Thursday, November 30, 2017

Testing time

The car parking alongside Eurener will be reserved for ITV tests on Monday.

They will be testing, mopeds, quads, small cars and tractors.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Highly recommended

Like a few of my friends of a similar age, I was suffering from hearing loss. My hearing of low and mid range sounds was as good as it gets but high frequencies were a real challenge. At comfortable levels for Pamela, I could not hear the television and conversations in crowded places were  no no for me.

It was time to bite the bullet and so I resolved to visit a hearing centre to have my ears tested. There are plenty of them about and so I was spoilt for choice.

Research online brought up Digital Hearing in Quesada as one option.

On the website, there was a very good introduction from the audiologist, Michael Burke along with a description of the types of aid that you could be prescribed. Best of all though, there was a clear price list which ranged from 1 star aids to 5 star ones - 1090 to 2200 for a pair.

The price list also included the actual brands and specific aids on offer so it was easy to research whether they were good, bad or downright useless. Michael stocks Starkey and Unitron aids which feature amongst the top companies including Phonak, Oticon, Widex and Resound.

The ones I chose were Unitron T Moxi Fit Pro with the rechargeable option. I won't bore you with the details of those, you can research them online if you wish.

My hearing aids

I picked up my HAs on the 13th and wore them every day, all day and then had a follow up appointment this Monday.

I have to confess, at first, they sounded very loud and very brash. I was also aware of them in my ears. After two weeks though, I could no longer sense them in my ears and I was starting to get used to the different sounds.  It will take longer for me to get the full benefit from them but even now, I can hear the improvement in conversations and I can listen to the TV!

Obviously I have no experience of other audiologists but I can tell you that I was most impressed with Michael's patience, knowledge and understanding which is why I am happy to recommend him.

If like me, you are straining to hear well, don't put up with the problem any longer. Go and see Michael or an other audiologist. You will be amazed what a difference it will make to your life.

Reach for the stars

This Friday, at 6:00 p.m.,in the Plaza de la Constitución, you have an appointment with science and Bigastro's history.

Discover with Thomas Villanova the planets of our solar system, thanks to the telescopes of the Museum of Sciences of the Vega Baja, and to the collaboration of the El Lugarico Theater Group.

Enjoy a theatrical astronomical observation, whilst tasting a delicious hot chocolate with mona, in the company of our illustrious scientist.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Winter overnight

The forecast is for a dramatic drop in daytime temperatures tomorrow. Along with that, there is also a threat of rain.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Crazy weather

When it is so cold at night but toasty during the daytime, it makes the choice of clothes difficult.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A special year

Thanks to the work of Pascual Segura, we now know that the Society Union Musical of Bigastro dates back to 1918.

He found a piece of paper that that had been used to reinforce an old music score. Carefully removing the glued on paper revealed a shield with an annotation in pen.

Study of the handwriting showed that it belonged to Francisco Murcia who was director of the band between 1918 and 1935. Further investigation confirmed that, what Pascual had found,  was the first known shield of the SUMB.

The discovery means that the Society Union Musical Bigastro will be celebrating its centenary next year. We can expect a series of special events to commemorate this milestone. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

It's their day

It seems that every faction of society has its own day, today happens to be the one for infants. Nobody could argue with the set of rights on this poster. Sadly though, not all infants are treated the same and the treatment of some falls well short of these ideals.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The future of the band

Lies in the hands of the new musicians who join each year. Most have spent time in the Junior Band first.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Love the poster

One of the highlights of the year is the concert to honour the patron of musicians.

Apart from the great music, this is when the new musicians that are joining the band are presented to the audience. We will also see this year's Mr and Miss dance the waltz.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ah but . you say

Keith, I hear what you are saying about meddling by Russians and others in the political affairs of Britain and the US.

I understand that Madrid is now also investigating the meddling of Russia in Catalonia and the independence vote. I wonder if  there is any country safe from this type of interference?

The investigations centre around meddling on social media and in particular, Facebook and Twitter. But you say, "I have neither a Facebook nor a Twitter account so how can I be affected?" Well, my friends, those fake news stories make their way to newspapers and to TV reports and so their influence spreads. Who knows, you may have even read fake news on this blog!

People with good memories

Almost daily now, we read of yet another woman who has suffered "sexual abuse" from men in power positions. These range from offensive remarks to unwanted bodily contact. For the moment, these complaints are centred around the Parliament in Britain but it is possible that they will spread elsewhere.

Don't get me wrong, no woman (or man for that matter) should have to put up with any kind of abuse whether it is verbal or physical. The right time to deal with it though was when it occurred, not ten or more years later. If it was serious, then it should have been reported to the police for them to deal with. For less serious abuse, surely there were those in authority at the time who would have listened and dealt with it.

Let us be clear, I'm not referring to the kind of things that people like Stewart Hall, Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris etc got up to. Their abuses were way beyond serious. The abuses we are now reading about are in a different league altogether.

The fact is that many of these incidents were either brushed off as relatively harmless or dealt with by a sharp rebuke and should have been left in the past filed as "dealt with". Nothing good will come of raking up these past memories ten or more years on. In fact a lot of harm can be done even if nothing is eventually proved to have happened.

In most cases these accusations boil down to one persons word against another. Let's face it, one persons saucy remark many be taken as grossly offensive by another especially if the person making the remark is in a senior position.

I don't recall any actual incidents but I am sure some of the things I have said in the past  to women could have been taken the wrong way. Thankfully, nobody has yet come forward to complain about me to the papers.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The influence of social media

Canvassing at elections used to be done by party workers knocking on doors. Along with adverts in newspapers and television and rallies, that was the only means to get messages across to voters.

Campaigners though have got wise to the power of the Internet and increasingly use it to try and influence voters.

Unfortunately, this gives rise to powers, outside the country where the vote is taking place, to try and meddle. The chief culprit is undoubtedly Russia, a country that is desperate to destabilise Europe and more importantly to have a US President on its side.

Facebook has been told to hand over evidence of Russian meddling in British politics to MPs.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee has demanded that the US internet giant release adverts and pages linked to Russia in the build up to last year’s EU referendum and June’s general election.

It comes after Facebook admitted that fake accounts tied to the Kremlin had bought more than $100,000 (£76,000) worth of politically-charged adverts in an apparent attempt to influence last year’s US election.

Under investigation from Congress it has handed over 3,000 adverts purchased over two years by the Internet Research Agency, a group linked to the Russian Government.

The US adverts, which also appeared on Instagram and were seen by 10 million people, focused on divisive topics such as race, immigration and gun rights, and were allegedly used to help propel Donald Trump to the White House. Mr Trump has attempted to play down the impact of the adverts, saying the amounts spent were “tiny” and claiming that Facebook was on Hillary Clinton’s side.

Mr Zuckerberg has said it “just wouldn’t be realistic” to stop all interference in election campaigns on Facebook, although the company has since vowed to manually review every advert targeting people by political affiliation or race.

Twitter has also been under fire after thousands of automated “bot” accounts were created to attack Ms Clinton and her supporters during the election. Bots were also allegedly used during the Brexit referendum in an attempt to influence the vote, tweeting multiple times a day before deleting their own messages to cover their tracks. One in eight political tweets was written by a bot during the general election.

Google has also found that Russian-linked organisations bought adverts on its search engine and YouTube.

In May, the Information Commissioner’s Office launched an investigation into whether political parties broke data protection rules by bombarding users with highly-personalised adverts during both the EU referendum and ahead of the general election.

It came after pro-Remain MPs said that the Brexit-backing group Leave.EU had employed an analytics firm called Cambridge Analytica to target individual voters with extreme accuracy. Cambridge Analytica was funded with Russian money.

It must come as something as a shock to those that were influenced to vote for Brexit in this way, that they were being led by the Kremlin. On the other hand, the Remain campaign had no chance to compete with the might of Russia.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

New owners

The small British supermarket in Los Montesinos is under new management. If you want a taste of home, this is a good place to try and it might save you a trip to Iceland.

Choose your food

To accompany your gin and tonic.

Time to celebrate

Didn't feel a thing.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Smelly old river

It is usually in summer that the river in Orihuela smells bad. With so little rain though, the Segura is a muddy smelly mess at the moment.

Friday, November 03, 2017

The chill factor

After and unusually warm October. not to mention a very dry one, November will bring a lot of rain to the north. Although we are not forecast rain, it will become cold. I know this because the central heating came on this morning for a brief period. Bear in mind that the heating has been off since about March.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Spooky stuff

Last night, hundreds turned out in Bigastro to take part in a parade for Halloween.

This is my neighbour, Eladia - you can find more spooky pictures in the album of photos located in the sidebar.

We need some rain

Bigastro's darkest past

A chilling account by Pascual Segura.

On the night of June 26, 1885, a frightful event disturbed the calm of a Bigastro inhabited by something more than fifteen hundred souls.

While the shadows painted the Bigastrense night and their neighbors slept, from an old alley emerged a heartrending cry that tore the sleep from its peaceful neighbors. It was the crying of a neighbor, who had just witnessed the death of her ill husband.

His death was added to that of a neighbor who died that same week, both of whom died from a strange illness that caused intestinal discomfort in the first place, continued with severe diarrhea that ended up causing total dehydration, and finally death.

The next day the neighbors buried the body of the deceased in the old cemetery of the Cross, where it was rumored that four other neighbors had begun to suffer the same symptoms as the recently deceased. The next week the four sick neighbors died and were also buried in the same place.

With six deaths in just two weeks, terror seized the bigastrenses, who saw in the disease and death to which they were subjected a fierce punishment from God.

Disoriented and frightened, some neighbors gathered around the Plaza de la Iglesia, where they discussed what to do. They decided to carry out a commission to provide spiritual and humanitarian support to families who had suffered losses. And in this way the newly founded commission, presided by D. Juan Pérez, parish priest of the Parish of Our Lady of Bethlehem, toured the bigastrense street vendor collecting alms and offering songs and masses to those families who had suffered the effects of severe divine punishment.

The daily tour of the commission through the streets of the town ended at the Plaza Ramón y Cajal (Álvaro's door), where they held a mass in the now-defunct Hermitage of the Holy Sepulcher. In that square all the people were gathered, pleading for mercy to heaven that mercilessly sent him such a cruel condemnation.

Days later the rumors of sick neighbors returned. On this occasion there were eight, who died shortly after. Bigastro added fourteen deaths in just one month, and would not be the last, because there were six more patients.

After the last funeral of the fourteen, the frightened bigastrenses crowded to the doors of the church, asking for divine clemency and something else ... they wanted the patrons of Bigastro walking the streets of the town, so that they could cleanse of death, illness and fear the bigastrense streets.

They entered the church and descended from their altars to the Virgin of Bethlehem and San Joaquin. They took them to the square and from there they went through entreaties, bitter chants and tears all the streets of Bigastro. They stopped in front of the houses of the fourteen mortal victims, and also in front of six more houses, because the divine condemnation continued its unstoppable work, that of killing without mercy.

The employers returned to the church, and shortly after six more bigastrenses died. Twenty-two deaths in just two months. It was cholera. A disease that was especially bad in Bigastro due to the poverty, hunger and lack of hygiene existing in the town.

On September 10 of the same year, the Civil Governor of Alicante sent 250 pesetas to the families who had died. Thanks to the help the hygiene of the municipality was improved gradually, especially the one of its waters, and the disease stopped tormenting Bigastro, town that underwent in that summer of 1885 one of the most devastating events of its history.