Wednesday, April 30, 2008

El bottelón

Teenage binge drinking is just as much of a problem here in Spain as it is in the UK. Boys and girls, from the age of 14 upwards, regularly take to the streets and parks in the Summer months to celebrate "el fin de semana".

Armed with a bottle of rum, gin or whisky and a large bottle of Coca Cola, young people make their way up to La Pedrera on Friday and Saturday nights when the weather is warm.

Between 1am and 2am in the morning they head back to the town via the Villas Andrea estate.

Even if you don't hear them as they shout at each other and rev their mopeds up and down the road, you can witness the trail of devastation on their route back home.

The empty bottles strewn around the refreshment area are the first sign. But sadly it doesn't stop there. Last year, they managed to kick over all the service boxes on the vacant plot round the corner exposing the live electricity feed and all but rupturing the water and gas pipes.

On the road from the estate to the first corner, they've wrenched every one of the litter bins bar two from their posts and now they've demolished the wire netting fencing as well. They are making the place look more like a war zone than the smart urbanization that we moved into.

I've commented before about the untidiness of the town which must put tourists off from visiting here. This untidiness isn't helped by mindless youths wreaking havoc every weekend throughout the Summer.

Just three requests if you are coming up to the Pedrera to party:

1. Please put your empty bottles in the bins.

2. Please be quiet as you return to the town.

3. Please put an end to the vandalism.

Tres peticiones por favor:-

1. Ponga sus botellas vacías en los contenedores .

2. Sea reservado en su vuelta a la pueblo.

3. Termine el vandalismo.

PS Whilst you are at it, can you put your used condoms in the bin as well rather than strewing them around for dogs and other animals to choke on.

Tambien, ponga sus preservativos usados en el contenedor por favor.

Muchas gracias por su cooperación.

One down - one to go

and then the final!!


I bet Ferguson's bottle of wine tasted sweet last night.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I've no money for a new T-shirt

The high temperatures and the drop in the wind have drawn thousands onto the beaches in the province. It's looks just like August,  when the beaches are so full you can hardly find a place to put your towel.


Unfortunately for the shops though, the good weather hasn't enticed people into buying  summer clothes. The shopkeepers are blaming the economic crisis for a drop of between 30 and 40% in sales. Even  "rebajas", which have started a couple of months early, are failing to get the money out of people's pockets. 

It seems that everyone is being cautious about what they spend. The Spaniards are worried about what will happen in the months to come and the English have less money anyway because of the strength of the Euro.  Even the promised tax windfall of 400 euros per worker (200€ in July and then 33€ per month until January) and the extension of mortgages by two years is not motivating people.

So, like I said before, it's lean times all round.

There should be water in the pipeline

Even though we have had no rain in this province during the last two weeks, our water supply should be safe because of the amount that has fallen on the La Mancha plateau. The reserves in the dams of the Tajo have increased by 46 cubic hectometres in the last seven days.

That, along with the 16hm3 increase during the week before means that the levels in the marshes of Entrepeñas and Buendía are now at 320hm3.

The last shipment of water from the Tajo to the Segura was approved on the 28th December when the levels were much lower.


The pipeline from the Tajo to the Segura west of Orihuela.

Crucial choice

barca7980 manutd7980

Where will your loyalties be tonight?

One of my neighbours last week told me she'd watched the first leg of this draw up at the Pedrera. She obviously wasn't going to support Manchester, so much to the delight of the Spaniards who were up there she was cheering for Barca. She then went on to tell me that she'd rather see Barca playing Chelsea in the final. I took that to mean that Liverpool had already been dismissed in advance of their return leg tomorrow.

I wouldn't be so sure. When northerners get behind their team it makes a big difference. Fuelled by pork pies ( NB the meat is pork not pawk ) and wearing their cloth caps, they can show the jellied eel and empanada mobs a thing or two.

You can be sure that both tonight and tomorrow night it will be "COME ON YOU REDS" in Casa El Willo.

Ultimately, since I don't like football anyway, it doesn't matter much to me but there is a point of principle at stake here.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Book Fair in Bigastro

The Book Fair will now be held on the 10th and 11th May in the Sala Polivalente at the Auditorium.

The original idea was to have the Fair on the 23rd April to coincide with UNESCO's International Book Day. Out of interest, both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra  died on the 23rd April 1616.

You can expect to find copies of Cervante's Don Quixote - considered a founding classic of Western literature and one of the best novels ever written- on sale there.

It's a long way to India

You may have noticed that the picture of Pamela and I in the sidebar comes and goes. I'm not sure exactly what the problem is but I do know where it is.

I have two accounts with a company called who provide free web hosting via They claim to be the only 100% free Indian web host with "no banners, no ads and no pop ups". Each account has 50Mb of space with a 5Mb per month limit.

I've had both accounts now for a number of years. One account hosts my "Moving to Spain" website and the other my album of Spanish photographs. The little picture of us is located on one or other of these two. So when the picture disappears - as it is doing at the moment - that means that the album and the website are not available.

Google Blogger has now decided that I should upload a photo rather than point to the locations of one on a separate server. Hopefully this is a temporary glitch otherwise I might have to consider moving the photograph elsewhere.

An update:- Even though my Spanish Album and my Moving to Spain sites are back it seems that Blogger doesn't want to link to the photograph on the NetFreeHost server - wierd!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

In photography size = quality.

Early film cameras were large boxes that produced negatives the same size as the finished print. It was the only way they could achieve pin sharp detail. As the technology improved, so film sizes could be reduced.

The most significant breakthrough came when Ernst Leitz introduced the first of their legendary cameras that used 35mm movie film. Although newspaper photographers would continue to use the large format twin lens Rolleiflex, roving cameramen took to the compact format of the new cameras.

Even these cameras were not compact enough for the public though; so Kodak introduced the 110 format in 1972. Their previous cartridge films - the 126 - was in fact 35mm film in an easy to load format. The new film was closer to 16mm film in size.

Although it was originally intended for cheap point and shoot cameras, it found favour with companies like Canon and Rollei who produced high quality sub minature cameras using this film.

In order to get the same quality results from these smaller formats, film manufacturers had to produce film with an ultra fine grain. At the same time, lenses manufacturers had to come up with higher definition lenses. Even still, a picture taken on a larger format film beats the results from these cameras any day.

Now that we are in the digital era, things are no different. If you want the best quality images, you need a camera with a large sensor. Digital single lens reflex cameras typically have a sensor which is between 40 and 100% the size of 35mm film. Compact cameras have sensors which are much smaller than this - down to 4mm x3mm.

At the same time that they are reducing size, manufactures are cramming more pixels onto the sensors to up the resolution. Three megapixels became 5 megapixels and so on. The reason being that you start to see the actual pixels when you print a 3mp picture larger than 10x15cms. By comparison, a 8mp picture can easily be enlarged to A4.

The more megapixels there are in a picture - that more memory it takes to store it. In order to fit these huge files onto reasonable size memory cards, the images are compressed. The result of this compression can be seen in large areas of one colour e.g. in skies. These are called JPG artefacts (the standard method of compression).

Also, more pixels on a small sensor means that the size of each pixels is getting smaller and smaller. The trade off for that is what is called termed digital noise* and reduced dynamic range.

If you want a compact size camera which produces detailed images these are the prices you have to pay.

FX30 FX30 2

My new toy, the ultra slim Panasonic Lumix DMC FX30, packs a 7.1million pixel sensor and a wide angle 3.5x zoom lens in a body which is about the size of a mobile phone. It will be great for carrying round but if I try to use it at above 200ASA (in dim light without flash) the results could be disappointing. Outdoors in the sunshine of Spain it should be perfect.

When I want to get serious though; I'll still be hawking my Canon DSLR around. That produces useable pictures even at 1600ASA (e.g. my pictures of Semana Santa).

* At best, digital noise looks like the grain pattern you got on pictures taken with fast films. At worst it obscures detail replacing it with a blurr of different colours.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Spreading the burden

SUMA have announced that, from next year, we will be able to pay our IBI (Council Tax) in ten instalments from January to October instead of having to pay one lump sum in the second voluntary period.

SUMA also announced that traffic police in the Province will be issued with hand held computers so that they can collect payments on the spot.

To celebrate their fifteenth anniversary, SUMA are hosting a lunch for 80 delegates from the different municipalities at the Cruise Terminal in the Port of Alicante. At this occasion they will present José Francisco Trigueros, ex Director of SUMA with the SUMA de Oro.

If only they could encourage the pound to strengthen against the euro that would ease the burden even further.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Gamesters read on

Those of you who demand the ultimate in performance may want to look at the aptly named Chillblast Fusion Juggernaut PC which PC Pro magazine describes as record breaking. At £1,549 (inc VAT) it's almost a steal.


2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 overclocked to 3.4GHz, 4GB 800MHz DDR2 RAM, Asus Rampage Formula Republic of Gamers motherboard, 1GB Nvidia GeForce 9800 GX2 graphics, 750GB Samsung Spinpoint HD753LJ hard disk, Samsung DVD writer, 24in Samsung SyncMaster 245B TFT, Saitek Eclipse II keyboard, Razer DiamondBack mouse, Creative T7900 7.1 speakers, 2 x PCI-E 16x, 2 x PCI-E 1x, 2 x PCI, 8 x USB, 2 x DVI-I, 1 x HDMI, 2 x FireWire, eSATA, Gigabit Ethernet, S/PDIF, PS/2, Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit, 2yr RTB warranty.

Even with its massively overclocked quad-core processor, the box runs cool so there is potential to overclock it further. OK there are better speakers out here and the Dell 2408WFP monitor offers more than the Samsung but you can be too picky.

The 32bit version of Vista can only address 4Gbs of RAM there is little point in upgrading the memory. In any case, the graphics card takes up 1Gb of the allocation, so only 3Gbs of the existing RAM are useable.

For those of you who play Crysis, this is a must. Even at 1,920 x 1,200 pixels this beast still manages 31 frames per second.

A new version for you

I know that many of you use AVG Antivirus; so you will be pleased to hear that a new version of the free antivirus package will be available for download today.

Version 8 sees a complete interface overhaul, bringing the free version into line with the commercial AVG Internet Security 8.0 suite.

As well as an improved front-end, the new software will feature the LinkScanner system, which the company acquired when it bought out Exploit Prevention Labs last December.

The plug-in integrates with popular web browsers and automatically scans the pages returned by Google, Yahoo and MSN web searches, adding warnings to any results that appear dangerous.

I personally use McAfee Internet Security Centre which came preloaded on my computer. I have to say that I think paying a penny short of £50 for a year's subscription renewal is a bit steep especially when a new boxed version is only £34. It's obviously how they make the money.

I tried the Antivirus program from Telefonica which is part of our Duo package but my Spanish is not up to sorting out setting up an antivirus program yet so I removed it. Maybe next year I'll move back to AVG.

I needn't have fretted

By ecky thump. Morley, where I was brought up as a lad,  has been hailed as the most patriotic town in England after holding its best ever celebrations for St George's Day.

Not content with flying the flag for just one day, an entire weekend was given over this year to celebrating England's national day.

The programme of events alone stretched to three pages long, and 10,000 were distributed to schools, shops and homes to encourage people to join the show of patriotism.

In Scatcherd Park, the England flag flew high, and flowers in the colours of the St George's cross were planted in a nearby flowerbed.

Dance groups and live music entertained shoppers, who braved the unseasonably cold weather to make some outdoor purchases from the many stalls set up by Queen Street traders.

St George

Huge numbers turned out to watch St George leading the parade from the town hall to Morley RFC’s ground where the Sealed Knot held a re-enactment of the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Hundreds of flag-waving cubs, scouts, brownies and guides followed the parade behind representatives from the British Legion, cadet forces and the Sealed Knot.

All the Sunday events were organised by the Royal Society of St George (Leeds Branch) and a group of volunteers.

Joe Tetley, chairman of the Leeds branch of the Society of St George, said Morley was committed to holding the annual festival, which began in the town five years ago and has grown in size every year.

He said: "Irish people go crackers on St Patrick's Day, and the Scottish are the same. It's just a case that we think St George's Day should be celebrated.

"I think people have suddenly realised we don't have a national day, so we have started bothering about it and putting it forward.

"Events like we have had in Morley have really taken off.

"Local people have said it is the biggest event they have seen in Morley since the Queen came in 1954." 

The town was intensely proud of its festival and had resisted offers to move the events to the neighbouring city of Leeds, Mr Tetley added.

"It is a Morley event and it stays in Morley - that is non-negotiable," he said.

PS  Sounds to me like it's  high time that the Queen paid the town another visit.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

¿Habla español?

The Permanent School for Adults in Bigastro is now enrolling courses for next year including the one which we attend - "Spanish for Foreigners".


As ex-teachers, Pam and I feel equipped to make a professional judgement about the value of the course and the ability of the teacher - especially Pamela who taught French for a number of years in both Primary and Middle Schools.

Those of you who read my blog regularly will know how highly we rate our lessons and how much we feel we have learnt so far.

Call in any weekday to the IES Miguel Hernández on Calle La Paz between 3:30pm and 9pm until the 30th of June of 2008 to put your name down for next year.

We firmly believe, that with a little Spanish under your belt, your lives here will be so much richer.

Will you be celebrating?

Today is St George's Day. St George is, of course, the Patron Saint of Catalonia, Portugal, Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonia and Moscow as well as Merry England.

At one time people would wear a red rose in their lapel to mark the occasion. If you do this today though, people might assume you are follower of gloomy Gordon.

You could fly the flag instead. What better way to do this than invest in one of these toilet seats . There are obvious connotations to be made here which I will leave with you to sort out.

toilet seat

It's my socks that let me down

Gone are the days when athletes donned a pair of pumps, a pair of cotton shorts and a vest (aka Chariots of Fire) to take part in games. These days athletes wear high tech gear. The aim is to reduce injury, improve comfort and performance.

The latest development are miracle socks made by Sport Medilast, a company in Lérida. The socks, which are made from polyamide and elastane, exert pressure on the ankles which decreases towards the knee. Apparently this makes the veins work more efficiently.

Tests on these socks have been carried out by the Orthopaedic Surgery Department at the Catholic University of Murcia (UCAM) which prove their effectiveness. Spanish basketball player Felipe Reyes and athlete Carlota Castrejana have shown their confidence in the claims by wearing these socks for training.

Music at the Auditorium

Sunday, 27th April at 7pm


This, very popular, forty two strong choir was formed in 1983 by Juan Fabá Segarra.

If you enjoy choral singing this is probably a must for you.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Work it out for yourself

At the meeting on Friday, the lady from SUMA talked about the rateable value of property and how this affected the tax that you pay. She explained that the catastral value was increased to reflect market values. Up to 2005 the increase factor was 1.020 year on year.

So if you look at last year's bill and find Base Liquidable then multiply it by this factor you should get a rough value for this year's bill.

Once you have determined the new Base Liquidable then you can use SUMA's calculator at their website to calculate the tax you will pay. The factor for Bigastro for 2008 is 0.68% as set out in the ORDENANZA SOBRE BIENES INMUEBLES.

If you want to view the details that Cadastro have for your property you can do so by going to the Catastro Virtual Office:-

If you know the reference number for your property then you can type it in otherwise:- Select the province, the town, the road type, road name and number of your house to bring up details including diagrams of your plot.

Whilst you are at the SUMA site; you can work out your car tax as well. You select BIGASTRO as the town and then type in the Potencia fiscal which you'll find on your Tarjeta Inspección Téchnica de Vehículos (remembering to use a comma rather than a decimal point where necessary).

Of course you will have already know what it is for this year but at least you now know how to work out next year's bill before it arrives.

Their situation is worse

Whilst we complain about the the recent power cuts; we should consider the plight of these people:-

Grupo Idearco sites in Orihuela Costa, Algorfa, and Almoradí have recently had their builder’s supply of electricity cut off due to unpaid bills.

Agreements have been reached in some cases for outstanding utility debts to be settled by the homeowners. In several cases these debts for electricity and or water run into thousands of euros dating back six months, and payment instalment plans have been arranged in order to restore their supplies.

The results of these negotiations will become clearer next week and as a result many residents were reluctant to speak until a settlement had been reached.

Several buyers have expressed resentment that before they signed for their new properties, they had been asked to pay a fee of as much as 900 euros in cash. They allege they were told this was for the supply of electricity and water and many understood it would include their connection fees as well.

Residents on the Costa Dorada urbanisation in Algorfa have been without electricity for the last two weeks, cooking on gas stoves and with no street lighting. One unfortunate woman moved in just a day before the electricity went off. However they are hopeful that as a payment plan has now been agreed that it will be restored soon.

Remember it was Idearco who bought the land the other side of Le Vigan with the intention of building an aparthotel. They are also the company who are building the Flamingo apartment blocks near to the new school.

CDs by the Beetles.

The local police visited the Friday Mercadillo in Torrevieja , confiscated over 400 CDs and arrested two South African men. They will continue to visit the Mercadillos at La Mata and Torrievieja in an attempt to eliminate the sale of forged goods.

There are now six non-uniformed police officers in Torrevieja whose specific task is to tackle , among other things, the sale of fake items along the Paseos de La Libertad , the Vista Alegre and the beaches.

You might feel sorry for these South Africans but at the same time you do get fed up with being asked if you want a pair of hooky sunglasses or a dodgy watch every time you sit down for a drink.

I missed that one

The show at the Institución Ferial Alicantina (IFA) this weekend would have been a lot more interesting than the Home and Garden show that we went to. It was the fifth edition of the Antique Car show with old cars, motorbikes and spare parts on display.

A Rolls Royce Phaeton and a Cadillac Seville were displayed along with  motors from long lost marques like Packard, Auburn, Nash and Daimler. The collection of Bultaco motorbikes owned by Eduardo García Mira were there and a much loved Seat 600 sat alongside Fords and Citröens.

The cars for sale included a  1971 Jaguar E-Type at 70,000€ and Cadillac limos from the 80s for 18,000€. Just imagine trying to get one of those around some of the narrow streets and tight corners in Biagasto. There were also plenty of stands selling parts, manuals and other paraphernalia.

For those who couldn't afford the real thing; the Spanish Hurtan company from Granada were showing a replica car called  the Albaycin which they make using the engine, gearbox and suspension from a Renault Clio.

And just to make the day complete; in the next pavilion was the Alicante Spirit Tuning show for those who are into customising. I can't begin to think  what they might have suggested for my Skoda Roomster. 

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Eating up the land and the resources

The popularisation of golf courses in the Valencian Community didn't come from local demand but from the city-planning boom of the last decade. Along with the courses came huge urbanizations of houses with large gardens.

"El campo de golf actúa de tractor de demandas", according to the experts.

However this model of development is now being questioned partly because these golf complexes consume four to six times more water than traditional housing .

In cities, the average consumption of water in summer goes up to nine cubic metres per person per month. In urbanizations with golf courses and gardens the consumption goes up to between 25 and 40 cubic metres per person per month. In some cases, where there are extensive green areas, the consumption can be as high as 55 cubic metres.

Times have now changed. The fact that the Valencian Community is having to rely upon water from other regions to avoid restrictions puts the viability of golf urbanizations into question.

There are a hundred projected plans for golf courses according to data from May 2007. This would equate to roughly a million more houses and two million or more people consuming water.

The problem doesn't lie with the courses which are irrigated with waste water: it's the houses that accompany them. And it isn't just consumption of water. Scattered housing occupied by an aging generation of retired people also equates to a rise in pollution from cars.

A recent survey criticises the Valencian Community for its lack of cohesive planning in this respect. The location of courses is largely governed by private initiative. Public courses located close to resorts provides income for hotels etc. A course of nine holes built on land that is not suitable for agriculture close to a town therefore generates wealth without unduly increasing consumption. The report suggests that it is the "golf park" model that is no longer tenable.

Mal tiempo

In the weather report for Orihuela that I posted on Thursday, did I mention the wind or the pouring rain? No; well neither did the weather chanel Meteo.

The wind picked up yesterday afternoon (as it has done on several afternoons just lately) and was blowing a hoolie last night. At least the skies were blue and the sun shone brightly during the daytime.

This morning though it is heavily overcast and raining. The good news is that the wind seems to have dropped and for the moment, we have electricity.

Update as of 10:30. The skies have mostly cleared to blue and the sun is shining once again. At least the rain privide much needed water for the fields.

La luz

When we first moved here, we were on builder's electricity supply. There was a large diesel powered generator connected by temporary cables around the estate to each house. It's the way things are done here in Spain. Forget the luxury of moving to a new house which is already connected to electricity, water, gas and yes even the telephone. Those things only happen much later here - if at all!

Whilst we were on builder's supply; the generator broke down, it ran out of fuel, one of the cables broke and the trips overloaded. Even when it was working properly; the lights would dim as people started to cook meals or switch their lights on. The only good thing about those days was that we didn't get any bills.

It was a huge relief when we got our habitation certificates and were at last connected to mains electricity. We thought all our problems with supply were over. That has not quite been the case. We've had the odd occasion when the electricity would go off for just a second or at most a minute - a nuisance but tolerable.

In the last few weeks though we've, suffered longer cuts. There has been no warning , no van with a loudspeaker or a leaflet through the door - the power just goes off and then we wait with baited breath for it to return. Nobody seems to know why it goes off or who mysteriously turns it back on again.

Yesterday was probably the worst because the electricity went on and off a few times during the afternoon only to go off and stay off for nearly two hours. When it finally came back on at 8:pm you could hear people cheering as if someone had just announced the end of a war. It did go off again a couple more times but only for a minute or so each time. Finally folks could cook a meal, make a cup of tea and settle down to their favourite TV programme.

We have our fingers and our toes and everything else crossed in the hope that the problems, whatever they were, are now sorted. If not, we can only hope that that person who restored our power yesterday lives nearby.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Our meeting with SUMA

The lady who came to talk to us yesterday evening told us that she was very nervous because this was he first time she had spoken at such a meeting. She needn't have been nervous because she spoke in clear English and gave a very comprehensive explanation of the local tax system.

We were all given a booklet that SUMA have produced in English which I presume is available in SUMA offices. For those of you in England, the information is also available at SUMA's website at

A few points that I made a note of which might be useful.

  • if you want to pay your taxes by direct debit you need to set this up two months before the voluntary payment period
  • if you live in Spain for less than six months per year you must have a local tax representative
  • SUMA bills are only be sent to Spanish addresses
  • if you don't receive your SUMA bill you need to visit a SUMA office or telephone them to get a duplicate
  • if you change or sell your car you need to inform Trafico in Alicante within ten days
  • similarly if your car is stolen you need to inform Trafico
  • if you are scrapping a car you need to take it to a CAT depot
  • if you visit SUMA you can get a disc which gives you access to their Virtual Office which allows you to see your details online, ask questions and set up direct debits

One burning question which was asked from the floor was about the rates we pay for the collection of rubbish. It is the item called Basura which appears on our water bills.

When we first moved here, Villas Andrea was classified as outside the town and the rateable value of our houses was set accordingly. Last year the urbanization was reclassified as urban which entailed an increase in the catastral value of our properties and thus an increase in our IBI taxes.

Surely if we are now urban we should pay the same tax for rubbish collection as other parts of the town. To be classified as in the town for one tax and out of it for another doesn't make sense. The lady kindly agreed to look into this matter for us and report back upon what she finds out.

Finally, the Chairman of our Residents' Association, Jim Ryder thanked the lady on our behalf for taking the time to come and speak to us.

I would like to also thank the Ayuntamiento for arranging the meeting and Germán Martín for informing us about it.

A day out with the animals

Terra Natura

The City council of Bigastro and Terra Natura (Murcia) invites you to a fabulous day out on Sunday 25th of May.

The Council of Social welfare has organised this trip which is  for young and old alike to enjoy.

The price for the excursion is 12 € which includes the coach fare and entrance into Terra Natura but not food.

The coach will leave at 9am from the Plaza Ramón y Cajal (Puerta de Álvaro) and return at 5pm

You can reserve your seats for this trip at the Department of Social Security, situated in the Centro Social Integrado (C/ Jubilados)

Friday, April 18, 2008

You are what you eat

In our Spanish class yesterday we discussed an interesting article from the newspaper El Mundo.

It has long been recognised that the diet of Mediterranean countries is good for your heath. The abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables along with a plentiful supply of fish, beans and pulses provides a healthy balance of nutrition only matched by the diet of people in Japan.

However this diet is under threat. More women are working these days and therefore have less time for time consuming preparation of food. The Americanisation of diets world wide and the influence of North European diets are also having an effect.

The term Macdonaldization penned by George Ritzer in 1995 aptly sums up the problem.

A recent study has shown that 30% of nonhereditary cancers are related to our diet. The deficiency or excess of certain nutrients contribute to our vulnerability to developing cancers. For example, the lack of folic acid can encourage the appearance of digestive or lung cancers.

As I have said before, Bigastro is comitted to the Citta Slow project which encourages a slower pace of life. Traditional values, traditional fare and traditional ways of growing and preparing food are all features of the project. If the result is a longer and happier life, then I am all in facour of it.

A reminder

Just to remind those of you who live here. There is a meeting at the Auditorium at 5pm tonight where the system for local taxes will be explained to us in English.

And on Saturday there is a concert at 8:00pm with what promises to be a lively programme of music.


The Catholic Church passed a decree in September 2004 which extended the period of catechesis from two to three years. The extension, which means that the children take their first Communion at the age of ten rather than nine, arose as a result of a survey of a group of catechists (about 4,500 in the case of the province of Alicante). The results from the questionnaire showed that children needed the extended period because of difficulties in oral understanding and reading. The intention was that this change should be brought in by stages but only a hundred parishes decided to take this course.

As a result, between 8,000 and 9,000 children in the province will not take their first communion this spring . It is calculated that this will result in a loss of about 20 million euros of revenue.

Aside from the criticisms of parents who are concerned that their children won't want to wear the pretty dresses and sailor suits once they are ten, the delay has also brought criticism from the sectors of commerce directly related to these celebrations.

On average, a family will spend 3,000€ on the celebrations. It isn't just the restaurants ,who charge an average of 50€ per head for Communion meals, it's the photographers, guest houses, the shops that sell communion suits, dresses and gifts who will also suffer as a result of this extension.

We need that water

The Consellera de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación, Maritina Hernandez, claims that the water policies of Zapatero will end agriculture in the Valencian Community.

The Consellera has been requesting a transfer of water from the Ebro for four years.

The new Minister for Medio Ambiente, Medio Rural y Marino, Elena Espinosa has already held meetings with the President of the Catalan Autonomous Government, Jose Montilla to close an agreement which guarantees water for Barcelona. This is taken to mean that the requests for water from the Ebro for this region have yet again been ignored.

Of course there won't be a problem today because it is actually raining! At least the fields will get a bit of a soaking.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Los aves

Very confusing; the AVE (Alta Velocidad Española) is a high speed train but the word also means bird.

It is the artemia salina, a crustacean typical of hypersaline waters which, together with mosquito larvae that provides the staple diet for the large population of birds on the salt lagoons of Torrevieja and La Mata. Amongst the hundred species which have been recorded; there are flamingos, black-necked grebes, black-winged stilts and avocets.


Those of you who have been past the salt lagoons recently will have noticed the return of the flamingos which are here for the breeding season. You will probably see more on the lakes near to Santa Pola and the lakes near to San Pedro than on the lagoon at Torrevieja.

Incidentally did you know that there is no natural connection between the salt lakes and the sea? A man-made channel brings sea water into the lagoon at Torrevieja where it is warmed by the sun. It is then transferred to the lagoon at La Mata by further channels. The drying out of the water at Torrevieja produces the crystalline salt which is gathered for use in the chemical industry.

Lionel RIP

Many of the people at Villas Andrea will have known Lionel. He helped a lot of English people when they first came by translating for them and generally guiding them through the process of finding their way around. Lionel had lived in Gibraltar and so was fluent in both Spanish and English.

Sadly his health has deteriated over the last few years and he passed away in hospital on Tuesday. He will leave behind a lot of friends not least his partner for seven years, Janet.

The Service for Lionel was held this afternoon (Thursday 17th) at the Tanatorium just past Vega Baja Hospital.

El tiempo en Orihuela

For those of you in the UK.


En la primera mitad del día se esperan cielos nubosos. Por la tarde predominarán las nubes.

In first half of the day cloudy skies are expected. Later on clouds will predominate.

Temperatures of 18.2°C and bright sunny spells will make it feel warm.

For tomorrow:-

Por la mañana predominarán las nubes. Por la tarde dominará la alternancia de nubes y claros.

In the morning clouds will predominate. In the evening it will alternate between clouds and clear skies.

The high temperature of 17.9°C will make it feel a little cooler.

Saturday will be cloudy (high of 19.6°C); Sunday we will have some sun and showers (high of 18.3°C); Monday will be cloudy (high of 17°C) with the return of bright sunshine on Tuesday (high of 20.9°C).

Manchester, on the other hand, will be cloudy for the next five days with the chance of a little rain on Sunday. High temperatures will range from 8 to 11°C.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It's cool in my pool


For those of you in England longing for some good weather I thought I would share this photo of me in the pool this afternoon.

The water was at a cool 21 degrees. Once you were in though and acclimatised it was OK.

Muchas agua

You may have heard the lorry struggling up Calle Irlanda (in the wrong direction of course). The other week it was delivering water to fill our next door neighbour but one's pool. This week it is filling the pool next door.

It isn't just lorries that come up the wrong way though. Last week the local police Land Rover came up the road which is is clearly marked one way downhill. You could almost be led to believe that no entry signs in towns are merely advisory notices.

PS When these pools were emptied; the water went down the drainpipes onto Calle Alemania which should now be the cleanest street in the urbanization.

Out of cards

It seems that the Social Security Office in Orihuela is temporarily out of stock of the plastic cards they need to issue to people wanting to travel abroad (the Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea).

For the moment they are issuing temporary paper documents that provide cover for three months. Presumably when they have a new supply of cards they will issue the one year tarjetas again (hopefully in three months when the paper document expires!).

The Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea is the equivalent of the old E111 of EIHC card that you used to carry when you went on holiday. It enables those of us who have transferred to the Spanish health system to get treatment in other European countries.

More problems for our neighbour

There are more problems for Aurelio Murcia, the builder responsible for our houses. His partner, Ginés Ruiz is claiming that a sentence passed in 1997 in Madrid which condemmed Murcia to a minor prison for seven months along with a payment of 49,698 euros also means that he cannot hold public office. The sentence for fraud, relates to a company that Murcia was a manager of which collapsed in 1993.

Ruiz says that he cannot understand how Murcia can reside in a house valued at 400million pesetas which belongs to the company and at the same time accuse the Mayor Joaquin Moya of a whole series of crimes related to fraud and embezzlement.

Murcia has refused to comment on these issues.

PS Have you noticed that when Spaniards refer to the price of houses they always talk in terms of pesetas. Even though the euro has been in circulation for a number of years the peseta still makes more sense to them when dealing with large sums.

Music to your ears

Make a date in your diary for Saturday 19th at 8pm when the Sociedad Unión Musical de Bigastro will be playing a special concert to pay tribute to to their partners and supporters.

As it says on the poster - an excellent opportunity tot listen to good music.

Then on Sunday at 7pm you can listen to an audition of singers from the School of Music.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Old mobile phones

We had a few old mobile phones, including two pre colour models, which were just taking up room in the house. You know the story - "I'll keep it just in case."

Then we found bags at the Post Office that you can use to donate your old phones to charity.

Any phones that are useable are sold second hand and those that are not provide spare parts. All we had to do was pop the old phones in a bag (without the charger) and drop the bags in a post box.

Job done and a little bit more space in the house to fill with new toys.

PS Of course, if you have incriminating messages and photographs stored on your phone, it's probably best to remove them first!

Nuestro castillo

They say an English man's home is his castle. Well ours is looking more like a palace now.

The first thing you should notice when you pass the house are the high railings and gates at the front which we think make the house look more imposing and definitely Spanish.

Rafa from Pepe Lorente completed the work on Friday by welding extensions to the existing railings. We are delighted with the quality of his work and can highly recommend him to others who may want similar jobs doing.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Local taxes

The Concejalía de Hacienda in collaboration with the Tributary Management company SUMA , have organised a talk directed to European residents about the local taxes that we pay here in Bigastro. As many of you know, the process for calculating local taxes here in Spain is very different to the one in the UK.

This talk, which will be in English, will take place on Friday, 18th of April at 5:00pm in the Sala Polivalente at the Auditorium Francisco Grau.

For those who can't attend, I'll try and take notes and post them on my blog.

PS I am very grateful to Germán Martín from the Departmento Tecnología Ayuntamiento Bigastro for passing this information on to me.

The growers need water

The drought in this area is severely affecting the growing of crops. The local Associations are appealing for compensation for the loss of income that they will suffer which could amount to 25million euros. Melons, citrus fruit, alfalfa, cereals etc will all suffer without irrigation. And it isn't just the growers who suffer; the pickers, the transport companies etc all loose out when the crops fail.

When you watch the weather reports for Spain it seems that almost every other area of the country is being deluged with rain bar this part of the coast. The River Segura is at 14% of its normal level and of course as we move into May and Summer the chances of rain become slimmer.


Our hairdresser, Juan Diaz at Calle Acequia Nº9 (next to the Municipal Park) has some puppies. Obviously he would like them to go to good homes.

If you would like a puppy, I'm sure he wouldn't mind you calling in to enquire about them.

PS Pam says she has enough to cope with in our house with me!

Fiesta at the Holy Cross

The programme for the Fiesta is as follows:-
- 10:00 am: The "Great Popular Race", with prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each category.

- 7:30 pm: The competition for the best Floral Cross in the district with a prize for the winner.
- 10:00pm: A Flamenco celebration with the bigastrense Group “the Micrófenos” who combine a fantastic fusion of percussion and flamenco music.
Those who attend are asked to come in traditional flamenco wear.
The spectacle will be closed with a Fireworks Castle.
The evening will close with  a disco  - Móvil
- 11:30 am: Great parade in the streets, brightened up by the Sociedad Unión Musical de Bigastro.
- 12:30 am: Solemn Mass in Honour of the Santísima Cross
- 2:00pm: The GREAT PAELLA in the Park de la Cruz for all the neighbours and assistants.
- 17:00 pm: Children's games in the Park de la Cruz
Finally a  great Castle of Fireworks.

The paella is very popular with people from Villas Andrea. The people from Holy Cross always make us feel very welcome when we go down to participate. I personally would  feel more comfortable  though if we could at least buy a programme and thus make a contribution to the cost of the Fiesta.

Does anybody know where we can buy the programmes?

New Mayor

As you know Bigastro is twinned with the French town Le Vigan which gives its name to the road up to the Pedrera.

The town of 5,000 inhabitants has inaugurated Eric Doulcier, a member of the PSF (French Socialist Party), as their new Mayor.

Drawing competition

Once again, the Fiesta Committee are running a competition for young people to produce a picture of San Joaquín to be printed in the official guide to the August fiesta.

  • The competition is restricted to children aged 6 to 16.
  • They can use any medium they wish.
  • The closing date is the 25th April.

As an incentive, there are prizes of  90, 60 and 30€ for the winners.

Local clinic

Whenever we can, we support local businesses. More often than not, they give excellent service at very competitive prices. It isn't that difficult to string together a few meaningful sentences in Spanish to explain what it is you want and most of the people here will help you with a little English where they can.

Yesterday, on the advice of one of our neighbours, Pam visited the Clinica de Fisioterapia y Rehabilitación Bigastro situated at12 Calle Moreal, on the 1st floor to the left.

They provide physiotherapy for both the old and young, treatment post work and traffic accidents, lymphatic drainage, therapeutic and sport massage and even treatment in your own home.

Pam has been having problems with her neck and upper back for awhile and so she went along for treatment yesterday morning. For over an hour of very thorough massage of her neck, back and arms, she paid 18€. Now that is what I call excellent value for money.

Shocking problems

Whatever they were doing down the road with the electricity yesterday meant that we had no power for a large part of the afternoon into the evening. The connection was only fully restored after 8pm - just in time to make the evening meal.

I hadn't realised that the on-off power had caused problems with my ADSL router until the girls tried to call on our IP phone and got the message that the number was unavailable. I checked on my computer and sure enough, although the lights were all lit on the router, there was no connection to the Internet. Re-setting the router forced it to re-synchronise and returned both the Internet and the VoIP phone.

I figured that what happened was; the router started to intialise when the power came back on but was halted when the power immediately went back off again.

It was a stark reminder that, even though we have the VoIP phone for cheap calls to the UK, we still need the Telefonica landline for emergency calls if nothing else.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

May Fair in Torre

Although the booklet is not yet available, the May Fair in Torrevieja is to run from the 30th April until the 4th May. The very popular Flamenco Night will be on Friday 2nd May at 11:00pm.

Who to support

Well, well Liverpool v Chelsea and Man. United v Barcelona in the Champions League semi finals. That provides the possibility of having an all English final and even seeing arch rivals Man. United and Liverpool face up to each other in Moscow. With Barnsley out of the FA cup it is down to either of those teams to bring some silverware to the North of England.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sr. Alcalde presentó los premios

Last night, the Mayor of Bigastro, José Joaquín Moya Esquiva presented prizes to the members of the Bigastro Golf Society at the VaiVen.

For the third time, the top prize went to Gary Liney who was delighted to recieve his trophy from the Mayor.

In return for his efforts, the Mayor was presented with a Bigastro Golf Society cap.

You will be able to read all about the prize winners and see more photographs on Les Rowland's blog (click on the link in the sidebar).

Lean times

The crisis in the construction industry here in Spain is having a wide ranging effect on a whole range of issues. Shops and businesses that rely upon the building of new houses for their trade are suffering.

So too is the City Council which last night had to cut the budget for this year by 6% from7,792,000€ to 7,274,831€. The loss of income from licences and taxes for construction is to blame for this. The maintenance budget for the town of 7,000 inhabitants was cut to 313,000€.

In spite of these cuts, the Council will still have to seek loans of 2.5million euros to balance the books. Even though the town has increased in population, the contribution from the State has been reduced from 1.8million to 1.2 million euros.

So there are lean times ahead. Those of us who live off pensions from the UK are already suffering from the weak pound which has reduced the number of euros we get in exchange. For the moment then it is time to pull the belts in.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Your own web site

Have you ever wanted to create your own web site? Perhaps you run a small business that you would like to advertise on the Internet.

There are several ways that you can do this. Traditionally you would buy a program to help you design your pages and then upload them to your web space. Or you might learn HTML language to write your own code. For example; my web site, "Moving to Spain" (linked to in the sidebar), was created using Dreamweaver MX and then uploaded to a free area of web space from using Ace FTP. All the pictures and graphics were worked on in Photoshop. As you can imagine, it was a time consuming process that required a lot of learning and a considerable amount of trial and error - enough to put most people off!

The CompeTIC program, in collaboration with the Council of Promotion will help you achieve a similar result free of charge. In less than 15 minutes you can, with the help of technicians of CompeTIC, have your own Web page Web live on the Internet.

Just go down to the Ayuntamiento or call them on 96 535 00 00 Ext. 132 to subscribe.

Bigastro goes to the fair

The Federation of Services of Economic Promotion of the Low Fertile valley is represented at the third International Tourism Fair for the Valencian Community.

Algorfa, Benejúzar, Benijófar, Benferri, Bigastro, Jacarilla, Los Montesinos, Redován, San Fulgencio, San Isidro and San Miguel de Salinas are all represented under the banner "Vega Baja Emprende".

This area has a lot to offer the tourist in terms of culture, gastronomy, the festivities and the landscape. Bigastro, in particular, is keen to be seen as the Città Slow of the region because of the progress it has made in conserving traditions and its maintenance of sustainable development.

You will find lots of advertising material about the area at Stand A-34 on Level 3 in the 2nd Pavilion at the fair which I am sure would be well worth going to see.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

New item

You may have noticed this new item in the sidebar of my blog. It does what it says on the tin - it searches the blog for any item that you may be interested in.
Just type in a few words and click Search.

It's quick, it's slick and it does the trick- It's a nifty new gadget from Google.


You may have heard the music drifting down from the Pedrera yesterday afternoon. That was the annual party for students from the adult education classes.

When these people organise a party - they do it well.

First there was a bit of dancing

then a game of musical chairs and another game with shoes

then a bit more dancing (to King Africa's Paquito El Chocolatero!)
followed by nibbles and entremeses

the paella was ready to be served

there were three paellas to choose from; rabbit, rabbit and chicken or all chicken

Jose followed this up with ice cream. Finally we had a session of karaoke followed by more games.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Lindas flores

Those of you with sharper memories than me will have remembered that it was Pamela's 61st birthday on Wednesday.
She had a wonderful day, the sun shone and we had a delightful lunch out at La Finca de Eduardo's. In the evening, our neighbour Kay came around with an enormous bunch of flowers which filled two vases.
So now when you are inside the house you get this wonderful perfume from the lilies and outside the scent of lemon blossom.
Does it get any better than this? We do count ourselves lucky to have such kind and generous neighbours.

Another story from April 1st

From the local paper The Coast Rider

Residents were up in arms last week after discovering that a local man had fallen prey to another explosive paella attack, making him the 14th victim in the space of a fortnight. Ian Kidd, a 35-year-old expat from Villa Martin, was enjoying some traditional Spanish cuisine when the plate blew up in his face. He said:” There I was, discussing with my wife which Karaoke bar we’d be going to that evening, when I heard an almighty bang. When the dust settled, all that was left in front of me was a couple of charred prawns.” Mr Kidd was lucky, escaping with only minimum clam chaffing of the lower cheek, but some victims over the last two weeks have not been as fortunate. April Hardy, from Los Balcones, suffered from mild concussion and memory loss after the paella she was tucking into detonated in a blaze of rice and peas. An exploding paella was the last thing April expected, and she told me: “An exploding paella was the last thing I expected. I was so confused, I almost forgot to pay my bill.”
This latest incident comes after a spate of attacks which has left the local police dismayed and puzzled. Although no-one has claimed responsibility for the blasts, it is believed that the action group, Fight for Fish (FFF), is culpable for these culinary crimes. Until now, FFF have protested peacefully, but it is believed that a rebel splinter group has been formed focussing solely on the rights of crustaceans. Some residents believe that the blame lies firmly with the local authorities and will be calling on councils to provide protective goggles in all paella-serving restaurants.
I contacted Joe King, from the British Fisheries Union to ask if he had any advice to give ex-pats who enjoy regularly tucking into the common Spanish dish. He said: “The most popular way to detonate a plate of paella is to use fireworks that are shaped like prawns. If any of the shellfish on your plate display a warning which reads ‘Keep away from children’ it is a safe bet that something extremely fishy is going on.” He added: “Another popular method is to fill mussels full of bicarbonate soda. I have done this myself on many occasions and it is quite a spectacle, as well as being a lot of fun.” Mr King went on to tell me that the only sure-fire way to protect oneself from an exploding plate of food is to wear an all-in-one rubber suit.
He said:” They offer the greatest protection from third degree saffron stains, as well as being a lot of fun.”
A lot of fun was what Michael Take had planned, the 42-year-old resident of Playa Flamenca, who was the first to succumb to the latest volatile food offences. He said: “I ordered a huge pan of paella for my friends and family to celebrate getting on the padron.
We were only onto our fourth plate each when the whole pan erupted.
Luckily, nobody was hurt, although it was a shame for the passing ‘looky looky’ man, who had to take his collection of rugs to the drycleaners.”

My comment
I love the bit about the poor "looky looky" man and the names the author has used; especially "Micky Take". I'll obviously have to work harder next year to come up with a good story.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The poets at the Sun

You have to admire the Sun newspapers ability to come up with catchy headlines.

Over the past few years they've had a field day with ex Beatle, Paul MCartney who they christened "Macca". When they latched on to the fact that his wife Heather Mills had a previous career as a porn model they dubbed her "Mucca".

Macca and Mucca do battle

Lady Mucca mocka Macca

Macca's house gets a Muc-over

Mucca cites muccy briefs

Mucca chucksa cuppa water over Macca's lawyer

Not wanting to miss an opportunity, they've got a few references to a few of Paul's music titles in their headlines.

Return of the big Macca Macca and the moll of Kintyre

Shacka Macca's Hard Day's Fight

It's Macca's Lonely Hearts Club

Macca mansions on fabby roads

Now Sir Paul has found a new romance the rhyming carries on.

Peace wielding Macca is backa

Macca and the married cracker

Macca on hols with his smacker cracker

Of course they could have penned No lucka Macca sacka Mucca who took him for a sucka. I'm sure Pete Brooks will come up with something brilliant in reply to that!

No more lost luggage

The new terminal at Alicante airport, which  is due to open in 2010, will have a state-of-the-art baggage handling system installed by Vanderlande Industries which claims to deliver 100% of the luggage to the correct plane.

In fact Aena claims that the present system is quite modern because the airport pioneered the improvement of baggage handling when it was remodelled in 1995.

The new L shaped building, built at a cost of 450million euros, will increase the capacity of the airport to 20 million passengers. Apart from other facilities, it will have 16 telescopic footbridges and a terminal for the AVE (high speed railway) by 2014.

Let us hope that it doesn't suffer the same teething problems as Heathrow's new T5.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Did you spend yesterday morning searching for Juan Robles Sanchez's finca to find his "gin and tonic" tree?

To help you out, I can now reveal that his lemon grove is located on the Vereda de la Broma off the Avenida Chiste. In other words it was my April fools joke for this year.

However, my story doesn't even come close to these classics from the past:

In 1957 the BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. They accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. The BBC diplomatically replied that they should "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."

In 1976 Patrick Moore announced on BBC Radio 2 that at 9:47 AM a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur that listeners could experience in their very own homes. The planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen the Earth's own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, BBC2 began to receive hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman even reported that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room.

In 1977 The Guardian published a special seven-page supplement devoted to San Serriffe, a small republic located in the Indian Ocean consisting of several semi-colon-shaped islands. A series of articles affectionately described the geography and culture of this obscure nation. Its two main islands were named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. Its capital was Bodoni, and its leader was General Pica. The Guardian's phones rang all day as readers sought more information about the idyllic holiday spot. Few noticed that everything about the island was named after printer's terminology.

In 1981 the Daily Mail ran a story about an unfortunate Japanese long-distance runner, Kimo Nakajimi, who had entered the London Marathon but, on account of a translation error, thought that he had to run for 26 days, not 26 miles. The Daily Mail reported that Nakajimi was now somewhere out on the roads of England, still running, determined to finish the race. Supposedly various people had spotted him, though they were unable to flag him down. The translation error was attributed to Timothy Bryant, an import director, who said, "I translated the rules and sent them off to him. But I have only been learning Japanese for two years, and I must have made a mistake. He seems to be taking this marathon to be something like the very long races they have over there."

In 2002 Tescos published an advertisement in The Sun announcing the successful development of a genetically modified 'whistling carrot.' The ad explained that the carrots had been specially engineered to grow with tapered airholes in their side. When fully cooked, these airholes caused the vegetable to whistle.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Right off the tree

A local agriculturalist, Juan Robles Sanchez, has developed a new strain of lemon. By crossing quince (membrillo) and juniper (enerbro) with a special strain of Fino 49 he has produced fruit that combines the flavours of each.

As an experiment, Juan left some of the fruit on the trees to mature longer than normal. What he found was that juice inside the fruit started to ferment and thus produced alcohol. The higher sugar levels, induced by the crossings, meant that the alcohol content was close to 20% by volume.

At first the flavour of the juice was unbalanced but with careful selective crossings he has produced a fruit with a juice which closely resembles lemon flavoured gin and tonic.

So far only one tree has successfully produced a reliable crop of gin and tonic flavoured fruit. But by carefully selecting seed and avoiding cross fertilisation, Juan plans to have up to 100 hundred "gin and tonic" trees planted next year. In future this could result in thousands of the culitivars being raised across the Vega Baja.

The local Brotherhood of Growers view this as a major breakthrough which could change the fortunes of the area. It will however need an amendment to the law to bring the crop to market because of the change in definition. Is the product a fruit juice or an alcoholic drink?

In the meantime friends of Juan are enjoying the benefits of his research claiming that the juice has medicinal properties!