Friday, July 21, 2017

Jellyfish alert

Traditionally, the best way to neutralise a jellyfish sting is to pour vinegar over the area (or male urine if you don't have vinegar handy). But Pelagia noctiluca sting is best treated with a solution of Epsom salts.

Experts say that you should never wash the affected area in fresh water because this can stimulate the chemicals in the sting further. Instead, wash it in seawater.

Never rub anything, such as sand or a towel, over the sting. The best immediate action is to apply intense cold to the area for five minutes, using, say, a plastic bag filled with ice. Any bits of tentacle stuck to the skin should be removed only during or after application of the ice.

Ideally, the victim should be taken to the beach's first-aid post in case there is an allergic reaction to the sting or other complications set in.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

My contribution

La Sociedad Unión Musical de Bigastro está de enhorabuena, pues recientemente ha recibido por
parte de Keith Williamson la donación de 4000 fotografías digitales que recogen las actuaciones de nuestra banda durante los últimos diez años: fiestas patronales, conciertos, fiestas de Santa Cecilia, ensayos, certámenes, etc...
Un valioso legado fotográfico, testimonio de la historia reciente de nuestra sociedad, que ha sido registrado y archivado en nuestro Archivo Histórico Musical, con las adecuadas medidas preventivas de conservación.
Muchas gracias Keith!

Society Musical Union of Bigastro are in luck, because they recently received from Keith Williamson 4000 digital pictures s that cover the performances of our band over the last ten years; Fiestas for San Joaquin, concerts, festivals of Santa Cecilia, rehearsals, competitions, etc ... a valuable photographic legacy, a testament to the recent history of our society, which has been registered and archived in our Musical Historical Archive, with appropriate preventive conservation measures.

Thank you very much Keith!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Did you know?

We all know that permission is required to construct or alter your property here in Spain. That even includes building or extending a wall.

Pam and I wanted to replace our wooden shed with a brick built one but we could not get permission for it to be in the same place. Local regulations say that any permanent enclosed construction must be at least 1.5m from the boundaries of your property. Thankfully, wooden sheds are not classed as permanent.

You regularly read about Brits who have had storage built or porches enclosed being made to demolish them. I even recall reading about one couple who had to demolish a pool because they did not have the proper licences in place. Remember, the responsibility lies with the owner to obtain permission - not the builder.

Now we want the house painting outside to cover up the render that has stained with the rain. Our near neighbour does all sorts or repairs and constructions so we asked him.

Yesterday, he came with the man who will be doing the painting to measure up which I thought was strange. It turns out though that you need permission from the town hall to paint your house and you have to pay a fee based on the quantity of paint and other materials used.Without permission, we could face the possibility of a fine being imposed.

You may ask, "how do they know that alterations have been made?"

Of course, a neighbour or the police may well inform the town hall if they see the work being done but it is even clever than that. Town halls use aerial photos from Google and Cadastral to compare your property with the state it should be in.

So that outbuilding at the rear of your property that you thought was out of sight will show up and could be discovered years even after it was built. It used to be the case that, if five years had passed since the construction, then you were exempt. Valencian law was changed and that period is now 15 years.

PS If you want to see what is on record go to 

Select Localizacion and type in your details: province, town street and number to find details of your property including a photo of it from the road and an aerial photo (which in our case is not at all clear).

Monday, July 17, 2017

Worked on

This official portrait of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla has had a lot of work done on it.

I have a program called Portrait Pro which makes these changes for you. From widening eyes to removing blemishes and even re-sculpting features, Portrait Pro can take years off faces. I  use it with care on some of my pictures including the ones I recently took of Anuta at her wedding.

If you go too far though, the result ends up like this and is no longer a true portrait. Look at Charles, I bet he wishes his face was so young! Well done Mario Testino, you have made a picture that they probably both love - shame it doesn't fool the rest of us.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The heat goes on

This from El Pais.

The heatwave affecting central, southern and eastern Spain produced a new record on Thursday afternoon, when an official weather station at Córdoba airport logged a temperature of 46.9ºC at 3.30pm. This is the highest figure recorded at this spot since the station was built, making Córdoba the Spanish capital with the highest temperature in Spain on Thursday. Another municipality in Córdoba province, Montoro, registered a high of 47.3ºC, making it the hottest village in Spain and the new hot weather record-holder since Spain started to keep track of weather events.

The AEMET state weather agency said that temperatures will ease up slightly on Friday, but did not expect the heatwave to officially end before Sunday.

The weather agency is forecasting a drop of between 1ºC and 3ºC in the south, but the provinces of Jaén and Córdoba are on a “red” heat advisory for the third day in a row, with temperatures that will reach over 44ºC. AEMET has also issued an “orange” warning in 13 other provinces, meaning conditions are slightly less hazardous to human health, for temperatures of 38ºC and over.

Córdoba is set to hold the heat record once again with an expected high of 45.7ºC, followed by 46.4ºC in Andújar (Jaén), 44.2ºC in Écija (Seville) and 44.7ºC in Linares (Jaén). These temperatures are 7ºC to 11ºC hotter than average for this time of the year at these locations.

Meanwhile, the provinces of Granada, Huelva, Seville, Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Toledo, Ávila, Salamanca, Madrid, Badajoz and Cáceres are on an orange heat advisory, while Cádiz, Málaga, Huesca, Teruel, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lleida, Valencia and Segovia are on the lowest heat alert, yellow.

AEMET said that northern Spain would start feeling the heat over the weekend. “For now, the temperature rise in the north will not reach heatwave levels, but could eventually,” said agency spokeswoman Delia Gutiérrez.

The relentless heat will ease up notably in the south on Saturday, but eight provinces will remain on orange heat warnings. That number will go down to five on Sunday.

Past records

According to a study from AEMET, which covers all of the heatwaves in the country between 1976 and June 2017, temperatures above 46ºC have rarely been seen in Spain. Temperatures exceeding 45ºC have been registered on five occasions, including at Córdoba airport in the summer of 2015, and in 2012 when 45.9ºC was reached at Seville airport.

However, the maximum temperature ever recorded in Spain was not actually during a heatwave: on July 23, 1995 the heat at Córdoba airport hit 46.6ºC.

The longest heatwave on record took place in 2015 and lasted 26 days.

King Filipe and Queen Letizia state visit to London

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I didn't know that

I also don't know what it is about. Can anyone enlighten me?

An absolute insult

Teresa May's Conservative Government clearly believes that teaching, like nursing, is a vocation meaning that financial reward is secondary to the satisfaction teachers get from educating children. The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) says there should be a 1 per cent increase for all pay ranges this year.

The result is that the Government’s own figures show that average pay for classroom teachers has only gone up by £300 - less than 1 per cent and have fallen behind inflation by 13 per cent since 2010.

This latest pay announcement will mean that figure increases to over 15 per cent. The pay being offered to newly qualified teachers would be over £3,500 higher if the pay cap had never been applied and schools would have far fewer difficulties in recruiting new graduates.

Compare that with MP's salaries which have increased from £65,738 in 2010 to £76,011 this year. The graph below shows how their pay has increased since 1977 when they were comparable with the average household wage and it shows the massive 10% increase they enjoyed in 2015.

Monday, July 10, 2017


This sounds like an excellent photo opportunity and a barbeque thrown in. What's not to like?

Oh and I nearly missed Chicas GoGO!