Thursday, January 31, 2019

Help save the planet

To encourage folks to buy locally, the Town Hall  came up with this scheme.

When you buy from a local shop after the 30th of January, you will be given a little tree to plant.

Please don't plant it in a pot though, put it in the ground where it can grow big and strong.

If you don't have space for a tree, then take it to the Town Hall and they will make sure that it is planted in the allocated space at La Pedrera.

Be informed

For those who attend the inauguration ceremony, an historical guide to the town centre by Pascual Segura. Please note that the guide is in both Spanish and English.

NB You can also read this fascinating guide online by following this link.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Another parade

And paella if you dress up.

The next procession

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The official site

The Ruta Alquibla has its own website which you can explore and find out what this new initiative is all about.

On the site you will learn something of the history for example, how the Vikings sailed up the River Segura and you will find photos of the local fauna and flora. I recommend that you watch the  introductory video with its aerial tour of the route.

The new website also links you to general information about the town and its council.

PS The website is not properly optimised for tablets like my iPad. It is better viewed on a desktop machine.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Not good news for the Medieval Market

Next Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Orihuela will be staging its annual Medieval Market.

Those who have been in the past will remember times when the wind has been an issue. One year, it was so strong that the opening was postponed and a number of the stalls were blown down.

The forecast for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd is not good. Sunday looks to be the better of the three days but even then it could be too windy for some.

From past occasions, we know that Saturday and Sunday are normally very busy with plenty of visitors crowding the narrow streets. However, if you stand and watch, you will observe many are just out to socialise. They may stop for some food or a drink but will pass by the many stalls without even giving them a second glance.

The official opening

Following the presentation at the tourist fair, FITUR,  by the mayor-president, Teresa María Belmonte Sánchez, and the Town Planning and Environment councillor, Antonio José Meseguer Cabañés, this week there will be a presentation, inauguration  and the first official walk along the tourist route - Ruta Alquibla (pronounced alkeybla).

Let us hope that the weather is OK. The forecast is for partial cloud. moderate wind, temperatures reaching 19 degrees and no chance of rain so it should be fine.

There was a time when I would have joined them on the walk. Now though, I may have to settle for taking photos of the walkers en route.

Bluff or fact

As the 29th March looms ever closer, the political infighting in Britain has increased to fever pitch. So too has the scare mongering aimed at stopping BREXIT, delaying it or forcing MPs to back Teresa May's deal.

Many of today's papers are running stories telling us that Whitehall officials say they could introduce martial law to stop “civil disobedience”, amid the fears over a no-deal Brexit.

Government staff are looking at introducing legislation under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 which would allow ministers to impose curfews, travel bans, confiscate property and deploy the armed forces to stop rioting.

This leaked threat might seem to strengthens the case for at the least postponing BREXIT but that may not be its intention. More sceptical souls see it as May's way of trying to force the hands of those who voted against her deal to think again on Tuesday.

Let's face it, May has steadfastly ruled out a second referendum, stopping a "no deal" BREXIT or a delay to allow time for a renegotiation. As far as she is concerned, Britain leaves the EU on the 29th March either with or without a deal full stop. The choice is either accepting what many regard as a bad deal or potential chaos. Besides the threat of martial law, there is concern about the supply of medicines, queues of lorries waiting for custom checks and even a shortage of food. It really is Hobson's choice. 

If I had been allowed to vote, I would have put my cross by remain and I would have been on the losing side. Even though I still believe that Britain would be better staying in Europe, I accept that the "will of the people" was to leave, hopefully in an orderly way.

Sadly, it doesn't look as though there will be anything orderly about Britain's exit from Europe. Whichever route is taken, there will be acrimony that will divide the country for a long, long time to come. David Cameron, what were you thinking of. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Mayor in Madrid


The Mayor, along with the Councillor for Environment and a representative from Alicante province at the tourist fair, FITUR, in Madrid.

They are there to promote the latest project named Alquibla. This nine kilometre route is designed to take tourists from the town centre to the traditional garden and the leisure zone of La Pedrera.

Along the way there are signposts and information boards that describe different aspects and points of interest of the town.

I know, from my discussions with the Mayor, that tourism is seen as an important development for the town. Those of you who have visited the town square recently will have noticed the new Tourist Information Office to the right of the door into the Town Hall.

During our meeting, the priorities that the Mayor outlined to me were:
a) the need to make the town more attractive to locals and visitors
b) to encourage people to spend their  money in the town's local shops
c) to encourage more businesses to invest in the town
d) to provide accommodation for visitors in the form of a hotel
e) to ensure that the value of properties and investments in the town grow

With a very limited budget caused by the huge debt from previous administrations, it has been and will continue to be an uphill struggle. A great deal of investment though has been made from the province to help Bigastro achieve its aims. The town now has to capitalise on those investments and make sure that they were not misplaced.

As the mayor said though, "there is only so much that the council can do, we need everyone on board to make further progress". "People should feel proud to live here and call Bigastro their home". I would only add that, the success of these projects is in all of our interests.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Yesterday in Bigastro

Bigastro celebrates the day of San Anton. patron saint of animals, each year with a special mass and a benediction of animals that the townsfolk take along.

The mass used to be held inside the church with the blessing taking place in the doorway.

Traditionally, there is a raffle as well with a pair of live pigs being the prize one year.

Now, the mass is held outside and the raffle is for items that people might want more than a live pig.

In another twist this year, the statue of the saint was paraded around a short route of the town before mass.

The saying goes that the sun shines on the righteous and so it did yesterday. Only at the end of the benediction did heavy clouds appear and rain started to fall.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Expressing her opinion

Keep up-to-date

Friday, January 18, 2019

The proof is here

This photo from 1954 was taken on the road that leads to La Pedrera.


 It shows José Fuentes Pérez  driving his cart loaded with stones from the quarry to the town. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

I've seen the diagrams

Newspapers seem to be as divided as MPs on what exactly will happen or could happen now with BREXIT. Many of them have set out diagrams that show different scenarios of what might transpire in the coming days and weeks as Britain struggles to resolve the issues.

I think it is fair to say that, if Teresa May cannot come up with something radically different to her initial plan, it will be voted down again. But what happens then?

The fall back position is that Britain will crash out of the EU without a deal. Some say that will be a disaster and cause chaos, others seem to think it is a reasonable option.

Some want an extension to allow more time, others say that will lead to nothing more than the present position.

There is a camp that suggests we should have a second referendum, I assume in the hope that the people will change their minds and vote remain. Many though believe that a second vote would split the country even wider.

What is abundantly clear is that many politicians are voicing opinions based on their own self interests rather than what might be best for the country.

Whatever happens next, I believe that BREXIT will go down as a sorry saga that has cost the country dearly in many different ways.

I wonder, should BREXIT be like PPI where you can make a claim on the basis that it was miss sold to you. We were told leaving would be easy, painless and highly beneficial.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The importance of being up to date

By law, banks in Spain require identification of their customers. Without up to date information they can refuse to allow you to withdraw money even if you have a balance in your account.

For foreign customers, the usual form of identification will be a passport but therein lies a problem because passports expire after ten years. Once your passport has expired, it is no longer an acceptable form of identification.

The majority of people renew their passport before it is about to expire but of course it will have a new number. The bank needs to know this in order to keep their information up to date. The process should be simple, you call into any branch of your bank and present your new passport so they can update your record.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Renaming the street

Photo from Facebook
On the 13th a plaque was unveiled renaming the street by the VaiVen after Manuel Moya Pomares.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Just as strange as before

Last night, the theatre group, El Lugarico, performed Habitos Extranos (Strange Habits) in the Auditorium to a full audience.

This is the second time that we have seen this play and there were some changes made which only added to the humour.

Since the first performance, El Lugarico have taken their production to Madrid where the man who played the priest got a richly deserved first prize.

As I said previously, even if you did not understand all of the dialogue and to be fair it is not easy to understand Spanish innuendo, the visual humour was worth going for.

A gay priest, a man who has a few too many lady friends, clothes that seem to come off at will, a stripper and a plumber with a bossy wife - all the makings of a Whitehall farce.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Frozen fruit

This is what the local farmers have been trying to avoid. This picture was taken in Murcia.

Luckily for us, the temperature has not dropped below 2.4 degrees and last night it was 3.1. at its lowest - so no signs of ice in the garden.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Bless the budgies, rabbits, dogs etc etc

Protecting the crop

Whilst some crops can stand a bit of frost, others are totally ruined. Farmers therefore take the precaution of lighting fires to keep the air temperature above 0.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Baby it's cold outside

Will the water in the bucket freeze?

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

The tourist route

Around the town you will find boards like this that show a route around Bigastro taking in points of interest. 

You will also find smaller boards at those points that give you a description of what is there. 

Getting ready - important information

I'm sure most of you will be aware that the 26th May will be election day here in Spain. On that day we will be voting for both the municipal council and the European Parliament. When I say we, I mean those of us who are eligible to vote and are included on the electoral roll.

Nationals of European countries and those from countries that a reciprocal agreement with Spain are entitled to vote. Note that, even though Britain may have left the EU by then, we will still be able to vote because the reciprocal agreement has already been made.

There are three ways in which we can vote; on the Internet, by post and in person at the Town Hall (or  designated polling station). Of the three, voting in person is by far the most simple.

However, in order to vote you will need to be registered to vote by the 30th of January.  Those nationals from countries that have a reciprocal agreement need to register by the 15th January.

To register on the Padron you need;

a) an up to date identity document - identity card or passport.
b) a document that proves your address
c) the title deed, water or electricity bill or your SUMA bill. Please note that this document must be in your name.

Your copy of the Padron MUST BE less than five years old so if the last time you obtained a copy was when you first arrived here, it will probably need renewing.

If you go to the Town Hall, you can check that you are still recorded on the Padron and also check your eligibility to vote in the forthcoming elections.

PS Taken from the following official document provided by the Town Hall along with their fuller explanation in Spanish.


General information

The Padron (Inhabitant Municipal Census) is the administrative registration where all the neighbours of the town are. Its data are proof of the residence in the municipality and of the address. The document is issued as a public and reliable document for all administrative purposes. Everyone who usually lives in Spain is obliged to register in the Padron of the Town Hall where they live


Law 7/1985 of 2 April regulating the Local System.
Regulation on Population and Demarcation of Local Entities (Royal Decree 1690/1986, of July 11).
Organic Law 14/2003 of November 20, reform of the Organic Law 4/2000.
Resolution of 30 January 2015, of the President of the National Institute of Statistics and the Directorate General for the Coordination of Competences with the Autonomous Regions and Local Authorities on technical instructions to the municipalities on management of the Municipal Register.
Organic Law 14/2003 of November 20, reform of the Organic Law 4/2000.


EU citizens:
Updated identity document (passport or identity card).
Document proving an address (a home of your property or rented home):
*Property: title deed, water or electricity bills or SUMA bill of the house. (These documents must be in the owner’s name)
*Rented home: updated rental agreement.
Once registered on the Padron, citizens have three months to apply for the Residence Certificate (or card) in Spain. Once you have got it, you can sign on for the electoral roll if you are interested in voting in Spain.
The Padron must be renewed every five years.

Non-EU citizens:
Updated identity document (passport) or Residence card.
Document proving an address (See above)
Padron must be renewed every two years, if you have not got the permanent residence in Spain. If you have it, the padron will be renewed when it expires.

Right to vote at the European and Local elections. Derecho a la asistencia e inserción social.
Right to social servicies and social assistance.
Right to public school.
Right to public services, such as ambulance, SIP card, improvements for the municipality.


Everyone who would like to get the SIP card must go to the SIP Card Information Point at the Town Hall or to the nearest medical centre

In the Local Elections as well as in the European ones, you will be able to vote if you are:
Spanish over 18 years old.
An EU citizen with the Residence certificate in Spain, with your padron and if you have applied to enrol for the electoral roll.
A citizen from a country with reciprocity agreements to vote in the Local Elections.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

A rare event

It is not often that we get temperatures so low, even in winter. According to forecasts, the temperatures will be even lower at the weekend. The prediction is for nighttime temperatures of -1 and possible -3.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Before and after

We've often wondered what the land looked like before Villas Andrea was constructed. These two aerial pictures supplied by FontaBigastro solve that mystery for us.

Friday, January 04, 2019

The 3 Kings arrival in Bigastro

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Celebrating a great musician

The Town Hall invites you to join in with the tributes to Manuel Moya Pomares, musician and director of the local band.

Friday, January 4th at 8:00 pm at the Francisco Grau Municipal Auditorium, the "Manuel Moya Pomares, Music and Memory" Exhibition will be opened. On Sunday, January 6th at 12:00 there will be a Mass in honor of Manuel Moya Pomares sung by the Choir Manuel Moya. In the afternoon, at 6:00 p.m. at the Francisco Grau Auditorium a Concert by the Manuel Moya Choir will take place.

Finally, on Sunday, January 13th, one of the streets will be renamed Maestro Manuel Moya Pomares Street .

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

A great night

When Pam found that our neighbours, Pepe and Eladia had booked for New Year's Eve at the Camping Restaurant, we asked if we could join them.

There were a few more British residents dining there and a handful of others who were at the bar. So mostly Spaniards for company.

As you can see from the menu, it was a typical celebration meal with a range of starters for sharing followed by a main course of meat or fish and a dessert.

There was no restriction on the amount you could have to drink except for the one glass of spirits for which you had a wrist band.