Saturday, February 28, 2015

Google to create Jauja!

a88ddbc2-8358-499e-b63e-c26db4c01e73-bestSizeAvailableThe future of work, according to Google, will take place in woodland glades and wildflower meadows, next to trickling streams and verdant allotments, among bike paths and yoga classes and gushing fountains, with fresh produce on tap. It will be a pastoral utopia-with-WiFi, all safely swept beneath a series of gigantic glass tents.

Silicon Valley’s mother of all tech companies has today unveiled plans for its gargantuan new headquarters in Mountain View, California, designed by global star architects Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick. And it looks like a futuristic Center Parcs.

The proposal takes the form of a series of vast greenhouses, nestling like misshapen dew drops in the suburban landscape of Mountain View, beneath which a flexible series of structures can accommodate all manner of interdisciplinary, cross-pollinating, hot-desking tasks. And lots of swoopy bike paths.

“The idea here is simple,” says David Radcliffe, Google’s vice-president of real estate. “Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas.”

At the core of the plan is the dream of ultimate flexibility, a future-proofing strategy based on the idea that we don’t know what work will be like in 10 or 20 years’ time. It’s treating architecture as software, imagining a building that can be continually updated just like the latest apps.

Nice place to work but unfortunately, it will still mean hours spent at a desk staring at a computer. In the end, work is still work whatever the environment it takes place in. 

A bunch of porkers

The anticorruption prosecutor, Paul Romero is seeking 12 years disqualification from office for four past members of the Orihuela council, Antonio Rodríguez Barberá, José Antonio Aniorte, Manuel Abadía and Antonio Rodríguez Murcia (all PP).

The original complaint, which was lodged by Antonia Moreno for the PSOE,  was about the awarding of contracts to the two companies owned by Angel Fenoll – Proambiente and Colsur.

Over 1.9m euros of contracts were awarded for work on the coast including rubbish collection, cleaning and removal of seaweed. None of the contracts had been budgeted for nor had they been approved. They were paid for by using credit from the bank which of course involved interest payments.

The prosecutor also believes that Aniorte Romero and Rodriguez Murcia  were guilty of fractioning contracts to avoid having to go to tender. He quotes the example of three contracts for road works singed by Aniorte  that were in reality one and eight contracts for street lighting signed by Rodriguez Murcia that were all related.

Corruption in Spain was not related to one party or another. Whichever party was in power made no difference, they still had their “snouts in the trough”.

Friday, February 27, 2015

How incredible

It isn’t often that AEMET get the weather 100% correct but they just did. According to their forecast the wind, which has been blowing quite strong – enough to rattle the furniture on the roof, has just dropped to 0 as they said it would.

Be on your guard at the airport

The Coast Rider warns us to watch out for thieves at Alicante Airport car hire collection point.

Apparently, one out of every five British passports stolen in Alicante province are taken at the airport and half of them are taken from vehicles there. A further one in five passports are stolen from cars parked on the road or in car parks.

In a move to try and reduce the risk, the British Consulate and the national police have held discussions with car rental companies and have come up with the following suggestions:

First off, they asked the companies to remove their stickers from the back of cars because that makes them an obvious target. In fact doing so could be beneficial to the companies because one firm claims that, after taking that step, the number of cars with broken windscreens had reduced. If you pick up a hire car and it has a sticker on, the best thing to do is remove it for your own sake.

The advice to customers is as follows:

1.       Never leave personal belongings visible from outside the vehicle
2.       When your vehicle is full of suitcases or other valuables, leave it in a proper car park with security cameras, not on the street
3.       Be extra wary when loading and unloading – keep your valuables close to you
4.       Ignore attempts to distract you when on the road or in a car park - this could be part of a ploy to rob you

Whilst Pam and I do not hire cars from the airport, we do use a company there to park my car whilst we travel to the UK.

Instead of taking the car to a depot and leaving it there, we park up outside of departures where one of the reps meets us to take the car away. We have to be vigilant during the process because apparently thieves wait in that area ready to steal any unattended luggage. With a car parked nearby, they look for any cases and bags that are not being watched, take them and then make a get away in their car.

It isn’t just people using the company we use that fall victim of this ruse, those that are simply dropping off friends and relatives get caught out as well. So often I see people park up, get the luggage out of the boot and then leave it whilst they say their goodbyes. If I can observe this happening, so can the thieves. It is not usually the large luggage that they are after, it is the hand luggage and bags where you would normally keep passports, money and valuables. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Not so sleepy Bigastro

A joint operation by the Guardia Civil and the National Police caught a gang of armed, masked men who were guilty of thefts from twenty petrol  stations in the Vega Baja and Baix Vinalopó  areas during recent months.

The operation was launched by members of the Civil Guard and Specialist and Violent Crime Unit (UDEV) of the National Police at Elche It ended with the arrest of four suspects, one in Bigastro and the remainder in the municipalities of La Union Murcia and Cieza. In addition to the twenty petrol stations, the four were involved in various house break ins.

The National Police and Civil Guard kept track of this band of robbers after registering numerous robberies in similar circumstances at service stations before Christmas. In most cases the gang used shotguns to intimidate employees. They always wore face masks and within a few minutes of entering the premises,  fled with the money. The latest assaults were committed earlier this year in Orihuela and Elche.

After a wave of such robberies, the Civil Guard  were able to identify the suspects and gave chase. The criminals eventually abandoned their car on a road of Vega Baja and fled into the countryside. The vehicle contained some of the weapons used in the attacks and gave the police clues as to the identity of the thieves.

Yesterday, the Civil Guard, closed Calle San Pascual in Bigastro from 7am in order to search an apartment block where they arrested a foreign national – one of the four in the gang.


When I first started in photography, it was with film. I quickly learnt how to develop my own black and white images in a darkroom situated above the Junior Common Room at the college where I studied to become a teacher. Then there was a darkroom at the school where I first taught in the room next door to mine. I also set up a darkroom in the spare bedroom of our first house.

Apart from black and white, I processed colour slides using Ferrania colour film and later tried my hand at colour printing with varying degrees of success.

However, once digital photography became more widespread, I got rid of all my equipment: developing tanks, measuring jugs, thermometers, enlarger etc etc and took to working my pictures on a computer instead. I can’t say that I missed being in the dark with smelly chemicals but there was something magical about watching a print appear in the developing tray.

I can only imagine what it must have been like for those early pioneers of photography who wowed the public with images that had hitherto been impossible to capture except with the skill of an artist’s brush. 

There is an exhibition -  Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860 on at Tate Britain, London SW1, until 7 June. Here are some examples of photos from that show.

Cossack Bay, Balaclava, 1855, by Roger Fenton Nelson’s Column Under Construction, Trafalgar Square, 1844, by William Henry Fox Talbot
Cossack Bay, Balaclava, 1855, by Roger Fenton Nelson’s Column Under Construction, Trafalgar Square, 1844, by William Henry Fox Talbot
Five Newhaven fisherwomen, c 1844, by David Hill and Robert Adamson Newhaven fishermen, c 1845, by David Hill and Robert Adamson
Five Newhaven fisherwomen, c 1844, by David Hill and Robert Adamson Newhaven fishermen, c 1845, by David Hill and Robert Adamson

Even if you are not a photographer, these images provide a fascinating account of life at that time.

Next council meeting

20150224_plenoWith 18 items on the agenda, the council meeting scheduled for Friday 27th March at 8pm promises to be a long affair.

I would say that there doesn’t appear to be much that is contentious but then this is Bigastro! We have had name calling, councillors being sent out even the police called to remove councillors before now.

A message from the band


Dear partners

You, our friends, are an essential part of the of band. We count on you for your economic and moral support, your applause at each of our performances and for the interest that you show in our society.

You are very much a part of our great family and so the Bigastro band dedicate the ‘Concierto del Socio’ to you.

This year though, we are doing something different because we have organised a Big Band Festival and have invited the A.M.C. "Las Musas" of Guadalupe (a 1st level band) to join with us and play.

Remember, the concert is for you!

If you like music you are INVITED!

15th March at 6pm in the Auditorium Francisco Grau.

PS I will be there armed with my camera and my digital audio recorder to bring you pictures of the event and a recording for the band’s archives.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Honing their skills

Aspiring bullfighters have to practice to perfect their art. These days most go to bullfighting schools but that was not always the case. Matadors like Juan Belmonte and El Cordobés  would visit ranches at night and under the cloak of darkness sharpen up their skills.

The practice died out years ago but was recently revised by three would be matadors. They had approached the owner of the ranch and sought permission. Having been turned down, the three hatched a plan for moonlight sessions instead.

They took the precaution of parking their car well away from the ranch and arrived on foot. However, just as they were getting started, the three were surrounded by police. They claimed that they were practising on cows but the ranch owner argued that it was actually bulls which then had to be put down. Under Spanish law, any bull that has been involved in fighting has to be slaughtered, because it is feared they might remember the bullfighter’s moves in a subsequent encounter. The ranch owner is claiming 53,000 euros for the loss of 20 animals.

NB the past when bullfighting was common in most small towns throughout Spain, rather than being killed, the same bulls were taken to several corridas. By the second or third town, the bulls were highly dangerous to fight and many would be matadors were either badly injured or died as a result.

The rise and fall of Eurener

When Pamela and I moved to Bigastro there was no Eurener here. I recall that the building of the factory alongside the bypass was controversial because that was land not designated for industrial purposes. That was in 2007, 10 years after the company first formed.

Eurener specialised in making solar panels at a time when demand for them was high. With an annual production capacity of 90 MW Eurener manufactured monocrystalline, polycrystalline and glass-glass photovoltaic modules in their factories in Bigastro and Portugal.

They had lucrative government contracts as well as supplying panels to companies and private individuals keen to save money by using renewable energy. 90% of the production was for the export market.

Having opened their factory in Bigastro, they rapidly expanded by taking over further premises in the town,  by operating 24 hours a day and even creating a showroom for their products in the Plaza de la Constitution.

Their problems though arose when cheaper Chinese imports started to flood the market. In 2010 they had an income of 54.09m which dropped to 35.98 the following year. They  applied for voluntary bankruptcy 25th September 2013 and at the same time planned to move to Latin America and develop project there.

Six months after they applied for bankrupcy, the company threw in the towel. The factory in Bigastro is now closed, there are weeds growing in the gravel, one of the panels on the huge billboard is broken and the fountain is empty of water. This is a sad state of affairs because Eurener used to employ 150 people.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Be aware

Yesterday, when Pamela was going down to the town, she saw a man going through the rubbish bins. She said that he was opening the bags and sifting through the contents.

We regularly see a man coming up to the urbanisation looking for anything that has been left by the bins. If we have anything that might be of use, we leave it at the side and we have seen him taking such items away.

However,  someone going through the bags could be potentially a problem if people put documents inside them.

Pamela shreds any documents that contain any information that could be useful but there could be the odd document, a bill or something similar that slips though the net.

After the Oscars

As the celebrities left the ceremony for the party that followed, they could drop by at the studio created by Mark Seliger  for a portrait shoot. With its chequered floor, distressed walls, a staircase and some vintage props, it provided the backdrop for some timeless portraits including these.

adamlevinebahatiprinsloo jenniferanistonjustintheroux
Adam Levine and Bahati Prinsloo Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux
ritaora sofiavergara
Rita Oro Sofia Vergara

Seliger and his assistants must have worked quickly to change the lighting around because these people are not known for their patience and they did have a party to go to.

We are relatively safe

Living in an earthquake zone, you have to be aware of the risks and the potential for a serious situation that may occur.  The earthquake yesterday alerted us all to the risks of living in Spain.

How many earthquakes are there in the Iberian Peninsula?

Each year there are between 1,200 and 1,400 earthquakes in the Iberian peninsula. An earthquake of magnitude 5 or higher, such as the one yesterday, are rare with about one detected every 3.5 years. Earthquakes between 4 and 4.9 are more common with about five annually. There are 110 earthquake of magnitude between 3.9 and 3 and 760 of magnitude between 2.9 and 2.

What is the magnitude of an earthquake?

The scale measures the energy released by an earthquake, while its intensity refers to the damage caused. Remember that the scale is logarithmic. For example, an earthquake of magnitude 6 is 30 times higher than one of 5, in terms of energy released.  An earthquake of magnitude 6 is equivalent to a detonation of 30,000 tonnes of chemical explosive trinitrotoluene (TNT) or a nuclear explosion of 30 kilotons according to IGN.

How much energy was released by the shake yesterday?

The earthquake Ossa de Montiel  released the equivalent of 100 tons of TNT energy according to the Association of Geologists (ICOG). The agency notes that the earthquake was actually two shakes about four or five seconds apart  which were especially felt in the towns of Alcantarilla (Murcia), Aranjuez, Coslada, San Fernando de Henares, Getafe and  Ajalvir (Comunidad de Madrid). The earthquake intensity was between 3 and 4 on the Mercalli scale, which meant it was widely felt by the population.

Have there been any major earthquakes in Spain?

Spain is NOT a risk area for ​​large earthquakes like the one that shook Chile on May 22nd, 1960 which was of magnitude 9.5 and considered the largest earthquake in history. However, there are many other minor tremors and some relatively powerful ones in Spain, even greater than magnitude 7.

For example, on February 28th, 1969, an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 with its epicentre southwest Cape San Vicente collapsed several buildings in Huelva. And on March 29th, 1954, an earthquake of magnitude 7  was recorded in Durcal (Granada) but that one was 650 kilometres underground.

The December 25th, 1884 an earthquake of magnitude 6.5 in Arenas del Rey (Granada) destroyed 4,400 buildings and damaged another 13,000 - 839 bodies were recovered. On November 1st, 1755, another earthquake of magnitude 8.5, centered in south western Cape San Vicente, caused a tsunami 15 meters high that hit Western Europe and North Africa. It was the worst recorded earthquake tragedy in Spain, according to IGN.  Known as the Lisbon earthquake, the destruction caused in the Portuguese capital, caused 15,000 deaths.It also affected Huelva and Cadiz.

Maybe there is a need for change

Last Sunday, the local PSOE executive in Bigastro held a meeting during which Raúl Valerio Medina officially launched his candidacy ahead of the May election. However, Aniorte Fidel, another of the Bigastro socialist councillors, also came forward as an alternative candidate for the leadership of the party.

The supporters of Raúl Valerio Medina were apparently not best pleased about this announcement. The  executive went on to discuss the various scandals that Medina was involved in for which some believe there has not been sufficient explanation given. Although Fidel Aniorte does not believe that Medina is guilty of misappropriation of funds, he thinks that the party needs a new start if they are to enjoy any success at the forthcoming election.

We will know within a few days which one of the two the socialists have chosen to lead them.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The lastest earthquake

11021157_802981116405289_5750445092696545371_nAn earthquake with its epicentre in Ossa de Montiel, Albacete, has rocked the centre of Spain. The quake took place at 17.16 (CET Spanish) and has been felt in several provinces, as confirmed by the National Geographic Institute (IGN). The earthquake had a magnitude of 5.2 on the Richter scale - IGN say it was an earthquake of "moderate-strong" magnitude.

The epicentre was located 10 kilometres from El Bonillo, Albacete, according to sources, who add that the data is at the moment provisional. It was located about 14 kilometres deep, which is considered "very superficial", according the National Geographic Institute.

Today's earthquake occurred in the same fault as the one in Lorca, Murcia. The May 11th Lorca earthquake was of magnitude 5.1 and was preceded by an earthquake of 4.5.

Today’s quake was felt in Valencia, Murcia, Castile-La Mancha and Madrid. Questionnaires  are being sent out to determine if any damage occurred. None has so far been reported to Civil Protection, nor to IGN.

IGN’s website is down at the moment, presumably because of the high volume of traffic to it. I had to get my information from El Pais and from the IGN Facebook page.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Brilliant effort

We have to thank the Comisión de Fiestas, the  concejala de Cultura and all who took part in yesterday’s Medio Año Festero. It proved to be a huge success, one which we hope will be repeated in future years.

Although we gave the charanga and El Tío del Tractor a miss, Pamela and I went  to the park for the paella.The comparsas had long tables set out and arrived with bags and baskets full of food and drinks. Around the outside of the carpa were tables and chairs for the general public – it was all very civilised. There was plenty of paella for all and even seconds for those who wanted them.

You can see my album of photos at

At about 7pm, the comparsas took part in a parade along Calle Purisima which was both colourful and amusing. They were followed by the Asociación de Carretilleros. These are the people who go into the cage at the end of the Fiesta in August and set off the loud fireworks that are laden into shopping trolleys.

You can see my album of photos from the parade at

We did explain to them that setting off fireworks in the street in that way would not be permitted in Britain under any circumstances. If you look closely at my pictures, you can see that some of the people taking part didn’t even wear gloves. However, nobody was hurt – I did have noise in my ears for several hours afterwards though and could smell the sulphur in my nostrils.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fingers crossed

10959574_424632194357929_7545821162330890965_n[3]Today we have scheduled the mid year fiesta starting at 11am with an ad hoc band parading the streets followed by free beer from the tractor.

At 1pm there will be a disco in the park followed by paella at 2pm.

At 6:30pm there will be a parade of townsfolk in fancy dress. Then fireworks and a return to the disco in the park.

The big question is, “what will the weather be like?”.

The answer to that is, “nobody really knows!”.

AEMET forecast rain for this morning.  Looking out my window, I can see that we have already had a shower and the sky looks decidedly dismal. The forecast is for the rain to dry up by noon but the sky will stay grey and cloudy. I don’t suppose that will put many of the young in Bigastro off coming out to enjoy a free show.

February is a fickle month in this part of Spain. We can have warm days of sunshine with clear skies followed by a period of heavy cloud and rain. The wind can be a problem as well at this time of year. It is only when we get into April and May that you can generally count on having good weather day after day.

Easter in particular can be a problem. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it is late or early, the weather can spoil the scheduled parades.  

More music to your ears

29159218_interThe Department of Culture invites you to attend the local phase of the Local Music Performance Competition that will take place on Sunday February 22 at 18:00 pm in the Municipal Auditorium Francisco Grau.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Compulsory game play in Spanish schools

Don’t misunderstand that title, we are not talking about video games here. The compulsory game will be chess.

Courtesy of cross-party support, a resolution was passed in the Spanish parliament to make chess a compulsory subject in schools here.

The move follows a recommendation by the European Parliament and was based on a study at Girona and Lleida universities that showed the educational benefits of the game. Apparently, playing chess improves children’s abilities in maths and reading.

Although I learnt the basics of the game, I was never that good at playing it. Others, who had studied the tactics more closely, could beat me easily. As those who have played will know, you have to be able to think out the consequences of your moves three, four or more steps ahead. I could never get my head around the concept of giving a piece away to gain an ultimate advantage.  

Yesterday’s lesson

Yesterday, we spent our time in class talking about where we were born, where we lived, why we came to Spain and what we particularly liked about the places where we lived.

Our teacher, Antonio started off by telling us that he was born in Bigastro on Calle Purisima just down the street from where he now lives. in fact he has spent his whole life, not just in the same town but  living in the same street. He was bemused to hear how members of his class had moved around so much, not just within Britain but abroad as well.

Antonio went on to explain that, at the time of his birth, there was no hospital or nursing home nearby.  Babies were delivered in the home courtesy of the midwife. In the case of complications, she would call a doctor in Orihuela who would then have to drive over to offer assistance. For anything more serious, the mother to be would have to be taken to either Elche or Alicante – a thirty minutes to one hour drive.

Antonio had already told us, if a mother was unable to feed her baby then a neighbour would step in as a “wet nurse” and that weaning meant mixing flour, water and milk to make a paste which was offered as solid food.

In the era that Antonio was brought up, there was no form of sex education in schools and censorship in Spain meant that films and books made no reference to sexual acts. He told us that many Spaniards travelled to France for the grape harvest and there they were able to experience a more liberal society that opened their eyes to a lot more than was available to them in Spain. You have to remember that, in Bigastro most of the houses were single storey with two bedrooms at the front, living quarters at the back and a patio where animals were kept. There was no television nor were there telephones and the streets were just soil. The town ended at the church, after that it was farming land. Things were a lot more primitive here than in Britain where we all came from. 

It was very much a male orientated society in Spain at that time; the men went out to work, the women looked after the house and children. Men would never consider offering a a hand to help with the chores, instead they would go out to a bar for a beer or two in the evening. Being a catholic country, there was no form of contraception readily available and so families simply grew as the women would have baby after baby.

Spaniards are not coy when it comes to talking about sex and so Antonio was able to fill in the details about relationships without pulling punches. It was both entertaining and enlightening to listen to what he had to say.   

The scale of corruption

The Orange Market company, run by Álvaro Pérez (known as 'El Bigotes'), organised all of the headline shows that the Valencian PP put on between 2006 and 2008.

When police searched the headquarters of the company they unearthed a network of illegal financing and black payments made by the Correa group of companies which they then christened the Gürtel  plot. Gürtel is German for belt of correa in Spanish.

The money that Álvaro Pérez provided was spent in various ways: 500 euros for a magician at a birthday party, 500 euros for tools, 550 euros for a wife’s visit to a gynaecologist. 3000 euros to the dentist, 6,000 euros for a watch etc etc. The list goes on and on.  It seems that many of the members of the Valencian PP were beneficiaries of this largesse.  There was even 31,000 euros that went to pay for a Mini Cooper.

It appears that the Valencian PP  Box B* amounted to 3.4 million euros and that 1,803,000 euros was transferred to the Box B in Madrid.

When it comes to politics in Spain, it is hard to know who you can trust. The period of the economic boom was obviously a free for all, a time when many were after as much as they could get. They clearly had no conscience about the fact they were lining their own pockets at the expense of the general public.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost and new prosecutions arise almost daily. However, the ill gotten money was spent and cannot now be recovered. A few years in the luxury of a Spanish jail is a small price to pay for what happened.

* Box B refers to a slush fund outside of the regular accounts. Unfortunately for the PP, records of these accounts were kept and have now been discovered.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Let off this time

When we visited Sale (near Manchester) in early December, Pam and I hired a car for the ten days.

Each day we drove from our hotel in Altrincham to my daughter’s house and parked on the street.

One one side, only residents can park and have to display a permit. On the other side, you can park for three hours but any longer and you either have to display a Resident’s Permit or a Visitor’s Permit bought from the Town Hall.

My daughter bought a book of Visitor’s Permits for our visit but I got distracted and forgot to put one in the car. Lo and behold, a warden clocked my car on arrival and returned three hours later to check if it was still there.  He or she must have been rubbing their hands with glee as the penalty notice was printed. A £50 fine reduced to £25 if paid within 10 days.

My son-in law appealed on my behalf explaining that I was from Spain and was not aware of the consequences of over parking. The case was put on hold pending an investigation.

On my return I had heard nothing so, rather than just ignoring it, I sent an email with copies of the Fixed Penalty Notice and the Visitor’s Permit attached. I then sent the actual documents by post.

The other day, over two moths after the event, I got an email to say that I had been let off this time but not to do it again. Once bitten, twice shy as we would say – I will ensure that it never happens again and even if it does, I will be in a different car!

I’m in good company

In the world of photography there are two main camps, those who shoot Canon and those who shoot Nikon. Both cite valid reasons why one system is better than the other. In the end though it is a personal choice between the two.

In my case, I chose Canon when I moved from a consumer camera to a professional one. Since then I have built up a collection of lenses etc and so am now vitually wedded to the system.

As if to validate that decision, I came across this article.

The prestigious World Press Photo contest announced the winning photos of 2014 last week.


Spanish photography website Quesabesde analyzed the EXIF data of the 45 winning shots. 38 of the images contained information about the camera that was used, and the illustration above breaks down the findings.

The sample size is quite small, but we see that the three top camera brands for this year’s contest were Canon, Nikon, and Olympus. 23 of the 38 photos were shot with Canon cameras.

Quesabesde broke down the data even further by separating camera models. Here’s the new graphic that emerges:


We see that the Canon 5D Mark III was the most popular tool used by the winning photojournalists while the Canon 1D X came in second.

It’s an interesting finding because back in 2012, a similar camera breakdown was done for Reuters’ 95 photos of the year. In that contest, the Canon 1D Mark IV (the predecessor of the 1D X) was the most popular, and the Canon 5D Mark II (the predecessor of the 5D Mark III) came in second.

Making a fool of me

Local people who read my blog may be wondering what happened to the strong wind that was forecast for yesterday into today. Well, both AEMET and Meteo Orihuela forecasted it and both say that it could still be windy today. A yellow alert is in place for the coast where high waves can be expected.

Although I  hate to contradict the experts,I have to say the wind yesterday was no more than a breeze and it still looks calm out there this morning.

What both AEMET and Meteo Orihuela did get right was the rain which remained constant for much of the day although it was never in the form of a downpour. As we would say in Yorkshire, it was more like a “weating* drizzle”.

Looking forward to Saturday and the mini fiesta, the forecasts are for partial cloud, maybe a light shower, moderate wind and a high temperature of 14 or 19 depending who you think is right. Then again, it could be freezing cold, windy as hell and raining “cats and dogs”, I hope not!

* Yorkshire pronunciation of wetting.

The past haunts him

When Formula 1 racing was brought to Valencia, Valmor Sports that was running it was in trouble so Valencia bought the company for 1 euro and assumed all its debts.The decision was approved by members of the council including the current President, Alberto Fabra, the Vice President, José Ciscar and the Councillor for Infrastructure, Isabel Bonig. The agreement though was signed by Francisco Camps and the former director of Valenciana TV, Lola Johnson.

The case about the legality of this deal is ongoing in Valencia and sixty witnesses have already testified about Fabra’s involvement.

The judge has asked for a delay to clear up some of the facts that might affect an appeal in the case and that poses a problem for Alberto Fabra who is a candidate for the elections in May. He believes that these issues are in the past and that his record over the last three and a half years to clamp down on corruption should be the more important consideration.

Monday, February 16, 2015

An unwelcome return

Untitled-1Looking at AEMET’s prediction for the week, it looks like we can expect the strong wind to return over the next few days. That will likely be accompanied by rain on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Checking this with Meteo Orihuela, the wind could pick up to 26km/ hour tomorrow with gusts of 32km/ hour. Wednesday will be worse with a wind speed of 31km/hour and gusts of 40km/ hour. By Thursday it should have calmed back down to 21km/hour with gusts of 32km/hour.

Belief in the power of prayer


San Emigdio is the Co-patron saint of Torrevieja.

Every year during the first week of August, a host of events are held around a festivity in his hounour, with the most important act being the Solemn Procession with the image of the Saint that is worshipped in the Parque de Naciones chapel.

Why is there such veneration for this saint?

It is said that San Emigdio managed to save the Italian city of Ascoti Piceno from a violent earthquake in 1703. He is therefore regarded as the protector against such events which is why he is held in such esteem in both Torrevieja and Almoradi both of which were flattened by an earthquake in 1829.


The Castrum Altum Association in Catral requested that the sarcophagus containing the remains of San Emigdio be brought to Spain from Ascoti Piceno.

Yesterday, after traditional Mass in the Immaculada church, Torrevieja, worshipers were brought forward to kiss the relic.

Earthquakes are a natural phenomena which nobody can control. In fact, we can’t even predict when they are going to happen and what force they will be. Invoking the power of prayer may be our only resort to preventing another major earthquake in this area. Let us hope that it works.   

Saturday, February 14, 2015

New levels of obscenity


The demand for football on television is such that Sky and BT in Britain will be paying £5.136bn for live Premier League TV rights for 2016-17.

Interest shown by Discovery, which owns Eurosport and BeIN sports has pushed the price up and Sky viewers will be the ones to pay.

All this means that clubs that finish at the bottom of the Premier League in the 2016-17 season will receive £99m and the winners will net £150m on top of which clubs will have fees based on the TV coverage.

Although, the clubs talk of the money not going to players, it is predicted that we shall soon see £100m paid for Premier League players and salaries of £500,000 per week.

Pictures at an exhibition

20150213_pinturaThe Department of Education and Culture invites you to view an Exhibition of Paintings produced by the Club, IES Miguel Hernández de Bigastro. The works will be on display in the Multipurpose Room of the Municipal Auditorium Francisco Grau, on Saturday 14 February from 11:00 to 13:00 am and from 18:00 to 20:00 hours

Friday, February 13, 2015

Yet another day in court for Moya and Medina

The former mayors of Bigastro, José Joaquín Moya and Raul Valerio Medina have been subpoenaed to testify as defendants in court at Orihuela on the 9th of June.

On this occasion they will have to clarify the contract they made with legal advisers between 2007 and 2011.  During that period,  monthly payments of about 3,000 euros per month were made to the same firm of solicitors. The PP have therefore accused the two of them of fraud and embezzlement because there is no evidence of the obligatory tender required for council contracts over 18,000 euros.

The judge has asked for copies of invoices and contracts during the previous term and the current term of office. The former secretary, Antonio Saseta has also been called to testify.

Raul Valerio Medina says that at first there was a minor contract with the law firm. When it became apparent that payments would be regular, he asked the secretary to regularise it by putting the work out to tender. For her part, Charo Bañuls says that everything the PP has done since taking office has been legal and above board.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I really like this one

10959636_10152554801102371_172605586417828054_n (1)There is a technique for photographing water that has become fashionable. The idea is to make moving water look smooth by setting a slow shutter speed rather than a fast speed that would freeze the motion.

To do this you need a shutter speed of at least a few seconds, usually longer. The problem is that, even at 100 ISO, with a small aperture, there is often too much light.  Photographers employing this technique therefore use a neutral density filter to reduce the light entering into the camera. One of the most popular of these filters is the Lee Big Stopper which looks totally black and gives a 10 stop reduction to the amount of light passing through it.

To explain what this means:

Suppose the correct exposure of a scene at ISO 100 was 1/10th of a second at f16. With the Lee Big Stopper the exposure would become 4 seconds at f16 because each stop of reduction doubles the time needed for a correctly exposed image.

As you can imagine, for such a long exposure you need a tripod or some other rigid support.

Favourite subjects for this style of photography are the sea, streams bubbling over rocks and waterfalls. To be honest, because of its popularity, you do see many photographs that are very similar and only a few that stand out like this one.

I can imagine that this was a remote location which took some time to find. Speaking of time, the photographer had to be there when the light was coming from the right angle otherwise that water would have not been white. In this case the light is from behind and to the left which is just perfect. There has been quite a lot of post processing the digital image to get to this but the result is clearly worth it.

Minor earthquake

1316725_portadaYesterday morning the fifth earthquake in four months was felt in Torrevieja. This one was of 2.1 magnitude and happened at 9am. People in the town felt it but there were no reports of damage. 

The last one to be felt was the 3.3 magnitude quake south east of Los Montesinos on the 11th January. However, there were also three smaller quakes in the area that were not reported in the newspapers.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

It was not meant to be

It was always a lottery as to which bands would take part in the competition this year. Sadly, lady luck was not on Bigastro’s side.

As the director says though, “we wish the best of luck to all participating bands in this contest.”

Meanwhile, the Bigastro band will continue to work hard and hope that next time they are the lucky ones.

Back on the attack

In the papers today, Raúl Valerio Medina tells us that the lawsuits against the socialists, which were taken out by the PP before they took office, are now paid for out of the public purse. The figure that he puts on this is 60,000 euros per year. In his statements he seems to claim that this expenditure should come from the party’s funds rather than from the council.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Be on your guard

Our neighbour tells me that his house was burgled on Saturday night along with Aurelio’s and three other houses on the estate. He said that the thieves took any gold and money they could find along with items of clothing. They left computers, cameras, televisions etc alone*.

He told me that the thieves did not enter the property by the gates which were left intact which means they must have climbed over a wall. 0nce inside they then found a way into the house via the conservatory.

The police suggested that he should speak to his neighbours, first to find out is anyone had heard anything and secondly to warn them of the possibility of further break ins.

It is hard to imagine what more we can do to secure our properties. Most of us already have locked gates, burglar alarms, grills on windows, security grills on aluminium doors and solid steel front doors with multipoint locks. Compared to the houses we had back in Britain, our Spanish homes are like fortresses.

We have to remember though that these are desperate times for many and desperate people will go to any length to break in to properties.

The advice from the police is to be on your guard, make sure that you lock all your doors and turn on your alarm each and every time you go out. If you hear or see anything suspicious, phone the police straight away.

* That could be because of the route they used to get in and out which would make it difficult to carry large items. It is hard to be sure though because honest people don’t think like thieves. 

A deadly blow

A British family were out for a meal in a restaurant at Sotogrande on the Costa del Sol. The father noticed a German man in the restaurant using his iPad to film his daughter and went over to complain. The German carried on filming and so the father saw red. It seems that the German had been recently arrested for having pornographic pictures of children on his iPad and the father saw some of these along with the pictures of his daughter.

The Brit was a boxer and so, after smashing the iPad to the ground, dealt a blow to the German who subsequently died from the injury. The Brit is now in custody changed with homicide.

I wonder, what would any of us have done in the same circumstances. I doubt that I would have hit the man but then I am NOT* given to hitting people.

* For those who read this yesterday, I apologise for giving the wrong impression.

Road improvements


I think we would all agree that some of the roads in Bigastro are in a shocking state. The problem is that the town does not have the money to make the necessary repairs.

Help is at hand though in the form of a grant of 33,912 euros from the Province which will cover 100% of the cost of repairs to  Calle San Pascual which will now be tarmacked and Calles San José and Sagrado Corazón which will be re- tarmacked.

Cynics might say that it is a coincidence all this work is going on just before an election, the majority of us would simply welcome the fact improvements are being made to the town.

Fingers and toes crossed

As I mentioned on this blog, our band have been practising hard for a forthcoming competition. What I did not explain was that entry into the competition is not automatic.

Today, at 5pm a draw will take place for the 3 bands that will take part in the Provincial Competition to be be held on the 21st March in Torrevieja.

As our director says, we hope that the innocent hand pulls out the ball for the Sociedad Union Musical Bigastro.

If lady luck is on the band’s side, then the rehearsals will no doubt intensify because Bigastro really wants to win this one. First though we need that hand to reach for the right ball.

First swimmer of the year

There are some hardy folk who specialise in swimming in freezing cold water. For example, a group of them defy winter by taking a dip in the Serpentine on Christmas Day. However, sensible people wait until the water is at a reasonable temperature before dipping a toe in it.

The first year we lived here, I could not wait to get into our new pool and so once the water was at about 18 degrees I was in there. I can tell you it was damn cold. Since then I have waited until early summer before taking the plunge and in the case of Pamela, it has to be at least 28 degrees before she will enter the water.

This winter has been possibly the coldest that we have had. I was therefore surprised to hear that one of our neighbours had  already gone for her first swim of the year. The brave lady lives on Calle Holanda at the bottom of the estate. Those who live here will know who I mean if I mention the name Eddie.

Before you jump to any conclusions about the bravery (or stupidity) of this woman, let me explain the circumstances. Celia (there I have given her name away now) was outside having a walk around the garden, Eddie was taking a siesta inside. She was on the coronation stones that surround the pool when she slipped and fell into the icy water.

I understand that Celia does not like to have her head under water but this time she had no choice because she was at the deep end of the pool. Actually that was lucky because the deep water would have broken her fall; at the shallow end she would have hit the bottom and likely hurt herself.

Thankfully, Celia was able to drag herself out of the water and shouted for Eddie to come and help her. Celia’s clothes were soaked and she had some difficulty removing her top which was heavy with water. Having struggled to get her top off, Celia managed to drag her pants off and so was left standing outside in her underwear. It was at this point that Eddie appeared, also in his underwear.

I wonder what first went through his mind. Had Celia been reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” or had she taken a funny turn.  What was she doing, stripped off to her underwear, going for a swim on a cold February day. This was clearly not normal behaviour for Celia. We all know that people of a certain age can do strange things but we don’t expect that of our loved ones.

It is not certain whether any of the neighbours caught a glimpse of Celia and Eddie cavorting around in their garden dressed only in underwear. Any that did now have an explanation of the circumstances.   

Monday, February 09, 2015

Oh dear, oh dearie me!

If your club had spent £85m on a player, you would expect great things of him. That is the price Real Madrid paid Tottenham Hotspurs for Gareth Bale in 2013.

Yesterday’s 4-0 defeat to Atletico in the Madrid derby left the newspapers saying he was a disaster, irrelevant and listless. To suggest his performance was ineffective would be an understatement. Bale had 44 touches of the ball, completed only 22 passes and had no shots on target. He made just one successful cross, conceded three free-kicks and - crucially against a combative team like Atletico - did not make any successful tackles.
This was Real’s worst derby defeat since they lost 5-0 in 1947 and will be remembered, along with their 5-0 loss against Barcelona in 2010 for a long, long time.
This is not the first criticism that Bale has received this year. He has been accused of being selfish on a number of occasions because of his reluctance to pass the ball. He is now regarded by many as being too individual.
I have said it before and will say it again, to my mind the economics of football are just crazy. No footballer, no matter how talented he may be, is worth the price that some clubs are prepared to pay and certainly not worth the salaries they demand. Particularly in a country like Spain where so many are living below the poverty line, it seems to me obscene that so much money is lavished on what is only a game. 


The bridge that carried the CV-91 into Orihuela from Guardamar has now gone and the new road to replace it is almost complete.

Trains to Murcia are running as normal. However, paassengers to and from Alicante are taken by bus between Callosa and Orihuela.

That takes us a step nearer to the completion of the works for the AVE (high speed train). The end is in sight to the two years of disruption. 

Missed them both


Only the other day, Pam and I said that we should revisit the Carnival in Torrevieja.

The first time we went was at night which started at about 10pm and lasted nearly four hours. By the finish we were really cold and needed a cup of chocolate from Valor to warm us up before setting off back home.

Then we tried the afternoon parade which starts at 4pm which was much better but is still a long time to be standing.

It is worth it though when you see the inventiveness of the people who take part, not just in the costumes but in the dance routines.

Yesterday, over 1,600 from 37 different troupes took part and five of the groups were foreigners.

The parade started at the Plaza Maria Asuncion and made its way along Calle Ramon Galud and Patricio Perez.

10974417_1025618334119336_6776657461682549536_o We also missed the procession and celebration in honour of the Blessed Friar Leopoldo of Alpandeire that took place in Bigastro yesterday morning.

The first we knew that something special was going on was when we heard the fireworks.

I can only thank whoever it was that took the photos for providing me with a picture of this event.
In case, like me, you were wondering who this blessed friar was, here is a brief explanation.

He was born Francisco Tomás de San Juan Bautista Márquez y Sánchez on 24 June 1864, in Alpandeire, Spain, a small village in the province of Málaga. At the age of 35 he decided to embrace religious life.

Leopoldo became a Spanish Capuchin friar whose devotion is very popular among people in southern Spain. His life was not distinguished for any spectacular work but rather for its simplicity, his kindness and generosity (especially towards the most deprived persons). He spent the majority of his life in Granada, city where its people still remember and celebrate him as a testimony of Christian life.

Quite why his statue was brought to Bigastro, I cannot say.

Saturday, February 07, 2015


It seems that the King’s sister, Cristina de Borbón will have to sell the mansion she and her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin , own in the exclusive Pedralbes district  of Barcelona. She needs the money to cover the bond required by the court in Palma de Mallorca. The house was bought in 2004 for 6m euros.

Half of the house is already under a court embargo. Urdangarin has to pay 13.5m euros on his behalf and Cristina 2.6m euros. The judge has agreed that the couple can pay off the 4.4m euro mortgage on the property and send what remains after taxes and costs to the court. 

Don't worry though that the couple will not be homeless because they moved to Switzerland in 2013 with their four children.

Surely not!

10959867_10152624882930796_1889815746973903630_nA Spanish friend who calls himself “Fontabigastro” has posted this photo on his Facebook page. The photo apparently came from Joaquin Martinez Albaladejo.

As one commentator has said, “it is more false than a 3 euro coin” to which Fonta has replied, “that 3 euros coins are available with the face of King Philip VI on them”.

The photo looks real enough.  However, it might be cold at the moment but we have not had any snow in the area. Even if we had, Rebate is well below the snow line.

Did I read that right?

In the paper today, I read that the Socialists in Bigastro are suggesting that Charo Bañuls should return the 90,000 euros that she has been paid. They claim that her four years salary was irregular. You will recall that, some time back, Aurelio Murcia claimed that he should be paid the mayor’s salary because he did more work than she did. That resulted in him being dismissed as deputy mayor, ending up with no salary at all from the Town Hall.

Before council elections, British politicians accuse each other of all sorts of things but I don’t recall any of them making the kind of claims that Spaniards do. In Spanish politics, they certainly do not pull punches*.

In another article, the Socialists suggest that Charo Bañuls is again guilty of splitting bills up, They have already spoken about maintenance, this time it is legal advice. According to Medina the same lawyer has been paid over and over again and the total amounts to 88,000 euros. A further 47,000 euros was paid to other lawyers from the same firm.

* A reference to boxing – meaning a fighter does not show any mercy to his opponent.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Now for the details

10959574_424632194357929_7545821162330890965_nRemember the mini fiesta that we were promised? Here are the details.

It all starts at 11am with a musical parade followed by the tractor going through the town at midday.

At 1pm there will be a disco in the park with a bar for refreshments, then paella for everyone at 2pm.

What would a fiesta be without a parade? That will take place at 6:30pm and will be followed by fireworks.

The cross will stay

There has been a cross on the mountain by Orihuela since 1411. The Cruz de la Muela has therefore been a part of the historical, religious-and cultural heritage of the city for over six hundred years. It is as much a symbol of the city as it is a religious monument.

However, two lawyers from Murcia thought that it should be taken down and took their case to court. The grounds for the case rested on its incompatibility with a modern secular state. They first went to the Superior Court of Valencia and lost. Then they took their appeal to the Supreme Court and lost again.

A similar appeal in 2013 to remove the statue of Christ on the hill at Monteagodo was also rejected.

Since the Reconquista which ended with the fall of  Granada in 1492, Spain has been a predominantly Catholic, Christian country. Although it is correct other religions should be allowed their freedom to worship as they see fit in what is now a non-secular country, that does not give them the right to change the very nature of where they live.

Actually, I very much doubt that the case was brought about because of an objection by any particular religious group but I might be wrong.

More disruption

Untitled-1Routing the high speed train through Orihuela has only caused problems. Since the train will not stop in the city, there will be no benefit whatsoever.

The latest disruption will take place from today when the bridge that carries the CV-91 into Orihuela is closed. Traffic will have to follow the CV-930 and CV-900. There are likely to be delays on the CV-919 where it connects to the CV-91 in La Campaneta.

Once the bridge is dismantled, access will be restored but this time under the AVE line.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

It’s bloody cold here

I am not normally obsessed with the weather but, just of late it has been quirky to say the least.

The strong wind that hampered the Medieval Market is still with us and could last until the weekend. Add to that the wave of cold air that is coming down from Russia and we have a weird combination of sunshine and cold air. On the plus side, the air coming down is dry so there is little threat of rain or even further snow in high places.

Looking at the forecast, the cold spell is set to stay with us and get worse over the weekend when the low temperature could hit zero with a high of 10 degrees. From then, it should get better but not much – a high of 13-14 is not something we are used to even in winter. Admittedly, that is better than the high of 5 degrees forecast for Manchester but then we are almost 1050 miles or 1700 kilometres south.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Rock n Roll in Bigastro

10978617_399479886894037_7765087169509200803_nPut on your beetle crushers, drape jacket, brocade waistcoat,  drainpipe trousers, slick back your hair in a duck’s arse quiff and head down to the Cafe Pub La Caja Tonto for a night of nostalgia. Ladies will need a wide flared skirt, plenty of petticoats and most important – nylon stockings with bobby socks to take part.

The Spitfires are a self proclaimed rock and roll group who relive the days before the Beatles and flower power took over the music scene.

Entrance is free and it all kicks off at 11pm on Friday 13th. 

PS There will likely be "a whole lotta shakin goin on". "Tally ho" chaps, chocks away".

The mayor responds to allegations

Charo Bañuls has responded to the allegations made by the the Socialist spokesman Raul Valerio Medina by saying that the contracts for maintenance and repairs in Bigastro have all been above board. In her opinion, the accusations are a smokescreen to cover up the serious cases that have been brought against the Socialists in the town.

Medina talks of corruption, influence peddling, embezzlement of public funds, fraud, negotiations prohibited and illegal financing on the part of the PP. Bañuls counters by saying that he was guilty of malfeasance and fraud in procurement  of services and adds that the bill for advice and lawyers came to 6,000 euros each month during his time as mayor.

We can expect this war of words to continue as we move closer to the local elections this year.

Programme of works

At the same time, Bañuls has taken the opportunity to point out the work that is going on in the Plaza de la Concordia outside the Third Age centre and in the Parque Huerto del Cura.  Thanks to a subsidy of 120,000 euros from the Province of Alicante, these two playground areas are being transformed from their present shabby condition. 

The timing for this work is perfect. Bigastrense voters will no doubt be impressed by the provision of better facilities for their children’s play. Unlike the ill fated granite setts on Calle Purisima, the disastrous fountain in the Town Square and the unnecessary transformation of the road into the town, this work should prove to be a big hit.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Calm at last

The strong wind that has lashed Alicante province since Friday continued through until Sunday. It had calmed overnight on Saturday only to return with force on Sunday morning.

Wind gusts of up to 74km per hour were recorded at Alicante/Elche airport which must have made plane landings “interesting” to say the least. In Orihuela the wind speed reached 73km per hour.

This morning I will be outside putting things back in place including a large plant pot that was overturned. Fortunately, the plastic pot looks to be undamaged and it landed safely to the side of my car.

Most of the reports of damage are about falling ledges, balconies, walls, fences, billboards, street furniture and trees. The facade of the Town Hall in Alicante suffered and a tree in the Plaza Gómez Ulla fell, severely damaging a parked car.There are no reports of injuries that I can find.

Further up the coast, at the Castellon town of Vilafranca, the gusts reached 115km per hour. In Fredes speeds of 100km per hour were recorded and in Vinaros the wind got to 92km per hour.

Apart from the damage that the wind can do, there is also a high risk of forest fires to consider. There is therefore a ban on any type of fire even in designated recreational areas. 


For the benefit of my British readers, let me put those speeds into perspective for you with this table that shows the conversion between kilometres per hour to miles per hour.

Not at all happy

The whole point of the Medieval Market from the stall holders point of view is to make money. The entertainment might draw the crowds in but if the people keep their hands in their pockets, the whole event is a waste of time for them.

Thirty of the stalls quit before the event even started either because they had suffered damage on the Thursday night or they saw no point in being there given the weather conditions . Most of those that stayed claim to have lost money and blame the Ayuntamiento for not postponing the event when it was clear that it would be dogged by high winds and then rain on Saturday.

As I have said in a previous post, many Spaniards go to the market with no intention of buying anything. To be honest, with the number of people crowding the narrow streets on Saturday and Sunday, it would have been virtually impossible to stop and look at what was on offer. Stalls in the wider streets might  have fared better but then those streets tend to attract fewer people and in any case, people walk down the middle of them, avoiding the stalls altogether. 

Those who were at the market would likely have observed that the majority of people actually buying from the stalls were tourists; British, Germans and other nationalities. For example, Pam and I bought a couple of items for our grandchildren.

The only stalls that would have made money were those selling food. It is very hard to walk past the tempting aroma of meat cooking on a barbecue and not want to sample some and of course, all that walking around makes you both hungry and thirsty. 

What will happen next year is anybody’s guess. Spaniards are indomitable people who are not easily phased by adversity and so I imagine they will be back next year hoping that the weather Gods will be kinder.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Podemos in Madrid

Four years ago, Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square was taken over by los indignados. It was an impromptu revolt by  thousands who camped out for weeks in a rally rally against the political establishment which they said was out of touch with the people.

Podemos-rally-madrid-008Yesterday, up to 100,000 came again and filled the square showing the world that 2015 would be the year of change for Spanish politics.

Over 260 buses carried people to the march, paid for by a crowdfunding campaign. Hundreds of Madrileños opened their doors to those who needed a bed and others offered free rides back to the far corners of the country for those who had travelled to Madrid. There were no reported incidents of bad behaviour during the rally showing that the people were united for a common purpose.

As the leader of Podemos told the crowd, “Since the economic crisis the number of rich has increased by 27%. That’s the same number who now live at risk of poverty” and asked, “is this economic recovery?”

Having won seats at the European elections, Podemos now face the regional election in poverty stricken Andalusia at the end of March. A win there would spur them on to fight in other regions and in the General Election which must take place before December.  

The Market was open for business

When I looked out of the window yesterday morning and saw it raining, my first thought was “thank God we went to the Medieval Market on Friday”. Within an hour though, the rain had stopped, the sun came out and even the blasted wind dropped.

The strong wind, that troubled the market on Friday, did pick back up and in fact gusts of 90km per hour were recorded by 3pm. Following that, the wind calmed down so that by 11pm it was no more than a strong breeze.

So what about the market then?

I  read this morning that the rain only delayed the opening by half an hour and then it was business as usual. The rain did put off the early crowds who were thin on the ground but as the day progressed, so the people came out. And there was plenty for them to see as had been promised including dancers, fire jugglers, knife acts and lots of animals. The food stalls would have been popular, perhaps more so than those selling various crafts.

If you haven’t been already, today is the last day. It promises to be sunny, windy this morning but calmer by the afternoon. Be aware though, Sunday does tend to be the most crowded of the three days.