Sunday, June 19, 2022

Concert for Corpus Christi 2022

The front of the church is the perfect setting for the Corpus Christi concert. However, it is not the best setting to get good photographs. The main lighting is a large floodlight behind the band. The floodlights at the front are too far away to reach the band. 

On the plus side though, the open air setting is OK for getting a sound recording as long as you set the recorder close enough to avoid the crowd noise but not so close that you miss the instruments at the sides. 

My photographs are in an album in the sidebar and here is my recording of the music. 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

The heat wave continues

 We like it hot but not too hot!



Very odd

 We knew that celebrations for Corpus Christi had to be cancelled during the pandemic. However, this year we expected them to resume. 

The odd thing is that there are has been no publicity on Facebook or on the town's website about this. 

Luckily, my friend Christopher messaged me on Whats App last night to find out if we would be able to go to the concert for Corpus tonight at 10:00pm. We are really glad he did because otherwise we would have missed it. For those of you who are interested, it will take place in the Plaza de la Constitucion. 

Now we are wondering if the procession following mass on Sunday night will take place. 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Shoulders required


 

Hurrah

We enjoyed the Coches Locos event when it was part of the Fiesta programme. 

To be fair, it had run its course and there were fewer participants in the latter years. 

Hopefully, people will be inspired by its return and come up with some novel ideas for their vehicles.

 


Tuesday, June 07, 2022

You can keep the bills

 Before I went to college, I worked at the Post Office in Penistone for a year. Then I worked there again each holiday to keep me in money. 

The regular postmen and women told me tales of one postman who used to dump letters on his round to save him the trouble of delivering them. He was caught out when a cache of letters were found in a hedge. 

It seems that a postman here in Alicante was doing the same thing but on an industrial scale.

From Monday to Friday, he clocked in at the central post office in Alicante, picking up bags and bags of mail to be delivered.

But  what the former postman did next is now under investigation after more than 20,000 undelivered letters dating back to 2012 and 2013 were found crammed into bin bags at his home.

The discovery came after the 62-year-old sold his house in Biar, a town of about 3,600 people at the foot of the mountains near Alicante. When a construction crew showed up to renovate the newly purchased house, they found rubbish bags scattered throughout.

After the man ignored repeated pleas to empty the house, the builders began opening the bags. What they found were stacks of sealed letters, bills and frayed official correspondence dating back a decade.

Police suspicions swiftly fell on the former owner of the house. In 2013, the post office had opted not to renew his temporary contract, citing what police described as “irregularities” that had plagued his delivery route in his year as a postman.

The man was  arrested by the Guardia Civil last week and accused of “infidelity in the safekeeping of documents”.


Skin of his teeth

 The vote of no confidence result means that Boris Johnson has survived as Prime Minister. 

Johnson says that the government should now “move on” following a “convincing” and “decisive” result. Really!!

“We’re going to bash on,” said the prime minister. “As a result of this decision by the parliamentary party, which I welcome, we have a conclusion to something which has been dragging on for far too long and we have the ability now to unite, deliver and get on with the people’s priorities, and that is what we are going to do.”

The problem is that 148 of his MPs voted against him. In order to move on, Johnson will need to convince them that they made a mistake -  that they should now place their trust in his leadership and back him. Of course, he also has to convince the electorate that he is the right person to continue leading the country. 

Recent polling suggests that Johnson has gone from hero to zero since the 2019 election when voters were sold on his "get Brexit done" mantra. 

Not only is Brexit not actually done, there have been a catalogue of other mistakes, lies and U turns that people will not easily forgive and forget. 

In the early days of Covid, Johnson refused to accept the seriousness of it. Many of us will recall his notion that all we had to do was wash our hands to the tune of "Happy Birthday" and all would be well. He then allowed his Health Secretary to send elderly patients back to care homes resulting in needless deaths. He condoned the awarding of dodgy contracts to friends and family and he backed his advisor's lying excuse for his trip to Durham and his excursion to Barnard Castle to "test his eyesight". 

His backing of Owen Patterson, his refusal to sack Pritti Patel when she was found guilty of bullying her staff, his refusal to sack Matt Hancock after video evidence showed he broke his own rules. Even his support for Gavin Williamson after the exam result debacle showed that Johnson favours loyalty over everything else. 

Then of course we had funding for the redecoration of his flat  he neglected to come clean about. There are also issues about his relationship with Jennifer Arcuri that need to be resolved.  

Finally we come to "partygate" which Johnson thinks had nothing to do with him in spite of being fined 

Of course his admirers will point to the things he got right like the vaccine rollout but do those outweigh all the rest of the lies and misdeeds he has perpetrated over the years? 

Johnson may well hope to win those dissenters in his party and the public around - we shall see. I am not sure I would want to continue in post knowing that so many thought I was unfit to lead. I can only conclude that Johnson must have enormous self belief and the skin of a rhinoceros. 



Monday, June 06, 2022

Could it be crunch time

 After months of speculation when some MPs said they had sent in letters to Sir Graham Brady, Chair of the 1922 Committee, only to say they had withdrawn them because the timing was not right, the magic number of 54 letters has been reached and a vote will take place tonight between 6 and 8pm. 

In order for the vote to be carried, 180 of the Tory MPs will have to vote against the PM.. As we might expect, most of his ministers have already voiced support because if Johnson goes, they will likely go with him In fact there are said to be 150 MPs who are indebted to the Prime Minister so they too will probably vote for him. 

The likelihood is therefore that the Prime Minister will survive but of course he will be deeply wounded. Although, as things stand, there cannot be another vote of no confidence for a year, that can be changed. If the two by elections taking place later this month prove to be disasters for the Tory Party, then MPs will be fearful for their jobs at the next General Election.

Even those who show support and point to Johnson's achievements cannot deny that he has been economical with the truth on so many occasions. There is an interesting web site that catalogues the Johnson's illustrious past. 

By far the best option would be for Johnson to resign but nobody believes that is going to happen. 


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Back to the bad old ways

 To be honest, Britain never did fully change over to a metric system of measurement. Distances on roads are still measured in miles and beer is still sold in pints. People refer to miles per hour. and miles per gallon even though they buy petrol in litres. 

Those of us who were at school before metrication was even thought of still have nightmares about some of  the units of measure we were taught.

We had to learn about furlongs, chains, rods, perches, roods and acres. Damn, it took all of our mental capacity to calculate in inches, feet, yards and miles let alone cope with these quaint extras. 

Then we had to master volume - gills,  pints, gallons, quarts, pecks and bushels. 

Weight brought us in contact with ounces, pounds, stones, hundredweights and tons. 

Currency was no better with pounds, shillings and pence added to which we had half crowns, florins, guineas etc. I remember one teacher who delighted in setting mental maths tests where you had to calculate how many three penny bits there were in a given number of guineas. 

Those who followed had an easier time of it and maths teachers gave a huge sigh of  relief. They still had to contend with 60 seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour etc but at least every other measurement was sensibly metric. 

Now, it seems that the Prime Minister wants to bring back imperial units to the UK. Not to replace the metric units but to be used alongside them if people so wish. 

Imagine if you go to the market and one stall sells apples by the kilogram and an other sells by the pound - no problem you can do the conversion in your head to see which is the better value. 

Of course, if you are a company  selling to the EU, you will still have to use metric units. So you could end up with two systems for your goods - one for Britain and one for the EU. You'll also need some imperial scales alongside your metric ones. 

Sorry Mr Johnson, I cannot see any way how this will improve people's lives in Britain any more than issuing blue passports did or putting crowns on beer glasses will. 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

A litany of shame

 After months of waiting, the much anticipated report by Sue Gray has been published. 

The contents will have been read by the world who will now form their own opinions of what went on in the seat of UK Government during the Covid crisis.

None of it makes for good reading. It is a most shameful account of behaviour in the so called Mother or Parliaments. 

Even in normal times, when there were no rules about mixing and parties, the account of what went on would be an absolute disgrace. That these parties took place during lockdowns when the rules forbade such mixing just adds to the shame.  

The Prime Minister was at many of these parties even if it was only for a brief time. He had the opportunity to shut them down but didn't. Rather than that, it seems that he encouraged them. By his own admission, he thought it was his duty to congratulate staff and join with them to celebrate staff who were leaving. What did it matter that the rest of the country had to stick strictly to the rules, they could not have leaving parties or wine on Fridays. 

After he had done his "bit" the PM claims to have gone back to his office totally unaware of what ensued at the gatherings he had just attended. Clearly, he could not hear what was going on next to his own flat. Nor did he notice the piles of empty bottles littered around the place in the mornings, the wine cooler brought in and the state of the garden including his son's broken swing. 

There were no parties, no rules were broken, there was nothing to see as far as he was concerned. It's just a pity that most of the country and the rest of the world don't see it that way.  

And now he asks us all to move on. He's made an apology so let us forget the whole sorry business and get on with wrecking the country further.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Wise advice


 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Next!


 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Calling all graphic designers

You only have a few days left to complete your designs for a cover for this year's fiesta book.


 

Saturday, May 07, 2022

The right to vote

 When we first arrived in Spain, we retained the right to vote in UK General Elections for up to 15 years. We were also entitled to vote in certain referendums although crucially not the Brexit one.

I did apply to vote at the first election and received documentation that said I could vote in the Wirral West constituency*. However, I was not sent a postal vote form so was unable to exercise my right.

That right expired and so I did not pursue the matter. 

However, the recently passed  Elections Act gives overseas voters like myself the right to vote for life. It only took eight years for the Government to act on their promise to make this change. 

* David Hunt was the Conservative MP from 1983-1997. In 1997, the seat changed to Labour with Steven Hesford as its representative. It changed back to Conservative in 2010 with Esther McVey. In 2015, Labour's Margaret Greenwood took the seat back and has retained it since. 

Saturday, April 30, 2022

A weighty tome

Last night we had the pleasure of attending the presentation of the latest book by Pascual Segura (Official Chronister for Bigastro). 

This most ambitious work is  entitled a "History of Bigastro" and takes us from the Bronze Age to present times. The 400 plus  pages are richly illustrated by photographs from many sources including my own collection along with documents from the town archives. 

Those of you who have read Pascual's essays on Facebook about the town's history will know that he writes in an engaging way using anecdotes to make the stories more interesting to the reader.

Many thanks to Pascual for what must have taken endless hours of research and writing to produce this book and to the Town Hall for publishing it free of charge.    

Monday, April 25, 2022

Santa Cruz 2022

When John and Jean Hatch lived on Avenida Europa, the Fiesta at Santa Cruz was a very popular event for Brits from our estate.


 

One for the collection

Pascual Segura has published several books of great interest to the people of Bigastro. This one will be presented on Friday 27th at 7pm in the Auditorium.


 

Clean up time

 Today, Bigastro participated in the Macro cleaning of waste in the Vega Baja, Organized by the Vega Baja Sustainable Consortium, the cleaning has been carried out in the Azarbe Mayor "El Reguerón".

The event was sponsored by Recykers Shoes, who gave a gift of a t-shirt to all the volunteers in this activity along with  a raffle for some shoes.

The amount of rubbish collected in the macro cleaning was 1,061kg.

We want to thank all the people who have participated in this activity, and who have done their bit to have a cleaner and garbage-free Bigastro.













Wednesday, April 13, 2022

While we were away

The issue with my NIE card resolved by virtue of a permit to return to Spain, we flew to Birmingham and then travelled to Carden Park near Chester for the wedding of Andrew and Fara, 

Andrew is the youngest son of our neighbours in Greasby - we've known him from birth and didn't want to miss his special day. 

Me and my grandson Rory

The Williamson/Field family minus Dave who took the photo.

Pam and I with the groom Andrew.

 

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Not promising

One of the highlights of the year is Easter week when parades take place in the towns of Spain. 

We've had years before when the parades had to be cancelled. Sadly, it looks like it will be the same this year.  




 

Monday, April 04, 2022

Music for the town


 

Sunday, April 03, 2022

It was good

 It was good to get out on a Saturday night and listen to some music. 

First off the children from the School of Music played us two pieces. They were followed by the Junior Band who tackled some difficult pieces of music to play.  

As usual, you can find my photos in the album from the left hand sidebar of this blog. You can also listen to my audio recording of the concert by following this link: 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2m9u1s2zvwfbhi4/Concert%20%202nd%20April%202022.m4a?dl=0


Friday, April 01, 2022

Brave people


You can watch them come over the top of the old hill and run up to our estate as their headlights mark their position en route. 

Walking over that terrain is tricky enough, running over it in the dark requires some bravery. 

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Music to your ears


 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Show some respect

 I've taken this from an article in the Independent  about the education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi's white paper. 

Given the lack of money, Mr Zahawi should show some public acknowledgement of the sheer number of hours teachers put in these days, and how they kept things going during the Covid crisis. He should stand up for a profession that is so often lazily attacked by those who wouldn’t last a term in a modern school.

For far too long, the goodwill and professionalism of teachers have been exploited, and their pay and conditions have fallen further behind comparable groups. This year, with inflation at a 40-year high, Mr Zahawi proposes another large real-terms pay cut, with a further reduction planned for next year.

Rightly, teachers – including those involved in vocational and technical training – will not accept such treatment, simply because they cannot afford to do so. Many will be forced to scale back their commitments or leave the profession; those who stay need incentives to help Mr Zahawi and the nation meet exacting targets. He can harbour as much ambition and produce as many white papers as he wishes, but without teachers, Mr Zahawi will find he can get nothing done.

Far too many of the public think that teaching children is not really that difficult, that teachers work few hours and have excessively  long holiday. They really should do a stint at an inner city school like Anfield where I taught. Whilst some classes were a delight to teach, many were a real challenge in terms of behaviour, aptitude and attitude. 

Add to that, the false notion that a teacher's work ends when the bell rings. Pupils work does not mark itself nor do those lessons prepare themselves and regular reports to parents take many long hours to compile. It is no wonder that,  many who enter the profession, leave after a short time. 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Praise deserved

 Gradually, I am getting there replacing the items stolen from my bag. 

The first step was of course to cancel the bank cards and request replacements. Then I needed a new phone with a replacement SIM card so I could check on any movements in by bank accounts. 

With those jobs done, I needed to replace the spare glasses that were in my bag. This is when Specsavers shone. Not only did they discount the replacement glasses by 50%, they also delivered them within four days. 

My residency card (TIE) was stolen and this is where Consulting Services Bureau, Torrevieja came to my rescue. They organised the appointments at Alicante for me and again gave me a large discount on their services. They have been brilliant. 

Our insurance company AXA did organise for a locksmith to come to our house the day after the robbery. Unfortunately, they would only pay for him to replace the locks on the front and back doors leaving the security grill on the back door with the original locks and the garden gates the same. I am not so worried about the garden gates but the security grill protects a vulnerable aluminum door that just has a simple one bolt lock. 

This is part where Rafa Lorente helped out. He replaced the lock on our post box so that we could recover the letters in it. He then sent someone out to replace the locks on the security gate. 

Of course, top of my list is my neighbour Pepe who accompanied me to the Guardia Civil to make my denuncia not once but twice. 

Friday, March 18, 2022

One for your diary


 

Local talent


 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

A dire warning

 Over the years I have read sorry stories of people who have been robbed from their cars at the airport. added to which, my neighbour had items stolen from his car when he was outside the ferreteria in Los Montesinos.  

The modus operandi is similar in every case - one person distracts you sufficient to make you get out of your car and whilst you are out of the car, an accomplice steals the goods from inside your car.

Yesterday, after Pam and I had been shopping at Food Co in Quesada, I loaded the bags into the boot, put my man bag on the back seat and sat in the car whilst Pam returned the trolley. 

As I sat waiting, a man approached the front of my car and was pointing towards the front wheel. He said there was a problem. Without thinking, I got out to investigate what he was talking about leaving the car unlocked. 

Whilst I was distracted, his accomplice stole my man bag from the back seat. In the bag were my wallet with all my cards (bank cards, TIE residencia card, SIP health card, driving licence etc,),  mobile phone, keys to the house, spare glasses and the documents for the car. 

It was only when Pam returned and we drove off that I realised what had happened.  

I've cancelled the bank cards and locked my phone remotely which hopefully will prevent its use. It was protected by a six digit pin in any case. Before I managed to block the cards, they had already tried and failed to use my La Caixa credit card. Using the location app. I can see that my phone is in Alicante where it has been taken to three different addresses. 

So, for their efforts, the scumbags will hopefully end up with the 50 euro note that was in my wallet and nothing else that is of use to them.  In the meantime, I have to make a denuncia to the Civil Guard, get the insurance company to change the locks on my house and then proceed to replace all those missing items. 

Just to make things more complicated, my mobile phone number is used as secondary identification for online banking etc etc. I can't even have a telephone consultation with the doctor without it. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

That was weird

 We've had dirty skies before when sand from the Sahara has been brought across by the wind. 

Yesterday though was exceptional as the colour changed to orange. There are loads of pictures on social media - this is the one I took from our porch. 

As I explained on my Flickr account, I have not deliberately altered the image in any way. 



Friday, March 11, 2022

Every little helps

Friday, March 04, 2022

Grin and bear it

Whilst we might not like the rain much, we do need it at this time of year. The reservoir at La Pedrera is less than 25% full. If we don't get sufficient rain in the next month or so, we will be struggling for water during the summer. From the data, it looks like it rained heavily during the early hours of this morning but then eased off. We'll have to see what happens during the rest of the day.

Thursday, March 03, 2022

It could rain!

When just one source of information about the weather tells you it will rain, it could be proved wrong. When three different sources tell you to expect rain, then maybe we should make sure we have our umbrellas to hand. To be fair, we have had so little rain lately we can't complain. We will be complaining though that the rain to come will be mucky rain. In fact, if you visit the reservoir at La Pedrera you will see how dangerously low the reserve of water is.




 

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Change to Spain's entry requirements for visitors from the UK

If you have friends or family coming to visit from the UK, please note that Spain's entry requirements have changed to allow travellers aged 12 years and above to enter Spain by presenting documentation that certifies they have recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months. 

That means that if you are travelling to Spain for tourism purposes, you need to either be fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months and use your  medical certificate or recovery record to enter Spain. 


Friday, February 18, 2022

Our thoughts are with them

 Back in September 2019 this area was on red alert for rain. The torrential downpours lasted three days and left large parts of the Vega Baja under water. Many houses were flooded, some even destroyed. Roads were torn up and vehicles washed down roads by the force of water. 

The clear up took weeks and the recovery a lot longer. They were dark days in the history of Bigastro and the Vega Baja. 

Today, most of the UK is on orange alert for heavy rain and storm force winds as Storm Eunice batters the UK. Areas in the south are on red alert. 

Reports already show travel chaos as trains and planes are cancelled, roads are closed and there are warnings of severe flooding in place for many parts of the country. The north and Scotland are suffering less from the wind but are being covered by a thick blanket of snow.

We sincerely hope that our family and friends stay safe and heed warnings.   

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Fingers crossed

It has been two long years since we had a Fiesta for San Joaquin. 

In preparation for a return this year, the Town Hall is looking for young people  eligible to be members of the Infant and Junior Courts. 

 


Saturday, February 05, 2022

Bigastro population 2019



Población según lugar de nacimiento 2019
(Unidad: personas)
 
Total
Hombres
Mujeres
Total
6.733
3.382
3.351
Nacidos en España
5.561
2.757
2.804
En la misma Comunidad Autónoma
5.154
2.562
2.592
Misma Comunidad Autónoma. Misma Provincia
5.131
2.552
2.579
Misma Comunidad Autónoma. Misma Provincia. Mismo Municipio
3.815
1.919
1.896
Misma Comunidad Autónoma. Misma Provincia. Distinto Municipio
1.316
633
683
Misma Comunidad Autónoma. Distinta Provincia
23
10
13
En distinta Comunidad Autónoma
407
195
212
Nacidos en el Extranjero
1.172
625
547
Fuente: Instituto Nacional de Estadística. Revisión Padrón 2019.
Fecha de consulta: 22/01/2020


Población según nacionalidad
(Unidad: personas)
Año 2017
Año 2018
Año 2019
Sexo
Total
Españoles
Extranjeros
Total
Españoles
Extranjeros
Total
Españoles
Extranjeros
Ambos sexos
6.656
5.660
996
6.702
5.628
1.074
6.733
5.666
1.067
Varones
3.353
2.824
529
3.380
2.802
578
3.382
2.820
562
Mujeres
3.303
2.836
467
3.322
2.826
496
3.351
2.846
505
Fuente: Instituto Nacional de Estadística. Revisión Padrón 2019.
Fecha de consulta: 22/01/2020


Población según nacionalidad (principales nacionalidades), 2019
(Unidad: personas)
Nacionalidad
Total
Hombres
Mujeres
TOTAL POBLACIÓN
6.733
3.382
3.351
Españoles
5.666
2.820
2.846
Total Extranjeros
1.067
562
505
Total Europa
491
252
239
Total Unión Europea
384
200
184
Alemania
9
3
6
Bulgaria
101
55
46
Francia
8
5
3
Italia
8
8
0
Polonia
12
6
6
Portugal
9
4
5
Reino Unido
167
81
86
Rumanía
36
16
20
Total Europa No Comunitaria
107
52
55
Rusia
39
20
19
Ucrania
56
27
29
Total África
442
244
198
Argelia
99
61
38
Marruecos
333
176
157
Nigeria
0
0
0
Senegal
7
4
3
Total América
111
51
60
Argentina
4
3
1
Bolivia
15
8
7
Brasil
7
3
4
Colombia
36
15
21
Cuba
4
1
3
Chile
1
1
0
Ecuador
26
15
11
Paraguay
0
0
0
Perú
0
0
0
República Dominicana
7
2
5
Uruguay
4
1
3
Venezuela
5
1
4
Total Asia
23
15
8
China
13
7
6
Pakistán
3
3
0
Oceanía y Apátridas
0
0
0
Fuente: Instituto Nacional de Estadística. Revisión Padrón 2019.
Fecha de consulta: 24/01/2020