Friday, June 30, 2017

A complete reversal

From a situation where this area was the hottest part of Spain, on Saturday things will change. Whilst temperatures elsewhere will rise from today, temperatures here will plummet by up to 8 degrees and we could even see a spot of rain.

As the notice says, if you are planning to go to the beach, Sunday will likely be a better day.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Living in an oven

In spite of the forecast, the cloud for much of yesterday did keep it feeling cooler. The good news is that, cooler air from the north will reach us by the weekend bringing temperatures down to something more normal.

I stepped outside last night and instead of a nice cool breeze, I was hit by a blast of hot air.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Football cheats

Like many Brits living in Spain, we make an honest declaration each year and pay our taxes on time.

I read somewhere though, that a fair number of Spaniards try every which way to avoid paying their taxes and that many get away with it. Footballers are amongst the highest paid people in the country, especially the super stars that play for the big teams. They are also the biggest cheats when it comes to paying their taxes.

 Here are some examples:

 Lionel Messi and his father were found guilty of tax offences when they failed to declare €10 million in income from image rights, for the period 2007 to 2009. Both were sentenced to 21 months in prison but Messi’s father later saw his sentence reduced to 15 months after being deemed an accessory to those tax crimes. It is now possible that Messi will not go to jail because this is his first offence and he has now paid off his tax debts.

 Manchester United manager (former Real Madrid coach), José Mourinho has also been accused of having failed to pay €3.3 million to Spain’s tax authorities in 2011 and 2012 and for failing to declare income from image rights.

Lastly,  Portugal and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is being accused of a €14.8 million tax fraud by Spanish prosecutors after allegedly having used a shell company in the Virgin Islands to hide image rights income from 2011 to 2014.

Bad news

Those living near the junction of Calle Alemania and Calle Inglaterra will have heard the commotion at about 11pm last night. Many had come out to see what it was all about.

 What it was about was another break-in. You could hear our neighbours shouting "ladrones".

 I don't have specific details, ie exactly how they attempted to get in to the house or whether they were disturbed.

 We hope that the people affected are safe and that the police can quickly put a stop to this current wave of burglaries.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Pepe, el maestro de la paella.

A fantastic way to spend an afternoon. In great company (both English and Spanish)enjoying this superb arroz con serranas y conejo.

Great entertainment for just 10 Euros

Getting hotter

Take care

It has been awhile since the last break-in at Villas Andrea and it is possible that people are not as careful as they used to be when we had a spate of burglaries.

I am sorry to report that another home was broken into during  the last few days. The thieves gained access by removing the grill from one of the windows. Our sympathies go to the people who suffered, we hope that they are OK.

The lesson for all of us is to remain vigilant and take whatever precautions we can to stop thieves from getting in to our houses.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The big clean up

Fifteen agricultural workers will play different roles for Bigastro Town Hall this summer. Eleven of these agricultural labourers have started their first day of work this morning cleaning and conditioning of different points of the municipality. Through a subsidy of the Program for the Promotion of Agrarian Employment, these fifteen people will work in public spaces that need maintenance in order to avoid possible fires in urban and rural areas.

This year's state employment program is extended to the recreational area of ​​La Pedrera, as well as to parks and municipal lots located in housing estates and other parts of the urban area, such as the Apatel industrial estate. The different actions also focus on the clearing of rural roads to improve the visibility for drivers on these roads.

The subsidy, granted by the Ministry of Employment for Bigastro, amounts to 45,000 euros to cover 65 working days. The neighbours selected for these tasks must count in the special agrarian regime and have a series of requirements that the Servef demands.

The councilman of Works and Maintenance, José Manuel Maiquez, highlighted this morning that, the contractors "are working in the most needy areas and, especially, plots and places that are close to homes and Where small fires can originate, "adding that" the recreational area of ​​La Pedrera will also be improved, which is a point that we pay special attention to. "

Archive material

At the request of the Mayor, Pascual Segura is in the process of putting together an exhibition of posters, photos and other documents about the band.

Pascual knew that I had taken photos of concerts and so asked me if he could have copies. He suggested that I could burn them onto DVDs.

I have photos dating back to 2009, some are stored on my computer and others on a Network Attached Storage i.e. an external pair of hard drives.

Once I collected all the photos I could find together, the total came to almost 4,000 and the size of the collection weighed in at 46.2Gbs. That would have taken over 10DVDs so I put them on a USB memory stick for him.

As I explained to Pascual, the 4,000 were a mere selection from the thousands of photos that I have taken. Normally, I take somewhere between 100 and 300 photos at a concert and then choose about 40 to 60 to save. I also explained that photos of the band were only part of my collection of photos taken in Bigastro. I have many more photos of various fiestas and other occasions. I would estimate at least 10,000 in total, probably more.

When Pascual came last night to pick up the USB drive, he brought me a book of photographs of Spain taken from the sky. That was a very kind gesture and one which I appreciated very much. The photos in the book are a fascinating collection showing a different aspect of the country which most would not see. It is a book that I will dip into many times.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The boom returns

The construction sector maintains its recovery in the province of Alicante. Promoters' applications to launch new projects have increased exponentially in recent months, but especially in coastal municipalities, such as Guardamar, Torrevieja, Orihuela Costa and Pilar de la Horadada,

In our region, the towns of Torrevieja and Orihuela continue to lead the boom for new housing construction, not only in 2017, but in the last three years. What the data indicate is that the recovery of the sector is consolidated and is accelerating. According to experts,2017 is being turning out to be very productive in the real estate sector. Some of them say that it is possible to reach the housing figures of 2004.

According to the TINSA report, based on data provided by the Ministry of Public Works, new construction visas in Orihuela Costa in 2015 stood at 448, while in 2016 they rose to 1,038, an increase of 132%, a growth much higher than that of Guardamar, with 66%, Torrevieja, with 27%, and Pilar de la Horadada, with an 8% increase in the number of new work visas.

The contrast of Orihuela city
Faced with data from the Oriol coast, the city and districts hardly present any construction activity of new housing, not only during this 2017 but in recent years. In fact, the licenses granted by the Department of Urbanism are practically all directed to promotions in Orihuela Costa, as confirmed by the councillor of the area, Begoña Cuartero, The mayor says that in the city and districts few licenses are given and are for minor works, "generally reforms, but not for new work".

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

For fans of medieval music.

Over for another year

Well that is Corpus Christi over with for another year. It is incredible how much effort and time the townsfolk put into the preparations. I am sure that the children, taking their first communion, thought it was worth it.

For my part, I took plenty of photos which are posted here and on Facebook. I hope they serve to remind people of how beautiful the town looked, the special procession and concert.

Friday, June 16, 2017

A bite free summer

In the last few days, the Bigastro Town Council has carried out measures to combat a plague of mosquitoes this summer.  This summer-long campaign to prevent the proliferation of these pests.
started with the arrival of high temperatures this week.

A specialised company performs this work by fumigating trees and placing pads in areas with standing water. The councillor of the area, José Antonio Maíquez, explained that this treatment is performed "where there is greater incidence of larvae e.g. in the reservoir on the way up to La Pedrera or in scuppers." In addition, the mayor seeks citizen collaboration and asks that neighbours do not leave standing water inside their homes or in their gardens.

The council have also carried out the process of disinfecting the sewage system in the town to prevent or at least control a summer plague of insects.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dates for the diary

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Corpus Christi

Those of you who have been down to the town will have noticed the buzz as preparations are well under way for Corpus Christi.

Although the actual day is this Thursday, we will be celebrating at the weekend instead. On Saturday the band will play their traditional concert in the town square. Then on Sunday there will be a special mass followed by a procession around the town.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Roman Bigastro

Pascual Segura has kindly researched and documented the history of Bigastro in Roman times.

In ancient Rome, a vicus was a group of dwellings that belonged to a town or a large city. What we all know today as a neighbourhood. But, if Bigastro has its origin in the XVIII century, with the decision of the Cabildo of the Cathedral of Orihuela to found in these lands its New Place, how is it possible that Bigastro belonged in ancient times to the  Roman Empire? The Bigastro that we know today never actually belonged to the Roman Empire, but to the inhabitants who occupied these lands before us.

Two thousand years ago, the colony of ilici Augusta (Elche) was founded. A colony populated for the most part by war veterans to whom the Empire, in gratefulness for their services rendered, presented them with lots of land in the present field of Elche.

These veterans had their own port -located in Santa Pola, along with their "highways" -the popular Via Augusta-thanks to the construction of the branch that linked the old Hannibal Way from Caudete in Albacete to Cartago Nova Cartagena), passing through Ilici (Elche) and the Vega Baja.

Along these "Roman roads" hostels were set up dedicated to the lodging and rest of travellers and warriors, and also small towns or neighbourhoods which were built around the great Roman cities.

At that time Orihuela was composed of a series of villages, villas and estates along the Segura river bed, the Thader, Among these was the vicus of Bigastro.

Fertile land, water in abundance, the proximity of the great communication routes, elevated spaces. In short, a conglomeration of optimal conditions for the construction of a small population, which offered rest to the Roman warriors, while producing food with which to fill the gigantic Roman storeroom. But what was the vicus of Bigastro? Where was it? And finally, how did it fade over time?

Based on the studies carried out on the ground, and after various archaeological excavations, we can now assume that this vicus was a series of houses or farms distributed in the vicinity and spaces that today occupy Bigastro. Fincas owned by veterans and lords installed in a fertile territory, and whose domestic work and works were carried out by families of settlers and slaves.

Currently we can document the estate of Los Palacios (at the entrance to Bigastro from Orihuela), and also four more farms in the natural surroundings of La Pedrera. In addition, there is documentary evidence of Roman remains in the very heart of Bigastro, recognised by all as the square of the church.

All the bigastrenses estates-those that were manifested today and those hidden from research-made up a small slum whose inhabitants fed on their gardens and livestock, benefiting from the water of the Thader River. Natural resources of a privileged environment that allowed them to trade with larger towns, exchanging provisions for utensils from all parts of the Empire, as ratified by the archaeological pieces that have been rescued from the bowels of the terra-cotta land:

Common and Republican amphorae, coins, mortars, bowls, plates, cups, Italian sigillatas from Central Italy, also from Pisa, from Africa, Dressel amphoras, used to transport the mythical Garum - fish meal made with viscera and blood - and The Oberaden, used for the transport of wine. Oil lamps with a chronology that extends from the time of Augustus until the beginning of the Flavia period, and dozens and dozens of archaeological pieces that sketch with tiny strokes such a rich Roman culture that from the eighteenth century would confuse dozens of researchers and archaeologists, who came to attribute to Bigastro theories about Roman cities of higher rank.

For more than four centuries, the homes of vicus bigastrense, built with large rocks from the hills, decorated with large arches of ashlar masonry, fulfilled their main objective: to supply the Roman pantry thanks to its agricultural production, and serve as a resting place for lords and warriors. But from the fourth century AD, the days as a vicus of the great empire were numbered.

The decline of the  Roman Empire began, and its cities began to weaken, affecting the maintenance of Roman road infrastructures. As a result, the direct route of the Via Augusta between Elche and Cartagena was abandoned along with the route  through the city of Orihuela,which left the rest of neighbourhoods marginalised.

Without the traffic of travellers or warriors, and without merchants who encouraged the life of its inhabitants, the vicus bigastrense was separated and condemned to death. Gradually, its neighbours were dispersed by other vicus, towns and cities with greater population, commerce and a view of the future.