Saturday, March 30, 2019

Outstanding and well worth a visit

Last night, Pam and I had the pleasure of attending the opening of an exhibition of watercolour paintings and drawings of the Camino de Santiago. The artist, Federico Ramirez Huerta, had painstakingly drawn in exquisite detail the scenes he captured with his camera. Most were then completed in watercolour. Many  reminded us very much of  architects realisations of stately homes from previous centuries. Federico clearly has a great deal of patience, a steady hand and some very fine brushes.

There was one picture that stood out for both Pam and I for both its composition and the fact that it looked more like a watercolour painting than a tinted drawing. Whilst we were discussing this, the artist came over and explained that it was also his favourite from the exhibition and indeed was also his wife's favourite. I will leave you to find the painting for yourselves!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Times they are a changing

An article from El Pais explains this:

"The clocks in Spain will move forward one hour on March 31 to mark the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. In principle, March 31 was meant to be the last time the clocks changed in the European Union, but the European Parliament has asked to delay the move until 2021.

The time change brings up another related issue that has been the subject of much debate in Spain: whether the country should remain on Central European Time (CET) or go back to Coordinated Universal Time – the successor to Greenwich Mean Time or GMT, the time zone in which it naturally falls.

Spain is in western Europe, the same as Portugal, the United Kingdom and France – that is to say, one hour behind central Europe. But in 1942, at the height of World War II, Germany changed occupied France's clocks to match Berlin time, while Britain, Portugal and Spain followed suit, albeit for different reasons.

The former meant to take advantage of the long summer evenings to increase productivity, particularly on farms, as well as to avoid confusion with its allies in Europe; Spain’s decision was seemingly a show of loyalty to Hitler and recognition that Germany was now the new master of the continent.

At the end of the war, in 1945, Britain and Portugal returned to GMT, while France and Spain remained an hour ahead. France’s decision made sense on the basis that most of its land mass falls within CET anyway, but that is not the case with Spain.

The time change is due to an EU directive, 2000/84/CE, which says that on the last weekend of October, the clocks turn back one hour, and are pushed forward again on the last weekend of March.

The idea is to adapt our bodies to natural light and save energy, but many people doubt whether any significant savings actually take place. Studies analysed by the European Commission suggest marginal savings of 0.5% to 2.5% in electricity usage.

The European Commission agreed on February 8 to do an exhaustive review on the value of continuing to change the time twice a year, and has promoted ending the practice in 2019. The time change is said to affect people’s biorhythms and can be particularly upsetting for the elderly and children. A study by the European Parliament cites medical studies that say Daylight Saving Time can disturb a person’s Circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle influenced by light, and impact their health.

EU member states must decide by the end of April 2020 whether they will stay in the summer or winter time. If they opt for Daylight Saving Time, the last time change will take place in March 2021, while the countries who choose to stay in winter time will change their clocks for the last time in October 2021."

Pictures at an exhibition

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The curse of the plastic bottle.

1. My friend in the UK tells me that his school has had to investigate supplying bottles without labels for pupils taking exams. It seems that candidates  can no longer sit for a couple of hours or so in an exam room without a bottle of water for refreshment.

At the same time, my friend tells me that, in a 90 minute mock exam there were 16 pupils who wanted to go to the toilet. It was probably all that water they were drinking.

2. One of our neighbours, who regularly walks along the new route at La Pedrera, tells me that there has been a great increase in the amount of waste left by the path - mainly plastic bottles.  He suggests that there needs to be waste bins for people to use along the route.

The other solution - they could simply take the empty bottles back home with them and dispose of them in the recycling bins.

3. There are pictures on Facebook of the people cleaning up the River Segura at Guardamar and most of the waste is in the form of plastic bottles. There are literally thousands of them clogging up the exit into the sea.

Plastics are threatening our planet and our environment. Unless we take steps to solve the problems that plastic causes, our children and their children will inherit a poor legacy.

Two sides of the coin

Nothing has ever split the UK more than the Brexit Referendum. On the one side there are trucks driving on motorways at 20 miles per hour to protest against the delay and on the other, nearly 4 million people signing a petition to get Art 50 revoked.

Whichever way things go from now, there is bound to be mass protest. I dare say this will pit even members in the same family against each other possibly for years to come.

Read all about us

In the book for this year's Samana Santa in Orihuela is an article by Pascual Segura about the history of the images of San Joaquin in Bigastro.

Applications required

Time for those who would like to be in the Junior or Infant Queen courts to put their names forward.

The names will then be selected "out of a hat".

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Fashion show

In addition to the latest styles from local shops; Sioux, Modas Alicia and Mi Tienda, the show will feature the new collection of Eduardo Naverrete -UKOMAVU - which was presented a few weeks ago at Madrid Fashion Week.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Following on

The guided tour of the route around La Pedrera was deemed a great success. The fifty people who signed up for it were entertained by Efren Pamies and Pascual Segura who explained the fauna, flora and history at various points on the route.

For the next guided tour, the participants will be visiting the traditional garden of Bigastro - La Huerta.

A lot of sickos out there

There are numerous first person shootout video games on the market where you aim to kill as many of the enemy as possible. Your screen shows video as if you have a camera strapped to you. However, these are games. No matter how convincing the graphics are, we know that it is not real and nobody actually dies. I have to say, they are not my cup of tea but everyone to their own.

The killer who went on the rampage at two mosques in New Zealand had a GoPro video camera strapped to his head. Whilst he was killing innocent worshippers, his actions were being streamed live over the internet. This was not a game, these were real people being slaughtered. Apparently, the video lasted for 17 minutes on Facebook.

Once Facebook was aware, they removed the footage and it was banned by all popular social media sites. Unfortunately though, the video had already been copied and was immediately being redistributed by users.

Facebook removed 1.5m copies of the video in the first 24 hours after the attack and tech companies are struggling to keep it off their servers.  Whilst it is straightforward for the servers to detect full copies of the video and remove them, it is more difficult for them to detect when people have extracted clips from the original and put them together in a different order.

It seems that we now live in a sick world where some people either cannot separate the fantasy world of a video game from reality or they find reality more compelling, more exciting.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

And so we begin

We are all aware that there will be a municipal election on the 26th May.The political parties should be honing their manifestos to put to the public.

However,  that is not the only way political parties in Spain hope to win votes.

The parties in power engage themselves in as many projects as they can to show how worthwhile they have been and what they have achieved. In the meantime, the parties in opposition try to find any mistakes or evidence of maladministration that the parties in power have made that can be reported in the press or even denounced in court.

So we see that, in Bigastro, there has been a flurry of events demonstrating what the ruling party has achieved. At the same time, the opposition group have denounced the ruling party and the mayor in particular for prevarication. The mayor has chosen to give her account of the accusation on her Facebook page to which the Liberal councillor has replied.

As you might imagine, we now have  three different versions of what took place. Which version you take to be the truth will depend upon your political allegiance.

We are only midway through March with almost two months left for the campaigning. It looks like this could be a bloody contest with, I am sure,  plenty more to come. I, for one would prefer it to be different. To my mind the contest should not be to find the least worst party but the best - the one that has most to offer. Instead of telling us what the others have done wrong, tell us what you aim to do that is right.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Two for the diary

Saturday 30th, a chance to see a Festival of Dance and donate to a good cause.

Sunday, the awards for the theatre competition followed by a performance by Lugarico of their San Joaquin and Bigastro production.

Going backwards

Just as we were getting used to this lovely warm weather, things are about to change on Monday when the temperature will drop by 13 degrees.

Monday, March 11, 2019

The weather for this week

No trace of the longed for episode of precipitations in the southeast of the peninsular. Thermal ups and downs, generated by the change in wind direction, but little else.

Friday, March 01, 2019

Good exercise

All of the places for the guided tour of the La Pedrera section of the tourist route were filled days ago.

Tomorrow, fifty walkers will set off from the Town Square and make their way up to La Pedrera.

They will then explore the path that takes you around the back of La Pedrera and eventually arrive at the top of Calle Holanda. From there they will make their way back to the town.

Guiding them will be Pascual Segura and Efren Pamies who will provide explanations about the history, the fauna and flora along the way.

The forecast is for a dry day with no wind and temperatures of 20 degrees so very pleasant for a walk in the countryside. I am sure they will thoroughly enjoy themselves and learn a lot along the way.

Check your pockets

The second prize of the National Lottery on Thursday, February 28, 2019 was won in Bigastro. The ticket,  number 52,863,  that will net the owner a prize of 60,000 euros per series, was sold at the lottery shop on Calle Purisima 14. Please note that each ticket is divided into 10 decimos which will net the owners 6,000 Euros.