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.