Sunday, January 31, 2021

A positive spin

Most likely, wind is the most hated meteorological phenomenon, but you always have to try to get a positive point of view from things. The market price of electricity is LOWER on windy days.

When will the wind completely stop in the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula? Next Wednesday, February 3. Meanwhile, at intervals, it will continue to have an impact. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Hard times

We complain about the current situation but just look at these fascinating photos from Spain's past posted on Facebook.


Teresa wants more trees


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Necessary measures

 You my ask, "are the precautions being taken here in Spain proportional?"

On the 15th of January the number of cases of coronavirus in Bigastro stood at 268.  Now, just 12 days later, the figure stands at 371 - that is a 38% rise. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

A reminder

 The electricity will be cut off today from 9:00am until 11:30am. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Further restrictions

Note that both Torrevieja and Orihuela will be closed to traffic leaving or entering between 3pm on Fridays to 6am on Mondays.  


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Just look at San Fulgencio centre


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Troubled by wind

Those who live here will know just how windy it was yesterday.

The old cover that we put on the garden furniture was heavy enough to say in place in all but the strongest of winds. The new cover though is not so heavy and so the job today is to drag it back in place. 

I also notice that one of the brolly stands has made its way into the pool. The base should be no problem because it is floating around but the pole has sunk to the bottom of the pool. I'm hoping I can fish it out with my net because  there is no way I am going into that cold water!


The joys of Brexit

 Smooth, tariff free trade my backside!

Since the 1st January, UK companies can no longer charge VAT on goods ordered to be delivered to EU countries. Instead, it is the courier who will have to collect VAT and any import charges at the time of delivery. Of course, the same applies to UK customers buying goods from the EU. 

I regularly buy art materials from two UK companies; Jackson's Art Supplies who are based in London and Rosemary & Co Artist's Brushes who are based in Yorkshire. 

Jackson's supply possibly the widest range of art materials available online including items of their own brand which are of excellent quality at economical prices.

Rosemary & Co. produce arguably the finest quality handmade brushes at reasonable prices. I've currently got an order for brushes on its way - ordered on the 8th January without VAT. 

My order has been stuck at the Post Office's  Langley international processing centre for a week. I suspect it is the complications arising from Brexit that are holding it up. 

On their website, Rosemary & Co. say, "We have been informed that our EU customers are incurring high VAT rates as well as import duty together with handling and clearing fees ( hidden costs )." They have therefore stopped taking orders for the EU.

I have no idea whether I will be asked to pay extra charges by Correos and if so how much will they be. I am hoping that it will be no more than the VAT I would have paid at the time the order was placed. 

Companies like Rosemary & Co. rely upon trade to other countries, the market in the UK is just not large enough to keep them going. In fact Rosemary's biggest market is the US. 

Cynical Brexiteers tell UK customers , "not to buy goods from the EU, buy British instead." That's akin to asking people to turn their clocks back to a time when Britain made most of what people bought - we've moved on from then. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Our jabs are on the way

 Spain’s Health Ministry and regional governments are working out the details of the next stage of the coronavirus vaccination campaign. 

If the current pace of delivery keeps up, this new phase could begin in March, although the start date may be pushed forward or back depending on the speed of shipment deliveries and whether new vaccines get approved.

Immunizing healthcare workers is proving to be a fast process, as they are easy to locate, but reaching the general population may prove slower

There are around 6.8 million people over the age of 70 in Spain, although of these, approximately 380,000 live in care homes and are in the process of being inoculated. People included in the next group will be notified by their local healthcare centre for an appointment, and those who are physically unable to go will receive a home visit by a nurse.

To compare the rollout of the vaccine with the UK we have to remember that the the UK has a population of 66.65 million with 8.8m over 70 year olds. Also the policy here is different. Those who have received the first  Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will get the second dose 21 days later. In the UK, people are  only being given one dose on the basis that this will mean more people will get partial immunity. The second dose will be given much later. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

The new rules in Bigastro


Is there any good news?

Areas of Britain are on high alert for flooding as Storm Christoph deluges Greater Manchester, Northumberland and Yorkshire. Four 'severe' flood warnings, meaning there is a danger to life, were issued for the River Mersey at Didsbury and Northenden, and in Maghull.

The Manchester Evening News shows the areas of high alert which come pretty close to Sale where our youngest daughter lives. Thankfully, the River Mersey is starting to drop this morning. 

Britain also records a second record day for deaths from coronavius. On the plus side, the number of cases is now dropping thanks to the measures that have been taken.  

Advance notice

Not sure whether this means that electricity will be cut for the whole urbanisation or just Canada Andrea.


Wednesday, January 20, 2021


In response to the increased number of cases of Covid, the rules have been tightened. 
  • All bars and restaurants will be closed except for takeaways.  
  • All shops must close at 6pm, except those selling food. 
  • The 10pm curfew may be changed to an 8pm curfew.  
  • All sports centres, except those for professionals, are to be closed. 
Please note that the new  restrictions will be in force for 14 days.


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Four years ago today

It is hard to believe that it was four years ago that we saw snow on the beaches of Torrevieja and the Orihuela costa. I even went outside and made a video of the snow falling outside our house. Of course the snow did not last long. Almost as soon as it covered the ground, it was gone.


Monday, January 18, 2021

From one extreme...

Last week it was bitterly cold - even more so in parts of the interior of Spain that are still at risk of low temperatures. 


Sunday, January 17, 2021

Warming the night up

We heard the fire engine sirens and then Pam spotted an item on Facebook about the blaze last night.

It was in a palm plantation between Bigastro and Orihuela. Started at 6:09 and took two hours to extinguish. It total 5,000 m2 of palm forest was destroyed. 

Fortunately, no one was injured and none of the nearby houses were affected. 


Saturday, January 16, 2021

Couldn't put it better myself

 Our neighbour, Eladia, posted this on Facebook. If you don't have symptoms, don't go out looking for them and if you do have symptoms don't go out to pass them on. 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Extra precautions

The number of cases of coronavirus have increased in Bigastro to 268 (about 4% of the population*).  Therefore, in addition to the rules set out by Valencia, the town's Sports Centre will be closed from today along with all public parks and games zones.

* Compare that to an estimated 8.7% of the UK. population  and 10% of the population in Spain that have had coronavirus and we are still relatively safe here in Bigastro.  We want to keep that way! 


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Following on

 As I said yesterday, I believe the key to controlling Covid is for people to be compliant and use common sense.  Nit-picking about whether you can exercise for half an hour or an hour, whether you can cycle for two miles or twenty and whether you can stop and take refreshments is counter productive. 

Since March, we have been required to wear face masks when out in public and when in shops. I would say that, almost without exception, people here comply. You may find the odd person whose mask has slipped below their nose which they will pull up when asked. 

Glancing at the Daily Mail this morning, I spotted an article about how the supermarkets in England were cracking down on shoppers, requiring them to wear a mask. SAGE have identified that shops are a major source of transmission of the virus. 

According to the article, many shoppers in the UK are unwilling to comply and guards are not enforcing the rule. Assistants who ask shoppers to mask up are facing abuse. 

The article shows many photos of shoppers NOT wearing masks. 

Following on from my comments yesterday, should people have to be made to wear masks? There are no guards outside shops in Spain and yet shoppers comply without question. 

It is almost as if a section of the English population are determined to challenge every rule made, keen to find every loophole they can to defy the law and thwart every attempt to control the spread of the virus. 

I am no great fan of the UK Government who I believe have made a great many mistakes dealing with coronavirus. That is no excuse though for people to just ignore their advice. In the end, it is the people pulling together, applying common sense. that will defeat this virus, not a handful of Ministers in Whitehall. 

Note to the lady in the following photos: none of us find wearing a mask comfortable. With the wrong mask, my glasses steam up making it difficult to see. If it really is a problem for you, buy a face visor and wear that instead. My mask protects you and yours protects me. 

This lady, who identified herself as Gladys, told the guard her mask was in her bag. 

She put the mask on but then pulled it down to her chin saying is was uncomfortable.
As far as she was concerned, she was still wearing her mask - REALLY!
As one reader commented, hopefully Gladys did not apply the same logic to birth control. 


Monday, January 11, 2021

We shouldn't need to be told

 The message worldwide has been clear since last March - the only way to halt this virus is to stop its transmission. That means only making necessary social contacts and keeping a safe distance when you do come into contact with others. It isn't rocket science. The fact that you do not have symptoms does not mean you are not infected and if you are infected then for sure you are passing it on to everyone  else you are in contact with.  

In the first months, people were very wary. They would queue outside shops, only enter when numbers were low and avoid others by choosing empty aisles. Although going out for exercise was encouraged, people chose to either exercise in their own garden or locally. 

As summer came, people felt emboldened. Beaches in England were crowded as were bars that offered take way drinks. There was even a Government scheme to encourage people to eat out. 

Then the Universities opened and new students crowded the streets of cities eager to get their "fresher" experience. Social distancing went out the window. 

The scientists then warned of a second wave but people didn't believe them. By this stage, they had been peddled so many lies and seen so many U turns on policy. 

In Britain, they were first told that it would all be over in 12 weeks, then it would be over by Christmas and by the way, families could mix freely for five days over the Christmas period. 

Now Britain is in crisis. Hospitals are full, ambulances wait outside with patients that need urgent care. The death toll is frightening. By now, most people will know of at least one person who has suffered with Covid and sadly too many will know of someone who has died. 

In response, more and more restrictions have been imposed but large numbers have decided to ignore them. The police have been criticised for being heavy handed with fines but that are they meant to do when people refuse to accept that they are in the wrong and comply? 

Over the weekend, locals here flocked to the interior of Alicante to see the snow. The roads were dangerous, some were blocked and they risked spreading more Covid to innocent people. What were they thinking of?

In truth, we should not need fines and  enforcements, common sense should tell people that the only way to stay safe and keep other safe is to follow the rules - Stay at home, protect the Health Service and save lives - maintain a social distance from others and if you can't at least wear a mask. By all means take exercise but stay local.  Let's not pretend that, now there is a vaccine on the way, all will be well - that is for the future. 


Sunday, January 10, 2021

We needed rain


And we certainly got it!

Stay in your house!


Of course, snow is such a novelty here in Southern Spain that people want to go out and photograph it and even just see it. 

Unfortunately there are several reasons you should not do that. 

1. There is ice on the roads making driving tricky if not dangerous. . 

2. Some roads are blocked.

3. Most important - we are in new restrictions for Covid and there are new cases daily.  

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

The new rules

1. You must stay within the Valencia region.

2. You must not be outside after 10pm. 

3. Bars and restaurants must close at 5pm and there must be no more that 4 people to a table. 

4. You are not allowed to smoke  at bars even on outside terraces. 

5. Shops must reduce numbers inside to 30% capacity and supermarkets etc to 50% capacity. 

6. Family and social groups must be limited to a maximum of 6. 

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Timely advice


Monday, January 04, 2021

Can we have our heating allowance back?

 When we were buying our house in Spain, we took particular note of the weather graphs. From the data, it was clear that although summers were going to be hot, winters should be mild. Most years that has proved to be correct. 

However, this year has been different. Yes it was hot during the summer and we counted the blessings of having air conditioning. The winter started out mild, too mild but that did not last. Now it is bloody cold. 

For a time, we did get a Winter Heating Allowance but that stopped when it was decided that our winters were not cold enough to warrant an allowance. 

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Feel the love

 Following in her parent's footsteps, our eldest daughter is a teacher - in her case Nursery. She also happens to be the Union Rep for her school. 

Her school is due to open its doors for the Spring Term tomorrow but her Union instructs Jemma and her colleagues to exercise their right not to work in an unsafe environment. 

Like London, the Midlands is in Tier 4, an area where infection rates are high and tough restrictions are in place. Gavin Williamson  first delayed the start of term for Primary Schools in certain boroughs of London and then, in a characteristic U turn, closed them all.  

However,  no such decision was made for Primary Schools in other Tier 4 areas. Johnson says he is confident that schools are safe places for children and staff. In that case, why are all schools in London closed and why not in other areas?

As one reader of the Independent writes:

Yet another huge mistake by the totally failed, totally incompetent, totally unfit for purpose, lying, cheating, fraudulent, morally and economically bankrupt, Gavin Williamson. Who has a track record of saying one thing one day and the next day doing a pathetic u turn the next. 

It also gives the electorate further evidence that Bunter De Pfeffel Buffoon and his rabid cabal of jingoistic incompetents decision making is not and never has been lead by and based on the advice of their scientific advisors on the SAGE committee.

Williamson, who unfortunately shares my surname, should have been sacked after the exam fiasco but,  like many of Johnson's cabinet, he was forgiven for making mistakes.

What to do?  It would be highly irresponsible to allow parents to bring their children to school tomorrow only for the Headteacher to turn them away. In spite of comments by some readers of right wing newspapers, teachers are not all left wing, lazy, uncaring snowflakes. Most are hard working, dedicated professionals for whom teaching is a vocation. 

Saturday, January 02, 2021

The "me" generation

 It is true that there has always been a gap between the young and old generations but today it seems wider than ever. 

I read this morning about an illegal rave in France with 2,500 partygoers. It started on Thursday and is still going on.  Attendees clashed with police, setting fire to a car and throwing objects at officers attempting to shut the event down. 

No doubt, this was not the only rave that took place over the festive season and it is likely that France was not the only country facing this problem. 

Once it became clear that younger people would be the ones least affected by coronavirus, many have decided that the strict rules meant to curb transmission do not apply to them. It is their right to go out and enjoy themselves whatever the consequences may be for others.  Look at the graph below that shows infections in Spain and you can see which age groups are most at risk 20 - 59 with the 40 - 49s showing the largest numbers. 

Whilst the young may survive an infection with few problems, the older,  more vulnerable, will not as the second graph shows.