Wednesday, May 28, 2008

End of the golden days

The construction boom that has made Spain one of the fastest growing economies in Europe is over.

Spanish house prices have risen by more than 200 per cent in the last ten years, encouraging many overseas investors to purchase property in the country with the promise of short-term financial rewards.

But in the clearest sign yet that the boom is over, the  seven biggest developers in the country reported last week that the number of sales in the first quarter of 2008 had plunged by almost 75 per cent compared with last year. The combined value of their sales had plummeted from €1.3 billion  to less than €300 million.

The problem isn't just with new houses. There are an estimated two million unsold properties and estate agents are closing their offices across the country.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The great danger

This year's Feria de San Isidro has demonstrated clearly the risks that these people take entering into the ring with bulls that, in some cases, have exceeded 600kgs in weight.

On the 25th May, Carlos Escolar “Frascuelo” was very badly gored by the first bull of the evening and suffered facial injury as well as multiple tears in the muscles of his legs . This sixty year old was displaying great skill in the classical style of bullfighting when he misjudged the turn of the bull as it passed him.


PARTE MÉDICO: Dos heridas por asta de toro. Una en la cara posterior del tercio medio del muslo izquierdo con dos trayectorias, una hacia arriba de 20 cms. con sección del músculo bíceps femoral y otra hacia dentro de 15 cms. que alcanza el fémur y contusiona el paquete vásculonervioso. La otra herida en la cara interna del tercio superior del muslo derecho con una trayectoria hacia debajo de 20 cms. que causa destrozos en los músculos aductores. Herida contusa en la lengua. Pronóstico grave que le impide continuar la lidia.


el Ruso


Then last night, the banderillero Juan José Rueda “El Ruso”was gored in the anal region causing multiple damage. His condition is also described as grave.

We sincerely hope that both these people recover from their serious injuries.  We doubt that we will be seeing them in the ring again.

Higher bills

It seems that the cost of electricity is set to rise by at least 11.3% from the 1st July.

Some of the existing tariffs will also disappear. For example, 23,000 users of the cheap night time rate will loose out because it is due to be axed. The cheap rate for agricultural irrigation is also set to disappear.

Previously prices were controlled by the Government. Now, with the sprit of free competition, which was introduced to keep prices down, electricity companies will be allowed to change prices without control. Domestic prices are still controlled by the Government but only until 1st January 2009.

Since demand is greater than supply and since Ibderola are the only suppliers in this area, we have very little choice in the matter. Although in theory we could now change suppliers, in practice that would be very difficult and costly.

Green Zone

A court in Orihuela is investigating why Repsol were allowed to build two underground gas tanks to hold 49,500 litres of propane on a green zone of Bigastro. A thousand square metres of "green" land is now fenced off without access to the public.

The PP party claim that the land was re-parcelled at a Council Meeting in April 2005 and then in December 2007, in a decree made by the Mayor, parcel 53 was denominated “garden JL-5”. To later change the designation of the land to allow gas tanks to be installed would therefore require a precise modification to the General Plan of the City Council and approval by the Conselleria.

In May 2007, the official newspaper of the Catalan Autonomous Government reports a resolution by the Conselleria de Infraestructuras authorising the installation of the gas tanks. Aurelio Murcia argues that Repsol are hardly likely to invest in this installation without municipal approval and advice by municipal technicians. However, it seems that there is no record of the decision to change the use of this land by the City Council.

The PP party in Bigastro have made several denunciations against the PSOE and the Mayor in particular; implying that they have failed to follow correct procedures in dealing with the sale and use of land in the town. Those of you who read the Spanish press, will know that this is a problem which a number of Councils, both PSOE and PP, face here in Spain. The case against the Mayor of Marbella is possibly the worst example.

Music and dance


There is no end to the talent in this town.

The poster says it all!  The students from the Beatriz Arce school of Dance in Bigastro performing in the Auditorium this Sunday at 8pm.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Even cheaper calls to the UK

I've written before about the Internet phone that we use to make calls to the UK. Via our 3Mb Telefonica ADSL connection,  call quality is excellent even when I am connected to the Internet at the same time (my router is set to reserve 1Mb of bandwidth for the phone when it is in use).

NB VoIP  is not recommended if you are using a dialup or satellite connection because call quality will be poor - possibly unusable.

The service we use is VoIPTalk, a UK based company, but there are of course others.

The company offer free subscriptions with calls rates to UK landlines at 1.4pence per minute.

A better option though is the standard Silver Prepay plan which costs £2.99 (plus VAT) per month and  includes:-

  • a free UK geographic number (from a choice of 600 local prefixes)
  • voicemail to email service (messages are sent to your email address as sound files)
  • call divert to either a mobile or landline - you can schedule this to occur when you are offline, out of office etc
  • three way calling to selected IP phones
  • online billing information
  • special rates to mobiles e.g. 7p during evenings and 5p at weekends
  • discounted tariffs e.g. to UK numbers: 0.9p per minute at peak times, 0.5p during evenings and 0.2p at weekends

I've just upgraded our account from a Silver Prepay plan to the new Silver Prepay which includes 1,000 inclusive minutes at a cost of £4.99 (plus VAT) per month. I reckon with the number of calls Pam makes to the UK, I should  save about £20 a year with this new plan even if she doesn't chat for the full 1,000 minutes!

The only equipment you need (apart from a spare port on your ADSL router) is a VoIP phone or a VoIP adapter to use an existing analogue phone.

VoIPTalk sell phones from £34.99 and adapters from £29. If you don't mind only having the phone available when your PC is switched on, they have a USB phone for £4.99 and yes they deliver to Spain.

You'll find their website at with all the information you need to buy and setup your Internet phone.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Los Toros

Those of you who think that Las Corridas always go the same way should have watched La Corrida de rejoneo from Madrid last night.

Álvaro Montes fell badly whilst dealing with the first bull of the evening. His horse rolled over him and he was tossed in the air over and over again by the bull. In spite of blood flowing from his right ear and an injury to his right hand, Montes returned to dispatch the toro.


Later in the evening, he returned to gain a well deserved oreja for the fifth bull.



Last night we watched the Eurovision song contest for the first time in a good few years.

This competition was first held in 1956 in Switzerland when 7 countries entered 14 songs. It became compulsive viewing in our house for a long time as we willed artists like Sandie Shaw, the Brotherhood of Man, Bucks Fizz and Lulu on to win.

Of course Europe is a bigger place now and the competition embraces Eastern and Western European countries. Damn it, I'd have to consult a recent atlas to locate where some of these places are.

The enlargement of the competition has had a big influence on the results. This year the Russian entry got maximum 12 points from former Soviet states Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus and Armenia, as well as Israel. Politically, Russia was always favourites to win whatever their entry sounded like.

You could argue now that entry into the competition is almost a waste of time for the Western European countries which is sad. The UK has participated 50 times and won it on 5 occasions. 1997 was the last occasion -when Katrina and the Waves "Love shine a light" stormed home with a clear 70 point lead. Spain's record is even worse with two wins; one in 1968 and joint winners in 1969.

This year though, it looked like Blighty was going to get the wooden spoon. Eventually, the song scraped 14 points and came last. Six of those points came from San Merino and eight from Ireland. Let's face it the UK has only finished in the top ten of the competition once in the last ten years. If the UK wasn't one of the four counties guaranteed a place in each year's competitions, it would be out of the running for next year.

PS Do you remember when Ireland had a winning streak ? They won in 1992, 93 and 94 lost it to Norway in 95 but won it back in 96. Or when in 1969 four countries; France, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom tied for first place. Heady days that sadly may never return -I don't think we'll bother watching next year.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tarred by the same brush

Our hairdresser told us on Thursday that he'd heard a lot of British people were "borracho" at the Romeria de San Isidro. I don't know whether that was true or not because we left La Pedrera at about 4pm . I certainly don't recall seeing anyone drunk at that time but obviously the night was still young then.

I understand that, for most Spaniards, it is socially unacceptable to be seen drunk in public. Happy yes but drunk no and I for one agree with them. The locals, quite rightly, take a dim view of foreigners who show a flagrant disregard for acceptable social standards. Certainly that was the impression I got from the hairdresser.

We British represent a very small minority in the town and it is therefore easy for all of us to be judged by the actions of a few. That is unfortunate because the majority of Brits in the town are decent people who enjoy a drink but would never disgrace themselves in public.

Sadly it seems that a few of our number are creating a bad impression for the rest of us and it is one that we could well do without. Enough said!

I felt a right anos!

Miss the accent out and the meaning changes completely.

In my post on Thursday welcoming local Spaniards to my blog; I said I'd lived in Bigastro for "tres anos". I did of course mean "tres años".

As my friend Pete pointed out, anos translates as anus whereas años means years. Some people might argue that I was right first time and that the "tres anos" are where I mostly talk through!

It just goes to show that you do have to be so careful with this language.

New words to learn

When I was young, "gay" meant bright and happy. It comes from the latin word “gaudium” which means joy.

Gay was a word we used a lot in our childhood; to say how we felt and how we acted as well as describing the nature of objects. When we were out of sorts without knowing the cause we felt "queer". We also used this word to describe something that was strange. It never occurred to us that these words might have different meanings in the future.

Times have changed and so have these words.


Felix Rodriguez González, a philology professor, specialising in the areas of lexicology, lexicography and the sociolinguistics of English and Spanish languages at the University of Alicante, has produced a new dictionary with 1,500 words related to homosexuals and lesbians.

The learned professor apparently visited many bars and places frequented by homosexuals; he consulted various forums on the Internet and conducted historical research into the meaning of many of the words he came across. So now, thanks to his work, we can find the meaning of words like "bolliscout", "gayeria", and "gaylandia".

PS Did you know that the favoured car in gaylandia was the BMW 3 series? As it got larger though it was replaced by the BMW 1 series. BMW are apparently regarded as one of the "gay friendly" car companies. Acura, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Suzuki and I dare say Skoda aren't!

PPS I imagine a "gayeria" is a shop specialising in selling products for homosexuals; not to be confused with a "joyeria" which sells jewellry.

The next Council Meeting

You may have noticed items 10 and 11 on the agenda for the next Council meeting.

10. Modificacion contrato de basuras. Inicio de expediente

11. Modification contrato Aguagest

Hopefully this means that in future we will be paying the same rate for our rubbish collection as the rest of the town.

Agradecemos a Ayuntamiento por escuchar nuestras preocupaciones de esta tema.

On the tele

You heard them at La Fiesta de la Cruz, you also heard them "jam" up at La Pedrera last Saturday.


The very popular bigastrense group, Los Micrófenos are due to appear on Tele 5 in a programme TÚ SI QUE VALES which is broadcast on Friday nights.


Buena suerte a ellos - good luck to them

Friday, May 23, 2008

New Supercor

El Corte Inglés plans to open a new Supercor supermarket in July at the junction of Calles Diego Ramírez Pastor and Apolo in Torrevieja.

The two thousand square metre shop, which will mainly sell mainly foodstuff will include a perfumería, a droguería along with sections for stationery, clothing, gardening, household goods, photography, telephones and a travel agency.

Torrevieja already has a 24 hour Supercor Express in front of the new hospital and a Supercor along the Orhihuela coast. This new store though will bring Supercor quality to the centre of the town.

NB Those of you accustomed to Lidl and Aldi prices will find Supercor more expensive but on par with Marks & Spencer for quality.

The clean up continues

You should notice a big difference once this group of workers have done their stuff.

The Council of Promotion in Bigastro have teamed up with these seven people from INEM to produce a Plan of Improvement and Preparation of Rural Zones in the municipality.

They will be working on clearing up the  rural parts of the town until the month of August.

With their help, Bigastro is set to become the smartest town in the area.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bienvenido a mi blog

A mí me parece que algunos españoles de Bigastro leen esta blog.

Espero que te entiendas mi inglés.

Me llamo Keith, soy Inglés, vivo en Bigastro desde hace tres años.

A mi me gusta mucho mi vida en España, especialmente aquí en Bigastro. La gente de Bigastro es muy amable y bondadosa. Disfruto de la cultura, de las comidas y del ritmo de la vida.

En el futuro escribiré algo en español para te.

Un saludo


Completed but not open

The Partido Popular in Biagastro want to know why the cost of building the new car park on Calle La Paz has overrun by 800,000€. The original budget was for 1,703,000€. The increase is therefore in the order of 46%. Legally, the Council have to call a plenary session to ratify any increase of costs that exceed 20% .

Aurelio Murcia, spokesperson for the PP, argues that it is too late to call such a meeting when the work is 99% complete. He also asks how can the company responsible for the construction, La Generala, justify this increase and more to the point where are the Council going to find the money to pay it.

In the meantime, La Generala refuses to hand over the keys and the car park remains closed just like the new San José de Calasanz school.

The clean up continues

Following the clean up of the road down to the town and the park areas by the Ayuntamiento, Star Sol have cleaned up the two vacant plots that they own.

Jim Ryder, Chairman of the Residents' Committee, along with Ron Hawes visited the offices of Star Sol and the Ayuntamiento to request a clean up of the estate. As a result, Star Sol agreed to clean the plots they own and to remove the notice board at the entrance to the estate.

Usually when plots of land are cleared it signals the start of building. On this occasion though, Star Sol have made it clear that there are no plans to build on the vacant plots at the moment. I would argue that is a shame because it would be good to see the estate complete with every plot filled.

So, many thanks to Jim and Ron for negotiating the work to be done and to Star Sol for completing it.


Sir Alex Furguson was suitably delighted last night to see his team both champions of England and Europe. It was fitting that on the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster United took the European cup for the third time.

Well done United!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

¿Te gusta?


Here I am sporting my new T-shirt outside the school where our classes are held.

Don't expect to find one of these in the shops though -it's a unique design that I had printed!

San Isidro

Bigastro is one of only a few towns in this area that celebrates San Isidro, the patron saint of farmers but who was he?

Isidore, as he is more properly known, was born to very poor parents near Madrid, about the year 1070. He was in the service of the wealthy Madrid landowner Juan de Vargas on a farm in the vicinity of Madrid. Juan de Vargas would later make him bailiff of his entire estate of Lower Caramanca.

Every morning before going to work, Isidore was accustomed to hearing a Mass at one of the churches in Madrid. One day his fellow-labourers complained to their master that Isidore was always late for work in the morning. Upon investigation, so runs the legend, the master found Isidore at prayer while an angel was doing the ploughing for him.

On another occasion, his master saw an angel ploughing on either side of him, so that Isidore's work was equal to that of three of his fellow-labourers. Isidore is also said to have brought back to life his master's deceased daughter, and to have caused a fountain of fresh water to burst from the dry earth in order to quench his master's thirst.

St. Isidore married Maria Torribia, a canonized saint, who is known as Santa María de la Cabeza in Spain because her head is often carried in procession, especially during droughts. Isidore and Maria had one son, who died in his youth. On one occasion their son fell into a deep well and, at the prayers of his parents, the water of the well is said to have risen miraculously to the level of the ground, bringing the child with it, alive and well. Isidore and Maria then vowed continence and lived in separate houses.

Isidore died on May 15th 1130, at his birthplace close to Madrid.

Un poco agua

It may have spoilt some people's holidays but the rain we have had this month has eased the drought situation in this region of Spain.

An average of 72.3 l /m3 - a third of all the rain we've had in the last seven months - fell in May.

The areas that have had the most rain are the Plateau, the start of the Segura, Abanilla, Benferri and Albatera with an average of 150l/m3.

On the other hand, the Mar Menor, Almeria and the Vegas Baja and Media only had between 20 and 50l/m3 of rain.

In spite of  all this, the dams of the River basin of the Segura are only at 20 percent  capacity, with 230 hm3, which is  22 hm3 less than in the same period last year.

So the situation, although better, is still delicate for this summer.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Spanish TV

I would argue strongly that, if you come to live in Spain, you should at least attempt to learn Spanish. I would even go so far as to say that the Government should consider making it a legal requirement for your entry into the country.

Even if you live in an area which is predominantly British, there are going to be lots of occasions when you need to interact with people who only speak their native tongue. Without some understanding of Spanish, you are going to find these situations impossible to contend with.

Back in England, one of our daughter's friends married a Portugese man who spoke perfect English. You didn't need to pick your words carefully when you spoke to him; this guy could even crack jokes in English.

I asked him how he had learnt to speak such good English. After all he hadn't been taught the language in school. He told me it was by watching English programmes on TV and later by reading English newspapers.

Now that BskyB have virtually cut off all of their programmes to this country,  you have  every reason to start watching Spanish TV instead. You only need an aerial to pick up a whole range of programmes - in most cases an indoor version will suffice.

By watching local TV, not only will you start to pick up the language but you will learn something of the culture of the country where you now live.

The advice my Portugese friend gave me was start with children's programmes. The ones with subtitles are the best because you learn to read at the same time. He said you'd be surprised how quickly you will learn to associate the actions you see on screen with the dialogue. Then you can progress onto light entertainment and when you are really conversant - news and documentaries.

So if you are bored with staring at a blank screen - give it a go. You might just get to enjoy it!

Chain emails

In the days before the Internet, people used to send chain letters. I don't recall ever getting one but even if I had I wouldn't have passed it on. The process of copying a letter several times, addressing the envelopes and then going to the post office to mail them would have put me off.

Now it is all too easy to send chain letters by email. When you receive one of these emails, you click forward, select the recipients from your address book and then send it on. In less than a minute you've complied with the wishes of the person who produced the email in the first place.

We all have anti-virus software don't we? We spend shed loads of money on this software to protect us from the attack of a virus on our computers. What these programs don't do though is protect us from the spread of viral emails; it is hard to work out how they could.

Early versions of these "chain mails" brought dire warnings of impending viruses. Then we had the harmless good luck pixies and fairies (mostly Irish) that you should pass on or suffer umpteen days of bad luck. More disturbing were the mails that told a tale of some dying child who would receive help from one of the large Internet companies if we passed the message on to enough people. To be fair, most chain emails are either harmless fun or messages of hope for the world. It is easy to understand why they get passed on.

In the case of the email warning us of an impending attack of love.exe, it was the message itself that was the virus and we were being conned into spreading it. Imagine the exponential growth of email traffic as each person sent the mail on to a couple of dozen or more recipients. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and the message was stopped.

The most disturbing aspect of these "chain mails" however, is the fact that most people just pass them on without editing. So what you get is the trail of how the email was sent. I don't suppose many people want their email address bandied round the Internet particularly if they are sending the mail from work.

A case in point:- When I was teaching IT, one of my younger students received a particularly obscene email via his school address. Because nobody had thought to edit the message before passing it on I was able to track the originator of this vile message. I wrote a complaint to the company it came from and received a reply telling me that the person had been severely disciplined. Most companies have very strict policies about Internet use in the workplace.

Experts warn that the Internet will grind to a halt in a few years because of the number of people downloading video and music; both of which eat up vast amounts of bandwidth. The solution is to spend billions of dollars replacing copper cables with fibre optic. I would argue that viral emails are contributing to this problem. They eat up bandwidth in the same way as video downloads albeit to a lesser extent.

By all means send me jokes - I love them - they often make my day; just don't expect me to pass on these chain messages. I won't do it!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mas fotografías

I published some of my photographs from the Romeria de San Isidro on this blog last Sunday.

You can see other photographs from Saturday by going to

and whilst you are at it, you can also see photographs from other events by clicking on this link:-

Many thanks to Germán Martin at the Ayuntamiento for publishing my photographs. I hope viewing them gives as much pleasure as taking them did for me.

The would be bookworms

Last Thursday, along with other students from the School of Permanent Education of Adults, we visited the Municipal Library in Bigastro.


To start with, we were introduced to the library by the Librarian who stressed the great value of reading. She paid tribute to our teachers and to us for our efforts in the respective classes.

Vicente Pina from the Codex bookshop then related some good stories and introduced us to others in books that grandparents might want to read to their grandchildren. Because Vincente speaks slowly and carefully we were able to follow most of what he said.

The ladies from the Spanish classes then related tales from their childhood. These ladies speak very quickly and so we had some difficulty in following them. Fortunately, the Council of Culture are considering publishing these accounts in order to preserve and transmit the culture of the town from generation to generation. When that happens, we will be able to read these stories at our own pace.

It is important to point out that all of the libraries in the area are linked and catalogued by a sophisticated database system. So, if a particular library doesn't have the book you are looking for; you can locate it elsewhere and the library will arrange a transfer for you.

The library is obviously keen to provide literature for all of the population and already have a number of works in English to which they will add more by request.

It was a very worthwhile and profitable afternoon. Many thanks to our teachers for organising the visit and the people in the library for accommodating us so well.

You can see more photographs from this event at:-

An end to land grabbing is in sight

The Valencian city-planning legislation will be reformed for the second time following pressure from the European Court of Justice.

First there was the Ley Reguladora de la Actividad Urbanística (LRAU) in 2003, which was replaced by the Ley Urbanística Valenciana (LUV) in 2006.

The LRAU was nicknamed the land grab law because it allowed Town Councils to set up Programas de Actuación Integrada (PAI) which forced house owners to give up their land to constructors who were building low cost housing. To make matters worse they were also forced to pay for the infrastructure of these developments.

The LUV was supposed to close the loopholes and clear up the irregularities in the LRAU but failed to do so. The main complaints were the lack of transparency and competition in awarding contracts under the PAIs.

The Valencian Government  has accused the socialist Members of the European Parliament of  orchestrating denunciations against them with the unique objective of wearing away at the Consell.  They say that the long process has aggravated the image of  Valencians. They claim that taking them before the Court of Justice was the result of a conspiracy orchestrated by the English, the Socialists, the Green parties and even  Members of the European Parliament from other countries of the EU.

Let us hope that the latest changes will clear this mess up and prevent more house owners suffering. Currently there are projects totaling 130 million square metres which are pending. Sadly it will be too late for those who have already lost their land to the developers.

Eating up the coast

A study conducted by the Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña for an exhibition 5 paisajes por 50 años, which has opened in Madrid, shows the development of housing on the Murcian coastal strip.


On the left is Mazarrón in 1956 and on the right in 2006

By examining aerial photographs taken in 1956 and comparing them with ones taken in 2006 they found that the six municipalities; Cartagena, San Javier, Mazarrón, La Unión, Los Alcázares and San Pedro del Pinatar had grown from 15 square kilometres to 106 square kilometres in size.

Mazarrón - 1 to 12kms2 - 12 times its size but with a population increase factor of 3 .

Cartagena - 9 to 61kms2 - 7 times its size but with a population increase factor of 1.8.

San Javier - 9 to 61kms2 - 7 times its size but with a population increase factor of 1.8.

La Unión - 1 to 3kms2 - 3 times its size but with a population increase factor of 1.5.

Los Alcázares - 1 top 8kms2 - 8 times its size but with a population increase factor of 1.5.

San Pedro del Pinatar - 1 to 6kms2 - 6 times its size but with a population increase factor of 4.

The conclusion you can draw from this is that most of this growth has been for the development of holiday homes.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Our favourite night of the Feria de San Isidro in Madrid has to be the one where they fight the bulls on horseback. The skill that these guys exhibit is just amazing. From the parade into the ring to the actual fights, the standard of horsemanship is unbelievable.


Last night was no exception. Joao Moura showed us the classic style and was only let down by the bulls he fought. Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza was awarded an oreja for his second bull. The star of the show though was Andy Cartagena who got a very well deserved two orejas for his second bull and was carried out through the Puerta Grande at the end of the corrida.

Someone in the crowd was obviously well prepared because he came with two live cockrels; one of which he threw to Pablo Hermoss de Mendoza and the other to Andy Cartegena.


You can watch a video clip by clicking on this link

San Isidro

The sun shone for the romeria yesterday and although the heavens opened at about 3pm it was sunny again for the return to the town at 7:30pm



Safely in the Hermitage

IMG_1630 IMG_1633

IMG_1653 IMG_1661

IMG_1657 P1000090

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Council hold a special session

The extraordinary Bigastro Town Council meeting held this week was called for by the opposition party (Partido Popular).

The meeting was called to deal with issues ranging from Social Welfare to the inability of the Council to equip the new Colegio San José de Calasanz with water and electricity. The PP party were also seeking a reduction in  charges at the Municipal Day Care Centre.

The most controversial issue though would probably have been a proposal to reduce the Council workforce by 44 from the present 114.

Minutes for the meeting are not available yet so I don't know the outcome of the discussions.

Friday, May 16, 2008

It all went wrong in Manchester

This report, extracted from the Times newspaper, highlights the ugly side of football.

Thousands of bruised and hungover fans, in some cases still clutching cans of lager, began the journey home yesterday — as Manchester began the inquest into how the Uefa Cup Final carnival turned sour. More than 100,000 Glasgow Rangers fans — more than twice the expected number — had crammed into the city centre, turning the streets into a sea of blue before their team’s 2-0 defeat by Zenit St Petersburg in the City of Manchester Stadium.

The trouble began when the signal failed on the big screen in Piccadilly Gardens, one of eight, where more than 10,000 fans had gathered, 15 minutes before kick-off. Engineers trying to fix the fault had to retreat when they were pelted with beer bottles.

A “hard core” of several hundred people went on the rampage, raining bottles and cans on riot police moving in to quell the disturbance.

Sixty officers with riot shields made a dozen baton charges to force the group back towards Piccadilly Gardens. Sporadic violence and running battles between the two sides spilt over into nearby streets late into the night.

Many of the fans had begun drinking before breakfast and continued throughout the day. The strain on the emergency services was such that, by 9.30pm, ambulances could not enter the city centre without a police escort.

Sir Richard Leese, the council leader reacted sharply to what he described as an appalling night for the cities of Manchester and Glasgow, cancelling the broadcast on big screens in the city centre of the Champions League final. There had been plans to erect fan zones for the Manchester United v Chelsea match next Wednesday but in the circumstances, Sir Richard said, that would no longer be acceptable.

Sir Richard defended the council’s organisation of the event. When the big screen failed, they had been able to transport 11,000 fans from Piccadilly Gardens to the Velodrome, closer to the stadium, to watch the match.

“Despite that, a couple of hundred so-called fans — we can call them yobs — stayed in the city centre. They began to cause trouble, assaulting and kicking police officers,” the council leader said. “This is a very small minority who caused us serious trouble”.

Justine Curran, the Assistant Chief Constable, said that she had seen her officers pursued up streets by a baying mob of 200 people. Their response in the circumstances was appropriate.

“The people on that CCTV footage acted like a pack of wolves,” she said. “Whatever happened earlier there was no excuse for this level of violence. We had to act decisively.”


There are plenty of free papers and magazines in English here on the Costa Blanca. In order to attract readers, the publishers try to provide relevant and interesting content. Mostly they get it right even if some of the English used is a little strange.

On Wednesday we picked up a very glossy magazine which claims to have a readeship (their spelling not mine) of 30,000. Inside was what I assumed was going to be a useful article about aromatherapy and skin care.

Usually, aromatherapy does not involve of the direct use of key oils on the skin. While a few elemental oils direct benefits, many at full strength will burn or the skin. Aromatherapy skin care thus is the means of adding aro­matherapy basic oils to carrier oil rest or to salve, creams or soap opera that are aroma free. There are some allowance to this rule, spoken of below.

so far so good - soaps translated as soap opera but we know what they mean.

First, as some broken up rules for us­ing skin care guidelines, do not exceed 10 seep (what)of indispensable oil per care and try to decide formula which make no more than 5 drip of cardinal oil. In addition, you 't try to use cinnamon, chervil, sage or fragment oil in a home process. White cilantro, sage, rose­mary, myrrh, chamomile, whortleberry, lovage, fennel, cinnamon, section and spearmint should under no circum­stances be used during gravidness (pardon) and steam makeover should on no account take account of tea tree, pine, logan­berry, run through, Clary sage or bay. If you've used one of the photosynthesiz­ing oils such as orange, lime or lemon, you should wait at least two hours after go in to your skin before ready outdoors into the sunshine.

As a direct handling for acne escape, you can use 8 dump (isn't that what you do in the toilet?) of tea tree, 6 fall of bergamot, 4 leave out of lilac in 3/4 oz of oil as a carrier. Massage the oil a.m. and dusk AROUND not onto the pimple. The daytime conduct can be mixed with a ointment, but think of to stay out of the sun while using this usage. Once the explosion has hostile, maintain using the management but add trickle of carrot oil which will help to reduce spotting from past getaway.

This last bit is the best

As a wash for dry skin, alternative skin care formula has proved useful. Combine 10 abandon of yew oil, 10 slump (obviously different to a dump) of bois de rose oil, and 10 jump down of periwinkle oil with 2 tablespoons of pulp bottle green. The mixture present calm cleans­ing without extra aeration of the skin.

I can only assume that the original was written in Spanish and translated using software into English. Unfortunately nobody thought to proof read it to see if it made sense.

For the next issue they can count on a readeship of 29,999 .

PS Does anyone know the syptoms of gravidness because I think I might be suffering from it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Removing digital noise

Now that I have had a chance to play with my new camera, I can show you what I meant by digital noise in my previous post.

All Panasonic cameras are noted for producing digital noise; even at their slowest film speed settings (100ASA in the case of the FX30). Other manufacturers get over this problem by building noise reduction into the software of  the camera but in some cases this has the side effect of making their images look soft.

Fortunately there is an alternative which is to use noise reduction software once the photographs have been transferred to the computer.

There are several programs that will do this. The one I am using is Neat Image.

The following photographs demonstrate the effect of using this software.


Full size image taken at 400ASA


Crop at 800% (taken from the house top left) showing the level of digital noise in the original


Crop at 800% of the image processed using Neat Image.

Of course images taken at slower film speeds are much better than this. Thankfully,  the FX30 has two features which enable me to mostly use the camera at 100ASA.

1. A wide aperture lens - f2.8 at 4.6mm (28mm 25mm film equivalent) NB cameras with  f4 lenses e.g. my Fuji compact only let in half the light of this camera.

2. Optical image stabilisation which means I can use slow shutter speeds without the blurring caused by camera shake.

So overall I am pleased with my  purchase. The camera is very compact and well built.  It produces crisp detailed images with good colour saturation as you might expect from a camera with a Leica heritage. And with a little post processing in my computer, the resulting pictures are clean without loss of detail. 

Caring for others

From when we first arrived in Bigastro, we noticed how caring the people in the town were towards others. The elderly, the infirm, people with disabitilites and young children are cared for in a way that we didn't witness in Greasby where we lived on the Wirral.

In order to foster this understanding of other's needs, the town hosts events to promote awareness:-

The Association of Relatives of Alzheimer in collaboration with the Council of Social Welfare, have organised a "Flea Market" for the morning of Sunday, 18th of May in the Parque Municipal Huerto del Cura . Along with stalls, there will be games for children to take part in.

The aim is to encourage understanding for people who suffer from Alzheimer's.

In the evening at 6:30pm, the Council of Social Welfare have organised a Gala (an occasion when people dress up in their best clothes). They will be showing a video which illustrates what the Association for Disabled is doing for disabled people in the town.

Muchas Gracias - again

Workmen have been very busy over the last few days clearing up the children's playground, removing debris from the storm drain on Le Vigan and generally cleaning up the road down to the village. It does look a lot better.

We'd like to thank these people and the Ayuntamiento for the vast improvement they have made to the estate.

Markets UGGH!

I'm not a great lover of markets. If I have to go shopping, I'd rather go to proper shops. However, I  know that a lot of Brits here love the markets and spend a much of their time visiting them. I'm told that some people will even get up early on Sunday mornings to go to a market near Los Montesinos - UNBELIEVABLE!

Having said that, I do enjoy going to the market in Bigastro. I like the atmosphere and its compact size. I enjoy savouring  the aroma of spices, cooked meats and fresh vegetables. Most of all I like the fact that 95% of the people there are Spanish. It's delightful to listen to their banter even if you can't understand it.

Yesterday we visited San Miguel market. We need new rugs for the front and back doors and Pam thought we might get them there. We haven't been to San Miguel market for awhile and were surprised how much it has grown. It sprawls out over several streets.


For me though it had no atmosphere.  In the open streets there was no aroma to savour and worst of all 95% of the people there were Brits; many of whom were easily identifiable in their shorts, sandals and T-shirts to show off their dark tanned skin on a heavily overcast day.

Don't get me wrong, I love wearing shorts and I like having a tan but I don't particularly want my skin to resemble the covering of an old Chesterfield. I've often wondered whether these people who have dark tans apply sun tan lotion or furniture cream when the go out in the sun.  

Anyway, having searched for over an hour we found lots of stalls selling tat but not one selling rugs. So we'll probably end up buying them in a shop anyway. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Los peces boquean en el río Segura

It looked as if the water in the River Segura was improving with folks catching carp in the mill pond at Rojales.

However, fishermen,  in a contest at Murcia,  found fish gasping on the surface at the Old Bridge and la Fica. The cause has been traced to contamination in the river at Archena.

It is thought that somebody from one of the companies that passes water into the river decided to take advantage of the rain and let contaminated water into the river rather than run it through their purifiers.

Jaws in Alicante waters

The participants in the Trofeo Ciudad de Alicante  on Tuesday must have had a real shock when a large shark appeared near their boats.


Luckily no harm was done and the regatta continued without incident. Nether the less this is a tale that they will tell for many years to come.

San Isidro

This Saturday Bigastro pays its tribute to San Isidro (the farmer) with a romería.



Rockets and the dressing up of the streets Luis Gálvez and José Nieto,

10:00 am

Mass in honour of San Isidro. The pilgrimage will then begin from the church door at approximately 10:45am.

The parade will include people from various associations along with the Fiesta Queens and members of the cofrade de San Isidro accompanied by a band. The parade will follow the traditional route up to the hermitage at the Pedrera, stopping for refreshments along the way.


A giant paella for all the assistants.


MAXI (part of Show Friends who we say on Sunday) will perform. There will also be bouncy castles etc for the children to play on.


The return of San Isidro to the church by the traditional route via the Parque Maestro José Nieto where there will be a Cremà de Falla and the traditional tasting of "Lechugas a la Perdiz".

Finally San Isidro will be taken back to the church where he will remain until next year.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

They are still leaving

There may be a world wide economic crisis and the pound may be weak against other currencies but any idea that the exodus from Britain of those settling abroad might be waning appears wildly premature.

The latest survey predicts 1.8 million Britons retiring abroad by 2025 and 3.3 million by 2050.

The survey, on behalf of NatWest International, provides further evidence that the majority of those making the lifestyle change do not look back. Nine out of 10 expats interviewed said they enjoyed better quality of life and six out of 10 said they did not intend to return to the UK.

However, three quarters of those surveyed admitted to feeling homesick some or all the time, missing friends, the British culture and sense of humour. I think we could all list the things that they didn't miss.

Answers in an email addressed to

Mystery solved

Poultry keepers want a hen that lays eggs on a daily basis and weighs more than three kilogrammes. Sadly the native hens of Murcia with their white chests, speckled backs and yellow legs only lay for four months of the year. So the poor bird was under threat of extinction. That is until a group of cattle dealers came to the rescue.


The Murcian cockrel

The Asociación de Criadores de Gallinas Murcianas have located 70 adult birds and 20 new born chicks and are determined to keep the breed going.

Apart from the fact that these hens are better adapted to the Spanish climate than other varieties; they make excellent guardians for your property. When these birds hear a strange noise, they cluck away until they discover what the source is. No threat to a burgular but a very effective alarm all the same.

We think that Pepe, our neighbour across the road, has some of these hens around the back of his property. Now we know why.

Monday, May 12, 2008

La primera oreja

Whilst we celebrate San Isidro with a romeria here in Bigastro, in Madrid they have a whole month of bullfighting to honour this saint.

So far the corridas have provided us with a lot of spectacle but nothing spectacular until last night.

Joselillo impressed the highly critical audience at Las Ventas with his skill in dispatching the sixth bull of the evening and was awarded the first ear during this year's feria.

He had major problems with the third bull though which could easily have spoilt his evening.

orejo bull

A town with so much talent

With a Council budget as tight as the proverbial fleas backside we knew there would have to be cuts in the programme for the Auditorium Francisco Grau. However, to have such a wonderful facility unused would have been a waste. The City Council had to become imaginative.

In a town, which has so much talent in the arts, it wasn't too hard for them to put on a programme featuring locals.

Musically we have


CUADRUVIUM - a quartet of flutes

QUANTZ - saxophone group

BOHEMIAN - jazz group

AULIDE - a wind quintet



There also is the THEATRE GROUP, the SCHOOL OF DANCING and goodness knows what other talent we haven't been privileged to  see yet.

Last night for example; SHOW FRIENDS provided a spectacular show of their dance skills. 

Most of the group are very young and must have been nervous performing on stage. They needn't have worried though because their audience of "friends" encouraged them with shouts of "guapa" and "guapo".

Goodness knows how many hours of practice it takes to perfect so many complex turns and such dazzling footwork. They were damn good entertainment.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Say hello to Chloe


Let's get one thing straight - we definitely do not want a cat! This one though seems to have taken to sleeping on the chairs on our porch.

She's called Chloe and is the grandmother of a lot of the cats on our estate. She'd been taken in by our neighbours who were feeding her. Chloe is not really a house cat though and prefers to be outside.

Since our neighbours now have three kittens who don't belong to Chloe, she obviously feels her nose has been put out of joint and has taken to coming round to our house for a bit of peace.

At first she would scurry away when I set foot out of the door. Now she's a little bolder and will stay put. Well Mrs - I don't mind you coming round but don't get any ideas about staying or being fed here!

Murcia on a rainy Saturday

We visited Murcia with students from the Adult Education classes yesterday.

The weather was not at its best but since this was a cultural tour that didn't really matter.

The beauty of going with a proper guide is that you get to see places that you might miss otherwise. You also learn a lot more about the places that you think you know.

For example the Museo Santa Clara which was originally built outside the city by the Arabs in the 13th century and later became a Monastery for Franciscan monks.



Looking out from the gothic gallery to the gardens and the alberca.

Or the beautifully decorated Inglesia San Juan de Dios which again dates back to the 13th century. Apart from the exquisite decoration, this church houses some very important pieces of sculpture. 


Ceiling in the Inglesia San Juan de Dios

The grand plazas in Murcia give the city its open spaces; none more so than the Plaza San Domingo with its enormous yucca.


Yucca tree in the Plaza San Domingo


So many thanks to the staff from the EPA for organising the trip and to the ladies from the other classes for being such good company.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Cut off from Corrie!

Receiving Sky television in Spain is in breach of contract with the company BskyB. That applies whether you receive Sky direct via a large dish or via a re-broadcast microwave system.

It's the reason why, people with a dish, Sky box and viewing card pay their accounts via a registered English address. Companies that perform this service on behalf of customers in Spain explicitly state that "you should never contact Sky either by mail or telephone from your Spanish address." Sky make it clear that, when they become aware that a viewing card is being used abroad, they switch it off.

People who are reluctant to have a large satellite dish on their terrace opt for one of the services that re-broadcast Sky programs via microwaves. Typically these systems use a square mesh dish or a circular dish to receive transmissions. The customer doesn't need a Sky viewing card or any form of contract with the parent company. On the face of it, this is a cheaper and easier way to get British TV here in Spain.

However, I understand that some customers of re-broadcast services had their programmes cut off on Tuesday evening. The problem seems to be affecting people in the Vega Baja; especially in Torrevieja and on the Orihuela Costa. Since these companies have no permission to re-broadcast English programs in Spain; it is difficult to see what they can legally do to resolve the problem.

So what are the alternatives?

  1. You can receive Spanish terrestial TV via an aerial. Some of the channels are analogue but increasingly these are being changed over to digital. All of the programs, which include local Torrevieja and Orihuela stations, are of course in Spanish.
  2. With an appropriate dish, LNB and receiver you can pick up free-to-view channels from the Astra, Hispasat or Hotbird satellites. From Astra 2 e.g. you can apparently pick up ITV channels, ITV1, 2, 3, 4 & All BBC channels, BBC1, 2, 3 ,4 but not Channels 4 and 5.
  3. Lastly, you can subscribe to Canal+ or Digital + satellite TV. Both of which have channels with programmes in English.

It's rumoured that Canal are in negotiations with BskyB to transmit some of their programs via the Canal satellite system. Representatives from Sky are currently denying this.

So, for the moment at least, some ex-pats will have to wait to catch up with the happenings on Coronation Street.

A prickly problem

The Arizona cactus is invading the south slope of the Sierra Orihuela mountain range and is seriously harming  native species.


The socialist councilman, Jose Antonio Sa'ez, believes the city council in Orihuela have  wasted time and money because their plan to eliminate the plant in February was stopped. He says that the City Council have no real interest in conservation in spite of the support given by the Catalan Autonomous Government.

Good for the melons

Folks in England can borrow some of our good weather for the moment but we will be taking it back.

Temperatures in London are set to soar to 28 º on Saturday dipping to a cool 24 º by Monday. This follows the blizzards they experienced at Easter.

Meanwhile here, we will be lucky to see temperatures reach 20º. We'll also have showers just to cool things down further.

The heavy rain we had yesterday morning was welcomed by the farmers who were desperate for some water for their crops. So when you're still able to buy melons this year, think of the bad weather we had to put up with in early May to provide them.

PS The problem with yesterdays' rain was that it came from North Africa - what we call mucky rain becuase it carries dust with it.

A bit of pzazz


Kelme, a leading manufacturer of sports goods in Spain, have produced these football boots and trainers embedded with Swarovski crystals. At 600€ a pair they are a snip for anyone wanting to make a bold statement.

Their last foray into exclusive footwear was "the One", a football boot made from shark skin.

PS I think the Villas Andrea 7-a-side team should invest in these. It they can't dazzle the young Spaniards they play with their speed, they could outshine them with their boots.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Look out for Mary Poppins

Did the thunderstorm wake you up?

When the wind picked up yesterday afternoon we noticed that instead of coming from Orihuela, it was blowing up from the Vega Baja plain. That's a sure sign that Mary Poppins is due to arrive. It also means that the settled weather we've had for the last two weeks has come to an end.



En la primera mitad del día pueden registrarse precipitaciones débiles. Por la tarde se esperan precipitaciones débiles 12.5º/17.2º So weak rain both morning and afternoon.


En la primera mitad del día los cielos estarán cubiertos . Por la tarde se esperan chubascos moderados 9.8º/19.4º Settled in the morning with the possibility of a shower in the afternoon.

and it looks like the sun and showers could continue through Saturday and Sunday followed by dry but cloudy weather Monday and Tuesday.

We're taking some friends, who are here at the moment, with us on the school trip to Murcia on Saturday. When they asked me what should they bring, I replied "an umbrella" to which they laughed.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Entertainment for the weekend

SATURDAY 10th and SUNDAY 11th
The book Fair will be held in In the Sala Polivalente at the Auditorium. An excellent opportunity to see a range of books suitable for young to adult readers.

A dancing show performed by “SHOW FRIENDS”- a local group of young people who share a love for latin dancing .

The show will feature: Rueda Cubana (the Cuban Wheel), Bachata (a dance form that originated in the Dominican Republic), Salsa and Cha-cha-cha.

PS We've almost finished reading El Conde de Montecristo in our Spanish class. Perhaps the book fair would provide us with the next title for us to read.

The pool is open again

Following  weeks of reforms and improvement to the facilities, the Piscina Climatizada in Biagstro has been re-opened to the public.


The indoor swimming pool at the Polideportivo Municipal "El Molino" offers a range of aquatic programs:
- Free swimming: for those who just want to swim!
- Infant Swimming: for children between the ages of 4 and 15 to help them develop basic motor skills in the water.
- Swimming for Adults: directed to people over the age of 16 years, at two levels: initiation and maintenance.
- Third Age Swimming : for the over 60s. The aim of this program is to increase the quality of life for  the elderly by improving their physical well-being.
- Adapted Swimming: for organisations involved with people who have some type of physical, psychic or sensory deficiency.
- Swimming for Babies: for children between 0 and 3 years old.
- Swimming for Pregnant women: providing suitable preparation for childbirth.
- Therapeutic Swimming: for people with physical and organic problems.
- Aquafitness: for people aged 16 and over to practice Aquagym (gymnastics in the water) and Aquaerobics (aerobics in the water).
- Swimming School: for children and young people over 10 years of age.

Muchas gracias

We are delighted to to see that some of the litter bins on the road down to Bigastro have been replaced and that the wire netting has been straightened.

It isn't just people from the urbanization that use that road. Every afternoon groups of mujeres take a walk from the town up to the Pedrera. They stop at the benches to get their breath back and rest their feet.

We are pleased, as much for them as for us, that this work has been carried out and would like to thank the people concerned. Your work is very much appreciated.

A fair cop of copper

An  organised group of Rumanian citizens, dedicated to stealing copper telephone and lighting cable have been stopped by Agentes del Cuerpo Nacional de Policía from San Andrés de Murcia,. They were found with 60 kilos of “clean” copper i.e. copper wire stripped of its insualtion.

The family of four have been caught in the police operation,´Operación cobre´ that has been ongoing for months. They are accused of more than 20 cases of theft of copper amounting to  3,000 metres of wiring  with a value of about 150,000 Euros.

This type of robbery, carried out by groups of Rumanians, causes serious damage to public services.  It affects all classes of electrical installations, telephone connections, water canalisation, communications networks, road security etc.

Could this be why Telefonica take so long to install new phones?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A difficult decision

The recent death of Lionel (se my post Lionel RIP on the 17th April) provokes the question "Would you stay in Spain if anything happened to your partner?" In Janet's case she has already said that she intends to return to England.

But what would others do?

Certainly it isn't a question that either Pam or I have contemplated. At 61 years young, we hope to have a good few years left before we have to face that sort of decision. The last thing we want to do is wish our lives away by considering what we might do many years hence.

Asking the question in a hypothetical way does however bring you face to face with your feelings about living in Spain and your commitment to a new way of life. 

I suppose it all depends upon what your intentions were when you moved here and how well you have integrated into life in Spain. If you came for the sun and the relaxed way of life; then maybe that is not enough to keep you here.

I know that for many,  language is a huge barrier - I'm told it is for Janet who relied upon Lionel's fluent Spanish to get by. For some, the idea of learning a new language is like looking at a mountain wondering if they will ever get to the top. In truth, if you only get part way up you'll have achieved a lot.

In any case it is important to ask yourself, "what would I be going back to?"  The people you left behind will have moved on. The place you left could well have changed out of all recognition. Reading the English papers online for a week gives you a true picture of what the country is like now. I think before we make these sort of decisions; we have to remove the rose tinted glasses that we all have about our past and consider the reality of both countries.

"Never say never."  Who knows how we might feel in the years to come but for the moment Pam and I are committed to our lives here in Spain.

The war for water

Tomorrow, more than 300 PP (Partido Popular) mayors from the Valencian Community, Murcia and Andalusia will meet in Orihuela to demand “equality” in the matter of water.


At the meeting,  Alcaldes por el agua, the presidents of the Valencian PP -Francisco Camps; Murcian  -Ramon Luis Valcárcel and Andalusian -Javier Arenas, will request the support of mayors and councilmen from other political parties under the banner “la sed no tiene color político” (the drought has no political colour). Nevertheless only mayors from the PP will attend.

The secretary of the Valencian PP, Ricardo Costa, has announced that they will promote a manifesto in all City councils supporting the transference from the Ebro to Barcelona, but at the same time requesting  the similar transfer for Andalusia, Murcia and the Valencian Community.

On the contrary, the Sindicato Central de Regantes del Trasvase Tajo-Segura announced in a meeting with the Ministry of Environment that will not participate in the fight to get a transfer of water from the Ebro to ease the drought in Alicante, Murcia and Almeria .


Just to let you know that the taxi service in Bigastro has started again. Call Jose Antonio Belmonte on 680 660 002.


Monday, May 05, 2008

A greater influence

It is neither a priority for the Government nor was it in the Socialist program for the elections, but Corbacho Celestine, Secretary of Labour and Immigration, has opened a Pandora's box  by proposing  that non-communitarian foreigners be given the right to vote.

There are stipulations in the proposal i.e. that the voters should have been permanently resident for between eight and ten years. Nether the less this move would open the door to 2 million new voters who could effectively shape the formation of successive regional councils.

In areas like Alicante and Valencia, where there are large numbers of foreign residents, this change could be decisive.

The economic crisis and the threat of an increase in unemployment are more important issues to be dealt with at the moment. In any case the change would require a reform of the Constitution, a complex proceeding that would both require the consensus of all parties concerned.

NB Registered citizens in Bigastro already have the right to vote in the municipal elections. This proposal refers to the regional elections.

Spain is the noisiest country in Europe

and second only to Japan in the world.

According to a study conducted by the  school of Ingenieros Técnicos en Telecomunicaciones, nine million Spaniards work with noise levels above 85 decibels; ten decibels higher than that set by the Ley del Ruido in 2003.

It isn't just in the workplace that people suffer though. Traffic (particularly motorbikes and trucks) contributes 78% of the noise in cities. The study also found that type of bricks used in construction didn't help reduce noise levels between neighbours.

The Spaniards seem to accept noise as a way of life. Apparently less than 8% of those that suffer from high levels complain.

Up here at Villas Andrea, things are usually peaceful during the week. It is at the weekends when the motos, the quad bikes and the cars tear up and down to the Pedrera that we suffer most.

Mind you even the loudest moto doesn't compare to the fireworks. When we first heard them, we thought war had broken out. We rushed to the roof solarium to see what was going on. Now we just turn the television up a little louder.

Green energy

A third of the energy produced in the Valencian Community is already “green”. Within two years that is set to rise to 42%. There has been a 6o fold increase in the production of solar energy in the last four years. And under the Plan Aeolian Valencian, 67 wind farms will be constructed which will provide 80% of the energy consumed in the Community.

Calculations show that this use of green energy will save 20 million barrels of oil per year added to which, the reduction of greenhouse gases is said to be equal to planting 140 million trees.

The big question is; will this reduce the cost to the consumer?

I think I already know the answer to that question.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Lindas flores

One of the most beautiful features of the Fiesta del la Cruz are the floral crosses.


The main one is the Holy Cross which gives its name to the barrio

but there are also floral crosses to be found on individual casas.

IMG_1615 IMG_1616 IMG_1618


IMG_1621 IMG_1622 IMG_1617

¡Muy bonito!