steve has just phoned and asked if I could pass on his thanks to all who attended the Golden Wedding party on Saturday.

    Steve and Gillian hope everyone enjoyed the day as much as they did and would like to thank all for their very kind thoughts and presents.

    Actually, when I spoke to Steve and Gillian last night, they seemed to be overwhelmed by how well they had been received by the community here at Villas Andrea. Considering this is their second home, they are surprised how warm and generous people are towards them.

    I can only reply; it has taken a little while to sort out the good guys from the not so good at Villas Andrea and I don’t need to tell you which camp Steve and Gillian fall into.

    Who is Comedy Nose?

    I was asked this on Saturday.

    Those of you who saunter over to my Project 365 album on Flickr will have noticed his comments at the bottom of my photographs. You may also have seen the odd comment by sohvimus as well.

    Comedy Nose is my great friend Pete who I used to work with at Anfield. It was he who encouraged me to take up blogging and then to set up a Project 365. So I comment on his photographs (which incidentally are often much better than mine) and he comments on mine.

    I’ve never asked him why he chose the name Comedy Nose – I imagine Pete was already taken.

    Oh yes and sohivimus is Pete's Finnish girlfriend, Laura who now lives with him in Newsham Park, Liverpool.

    La semana próxima


    As you will have seen on the news some parts of Spain had gale force gusts over the weekend and parts of Italy had severe flooding.

    I’m happy to say that we escaped that. We had glorious sunshine both Saturday and Sunday and breeze we had was welcome.

    Golden wedding

    As some of my readers will know, we were at Steve and Gillian’s Golden Wedding party on Saturday. Steve asked me to take some photographs for them which I was pleased to do. He asked me to put them onto a CD so he could have them printed out when they got back to England.

    We decided to go one better and put them into an album for them as a present. So that is what I was doing yesterday. It all went well until one of the pages for the album printed out with some of the photographs missing. Whatever I tried (reducing the size of the files by compressing the photos) it just refused to print properly. Eventually, I removed a couple of the photos and the page printed just fine.

    Yesterday evening, I surprised Steve and Gillian by taking the album round to their house. They seemed to like what I had done. Steve and Gillian are really nice people and in any case, we have been to several parties at their house so this seemed a good way to repay their kindness. You can see the pictures by clicking on this link.

    Saturday, June 20, 2009

    And now they are gone

    Our very good friends Peter, Glenys, Brian and Margaret have been staying at Peter’s brother's house at Punta Prima. Glenys and Peter stayed for a fortnight whilst Brian and Margaret were here for a week. Our other friends, Chris and Linda have also just spent a fortnight in their house at Cabo Roig.

    Sadly we only got to spend one afternoon with Chris and Linda. Chris had a heart attack a couple of months back and needed a quiet time. We respected that. Hopefully next time he and Linda are over, we will see more of them and he will be more his old self.

    We saw more of Glenys, Peter, Brian and Margaret. They came to our house for paella and we went out with them for meals on a few occasions. They came down with us to Bigastro to watch the procession for Corpus Christi and then to the Thursday market.

    We hadn’t seen Brian and Margaret for quite a few years but it didn’t matter. It only took an hour so for us to bridge the years.

    Pam has known Glenys since they were at school together and I have known her since Pam and I met in the late sixties. We’ve known Peter since the seventies when the two of them got together and eventually got married – an occasion when we were there along with our daughters Jemma and Laura. When our children were growing up we spent a lot of time with Glenys and Peter but when the children got older we lost touch a bit.

    Now our girls are young ladies, we are back in close touch. Pam and Glenys phone each other regularly. Whilst we were in England, Peter and Glenys came to stay in Wolverhampton to help make something out of Jemma’s garden. They have also visited Laura and Dave in their flat in Sale and are planning to go and see them in their new house.

    Having good friends brings a lot of joy to our lives. Now they have all gone back to England we will miss them until we have the chance to meet again.

    A quiet summer

    Do you remember going on holiday to Spain only to find there was a construction site next to the hotel you were staying in? Luckily it never happened to us but we read about many that did suffer.  Work would start at 8:30am and continue with a break for siesta until 7pm. A nightmare!

    Well this year, many councils have been asked by businessmen to halt all private building work during the summer season so as not to damage the weakened tourism sector. In most cases the councils have responded by modifying their by-laws to comply with the request. For example, in Benidorm, constructors have been told to stop work in the centre between July1st and September 1st. In Calpe constructors who flout the noise level restrictions' will be fined between 90 and 3,000€. In Benissa the fines could be as high as 6,000€.

    A great idea – just a pity they didn’t think of it in the boom years.

    Friday, June 19, 2009

    Why I write this blog

    Blogger are looking for stories about people who write blogs using their service. So here goes.

    As it says on the “About us” section, Pam and I retired from teaching in 2004 and decided to move to Spain. Our major concern was keeping in touch with friends and relatives back in England and so we started sending regular emails to let them know how we were going on.

    Encouraged by my friend Pete, those emails became the start of a blog. The advantage of writing a blog rather than emails was that folks could dip in and out of the blog whenever they wanted. We could also write about a wider range of subjects that concerned us rather than just titbits of news..

    Pretty soon others started finding their way to our blog. Many of them were English people living in Bigastro who say it a useful source of information about what is going on locally. Our new guests then passed the web address onto their friends and relatives back in England so they could also keep up with local news.

    To our surprise, we then started to get visits from Spaniards. Some claimed it was a good way to help them improve their English, others just wanted an British perspective on local life.

    Pretty soon, the local Town Hall picked up on my blog and not only started reading it but asked me to send the photographs I’d taken of local events to their web site. There are now hundreds of my pictures on the site for people to look at. It is a great feeling to know that we have been able to contribute in some small way to the town that has made us feel so welcome.

    Our blog averages about 90 visitors a day – mostly from Spain but also from countries as far afield as America, Australia and Japan. From being a method of communicating with a hand full of folks back in England, our blog has become a daily task which we look forward to each morning.

    Muchas gracias Blogger for giving us this great opportunity to integrate into the local community and make lots of new Spanish and English friends..

    The increasing importance of tourism

    The Partnership for Economic Development of the Vega Baja, Convega, presented the main projects in which it is involved at its annual meeting yesterday.

    The web site, Turivega is one of the key projects aimed at promoting tourism in the 27 municipalities of the region. There isn’t much to see on the site as yet – it is a work in progress!

    The other project, aimed at increasing tourism, is the Green Route which links the major sites of natural interest  in  the interior of the region.

    At the meeting the Mayor of Callosa de Segura, Javier Pérez said, “ the area has an extraordinary natural patrimony which complements the coastal areas of Torrevieja, Orihuela and Guardamar”.

    From a starting capital of 120,000€ , Convega now has a budget of 2,700,ooo€ thanks to subsidies from the Delegation and the Catalan Autonomous Government which should enable it to make a great impact in the region.

    An eyesore


    There are only a few things I hate more than seeing graffiti on buildings.

    I just can’t understand why anyone would want to spoil a magnificent building such as the Lonja (the market) in Orihuela like this.

    A couple of years ago, the Lonja was magnificently restored and stood pristine white until now when some idiot has decided to make it the canvas for his (or her) scrawl.

    I do hope the clean it off soon along with all the other graffiti around this beautiful city.

    The audouin gull

    The  Natural Park of the Lagoons at La Mata and Torrevieja imageare homes to the second most important colony of the gaviota de audouin (the audouin gull). The largest colony is on the Ebro delta.

    Yesterday the Councillor for the Environment, José Ramón García Antón, the Mayor, Pedro Ángel Hernández, and the Director of the park, Concepción Torres helped to ring 200 chicks.

    Twenty four  chicks have been transferred to the Columbretes Islands where they can be raised in safety.

    Proud parents

    Our daughters, Jemma and Laura took part in the “Race for Life” last night at Weston Park in Wolverhampton.

    Girls 2

    and here they are showing off their medals.

    The girls

    Participants were asked to pin a picture on their back to show who they were running for.

    Laura has Joan ( her boyfriend's mother) and Betty (aka her mother Pam) and Jemma adds Ray who is still fighting his cancer.

    The girls managed to raise between them £292.81 towards cancer charities. Well done girls – you have made us very proud.

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Another road planned

    The plans by the Ministry of Public Works and the Economy to build a new Autopista – the AP-37 or Autopista of Reguerón are causing a great stir in the region.

    The people of Molins have already held a large meeting to raise their concerns about the project. Now the socialist spokesmen from the affected city councils (Orihuela, Catral, Rafal, Benejúzar, Jacarilla, Almoradí, Callosa de Segura and Bigastro)  along with various officials from the party are to meet in Bigastro on Thursday at 7pm.

    The plans for the route of the high speed train (AVE) and those for the CV-95 have already caused great consternation. Now the region has these new plans to be concerned about.

    A summer of sport


    From what I can work out this is a stone throwing competition . You play in pairs and pay 20€ to take part. The competition takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm and then from 5pm until 8pm. The money goes to the Fiesta for San Joaquín. 

    There are six prizes ranging from a pair of hams to a couple of chorizos.


    Now I understand that – it is a seven a side football competition.


    and tennis I know about.  As for frontenis, that is a game played on a three-sided court, similar to a jaialai (frontón) court but smaller, using a reinforced tennis racket and a very lively rubber ball.

    I’m exhausted just thinking about all that sport. I thought Bigastro was supposed to be a “slow city”!

    More summer madness

    I got a message from Paypal in Spain yesterday.

    We change degrees for Euros, 40º = 40€

    This promotion runs from the 15th of June to the 6th of July.

    The first 10 people to make a purchase during the warmest hour of the day, will receive the equivalent to that temperature in Euros. e.g. if the temperature reaches 40º they will get 40€  from the participating companies..

    There could be hot competition for those prizes. Lets hope it doesn’t rain.

    Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    No more dogs please!

    According to the Affinity Foundation, 17 dogs are either lost or abandoned in Spain every hour. Statistics for 2008 show that, of the 118,000 dogs lost, 101,000 were abandoned – a shameful figure.

    There are all sorts of reasons why people abandon dogs, the death of the owner, a new child in the family, a change in the dog’s behaviour etc. Taking the dog to an animal rescue centre is the proper way to deal with these sort of problems. Just dumping dogs and puppies out of the car in the hope that someone will pick them up isn’t.

    Quite a few of the residents here at Villas Andrea have adopted dogs which they found roaming the streets. There is a limit though to the number of dogs that anyone can keep. We have probably passed that limit by now.

    So please don’t leave any more dogs near our estate.

    La Finca Eduardo’s

    Eduardo’s  is a special place where we take friends.  We went there last night with Glenys, Peter, Brian and Margaret.


    The restaurant  used to offer two “menu del noches” which represented good value in comparison with the “a la carte” menu.

    When Pamela phoned to book, she was told that  they only offered the 28€ version but no matter it would still offer  plenty of choice.

    When we got there, the “menu del noche”  was no longer available. I’ve checked on their web site and it is still advertised along with quite a few items on the “a la carte” menu that were not available either.

    We are not complaining because the food was still very good – just not what we were looking forward to.

    P1010072 P1010070

    Foodie week

    This week Guardamar is celebrating the fifth edition of the “Setmana of Nyora i the Llagostí” which opens at the restaurant La Cañada Playa.


    I know the llagosti is Valenciano for langostine but what is a nyora?

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    The councillors get even younger

    I’ve said before that the Mayor is a young man. Judging from this photograph, the councillors he works with are even younger!

    Sixty students from Colegio Público “San José de Calasanz” visited the town hall on the day when Spain celebrated 30 years of democratic municipal elections.


    Apart from visiting the town hall facilities, the students took part in a council session where they made proposals about education in the town. They were also able to put questions to the Mayor, Raúl Valerio Medina about education and the environment.

    Apparently it was a very positive experience for all parties which the City Council want to repeat in future years.

    Corpus Christi

    You can now view the rest of the photographs I took of the procession on Sunday by clicking on this link.

    I apologise in advance; I should have used my flashgun for the photos of the return because the light was getting poor by that stage.

    Clearing out for summer

    For those of you who like fire and fireworks, the place to be from this Friday is Alicante. From June 20th, the hogueras or statues will be on display at various points in the city. 

    The fiesta is more that just fire though; barracas will be erected in each neighbourhood where food, drink and entertainment will be laid on. There will be  many processions and events taking place often featuring the Bellea del Foc, the queen of fire, and her attendants.

    Every day at 2.00 pm there will be a magnificent firework display called a mascletá. A different firework organiser  will construct the event each day using fireworks placed in one of the main plazas and on the tops of buildings nearby. Be warned though, these displays are pure noise; there are no pretty coloured rockets. If you go it is advisable to take earplugs.

    On the night of June 24th the Cremà will take place. The evening will get underway at midnight with the lighting of a huge palm shaped firework from the top of the castle and then one by one in a strict order the hogueras will be  lit; the partying of course will go on throughout the night.

    Whilst thousands of people will  flock to the Alicante to witness this annual event; if  you prefer to stay closer to home, Torrevieja and Guardamar have their own smaller verions of the hogueras.

    A long delay

    By the 1st September it was meant to be all systems go for the desalination plant in Torrevieja. Unfortunately there is one important job left to do and that is to run the pipes that will carry the water from the sea to the plant and the brine back. 

    During the tourist season, Torrevieja has a moratorium on work in the town centre. So AcuaMed will have to wait until September to start work on the pipelines. The pipes, which are 2m in diameter, will be sunk up to 8m below ground and will pass under the N332 coast road. A complex task which nobody on holiday in the town would want to witness.

    The company will be undertaking 30 million euros worth of work  in Torrevieja as compensation. Some of the improvements that the compensation will pay for are reported to be, an elevated paseo on the Dique de Poniente, improvements to the Muelle de Sal and access to the Playa de Acequion. There will also be improvements to the beaches at Los Náufragos and possibly the renewal of infrastructure in the ‘Barrio de San Roque’.

    The turn of the youth

    By all accounts, the concert for Corpus Christi last Friday by the town band was fantastic. We were sorry to miss it but the offer of dinner at the Albarada came first. 


    This weekend at the Auditorium in Bigastro

    SATURDAY, 20th at 7pm

    A concert by the classes for  trumpet , horn, trombone  and tuba; along with a Music and Movement workshop by students from the School of Music.

    The 4, 5 and 6 year old children who study music at La Paz School will put on a surprise for the audience.

    Monday, June 15, 2009

    Almost forgot


    Best get used to the heat, it looks as though it is here to stay for the moment.

    For those who missed it

    Last night was the procession for Corpus Christi when the children who have received their first communion parade around the town. I hope Germán Martin will post the rest of my photos on the Bigastro web site later today.


    Mi paella


    I’ve been working on the recipe for my paella since I made the first one four years ago.

    This one had a whole chicken cut into pieces, prawns, chorizo, butter beans, green beans, tomato, garlic and of course rice. All topped with strips of red pepper for decoration.

    Our guests seemed to enjoy it. You can see them below tucking into plates of seconds with gusto!

    P1010056 P1010057

    For the young

    and the young at heart.


    Sunday, June 14, 2009

    Blogger’s block

    My father always used to say, “if you have nowt to say, then say nowt.” He clearly didn’t believe in talking for talking's sake. The same is true of writing on a blog.

    Most days, I can find plenty to write about as you will have observed. Today is not one of those days. So I am talking a day off from trying to find some scrap of news or titbits of gossip to interest me. We have friends coming for paella, so I will concentrate on that instead.

    Saturday, June 13, 2009

    We are still the sea’s worse enemy

    Higher than normal sea temperatures are expected to favour an influx of jellyfish and other invading species in the Mediterranean this summer.

    According to experts, the water is already hitting 30 degrees centigrade, five more than the average temperature during the hottest months of the year.

    "This is not a normal occurrence," declared one specialist from Valencia university with regards to the progressive warming up of the sea, adding that ‘it is not an isolated incident, and is starting to take place more continuously'.

    imageThe changes in marine conditions bring dangerous exotic species to the area, including the  Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish - a potentially fatal species usually restricted to Brazil – which has already been seen off the coast of Cartagena. Other species include  the predatory ‘zebra mussel' along with certain types of seaweed discovered in various areas recently.  

    According to experts, "the Mediterranean is ill".   They point to over-fishing, pollution and the destruction of choral reefs due to excessive building in coastal areas as the main causes.

    However, the damage sustained by the sea is ‘superficial' as it only affects the surface, and scientists have likened it to a dog that has parasites;   the invaders can cause a certain degree of trouble ‘but the dog will not die from it'.

    They added that the most dangerous species for the Mediterranean are still  ‘cans that take 500 years to disappear, plastic bags and silver foil'.

    I bet she can tell a tale or two



    Maria Martinez Escobedo, known as "María la Vizcaína" ( Maria from Biscay), celebrated  her 100th birthday in Bigastro on the 1st June.

    Maria has two children, four grandsons and four great grandchildren.

    The Mayor, Raúl Valerio Medina, along with other councillors, visited her house to congratulate her.

    PSOE ordered to provide information to the PP

    Yesterday, the Contencioso Administrativo in Elche ordered the socialist group in Bigastro to pass over 49 municipal files to the opposition party by the 1st August .

    These files were denied to the PP by the ex mayor José Joaquín Moya. The information in hte files relates to a range of issues including the 600,000€ fee that was paid for the licence to build an aparthotel at La Pedrera, the telephone accounts, the credit card accounts and the license for the underground car park.

    La Cena

    Last night we joined the ladies from the other EPA classes for dinner at the Restaurante Alborada in Bigastro.

    It was probably the best 16€ we have spent on food in Spain. The restaurant deserves top marks for style, presentation, quality of food, service and value.

    We started with three different fish mousses, two of which were topped with caviar. This was followed by peppers in tomato sauce stuffed with vegetables. Then we had large flat pieces of toasted bread drizzled with olive oil. To cleanse the palate we had a tuna salad followed by delicious deep fried baby squid. To continue there were bread rolls filled with meat or cheese and finally a choice of several desserts.

    The food was washed down with a choice of drinks. Some had Kas, Coke or water, others had sangria or beer; chief scout John and I shared a bottle of red wine. To round off we had coffees. Again John and I had Belmontes – expresso coffee with a measure of brandy served with condensed milk. Some of the ladies had an infusion of manzanilla (camomile tea) -a much healthier option!

    Of course a good meal is enhanced by good company. Last night the company was excellent. These ladies have made us feel so welcome in Bigastro with their warmth and generosity.

    Alborada 3 Alborada 4 Alborada 5 Alborada 6

    Alborada 8Alborada 7

    Friday, June 12, 2009

    Blowing our own trumpets

    I wasn't going to publish our reports but heh - what the hell we are damn proud of them! We particularly liked Eduardo's comments which are both kind and encouraging.



    In reply; “Eduardo, we are pleased to know you and to have been in your class”.

    PS B means bien (good) and MB muy bien (very good).

    La entrega las notas

    Yesterday we went to the Auditorium to receive our final reports for this year’s Spanish class.

    Whenever the town do anything like this, they make a great effort to ensure that it a special occasion for both the students and teachers. Yesterday was no exception.

    After the usual introductions, we had a slide show of pictures, shot throughout the year from the various events and visits that we have taken part in. Following that, the Councillor for Education spoke and congratulated us on our hard work. She was followed by the Mayor who gave us encouragement to continue with our work.

    We then had the presentation of certificates followed by a buffet of food and drink.

    A splendid occasion that we will remember for a good while. You can see pictures of the event by clicking here.

    When we started this year with a new teacher, we were unsure how well we might take to him. After all, we had a special bond with Ana who had taught us for three years and in some cases longer.

    We needn’t have worried, Eduardo has worked very hard to provide us with an engaging programme of study. We have learnt a great deal from him; not only in terms of the language but also about the culture, history and geography of Bigastro and Spain.

    We would like to take this opportunity to thank Eduardo for all that he has done for us We would like to wish him a restful and pleasant summer and to say we look forward to seeing him again in Autumn.

    PS Actually we will see him again tonight at the end of year dinner!

    Patio Andaluz

    This is a favourite spot to take friends who visit. When they knocked the place down we were worried that it might have gone for good but no, Patio Andaluz was rebuilt with the same atmosphere it had before. The same grape vines and fig trees fill the roof of the interior, they still cook over a wood fire and the same decorative tiles adorn the walls.

    We went there last night with our friends who are staying near Punta Prima and were pleased to find the two young girls who put on a flamenco show had also been kept on. They still have the two guys going round the restaurant serenading the customers.

    Dancers P1010037

    The girls may not perform classical flamenco – a lot of the routines are stylised - but their precision and timing are immaculate.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    Bigastel for all

    Bigastel, the system for internet access, was initially only available in the centre of the town. imageNow the service has spread to most of the municipality.

    This Bigastel system is based on Wi-Fi technology i.e. providing fast and easy Internet access without cables and without annoying infrastructure work .

    The service offers up to 3Mb broadband access along with a VoIP telephone connection (free between Bigastel users).

    The cost varies between 16 and 49€ per month depending upon your location and the speed you require.

    In the red zone, which is the cheapest, you only need a wireless access point. In the blue and yellow zones you need a small outdoor aerial.

    In the red zone the cost for a 1Mb/s connection is 13.92€ per month.

    In the blue and yellow zones the cost is 98€. for installation and then:-

    • 256Kb/s for 16€/per month
    • 512kb/s for 22€/per month
    • 1Mb/s for 24€/per month
    • 2Mb/s for 29€/per month
    • 3Mb/1Mb for 49€/per month

    For general web surfing and emails 1Mb is perfectly adequate. For decent call quality using VoIP a faster connection is better. If you want more than 3Mb/s, then you will have to go for a fixed line and pay more.

    NB It is important to note that the quoted speeds are the same in both directions unlike ADSL which only runs at the quoted speed for downloads.

    Corpus Christi in Bigastro

    The Commission of Celebrations of the Corpus along with the City council of Bigastro, have set out a programme of activities for next weekend.

    FRIDAY, 12th OF JUNE

    10pm in the AUDITORIUM
    CONCERT for CORPUS by the Sociedad Unión Musical de Bigastro..


    SUNDAY, 14th OF JUNE

    As I pointed out in a previous post, the band will be led by its new director, the young almoradidense, Tomás Rodríguez Gómez.

    Making the roads safer

    Undercover officers of the Guardia Civil's UCO unit have arrested 19 people, 18 Moroccans and a Spaniard, in connection with 150 robberies carried out on AP-7 toll road as it passes through the Valencia Region.

    The 19 detainees are also being questioned about the theft of luxury cars from dealers' forecourts.

    A police spokesman said  the operation against the gang began in November 2008 after the recovery of a stolen car in which police found the fingerprint of one of the gang.

    The gang's preferred method of operation was to puncture car tyres then when their victims stopped to put on the spare the robbers would pounce and steal their valuables.

    Most of the victims were expats either returning to their homes in Spain or travelling over for a holiday.

    Run rabbit run

    The plague of rabbits that Rafa told me about is affecting the traditional kitchen garden in Rojales. Measures are now being taken to control the numbers of these pests.

    Farmers already use metal fencing and “noise guns” to keep the vermin off their crops. Now they are going to organise rabbit hunts to try and control the numbers.

    The Club de Cazadores de San Pedro Apóstol de Rojales have been given permission to go out there with their guns to pop the bunnies off. I hope they have plenty of ammo!

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Could have done better

    We got the papers from our Spanish exam back yesterday. When I look at the mistakes I made, they stand out like a sore thumb. I could kick myself for not thinking a bit harder before answering some of those questions. Still I have learnt a lot from my mistakes so it was a positive experience.

    Considering the number of errors, the Notable grade I got was fair.

    The point system for drivers in Spain

    In Spain, everyone starts with 12 points on their license. Each time there is an infraction, they loose points. When they have zero points, they are in danger of  loosing their license.

    Drivers with more than three years experience start with 12 points, while new drivers are credited with eight. Drivers can get two extra points after three years with no offences and a further point after that after three more years to reach the maximum number of points – 15.

    Between 450 and 500 drivers and motor cyclists in the Alicante province loose their licences each year. The main reasons for loosing all their points are excessive blood alcohol levels, speeding and failure to use a seat belt or crash helmet.

    Loosing points

    • Speeding - Between 2 and 6 points depending on how far above the speed limit you were travelling.
    • Using the mobile phone or any other apparatus considered a distraction – 3 points.
    • Not using your seat belt or helmet for bike riders – 3 points.
    • Drink driving – 4 or 6 points.

    Points can also be lost in the following circumstances:

    2 points will be taken for:

    • Dangerous parking
    • Using radar speed trap detectors
    • Forgetting to turn on your headlights
    • Taking a child under 12 as a passenger on a motorbike

    3 points will be taken for:

    • Making an illegal turn
    • Driving too close to the vehicle in front

    4 points will be taken for:

    • Driving without the correct license
    • Taking a vehicle onto a motorway that is not authorized
    • Reversing on a motorway
    • Dangerous driving or overtaking
    • Blocking another driver from overtaking
    • Jumping a red light
    • Disobeying police instructions
    • Throwing any dangerous objects from the car – this includes cigarette butts
    • Driving with too many people in the vehicle

    And finally 6 points will be taken for:

    • For extreme dangerous driving, which could be, for example, taking part in racing, driving against the traffic and so on.
    • Professional drivers risk losing six points if they do not respect official rest periods

    A world of flavours

    Opening a new business or developing an existing one in the present economic climate is a risky venture.

    Top marks must therefore go to Darren for the work he has done at La Pedrera. He has worked hard and come up with innovative ideas that will hopefully breath new life into the Albergue.

    The latest scheme is entitled “Round the World – Food and Drink” and starts Thursday 18th with Jamaican food and drink. As an incentive, the person who is best dressed in Jamaican style will win a free meal for the following week and will get to choose the country to be represented. With a choice of 20, this could be tough.

    On Saturday the 13th it will be Mexican Night. At a price of 7.95€ you are guaranteed a taste of this very popular style of cooking.

    Fridays is fish and chip night; Sundays there is a rotating lunch menu and of course there are bar snack basket meals and the summer menu in the restaurant throughout the week.

    Darren is keen to make La Pedrera the first choice eatery in this area. With so much energy and commitment., he deserves to succeed in this ambition.

    Many thanks

    We have to thank Darren, Hazel and the rest of the people who worked so hard to provide us with such a delightful food tasting session last night.

    La Pedrera has a new chef who wanted us to sample some of the items that may be included in the restaurants’  menu. We were invited to try three starters, three main course items and three desserts and make comments about each.

    The three starters included, melon and orange, spicy tomato soup and fried camembert in cranberry sauce. Our favourite was the soup. However, as a light refreshing starter, the melon had a delicious zing  of orange. and the fried camembert was ripe and creamy with a crispy coating – just as it should be.

    The main courses included;  lemon chicken, chilli beef with tacos and pork in a cream sauce. The pork proved to be favourite here because of its delicate sauce. For us the chicken lacked its essential  lemon zest and the chilli was too mild. I understand that the chef had held back on making the chilli spicy in order not to  upset too many people. He can of course make it as spicy as people would want.

    For the desserts, the chef prepared Spanish lemon tart, strawberry ice cream with shortbread and finally apple and cider crumble. The lemon tart and the ice cream were joint favourites. The tart was just that, sharp on the tongue with a creamy texture set in a light pastry case. The homemade ice cream was just as strawberry ice cream should be, bursting with the rich flavour of fruit. 

    By this stage, the chef was probably exhausted having prepared so many dishes for more people than was anticipated. The finale was therefore sadly disappointing. The crumble topping was burnt and very dry in texture and there was very little apple to compensate. Having made a supreme effort though, it was easy to forgive the chef for this mistake.

    I feel sure that Darren, Hazel and the chef will read through our comments carefully and take note of the helpful notes that we made. With a little fine tuning, the final dishes should be delicious.

    Tuesday, June 09, 2009

    Giraffe stonework


    Pamela quite likes this house at Torre de la Horadada which overlooks the sea.

    The position is fantastic, the plot is a good size and the house looks spacious but I’m not sure about the stonework which looks like the pattern of spots on a giraffe.

    Sad to say, even if it were for sale, it would be well beyond our budget.

    What a lovely smile she has

    Thanks to a subsidy from  “Salari Jove” granted by Servef in  Orihuela, the City council imageof Bigastro has a professional graduate in tourism working for them until February. 

    One of the  first jobs for the lady, is  to manage and to promote guided visits to the  recently inaugurated Observatory the International of Mediterranean Kitchen gardens. She will also be working on the  first “Città Slow” Summer School for children.  

    You can sign us up for a visit to the Observatory. From the video we have seen and what we have read of it, the place sounds very interesting.




    That programme should keep the children occupied during the long summer holiday.