Friday, April 30, 2010

We will not be going to the polls

There is not much time left now before the General Election in Britain. Pam and I did download the application forms to allow us to have a postal vote from here in Spain but I’m sorry to say we didn’t complete them.

So we won’t be voting - only the second time that neither of us will have voted since we reached the age when we could. Although we are proud to be British, our home now is in Spain so, the truth is, it would be more relevant to our lives if we could vote here.

Reading about the campaign in Britain that is coming to a close, it seems that the three main parties are neck and neck in the debates. Whether that will transmit into votes at the actual poll remains to be seen. What it does show is that neither of the two main parties have gained the confidence of the voters and that people are turning to the LIb. Dems. as an alternative. However, since the country does not have proportional representation, the Lib Dems. could still end up with very few seats in parliament. Even if that happens, a strong vote for the third party should hopefully send a signal to the two main parties.

All the signs at the moment show that there could be a hung parliament with no one party in overall control which of course means that very few decisions will be made. Whether that will be good or bad for the country remains to be seen. Whatever the result, nobody can blame Pam and I.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The end of the dream

You knew by the deathly silence last night that Barcelona had failed to achieve their dream to play in the Champions League final in Madrid. It did seem that they had made it only to find that their last minute goal was disallowed because of a handball incident moments earlier.

So "The Special One" strikes again.  Just one match to go before he can prove to his Italian bosses jus how special he really is. 

A new work to commemorate Miguel Hernandez

One of Bigastro’s famous sons, General Francisco Grau Vegara, has now composed a zarzuela (folk opera) as a tribute to the poet Miguel Hernandez entitled, 'Un poeta, sólo eso (a poet, only that).

This is not the first work that Francisco Grau has dedicated to Hernandez. In February he directed a piece, 'Aun Poeta. In Memoriam' (To a poet in Memoriam) in Elche.

Although the new work is complete and has been offered to Orihuela, an actual performance in not imminent. I do hope the city finds the means to stage this work because we do enjoy zarzuela and the music of Francisco Grau is easy listening.

The carpas are up

imagePreparations are now well under way for the May Fair in Torrevieja which will take place between the 5th and the 9th May.

Not wishing to make those of you who live in less sunny climates jealous but summer time here in Spain is one party after another. This weekend in Bigastro we have the fiesta for the Holy Cross and later in May we have San Isidro. Then in August we will have the fiesta for San Joaquín.

Moving a little further afield, every town and city in the area has its own fiestas. You need a large diary just to keep track of all the events you might want to attend and a strong constitution to take in all that food and drink. Just as well we don’t have to go to work.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The bars in town will be full tonight

I don’t need to tell you how important tonight’s game between Barcelona and Inter Milan is. Inter would love to go through because the haven’t reached a final of the Champion’s League since 1972 and haven’t won the trophy since 1965. Mourinho says Barcelona would love to go through because the final is being played in Madrid. Whatever the reasons, many eyes in Bigastro will be glued to TV sets tonight.

On the face of it Barcelona have an uphill battle having lost the game in Milan by 3 goals to 1. However, there are numerous permutations of how they can still win – the simplest being to score 2-0 tonight – not an impossible task for a team that have been proclaimed the best in Europe.

As you might expect, there are all sorts of rumours going round about why Inter Milan managed to perform so well against Barcelona including a suggestion that Mourinho co owns a restaurant with the referee from the match. I understand a lot of crucial decisions did go Milan’s way.

Come on people, it is only a game albeit it one with a lot of money not to mention pride at stake. By tomorrow it will all be over one way or the other. If it goes Barcelona’s way, expect to hear plenty of fireworks disturbing our peace later tonight.

The problems don’t go away

Like the taxman, the public prosecutor’s office does not give up. The new Anti-corruption prosecutor for the Vega Baja, Pablo Romero has ordered the twelve cases related to city planning management in Bigastro to be examined. They mostly involve the previous mayor, José Joaquín Moya but also include the present mayor in his role as councillor for urbanism.

The cases relate to several issues including the sale of land at La Pedrera, the concession to allow Eurener to build its factory, the use of municipal vehicles by the ex mayor, even the authorisation of rural  land to be used for a farm for hens!

Of the 12 denunciations, 7 are considered to be possible penal offences, the other five are not. Still that is probably enough to be going on with. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Looking for somewhere to stay?

Having visitors in your house can prove to be a strain on your relationships. Whereas people would visit you for the day when you lived in Britain, here they will want to stay for a week or more and that can sometimes prove awkward. One solution is to rent a villa or apartment for them: that way, you keep your own space and they have their own space as well. You can see each other as often or as little as you wish.

Of course you don’t want somewhere that is too far away. Fortunately three are several villas on our estate which are available for rent at reasonable prices. However, they are all three bedroom houses and you may only require one or two bedrooms. In other words an apartment rather than a villa may be sufficient.

The answer to that is David Hyde’s apartment in nearby Formentera del Segura. Located only 15 or so minutes away, this two bedroom apartment is comfortable for a couple or a family with small children and at £155 per week during the peak season it is easily affordable. Off season, the prices drop to £125 per week which is remarkable good value for visitors who want to come for Easter or Christmas for example.

You can visit David’s website and see for yourself by clicking on the Holiday in the Sun link in my sidebar or you can contact David directly
Tel: 01452 614115 or 07769 617295

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fiesta time!

I know a lot of Brits from Villas Andrea like to take part in the fiesta at the Barrio de la Cruz  because of course we don’t have our own fiesta in the barrio where we live.

These are the dates and times for you.

Saturday 1st May  
10am Traditional  Races in honour of “Manuel Belmonte”.
1pm Tapeo in the district
7:30pm Flower cross competition
10pm Music Night
Sunday, 2nd of May  
11:30am The Sociedad Unión Musical de Bigastro parade the streets
12pm Solemn Mass to honour the Holy Cross in the Park
2pm The Great Paella for all the neighbours and assistants
5pm Children’s games in the Park

Expect more photos next Monday especially of the beautiful flower crosses.

Settling down nicely

imageThe weather is getting better week by week. Temperatures by day and night are much improved. I don’t care for that threat of some rain at the weekend though!

Like Fred Carney’s Circus

IMG_2412 For the benefit of my Spanish readers, Fred Carney’s Circus was chaos!

Last night’s gala was a bit like that. Not that the actual performance was chaotic, far from it. The young presenters did an excellent job and were very entertaining. The acts were all well organised and showcased an amazing array of talent. No, it was the way people arrived late or left early. the way they would just get up and walk out perhaps to go to the toilet or maybe get a drink or even make a phone call. It was the way they would block the aisles with push chairs or even sit on the steps to watch the performance.

My father in law, who was a fire officer would have gone mad if he’s seen them.

None of that detracted from the performance though. There were young and not so young taking part – mostly young. There were dancers singers and musicians all highly talented performers. It would be wrong to single out any one act as being the best but I have to say the young man who sang whilst accompanying himself on piano does have an amazingly expressive voice.

There was a lot of humour including the fact that the mayor won the sausage in the raffle. To be fair, it wasn’t a little pork banger, this was a large cooked sausage which I am sure will provide him with a good few meals.

The photo here is of Christopher Riley, a member of our Spanish class, being singled out for his excellent performance. Chris is the oldest member of the junior band but that is because he is only just learning to play flute. Well done Chris.

You can see what you missed by clicking on this link.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Don’t forget

Today there will be a flea market in the main park between 10am and 2pm. A chance to pick up a bargain and help the relatives of Alzheimer's raise funds for more activities. Then at 6:30 pm, there will be a Gala in aid of  United Hands a the Auditorium. For just five Euros you can enjoy a feast of singing dancing and music.

Just like a war zone

Whenever you hear fireworks close to it is usually either from the house next door but one to us or the similar house on the road below. This time it was the house next door but one where Manuel and Eli live. I knew there was a party imminent because of all the activity on the road in the morning. People were coming and going bringing food etc in preparation.

Not all Spaniards are fond of fireworks but my neighbours are so periodically there were loud bangs (some deafeningly loud) as they set off rockets and mortars. Then there was a lull during siesta time followed by  more fireworks which continued on into the night with a last large salvo set off just after midnight.

That didn't mark the end of the party though. There were still children playing outside when I went to bed and later on I was woken by the sounds of people leaving the street at some unearthly hour. 

Peace and quiet will return now until they find the next excuse to let their hair down.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

England and back on 6 litres of fuel!

image Students from El Palmeral school in Orihuela have built a vehicle (not sure we'd call it a car!) that they claim will run for 300 kilometres on one litre of ethanol.

The 34 kilogram three wheeler will take part in the Shell Echo Marathon in Germany on the 6th and 7th May. Driven by the lightest person they could find at 50 kilograms, the car cruises at 30 kilometres per hour but can reach speeds of 50 to 60.

My only question is, where do you put the shopping?

Get off my wall!

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I’m making steady progress with the wall painting job and I have to say the results are worth the effort.

Once the walls are nice and white, they do seem to attract all sorts of creatures. The occasional snail I don’t mind but those strange worm like things are annoying. I can’t understand their purpose and more to the point, what they find to eat on a white painted wall. They just crawl around for a few days and then curl up and die.

I do count myself lucky because my neighbours seem to get hundreds of them. At first, they used to sweep them up and return them to the waste land where they came from. What they found though was the damned things coming back day after day so now, my neighbours just put them in a bucket of water to drown.

Friday, April 23, 2010

She’s coming home

Pam has only been away since Monday 12th but it does seem longer. Getting her father settled into a home where they specialise in dementia care was a high priority and that is done. Thankfully he has very little recollection of the house where he lived only two weeks ago and seems contented where he is now. He has tried to escape twice but the staff have his measure on that score and keep a watchful eye on him.

Pam then started the tedious task of going through her father’s house in preparation for selling it. Cupboard after cupboard was full of every letter, card or piece of paper they have received. Pam has found photographs, dinner sets, glasses etc which date back to the 50s and earlier. It is a nightmare. There are still the bedrooms upstairs to go through and we know that the wardrobes in at least two of them have even more memorabilia and paperwork that will have to be gone through.

Still, that is a task for our next visit when we prepare the house for sale. For the moment, Pam is booked on a flight back to Spain next Wednesday. That gives me six days to finish painting the garden walls and get the house ship shape ready for detailed inspection! I can tell you from past experience, Pam’s eagle eye will find the merest speck of dust that I have missed and every ornament or item in the kitchen that is more than a millimetre out of place.

It is St George’s Day

image But does anybody care? He is the patron saint of England but I doubt if many will be celebrating his special day. The red crosses only seem to come out when England are playing football . Then people go mad with flags on cars, on houses and pubs – everywhere!
image There was a time when every child in England could have told you the story about how St George slayed a dragon to save the life of a beautiful Arabian princess.

These days, I don’t suppose many would have a clue what you were talking about.

Ask any child in Bigastro about the patron saint of the town – that would be a different story.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Saturday sport

image On Saturday the basketball club faces Teler Commercial Centre in a match at the Polideportivo El Molino.

This is an important game for the team; they need to win to stop themselves from going down to a lower league so any support would be most welcome.

Of course, if basketball is not you game, then you could always go and watch the ladies’ football team in action.

The ladies’ football team travel to Campello this weekend to play the team that they share first place with in the league.

The girls could do with some support for this important match so the Ayuntamiento is putting on a special coach to take you there. The bus will leave the Puerta de Alvaro at 4:30pm this Saturday.

Bigastro sets an example to other towns

image Leaders from the Socialist Group in the Vega Baja visited Bigastro and met with our mayor, Raúl Valerio Medina, to learn about how the town is embracing new technologies to benefit its citizens.

The municipal company Bigastel is regarded as an exceptional example of how Bigastro is leading the field in providing access to information technology and the Internet for all at highly competitive prices.

Whilst they were in the town, the group were also interested to find out how the solar energy company Eurener has breathed new life into Bigastro. Eurener are market leaders in producing photovoltaic solar panels at their premises located throughout the town.

The socialist leaders have already held meetings with Procosta, to find out what their proposals are for city-planning development. The deputies are particularly keen to find out what ideas Procosta has for revitalising the beleaguered construction industry.

Later on, the party will be visiting the Olé fruit company in San Bartolomé to learn first hand the issues connected with agriculture in the region.

On a personal note: it is good to see our mayor smiling again. Each time I have seen him recently, Valerio has looked like a man with a lot of weight on his shoulders.

An absolute bargain for someone


Since I bought my new camera, this kit has been largely unused so it makes sense to try and sell it to a new owner who can make full use of it.

On Saturday, I will be placing an advert on Ebay where folks can bid for it.

What they will be bidding for is a complete camera kit based on the Canon 450D DSLR which is currently on sale at Amazon for £568.27 for just the camera and kit lens.

However, the items I am selling are much more that that. Basically what is included is everything needed to go out and get some great photographs whatever the situation. The three lenses in the kit cover everything from ultra wide angle to mid telephoto and the external flash will enable the new owner to carry on shooting when the light is low at distances the built in flash could never reach.

  • Canon 450D 12.2 megapixels digital SLR
  • Canon Zoom lens EFS 18-55mm 1:3.5 – 5.6 IS (the IS stands for Image Stabilisation which lets you take photographs at slow shutter speeds without camera shake).
  • Sigma Zoom 55-200mm 1:4 -5.6 DC
  • Opteka HD2 High Definition fisheye converter
  • Sigma EF – 500DG ST ETTLII external flashgun with a guide number of 50 in metres at 100ASA
  • Circular polarising filter to fit the standard lens
  • UV filters on both zoom lenses from new
  • SanDisk Extreme III 2Gb SD card
  • Supreme camera bag to hold it all

As you can see, the camera comes in its original box complete with all the accessories; body caps, instruction manual, software, battery charger and leads to connect the camera to a PC or a television.

As a bonus, I will also be including a set of three manual extension tubes which will enable the new owner to capture superb macro shots.

Unlike many examples of pre-used cameras, mine has only seen light use. In fact the image counter (which has never been reset) shows less than 3,000 pictures in total. This camera should be good for quite a few years use in its new hands.

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Of course, if any readers of this blog are interested, I am open to sensible offers bearing in mind there is over £900 worth of kit up for grabs!

I take their points

In response to my item yesterday about the lifting of the ban on airspace, I received the following comments:-

uwe said...

I think you have been a bit harsh here, Keith. With both swine flu and the ash, the govt erred on the side of caution and I think this is understandable. The British press would have murdered Gordon Brown if there had been a disaster such as a plane coming down. He was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. Papers like the Mail, the Express and the Sun do not need much of an excuse to hammer Brown.
Enjoy your blog and read it most days.

21 Apr 2010 13:49:00


Blogger Pete said...

Yep, the commenter above has nailed it with 'damned if they did and damned if they didn't'. There was no win to this situation, and when it comes to commercial air travel the authorities will ALWAYS take the safer option.
People are saying much about computer simulations, but there is no doubt that when the Finnish Air Force sent up a couple of F18 fighters to fly the ash cloud the engine inspection revealed beads of a glass like substance on the turbine blades - that wasn't simulated, the risk was very real.
The airlines are under massive commercial pressure to fly, so it is critically important that an independent body assesses the safety of the airspace.
You can draw analogies with the swine flu preparation and that is entirely valid, as without the benefit of 20/20 hindsight I think the reactions to both situations whilst expensive and inconvenient were timely and proportionate.
Hopefully things will get back to normal soon. :)

21 Apr 2010 22:18:00

When I read that item again, I take the points that uwe and Pete make. Before I wrote it, I’d read comments from a variety of sources including the Times, the Guardian and the Telegraph. Uwe is right, the popular press take every opportunity to criticise Brown which is why I largely ignore them.

As I said in my item, It would have been highly irresponsible of the government to ignore the risks of either swine flue or the dangers imposed by the volcanic dust. The potential loss of lives was something they could never have lived with. It just seems to me unfortunate that, like Tony Blair's reaction to Saddam Hussain’s “weapons of mass destruction”, the actions of the present Government seem to regularly cost the country huge sums of money and leave them wide open to criticism.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An end to the ban

Now that the ban on UK airspace has been lifted, the recriminations have started.

British Airways chief executive, Willie Walsh, has accused the government and the UK air safety watchdog of imposing unnecessary hardship on hundreds of thousands of passengers. Aircraft and engine manufacturers have now changed their advice on commercial jets' ability to withstand contamination from volcanic ash clouds.

It isn’t all over yet though: airports warned that the new regime imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) could cause delays for several days, as airlines will be required to run ash-damage checks before and after flights, while hundreds of planes and thousands of crew members are out of position around the world.

A spokesman for BAA, the owner of Heathrow airport, said: "You cannot just close an airport for six days and then reopen without some hitches. It is an enormous logistical operation on the part of airlines and airports." BA said it would take "considerable time" to reinstate its full schedule, with around a third of its fleet and a quarter of its crew out of position. Nonetheless, it hopes to operate all long-haul flights from Heathrow and Gatwick today, along with a large number of short-haul cancellations.

EasyJet said it would reinstate some flights but it suspended online check-in and warned that flights will close one hour before departure.

Ryanair, Europe's largest short-haul carrier, was last night standing by plans to cancel north European flights until midday tomorrow and said it would not reimburse passengers' hotel and food costs – in contravention of EU guidelines.

It should come as no surprise to find that Britain took a heavy handed approach to the problem which has cost the country and the airlines dearly. It compares with the millions that the country spent on flu injections to fight a pandemic that hasn’t had the impact first supposed and is all part of the nanny state thinking that the Government have been embarking on for the last ten years or so.

Obviously it would have been highly irresponsible to put travellers at risk but clearly the Government and the UK air safety watchdog were not working from clear facts. Yet again, the Government were caught with their trousers down and did not know what to do.

Advice to Brits who are stranded in Spain

The UK Foreign Office has published  the following important advice on its website for British citizens stranded in Spain and other destinations.

  • Passengers travelling from an EU airport or on an EU airline are told to contact their airline to confirm arrangements.
  • The Embassy states that under EU legislation passengers are entitled to either a refund or to a later flight.
  • Passengers accepting a refund will end their relationship with the airline and will have no further entitlements.
  • Passengers who are re-routed onto a later flight will be entitled to assistance including reasonable meals and overnight accommodation.
  • Passengers must confirm arrangements with their airline and should not assume that an airline will continue to pay for their existing accommodation.
  • British nationals stranded overseas are told to keep in touch with their airline.
  • Those in distress should ‘contact the local embassy, high commission or consulate’.
  • If you have run out of money, ask a relative or friend to transfer money via a commercial money transfer service. The British Embassy can advise you how to do this.
  • People running out of medication are advised to see if this is available at a local pharmacy or go to a local hospital or doctor.
  • If you need help to find a hospital or doctor check the website of the British Embassy for this information or call the Embassy. If you are admitted to hospital, contact the British Embassy.
  • You will need to check with local doctors or pharmacists on how much consultations or the charge for a prescription will cost while abroad. Your travel agent or insurance company will be able to advise you on whether can reclaim these costs.
  • On travel insurance people are advised to ‘check with your insurance company'. Some policies include cover for volcanic eruptions but many do not. Insurance only covers events that happen after your policy is taken out so if you have taken insurance since April 15 this event will not be included in your cover.
  • If you accept an alternative flight at a later date, most travel insurers will amend your policy to cover your new travel arrangements and dates, but check with your insurance provider.

For further information contact the FCO advice line on +44 207 008 0000 or go to

From bad to worse

image As if to make matters worse for the traders who attend the market in Orihuela, the council have now built a wall and have positioned lampposts ready to erect right where some of them set up their stalls. Not only did the wall make it very difficult for them to set up, it made it awkward for shoppers to get to them.

You would not be best pleased if you drove to the market only to find that it was impossible to set up your pitch ready to sell. The traders have already complained that the location of the market puts buyers off –this must have been yet another nail in the coffin.

Cross posting

IMG_2358w IMG_2359w
IMG_2356w IMG_2369w

I went out yesterday in my garden to take a photo for my Flickr Project 365 and spotted this bee working around the flowers on one of the bushes. I’ve never taken a really decent picture of a bee before so this was my chance.

Armed with my macro lens, I followed the bee around from flower to flower hoping that it would pose just as I wanted it. Of course I also had to keep adjusting the focus to keep the bee sharp. After several attempts I finally got a few that I kind of liked and then suddenly the bee posed just perfectly. The focus was right and I got the photo I was looking for (bottom right).

If you have already been to my Flickr album and seen this, I apologise. After all the effort, I am making the best of this shot!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A great result

Remember I said that the director of the group Percuseve had asked me to take photographs of their performance on Sunday. Yesterday, I sent him a CD with all the original photographs, a copy of the online album I posted on the web and a link to the site where they are located. That way his students can see the photographs for themselves and can have copies to print out if they wish.

This is the email  Miguel sent me in response:-

Hola Keith!

Soy Miguel Sáez  director del grupo percuseve, nos conocimos en la Escuela de Música de Bigastro a través de Cristopher y te pedí el reportaje sobre Ritmos de Papel.

Darte las gracias y la enhorabuena por tu trabajo, IMPRESIONANTE, como has captado la esencia de la obra, es un trabajo maravilloso, estoy muy contento por poder ver la obra plasmada en fotografía tan bien. Mañana cuando enseñe las fotos a mis alumnos y compañeros van a dar saltos de alegría.

Miles de gracias y un fuerte abrazo.

Perdón por escribrite en castellano, pero mi Inglés es nulo.

I think you could say he was pleased with the result. Miguel says that I captured the essence of the performance which is of course what I set out to do. He goes on to say that his students will jump for joy when they see the photographs of their work. Good, that was the intention.

The students and Miguel worked dammed hard to produce such an absorbing production which was both polished and professional.

Miguel congratulates me on my work and I in turn must congratulate him because his was the larger task.

An itch free city

Last year Torrevieja suffered a very bad infestation of mosquitoes which caused untold misery for many of the residents. This year they plan to nip the problem in the bud by spraying all areas where the insects might breed. These include, disused swimming pools, gardens, fountains, areas of heavy vegetation, parks etc. The city has been divided into 13 zones which will be tackled systematically during this week.

Now, there is still the possibility of finding mosquitoes later in the the summer because apart from anything else, the technicians don’t have access to private property where the insects may find places to breed. Still, at least the situation should be a lot better than last year when the hospital was inundated with people covered in nasty bites. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

A worthwhile cause


The Association of Relatives of people with Alzheimer's in Bigastro has organised a flea market in the park next Sunday between 10am and 2pm.

The object is to raise money to help them fund their activities. Having a father in law with dementia, this is a cause close to my heart as I am sure it is to others.

The entertainment goes on

As my good friend Pete commented,"you really are spoilt for entertainment in Bigastro". It is true, we enjoy a wonderful programme of music, dance and theatre: all provided free for us by courtesy of the Ayuntamiento, and the talented people of Bigastro.  



A chance to see and listen to the students from the various classes in the Music School.

I think you will be surprised just how good these children are.



A Gala for the  benefit of Manos Unidas with music, song and dance.
Price of entrance: 5 € (Tickets on sale in the Auditorium and in the church - Ntra. Sra. de Belén)

Expect more photographs next Monday!

A bit more like it

imageAfter the bit of rain we had at the weekend, it looks to be a more promising week. I’ve got the washing done ready to hang out and my roller ready to get on with painting the garden walls.

Strangely, it doesn’t feel that warm but then 22 degrees would be considered a good day when we lived in England. Obviously the old bones have become acclimatised to the Spanish climate and are looking forward to the July and August temperatures.

Absolutely brilliant

If you went to see the performance by Percuseve last year and thought that these youngsters were good, then this year’s performance would have just blown you away.

Their theme for this year was Education in a production they called Ritmos de Papel . The young students covered every aspect of school life from dinners to the chaos of a schedule that covers every subject on the curriculum. There was even a homage to the poet Miguel Hernandez included in this.

The group received a well deserved rapturous applause from the delighted audience.

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To see more of my pictures from the performance go to the Bigastro web site.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fingers and toes crossed

That cloud of volcanic ash is sure causing problems. Nobody seems to have an idea of when it might settle or when the wind might change direction and take the cloud over Scandinavia.

Scientists had thought that the volcano was abating, but yesterday it made some of its strongest eruptions yet, blasting plumes of ash more than 30,000ft high. The fact is that geologists have no idea when it will stop; an eruption in Iceland in 1973 lasted five months and 10 days.

Let’s hope this one stops a lot sooner than that. Pamela would not be best pleased if she couldn’t get back here before the summer and our friends who are over here on holiday would like to get back to England sometime sooner than that.

Nails down to the quick

If you are a fan of either Chelsea or Manchester United, your nerves must be jangling by now. With three games left, the situation is interesting. Yet again, there could well be a nail biting finish to the season for both teams.

Yesterdays results could prove decisive. image First off, United were given a lifeline by Paul Scholes in the dying minutes of their derby game at Eastlands. That must have wiped the smug smiles of the City fans.

As you can see from this picture from the BBC, It provoked Gary Neville to give his team mate a full on kiss on the lips. If pop stars like Madonna can do it, why not footballers. I just hope they both had clean shaves!

Then, later in the day, Tottenham dealt Chelsea a blow they did not expect by beating them in their London derby. Not only did Chelsea loose the game, they managed to loose their captain John Terry as well with two yellow cards in the space of a few minutes.

United fans will be hoping that their arch enemies, Liverpool will seal things off when Chelsea visit them on the 2nd May. However, before that, the Reds face Tottenham at home next Saturday. The question is, will Spurs manage to pull off a double by beating the top two teams in the league?

Now on to more interesting things; do you have any thoughts for the Chinese Grand Prix? I see Sebastian Vettel starts in pole position with his team mate, Mark Webber close behind but don’t rule out Alonso who is in third place on the grid. He looked very aggresive ot me in Malaysia.

Moving on from China, the question is, will the teams get their cars to Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix or will that cloud of volcanic ash cause them problems? Who cares, I just want it to be dry so I can get my painting finished and I want that cloud of ash to go away so that my wife can get home sometime next week!

Got that wrong!

Well, well, the weather prediction for yesterday was completely wrong. Not a drop of water fell from the sky all day although, looking out of the window, I can see that it rained overnight and it is heavily overcast this morning.

I took advantage of the relatively clear skies to get out and make some progress on my painting. Yesterday, I did the fiddly bits on the front wall; the parts that you can’t use a roller for. If the surface had been smooth, it would have been a breeze but because it knobbly, you have to work the brush in and out stippling the paint into the hollows. It takes ages!

I know some people have used a sprayer to paint their walls but then I reason you’d have to thin the paint right down and go over it several times to get a decent coat. Added to which, it would take me twice as long to mask off all the bits I didn't want painting. For me, a long haired roller seems like the best answer. However, if I had one of those high walls behind the house it might be different.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Consulting Sam

image I had planned to carry on painting the garden walls today having made a start on Thursday.

It doesn’t have to be sunny for the job but it does need to be dry so I consulted the weather forecast.

This is Meteo Sam who says we can expect showers today.
image Right, so what will it be like tomorrow? Not a lot better according to Sam. There will be some sunshine but there could also be some rain.

Next week looks more promising.

Ah well, for a job like painting there is always another mañana.

Out for a walk

image Every year, walkers follow the so called  “route of the poet” from Orihuela to Alicante to pay homage to Miguel Hernandez. Because this year marks the centenary of the  birth of the Orihuela poet, you would expect this to be a very popular event and it is.

In fact a record four thousand five hundred people registered to take part in this walk which set off yesterday from Orihuela on the first stage which takes them from Orihuela to Albatera via Redován, Callosa del Segura,Cox and Granja de Rocamora - a distance of 22kms. This stage is always the most popular and therefore has the most participants.

The second stage, which will take place today takes the “senderistas” from Albatera to Elche via Saint Isidro and Crevillent - a total of 28kms.

The last stage will start from the Universidad Miguel Hernández in Elche on Sunday morning and take the walkers to Alicante where the poet died in prison. The route will finish at the cemetery where Hernandez, along with his wife, Josefina Manresa and his son, Manuel Miguel are buried. Thirty people from the Organización Nacional de Ciegos de España  (the National Blind Organisation of Spain - ONCE) in Alicante will be joining the other walkers in this stage. 

Because this year is special, there are two of these “sendas” organised; the second one will take place in November and follow the reverse route from Alicante to Orihuela.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Good for some but not for others

There are 200,000 properties still on the market making it difficult for anyone who wants to or needs to sell their house. To add to the problem of those who just want to move, the economic crisis has forced many owners of holiday homes to consider their second home as a luxury they can no longer afford.

According to data released by the Ministry for Housing, the Valencian Community is the second Spanish region with the greatest volume of “holiday homes”, with a total of 1.2 million apartments and villas. Of these, 569,729 are located in Alicante, 476,755 in the province of Valencia and 235,783 in Castellon.

Whilst the sale of new houses has continued to fall since 2007, the resale market has begun to show signs of improvement. According to the Director of the Ministry, Beatriz Corredor, during a two year period, the sale of new properties fell by 52% in the region, from 57,833 houses in 2007 to only 27,514 in 2009. Conversely, the resale market which had crashed from 60,628 sales in 2007 to only 28,779 in 2008 has finally begun to recover, reaching 30,168 during last year.

This is not all good news though because in a bid to sell, prices of houses have dropped to rock bottom. The average value of a resale property in the region has gone down from 152,226 to 138,481 Euros during the last two years.

The deflated prices of re-sales have made it even harder for promoters to shift new builds. Historically, foreign investors have been the ones who purchase holiday homes in the Valencian Community, but this trend has also ceased during the past three years. In 2007, 16,202 houses were bought by foreigners, by 2008 that number had dropped to 5,243 and to 4,647 last year.

So it is still good news if you are buying but not so good if you are trying to sell.

The TV switch off

The switch form analogue to digital TV here in Spain has meant that those who have older TVs have had to invest in a digibox and possibly a new aerial. The promise though is better sound quality and a clearer picture but only if you can pick up a decent signal.

Thousands of residents living in Cabo Cervera and Los Balcones are in the shadow of the 14 high rise apartment blocks at Cabo Cervera and therefore barely get any signal at all. The buildings which reach up to 6 or 7 stories (63 metres) in the urbanisations; Balcón de Torreblanca, Los Leandros, Vila Nova and Vila Nova are causing the problem and nobody seems to have a solution.

The only signal these houses can get comes from the Sierra de Aitana and it is very weak. Like with mobile phones, if the digital signal is weak, you get nothing - the picture and the sound just breaks up all the time.

For those people, the promise of better reception when they moved from analogue to digital hasn’t happened. Their only recourse is to buy a dish and see if they can pick up a signal from one of the satellites. However, they won’t get the same programmes and if it is Canal+ or Digital+ then it will cost them dearly each month. No wonder the residents in these areas are tearing their hair out with frustration.

The good news for us is that, by moving the indoor aerial from one side of the television to the other, we now get perfect reception on seven digital channels.

Going nowhere

image Anyone trying to get to and from England yesterday by plane would have been thwarted because all of the airports were closed. The problem was caused by a cloud of ash coming from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland which would have ruined the engines on the planes with catastrophic consequences.

All the companies flying out of el Altet were similarly affected; Monarch, Ryanair, Easyjet,, Air Lingus, BMI Baby, SAS and Thomsonfly: in all, eighty flights were cancelled. I can only imagine the chaos it caused as passengers, unaware of the problem, arrived ready to book in.

The strange thing is that a flight from Reykjavik, located about 100 kilometres from the volcano did arrive at el Altet as per schedule.

As for today, well there is no change - airports in England are still closed and the Times newspaper reckons it could last for five days.

Now for the good news; Ryanair have just started a service from Alicante to Venice with a price tag of 6€ for passengers with just hand luggage. The diesel to take you to the airport and back would cost more than that!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It’s taking time

The PP party in Bigastro are now saying that the work on Calle Purisima is a “swindle”. They claim that money which was destined for the project has been diverted to pay other bills. They go on to complain that the work is not being carried out in accordance with the original plan. For example, there were supposed to be 14 workers on the job which should have been completed in two months. PP say there are only 2 or 3 workers who have now taken five months to get so far.

I have to say, in my opinion, there was nothing wrong with the original granite cobbles. They just needed a good clean and relaying where there had been movement; in fact that is what they seem to be doing on the last sections of the work.  However, I think the pavement each side is an improvement and will look good once the new benches and planters are in place.

They say Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither obviously was Calle Purisima.

We have one already

As I have already explained, by law, BP have to inspect the gas supply every five years and that is what the man in the white Fiat is doing at a cost of nearly 58 Euros per household. 

Now I read that a ruling from the Ministry of Industry obliges electricity providers to control supplies to each client. This is achieved by means of an Interruptor de Control de Potencia (ICP) - a power control trip switch - which, for reasons of safety, cuts the supply if the consumer attempts to draw more than the contracted level of power.

The ICP, which is separate from a standard circuit breaker (diferencial), is located in the fuse box and is typically tripped by having too many electrical appliances switched on at the same time.

The electricity supplier Endesa is offering its consumers, who do not already have an ICP, the choice of either buying a unit from an authorised electrician at a cost of between 60-100 Euros or renting one from Endesa at a cost of six cents per month for a single phase supply or 12 cents a month for a three-phase supply. Whether buying or renting, however, consumers must pay Endesa 9.04 euros plus IVA to seal the ICP unit.

I imagine if Endesa are doing this then Iberdrola, who we are all contracted to will be as well. The good news is that I have checked our fuse box to find that we already have an ICP fitted so at least we will be spared a 100 Euro bill for that.

Caught them

I think you know by now that I really do not like graffiti. I was therefore delighted to read that the police in Torrevieja have caught another three youths who claim responsibility for 6,000 pieces of graffiti; the youngest being only 13 years old. In total the police have now identified the four worst offenders who account for 10,000 of these acts of vandalism.

Nothing escapes the attention of these "artists". It isn’t just walls on vacant plots of land where they spray; they cover the walls of peoples houses, shop windows, window blinds, traffic lights, rubbish bins, doorways, lifts even trees. In fact the only place I don’t recall seeing any graffiti is on churches.

Torrevieja police reckon there are three gangs that rival each other to produce most of the graffiti at a cost of thousands of Euros to the city. To combat the problem, the city have employed a gang of ten people on a clean up which started in December. In the first five months of operation, they have managed to clean up two thousand items starting on Calle Ramon Gallud.

Fortunately, once cleaned up, the graffiti has not returned. As I said in a previous post. if you remove it as soon as you see it, then that tends to nip the problem in the bud.

As I also said, the problem of graffiti is not so acute in Bigastro but it is still there and needs to be tackled sooner rather than later because left unchecked, it will get worse.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Education – I know a bit about that


You may have seen them last year. Percuseve are a group of secondary school pupils who use any manner of objects to produce their music. They play out their rhythms on bottles, dustbins, computer monitors, literally anything they can lay their hands on. During the performance there will also be a bit of break dancing, rapping  and audio visual stuff for good measure.

The theme for this year’s performance is “Education today” with a homage to Miguel Hernandez, the poet, thrown in. 

As it happens, I will be there because I have been asked to take photographs for them. I will do my best to capture the spirit of the performance but at the same time try not to spoil it for the audience by getting in the way. Having been to several concerts, I think I have worked out how to get the best out of the low level of lighting in the Auditorium. We shall see.

More about the gas man

I’ve had feedback about the gas man. Apparently he is driving around the estate in a white Fiat car, you might just spot him. He has a list of the houses to visit and is working through them bit by bit.

Apparently he checks your gas supply and then ask you to turn on your boiler and your hob (if you have one) to check for leaks. That’s it, ten minutes and he is done. The 57.80€ charge will appear on the next gas bill. 

We complain about rip off Britain, but I ask you, 58€ for ten minutes work – that is taking the Mickey!!

Market traders take to the streets

There was chaos yesterday morning in Orihuela when the market traders decided to take their protest to the local council. Fifty white vans formed a cavalcade which moved slowly towards town hall. With horns blaring, the market traders let everyone know that they are not happy about the fact that the market has not been moved back to the centre of the city.

The market was moved to its present location when the council decided to do work in the centre of the city. Now that the work is complete, the traders want to move back to their old location where they say they did more trade.

There would have been more vans in the protest but for the fact that some were worried about retaliation from the council.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A first tentative step

I don’t need to tell you that, apart from agriculture, construction formed the major industry in the Vega Baja. When the economic crisis loomed, it was construction that was hardest hit and that had a devastating impact on the region. With the crisis, the exchange rate between the Euro and Sterling dropped which dealt a double whammy to the all important UK market. Of all the European countries, Spain was and continues to be the hardest hit by the crisis.

Slowly there are signs of a recovery; building sites that have remained idle for the last couple of years are coming back to life. There is a long way to go though before Spain gets anywhere near to the boom years when they could not build fast enough to meet demand.

To try and move forward, the construction industry in the region has decided to re-evaluate itself. To this end, constructors, mayors and experts in the industry held a meeting in the Auditorium in Bigastro which was presided over by our own mayor, Raúl Valerio Medina. Representatives from all 27 municipalities were there along with those from the various associations linked to construction.

Following the initial meeting, there are two further meetings planned for the 14th and 27th of May where hopefully they will bring some ideas to the table. Quite what they will be is anybodies guess. They say that two heads are better than one. If that is true then many heads coming together should prove to be productive.

Apart from considering the type of housing to build and the use of new materials etc., I hope they will find the means to prevent any further instances where people buy houses in good faith only to find themselves either without proper supplies of water and electricity or worse still in a battle to get their homes legalised. I am sure that those issues have done more to damage the confidence of buyers of all nationalities than anything else. Unless that confidence is restored, any new houses that they build will just sit as empty as the ones that are already there.

The gas man cometh

We had a letter from BP telling us that they were obliged by law to inspect our connection to the propane supply at the other side of the estate. The letter went on to explain that this inspection would take place in April but failed to give us a date. I know most other people here had a similar letter including the houses that are holiday homes i.e. are vacant for much of the time.

It seems that the technicians are on the estate carrying out the inspections just as they promised. They’ve already completed the first road in the estate and are moving on to others. The question is when and how will we know when they are due to inspect the supply on our road?

I ask this because the letter concludes with a dire warning that, if they are unable to inspect the supply on your property, they will be obliged to turn the gas off and charge 100€ for the privilege.

I do hope I am in when they call. More to the point, I hope they find some way to let me know when that might be. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

I told you

I said these four girls would be good and they were. They sung a selection of tunes from films, and musicals including classics like My Way; some were in Spanish , many were sung in English. It was a concert well worth going to.

singer1 singer2
singer4 singer3

Just when you thought!

imageWell, would you Adam and Eve it. the forecast for today it for rain. It is a little cloudy at the moment but the sun is coming through brightly so who knows. As long as it doesn’t rain for the parade!

Unfortunately something has come up which means I won’t be able to go down and get photographs - sorry about that.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bags of bags

The other day, Pam emptied her end of the wardrobe. There was a musty smell coming from somewhere in there so she went to investigate. Out came handbag after handbag after handbag – dozens of them in all shapes, sizes and colours. Right at the back she found some straw hats and a a couple of textile bags  that were the cause of the noxious odours. The very cold winter had created the right conditions for condensation in the bedroom and that part of the wardrobe is on the outside wall. It hasn’t happened before but then we haven’t had a winter so cold since we came here.

Anyway, having seen just how many bags she had, Pam declared that she would not need any more for the rest of her life. Now I know that is not true and it will only be a matter of time before she starts looking at the stalls on the market again. In the meantime though I am saving her from herself by not taking her anywhere that they might sell handbags!

That means that we did not go to Almoradí for their first “Feria de Outlet” yesterday. Just as well  because there were 14 stalls selling shoes, suits, boots and probably bags at knock down prices. For those of you do have space in the wardrobe, the fair will be open again today until 9pm.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Problems on the coast

It may be a consequence of allowing overbuilding on the coast or it may be that the existing sewerage systems are just old. Whatever the reason, there is a major problem at La Zenia which has lead to raw sewerage spilling onto the streets leading down to the beach.

On Good Friday, the sewerage got to within a hundred metres of the beach, yesterday it was almost down to the sand. Apart form the risk to health, the smell must have been atrocious.

Although Orihuela council claim that technicians from Aquagest had been to repair the problem, the CLARO party say that the pipes are too small and will never cope with the volume during holiday periods. They say that the only solution is to to replace the pipe work rather than just keep patching it up.

A different point of view

I’ve had this email from a Bigastrense in response to my item about the forthcoming corrida to be held in Torrevieja.


First of all, many thanks Alejandro for reading my blog and for taking the time to write to me. I am acutely aware that there are a great many Spaniards these days who abhor the practice of fighting bulls in the ring. They see it as an anachronism in modern Spain which is hard to justify and they are right. There is a lot to be said for the argument that killing animals purely for sport is no longer acceptable.

In his message, Alejandro talks about the practice of doping the bulls and shaving their horns. I have read accounts of this in Hemingway's book along with stories about bulls who have had drops in their eyes to reduce their vision. Bullfighting is already a one sided affair; whilst people do get injured in the ring and the odd taurina does die, the bull always looses.

The site that Alejandro points to contains graphic images of the kind of torture that the bull suffers in the ring as it faces its last moments.

Alejandro, I hope you don’t mind me publishing your email. I thought your point was well made and deserved airing on this blog.

Friday, April 09, 2010

I loathe it

Maybe it’s my age, perhaps I am becoming intolerant as I get older because graffiti like this really annoys me.

This is a new building which has not long been finished and already someone has scribbled their mark on it with this indecipherable scrawl.

It isn’t as if this is the only place where there is graffiti, it appears on other buildings as well making parts of the town look run down and decrepit.

The people of Bigastro care for their houses and generally try make them look good outside as well as in but they are fighting a loosing battle against these mindless individuals.

The problem is that once graffiti starts to appear, it just multiplies. There are parts of Torrevieja and Guardamar which just look awful. We don’t want Bigastro to look like that.

Of course graffiti isn’t just a problem here in Spain, it is world wide. However, it does seem to be worse here than in England as does the problem of wanton vandalism. Maybe it is a rite of passage for young Spaniards, I don’t know. Hopefully they will look back in later life with disgust at what they did. Like most of the townsfolk, I’d prefer them not to do it in the first place.

The bulls return

Now I know that some of you are not great fans of bullfighting but it is still a popular art form here in Spain.

For those of you who are interested, after a three year absence, there will be a corrida down at the harbour in Torrevieja as part of the May fair which runs from the 5th to the 9th of May. I don’t know which night it will be but I dare say there will be plenty of posters about announcing the event. 

The Fair Association also intend to bring back local character to the casetas that are set up in the fairground so that should be interesting.

Parade on Monday


As the notice explains, next Monday the police will be closing some of the streets in Bigastro to allow the procession for San Vicente to take place. 

The streets affected will be San Joaquín, Barrio Nuevo (until it crosses with  C/ Luis Gálvez), Aureliano Díaz (until it crosses with C/ Luis Gálvez) and Purísima between 9 and 11:30am.

I don’t recall a previous procession for Saint Vincent, I’ll have to go down and see what this is about!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

It’s all going sadly wrong

Manchester United were dismissed from the Champion’s League by Bayern Munich after looking like they had it in the bag. This is yet another body blow to the side that are also trailing Chelsea in the Premier League with Arsenal nipping at their ankles.

Sir Alex blamed the German team for the result, he claims that they forced the referee to give Rafael his second yellow card. The Germans of course disagree. Most newspaper columnists argue that Ferguson gambled on his choice of players again and this time it didn’t pay off.

To rub salt into his wounds, having played Rooney with a bad ankle, Sir Alex has effectively put him out of the next Premier League fixture against Blackburn. Although the team is more than one man, Manchester United do seem to rely heavily upon Rooney to score a lot of their goals and to lift the team to victory. We shall have to wait and see.

Ah well, at least the defeat by Bayern Munich will spare United the possibility of being humiliated by Barcelona in the Champion's League final again. After their performance against Arsenal, you’d have to be a wild gambler to bet against Barca lifting the trophy for a second year running. 

Definitely worth listening to

imageWe have heard some of these ladies sing at previous concerts and can tell you they are damn good. Susanna Vardanyan sang at a recent concert by the band and as I told you at the time, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

The programme promises to be a mix of popular songs which should suit all. This is not a concert you'd want to miss!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Places to take the children


When you have young visitors, it is always difficult to decide where to take them. There is always the beach and maybe the local swimming pool; a bit of shopping and a meal out are usually high on the agenda as well.

If you are looking for a bit of culture to broaden their minds, a place to go on a day when the weather is not so good, you are spoilt for choice. There are plenty of places to take children including the new Natural History Museum of Torrevieja which is now open to visitors.

The museum features a collection of dolphin and whale skeletons, 300 species of molluscs, replica bird’s eggs, as well as a selection of 20 beautiful corals.

You’ll find the museum within the exhibition hall of the old RENFE train station in the Acequion area of the city. It has sections for mammals, ornithology, herpetology (reptiles), marine ichthyology (fish), invertebrates and molluscs - all fascinating stuff for inquisitive minds.

As a bonus, all the posters are in both Spanish and English so you should have no problem understanding the displays.

Beside the Natural History Museum in the Plaza de la Estación, is a homage to one of the city’s most famous sons, Ricardo Lafuente Aguado, Torrevieja's most prolific writer of Habaneras songs. His habanera, the aptly named ‘Torrevieja’ can be heard all around the world and he is also the author of Torrevieja’s anthem. Inside you’ll find a collection of objects related to the writer -- recordings, paintings, photographs and general personal souvenirs of Lafuente. For many years, he used the museum as his ‘office’ and often held court here with other famous musicians, choirs and groups.

Just across the road from the RENFE exhibitions is ‘The Salt Interpretation Centre’, which delves into the salt making industry of Torrevieja and the city's history through mainly, audio visual aids, video presentations and models.

The Museum of the Sea and Salt houses an extensive display of archaeological relics, model boats, articles for fishing and navigation, handicrafts made from salt plus a superb collection of photographs. The museum is located just off Ramon Gallud and close to the Municipal Theatre at number 10 Calle Patricio Perez. A new home for the collection is being built at Eras de la Sal but the museum has another couple of exhibits outside of its walls too.

The two most famous of these exhibits are the ‘Delfin S-61’ submarine, given by the Spanish Ministry of Defence to the town and the ‘Pascual Flores’ sailing ship, the last ship to be built on Torrevieja’s beaches in 1917, which once was the star of the BBC series, The Onedin Line. The Delfin-S61 is the only exhibit of its kind in Spain, admission is free and you can visit ‘down below’ on a guided tour followed by a walk through of the Albatross III, a retired custom’s boat.

Once you have done all that, it is time to visit the Tomas Valcárcel Semana Santa Museum where you can see close up all of the Pasos used on the Easter processions, plus uniforms and general history about the processions. It’s located on Calle Formentera, just behind Los Arcos restaurant. A new museum shall soon be built to house the collection close the Bus Station in Town.

If you are not worn out by this stage, the city also has a few more hidden gems, such as the Public Archives, with its collection of printing presses and old documents, the Belen Museum, which houses the Christmas Nativity scenes and the Salinas Interpretation Centre, in La Mata, plus a very small Wine Museum in the town centre. There are other museums and exhibition centres still in the planning stage but most certainly, if you are trying to thing of something to do around town, don’t miss your opportunity to discover more about Torrevieja and her heritage. All the museums have different opening and viewing hours but details can be found on the back pages of the new Spring Cultural program, which is available in the Tourist Offices and the Town Hall.

Something for the weekend

image This weekend, the Club de Coches Clasicos Populares de Alicante and the Asociación Coches de Epoca are organising the seventh classic car and bike show at the IFA which is located on the N-340 close to “El Altet” airport.

At the exhibition you will find cars and bikes for sale, motorcycles and spare parts, clubs and associations, magazines specialized agencies and institutions; insurance companies, toys, antique and collectors' items, clothing and accessories plus custom made items

The great attraction though will be the display of cars from private collections.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A day for eating monas

Just like in Britain, Easter Monday is a holiday, the first one in the year when people pack up their cars and head out of the towns and cities for the country.

Even though, it wasn’t great weather-wise, there were still droves of people who came up to La Pedrera for the day. They spent their time in the fresh air and then prepared lunch on the barbecues up there. You could see the smoke rising from them as they cooked lunch.

In Britain you’d enjoy hot cross buns for breakfast, in this part of Spain it is the mona.

Look the word up and you may find it refers to "moña" as a term for an openly homosexual man, it means "pansy" or "faggot". Or you might find it referring to a man that always is drunk or he always seems drunk. Mona is not to be confused with mono or mona which is of course a monkey.

image image
image image

These monas have nothing to do with any of those definitions. As far as I know, the Spanish don’t eat monkeys nor are they cannibals! The mona is a traditional dish for Easter and comes in several forms. Normally they are plain and simple like the one top left which is made from a simple dough with an almond and lemon flavour. However, there are variations like the one top right which has boiled eggs which you will find sold in Orihuela or the one bottom left which has candied fruit.

Let's face it, you wouldn’t take the cheeky guy bottom right with you to a picnic - unless you wanted him to eat all your monas that is!

Not shorts weather yet

imageDid you notice how the weather changed yesterday? Just when you thought that spring was well and truly with us, it turned cold and cloudy again.

It looks as if it will stay that way for today and then brighten up for the rest of the week. THere is a chance of some rain but its should not be much. The wind however will make it feel colder than it is.

In Yorkshire they say, “don’t cast a clout ‘till May is out” and they are right. You may have had your shorts on briefly this last weekend but it isn’t time to put the long trousers away just yet.