Friday, May 31, 2019

Try again

Last photographic competition I misinterpreted the theme. This one is very clear.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Let's look more closely

If we go back to 2007 (the first vote that Pam and I participated in) the PSOE had the majority with 8 seats and 58.24% of the vote. The total of votes was 3,981 which represented 88.82% of those eligible to vote.

Yesterday, the PP held on to their 7 seats with 48.29 % of the vote. The total number of votes was down to 3,504  which represented 74.49% of those eligible to vote. As the caption says, 40 more votes for the PSOE would have given them the seat awarded to the Liberal coalition.

Looking at it another way; in 2007 the PP got 1,525 votes, yesterday they got 1,666 - just 142 more but that was enough to give them 2 more seats than they had in 2007, On the other hand the Socialists were only given 1,341 votes yesterday which was 955 less than they got in 2007 losing them 3 seats. Possibly,  some of those that once voted for the PSOE have changed their allegiance to the PP but also many may have stopped voting hence the reduced turnout. 

Looking at the country as a whole we see that the total number of voters increased and the abstention rate fell from 4 years ago. We can also see that the PSOE were the winners overall. However they lost out in the "jewel in the crown", Madrid and the Madrid region.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The results

The PP have maintained their majority with 7 seats (the same number as last time). The Socialists still have 5 seats and Aurelio clung on to his one seat.

You can probably hear the celebrations from the Town Square which will continue into the night.

Fuelled up and ready to go

Tradition dictates that the party faithful meet up at 7:30am on the day of the election for breakfast before heading off to the polling stations. There they will be helping out in various capacities.

For the General Election, Pam was there with them but an early morning get up is not her style. She will join them later today to do her stint.

If you have seen my photos from the final meeting of the campaign which was eventually held in the Auditorium, you will see how determined they were during their last push. Each of the candidates spoke and delivered a clear message to the audience.

Of this you can be certain, if the PP fail in their mission to get Teresa reelected as Mayor, it will not be through lack of effort.

Please don't forget

Whatever else you do today, don't forget to go and vote. Whichever party you chose to give your vote to, the important thing is that you show your support.

Friday, May 24, 2019

That's a promise she will keep

On your behalf, I thanked Teresa this morning for taking the trouble to come to La Pedrera. In reply she said that it was "an interesting experience".

Teresa went on to say that, if her party are still in power, she will arrange a similar meeting every year if that is what we would like. I felt confident enough to tell her that we would very much appreciate regular meetings.

Third time lucky

It seems that the Liberals, who have a meeting scheduled for the Centro Social Integrado at the same time, have  objected to the PP holding their meeting outside in the Plaza de la Concordia.

The suggestion is that the PP meeting should now take place in the Sala Polivalente in the Auditorio Francisco Grau but I have yet to see confirmation of that on Facebook.

Special thanks

In addition to my thanks for your attendance last night, I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to those of you who took the time to thank me for this blog especially Jim Ryder.

My first post was made on January 6th 2006. Since then I have written 7,373 articles.

I apologise for the odd misspelling and for any grammatical errors that you find. In my defence, I would point out that some national newspapers do a lot worse than I do. 

Once more, I would like to thank Jim Ryder for his kind words. I hope that the 1st of June is a red letter day for you and your family!

Please take care

Work has begun to install lighting on the Vereda el Molino as far as the Municipal Sports Centre.

You are advised to take care as you drive along that route during the next two weeks.

Once the work is completed, speed bumps will be installed to make it a safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Closures and parking

This one is for Saturday. 

The final push

Today, each of the parties in contention will be making their final push for your votes on Sunday. The Liberals will hold their meeting in the Centro Social Integrado and the PSOE will be in the Plaza Constitucion. I haven't seen any information at all about Cuidanos.

The PP had originally intended to hold their meeting in the Parque Huerta del Cura. However, following an objection from the PSOE, it has been moved to the Plaza de la Concordia.

A huge thank you

On behalf of my wife Pam, I should like to thank all of those residents who took the trouble to go up to the Restaurant La Pedrera for the meeting last night. It was very kind of you all to show such support for her candidacy.

I'd also like to thank Teresa Maria Belmonte Sanchez, Teresa Moya Moya and the other candidates for being there to answer questions and concerns that people have before the election on Sunday.

It has been a long while since the residents here have had an opportunity to make their voices heard, last night put that right. There were legitimate concerns raised which the Mayor listened to carefully. I firmly believe that the valuable points that people raised will not be ignored and will, where possible, be acted upon in due course

As I said last night, Teresa has worked long and hard to improve the town and resurrect it from the mess that is was in. She strikes me as one of those rare politicians that actually put the needs of the the town before their own personal political ambitions.

I will certainly be voting for her and I hope you do too. Thank you all once again for turning up and supporting Pamela.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

More documents on show

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Oh dear

Some people just don't photograph well.

The day after Teresa May tells of the changes she has made to try and win votes for her Brexit plan, most of the British newspapers have savaged her.

One of the most Tory newspapers out there leads the pack with this front page story entitled, Desperate, deluded, doomed.

Just to reinforce the point, they have included three images which I am certain Mrs May would prefer them not to publish.

I am no fan of Teresa May but I think that this is just a tad cruel. Imagine the lady's reaction when she sees this.

PS In their reaction to this new proposal. some MPs have chosen colourful expressions. The best I have read came from Green MP Caroline Lucas  who said Ms May had done no more than “put lipstick on a pig”.

The PP manifesto

Dirty tricks

It seems that members of a rival party (not the PSOE) have been delivering envelopes with voting papers inside telling the recipients that they are votes for the PP.

Fortunately, someone checked the contents of the envelopes and reported the matter to the Partido Popular.

This is not the only scam that people get up to in elections here in Spain. It is common practice for people to try and vote more than once by visiting different polling stations

In the recent General Election, one town recorded a turnout which was greater than the number of eligible voters.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

I was shocked

I have to confess that it has been a few years since I last walked around our urbanisation.

This afternoon, Pam and I did a quick tour in the car following Pam's walk around last night.

Most of the houses have been well maintained and look every bit as smart as they did when they were first constructed. There are others though that have been altered beyond belief and no longer fit in with the original scheme, e.g. garden walls that have been built up in ways that make them incongruous with their neighbours.

We also saw constructions close to boundary walls. When we wanted to replace our wooden shed with a brick built one, we were refused permission on the basis that we could not have a permanent structure closer that 3 metres from any of the boundaries.

The derelict houses and the land surrounding them give the appearance of an area in decline. To add to that, the sorry state of some of the pavements and the rut across Canada de Andrea makes the urbanisation look sadly less appealing than it once did.

The Council has some responsibility for the state of Villas Andrea and I am sure that will be conveyed to the current Mayor at the meeting on Thursday. However, I believe the owners of properties must also take a share of responsibility for the overall appearance of Villas Andrea.

Next meeting for the Liberals

Voting this weekend

As you are no doubt aware, Sunday, 26th May is yet another polling day here in Spain. This time we are being asked to select both a local council and representatives to the European Parliament.


You should have received cards in the post that tell you where your polling station is and which table you should go to. In our case, we will be going to the Auditorium Francisco Grau, Mesa C.

Polling stations will be open from 9am to 8pm and there will be people there to guide you to the right room.

How to vote

You will likely have received envelopes with voting papers in them from the main parties*. These will either have been delivered to your door or put in your letterbox.

Pam and Teresa, as candidates for the PP, have been round to most of you by now. If you missed them though or they missed you, I'm sure there will be papers available for you at the meeting this Thursday in the Restaurant Camping La Pedrera at 9pm.

The blue envelopes and papers are for the European election and the white ones are for the local election.

The papers for the Partido Popular

You can either use these to vote or you can pick up envelopes and papers at the polling station, it is up to you.


A passport is the most acceptable form of identity for those of us who do not have a Spanish DNI card but you could take your Spanish driving license instead. The important thing is that the document has a photograph and it MUST NOT be a photocopy.

Unless you are determined to make a protest vote, please make sure you have the appropriate voting papers in the envelopes and that you have not written on them. Put them in the right boxes and you are done.

Whilst you are down in the town, why not pop along to the Parque Huerta del Cura and find out what the Hawaii Market is all about.

* Remember, you are not voting for a particular person, you are voting for a party. The number of seats that each party will win will depend on the percentage of votes they receive. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

This week’s round of meetings

Something for the weekend

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Sports Centre gets some attention

It is 40 years since the municipal sports centre was first built. At last, the access to it is getting a covering of asphalt. The first phase, covering 65% of its surface, has already been completed. The perimeter walls have been repaired and the perimeter wall of the football field has been painted.  On Tuesday an electronic scoreboard will be installed.

The second phase will begin next week with the design and construction of an athletics track,  lighting on the Vereda del Molino and the placement of speed reducers for greater safety of the users of the sports centre.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Swimming courses for this summer

The PSOE manifesto

Tonight's meetings

Tonight's meetings are as follows: the PP will be at the Parque Santa Ana, the Socialists will be at Calle Antonio Maura and the Liberals will be at Parque de la Cruz

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Improved waste management

The plan for the improvement of waste management in Bigastro continues to advance.

"We have improved the economic and service conditions with the collection contract that was signed last year. It has allowed to reduce the rate of garbage that we pay all bigastrenses.
We have gone from paying € 140 / year to paying € 80 / year. A reduction of 43%.

We have agreed with the Consorcio Vega Baja Sostenible selective collection of special waste through this mobile ecopark that comes every Thursday to Bigastro .

We have started renewal of the selective waste containers and placement of other new ones in more streets and clean points of the locality.

 Composters have been placed for the reuse of organic waste in all schools, in the leisure gardens and in the green point of the industrial estate."

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

From the Telegraph

Our family and lots of our Spanish friends use WhatsApp to communicate with each other.

WhatsApp has urged users to update their messaging app after concerns were raised that hackers could inject spy software on to phones via the call function.

The Facebook-owned company said the spyware was spread by an “advanced cyber actor”, and infected multiple mobile phones using a major vulnerability in the app.

The spyware, developed by the secretive Israeli spyware company NSO Group, has the ability to give hackers full access to a phone remotely, allowing them to read messages, see contacts and activate the camera.

WhatsApp confirmed that a “select number” of users had been victims and that the bug and that the bug affects all but the latest version of the app on iOS and Android.

The attack involved cyber hackers using WhatsApp's voice calling function to ring a device. The surveillance software would then be installed, even if that call was not picked up.

The Financial Times on Monday evening reported that cyber hackers had been using the loophole up until Sunday evening, when it was used to target a UK-based human rights lawyer.

A spokesman for NSO, which is believed to sell its spyware to intelligence agencies and nation states, said that it was investigating the issue. The spokesman said NSO “would not, or could not” use its own technology to target “any person or organisation”, including the UK lawyer.

The vulnerability was also used to target a researcher at Amnesty International, which is fighting for the NSO Group to have its export license withdrawn by Israeli government.

NB If you use WhatsApp and your phone is set to automatic updates, then the app will already have been updated making you safe from this intrusion.

For your information

As I announced before - the official meetings, organised by the PP will be at;
Parque de la Cruz, Parque Santa Ana, Calle Antonio Maura and Parque Huerta del Cura.

If you want to see the full presentation by the PP (the "hard sell"!) those are the venues to attend on the dates and times indicated.

The planned meeting in the Restaurant at Camping La Pedrera will be less formal.

It has been called so that the candidates can listen to the residents and get a feel for what concerns people, what they would like to see done and their proposals for further development of the town and Villas Andrea.

PS If I get notices of any other parties that intend to meet with you, I'll post them here on my blog.


Add caption

When I receive an English translation, I will post it for you.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Never too old to learn

Giving it some wellie

Last night's concert promised to be lively and boy did it live up to its promise. Check out my album of photos to see the radical lengths that Diego went to. Singers, dancers, solos - the concert had the lot in spades full.

You can relive the concert by listening to my audio recording at

San Isidro

Your chance to know

The PP have a programme of meetings with the public where they will outline their programme and will listen to the ideas of others.

Don't worry, they have a planned meeting at La Pedrera which will be announced soon.

Friday, May 10, 2019

The midnight ramblers

Campaigning officially starts today so the PSOE and PP were out last night at midnight putting up
their posters.

PS I am pleased to say that 2 out of 3 candidates chose K Williamson PHOTOGRAPHY for their campaign portraits!!

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Worth celebrating

It isn't often that you get the opportunity to say that you are proud of English football. However, over the last couple of days, two teams have set out to show us that at last we have something to cheer about.

First Liverpool came back from a 3-0 deficit to win a place in the Champions League Final and the following night Spurs did the same.

Now I know that my son-in-law will not be celebrating Liverpool's victory but surely he must at least be pleased that it will be an English club that lifts the trophy in Madrid.

Not only are English clubs in the Champions League Final, the Europa League Final will see Chelsea facing Arsenal.

It is good that the two European cups will be in England but a little sad that there are three London clubs in the finals.

Not in my dictionary

My friend Fonta has put this list of expressions and colloquialisms on his Facebook page.

Given that many of those words are made up and will not appear in any normal dictionary - what chance do we have of understanding what people say?

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Will they or won't they?

There are now almost 150 houses at Villas Andrea*. Even if we discount the holiday homes, that still leaves a substantial number of people eligible to vote in the Municipal Election on May 26th. Probably enough to tip the balance between the parties**.

Although there are more Spanish speaking residents than there were originally, there is still a large caucus of English speakers who are eligible to vote.

The question is, will any of the four parties that are standing produce a manifesto in English and will any of them organise a meeting for us?

If my memory serves me correctly, in 2007 it was just the Socialists and Joaquin Moya who took the trouble to hold a meeting at La Pedrera. In 2011, Raul Medina made a presentation at La Pedrera and Aurelio Murcia called a meeting at the Centro Social Integrado. Then in 2015 the present Mayor invited us to a meeting in Darren's Bar opposite the Health Centre and Aurelio held a meeting in an office on Calle Purisima. To be fair, by 2015 the numbers attending these meetings had dwindled to just a handful defeating their purpose. 

Still, there are a substantial number of votes to be won (or lost) making some form of presentation be it a meeting or a leaflet in English surely worthwhile.

*By my reckoning, there have been 5 new houses occupied since the Urbanisation was completed by Star Sol and three more that are in the process of completion.
** It took just 360 more votes for the PP to gain control in 2015.

It is important to vote




These charts from the last three Municipal Elections show the importance of voting.

You can see that the percentage of people voting dropped from almost 89% in 2007 and just over 86% in 2011 to almost 79% in 2015. At the same time, there was an increase in spoilt papers. The  number of votes needed to gain control of the council was effectively less last time than in previous elections.

Municipal elections should be about the people standing rather than political allegiance. In other words electing the group who you think will best do the job of running the town.

We saw how issues with Brexit affected the results of local elections in the UK and that was a nonsense. Good councillors and well run councils lost out because of something they had no responsibility for.  Hopefully, that will not happen here in Spain this year.

Whichever party you intend to vote for, the important thing is to actually make sure that you go down on May 26th and make your intention known and please don't waste your time writing on the paper or putting an empty envelope in the box because a protest vote is no more use than an abstention.

Try again

If you recall, this had to be cancelled a few weeks ago due to bad weather.

Monday, May 06, 2019

The book boxes

Photos courtesy of the Town Hall.