Monday, July 31, 2017


Cristiano Ronaldo is facing four counts of fraud for tax evasion worth €14.7 million, committed between 2011 and 2014.

In court, his spokesperson said Ronaldo would not be making any statements.

The case against Ronaldo is still at the investigation stage, which means that no members of the public will be allowed inside the courtroom.

The 32-year-old player allegedly used a corporate structure created in 2010, the year after he signed with Real Madrid, in order to “conceal from tax authorities his income in Spain from his image rights.”

In the Virgin Islands alone he is thought to have deposited €150 million of income from his image rights.

Cristiano Ronaldo is not the first famous soccer player to face similar charges. On May 24, the Supreme Court ratified a conviction against Barça forward Lionel Messi for tax fraud. He was given a 21 month sentence which he is unlikely to have to serve He was also fined 2 million Euros.

Under Spanish legislation, evaded amounts upwards of €120,000 a year become a crime punishable with one to five years in prison. Cristiano Ronaldo’s alleged fraud surpassed this threshold every year between 2011 and 2014.

The player reportedly told fellow players on the Portuguese national team that he wanted to leave Spain because he felt as if he were being treated as a criminal.

Sorry pal but people who defraud the tax authorities ARE criminals and should be dealt with as such.

It could be yours!

Those of you who have been before will know all about the "Carrera de Cintas".

For the uninitiated, a wire is stretched across the street. On the wire are tapes, each with the name of a queen or dame. To collect the tape you have to poke a wooden stick through a plastic ring whilst riding on a bicycle. You can see Alberto succeeding this task in the second photo.

You then exchange the tape for a sash from the person whose name corresponds. This year Pamela, as Third Age Queen, will be presenting the sash below to the lucky person who collects her tape. It could be you!*

* PS I recall Scout John saying he would have a go when Pamela was Third Age Queen.

Of course he may have to collect a few tapes to get the one with her name on it Best of luck John!!!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Santa Ana

It is a tradition that the Fiesta Queens, along with their courts, are presented for the first time at the Fiesta for Santa Ana - less than a week before the coronation.

So, last night Pam and I went down at midnight to the park where the statue of Santa Ana is kept in a niche. There was a disco in progress; some were dancing but most were sat around tables enjoying refreshments on what was a warm night. We too bought drinks from the bar and sat down and waited for the event to take place.

Members of the Fiesta Commission along with the Juvenile and Infantile courts arrived shortly after us and we all assembled at the side of the stage ready for the presentation.

At the scheduled time of 12:30 am, the lady presenter went on to the stage and made the announcements. First up were Pam and I as Third Age King and Queen. The reception we received from the crowd was two much appreciated rounds of applause.

We were followed by the Infant Court and then the Junior Court. There was a short speech followed by a few words from the Mayor. Fifteen minutes, it was all over and we were able to return to our house.

We would like to thank the Fiesta Commission for organising the event and the people from the town who gave us such a warm and friendly greeting. Pam and I look forward to Friday now and our coronation.

Friday, July 28, 2017

We are counting on you

Just to remind all our friends and neighbours both English and Spanish, this year's coronation of the Fiesta Queens will take place on Friday 4th August at 10pm. Pam and I would be delighted if you could come along and give us your support.

A moment of fame

Those of you who can get TV Vega Baja might want to watch the programme, "El Mirador" from yesterday.

In the programme, Pamela and I , along with the infant queen and the juvenile queen, were interviewed about this year's fiesta.

A late night

But I can assure you it will be worth stopping up for.

Chris Froome in action

Chris Froome, four times winner of the Tour de France, will be riding in the Vuelta a Espana this year.

It is unlikely that I will ever get to see him ride in France so I will take the opportunity to see Froome near the start of this stage.

Sunday, 27 August 2017 - At 176.3 kilometres, the 9th stage in the Vuelta a España travels on flat roads from Orihuela to a summit finish in Cumbre del Sol. If you look at the route, it takes you from Orihuela to Torrevieja and so it is likely that it passes through Bigastro.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Religious acts during the Fiesta



Working days: Visperas at 8:00 p.m. and Holy Mass at 8:30 p.m.

Festive days: On Sunday, August 6th and 13th, Holy Mass at 10:00 am.

Friday 11th: SANTA MISA DE CAMPAÑA, in the Plaza de la Concordia.

MONDAY, AUGUST 14: OFFERING OF FLOWERS AT 8:00 PM AND HOLY MASS AT 8:30 PM (EVENING OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE VIRGIN), there will be the delivery of medals and bylaws to the new confraternities.

(The Brotherhood of San Joaquin asks the participants in the Offering to bring, if possible, bouquets, to facilitate their placement in the floral framework that surrounds San Joaquin on the facade of the Church)




The first week

This is the programme for the first week of this year's Fiesta.

Pam and I would be delighted to see you at the Coronation where we will become Third Age King and Queen. We will also be at the tapeo on Sunday 6th and then at the Dinner Dance on Friday 11th.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 4th, 2017
8:30 PM
The Festival Committee accompanied by the Union Sociedad Musical de Bigastro will collect the courts of the outgoing queens from 2016 and the court of incoming queens of the Fiestas Patronales 2017, ending the tour along the streets Aureliano Diaz and Purísima. They will be accompanied by Council Members and the Principal Speaker.


In the Huerto del Cura Park, the traditional  Coronation of the Court of Queens 2017 will take place, honoured by the pregonero - Mr. Agustín Pastor Fuentes.

12:00 Midday TAPEO

We start with the first day of tapas in the Huerto del Cura Park, with the participation of bars, cafes and restaurants.

3:30 PM

Do not move from the park.  Have you had a good meal? Now you can enjoy the music of  DJ Robles, who will liven up the afternoon and the same establishments will serve drinks.

Children will be able to enjoy the attractions installed for them in the Parque Huerto del Cura.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 6th, 2017

12:00 Midday TAPEO

Second and last day of tapas in the Huerto del Cura Park.

3:30 PM  We continue here with good music provided by DJ Rafa.


FRIDAY, AUGUST 11th, 2017

6:00 PM


In the vicinity of the E.I. Bigastrín we will install a Children's Park, with games for all ages.

8:00 P.M.
The Festival Committee have organised a DINNER-DANCE, in the E.I. Bigastrin, for a small fee, sign up at the Town Hall (limited capacity). Dinner will be enlivened by the "TRIO EVEREST".

Our day has come

Our first duty

This is our first calling, the presentation at Santa Ana.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Jellyfish alert

Traditionally, the best way to neutralise a jellyfish sting is to pour vinegar over the area (or male urine if you don't have vinegar handy). But Pelagia noctiluca sting is best treated with a solution of Epsom salts.

Experts say that you should never wash the affected area in fresh water because this can stimulate the chemicals in the sting further. Instead, wash it in seawater.

Never rub anything, such as sand or a towel, over the sting. The best immediate action is to apply intense cold to the area for five minutes, using, say, a plastic bag filled with ice. Any bits of tentacle stuck to the skin should be removed only during or after application of the ice.

Ideally, the victim should be taken to the beach's first-aid post in case there is an allergic reaction to the sting or other complications set in.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

My contribution

La Sociedad Unión Musical de Bigastro está de enhorabuena, pues recientemente ha recibido por
parte de Keith Williamson la donación de 4000 fotografías digitales que recogen las actuaciones de nuestra banda durante los últimos diez años: fiestas patronales, conciertos, fiestas de Santa Cecilia, ensayos, certámenes, etc...
Un valioso legado fotográfico, testimonio de la historia reciente de nuestra sociedad, que ha sido registrado y archivado en nuestro Archivo Histórico Musical, con las adecuadas medidas preventivas de conservación.
Muchas gracias Keith!

Society Musical Union of Bigastro are in luck, because they recently received from Keith Williamson 4000 digital pictures s that cover the performances of our band over the last ten years; Fiestas for San Joaquin, concerts, festivals of Santa Cecilia, rehearsals, competitions, etc ... a valuable photographic legacy, a testament to the recent history of our society, which has been registered and archived in our Musical Historical Archive, with appropriate preventive conservation measures.

Thank you very much Keith!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Did you know?

We all know that permission is required to construct or alter your property here in Spain. That even includes building or extending a wall.

Pam and I wanted to replace our wooden shed with a brick built one but we could not get permission for it to be in the same place. Local regulations say that any permanent enclosed construction must be at least 1.5m from the boundaries of your property. Thankfully, wooden sheds are not classed as permanent.

You regularly read about Brits who have had storage built or porches enclosed being made to demolish them. I even recall reading about one couple who had to demolish a pool because they did not have the proper licences in place. Remember, the responsibility lies with the owner to obtain permission - not the builder.

Now we want the house painting outside to cover up the render that has stained with the rain. Our near neighbour does all sorts or repairs and constructions so we asked him.

Yesterday, he came with the man who will be doing the painting to measure up which I thought was strange. It turns out though that you need permission from the town hall to paint your house and you have to pay a fee based on the quantity of paint and other materials used.Without permission, we could face the possibility of a fine being imposed.

You may ask, "how do they know that alterations have been made?"

Of course, a neighbour or the police may well inform the town hall if they see the work being done but it is even clever than that. Town halls use aerial photos from Google and Cadastral to compare your property with the state it should be in.

So that outbuilding at the rear of your property that you thought was out of sight will show up and could be discovered years even after it was built. It used to be the case that, if five years had passed since the construction, then you were exempt. Valencian law was changed and that period is now 15 years.

PS If you want to see what is on record go to 

Select Localizacion and type in your details: province, town street and number to find details of your property including a photo of it from the road and an aerial photo (which in our case is not at all clear).

Monday, July 17, 2017

Worked on

This official portrait of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla has had a lot of work done on it.

I have a program called Portrait Pro which makes these changes for you. From widening eyes to removing blemishes and even re-sculpting features, Portrait Pro can take years off faces. I  use it with care on some of my pictures including the ones I recently took of Anuta at her wedding.

If you go too far though, the result ends up like this and is no longer a true portrait. Look at Charles, I bet he wishes his face was so young! Well done Mario Testino, you have made a picture that they probably both love - shame it doesn't fool the rest of us.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The heat goes on

This from El Pais.

The heatwave affecting central, southern and eastern Spain produced a new record on Thursday afternoon, when an official weather station at Córdoba airport logged a temperature of 46.9ºC at 3.30pm. This is the highest figure recorded at this spot since the station was built, making Córdoba the Spanish capital with the highest temperature in Spain on Thursday. Another municipality in Córdoba province, Montoro, registered a high of 47.3ºC, making it the hottest village in Spain and the new hot weather record-holder since Spain started to keep track of weather events.

The AEMET state weather agency said that temperatures will ease up slightly on Friday, but did not expect the heatwave to officially end before Sunday.

The weather agency is forecasting a drop of between 1ºC and 3ºC in the south, but the provinces of Jaén and Córdoba are on a “red” heat advisory for the third day in a row, with temperatures that will reach over 44ºC. AEMET has also issued an “orange” warning in 13 other provinces, meaning conditions are slightly less hazardous to human health, for temperatures of 38ºC and over.

Córdoba is set to hold the heat record once again with an expected high of 45.7ºC, followed by 46.4ºC in Andújar (Jaén), 44.2ºC in Écija (Seville) and 44.7ºC in Linares (Jaén). These temperatures are 7ºC to 11ºC hotter than average for this time of the year at these locations.

Meanwhile, the provinces of Granada, Huelva, Seville, Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Toledo, Ávila, Salamanca, Madrid, Badajoz and Cáceres are on an orange heat advisory, while Cádiz, Málaga, Huesca, Teruel, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lleida, Valencia and Segovia are on the lowest heat alert, yellow.

AEMET said that northern Spain would start feeling the heat over the weekend. “For now, the temperature rise in the north will not reach heatwave levels, but could eventually,” said agency spokeswoman Delia Gutiérrez.

The relentless heat will ease up notably in the south on Saturday, but eight provinces will remain on orange heat warnings. That number will go down to five on Sunday.

Past records

According to a study from AEMET, which covers all of the heatwaves in the country between 1976 and June 2017, temperatures above 46ºC have rarely been seen in Spain. Temperatures exceeding 45ºC have been registered on five occasions, including at Córdoba airport in the summer of 2015, and in 2012 when 45.9ºC was reached at Seville airport.

However, the maximum temperature ever recorded in Spain was not actually during a heatwave: on July 23, 1995 the heat at Córdoba airport hit 46.6ºC.

The longest heatwave on record took place in 2015 and lasted 26 days.

King Filipe and Queen Letizia state visit to London

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I didn't know that

I also don't know what it is about. Can anyone enlighten me?

An absolute insult

Teresa May's Conservative Government clearly believes that teaching, like nursing, is a vocation meaning that financial reward is secondary to the satisfaction teachers get from educating children. The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) says there should be a 1 per cent increase for all pay ranges this year.

The result is that the Government’s own figures show that average pay for classroom teachers has only gone up by £300 - less than 1 per cent and have fallen behind inflation by 13 per cent since 2010.

This latest pay announcement will mean that figure increases to over 15 per cent. The pay being offered to newly qualified teachers would be over £3,500 higher if the pay cap had never been applied and schools would have far fewer difficulties in recruiting new graduates.

Compare that with MP's salaries which have increased from £65,738 in 2010 to £76,011 this year. The graph below shows how their pay has increased since 1977 when they were comparable with the average household wage and it shows the massive 10% increase they enjoyed in 2015.

Monday, July 10, 2017


This sounds like an excellent photo opportunity and a barbeque thrown in. What's not to like?

Oh and I nearly missed Chicas GoGO!

Friday, July 07, 2017


Restaurante Vela Beach, Torrevieja.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The problems continue

I've heard this morning about a third break-in at Villas Andrea.

This time it was a house on the edge of the estate and the people were in the house at the time. They were upstairs and the break-in occurred downstairs.

There is of course no way of knowing whether these are the same people each time or different ones.

Monday, July 03, 2017

The far away light

Do you know that our path around the sun is elliptical? In January, we are at the closet to the sun and today, we are the furthest away.

Of course, here in Spain we are a bit closer to the sun than our friends and relatives back in England.

An occasional treat perhaps

Fried fish and chips were something I had every Friday lunchtime when I was a young lad living in Morley, Yorkshire. We also had tripe and onions regularly and large Green's pork pies for tea.

Every Sunday we had roast meat with potatoes and vegetables followed by a pudding of some sort with custard. Mondays, we would have the remains of the joint cold  served with potatoes etc.

Was it any wonder then that most of my family were overweight?

These days, Pam and I very rarely have fish and chips even though I still thoroughly enjoy them. We only have a roast lunch if we go out in England  on a Sunday and a pork pie is a treat every few months when we go to Iceland (the shop that is, not the country!).