Thursday, April 30, 2020

And so we go on

Can't believe my luck! In the last two days, I've had a voucher for 500 Euros to spend in Mercadona and notice from Amazon Spain that I've been gifted an iPhone 11.

But wait, the emails both came from the same address - how can that be? You don't suppose that, if I click on the link,  I'll be taken to some fake website where the scammer will want me to post bank details or my login details for Amazon.

A brighter person would at least use a spoof email address to make their messages look genuine. This person just used their normal address.

I marked them as junk in the hope that will stop any further fake emails from that address.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The market is back

Many locals have missed the weekly market on Calle Purisima where it would be impossible to maintain social distancing.

From tomorrow, the market returns but this time in the Parque Huerto del Cura with a few rules to keep you and the stall holders safe:

Sunday, April 26, 2020

A change to the rules

Starting today, children in Spain under the age of 14 will be able to go out for accompanied walks within a one-kilometre radius of their homes between 9am and 9pm.

Youngsters who are 14 and over are not included in these provisions, but may go out to perform the same essential errands allowed for adults, such as trips to the supermarket.

The order states that children can be accompanied by any adult “who currently lives in the same home as the boy or girl, or who is employed to take care of the minor.” In the case of the latter, the person must have written authorisation.

Under the new rules, an adult can go out onto the street with as many as three children. Trips to parks that are open are allowed, but children can not play on the swings or go to “recreational or sporting areas.

The order adds that children presenting coronavirus symptoms must not leave their homes.

Saturday, April 25, 2020


In these uncertain days where normality has been turned upside down, criminals are trying to cash in.

The TV license scam mentioned in this genuine notice from my bank works in one of two ways both of which are aimed at clearing money from your account.

I've had two emails that supposedly came from local supermarkets (Aldi and Mercadona). Both claimed that I qualified for a voucher. All I had to do was click on the link to obtain my reward. No doubt, if I had followed the links, I would have been asked to give my bank details. Fortunately, I smelt a rat and deleted both emails.

Even better though was the email I recently received that claimed my computer had been hacked. Not only had the person got hold of all of my contacts, they had video or me viewing porn and pleasuring myself via my webcam. If I didn't pay a ransom in bitcoins, the video would be sent to three of my contacts.  REALLY!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The news

Vega Baja has recorded 484 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began. Three more cases compared to yesterday.

Orihuela Health Department has 125  cases -two more than yesterday- and the Torrevieja Health Department, 359 -one more than yesterday.

However, the death toll remains unchanged, with 56 people in the Vega Baja,

Monday, April 20, 2020

I think we qualify on the first count

Three disposable masks per person - available from local chemists. All you need is your SIP card to obtain your masks. 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

3 minutes of silence

 Bigastro, like those of the rest of the Vega Baja, has called all its neighbours to participate in a tribute to the victims of Coronavirus, which will take place this Sunday morning, at 12 noon.

Yesterday, the mayor, Teresa Belmonte, accompanied by councillors of the government team, toured the public buildings in the town.  Local Police lowered  flags at half-mast as a sign of Official Mourning.

Belmonte made an appeal "from our balconies we will pay tribute with 3 minutes of silence in memory of all those who have died and in support of their family and friends."

The mayor also thanked the Parish of Bigastro Nuestra Señora de Belén for their collaboration in this tribute. The church will ring the bells at 12 noon to begin the act of remembrance. 

Thinking of those who have paid the price

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

For those who were missed

I understand that there are a few on our estate that have not had their Bigastro face masks as yet.

The distribution of masks to our estate took place on Thursday, April 2nd, on the same day as the notice was posted. They were delivered by municipal workers in sealed plastic bags (two per bag). The man who delivered them had a list of addresses with names that were checked off as he handed the masks over. Bless him, he even spoke in English!

Since the masks were meant to be delivered by hand, I suspect that they would not leave them at your gate or in your post box. Obviously, if you were not at home at the time, you are not registered on the Padron or your doorbell didn't work, then they could not be delivered.

However, all is not lost, you can contact the Ayuntamiento via WhatsApp on 636107371 and request masks by giving them your name and address. I am sure they will deliver them to you ASAP.

Monday, April 13, 2020

I wonder

Just how ill was Boris Johnson.

He complained of "mild" symptoms of Covid -19 and was tested positive for the virus on March 27th. Following his own guidelines, Johson self isolated in the flat at No11 Downing Street. He subsequently appeared on videos that he made of himself and looked dreadful.

On the 3rd April, Johnson said that he was still suffering from a "mild" symptom - a raised temperature.

April 5th, he was admitted to hospital for what was described by Downing Street as "precautionary measures" and tests.

By April 6th it was admitted that the Prime Minister had been moved to an intensive care unit where he was given oxygen. No 10 were insistant that he was NOT on a ventilator. He was attended to by two ICU nurses. Reports said that he remained conscious, had been comfortable and engaging with the staff.

After three nights, he was moved back to a general ward and was said to be in good spirits. The following day it was reported that he was taking short walks between periods of rest.

Yesterday, six days after he was admitted to hospital. Boris Johnson was discharged from hospital to recover at his country retreat. He made a video in which he thanked the staff at the hospital for saving him. In that video he looked much better - more his usual self.

The Daily Mail are suggesting that Boris had escaped death and that his chances were 50-50. They painted a picture of a PM continuing to work hard throughout his illness without regard for his own health - a great hero that some have even likened to Churchill.

I have no doubt that Johnson's condition was bad and that he was in real danger but let's not get over dramatic. For him to recover so quickly must surely mean that he was not in the same category as those who are on ventilators, heavily sedated and barely struggling to stay alive. Serious cases of this virus spend considerably more than a few days in ICU and weeks in hospital afterwards to recover. Johnson was lucky.

Let's hope that, when the next pay review for NHS staff comes up, he remembers his words of praise and instead of voting against and even clapping when their claim is turned down, the PM decides that they deserve recognition. It would be good if, at some point in the future, the Government admitted that ten years of cuts to the NHS was a big mistake - one that they will never repeat. 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

I never thought I would say this

Just as last year, when it rained on Easter Sunday, I will not be getting up at 6am tomorrow to be down in Bigastro for 7am. Although I will probably enjoy the extra hours in bed, I'd still prefer the dawn call.

Last year, for the first time since we came to Spain, the Encuentro was staged inside the church. I figured it would not be good for photographs because of the number of people crowding inside from the rain. There were photographs posted on Facebook that kind of proved me right but still made me regret not going down to make an attempt. 

The first time I went down to watch the ceremony was in 2008. For some reason I missed 2009 but was there 2010, and 2011. Again I missed 2012 when I overslept. 2013 I was there and in 2014, 2015 and then 2017 and 2018. I recall that we were in England visiting our family in 2016.

As you might imagine, I have a fair sized archive of photographs of these events. I also have video because in 2014 I took video rather than stills.

From 2009

Opening times

a) Shops were open at normal times from the 9th until today (the 11th) but will be closed for Easter Sunday.

b) Shops will be open from Monday to Saturday next week as normal but closed next Sunday 19th.

c) Monday 20th, (St. Vincent Ferrer) shops will be allowed to open until 3pm.

d) From 19th April until sanctions are lifted, shops will be allowed to open on Sundays until 3pm.  

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Boys' toys

You likely the heard the siren on the police car as it toured the estate last night and the other night and you may have wondered what the emergency was.

I'm pleased to tell you, there was no emergency - they were celebrating someone's birthday.

Monday, April 06, 2020

My reply

Many thanks to William D Taylor who replied to my story yesterday about our dear departed friend Antonio.

It seems that William and I share a lot in common, we both graduated with B.Ed degrees and taught in innner city schools. He has a flat in Alicante where he stayed only a few weeks ago.

I hope that William is staying safe and that he will soon be able to return to his home in the sun.

I also had a comment recently from someone who wanted to remain anonymous regarding my piece about Brits behaving badly.

My reader got the impression that I was a fan of Boris Johnson. Let me put you straight on that point! I am neither a fan of Johnson, nor his aide Cummings; nor am I a fan of Gove, Patel and Rees Mogg.

Having said that, I do wish Johnson well and hope he makes a full recovery from coronavirus. However much I disagree with their politics and selfish, self serving naked ambition, I do not wish ill of any of these people.

Unlike some readers of the Express and the Mail, I don't harbour hatred for any politicians I disagree with.  

Sunday, April 05, 2020

A dear friend

It is Palm Sunday, a day when I should be down in the park taking photos of bigastrenses in their Sunday best.

Sadly, we are all confined to quarters.

This photo dates back to Palm Sunday, 2017 when we met up with Antonio, (who taught us Spanish) on the way to the park.

Sadly, Antonio is no longer with us and we miss him a lot. He and I had a similar sense of humour and were great friends even though we had only lnown each other for a few years. 

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Green shoots?

During the daily briefings in the UK they talk of "green shoots" when indications show a slowing down of both the infection rate and death rate from Covid-19. .

Here in Spain, the lockdown was implemented earlier than in the UK ad has been more stringent so we would expect to see those improvements to come sooner.

This is a report from El Pais today:

The Spanish Health Ministry announced on Saturday that a total of 809 people in the country had died from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, a significant drop on the 932 fatalities recorded on Friday, and the lowest number of daily deaths seen in seven days.

The total number of coronavirus deaths in Spain now stands at 11,744. Registered infections have risen by 7,027 to 124,736. This represents a day-on-day increase of 5.9%, the lowest figure registered in Spain in at least three weeks. The number of patients in intensive care has increased to 6,532, a daily rise of 1.8% that is also the lowest recorded in this period.

The number of new patients admitted to hospital has also fallen. On Saturday, a total of 57,612 patients required hospitalization, up 975 from Friday. On Thursday, that figure was 2,524. Meanwhile, 34,219 patients have recovered from the Covid-19 disease and have been discharged from hospital.

Of course, these improvements need to be sustained over a week or so but at least we can draw some hope from them. 

A different kind of Easter

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Many, many thanks

To the ladies who worked hard to produce them, the company who provided the material free of charge and the Town Hall for bringing them around to our houses.

These masks are reusable and washable. They should last the duration of the lockdown. 

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

How good are they

Just to make your day a little special, the local police will come to your door and sing Happy Birthday to you.

I asked them if they would sing a birthday greeting to Pamela but they say the service is only for children. Seems I’ll have to sing myself tomorrow.

Masks for all

Volunteers in Bigastro have been busy making masks to protect us from coronavirus. So far, they have made 800 in 24 hours.

The distribution of these masks will be carried out by municipal personnel authorised for this purpose. They will ring your bell and deliver them to you by hand.

The maasks are washable, and can be worn for many days if you take care of them properly.
It is recommended that you do not wash them with corrosive products (bleach and similar), because they are in direct contact with your skin, and these products can irritate you. Just use nuetral soap and they will be fine.

You will need to be a little patient, because it will take several days to reach all homes in the town.

Remember that one mask will be delivered per adult person living in the house. Kids can't go out on the street so they don't need a mask.

Let's be responsible, because stock is limited, and don't ask for more masks than you need.

PLEASE NOTE This is not an April Fool's joke - this is from an official notice by the Town Hall.