Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Just needs a coat of varnish

I should really have started my painting for this competition earlier to give it a chance to dry properly. 

The general advice is to leave oil paintings at least 6 months before applying varnish. That is because the oils in oil paint cure rather than dry. 

I only finished my painting last week and although I didn't use thick undiluted paint, it still won't be ready for normal varnish.  

The problem is that parts of my painting appear matte and the colours a little dull without a coat of varnish 

I need to have it ready to hand in next week so I will have to apply a couple of coats of spray retouching varnish and hope that does the trick.  

Wish me luck! Last year I got third prize for my painting, "The Procession",  Let's see what happens with "The Floral Offering" this year. 

Thursday, May 23, 2024



Monday, May 13, 2024

Our paintings

 For those of you unable to visit the exhibition of our paintings, I have made you an album which you can find in the sidebar. 

From an idea proposed by Evaristo and I many years ago, BigArte was formed last year with six artists attending the first meeting in Evaristo's office. 

Our first exhibition was last May. Then we had a homage to my work as a photographer. That exhibition was restaged in the town square and in the Auditorium. We then went on to produce paintings for Santa Cecilia with the theme of music. 

Our latest exhibition is called "Diologo con los Maestros", a little of the Prado Museum in Bigastro. We were to reinterpret the old masters. 

Artists chose to reinterpret the works of Dali, Magritte, Picasso, Durer and others. The Spanish artist, Joaquin Sorolla was popular. My contribution included works based on Constable. Turner and Rembrant. 

All the paintings are offered for sale. 

Friday, May 10, 2024

Coming up


Thursday, May 09, 2024

Our latest exhibition

Inaugaration at 8:30pm


Saturday, April 13, 2024

The start of fiesta season

Friday, April 12, 2024

A date for the diary


New cycle routes

 Work has already started to build three bike lanes in the municipality. In this case, as we previously reported, it is the execution of a bike lane that connects the CV-95 walkway next to the Municipal Auditorium to the Sports Center, another lane on Avenida Europa to the San José de Calasanz School and another lane to connect the urban area of ​​La Pedrera with the leisure area up to the pool.

With these actions, which have an investment of more than 181,000 euros thanks to the Generalitat Valenciana, it will be possible to improve traffic management on several roads in the municipality with the cycle-pedestrian connection between the urban area and three unique points of the municipality, two of them far away, such as the Sports Center and the La Pedrera leisure area, improving road safety and creating new services that will serve to promote sports and healthier activities.

The objective set in our sustainable mobility plan is to reduce the impact of the use of tourism in urban areas and above all the reduction of speed within them, prioritizing actions of this uniqueness.

During the next few weeks we will encounter temporary road closures in some of the streets of the municipality, especially those closest to the school, although certain signaling works will be carried out at night to avoid minimizing the impact in the early hours of the morning. the high influence of vehicles with long traffic queues. Sorry for the inconvenience

Monday, April 08, 2024

Cats in gardens

 There have been a number of complaints from neighbours on the community WhatsApp about cats in gardens. 

One neighbour in particular is incensed about the way they use her garden and her porch as a toilet. She has a young child and is rightly concerned about the possibility of infection. 

Another neighbour has a similar problem and has installed ultrasonic cat scarers along with chemicals that are supposed to repel cats. 

When our original neighbours had cats, I invested in ultrasonic devices to try and keep them out of our garden. I can tell you that they didn't work. On one occasion, one of their cats was sat quite happily next to the  scarer. I could see it was functioning because the light was on. 

Luckily, we don't have a problem anymore but I do sympathise with those who do. It is unpleasant and unhygienic.  

Friday, March 22, 2024



Tuesday, March 19, 2024


The photo of the Princess of Wales with her children, posted for Mothers' Day was clearly edited and it didn't take long for news agencies to notice this. Looked at from a distance, all looks well but it is when you come closer that the many edits become obvious. 

The Princess subsequently admitted that she did tinker with the original in Photoshop. 

Photoshop is a powerful programme with many advanced features. I have used it several times to “improve” photos. However, it can also be used to deceive. 

When you look at the changes Kate made, you wonder why she did them. For example, why has Charlotte got one shoe with a heel and one without. This only arouses suspicion in some minds that Kate was deliberately trying to deceive with the edits she made. I believe it was less sinister, she was just trying to improve the photo but isn't that good at it. 

Monday, March 11, 2024

The result

 We went for a coffee whilst the band from Cox were playing so we missed them. 

What we can say is that the Bigastro band were magnificent and fully deserved to beat the band from Torrevieja. 


1ª Sección

Puntuación: 409.75
Primer Premio y Mención Honor

Puntuación: 401.38
Primer Premio

Puntuación: 394.63
Primer Premio

Saturday, March 09, 2024

Wish them luck

 Bigastro band will be playing a last rehearsal concert tonight in Almoradi  ready for the Certamen at ADDA (Auditorio de la Diputación de Alicante) tomorrow. 

Certamens are competitions that are very important for local bands. The first one we went to was again at ADDA where Bigastro won first prize and went on to play in a regional final at Valencia. 

Needless to say, there have been many, many hours of rehearsal for this and the music chosen is about as difficult as it gets. One piece is set i.e. all three bands will play it. The others are chosen by the individual bands. 

The judges know their stuff and will be following the musical scores to see how well the bands interpret the works. 

As you can see from below, Bigastro will be the first band to play followed by the band from Cox and then the band from Torrevieja. 


1ª Sección







I should point out that Pam and I will be there. I will have my camera and my sound recorder with me. 

Sunday, February 04, 2024

Let it rain - please!

It might seem strange to our friends and family in England who have suffered deluge after deluge this winter but we would really like some rain to fall here in Spain. 

Of course we don't want a storms like those in September last year and certainly not a repeat of the three days in September 2019 that caused widespread damage. 

In Alicante, we are not the worst off for lack of rain. 

After more than 1,000 days of drought, the Catalan government has formally announced a state of emergency, extending water restrictions to Barcelona and the surrounding region.

It is estimated that 500mm of rain needs to fall in Catalonia to make up the deficit. Water reserves have fallen below 16%, a level low enough to trigger the emergency declaration.

The drought is not confined to the north-east of Spain. In Andalucía, in southern Spain, two successive hot, dry summers have devastated the olive harvest, reducing production by 50% and doubling the price of olive oil. The grape harvest has also been poor in much of the country as even vines struggle to survive.

Tourist industry bosses say that while it’s easy to point the finger at golf courses and swimming pools, 80% of Spain’s water is consumed by agriculture.

Long before the climate crisis entered the equation, Spain was living beyond its means in terms of water, damming and diverting its few major rivers to irrigate the market gardens in the southern desert regions of Almería and Murcia.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024


It is often said that, whilst the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and it is true. I don't know about you but I put this down more to greed than graft.  

Whilst we might focus on pop stars and sportspeople like footballers, corporate executives are included in this group. Remember the days when stockbrokers drove round in Porches and quaffed champagne in clubs after work. They flaunted their wealth in front of the poor and boasted of the excessive bonuses they received. 


Half of the world's net wealth belongs to the top 1% of the population. 

The top 10% of adults hold 85%, while the bottom 90% hold the remaining 15% of the world's total wealth. 

The top 30% of adults hold 97% of the total wealth.

I read this morning that investors have taken the issue of Elon Musk's 56 billion dollar pay package to court. The court decided in favour of the investors. It is said that Musk is worth 210.2 billion dollars that makes him the second richest person in the world behind Bernard Arnault. 

Does anybody really need that much wealth?

Monday, January 29, 2024


 One of the things that strikes us most about living in a small Spanish town is the care shown to older people. 

It isn't that senior citizens are treated badly in the UK but they don't seem to command the same respect that they do here in Bigastro. It is easy to feel that we are, in many ways a burden in England. Here, our experience is valued, we are given support and love. 

That was very evident in the theatre production on Saturday. 

Sunday, January 28, 2024


We have enjoyed many performances by the theatre group Percuseve. They have explored a variety of themes over the years from art to education. 

The group have toured their productions and won prizes in competitions.  

 The latest production, “A RITMO DE CARICIAS” is a musical that honours grandparents. 

Through theatre, percussion and rap, twenty high school students from CE Severo Ochoa in Murcia, directed by their teacher, Miguel J. Sáez Pérez from Bigastro, transformed their bodies into musical instruments to bring to the stage themes of great social importance such as loneliness, technologies, love, friendship and illness, among others.

You can find my photographs from last night in my folder in the sidebar. 

Sunday, January 14, 2024


 It was billed as an exhibition of a wide variety of dance styles. It was due to start at 7:30. Knowing it would be popular, Pam and I set off in good time to take our seats. 

Problem 1 - parking. The parking at Eurener was full as was the street alongside. Not only was there the dance show on, there was a table games event that had attracted up to 500 people. 

Problem 2 - finding seats. I'd asked for seats to be reserved so that I would have a good position to take photos. However, the message hadn't got through and there was barely a spare seat in the Auditorium. 

Seeing me with my camera, a very kind lady gave up her seat for me and Pam found a seat on the opposite side of the aisle. 

The show commenced with the little ones who danced to rapturous applause. 

It was a challenge to get photos - the combination of very low lighting and fast moving dancers was difficult. 

For those who are photographers, my pictures were taken at 6,400 ISO, full aperture for the lens and even at that my shutter was showing as low as 1/15th second. 

Fortunately, the camera I was using has body stabilisation which with lens stabilisation prevents camera shake. However, it can't stop blur from subject movement. 

I could have doubled the ISO to enable faster shutter speeds but then digital noise, which reduces definition, becomes a big issue. In my days of using film, these pictures would have been impossible  without resorting to flash which is a huge no no at events like this. At least I got pictures with my digital camera!

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Feral cats

 There have been a number of complaints about feral cats on our estate. People complain of them crapping in their gardens, on their porches etc etc. 

Years ago, a feral cat gave birth to kittens on the furniture on our porch. The cushions were covered with blood that I had to clean off. She then hid the kittens under our shed and came to feed them each day. 

I managed to block off the route to the underside of our shed and the mother took her kittens elsewhere. I'm not sure what happened to the kittens or the cat after that.

Some of you will call me cruel for evicting the kittens. However, we didn't want them in our garden and there was no easy way to move them on. 

Apart from any other consideration, we live next to a protected area where the wildlife is an important feature. An abundance of feral cats can easily upset that balance by transmitting diseases and killing small animals and birds. We've had feral cats bringing dead rabbits and rats into the garden before now. 

Why are the cats here?

 We are well aware there are some people on the estate who put out food for the wild cats. That must stop. There is a lot of finger pointing going on with mostly English people taking the blame. 

Hopefully, there will be notices posted in the near future telling neighbours not to put out food and encourage wild cats. Then, some time in the future we will be rid of them. 

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Banged up to rights (almost)

In 2012, the former socialist mayor of Bigastro, José Joaquín Moya, was sentenced to seven years of disqualification from employment or public office for a crime of prevarication due to various "irregularities" in the public auction of some municipal land in the area of ​​La Pedrera .

According to the ruling, provided to EFE, the events occurred between June and August 2005 when the sale of a plot of 35,000 square meters in favor of the company Promociones Alicante Torrevieja SL for 160 bungalows and a hotel, and another 45,000 square meters were processed for a nearby golf course.

In criminal court number 3 of Orihuela, the mayor and municipal secretary, Antonio S.M. (also sentenced to 7 years of disqualification), incurred several illegalities that violated "essential" rules of legal procedure.

Moya, who was mayor of Bigastro for 25 years until he was arrested in 2008 for one of the other reasons for which he has been investigated, acted arbitrarily by, for example, not meeting the deadlines for submitting bids for the auction (he opened the escrows two days before the expiration of the period) and for not requesting the required permits from other administrations as these are protected lands.

Now the Seventh Section of the Provincial Court of Alicante in Elche, has sentenced José Joaquín Moya, to four years, six months and one day in prison and 11 years, three months and one day of disqualification as the perpetrator of a crime of embezzlement of public funds and another four years of disqualification for employment or public office as the perpetrator of a crime of administrative prevarication.

As published on November 22 by OKDIARIO, José Joaquín Moya, senator of the PSOE at the end of the 80s and mayor of  Bigastro  embezzled 70,000 euros, as stated in the sentence.

The case for which the aforementioned José Joaquin Moya has now been convicted makes mention of the irregularities in the processing of the General Urban Planning Plan (PGOU) of Bigastro for the creation of a new urban sector, as well as for appropriating 312,000 euros paid by the promoter of that plan as urban development agent between 2005 and 2006.

The Court has also sentenced the former secretary of Bigastro City Council, of which Moyá was mayor, to two years in prison and five years of disqualification as the author of a crime of embezzlement and another four years of disqualification for a crime of prevarication. administrative committed by omission.

The sentence, however, is not final. And it can be appealed to the Supreme Court. In addition, it also establishes that José Joaquín Moya must compensate the Bigastro City Council with the amount of 162,000 euros and, jointly with the other defendant, with another 150,000 euros.

Socialist mayor for 25 years

In the case of José Joaquín Moya, the man now convicted by the Provincial Court of Alicante was, at the time, a relevant figure of Alicante socialism. Above all, in the last years of the last century, which is when it acquired greater prominence. In those years, he was not only mayor, but a deputy in Congress and a senator.

José Joaquín Moya was mayor from May 1983 to October 2008 having won six elections in the town.

But, on October 28, 2008, he was forced to leave the Mayor's Office because that day he was arrested along with the intervening secretary and two businessmen for what was then an alleged urban planning crime.

As has been said, Jose Joaquín Moya was also a senator, although for a period of just two years, between 1986 and 1988. In the Upper House he was a member of the Justice Commission and the Petitions Commission. But, in addition, he was also a deputy in the Congress of Deputies. In this case, for three years, which ran between April 1983 and April 1986.

Monday, January 01, 2024

Seeing in the New Year

 I'm not referring here to the traditional ways of seeing in the New Year which in Penistone where I lived, had a saucy connotation. 

At 8am this morning I started the New Year by putting the first eye drop into Pam's right eye. This began the preparation for her cataract operation scheduled for the 4th January. 

Pam was first diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes a few years ago but at that stage she was told they would not operate because it was too soon. What they really meant was that there were only a limited number of operations available which were taken by people at a later stage in their cataract development. 

Gradually, the cataracts have worsened and she currently has only 20% vision. She describes what she sees as a blur. For those of us who have clear vision it is impossible to imagine what this is like for her, To watch television, she has resorted to wearing two pairs of glasses and even then it isn't sharp. 

Pam has fallen in the street twice recently. Not being able to see the hazards in the pavements has obviously not helped her.  The second time she hit her face on the ground and was very, very lucky to get away with just a chipped tooth and a cut lip.

Pam has had more than her fair share of health issues, this is just the latest. She really deserves something good for 2024 and recovering her sight will be so wonderful for her.