Sunday, March 31, 2013

Made it!

Having missed the Encuentro last year, I was determined to make it this morning. Of course, the odds were against me because the clocks went forward last night. To add to that, we watched a film until midnight. That meant I effectively got to bed at 1am to be awakened at 6am – five hours sleep!!

It was worth it though to see this very moving ceremony.

You all know the story; Jesus has risen from the dead but his mother Mary is unaware of that fact until she encounters him. Dressed in a black robe for mourning, Mary sets off from the church followed by Jesus who takes a different route. When they meet, Mary’s robe is removed and she is crowned, a confetti bomb goes off, doves are released and in the background there is a mascleta of fireworks. The two then parade back together to the church and are showered with petals on the way.

You can see my pictures from this morning here.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I hope they are wrong

One of the weather sites I visits forecasts a strong possibility of rain tomorrow. I hope that they are wrong and that at least it stays dry for the morning. You see, at 7am, Bigastro will be celebrating the encounter between Mary and Jesus. I missed it last year so this time I will be there. Three people from the town have already reminded me and asked that I should be there to take photos. So, even though the clocks go back tonight, I will be up at 6am ready to take my camera down to the town square.

Those who won’t be up at that ungodly hour will still know when the event has taken place because the sound of the fireworks will rouse even the best of sleepers. When you hear them, think of me down in the town snapping away!

Good Friday in Torrevieja

There are those who will tell you that once you have seen the parades on Good Friday, there is little point in going again. That is not true, each year you see something new that maybe was missed on a previous occasion. The thousands who lined the streets of Torrevieja last night were treated to a wonderful piece of pageantry. 

One thing though that was noticeable this year were the cuts in the number of sweets being handed out which in my opinion is not a bad thing. Handing out sweets may hold the attention of the children watching but it does detract somewhat from the religious message that is supposedly being conveyed.

Having said that, you will find the children handing out sweets and collecting them in my set of photos.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A response from Charles

One of my readers, Charles Smythe responds to my item about the cyber attack.

They say that the Internet is made up of 80% torrents and sex sites; the remaining 20% can be largely queried whereby most of which one reads is just plain nonsense. Your article 'A Possible Explanation' is one such example. It's just not true!
The Internet "War" which has been so prevalent over the past few days on news' sites is purely a distraction from other major stories around the world which have either been under-reported or ignored.
In your report there is scant evidence to suggest that anything actually happened at all. How gullible people really are, dragged into stories which have no basis of truth:

Thank you Charles for pointing this out.

I am no expert on these matters, I merely reported what I had read for several quality news sources including the Telegraph, the Guardian and the BBC. There is no doubt that the attack took place and was in fact the largest attack of its kind. Several sources agree that this may well be only the first of many attacks on the Internet of this sort to happen in 2013.

However, opinions differ about the problems that these assaults on the Internet cause. Gizmodo seem to think that the issues were insignificant and report data to show how little was affected this time; others tend to disagree. In the end, we are dealing as much with people’s opinions on these matters as we are facts.

Much of what I write on my blog is opinion, based in most cases on truth and that is a fact!

Repairs to La Paz

The infant school La Paz in Bigastro was built 21 years ago and in all that time nobody has noticed that the vents to circulate air under the floor are in fact false. This issue only came to light whilst technicians were investigating problems with the heating. Without these vents, condensation can build up under the floor and weaken it. Luckily, the floor at La Paz is still sound but still needs those ventilation grids to keep it dry.

To add to this, there is also a problem with  the electrical wiring. Teachers say that the electrical panel smokes and sparks come from sockets when you plug anything in to them. The problem is caused by the old wiring which cannot cope with the increasing demand placed on it.

Unfortunately, the 10,000 euros cost of all this work will have to be met by the town council but that does include putting a roof on the pergola to replace the trees that currently provide shade.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A possible explanation

Yesterday, the picture on our Skype call to Molly kept freezing. When we disconnected and started again, the picture would come back but then after a minute or so would freeze again. It was a very frustrating experience!

Today, I have found what might be the reason for our problems in this article from the Guardian. 

Spamhaus, which operates a filtering service used to weed out spam emails, has been under attack since 18 March after adding a Dutch hosting organisation called Cyberbunker to its list of unwelcome internet sites. The service has "made plenty of enemies", said one expert, and the cyber-attack appeared to be retaliation.

A collateral effect of the attack is that internet users accustomed to high-speed connections may have seen those slow down, said James Blessing, a member of the UK Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) council.

"It varies depending on where you are and what site you're trying to get to," he said. "Those who are used to it being really quick will notice." Some people accessing the online streaming site Netflix reported a slowdown.

Spamhaus offers a checking service for companies and organisations, listing internet addresses it thinks generate spam, or which host content linked to spam, such as sites selling pills touted in junk email. Use of the service is optional, but thousands of organisations use it millions of times a day in deciding whether to accept incoming email from the internet.

Cyberbunker offers hosting for any sort of content as long, it says, as it is not child pornography or linked to terrorism. But in mid-March Spamhaus added its internet addresses to its blacklist.

In retaliation, the hosting company and a number of eastern European gangs apparently enlisted hackers who have in turn put together huge "botnets" of computers, and also exploited home and business broadband routers, to try to knock out the Spamhaus system.

"Spamhaus has made plenty of enemies over the years. Spammers aren't always the most lovable of individuals, and Spamhaus has been threatened, sued and [attacked] regularly," noted Matthew Prince of Cloudflare, a hosting company that helped the London business survive the attack by diverting the traffic.

Rather than aiming floods of traffic directly at Spamhaus's servers – a familiar tactic that is easily averted – the hackers exploited the internet's domain name system (DNS) servers, which accept a human-readable address for a website (such as and spit back a machine-readable one ( The hackers "spoofed" requests for lookups to the DNS servers so they seemed to come from Spamhaus; the servers responded with huge floods of responses, all aimed back at Spamhaus.

Some of those requests will have been coming from UK users without their knowledge, said Blessing. "If somebody has a badly configured broadband modem or router, anybody in the outside world can use it to redirect traffic and attack the target – in this case, Spamhaus."

Many routers in the UK provided by ISPs have settings enabled which let them be controlled remotely for servicing. That, together with so-called "open DNS" systems online which are known to be insecure helped the hackers to create a flood of traffic.

"British modems are certainly being used for this," said Blessing, who said that the London Internet Exchange — which routes traffic in and out of the UK — had been helping to block nuisance traffic aimed at Spamhaus.

The use of the DNS attacks has experts worried. "The No 1 rule of the internet is that it has to work," Dan Kaminsky, a security researcher who pointed out the inherent vulnerabilities of the DNS years ago, told AP.

"You can't stop a DNS flood by shutting down those [DNS] servers because those machines have to be open and public by default. The only way to deal with this problem is to find the people doing it and arrest them."

Is Spain a safe haven for your money?

Events in Cyprus have caused doubts in the minds of those who have substantial deposits in banks elsewhere. For example, if Spain was to request a bailout, would the same conditions be applied meaning that savers would lose money.

Mariano Rajoy, in a joint conference with François Hollande  on Tuesday was at pains to point out that this could not happen in Spain. Both the leaders stated that the 'guarantee of deposits is irrevocable'.

The main difference between Cyprus and other members of the Economic Union is that many of the savers on the island are not from the European Union.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

No good news

The Bank of Spain says that the economy will sink deeper into recession this year. The prediction is for the economy to shrink by 1.5% following the contraction last year of 1.4%.

This is a result of dire domestic demand and a weakening external sector. Unemployment is forecast to rise yet again to 27.1%. 

Actually there is some good news for us because Pam is interested in buying herself a car. In the present economic climate, I have no doubt that we will be able to secure a great deal from the garage.

Return of the she- devil

One of the emblematic pieces on display during Holy Week in Orihuela is the Triumph of the Cross, the she-devil carved by Nicholas de Bussy in the late eighteenth century which was presented to the guild of farmers in 1795.

It was looking dull and faded and so has been completely restored by the Valencian Institute for Conservation and Restoration.

The technicians removed layers of paint and varnish, is some parts twelve of them. In doing so they have revealed detail that had been lost for example, drops of blood at the foot of the cross, the glass eyes of the angels and the sundial beneath the skeleton.

First the whole piece was treated to eliminate any woodworm by placing it in a sealed bag and then removing oxygen. In some parts it was necessary to inject resin to consolidate the wood. Then the process of cleaning began. Nails that had been added at the base of the sculpture were removed along with staples that held the shroud to the cross. Cracks were filled and the clouds were restored with a layer of silver. Finally the paintwork was restored in such a way that the original colours have been maintained. 

The piece is now back in Orihuela fully restored.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top tip

If your car needs an ITV, make your appointment online like I did. Having booked my car, in I joined the cars in line waiting their turn. Within minutes I was called through and had to weave around the parked cars to get to my appointed bay.

Those of you who have visited an ITV centre will know that the longest part of the job is usually waiting your turn. Once you are in the bay, the process takes roughly ten minutes to complete during which time the technician checks the lights, wipers, suspension, brakes, emissions and the condition of the underside of the vehicle. In all it is a thorough list undertaken with speed and efficiency.

By the time I had parked the car and walked to the office, all the paperwork was done and I was handed the test report with the all important windscreen sticker dated 2015. 

Back in court for case number 2

October 28th 2008, the mayor of Bigastro was arrested by the Guardia Civil pending investigation of several cases brought against him. He was imprisoned and subsequently resigned both as mayor and member of the socialist party.

Last September, José Joaquín Moya was sentenced to seven years of ineligibility to hold public office. He, along with the secretary Antonio Saseta, sold off 35,000 sq metres of protected land at La Pedrera in 2005 without the authority of the Consell. Idearco, the company that acquired the land for 2.1 million euros, were intending to build an aparthotel with conference facilities along with a golf course  on the land. 

Yesterday, Moya was back in court for the second trial. This time the prosecution are asking for a 15 month prison sentence along with a further disqualification of 9 years.

The case against Moya relates to the granting of a licence to his cousin’s company (Eurener) to build a solar farm at La Pedrera in 2006. There should have been a report of community interest and a report of environmental impact completed before hand but in fact neither was completed. Bulldozers arrived to clear the ground and 7,000 sq metres of naturalised land  was destroyed before Seprona (the nature conservation service of the Guardia Civil) intervened.

In reply to questioning in court about this issue, Moya replied “I do not know”, “I agree”, “If I signed…”. He claimed be unaware of any law that prevented him from granting a license and if he had known it was wrong, then he would not have signed the agreement.

When questioned by the prosecution, Moya refused to answer but instead left his lawyer to speak for him. The defence seems to rest on the belief that municipalities have the autonomy to make these  sort of decisions. This may be a grey area but then Moya, who had many years in office, would have known that without the permission of Valencia, the work should not have been allowed to commence as it did. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Is there no end to it?

imageWe are sick of this wind now – enough I say – be gone!

We get a few days of respite and then the wind returns to blow strong again. As you can see from this graph, the gusts yesterday were quite strong, not as bad as we have experienced but still not good.

It did calm down last night as you can see but has picked up again this morning. It is forecast to calm later but then return on the following days peaking next Saturday.

Of course, sods law, the wind is coming from the west which means it is blowing from Orihuela straight at the open back to our garden.

Top marks to Amazon

Having watched many of Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals on Viajar, Pam decided that we should try out his method of preparation and cooking. That meant getting a food processor and liquidiser to speed things up. We therefore ordered one from Amazon UK with free super saver delivery and awaited its arrival.

Items ordered at the same time arrived last Thursday and Friday so we were wondering where this item might be.

Amazon use MRW for super saver delivery which is good because their local office is in Almaradi just down the road. They tend to bring parcels out by about 10am which does not disrupt the day and if, for some reason we have to collect the items, it is not far to go.

According to my account, the package had been handed over to the carrier and according to MRW they were waiting for it to arrive – a bit of a mystery. That was solved yesterday when I got an email to say that the processor had been returned to Amazon and that I would be refunded the total price paid. I contacted Amazon via their web site and they  phoned me. It seems the package was damaged in transit and was therefore never going to arrive.

Top marks go to Amazon for not sending out faulty goods and for providing a timely refund. I shall now have to reorder.

Finding money out of thin air

Bigastro owes the company Pavasal 284,000 euros for work done in the town. The debt dates back to 2008 when the socialists were in power. Last year the company won their court case to recover the money along with interest and legal costs which brought the debt to 376,834 euros and now they want to be paid.

The mayor, Charo Bañuls , says she has no idea how they can make such a payment given that the council has little or no money. This item will be discussed at today’s council meeting along with final approval of the plan for Sector D-6 and of course the state of the town’s finances.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Domingo de Ramas

This morning started out dull and cloudy, not the weather that was needed for Palm Sunday. Just as the parade was arriving at the park though, the sun broke through to warm the mass of people gathered there.

As you might expect, children were in their Sunday best clothes and carried palm decorations, some of which had been adorned with flowers and ribbons to match their clothing.

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Sr. Aurelio Ferrándiz García, parish priest in Bigastro, blesses the palms in park and then leads the parade to the gates.

Caught snacking

Marana (21 of 25)Our neighbour Eladia enjoying an afternoon snack with her friends at Café & Garden, Maraná which you will recall is the new venture that our ex teacher Ana and her sister Marisu have developed at their parent’s house on the road to Hurchillo from Orihuela.

As you can see from my pictures, there is an elegant bar inside where you can enjoy a drink, a dessert or a warming bowl of soup. There is a children’s play area and spacious gardens with tables set out. There are also casetas in the garden with elegant seating for various size groups. Each one is slightly different but they all share the same sound system for background music.

Opening a bar in Spain is a risky business because there is no shortage of them already. You need to create something different and that is what Ana and her sister have done. First off it is exclusive, there are only a few houses nearby so most of the clients drive there. Secondly, it is an elegant place to visit with your friends. The thing that makes it really different though is the spacious garden with its casetas where you can shelter from the weather and of course, the children’s play area – perfect for families.

I was sorry that the weather was overcast, not the best of lighting. Still there will be other days!

Opening hours are: Thursday 3pm until it closes. Friday and Saturday 3pm until midnight and Sundays 3pm until it closes.




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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Everything is running out in Britain

Britain is used to having shortages of just about everything you can imagine. It only takes an article in one of the scare mongering papers to trigger a run on items such as petrol, milk, sugar etc etc.

The country is used to being short of water. One drier than usual winter and hose pipe bans are put in place with a threat of stand pipes in the street if people don’t cut down. Almost as soon as they issue these bans, it pours with rain and half the country is on flood alert.

The latest scare is that gas will run out. The Daily Mail reports that Britain has only 36 hours of gas in reserve at a time when the country is covered with snow and is facing another cold snap. North sea gas is dwindling and the storage capacity in Britain is said to be woefully inadequate. 

To add to that misery, there is also a possibility that the country will not be able to meet the demand for electricity in future years. Power stations that do not meet strict EU guidelines are being closed and are not being replaced in the near future.

Most Brits recognise that, of all the newspapers, the Daily Mail is the one to relish doom and gloom. They were one of the papers who told us of secret plans to send ships and planes  to rescue British ex-pats in Spain when the economic crisis started to bite.

I don’t understand why anyone would do this

The National Police were called out to the cemetery at nearby Hurchillo when a neighbour discovered that a niche next to the one he was visiting had been desecrated.

Most of the people in Hurchillo have a key to the graveyard including the man who visited. Apparently the lock was intact so there were no signs of a forced entry. It  is assumed that the perpetrator must have climbed over a fence at the back of the cemetery where he would have been out of sight of the road.

The police found that several niches had been vandalised and one of the headstones had been completely destroyed. In one niche the casket had been left hanging – it was too high and too heavy to remove. In the other case though, the casket had rotted away and there were human remains scattered around including the skull and several bones.

Quite what the motive would be for someone to do this beggars belief.  

Friday, March 22, 2013

Time for a reality check

You hardly need to be told that Spaniards are passionate about football and that the country hosts some of the top players in the world. However, football in Spain comes at a huge cost to the country. Clubs in the top two divisions have bank debts of 3.5bn euros. The tax debt to the government by these clubs alone comes to 692m euros.

At a time when major cuts have been made to public services, it is so wrong that football clubs have been allowed to get away with this situation.

The only clubs that are not in danger are apparently, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao. Twenty two of the  other clubs are in insolvency proceedings including some famous names like Deportivo who have a tax debt of 96m euros.

It is not just the central government that is to blame for this mess, regional governments like the one in Valencia have given preferential loans to clubs and then turned a blind eye when the loans have not been repaid. Local savings banks have also given preferential loans to clubs which have not been repaid.

What is the possible outcome of all this?

Now that the issue has been brought before the European Parliament, it is not going away. If action is taken, then it is likely that some of the clubs will have to close and others will be forced to sell off their star players. As a result, the quality of football in Spain will plummet.

Naturally, the government would not want any of this to happen because it would provoke riots in the streets far worse than any demonstrations seen so far. The questions have been raised but so far the answers are not forthcoming.

In my opinion, the issue behind all this are the ridiculous transfer fees and the untenable salaries paid to secure top players. And the problem is not just confined to Spain, PSV Eindhoven along with other clubs in Holland apparently benefit from 10m euros of public money and no doubt clubs in France and Italy also benefit from favourable treatment.

Maybe it is time for football throughout Europe to take a reality check. It may be “the beautiful game” but why should we all be forced to pay such a high subsidy for it? Winning the World Cup was a great achievement but was it worth 692m euros?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A gang of thugs

This group of four were pictured by the Daily Mail at the funeral of Bruce Reynolds, the so called brains behind the £2.6m, Great Train Robbery in 1963.


Some of the mourners were known associates of the Kray bothers, others were family of Reynolds and members of the gang that committed the crime.  I suspect that most were involved in crime of some sort and had served time.


Even the notorious Ronnie Biggs was there- at 83 frail, and tied to a wheelchair.

One thing is for sure, you would not want to meet any of these on a dark night!

Such a waste

Most fishermen know that the anchovies which are abundant in the sea around Torrevieja will not reach the legal size until about mid April but that has not stopped some from going out to catch them. Landing  undersized fish damages fish stocks and in any case, the price for these fish is much lower than will be achieved when the fish are of the right size.

The Protection Service of the Civil Guard (Semprona) closed the auction of 700 boxes of anchovies in the Port of Torrrevieja because over ten percent of them were under the minimum size limit. The fish will now go to Caritas.

Discarding fish that have no commercial value is a highly controversial issue. It is estimated that up to 25% of fish caught by trawl nets from Santa Pola are discarded for this reason. Fish stocks throughout the world are fragile and need to be closely monitored otherwise there will come a day when they are not longer there.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spick and span

Visitors to the centre of Orihuela can’t help but notice all the work that has been going on for days. There have been improvements of all kinds; changing of lights, building ramps for the disabled, removing old fences, cleaning up graffiti, repairing roads and cobbles etc etc. The City Council is making an effort  to prepare for Easter knowing that the city will receive thousands of tourists and visitors.

Some would say that this sort of work should go on all year and not just for Easter but then Semana Santa is such an important event for the city. Possibly the only time when the city attracts so many people. Hopefully, the results of the labours will last long after the last paso has been packed safely away until next year.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Think big

Spain might be undergoing the worst recession imaginable and there may be millions out of work but it hasn’t stopped the government applying to host the 2020 Olympic Games. The President, Mariano Rajoy must feel confident that the country will be out of the mire by then and will be able to afford the huge expense involved.

The International Olympic Commission began its four-day evaluation visit to the Spanish capital on Monday. Early in the morning the commission held a private meeting with the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, at which the conservative People's party leader expressed the government's full support for the bid.

I imagine that things will come to halt today though because not only is it a national fiesta day (el Dia del Padres) but also this morning the new Pope will be inaugurated at the Vatican. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

A new phase

I sense that the Bigastro town band are entering a new phase. When we first heard them play, eight years ago, they were good, very good. Since then though, the band have made a lot of progress. Although I am not a musician and probably not qualified to pass a professional judgement, I feel that they play with more passion these days.

The other notable change is that they are playing more pieces involving soloists. Last night we had three; José Antonio Pérez Lorente, Susi Gálvez Mesples and Pablo Grau Murcia. There were other smaller solo parts played during the performance.

As an encore, Francisco Grau conducted the band whilst they played his latest composition, a pasadoble. And finally, the band paid tribute to Joaquín Perales, their main patron. 

It was a thoroughly enjoyable concert and one that we were glad not to miss.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Six hours in the saddle

Today, the world’s top cyclists will battle it out to win the first of this year’s spring classics, the Milan – San Remo. At 298 kms, the race takes an average of 6 hours to complete. Normally, this is a day for the sprinters. Later on there will be the  Gent-Wevelgem on  Sunday, 24 March, theTour of Flanders on Sunday, 31 March, Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, 7 April, the Amstel Gold on Sunday, 14 April, La Fleche Wallone on Wednesday, 17 April and finally, the oldest and toughest of the classics, Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday 21 April.

Many cyclists use these races as preparation for the three big tours so they are a good barometer to measure their form.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I thought the envelopes were brown

SVB005VB004205700.jpgYou know, I’m no fan of graffiti and this piece of “art” is on someone’s door.

The owner of the house has already complained to the police about it because he finds it offensive. Personally, I can see the humour in the statement which refers to the scandal about PP members receiving money from a “slush fund”. Nether the less, I can understand the outrage of the local councillor.

The original accusations were made by the newspaper El Pais against the national party including the prime minister. This comment appeared on the door of a local politician in Rojales. The national party have already taken out an injunction against the newspaper.

It’s a social event

20130218_tapasJust to remind you that this is the second weekend for the “tapas and cana” route. With 25 bars in the town participating, there should be plenty of choice about where you go to enjoy a small beer and a snack. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

The turn of the Junior Band

20130315_audi2Following the concert for “socios” this weekend, the Junior Band of Bigastro will be playing their concert for spring on Sunday March 24th at 6:30 pm, at the Municipal Auditorium.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Any way the wind blows

Untitled-1You can see from this graph just how the wind picked up yesterday from being calm and then dropped again only to return with equal force. It has quietened down again and hopefully will not be as strong today. 

It looks like, once more, we are caught between a cyclone and an anticyclone.

The new Pope

After just five ballots, on the second day, it seems that the conclave of cardinals made their choice for a new pope. The first Jesuit and the first from South America where 42% of the word's Catholics live he will be known as Pope Francis 1.

Hopefully the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio will prove to be a good choice but I can’t help but wonder if he is the right one because, at 76, he is not young, neither is he in good health having only one lung, the other was removed when he was a teenager due to infection.

This weekend

20130307_socioDon’t miss the concert on Sunday at 6:30pm. It is the one on the calendar that honours the members of the Musical Union and promises a number of new works that the band have not performed before.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Give us a break

We got back from our trip to Manchester on Monday night. It was so nice to leave the Arctic conditions and return to warmth. Yesterday, Pam started to wash my clothes and left them out to dry as we headed back to the airport to retrieve her case which had been left behind in Manchester. 

A it started to rain, we hoped that Bigastro would stay dry but that was in vain. At least the rain seemed to be clean and not full of dust as it had been whilst we were away.

This morning it started cloudy but dry. The forecast was for no rain - just strong winds and colder than last week. The wind has picked up and is drying the clothes that were left out all night but then we have just a squally shower! Well at least my clothes should be clean.

Do you photograph your food?

When you go out for a special meal, are you tempted to photograph those plates of food that have been lovingly prepared by an expert chef? If you do, then the memory of that culinary treat will last long after your taste buds have been cleansed.

Unfortunately some restaurants will not allow you to take photos for whatever reason. In fussy establishments, in New York for example, they ban photography at the table.

In Alicante things are different though. There, the Grupo Gourmet are even running a course to teach people how to get the best shots of their food. The course is aimed at beginners and starts with the advice to make sure your camera lens is clean. The next piece of advice is to use only natural light. Flash at close distance produces some horrible shadows and disturbs other people in the restaurant. If the light isn’t quite right, you are advised to use something like a shiny menu card to direct it or even your iPad to cast even light on the food. Finally avoid using zoom; instead move yourself closer to the food.

Once you have your photos, you can then process them using free software to create different effects. Instagram is a popular way to add old fashioned effects. However, there are other pieces of software like Google’s Snapseed or Big Lens for Android which mimics the out of focus backgrounds that you get with larger format DSLRs. Personally, I’d rather leave my photos as they are and maybe just tweak the colour to get rid of that tungsten orange colour. Brightening up a few highlights and a touch of sharpening and the job is done for me.  

If you have shot each course of the meal, then PicFrame will allow you to put them together into a collage to post online or send to friends.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Good to be back

Whilst we will miss being with our family, we won’t miss the British weather that we left behind. During our eleven days we saw a mixture of sunshine, showers and snow. Temperatures ranged from mild to bitterly cold.

We did have a wonderful time though and loved staying at Laura and Dave’s house where we could wake up each morning to be greeted by Molly with a beaming smile. The only real blot on the landscape was when we waited for Pam’s case on the carousel at Alicante only to be told that it had been left at Manchester. It will be flown out this morning for us to pick up, hopefully in one piece!

So, back to business. I will scour the local press to find out what has been going on here whilst Pam and I were away.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Told off by a 3 year old

The four days of birthday celebrations are over and we are all (including Molly) recovering. The lovely sunny weather that greeted us on arrival has now given way to something more normal for Manchester at this time of year. Still, with a Molly in the house, things are hardly dull.

I made the mistake of playing with one of her toys the other day without permission and was told off. Molly took the star she'd given me back and told me to take "time out". I wonder where she learnt that from!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Out of town

As some will already know, Pam and I are in Manchester for Molly's birthday. Busy times with family business mean that I won't be publishing much before our return early next week. I apologise to regular readers.

Friday, March 01, 2013

The storm has passed


The rain storm yesterday caused chaos in some parts of the province with schools closing and roads blocked. The fishing fleets were mostly tied up for the day and the ferry to Algeria was delayed for six hours. Alicante airport operated as normal with some short delays. 

The most significant feature though was the sight of tornados off the shore at Benidorm. None of them touched land though so no damage was caused.