Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Go to the movies

This year's concert features music from films and promises to be an audiovisual extravaganza.

Let's celebrate women in Bigastro

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

You think you are smart?

Bank fraud is big business and the fraudsters takes steps to keep ahead of the game. We all know not to click on links in dodgy looking emails or to give out account details such as pin numbers but are you fully confident to recognise a genuine message from a fake?

Take this test to find out. 

Nobody mentioned this

British holidaymakers in Europe could face five-hour delays at passport control thanks to additional security checks in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Alicante in southern Spain would be  badly affected because 43 per cent of arrivals there are British.

If the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal, Alicante would need the extra staff and resources to deal with an extra 201 hours of immigration checks every day.

Currently, the only check that EU airport officials make on a British passport is that it belongs to the passport holder. Previously, you just showed your passport to the National Policeman in the booth and then passed through. Now there are electronic gates but still it is a simple check.

But from 11pm GMT on 29 March 2019, in the event of a no deal Brexit, UK travellers will become “third-country nationals” and therefore subject to the standard rules of admission for citizens of nations such as the US, Japan and Australia.

This means there is no automatic right of entry, and border officials may ask for evidence of “sufficient means of subsistence” for the intended stay and return – such as return ticket, accommodation reservations or an invitation letter to a conference.

Although the article I read refers to holidaymakers, those of us who are residents with British passports could be equally effected. After all, we would be in the same queue from the plane.

PS Whether Britain crashes out or not, you are advised to change your driving license from a UK version to a Spanish one before the 29th.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Times they are a changin'

I suppose it was inevitable. We are used to women in manly trouser suits, why not men in gowns?

Billy Porter, star of Ryan Murphy’s vogueing series, Pose, at the Oscars  in a floor-length, full-skirt black gown-plus-tuxedo .

Friday, February 22, 2019

A guided tour

Follow the route from the Town Hall to La Pedrera with Efren Pamies and Pascual Segura to guide you.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Don't buy lemons from the shops!

The price of lemons has fallen by 26% compared with last year and stands at 0.28 Euros per kilogramme. Producers of lemons, oranges and tangerines in the Valencian region have lost 200 million Euros this year. Since the cost of picking outweighs the price at market, 26,000 tons of lemons have been left on the trees.

Some argue that the cause is over production but that is not the main problem. It is Turkey, where 800,000 tons of lemons have been exported this year at prices which are noncompetitive due to the devaluation of the lira. Add to that, competition from South Africa, Argentina and now Egypt that used to mainly grow oranges and the Spanish growers cannot compete.

In the meantime, we have a good crop of lemons on our trees this year. Added to which, our friend Eloy has just brought us a further crate of lemons.

Please, if you want lemons, call at our gate - you can have as many as you wish for free.

Well well

A name from the past has just appeared in the papers.

From 1983, Derek Hatton was deputy leader of Liverpool Council whilst John Hamilton was the leader. It was Hatton  that grabbed the limelight though. As a member of Militant, a Troskist organisation, he refused to raise council rates and set an illegal deficit budget of £30m for Liverpool in protest against Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government. .

One of his most controversial moves was to send out taxis with redundancy notices to council workers including teachers. I was at Anfield at the time. We received advice from our unions which basically told us to arrange overdraft loans from our banks. They reasoned that, even Liverpool Council could not continue with a situation where schools were closed because they had no staff. 

Neil Kinnock expelled Hatton from the party and the redundancy notices were never carried out.

That was 34 years ago and we might have expected Hatton to give up thoughts of a political career in that time. But no, he applied to rejoin the party several times but was only successful with his application in September 2018. He was readmitted 18th February this year only to be suspended two days later for tweeting "Jews with "humanity" should criticise Israel" in 2012. 

Ah well, at least Degsy will not want for money. He is motivational speaker and chairman of the new media company Rippleffect. Hatton is also a property developer in Cyprus. Just as back in the 1980s, Hatton dresses in designer suits and Italian hand made shoes. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The red hills of Bigastro

The Gallos with their crop.

Another fascinating account of life in the past by Pascual Segura.

 In the middle of the last century, the south-facing parts of the bigastrenses hills were used as dryers for peppers of the variety known as ñora or bola: round, small, ripe and red in colour.

From the ñora, paprika is extracted, an essential element in the kitchen and the preparation of  sausages, due to its character as a preservative and curative product. For many years paprika contributed to the food industry of towns in our region, such as Guardamar, and neighbouring Murcia.

It was a dry pepper that could be used throughout the year at times when the big red, green or red peppers were not available. The name of ñora arose from the great production of ball peppers in the cultivated areas of the town of La Ñora, very close to the city of Murcia.

The ñoras were cultivated and harvested in the bigastrense orchard. They were then transported in carts to the hills where they were left to dry on sunny days, offering the neighbours a beautiful coloured picture.

This was a job that was carried out from September, mainly by families such as the Gallos who were called to the hills with the the sound of a conch shell.

There were many conch calls throughout the day to announce that the neighbours had to go up to place the ñoras, had to add more, that they had to turn them or open them, in order to dry them well.

The last call announced the time to collect the dried peppers, normally at dusk but earlier if there was a chance of rain. Once collected, the ñoras were arranged in large warehouses, even in the homes themselves, always in a scattered manner and never in sacks, since they needed to be aerated.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Back to the polls

Following the failure to get his budget plan passed, the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced on Friday a snap general election for April 28. It will be the third general election In Spain in four years. Spaniards were not due to be called to the polls again until 2020.

The decision rules out the possibility of a so-called “Super Sunday” on May 26, the day that local, regional and European elections will take place.


Yesterday's parade for the Medio Ano Festero was more colourful than last year's.

Amongst the groups of participants were Mickey and Minnie mouse.

We even had baby mice!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Historical documents.

You can access historical documents preserved in archives by the Town Hall, Bigastro by following this link.Unfortunately, some of the documents were written in pen and ink and the ink has faded.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Help at hand

I doubt that we would qualify.

The plan offers three million Euros to improve access, bathrooms and kitchens in older houses.

Monday, February 11, 2019

For all lovers (of good food!).

Let me run you through the menu:

Four starters including squid, cod croquettes, artichokes with ham and eggs on top, goat's cheese salad.

Choice of grilled tuna or steak.

Chocolate coulant with a fudge biscuit.


Choice of red or white wine, beer, soft drinks and water.

Enjoy great food and win a prize

The 7th Tapa Route! On the 23rd and 24th of February, visit the establishments participating in this route, download the APP and value the tapas, among all the people who value the tapas, there will be a raffle of 3 prizes of € 50.

 SELFIE CONTEST 1.To participate in this contest, you must like the Facebook Page of the Town Hall of Bigastro.

Recent works

Parc Guell, Barcelona - oil on canvas 90x45cms. 
Sa Calobra, Mallorca - oil on canvas 41x35.5cms

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Alicante good food guide

You can pick up a copy from the Town Hall.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Time to celebrate

The new people running the restaurant/bar are celebrating their first year on Saturday.

Apart from the music, there will be free tapas on the night.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Un ano mas

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

For World Cancer Day

The Town Hall have lit up the Plaza de la Constitucion green for World Cancer Day. All those who have suffered from cancer like Pam and I, very much appreciate this.

Even those who have not had some form of cancer will know of people who are being treated, have survived and those who lost their lives to cancer.

Monday, February 04, 2019

The first stage

An individual time trial of 10.2kms.

Made it

After an intense weekend of preparations and promotions, the Ruta Alquibla is now officially opened. Those who set off yesterday and followed the route around the Huerta, the town and La Pedrera  declared it a great success.

The Provincial President, along with the Alcaldesa and the Councillor for the Environment lead the walkers along the way as they set off from the Town Square

Just to remind you, Bigastro made a bid for this project along with 16 other municipalities. Bigastro won and were rewarded with a 300,000 investment from Alicante Province. There followed a huge amount of work putting up signposts and maps, creating points of interest, producing promotional material etc etc. It has all been well thought out and carefully planned for.

If you asked me whether Bigastro could be a tourist destination six months ago, I would have scratched my head to find any reason why people would come here. We have to remember though that there are many different forms of tourism.

Some towns have historic buildings, castles, museums, art galleries and beaches that attract visitors. Bigastro lacks any of those and so it had to look at what it did have and that is its environs in particular, the historic market garden and the scenic beauty of La Pedrera. It is a place where lovers of the countryside and fresh air can come and enjoy a ramble taking in some of the history at the same time.

 Now the job is to capitalise on this investment and attract visitors to the town. 

In order to do this though we need two further projects to come to fruition, we need somewhere for the people to stay and somewhere for them to eat.

In our discussions, the mayor suggested a hotel. There is of course, the campsite at La Pedrera which offers spaces for caravans and mobile homes along with wooden chalets and brick build buildings to accommodate groups.  However, there is nothing in the town itself. I think it is more likely a bed and breakfast is needed - a place where people can stay for the weekend whilst they explore the route and maybe visit neighbouring towns.

Just as important though is somewhere they can eat. There are many bars serving food and the restaurants at La Pedrera. but nowhere in the town itself where people can sit down for a full meal.

To quote the Spanish phrase though, "poco a poco" - one step at a time. Thanks to the hard work of many, a great start has already been made.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Brave souls

Well at least it was dry!!

Hundreds gathered in the Plaza de la Constitucion this morning ready to take part in the first official walk of the Ruta Alquibla.

The wind had calmed a little during the night and so the hope was for a pleasant walk. Most sections of the route though are on open ground and the wind was blowing quite strong by the time they set off.

The plan was to walk the Huerta section first, then the Casco Urbano part and finally the route around La Pedrera. I can well imagine that there will be some who will feel that they have had enough by the time the get back to the town from la Huerta and will be heading to the bars taking a warm drink!

You can see my photos by using the link in the left hand sidebar.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Damned wind again!

It is just me or have we suffered from more periods of strong winds this winter? 

Officially open

Last night, the new tourist route project around Bigastro was officially opened.

On the panel were representatives of the two routes that meet the Ruta Alquibla; the Costa Blanca Interior route and the southern section of the Camino de Santiago. Also there were; Teresa María Belmonte Sánchez  (Mayor President), Antonio José Meseguer Cabañés (Councillor for the Environment), Pascual Segura (Official Chronicler) and Efren Pamies (local policemen who has a great interest in the fauna and flora of the area).

Earlier in the week, the new Tourist Office was also officially opened.

On Sunday, at 10am, townsfolk and visitors are invited to take part in the first walk around the route.