Friday, March 30, 2018

Oh no!

The weather forecast indicated that there might be a few drops of rain this afternoon but that the procession tonight should not be affected.

Well, it is not quarter to six and there has been more than a few drops here in Bigastro. The forecast says that there may be strong gusts of wind with a yellow alert tomorrow. This does not bode well.

PS Spoke too soon, it is now 6:15 and the sun has come out.

Meanwhile, in Murcia.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


Those would be fabulous temperatures for a summer's day in England.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

An early start

You'll need to be up early if you want to catch this.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Via Crucis

The weather Gods were kind last night for the people of Bigastro. It started to spit rain at about 9:30pm but nothing came of it. There was just a light breeze that did nothing more than blow the oil lamps out that people were carrying.

As I said though, there is very little light once the street lights have been turned off. In the calles it was just light from the odd window that illuminated the passage of the procession.

First out of the church was the statue of Jesus on a small throne that was pushed along.

The statue of Mary, holding Jesus from the cross, was carried on the shoulders of ladies from the brotherhood. You sense her pain as Mary sits with the lifeless body of her son on her lap.

This year, the procession was accompanied by the Manuel Moya Choir and the procession stopped at various points for readings from the Bible.

From nowhere

All was calm until 6am. The wind had actually died down overnight but that was not going to last.

Looking at the data, the wind suddenly picked up and gusts of up to 90kmph were being recorded. According to AEMET we are on orange alert for wind until 6pm tonight. It then drops to yellow alert until midnight. Although much of Spain is affected, it is the South East that is bearing the brunt of the wind.

On a positive note, all looks well for Palm Sunday. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A very atmospheric parade

We've been to this parade a couple of times now.

With the street lights out and just oil lamps for illumination, this is one of the most moving parades we have witnessed.

Very difficult to photograph though with so little light and of course flash would be out of the question.

More about the Certamen

The band competition that Bigastro is participating in is divided into sections according to the number of musicians.

Bigastro competes in the popular 2nd sections which is for bands between 51 and 70 in number. Bands are allowed to recruit up to 5 musicians who do not normally play in the band but these must not be playing with the other bands from that section.

Each band will play three pieces including a work of free choice which must have a maximum duration of 22 and a minimum of 12 minutes. The set piece for the 2nd Section is Pumpkins by Juan Gonzalo Gómez Deval.

The members of the jury will each score points out of ten for each piece played  and then prizes will be awarded as follows:

1st PRIZE: To the bands that obtain from 320 to 400 points. 2nd PRIZE: To the bands that obtain from 260 to 319 points. 3rd PRIZE: To the bands that obtain from 200 to 259 points.

An honourable mention will be awarded to the band that achieves the highest score among those who have obtained the first prize. So what we are hoping for is a 1st prize and honourable mention which is what we obtained last time in Alicante.

All the bands participating in the second section are awarded 4,200 euros to cover expenses including transport.

In addition,  the band that earns the honourable mention will be awarded the prize of 2,500 euros.

The all important weather

We always live in hope that Holy Week will be dry for the processions. It seems that we may be lucky this year. Not fussed about the probability of strong wind on Saturday though.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

We were there

Well you already knew that because I've posted an album of pictures taken at the Gala on Sunday night.

Here you have further proof with a picture taken by our friend Fonta.

Monday, March 19, 2018


Scout John and others who were in our Spanish class will remember this grand lady. Joaquina was in the classroom opposite ours learning to read, write and do basic arithmetic.

Whenever we had a celebration, Joaquina was there and she made sure that we Brits were made to feel welcome.

The Adult Education Classes put on two productions for the children from the Infant School. In the second one, I played the Ice Devil and Joaquina played the Moon. We had a scene together where she reprimanded me for being bad. It was supposed to be just a couple of lines but Joaquina managed to stretch it out to several minutes and thus extended the comic element.

Last night, at the Gala for Women in Bigastro, Joaquina was honoured.

In the photo gallery that was projected onto the stage was a photo of Joaquina and I on stage. As she left the auditorium, Joaquina stopped by us and gave Pam and I a kiss.

Such a wonderful lady and a great ambassador for relations between the Spaniards and the Brits.

For all you dads out there

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Nothing beats a live performance.

I know that the band have put in many hours rehearsing for the competition in Villena on the 7th April. However, performing in concert to an audience is the ultimate test and the best preparation.

Our band have already played their programme in a concert on the 3rd March. This is a reciprocal concert in Bigastro.

Unfortunately, Pam and I were in Manchester for the last concert. You can be sure we will not miss this one.

Friday, March 16, 2018

At last

At last, work has begun to demolish a large part of the structure of the old bullring in Orihuela.

The old building will become a multipurpose space with a capacity of up to 2,800 people. The new complex will be host shows, have garden areas, a cafeteria, public baths and an exhibition hall. What it will not do is stage bullfights.

The works will last seven months at an estimated cost of 400,000 Euros.  Of the 7,500 m2, 5,095 m2 will be paved and landscaped.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Give them your support

Pam and I will certainly be there to support our band.

The Second Section will take place at the Chapí de Villena Theatre , on Saturday, April 7, starting at 12:00 and the order of action will be as follows:


In the afternoon, the auditions will begin at 4:30 p.m., in the following order:


I don't know about the first band playing but we do know that the band from San Miguel will provide stiff opposition.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Condition is everything

Leica 0-series no. 122
Only 25 of these 'test' cameras were produced by Ernst Leitz in 1923—two years before the first Leica camera was officially brought to market. Of those 25, only three are known to still be in 'original condition.'

If you have one in your loft, let me know and I'll take it off your hands! I don't mind if it not quite as good condition as this.

PS Just to let you know, this rare camera has just sold for 2,400,000 Euro (USD 2,976,000).

Friday, March 02, 2018

Mean and moody

Johnny Breeze and The Atlantics (Chris on the left)
Christopher Riley has managed to find this photo of him when he played with Johnny Breeze and the Atlantics in Blackpool.

He's also came across a poster of the time when the Atlantics played at Morecambe Pier with Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac as top of the bill. Chris was not with them then.

PS Chris is on the left in the first photo.

 And below with two of the other bands Chris played with, The Hobos and The John Evan Band which later became Jethro Tull.

The Hobos (Chris back right)

The John Evan Band (Chris second left)

Cancelled again!

With a heavy covering of clouds, this would be a non-event!

Thursday, March 01, 2018

About women