The concert last night by the Senior Band was magnificent. The main solo performance was by a young man on classical guitar. I just wish he had played some more.
Listen to them here.
Last night the Junior Band played their concert for Christmas. The concert began with a choir of children singing villancicos.
You can see my photos from the link in the sidebar and listen by clicking on this link.
The latest project to stimulate local commerce presented by the municipality of Bigastro has received a subsidy of 1.2 million euros from the Next Generation Funds.
The investment will allow the town to produce a web page where all the Bigastro businesses, free of charge through an application, will be able to have their own digital showcase. As well, the project seeks to reduce the impact of delivery vehicles, establishing strategic points*. Also included are "reverse vending" machines to encourage recycling and, in exchange, obtain purchase tickets to invest in local commerce.
Intrigued by the concept of a "reverse vending machine", I looked it up and this what Wikipedia says:
A reverse vending machine allows a person to insert a used or empty glass bottle, plastic bottle or aluminum can in exchange for a reward. After inserting the recyclable item, it is then compacted, sorted, and analyzed according to the number of ounces, materials, and brand using the universal product code on the bottle.
Once the item has been scanned and approved, it is then crushed and sorted into the proper storage space for the classified material.
Upon processing the item, the machine rewards people with incentives, such as coupons. In the case of Bigastro, these coupons are to be used in local shops.
It sounds like a modern version of what happened when we were children. We collected pop bottles and took them back to the shops to get some spending money.
* Companies like Amazon already use strategic delivery points notably the lottery shop on Calle Purisima and the Post Office where you can elect to collect parcels rather than have them delivered to your house. You can also drop off returned parcels at those venues.
This strategy cuts down on the time taken by delivery vehicles to deliver parcels especially if they have to return a second or third tine. It is also convenient for those who are not at home during the day to receive goods at the door.
In England they also have unmanned collection points where you can collect Amazon parcels. These are even more convenient because you can retrieve your purchases from the lockers any time of day or night.
On the negative side, it partially moves the onus from the delivery company to the purchaser to collect goods.
PS I am currently waiting for Correos Express to deliver a Christmas present for my wife and we need to go out shopping:-( Hopefully, they will put it through the gate if we have gone out by the time they arrive.
I have mentioned Caminsat before on this blog. The technician, Jose Maria has serviced our central heating boilers for a number of years now. We have a contract with him that costs us 108 Euros per year.
When the original boiler was 11 years old, we decided to have it replaced and Jose Maria suggested the Fondital Delphis as an option.
We have had the new boiler since 2014. It came with a six year guarantee which expired in 2020. That means that we now have to pay for parts but the labour costs are covered by our annual contract.
Recently, the boiler was intermittently coming up with error code E78 which indicated that the pump was blocked. When Jose Maria came out, the boiler was working perfectly so he suggested that I waited and called him again when the fault returned.
When the fault returned, I called Jose Maria. He came out and suggested that we may need a new pump.
Yesterday, he returned for a third time and fitted a new pump but unfortunately, that did not cure the problem.
So this morning (Saturday), he returned and diagnosed the problem to be actually with a sensor. Having replaced the sensor, he changed the pump back to the original.
I would guess that most technicians would had left the new pump in place and charged for it along with the other parts required. We would have ended up paying for a part we did not need.
In all, not including his travelling time, Jose Maria has worked on our boiler for over five hours - all at a cost of 108 Euros.
Hopefully, next year he will only need to service the boiler!
Spoke too soon.
After Jose Maria left, I noticed that the cold water inlet to the boiler was leaking a little water. The next morning (Sunday), the pressure had dropped and the boiler would not come on. Rather than re-pressurise the system and risk more water leaking, I sent a message.
This morning (Monday) Jose Maria came out again and sorted the problem out.
I did apologise to him for all the trouble we had caused. He insisted that it wasn't our fault and that is what we have a contract for.
We gave him a box of chocolates and wished him a Merry Christmas.
Those of you who are eligible to vote in next May’s municipal elections should now have received a letter from the Electoral Office (OCE). As a reminder, anyone who has been resident in Spain for more than three years is entitled to vote even if you have not received a letter, provided that you are registered on the padron and confirm your registration on the electoral roll between 1 December 2022 and 15 January 2023.
The OCE letter tells you what you need to do to confirm your registration on the electoral roll with instructions in English and Spanish. In general, you can register online (using your cl@ve pin if you have one or the code provided in the letter) or you can fill in the form and send it back by post.
If have not yet received the letter or have any other questions, please contact your town hall or call 900 343 232.
The explanation from the Town Hall:-
Since the 2nd December, in our municipality like in neighboring municipalities, we have been suffering power cuts. These cuts and probably more that we will suffer, originate from the "Jacarilleta" electric substation located between Jacarilla and Benejuzar. It is the one that supplies a large percentage of the electricity to Bigastro.
Repair actions for network failure are being carried out by the responsible company.
The grids and facilities in our municipality are in perfect condition and are not the cause of the blackouts.
Hopefully everything will return to normal soon.
In the case of our house, there was also an issue with the supply cable which caused the voltage to fluctuate. I am pleased to say that seems to have been resolved.
Every time the power goes off, the clock on the oven needs to be reset and the connection to our Voip phone provider needs to be re-registered - minor inconveniences compared to those experienced by people in Ukraine.
Pam and I were considering flying to Manchester to spend Christmas with the family. That was until Pam was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis in her left leg and advised not to fly
It seems that made for a good decision in light of this news:-
Border Force officers in England, Scotland and Wales are to take strike action for eight days over Christmas, the PCS union has announced.
PCS members on passport control will take action at Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow airports on December 23, 24, 25, 26 28, 29 and 30 and 31.
The measure is likely to affect Britons living in Spain travelling to the UK for Christmas on those dates, with the UK Home Office saying passengers should be prepared for potential disruption.
For potential disruption read, long delays.
As a general rule, to send a parcel from the UK to Spain, the sender must complete a customs declaration as fully as possible. If it has a value of less than €45 and is sent from an individual (rather than a business), there should be no IVA, import or service charges. Receiving gifts with a value of over €45 may incur import charges and some specific items, including food and drink, and cosmetics may also incur a charge. There should be no charge to receive greetings cards.
And this is what Correos say:
Import into Spain of postal items originating in the United Kingdom, except for the territory of Northern Ireland.
As of January 1, 2021, in order for Correos to proceed with the delivery to recipients in Spain of shipments containing merchandise from the United Kingdom, except for the territory of Northern Ireland, it will be necessary to present them for clearance before Spanish Customs.
The recipient must bear the expenses corresponding to customs processing as well as the payment of taxes that are accrued in accordance with current customs regulations (VAT or IGIC in the Canary Islands) and Special Taxes. However, it may be exempted from paying tariffs when it is documented that the merchandise contained in the shipment originates from the United Kingdom, except for the territory of Northern Ireland.
Most of you will be aware that Tuesday the 6th of December is Constitution Day, a national holiday in Spain. You will also be aware that Thursday, the 8th December is Feast of the Immaculate Conception, another national holiday in Spain. What you need to be remember is that many businesses will also be closed on the Wednesday in between these two dates in what is called a "puente" or bridge.
Please note that, although supermarkets like Mercadona do not close during puentes, some local shops might.
This morning the electricity was going mad. It would go off and then come back on but with the fluctuations we’d experienced before. Then it went off altogether.
When we checked the box in the street, our connection was off but my neighbour’s was on. Pepe called the electricity company who said a technician would come out to check the problem.
Later, Pepe called me to say that actually there was a problem for the whole of Bigastro. At that point nobody had electricity. Both mine and my neighbours connections were dead. In fact the whole estate was without supply.
When the electricity came back on, everyone but us had a stable supply - damn!!
The technician arrived and it seems that the supply to our house was the issue for us. He managed to resolve it and (touch wood) we have a stable supply at last.
Brexit added almost £6bn to UK food bills in the two years to the end of 2021, affecting poorest households the most.
London School of Economics (LSE) researchers say the cost of food imported from the EU shot up because of extra red tape, adding £210 to the average household food bills over 2020 and 2021,
Since low-income families spend a greater share of their income on food, the impact of Brexit on their purchases was disproportionately greater, they said.
Lord Frost’s Brexit trade deal signed at the end of the transition period in December 2020 ensures trade is tariff-free with the EU but created trade barriers in the form of customs, rules of original paperwork and regulatory standards checks for agri-food products.
In 2015, the year before the referendum, 77% of food imports were from the EU.
I hope you found it interesting.
Do feel free to comment by clicking on COMMENTS at the bottom of each post to send me an email.