Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Covid vaccine here in Spain

 Taken from El Pais

When and how will Spain’s healthcare centres start to offer appointments for vaccinations?

Sunday saw the start of the first phase of the vaccination plan, which covers residents of care homes and their carers, and will continue with healthcare workers and adults with major dependencies. This first phase, which will see approximately 2.5 million people given the vaccine, will last around three months. Once it is over, it will be the turn of the next group, although the Spanish government is yet to confirm who this will include. The most likely approach will be the over-64s and the chronically ill. While the plans for this phase are yet to be confirmed, it is expected that these people will be given appointments via their primary healthcare centres. “Citizens will be given a citation, according to the risk group to which they belong, to attend their healthcare centre,” explained Health Minister Salvador Illa on Sunday. “It is voluntary and free. It is an act that will benefit both the person who receives the vaccine and the collective.”

Who is considered to be a dependent?

According to the Health Ministry’s vaccination strategy, this group includes people considered major dependents (grade III) according to the Dependency Law of 2006, those who have requested recognition as such and those who are yet to do so but are accredited medically to have an illness that requires intense support measures during their day-to-day lives, whether or not they are institutionalized. “The vaccination will take place as soon as possible, taking into account the characteristics of storage and usage of the available vaccines,” the ministry strategy adds. “Personnel who professionally care for these people with a major dependency will be able to get vaccinated during the same visit.”

What happens for those people with private health insurance?

The vaccination will be free and will be administered by the National Health System in the order that the Health Ministry establishes.

What measures must be followed when the vaccine is received?

In principle, the same as those being observed until now, until there is a sufficient amount of the population vaccinated so that herd immunity is reached. This is estimated to be about 70% of the population. While it is known that the vaccine is highly effective at avoiding the development of Covid-19, it is not yet so clear up to which point it avoids the spread of the virus. This means that it is possible that a person who has been vaccinated could still spread the virus while asymptomatic and thus become a vector for transmission.

When will enough people in Spain be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity?

As time passes, more vaccines will arrive – not just from Pfizer, but also, most likely, from other manufacturers too. While the initial rhythm is expected to be around 350,000 injections a week, as more and more pharmaceutical firms get approval for their vaccines this number is likely to rise. The Health Ministry calculates that between May and June around 20 million people will be vaccinated and that by the end of the summer a sufficient percentage of the population will be immunized in order to reach herd immunity.

How will people who have been vaccinated be monitored?

All citizens who receive the vaccine will get a vaccination card that will include the kind of immunization that has been administered as well as the batch number, the date the first dose was delivered and the planned date for the second injection. The card will also contain contact details should there be a suspected adverse reaction as well as a phone number to call should there be any side effects not included in the prospectus. This is the start of what is known as Phase 4 of the clinical trial. In the previous stage the frequent side effects – such as fatigue, tiredness, fever the next day – were found to affect at most one in every 30,000 people. But to detect rarer effects, those that manifest in one case per 100,000 or 1,000,000, the vaccine will be monitored as it is administered in the population. Also, more precise data will be collected on population groups that was not possible during the first trials. This will be done via the primary healthcare system using a centralized database in each region, and will be connected to a national and European system.

Monday, December 28, 2020

A novel solution

For years now, there has been talk of how to improve the flow of traffic between Orihuela and the coast via the CV 95. There have been plans to build a motorway with tolls, a dual carriageway and of course various routes have been discussed. 

The latest plan is to build a 23km tunnel for both vehicles and trains. The starting point will be the train/bus station in Orihuela and on the coast there will be four routes to the coastal towns. It is also planned to have two intermediate stops at Jacarilla and San Miguel de la Salinas.  

Building a tunnel, it is said, avoids all the problems of environmental impact and procurement of land. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Current rules

 These are the restrictions to be implemented in the Valencia Region from Monday 21st December 2020.

Curfew will commence at 11 p.m. except for Christmas's Eve and New Year's Eve when it will commence at midnight.

Social gatherings are limited to 6 people.

Social gatherings on bank holidays are also limited to 6 people and maximum two groups of people living under the same roof.

Social gatherings amongst friends are not permitted during the Christmas period.

Access to the Valencia Region will remain very restricted until January the 15th 

Can we trust them?

 During the emergency news conference last night, Grant Shapps said that earlier in the day there were 500 lorries queued on the M20 and that had reduced to 170. According to Kent police there were 900 and the Home Secretary admitted to Radio 4 that there were 650 lorries on the M20 and 873 at nearby Manston Airport. 

Johnson was unable to answer questions about the issue, instead he told the nation that he'd had a good conversation with the French President who he said was celebrating his birthday. He said that the problem would be resolved within a matter of hours but the lorries are outside the port that is still closed this morning. 

People are advised that there is no need for panic buying so guess what they will be doing this morning. 

In relation to Brexit, the Prime Minister said that talks were still ongoing, that a no deal was looking most likely. It wasn't what he wanted but Britain would still "prosper mightily" if a no deal was the outcome. 

Johnson reiterated his promise that Coronavirus would be beaten by Easter saying that half a million people had been given the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. 

Of course, Britain has heard so many promises that have been broken, trust in Johnson is waning thin. Coronavirus was obviously not his fault and you could argue that he has done what he believed was right to deal with it. His optimism was the appeal that got him elected. However, that needs to be tempered with reality. Can you imagine his hero, Churchill telling the nation that the Second World War would end in six months? 


 Governments have to rely on compliance by people sticking to the guidelines. Whilst nobody wants to endure restrictions, particularly at Christmas, it is the only way that we are ever going to reduce transmission of Covid virus and bring the number of cases down. 

This article from Sky News highlights the problem. 

Police in Tier 2 York say they have seen huge numbers of people travelling to the city's pubs from neighbouring Tier 3 locations, in a clear breach of the guidelines. 

In a statement aimed at people "flouting the regulations", North Yorkshire Police said they had handed out more than 160 tickets over the weekend after making visits to licensed premises. 

Superintendent Mike Walker said: "Where we encounter people who refuse to adhere to the regulations and believe their pint is more important than someone's life, we will use our enforcement powers.

"Some people who were spoken to by officers did go home. However, our teams encountered large numbers of people who were not responsive to the advice, leaving us no option but to enforce through the use of fixed penalty notices."

Mr Walker added: "If you choose to visit the city of York from Tier 3 areas without a justifiable reason to have made your journey, with our extra patrols, chances are you will encounter one of our officers and you'll be asked about the reason for your visit."

Monday, December 21, 2020

Britain in crisis

Britain is facing what the Americans call a 'perfect storm'. 

The port of Dover is completely shut. Normally, tens of thousands of lorries would travel through the port on the run up to Christmas carrying stocks of food etc. 

France has imposed a 48 hour ban on traffic from the UK because of the rapid spread of the new variant of Covid 19 in the South. There were more than 35,000 new cases in the country yesterday, the largest number recorded during the pandemic and almost double the number a week ago. 

Other European countries will likely follow France's lead leaving no route for goods to and from the UK.

Add to this, the Post Office is overloaded with Christmas parcels that it simply can't deliver. This is all adding up to a pretty bleak Christmas. 

If that was not enough, Britain is due to leave the transition period on the 31st with or without a deal.  Either way will create problems but  of the two, a no deal Brexit would be worse especially coming  on top of those caused by Covid. 

So, realistically Johnson desperately needs some sort of deal. However, if he caves in and accepts the EU terms, then he is doomed. He needs to make a decision soon and whatever he decides will not be popular.   


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Remember him?

The former mayor of Bigastro for 25 years, José Joaquín Moya (PSPV-PSOE), is back in court accused of keeping 70,000 euros of public money, The prosecution are seeking 6 years in prison for Moya and 3 years 9 months for the former auditor, Antonio Saseta Maure,

The lawyer for the private prosecution by Bigastro city council, Marcos Sánchez Adsuar, says that the former mayor and the former auditor signed income orders where, in the end, there was a difference in money between what the businessman paid to the consistory and what actually reached the municipal coffers.

He has pointed out that there are two or three more similar cases that will soon be tried with the former mayor and the former auditor as defendants, for similar sales of land from partial plans where the misappropriation of public money is being investigated.

Moya was socialist mayor of Bigastro between 1983 and 2008, the year in which he was forced to resign due to a case of urban corruption, for which he ended up going to prison. The Anticorruption prosecutor reports that the defendants kept part of the money that a company paid to the council during the processing of the auction of a 30,000 square metre plot of land in the municipality.

The City Council offered the plot in February 2007 and awarded it in March of that same year for 2,250,000 euros to a company that paid the amount in several payments, some of which were in cash that did not reach the municipal coffers. Specifically, the two defendants are accused of keeping 26,000 euros that the company gave them in January 2007 to participate in the auction and another 44,440 euros that the successful bidder gave them in March of the same year.  

Friday, December 11, 2020

We heard that

 Didn't feel anything move but we heard a sound like a lorry rumbling out in the street. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Yet another 'benefit' of Brexit

 British holidaymakers will be barred from the European Union from 1 January under current Covid-19 safety restrictions, with the EU commission indicating there will be no exemption for the UK.

Only a handful of countries with low coronavirus rates are exempt from rules that prohibit nonessential visitors from outside the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) – with the UK included only until the end of the Brexit transition period.

Within the EEA, or Schengen-associated states, Norway has also confirmed it will bar UK visitors from 1 January, according to the Financial Times.

The imminent bracketing of British tourists with those of other non-EU countries such as Albania and Turkey underlines the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit. EU member states can override the European council recommendations in theory, should they wish to .

Monday, December 07, 2020

It comes and blows


Friday, December 04, 2020

This is the plan


Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Do they have a clue?

 In Britain, pubs in areas that are designated Tier 2, will be able to serve alcoholic drinks if they accompany a "substantial meal". That begs the question about what constitutes a substantial meal. 

There have also been questions asked about how much alcohol you can order with your meal and whether you can continue to drink after your meal is finished. 

Speak to different Ministers and you get different answers. Apparently a sandwich could be considered substantial if it is served with pickles and beetroot*. A pork pie though is not considered sufficient, nor is a sausage roll but according to George Eustace a scotch egg would count if it was served to a table. No surprise there since Eustace owns a farm which produces scotch eggs. However, Michael Grove disagreed. He said even two scotch eggs would not count and then changed his mind a few hours later.

Meantime,  Robert Jenrick, says a pasty on its own doesn't count as a 'substantial meal' unless it is served with chips or salad. Of course, you don't have to actually eat the salad - just order it and leave it on the plate and that will be fine. 

Today, MPs will vote on the revised Tier System which replaces lockdown with a further lockdown for 99% of the country. It is thought that there could be large numbers of Tory rebels who will vote against the measures and that Johnson will only win because Labour has decided to abstain. The rebels demanded an assessment of the economic impact of the restrictions but none was forthcoming. 

* The 1965 case of Timmis v Millman, found that a sandwich only counts as a meal if 'accompanied by beetroot and pickles'.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Dress up for Christmas

 At the end of a year that has distinctly lacked any colour, the Town Hall is encouraging us to dress up the outside of our houses ready for Christmas.

They are offering prizes for the best and most creative ideas for the front of your house or just the balcony of your flat. 

Alongside this, they are running the regular competition for shop windows. 

Please note that, to be in the running for a prize, you need to register with the Town Hall.  

Friday, November 27, 2020

Planned power cuts

 Iberdrola inform us that there will be two power outages on the 3rd December.

 One from 08.00-08.15 then another from 14.00-14.15.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Covid vaccines here in Spain

 Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez made a public address on Sunday night to announce that the first coronavirus vaccine or vaccines that are approved and arrive in Spain will be administered in 13,000 different points across the country. 

The process could, Sánchez explained, “tentatively [start] in January. Medical professionals and seniors – in particular those in care homes – will be among the first, along with the chronically ill and high-risk individuals due to previous conditions.

The 13,000 vaccination points coincide with the number of healthcare centres and clinics that are currently available in Spain’s regions. The primary healthcare network will be in charge of administering the first vaccines that arrive in Spain. 

Sánchez also reiterated that the European Union has signed five contracts to acquire 1.2 billion doses of the vaccine, and that Spain will be assigned 10% of the doses given the size of its population. Up to now, contracts have been signed with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Janssen, BioNTech-Pfizer and CureVac – the latter just a few days ago. What’s more, there are advanced talks taking place with other pharmaceutical firms, such as Moderna from the United States, to close more deals.

The prime minister said that the state of alarm introduced in March during the first wave, which involved one of the world’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns, was successful; as is the second state of alarm that is currently in place, and which gives the country’s regions the legal framework needed to limit mobility according to the situation of the pandemic in each territory.

He pointed to the fact that the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants has been falling in Spain for the last two weeks thanks to the restrictions that are in place, and said that this key data point is due to fall below 400 cases today, Monday. “This is still a very high incidence,” he warned, insisting that the government’s objective is to get this figure below 25 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, a threshold that the health authorities consider as having the epidemic under control. The fall in recent days, he continued, indicates that “the downward trend is consistent and that the measures are having an effect.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The reply

 The Mayor replied within the hour to my email expressing concerns about the construction of allotments in the middle of our estate.. In her reply, she apologised for not informing us. She said that there was no excuse for this. However, she did not comment about the appropriateness of constructing allotments in our estate nor our other concerns. 

Last Friday I was informed that 11 applications had been received for the 20 available plots. Whether these were people from our estate or from the town was not clear.     

Monday, November 23, 2020

Baby it's cold outside


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Expressing our concerns

I am sending the following letter (in Spanish) to the Lady Mayor expressing the concerns that Pam, I and others have about the allotments that have been constructed in the middle of our estate. 

"We knew that the land on the corner of Calles Alemania and Inglaterra was owned by the Council and would be repurposed at some time.

When a digger and scraper arrived a few weeks ago, we thought that it would be more that just cleaning up the plot. Next, more soil arrived and we imagined that the land might be turned into a 'green lung' for our estate.

By accident we found an article in the local press that explained the land would be divided into 20 urban gardens and there would also be a composting centre on the site.

We were naturally disappointed that there was no notice that this was going to happen and we'd been left guessing. Even the courtesy of an announcement on the bulletin board at the entrance to the estate would have been better than finding out by accident.

We do have some concerns regarding this plan:

  1. In our experience, urban gardens where people can grow vegetables, fruit etc. are normally outside towns – not in the middle of private housing estates. Residents are concerned that this may further erode the value of our houses.

  2. We hope that the people who take up the offer do not erect unsightly huts to house their tools and materials.

  3. We also hope that they maintain their plots in a tidy fashion and do not leave them to become overgrown for example in the summer months.

  4. We have concerns about a compost centre which could attract rats and other vermin.

  5. Finally, we are concerned about parking which is limited in that area.

One of my readers has replied 'We walked the Alquibla route yesterday and couldn't help notice the many unused/untidy allotments over near the the Viking settlement. Perhaps the council could consider reallocating those instead.' 

That is our concern. Our experience of allotments both here and in England is that they often have a run down look with makeshift huts and are left untidy. That is not something that we want in the middle of our estate. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

RIP Robert

Sadly, I have to report the passing of another of our neighbours. 

Robert Pickles lived on Calle Alemania with his wife Sheila, their three dogs and a number of visiting cats. 

You'd often come across Robert, who had a limp from boyhood, being towed along by Rocky, the dog that they rescued after Sheila found it abandoned. 

Robert's health had deteriorated over the last year which meant that you rarely saw him out of the house. He was also suffering from signs of dementia. 

Robert will be  taken from the house at 11:30am for a service at the Vega Baja Tanatorium Friday 20th at midday. 

Our thoughts are with Sheila and the family at this time. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Nobody knows for sure

Predicting weather is not always easy. It is unclear what path this subtropical storm will take. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

John Major on Brexit.

The core change in the New Britain being forged is – Brexit. It has been hidden behind Covid for a few months. It has not gone away. You have to be wilfully in denial not to see the damage already done, and not to be concerned at what it might mean.

Brexit divided England and Wales from Scotland and Northern Ireland. It divided political parties and families; the young and their elders; business and trade unions; and friend from friend. As its full impact becomes apparent in the New Year, old wounds may re-open.

There is no consensus on Brexit, and never has been. It was a bitterly divisive policy, and uncorked a populism that may be difficult to quell.

The Referendum debate was unlike any I have known before. Emotion overcame reality. And, in the search for hearts and minds and votes, fiction defeated fact and fostered a belief in a past that never was – whilst boosting enthusiasm for a future that may never be. If that mode of politics takes root, it will kill all respect in our system of government.

In the Referendum, Britons voted to leave the European Union. I have never hidden my view, nor have I changed it. To my mind – and I am no starry-eyed European – Brexit is the worst foreign policy decision in my lifetime.

I have seen the EU from the inside and know its frustrations. But have no doubt we were better off in than we will be out. The decision to leave will damage our future in many ways, and the reassurances we are given are unconvincing.

Brexit was sold to our electors on false premises. Promises made will not – indeed, cannot – be kept. To leave the EU – to separate ourselves from our neighbours – was sold as “regaining sovereignty”, but it is, and will prove to be, a long and painful ball and chain on our national wellbeing.

After the Referendum, Brexiteers did not even bother to argue the merits of their case – why should they? – it was “the will of the people”. And once “the will of the people” was asserted as a repeated mantra – and the Brexit leaders claimed to speak for all “the people” – any opposition to Brexit became illegitimate, and any contrary view was howled down.

Free speech for those who supported remaining in the EU came at a price. They were pilloried as “Remoaners”: sticking to long-held principles and policies, and warning of clear dangers ahead was depicted as “sour grapes by sore losers”.

Even Judges were denounced as “Enemies of the People” for ruling on a Point of Law. Opponents of Brexit were cowed, and free speech was curtailed. It was shameful. No democracy should find itself in such a position.

Overseas, the outcome of the Referendum delighted our enemies and dismayed our friends. As our nation voted against its history and its self-interest, a bemused world looked on, wondering why we had chosen to become poorer and less influential.

Brexit was sold to the nation as a win-win situation. It is not. We were promised we would stay in the Single Market. We have not. We were told trade with the EU would be frictionless. It will not be. We were promised we would save billions in payments to the European Union: a bus was driven around the country telling us so. Not so: Brexit is costing billions – not saving them. We were told that our “liberated country” could cut back on bureaucracy and regulations. We now know they will increase – and dramatically. We were promised we would strike lucrative trade deals with America, India, China and others in quick time. Japan apart – we have not.

More recently – and for the first time in our long history – Ministers have proposed legislation giving them powers to break the law. This is a slippery slope down which no democratic Government should ever travel.

And, it was claimed, Brexit wouldn’t increase support for Scottish independence or a united Ireland. It has. It defies logic that intelligent men and women making such extravagant promises did not know they were undeliverable – and yet they continued to make them. It was politics. It was campaigning. It was for a cause. It was also unforgiveable.

If that is how we are going to conduct our public affairs, then not only will our politics truly fall into a bad place, but our word as a nation will no longer be trusted.

Saturday, November 07, 2020

My poor car

 Yesterday morning when I wet out to my car I was shocked. The day before, my car was nice and clean and dark blue in colour. Now it is a filthy mess and brown. 

I was going to go out and wash it yesterday afternoon until I found this notice on Facebook. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Fingers crossed we escape

Whilst a large part of the province is forecast for a deluge or snow, we seem to have been spared. We'll have to wait and see though because, as we well know,  things can change rapidly. 


Monday, November 02, 2020

What do you make of that?

 Since she was a candidate at the last local election, Pamela receives regular communications from the PP. We also get links to articles in Activa Orihuela, Vega Baja Digital and Diario de la Vaga Baja that inform us of developments that are taking place in Bigastro.  

You have no doubt seen the work that has been going on at the plot of land formed by the junction of Calles Alemania and Inglaterra and speculated as to what will be the outcome. It was clear that there would not be houses even though the land was classified for building. Neither would there be the shops that had been muted by some. Shops would simply not survive in such a small area. We might have guessed at a park but then how could you justify another park? 

It seems that the land is going to be repurposed as an urban garden with 20 plots of about 50 square metres each. Bigastro already has 25 similar plots and  there is a waiting list for more. We would probably best describe them as allotments - places where locals can grow fruit and veg for the table. 

If there is a demand for more than 20 allotments, then a draw will take place.   

There is also a plan to create a  Community Composting Centre, intended to serve 1,500 people on the land. 

So it seems, without being consulted,  we are going to have allotments and a compost heap in the middle of our estate. 

In England, allotments are normally on the outskirts of towns, certainly not in the middle of private housing estates. Here in Bigastro, the existing allotments are on the other side of the bypass. They are double the size though at 100m2. We can only hope that this new scheme does not drag down further the value of our properties.  

Saturday, October 31, 2020

How are we doing?

At the end of the first wave I recall that the number of cases of Covid in Bigastro stood at 49. As you can see that number has increased to 80 but still thankfully with just one death. 


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Does anybody know?

We are used to seeing council workers clearing the corner between Calles Alemania and Inglaterra. It happened every year or so. 

This year though it is different. 

First off a large digger and a tractor with a scraper arrived. The digger dug holes and removed large rocks which were then buried below the subsoil. The scraper followed around levelling everything off.

Then lorries arrived with what we imagined was topsoil which again was spread out to create a level surface.  

The real action started on Monday. Sand, gravel and water arrived along with a concrete mixer. They have now started fixing green posts around the area that has been flattened. 

We're guessing this is the start of some sort of park but we don't know. After 16 years of barren land, this could be a positive move forward. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

The new rules

* A curfew between midnight and six am. 

* Only groups of 6 can meet in any setting, private or public. 

* Gardens and parks will be open from 8am until 10pm. 

* You can only eat or drink at tables of up to 6 people in bars and restaurants. 

* The sale of alcohol is prohibited between 10pm and 8am except in hotels and restaurants. 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

The Great Covid Quiz

 Taken from The Spectator. 

From the comfort of your own home, you can take part in The Great Covid Quiz and win! The government is giving away billions and billions of pounds in prizes. Simply answer 10 questions correctly and you could win prizes ranging from a furlough to a wheelbarrow of Rishi cash. Get one wrong and you risk being quarantined and your team sent into lockdown

You have 60 seconds to answer 9 questions. Go!

1. What is a ‘support bubble’?

a)     A group of up to 100 people with whom you share an experience of being barricaded into a student accommodation block

b)    A group of friends who provide emotional support to each other during intense periods of despair about the Covid regulations

c)     The mutually ‘supportive’ relationship between TV news broadcasters and catastrophising Covid forecasters

2. What is a ‘Matt Hancock’?

a)     A medical condition, under which the sufferer maintains an enthusiastic disposition resulting from extreme naivety.

b)    A small animal that performs in a perpetual circus

c)    The word for an unforced error

d)    The Minister of Fear

3. What are the rules about going to the pub?

a)     You can go with someone from your own household, but you must drink shandy through straws

b)    You can meet people from other households, as long as you sit at separate tables and shout to each other and do not sing

c)     You can go to the pub on your own, but you must drink yourself into depressed oblivion before 10pm

d)    This question is irrelevant; the pub is bankrupt

4. What does ‘Follow The Science’ mean?

a)     Assess the full range of scientific opinion and pick the one that is most shocking

b)    Do whatever you have just persuaded your advisors to say

c)     It’s a phrase you use when you hope that someone else knows what they are doing

d)    You have no idea, you studied Classics at university

5. How does the government decide which towns to lockdown?

a)     Northern towns where people still talk to each other

b)    Northern towns where people still drink in pubs together

c)     Northern towns where people still live as families

d)    Northern towns, situated in the north.

6. What are the rules about sporting events?

a)     You can participate in sporting events that involve shooting things

b)    You can stay healthy by watching sporting events on the television

c)     You can attend a football match, but you must watch it on the television in the club bar and the windows overseeing the pitch will be blacked out

d)    The only sport allowed is guessing which regulations are in place at any one time

7. What is ‘herd immunity’?

a)     Population immunity from an infectious disease

b)    The government’s policy of treating the population like cattle

c)     The herd of government advisors who are protected from criticism

8. Which is the most outlandish conspiracy theory?

a)     The Chinese Communist Party released the virus to stress-test western societies

b)    Bill Gates wants to inject us with microchips

c)     The government has been replaced with green lizards from the Bilderberg Group

9. How will it end?

a)     When the last fragment of Covid-19 is finally stamped into oblivion and every granny can roam free

b)    When Nicola Sturgeon leads a victorious invasion of England in the final War of Calvinist Lockdown Against The Sinners

c)     When some grown-ups are put in charge

d)    It won’t. This is it. Forever. This is the beginning of The End

But you said we had to answer 10 questions. Well, true to form Boris' lot lied to you!

Friday, October 09, 2020

Madrid under state of alarm

 The Spanish Cabinet on Friday declared a state of alarm in the Madrid region, in a bid to combat the spread of the coronavirus and after failing to reach an agreement with the regional government on the measures that should be implemented. The details of the state of alarm were passed via a decree and published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) at 5pm, coming into force from that moment.

The government opted to use a state of alarm to give the new coronavirus restrictions that were agreed on last week by a majority of the country’s regions a new legal framework, after the perimetral confinement of municipalities with a high incidence of the coronavirus was struck down by the Madrid High Court on Thursday.

The restrictions included in the BOE reintroduce the perimetral confinement of the capital and eight other municipalities in the region, and anyone trying to leave these areas for the long weekend – Monday is a national holiday – will face fines. Here are the measures now in place in the cities in question:

No one can leave or enter the following municipalities, apart from if their journey is justified: Alcobendas, Alcorcón, Fuenlabrada, Getafe, Leganés, Móstoles, Parla and Torrejón de Ardoz. The city of Alcalá de Henares was included in the lockdowns last Friday, but has been taken off the list after its coronavirus data improved, Health Minister Salvador Illa explained on Friday. Justified reasons include work, visits to the doctor or other reasons of force majeure.

Within the affected municipalities, citizens are able to move freely, but the government has advised against all unnecessary journeys and activities.

The state of alarm will be in place for 15 days, and will have to be approved by the Congress of Deputies if it is to be extended.

A maximum of six people are allowed to meet in public or private throughout the whole region, except for activities where specific limits have been established.

Stores and establishments such as gyms and hairdressers must limit capacity to 50%, and must close by 10pm.

Bars, restaurants and betting houses will be limited to 50% capacity inside and 60% outside, with consumption at bar counters prohibited. They will have to close at 11pm apart from for food deliveries.

The capacity in sports venues, both outside and inside, is reduced to 50%, with a maximum of six people for group sports with the exception of official competitions.

Academies and private training or teaching centers will see their capacity reduced to 50%.

In places of worship, capacity is reduced to a third, with a minimum distance of 1.5 meters. At funeral wakes, there is a limit of 15 people outside, and 10 inside.

Friday, October 02, 2020

Blame Alex


Monday, September 28, 2020


It should have been obvious that criminals would find ways to exploit the coronavirus crisis to make money. This story also highlights an issue with the tracing system in the UK. How are you to know that the phone call you receive is genuine? 

 ‘Good afternoon I'm calling from the NHS track and trace service. According to our system, you are likely to have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This means that you now need to self-isolate for 7 days and take a COVID-19 test.'

'OK. Can you tell me who that person was?'

'I'm not able to tell you that. That is confidential information.'

'Right. Um... so ....'

'But you do need to be tested within the next 72 hours. So can I just get the best mailing address so that we can send a kit to you?'

'Ok (gives address)'

I just need to take a payment card so that we can finalize this and send the kit to you.'

'Sorry - a payment card? I thought this was all free?'

'No - I'm afraid not. There is a one-off fee of £50 for the kit and test results. Could you read off the long card number for me, please, when you're ready.'

'No - that's not right. This is part of the NHS so there's no charge.'

'I'm afraid there is. Can you give me the card number please - this is very important, and there are penalties for not complying.'

Puts the phone down.

This is how scammers work. And vulnerable people will fall for it.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Viva la diferencia

 In my opinion, Spain has been consistent in its approach to coronavirus. OK, there have been mistakes made. Just as was the case in England, lockdown was too slow and large gatherings were allowed in the early days that should have been stopped. 

Since then though the rules and stages have been clear and largely followed. We knew week by week what was and what was not allowed. We also knew that the rules would be enforced by law with fines for those who broke them. We don't have mottos like, "Hands, Face and Space" though. 

By comparison, there seems to have been a lot of confusion in England. For example, people were allowed to go out for exercise - how far and for how long was not specified. They were allowed to go to beauty spots and the beach to undertake this exercise. 

Being outdoors in fresh air was said to be good for both mental and physical well being and so it was encouraged as long as people maintained social distancing. The result was that we were presented with pictures and news reports of resorts like Bournemouth being overwhelmed. Social distancing was impossible even if people thought to apply it. 

It was exactly the same when the pubs were allowed to reopen. It was impossible for drinkers to keep 2m apart. Even if they started out well meaning, by the time they'd have several drinks most would have not even thought about it. Drinkers were also supposed to give their name and phone number so they could be contacted in case someone in the pub showed symptoms of coronavirus. No surprise that there were loads of Donald Ducks in bars and pubs.  

The "work from home if you can" message was replaced with, "get back to the office now!". And to encourage people to eat out, they were given a 50% discount off their meals up to £10 - Mondays to Wednesdays. 

There have been examples of blatant rule breaking with, for example, illegal raves of up to 100 people. To be fair, two Government Ministers and a Special Adviser were guilty of breaking the rules without redress. Some may well have used that as an excuse to break the rules themselves.

There has been a lot of passing the blame to others. E.g., when there was a shortage of PPE, NHS staff were accused using it inappropriately.  Recently, the shortage of tests was blamed on people asking for a test when they didn't need one. Last night, it was the sector of the public who refused to follow the rules that meant Johnson had to introduce harsh measures. 

The country has a Prime Minister who likes to be cheerful and rosy, putting a positive spin on everything. He has made many false promises starting with the one where he said it would all be over in 12 weeks. Last night, he tried to placate his message with the notion that by Spring things would be much better, there would be a vaccine and half a million tests a day that would give instant results. It is good to be optimistic but that optimism needs to be tempered by realism. 


Monday, September 21, 2020

A tribute to Joaquín Perales Pérez

 Joaquín Perales Pérez was probably best known as the the "Perales" in the Perales y Ferrer company who pack lemons to export to France, Belgium, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Slovenia, Hungary, Germany, Norway, Czech Republic, Japan, Canada and USA. and provide employment for many in and around Bigastro. 

This is an extract from an article that Pascual Segura, Official Chronister of Bigastro has written on his blog, "Recuerdos de Bigastro". 

Joaquín Perales Pérez was a great family man and a model businessman, but above all a man proud of his people and his beloved band. And if Bigastro was his centre of activity and business project, the Sociedad Unión Musical de Bigastro was one of his great joys.

Pascual Segura clearly remembers the last time he listened to Joaquín Perales. It was at a concert of the band promoted by him at the Francisco Grau Municipal Auditorium. At the end of the last work and with the last applause of the night, when the audience left their seats and the curtain closed until the next musical evening, Joaquín Perales took the stage and applauded the musicians. He did it alone and with a big smile on his face. After the prolonged applause, he said: "You have done very well and you are the pride of all the people. Congratulations. I congratulate you and I encourage you to continue working as you have done until now, because the band sounds fantastic." He shook hands with all the musicians close to the place where he was and left accompanied by the grateful applause of the musicians who saw in the gesture of Joaquín Perales a new show of gratitude and humility from this Honorary Member, as he was named by the board of directors of the Sociedad Unión Musical de Bigastro when Mr. Emilio Sáez Pérez was president.

Born on March 7, 1940, Joaquín Perales Pérez, father of five children, always felt a special affection for the customs and traditions of his native Bigastro. A man from Bigastro linked from his youth to the business sector He knew the importance of teamwork, and what better example of teamwork than that of a musical group?

While successfully developing his business project, he became a fervent admirer of the band, making the decision to be a member of it as soon as the way to enter the band was formalised. His registration in the membership book occupies one of its first pages with membership number 52. Incorporation that did not go unnoticed by the board of directors of the Sociedad Unión Musical de Bigastro which named him a partner of honor. An honorary distinction that shortly after was assigned to great successful professionals of our band, such as Joaquín Grau, José Vicente Díaz, Manuel Moya, Manuel Gutiérrez, etc.

Excited and happy to be able to contribute to the development of our band, and despite having a professional schedule full of responsibilities that reduced his leisure time, Joaquín Perales shared great moments with his band. Like when he postponed his professional commitments to travel to Valencia and support his band at the Palau de la Música, or when he accepted with enthusiasm the tribute that the band gave him on March 5, 2011 at the VI Vega Baja Music Gala - Baix Vinalopó held in the neighboring town of Redován, with Emilio Sáez Pérez being president, who accompanied him and gave an award for actively supporting the Bigastrense musical society.

Distinctions that were happening over time and that tried to return the affection of the first honorary member to his band, as when in 2012 at the concert offered in honor of the members, the board of directors wanted to thank his unconditional support by dedicating a tribute to him in the one that participated his great friend and honorary director, Francisco Grau Vegara, who composed a pasodoble for him.

Acknowledgments in which Joaquín Perales Pérez was moved and grateful for being a participant, through the promotion of his band's projects, its growth, sharing his enthusiasm and affection for the band with his children and grandchildren -now students from the music school-, for whom today Joaquín Perales is an example of aptitude, effort and sacrifice, of overcoming adversity, and of course, of affection for his people and his always esteemed band.

There are friendships that last forever through the years, the difficulties and the onslaught of life. The Bigastro-Joaquín Perales relationship will last a long time, despite the fact that he can no longer reciprocate with his encouragement and affection for his people; only from above, he will watch over his family, his people and his band with his esteem, like a shining star in the sky of Bigastro. Rest in peace.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Spare a thought for Johnson

 When he became Prime Minister, Johnson took a £200,000 a year pay cut. He had to move from a nice mews house to a flat above the shop. All that to feed his burning ambition for the top job. 

All Johnson wanted to do was be P M and get Brexit done, he didn't want to have to deal with a major health crisis. He certainly did not want to work long hours, seven days a week. 

Now he is struggling. He is paying for four of his children to go through university and his friends say he can only afford a cleaner. Having a baby at 56 without the assistance of a nanny or a housekeeper must be taking its toll. 

Worst of all though, his popularity rating has plummeted. Johnson doesn't like having enemies. Facing Keir Starmer each week at Prime Minister's Questions is bad enough, he now has rebellious back benchers to contend with as well. 

The book is now open on how long he can last. Nobody expects Johnson to be leading the party at the next election but when will he time his his exit. Smart money seems to be on next Spring.  

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Rules are rules

The rule of six in England has inspired some to react with humour. The earliest example was one which pictured the 7 dwarfs with Snow White saying that one had to go. Then there was a picture of Clint Eastwood in cowboy mode with a a policeman. The caption said,  "I don't care if you are magnificent, you can only have six". 

This is the latest but possibly not the last. Maybe someone will be able to make something out of "Seven brides for seven brothers".


Another thrilling day?

 Just to make things a bit more interesting today there is a "bit of a hill" at the end of the 36.2 km time trial. 

In relation to the other longer climbs that the riders have endured, this is less of a challenge although the sections that ramp up to 11, 13 and finally 20 % will surely test their legs. 

Barring accidents, Tadej Pogacar is sure to get the white (youth) jersey but he'd also like the polka dot (climbers) jersey and possibly even the yellow (individual) jersey. 

It is unlikely that he will make up the 57 seconds on his fellow countryman, Primoz Roglic but he may be tempted to have a go. However, there are only 2 points between Pogacar and Richard Carapaz in the polka dot competition so that is a more realistic target. 

By about 5:30pm we will know the result. 

The situation here in Spain

 During the past two weeks, Spain has reported more than 122,000 new Covid-19 cases, more than a third of them in the Madrid region. The number of cases per 100,000 people stands at 259.76 across Spain as a whole. In Madrid, the figure rises to 659.41, and in Puente de Vallecas, the district served by the Buenos Aires medical centre, it is 1,241.

The Madrid regional government on Friday announced new restrictions aimed at curbing the rising number of coronavirus cases in the region. The order will go into effect on Monday and last for at least 14 days.

The restrictions on mobility affect people living within 37 basic health areas, of which 26 are located in six districts of the city of Madrid, and the rest in other municipalities in the Madrid region. People will be allowed in and out for essential activities such as going to school or work, or to care for dependents. Social gatherings are reduced to six people and public parks will remain closed. Capacity at stores and other commercial establishments is set at 50% and closing time is 10pm with the exception of pharmacies and gas stations.

The affected areas are home to around 855,193 people or 17% of the population of the Madrid region, although they account for 25% of detected coronavirus cases. “We are aware that if don’t take these measures, the situation will be worse in a few days," said the deputy premier of the Madrid region, Ignacio Aguado.

In the UK, there are 59.3 cases per 100,000, in France, 166.9, and in Italy, 33.

Monday, September 14, 2020

The new TIE card

The Spanish TIE card is the new photo ID card that replaces the old green residency certificate or card. It is not essential at this point in time that you exchange your original residency document. However, many people are doing so as the new card can also be used as a form of identification which removes the requirement to always carry your passport with you.

It is very advisable to be up-to-date with the latest Spanish documentation, as you cannot be sure how the requirements for the same process will change after the 31st of December 2020.

There are two types of TIE cards in Spain. For those people who have had a residency certificate for more than 5 years they will receive a TIE of 10 years duration. For those who have residency for less than five years, they will receive a TIE of 5 years validity that can be renewed automatically.


The first stage in obtaining your TIE is to make an appointment at the “Oficina de Extranjería”  Calle de la Ebanistería, 4, Alicante. 

Once the documents have been presented you will be given a telephone number that you have to call within 3 or 4 weeks to confirm if the card is ready for collection.

When you have confirmation that your new card can be collected then you must go to the “Oficina de Extranjería“, Calle Campo de Mirra, 6, to hand in the original residency document and to collect your new TIE card.


Form EX23 - obtained and filled in online

Tasa/Tax 720/012 and proof of payment - again the form is online - take it to your bank to make the payment. 

Original passport + copy - the copy only needs to be of the page with your information. 

Original residency document + copy

Recent and valid padrón + copy*

Photo ID (passport size)**

* If you are replacing an existing green resident's card or certificate and your address hasn't changed, I understand you do not need a copy of the padron. 

** Recent photo, 32 by 26 mm, face camera directly, with full face in view, in color, white plain background. With the head completely uncovered and without dark glasses or any other garment that may prevent or make identification of the person difficult.

Next big day

The problem with predicting what will happen each day on the Tour is difficult. There are so many variables that can determine what the teams and riders will do.There are also several competitions taking place at the same time; there is the race for the overall leader, the race to win the stage, the green jersey competition, the white jersey competition etc etc. 

Yesterday, the two riders at the top of the General Classification put a little distance between them and the rest of the pack. Wednesday may be an opportunity for them to extend that lead, we shall see.

For those who want to watch live, the riders should reach the Col de la Madeleine by about 15:30 and the Col de la Loze by about 17:20. The last 4.5kms will be decisive as the road ramps up to 24% and finishes at 18%.


Clearing out?

Thursday, September 17, the mobile eco-park will return to the Plaza de la Constitución. You can dispose of waste ranging from glass, toner and ink cartridges, lithium and cadmium batteries, CDs, light packaging, used oil from the kitchen, paper and cardboard, button and alkaline batteries, small appliances, mobile phones, aerosols and cans, expired medicines, fluorescent tubes and light bulbs.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

A reminder

It is now twelve months since the worst episode of bad weather this area has experienced. The DANA produced 500l of water per square metre. 

The town may have mostly recovered but the memory of those awful days will remain for a long time. 

To see just how bad it was, watch this video. The first part was taken opposite the post boxes at the bottom of our estate. 

 Last September

A big day on the Tour

 So far the Tour de France has proved to be exciting with twists and turns in the fortunes of the favourites. It has also taken us through some beautiful countryside with more climbing than I believe is usual. 

Today could well be a big day as the riders leave Lyon and head to a finish on the Grand Colombier. 

Although the Grand Colombier has featured many times in the Tour, this is the first time that a stage will finish at the top. 

Before the riders reach the final climb though, they have 98kms of flat countryside to cover. They also have a couple of mountain to tackle the first of which has a 3km section at 22%. .

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Beware of false news

Meteo Orihuela warns us to avoid taking notice of false claims that we are expecting severe weather.

After the DANA last September, people are naturally nervous of another episode this year. 

Work is already underway to install huge pipelines under the CV95 that should take all the water that the heavens throw at us. 

Monday, September 07, 2020

Could be a useful contact


Friday, September 04, 2020

Work on the CV95 passing through Bigastro

 The two projects on CV-95

The first phase be in the Vereda Colín street from where an aqueduct will be built, a passage through the road itself of just over 12 meters that will allow the passage of more than 20 thousand litres of water per second. A second work will also be carried out at the roundabout by the Health Centre where they will carry out the same drainage infrastructure, to avoid flooding due to heavy rains. The third project, that is being worked on, will affect the entire El Molino village.

CV-95 cut off from Monday, September 7

The CV-95 cut-off will be carried out for about 15 days in the direction of Torrevieja-Jacarilla, from the roundabout of the Health Centre, for heavy transport that will not be allowed access to the municipality, from the intersection of the Vereda El Molino towards Avenida Tomás Villanueva, Calle Vereda el Colín heading again towards CV-95.

In the direction of Orihuela, the cut will be made at the La Metro roundabout, where you will take the direction of Bigastro along Apatel Street and Tomás Villanueva Avenue to take CV-95 again. In the same way, the access of heavy vehicles will not be allowed, only buses.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Make of that what you will

IMPORTANT🚧🚧 CV-95 cut off from next Monday, September 7. The CV-95 cut-off will take place, in the direction of Torrevieja-Jacarilla, from the roundabout of the Health Centre for heavy transport that will not be allowed access to the municipality, allowing the access of the rest of the vehicles from the roughly crossing of Vereda El Molino towards Avenida Tomás Villanueva, Calle Vereda el Colin heading again towards CV-95. In the direction of Orihuela, the cut will be made at the La Metro roundabout where you will take the direction of Bigastro along Calle Apatel and Avenida Tomás Villanueva to take the CV-95 again. In the same way, the access of heavy vehicles will not be allowed, only buses.


Monday, August 31, 2020

Welcome relief

When we first came to Spain, we looked forward to summer and days of sunshine. The fact that it was going to be hot didn't concern us because we were used to heat during our summer holidays. 

We still look forward to summer and temperatures in the low 30s. However, when the thermometer reaches over 35 and creeps to 40 degrees, we take shelter in the house with the air conditioning working flat out all day. 

Looking at the this week, that looks comfortable. We won't even object to the light cloud cover. 


Sunday, August 30, 2020

Spare a thought

 My friend Pete is responsible for timetabling in his school - a secondary R.C. High School for Girls in Liverpool. 

Like all schools, they have worked hard to facilitate a safe return for pupils next week following Government guidelines. 

Then on Friday night, the Government chose to announce the measures that would be taken if there was a local spike in Covid 19 cases - it is a 4 tier plan starting with wearing of masks by pupils from Yr 7 upwards and adults when moving around buildings to full school closure.

It is Stage 2 though that has my friend scratching his head. The notion is that half the pupils would stay in school and half would work from home. Sounds simple but it isn't because secondary school timetables  are complex. Do you send home whole year groups or specific classes from various year groups? Which plan would be least disruptive and at the same time best reduce the possibility of transmission. 

Just when my friend needed a relaxed weekend to prepare for the difficulties he will already face next week, Pete has the impossible task of sorting out Plan B. 

Will Johnson finally rid England of its incompetent Secretary of State for Education? Will Williamson do the honourable thing and resign? 

When Conservative MPS were seeking Williamson's resignation following the exam result fiasco, he published this photo which the Times suggested was a reminder to all that he was Chief Whip under Teresa May. The red book on top of the whip is thought to be his record of "indiscretions" by Tory MPs. 

Following the exam fiasco, Sally Collier (Head of Ofqual) resigned and the chief civil servant at the Department for Education has been sacked. Mr Slater is the fifth permanent secretary to leave his post in six months. 

Thatcher said  that "advisers advise and ministers decide" but it seems that it is the advisers that carry the can under Johnson. Pretty soon there will be nobody left to blame for the Government's mistakes. 

Friday, August 28, 2020

Have you got the app?

 Spain is using an app called Radar Covid to track and trace people with Coronavirus.. 

Like the ill fated UK app, this uses Bluetooth to record who you have been in contact with. If you then exhibit symptoms, you notify via the app and anyone who has been recorded in contact with you for 15 minutes or more is notified.  

The app is available for Apple IOS and Android. 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

What is going on?

 To be fair, it is a long time since we had major problems with electricity here at Villas Andrea. When we first arrived and  were on "builder's supply",  it was a lottery. You could have periods of hours without electricity and even when it was on, the voltage varied quite a bit. Once we were connected to the National Grid, things improved a lot although there have been the odd blips. 

My Smart UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply or battery backup) has been sending messages to say that there have been a couple of power cuts over the last week or so but generally, there have been no interruptions during the daytime. 

Apart from the email messages that the UPS sends, the clock on the oven goes back to 12:00 and needs resetting. They are both sure signs that we have had problems. 

Previously, I had my Internet router connected to the UPS and so we did not lose our connection when the power went off.  Now that we have a fibre connection though, we have the supplied router in our bedroom acting as a modem and a wireless router in the spare room that connects everything to the network. Neither of these are powered via the UPS and so, when the electricity goes off, so does our connection to the Internet. 

Far more serious though, with the electricity off, we can't make that vital first cup of tea in the morning. In desperation, one time I went outside and boiled water on my gas barbecue but that needs cleaning after last night's meal. For now, the electricity is back on and I have my brew by my side, let's hope it stays that way. 


The good news is that the electricity is back on, the bad news is that the water has now gone off. The even worse news is that, now the water is back on, there is a leak in the street outside our neighbour's house. The water has found a route from there down to the pavement outside our shed creating a long crack in our walls on the way.

Friday:- we now have two men digging down to find and hopefully repair the leak. Once they have done that, I expect them to come and repair our walls.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Where are all the sick people

 When we came back from England in March, I needed to go to the Medical Centre in Bigastro to have my knee redressed. I went several times and on each occasion there was nobody in the waiting room. The seating had been sorted with tape on alternate seats but it wasn't needed because there wasn't anyone about apart from the staff.  

I had an appointment at the hospital for my regular checkup following radiotherapy four years ago but was told that would be cancelled and in any case I couldn't have the blood analysis that precedes those appointments. 

Realising it was essential, I made a new appointment at the hospital for next week and went down this morning for my blood analysis. 

In the past, there has always been a gathering of over a dozen people waiting for their blood analysis. This morning, I was the only one and the waiting area was still empty. 

This leads me to wonder, where are all the people who would normally be filling the medical centre? 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Whilst Rome burns

 Even in normal times, it is impossible to produce exam results that are perfectly standardised. Exams are marked by an army of teachers who attempt to agree a common standard between them. Although the marks are later cross checked by chief examiners, there is still some potential for errors. The important thing is not that the grades are correct but that the rank order of students is correct – not just in the individual school but across the country as a whole.   

What OFQUAL attempted to do this year was to standardise disparate marking by referencing back to previous years' results. They had to assume that each school would perform more or less the same as they had in the past. The problem is that A level groups tend to be small in number and so results can vary considerably year on year. Grades for subjects like Latin, Classics and History of Art, mostly taken in independent schools, were either left untouched or improved; grades in Social Science subjects, taken by state schools, were downgraded. 

To illustrate the problem of relying on past performance, I read about two schools that worked together to standardise their marks – each marking the other's candidates work. When the results were published, the results from one school were downgraded and the other school's grades were left untouched. The difference being that the one school had a history of A levels and the other was entering pupils for the first time. 

What to do? 

At first Gavin Williamson said that there would NOT be a U turn, the grades would stand. Johnson backed him up by saying that the grades were “robust”. Then the poo poo hit the fan, schools, pupils and parents were up in arms. Bear in mind that the affected students were now of voting age and Council Elections are coming up next year. 

Scotland had already back tracked, Wales and Northern Island were going to back track. That left merry England out on its own. 

Yesterday, Williamson said that he had thought about things over the weekend and had come to the conclusion that, right or wrong, the best thing to do was allow the teacher assessments to be upheld. You could argue that he was a big person for admitting he was wrong and apologising but remember that this mess was not created last week nor the week before, it was known for months what had taken place.

OK, so all is now well but unfortunately that is not the case. Many of the students that were rejected by their first choice University on the basis of their lowered grades have already gone to clearing to find a place at a different University and or possibly a different course. That process now needs to be unpicked in the few weeks before courses begin. 

Meantime, like Nero watching Rome burn, the PM is enjoying his holiday in Scotland. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

The four concerts

 For those of you who missed the concerts by various sections of the band, here are links that will take you to them. To view the videos in full you will need to download them to your computer/iPad. 





Our own fireworks

 Along with music, fireworks are an important feature of celebrations here in Bigastro.

Determined that we would not miss out this year, the Fiesta Commission decided to have firework displays at various points in the town. That way, each barrio could enjoy a display and stay safe. 

From our roof terrace, I could see at least four different sets of fireworks stretching the length of the town. 

When they had finished, we then had our very own display aimed for the residents at Villas Andrea. At the end of the display, you could hear the applause and people cheering. 

Sunday, August 16, 2020


 You don't need me to tell you that this year has been extraordinary. So many aspects of our lives have been turned upside down.

Possibly the biggest upheaval for people in Bigastro has been the cancellation of  fiestas and celebrations. First it was Holy Cross, then San Isidro, Easter, Corpus Christi, Santa Ana and now San Joaquin. 

An important part of most celebrations in Bigastro is music. We have not been able to enjoy a concert by either the Symphonic Band or the Junior Band since March.  

Undaunted though, the President – Alfonso Banuls, the Director – Diego Soller and the musicians came up with an ingenious idea. They got Telfy involved and recorded four different concerts to be broadcast from the 13th to the 16th at 8pm each night. 

The first concert was performed by a saxophone ensemble, the second by a Big Band group mainly playing brass, the third was mainly woodwind and the fourth was the Symphonic Band playing a traditional concert selection for San Joaquin. 

The music selections were delightful and memorable, the standard of playing was as usual immaculate and the production by Telfy was professional.

We owe a great debt to Alfonso, Diego and the musicians who took part. You have managed to enrich our lives during these difficult times.

New changes

Some changes have been made to the regulations aimed at combating the spread of Covid-19. 

You are now prohibited from smoking on public roads unless you can keep a distance of 2m. 

Discos, dance halls and cocktail bars will be closed. Hotels and restaurants, terraces and bars must close, at the latest, by one in the morning.

In Bigastro, the police have said that they will clamp down on any attempts to have botellons (gatherings of people drinking)  in the streets. 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

50 years ago today

 50 years ago I was putting on a grey morning suit ready to go to St Lukes Church in Hoylake for our wedding. I hadn't long graduated from Keele University and had spent the summer working at Hepworth Iron Works to earn money for the wedding and honeymoon. 

My good friend from college, John Wilde and I, had stayed at the flat in West Kirby which was to be Pam and my first home. We arrived at the church in good time to meet my brother Brian who was to be my best man and to have photos taken before we were went to the vestry with Morley Rattenbury who was the Minister at that time. 

 The wedding ceremony and the reception took place without a hitch thanks to Pamela's careful planning. I can confidentially say that all our guests were delighted and happy to be there to celebrate with us. It was a lovely summer day so we were able to have many photos taken in the grounds of Kings Gap Court where the Reception was held.

Unusually for that time, we had an evening reception as well as the Wedding Breakfast with the Eric Fenton Band playing a wide selection of music. As was tradition, I bought the first round in the evening and was grateful that most were drinking either beer or soft drinks. 

The next day Pam and I travelled to Slough with our good friends Glenys and John ready to go to the North London Terminal where we would check in for our flight to Mallorca and our honeymoon at Arenal Playa. As Pam reminds me, I had so few clothes, there was plenty of room in my case for souvenirs. I recall that the lock on my case was faulty and so it had string around it to keep it secure. 

When we returned, Pam and I were keen to start our lives together. We had very little money and only the bare essentials for life. It was over a month before we could afford a fridge and several months before Pam's parents let us have their 12” black and white TV. We had to wait until the end of September before I would receive my first month's pay as a newly qualified teacher. 

Over the 50 years since then we have had many triumphs and memorable moments. We have two wonderful daughters and two delightful grandchildren. Most important though, we have each other. Our love for each other is as strong as ever even if we don't always express it these days.  

Wherever you are reading this, please raise a glass to toast our Golden Wedding with us.