Monday, May 31, 2010

It is going to be hot!

imageAfter the up and down weather we have had during May, it looks as though it has finally settled. Like last year, the weather has changed from cool to hot suddenly giving us little time to adjust to the difference.

We won’t complain though, just wear suitable clothing and drink more water!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Beaten by the Germans

Actually we were beaten by everyone but at least we didn’t get the “wooden spoon”. Ten votes is hardly a score worth shouting about. Spain faired better coming 15th with 68 points for their entry Algo Pequeñito (Something Tiny) sung by Daniel Diges. Actually Daniel managed to sing his song twice because his first performance was interrupted when a spectator jumped onto the stage. Maybe that helped, I don't know.

The Spanish song is one of those catchy tunes which I am sure will be played countless times this summer in hotels and bars. I wouldn't be surprised to find there is some cheesy dance routine to accompany it. Interestingly, it was only one of five songs that were not sung in English.

Oh well, the heady days when Britain could be sure of coming in at least the top five at Eurovision are well gone. Tactical voting for your neighbouring countries has seen to that. In fact, the Spanish commentator on TVE1 got it mostly right when he told us who would be awarded 12 points by each country. Under the current system, even bringing back Sir Cliff Richards would not guarantee Britain success.

God was on our side

IMG_3074 After the horrendous weather on Friday, all fingers were crossed for good weather on Saturday and we got it.

The Romeria for San Isidro took place under blue skies and glorious sunshine which meant there were smiling faces all around. Lots of people took advantage of the good weather to have a family day out either by joining in the procession or just by going up to La Pedrera for an al fresco lunch.

That bit of a hill from the entrance to our estate to Calle Irlanda is steep. Hard enough to drag yourself up there, never mind pushing a child in a pushchair.


You can see my pictures from this fabulous day at

Saturday, May 29, 2010

How do they sleep at night?

It isn’t just Bigastro that is in debt, many of the town councils in Spain owe large sums of money to banks. In fact the total debt of councils is reportedly to be around 34,594 million Euros – up by 9% from 2008.

The problem is so bad, the government stepped in and threatened to impose a credit ban last Monday to prevent councils going into bankruptcy. Many councils are so much in debt that they cannot pay their workers wages. However, in a change of heart, the government has now decided to allow councils to request credit from public or private institutions until the end of 2011.

The government will be advising town halls about how to invest the money they will save from the 5% cut in wages that will be imposed in July.

Bigastro got a new moto


The local police have a new motorbike in their motor pool thanks to the Conselleria de Gobernación.

I’d like to bet that the bright, shiny Piagio 125 will still have the baffles in its silencer!

The party has already started

IMG_2970 Those of you who live here and were hoping for a nice lie in on a Saturday morning will have had your hopes shattered by the quick salvo of rockets fired off at 8am by my neighbour Manuel. He is preparing for the party to celebrate the day of San Isidro. Yesterday the council delivered two large waste bins to the park at the bottom of our road – you can only imagine what they are for.

Thankfully the ominous clouds that we saw yesterday have cleared with the terrific thunderstorm so we can (fingers crossed) expect nice clear skies, fresh air and sunshine for the Romeria. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Did I tell you

…..we were on yellow alert for thunder and orange alert for rain today?

Tomorrow looks fine for San Isidro. It will be the usual hot slog up the hill from the bottom of the estate to the hermitage.

An update

28052010 I have no real news for you today, so I thought I would post this picture of my granddaughter that Pamela has just received.

It is hard to believe that she is only 13 weeks old. Molly looks like a proper person dressed up in her jeans and shoes ready to go to the doctors to be weighed.

I haven’t seen "mi nieta" since she was born so can’t wait until my next trip to the UK.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Great City

Orihuela has now been declared to be a Gran Ciudad by Les Corts Valencianes de la Ley. It is the eighth locality in the Valencian Community to be awarded this honour.

The capital of the Vega Baja, has a population of over 86,000 of which 41% are foreigners including 17,000 British and 3,000 Germans. It has a history which dates back to 1564 when it was the Diocesan Capital and was the capital of the Kingdom of Valencia in the 18th Century. Amongst it features, Orihuela has magnificent beaches, the Sierra de Escalona, the Dehesa de Campoamor and the Palmeral de San Antón - the second largest in Europe after the one at Elche.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Flowers of Spain

You can’t help but notice the variety of beautiful flowers both wild and cultivated that grow here in Spain.

I’ve put together a little album of photos of flowers from my garden and elsewhere here. As time goes on I will add to it.

PS I offer thanks to my neighbours for sharing their plants with me and especially to Ken and Silvia for letting me see their wonderful garden.

After the Romeria is over

image This Saturday at 7pm you can enjoy two for the price of one when the Junior Band from the School, Mariano Rogel de la Unión Lírica Orcelitana (Orihuela) meets the Junior Band of the Sociedad Unión Musical de Bigastro at the Auditorium Francisco Grau.

Expect some of the young children from the town to join in with a program that will be light and easy on the ear.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The end of “free lunches”

When we first came to Bigastro, Pam and I were surprised at how much was available to us “free of charge”. We were not used to that because in Britain you expect pay for most things – very little is provided for nothing.

One of the issues that came up in our Spanish class yesterday was how much the council must pay to keep the Auditorium open. Having a magnificent building, such as this is a great asset to the town but it comes at a huge cost.

I have no idea how much the lighting, cleaning and heating bills must be but I dare say they are not cheap and are undoubtedly more than the cash strapped town can afford.

I have heard several townsfolk suggest that it is ridiculous for people to expect a program of free concerts week after week and I have to say I agree with them. One way which the council could offset some of the expenditure is to charge for use of the Auditorium. Surely, there can't be many that would object to a nominal charge being made for entrance and at least the money collected would offset the cost involved. If you were to ask me how much, I would suggest a ball park figure of 5€ per head with concessions for the unemployed, pensioners and children.

It is the same issue with fiestas which must cost the town a small fortune and yet we have never been expected to contribute. The fact is, Pam and I insist on paying for a program but that is purely voluntary.In nearby Molins, each household is expected to contribute 60€ for the fiesta there; why not in Bigastro?

The days of “free lunches” in Bigastro must surely be over. If we want these traditions to continue, then we must be prepared to pay for them otherwise they won’t happen and that would be sad.

The billboard says, “we shorten distances, we bring people closer”.

image These large billboards have been erected by  the Ministry of Public Works and Economy at one of the main accesses to Orihuela to announce the start of work on the high speed train link.

This has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many living here because  the city council has heard nothing for months about the contentious section of the line which will run between Orihuela and the Vereda de la Buena Vida. Nothing has been said about the proposed modifications to the route which threatens to cut across streets and avenues. The cost of this section alone is estimated to be a staggering119.8 million Euros.

Mainly people are bitter because, they would prefer to see modernisation of what they describe as a “third world train” between Elche and Murcia, a project that has been put on hold for ten years because the AVE has been given preference.

When the President of Spain announced wide spread cuts in expenditure, I suspect most would have expected this to include work on the AVE. If that is to be the case, then they have already wasted a lot of money on billboards with fancy meaningless slogans. However, if the AVE, that no one seems to want, does go ahead then all those council workers and civil servants who are facing wage cuts will not be best pleased.

Whilst I am on my soapbox, why is it necessary to erect expensive billboards anyway? There are several in Bigastro announcing projects that have been undertaken using Plan E money. Surely, most people are aware of the work that is going on, they don’t need an eyesore of a billboard to tell them what they can see with their own eyes. In my opinion, their main purpose if to tell us how good the council or the government are for carrying out this work.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A bit more information

I mentioned some of the changes in the road traffic laws. Here are a few more.

It will be obligatory to  prove you have insurance for the vehicle to pass its MOT. Licences will no longer be confiscated for serious or very serious offences. Bicycles will no longer be confiscated from cyclists riding without helmets on roads. The speed limit on motorways will still be 120kph, but driving at between 120 and 150kph will not lose you points from your licence but will be fined 200 Euros for a serious offence. Higher speeds will lose you two, four or six points depending on how many kilometres over the speed limit you were doing. Radars will have a margin of 10kph for those driving at over 120kph. Using radar locators will now be allowed (but not inhibitors).

Unlike the UK system, in Spain you start off with points on your license and then loose them each time you commit an offence;

Six points off your license for:

Driving over the legal alcohol limit

Driving under the effects of drugs

Refusing to take breathalyzer or other tests

Dangerous driving, driving in the wrong direction or taking part in unauthorized races

Driving vehicles which have mechanisms to inhibit radar operation

Driving more than 50 per cent over the permitting times and not obeying rest times for land transport

Helping to install devices which alter the speedometer or speed inhibitor

Four points off your license for:

Driving without the proper license for the vehicle

Throwing away objects which can cause fires, accidents or obstruct circulation

Failing to obey a stop sign, give way sign or red light

Endangering vehicles driving in the opposite direction or overtaking with reduced visibility

Putting cyclists in danger when overtaking

Reversing on motorway and dual carriageways

Not respecting the order of officers directing traffic

Not keep the safety distance

Driving after having a license or use of the vehicle confiscated

Three points off your license for:

Carrying out illegal U-turns

Driving while using headphones or devices which distract attention from driving, operating a mobile phone, GPS device or communication system

Not using a seatbelt, child seat or helmet

Offences for which you will not lose points from your license:

Having an illegible, dirty, dark of bent license plate (Serious offence)

Parking in areas reserved for the disabled (Serious offence)

Allowing someone without a license to drive (Serious offence)

Warming up nicely

image My friend Pete likes the light that the sun brings but can’t stand the heat. On that basis, he would hate the weather this week.

Temperatures close to thirty, light winds and partial cloud will make it feel more like summer. If the water in my pool clears, I might even go for a dip!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

BBQ time

image Our first BBQ was a humble Hibachi that came from Habitat. If I remember rightly it cost about £10 which actually was not cheap then. We used it a lot, perched on a wheelbarrow to save bending down. The Hibachi might have been small but it cooked all the burgers and sausages we needed for a party of 40 people.

That was later replaced with a cast iron kettle BBQ which to be honest wasn’t a great advance on the Hibachi. The cast iron grill did sear meat better and is was easier to light with rolled up paper in the ash collector base. 

My first proper BBQ though was a Mecco Swinger which had many advanced features. First off it had a lid that you could close to slow down cooking and prevent flare ups. It also had a grid that you could set at different heights like the Hibachi. It was a great BBQ and was only abandoned when it started to rust through many years later.

I really wanted a Weber gas grill to replace the charcoal Mecco but the cost was prohibitive so I bought a Weber Performer which was basically a Weber Classic charcoal grill on a cart.

I still have that BBQ on the roof of our house  here in Spain. It mainly gets used for cooking paella and roasting things like chickens which it does very well.

Although I loved the Performer, I bought a cheap gas BBQ from Homebase just for convenience and regretted it almost straight away. Assembly was awkward, the piezo lighter only worked for a short time but worst of all it was almost impossible to stop flare ups. Anything fatty like sausages or burgers would start a fire which resulted in burnt food. I replaced the larva rock, which was saturated in fat, with ceramic bricks. They helped but didn’t cure the problem. When the burners started to rust along with the grill itself, I decided to follow my dream and buy a gas Weber to sit alongside my charcoal model.

Admittedly, the gas Weber hasn’t been perfect, I had to replace the enamelled grills with stainless steel ones when they started to pit. Everything else though is fine; clean it up and the grill looks like new. It lights first time every time, gets quickly up to temperatures sufficient to sear meat and can be used to cook directly or indirectly. I mostly cook with the lid down but even open, I rarely get flare ups because the “flavouriser bars” that cover the burners never accumulate fat.

Now that my daughters have their own homes, I offered to buy them Weber BBQs to keep the family tradition going but they decided that cheap charcoal grills would suffice for their needs. The youngest daughter took their cheap grill round to a neighbours where it collapsed leaving them with a fire to put out. The oldest daughter faired better and used hers a few times  but a year on found her grill rusted through.

So, for this year, I have indulged them both with the latest Weber Q 220  gas grills along with carts. Not quite as versatile as my Weber gas grill because the Q only has one burner so you can’t use it indirectly. However, they tried one of the Qs out yesterday and managed to grill chicken, sausages, burgers, prawns and fruit kebabs on it. I bet it was all delicious and superbly cooked.

Now, I have converted my daughters to Weber, I hope they get many years of pleasure from their new grills. I’m looking forward to testing their new skills out on my next trip to England.

Fancy a pair of “meels”?

image When you are six foot something high, you’re unlikely to want to wear something that will make you look taller.

However, if you are vertically challenged like; Karl Lagerfeld, Prince, Richard Hammond and Nicolas Sarkozy then I imagine the discreet(ish) Cuban heel is a godsend. Spanish flamenco dancers seem to like them for their height and the “clunk” they make.

Here though we are talking of something a bit more extreme than an extra inch on the heel. It seems that height-enhancing footwear has begun to permeate across a broader demographic. For the first time since Glam Rock peaked three decades ago, men of average height are discovering the delights of a few extra inches. Men are taking to the man-heel or “meel”.

Eddie Izzard often wears heels but then he is openly camp. A friend of ours, who has small feet used, to don a pair of ladies’ heels at parties just for a laugh. I doubt that he would wear them outside though like the bright young thing in this photo from the Times newspaper.

You can be sure that I will not be embracing this latest fashion. Those shoes would be lethal on some of the streets around Bigastro!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Only the guilty have something to fear

Within eight months, the sophisticated security system that Torrevieja has invested its Plan E money for 2010 in will be in operation. It will be the only one in Spain and will set an example that other towns and cities may want to follow.

The Torrevieja system combines marine radar and video cameras to survey key points of the city. The radar, which has a range of kilometres,  will first of all detect the  type of vehicle:  motorcycle, car or truck. Then, if  the vehicle is exceeding the speed limit,  the system will rotate a video camera to record the incident and capture the number plate.

Once police have that information, they can check whether the vehicle is stolen. They can also monitor whether the vehicle is begin used  part of another crime for example a robbery.

Because the equipment uses “endless tape” the footage can be reviewed at any time in the future which means they will be able to tie current incidents to ones from the past. However, there is no intention for this to be a form of secret surveillance; the positions of the fifty cameras will be well publicised.

By keeping a watch over public buildings,  parks and gardens, the system should also reduce acts of vandalism making the city a more pleasant and safer place to live. 

Civil servants on strike

You knew there would be a reaction to the cutbacks that the government has had to impose. Civil servants in Spain are set to go on strike on the 8th of June 8 in response to the decisions announced by  the President last week.

Civil servants in town halls and regional government offices throughout the Valencia and Murcia regions are expected to join the 24-hour strike called by CCOO, UGT and CSI-CSIF unions in protest against the five per cent cut in wages from next month.

On a local level the strike will disrupt activity at town halls and regional government offices throughout the day. However, the Deputy President, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega says that the wage cut will not affect employees of state-owned companies such as Correos, Aena, Renfe and RTVE. So the strikes on June 2 will not affect the post service, national airports, railways and TV programmes.

Changes to the traffic laws

There are new traffic laws coming into effect on May 25th which will bring major changes to the way motorists in Spain are fined.

1, Under the changes to the law, anyone caught committing a traffic offence can be notified of the offence via email.

2, The changes will also see the maximum fine for minor offences rise to 100 Euros and the fine for serious offences rise to 200 Euros. Very serious offences could incur fines of up to 500 Euros.

3, Drivers who are fined will receive a 50 per cent discount if they pay within 20 days and they can also pay the fine on the spot using a credit card.

4. Changes in the legislation mean that offences which automatically incur a loss of points have been reduced from 27 to 20 and drivers will no longer face the temporary removal of their licences.

5. However, anyone caught riding a bicycle at night without lights will be fined 100 Euros and the 'margin of error' allowed for police radar traps has now been set between three and 10%.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bring me sunshine

imageJust look at the map for today!

It doesn’t matter where you plan to go – the weather should be fine.

Mind you Britain is enjoying a fair share of sun at the moment.

The case of the disappearing castles

More so that in Britain, Spain seems to love paperwork. Any visit you make to an official organisation results in a sheaf of papers all duly stamped and signed. That might seem to promote an air of efficiency but can in fact mask and compound a multitude of errors.

In the latest gaff, the Council for Environment, Water, Urbanism and Housing have admitted that there are mistakes in its plan of the Vega Baja because on it there are castles that do not exist. They say that it is not their fault because their plan was copied from a study by the Department of Geography at the University of Valencia.

There are in fact five castles situated at; Callosa de Segura, Cox, Guardamar del Segura, Orihuela and Rojales and not the thirteen that the Council listed. The Council also list four watch towers between Pilar de la Horadada and Torrevieja.

The non existent castles are at San Miguel de Salinas, another in Algorfa (that is actually a stately home), one in Benejúzar, one in Granja de Rocamora and finally one between Dolores and the two dayas -Nueva and Vieja-

A wise choice


The Socialists of the Vega Baja are preparing themselves for the next municipal elections coming up in 2011. Their aim is to gain ground from the PP who control most of the 27 municipalities in the region.

Yesterday, they met in Dolores to choose the three members of their organising committee. They didn’t need a vote because their decisions to appoint: the mayor of Bigastro, Raul Valerio Medina, as the local coordinator; the lieutenant of mayor of Los Montesinos, Ana Belén Juárez, to be in charge of Mobilisation and María Asunción Salinas, Secretary General of the PSOE group in Catral, to be in charge of electoral action - were unanimous.

Our mayor, Raul Valerio, said it had been a positive meeting, where it was not necessary to vote. He was thankful to all the groupings for putting their trust in him and recognised the difficult task that he faces.

Raul Valerio Medina explained that the local committee, that replaces the local executive, must aim to coordinate and relate to the different local groupings, to create an internal organisation, to serve the municipalities and, mainly, to coordinate the region with the province and the autonomous government.

At the moment, out of the 27 municipalities of the region, the socialists hold; Pilar de la Horadada, Guardamar del Segura, Bigastro, San Fulgencio, Benferri , San Isidro, Los Montesinos and Redován. In the last elections the PSOE lost; Rojales, Rafal, Albatera and gained Redován.

They will be good to watch


The Municipal School of Rhythmical Gymnastics along with the Council of Sports has organised the first Encuentro de Gimnasia Rítmica in Bigastro, due to take place on Friday 28th of May at 8pm in the Covered Pavilion at the Polideportivo El Molino.

The Municipal School of Abanilla and Beniel will also be taking part.

I imagine this will be very good and provide some great photographic opportunities but I think it would be inappropriate for me to take pictures. I think it is best to leave the photos to relatives and friends.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nine year old “smackheads”

The consumption of drugs in Spain has always been alarmingly high amongst youngsters, but a shocking report in the newspaper, Informacion warns that children as young as 9 and 10 are trying drugs in Elche and its surrounding areas. The clinic Unidad de Conductas Adictivas (UCA) in Elda is at present treating 50 youngsters for drug addiction. The majority of the patients are addicted to cannabis, according to José José Gil, a nurse at the clinic.

The average age is between 14 and 16, but staff are noticing a rapid drop in this age. The UCA now has patients as young as 12, with cannabis and alcohol addictions, who say they started consuming at the age of 9. The treatment they receive is given by a psychologist, a doctor, a social worker, two nurses, an auxiliary nurse and an administrative assistant. The minimum length for a successful treatment is a year. The biggest challenge is to ensure the patients don’t abandon the treatment in the first few months. As José José says, “none come of their own accord, but we have managed to have a 90% success rate.” Most are either brought in by their parents or are sent for treatment by the “Fiscalia de Menores” (the juvenile police).

Here we are


Remember I told you about our trip to visit the author of the novel "La Olivera" in Orihuela? Well here we are by the olive tree on the patio at the house of Maria Antonio Guil Vegara.

As the newspaper report says, it was an unforgettable day.

Better later than never


Normally the Romería to honour San Isidro, the patron saint of agriculturalists, would take place the second Saturday in May. For this year though, the date has been changed so that the two festivals (for Holy Cross and San Isidro) are not held one week after the other. 

Celebrations will start with Holy Mass in the Parroquia Ntra. Sra. de Belén in the town square at 10am. The statue of the saint will then be processed from the church up to the leisure zone at La Pedrera where it will stay for the day in the hermitage. San Isidro will hen return to the church in the evening.

In the past, there were barrels of beer and bidons of wine along with a grand paella to enjoy. In the present economic climate, we should expect a lot less than that. However, the party atmosphere will be just the same. It might be a good idea to take your own supplies with you or be prepared to buy them from the Restaurant La Pedrera (next to the swimming pool) which I am sure will be open.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It was all an error

The town clerk, Antonio Saseta, the ex- mayor José Joaquín Moya and the ex- councillors from the socialist group in Bigastro told the public prosecutor and the judge yesterday that the city planning irregularities in respect of the plan to build a hotel complex up at La Pedrera were simply down to errors.

In August 2005, 35,000 square metres of land up at La Pedrera was sold off for 2.1 million Euros to Idearco along with 45,000 square metres of land to build golf practice ranges. The land was originally classified as rustic and so had to be re-categorised as urban land before building could commence. However, before the process of awarding the land was finished, it was sold to Idearco. In one council session the whole deal was set up giving no other company a chance.

This is all described now as a mistake put down to the fact that it happened in the middle of the building boom. The secretary claims that it was due to a typing error which he has only just discovered.

The ex-mayor justifies the decisions that were made on that basis that the hotel would be a means to diversify the economy of the town by creating a sustainable model for tourism in Bigastro. He goes on to claim that no other company had shown interest in the project. As it turned out, apart form the hotel, Idearco were also planning to build houses on the land and even advertised them for sale on the Internet.

Where does this leave everyone? Idearco don’t have permission to build what they had planned on the land and even if they had, I doubt that they would have the resources.The company are supposed to be building two apartment blocks in Sector D-6 neither of which is completed. The mistakes were made by Bigastro so I suppose it is down to them to solve the situation – 2.7 million Euros is a lot to spend on a piece of land you can do nothing much with!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The figs will be late this year

The cold winter and spring have delayed the ripening of the figs and breva (an early variety of fig). Normally the farmers would be harvesting the fruit in the first weeks of May. This year, it looks like they will not be ready until the end of the month.

The season for selling the fruit will therefore be shortened from 45 days to 30 which means there will be a glut of fruit on the market which will bring down the price.

Figs are usually the most profitable fruit. However, because of the crisis,  the price last year dropped from 120/130 cents per kilo to 90 cents per kilo. 

The annual production of figs and brevas in this area is between 9,000 and 10,000 tons The other major fruit that the cooperative Alba Fruits deals with is the pomegranate.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Committed to saving the planet

imageMónica Lorente, the Mayoress of Orihuela, along with the Mayors from Callosa de Segura, Granja de Rocamora, Los Montesinos, Rojales, Daya Vieja and Almoradí represented more than 40 Alicante provincial Mayors on their visit to the European Parliament in Brussels this week.

They were in the Belgian capital to sign a pact which will commit them all to reduce Co2 emissions by 20% between now and 2020 and increase the use of renewable energy by the same amount.

Ms Lorente addressed the European Parliament and told them that Orihuela and the other provincial towns of Alicante were committed to sustainable and renewable energy. The pact signing ceremony was attended by more than 1,000 delegates, mayors and town leaders who represented more than 1,500 Spanish towns and cities.

The signing of the pact was witnessed by the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek; the President of the Spanish Government, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who also holds the title of the Spanish Presidency of the EU; the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Durao Barroso and the President of the Committee of the Regions, Mercedes Bresso.

This is good news for Eurener, who have bases in Bigastro. They are shipping out solar panels as fast as they can assemble them from their units in the town.

¡Buen tiempo!

imageThis is what we have been waiting for – a week of just sun at last. No promise of clouds and little chance of rain. Temperatures in the mid twenties during the day dropping to a mild 12 to 14 at night.

Clean the sunbeds, take the cover off the pool, here comes summer! Esto es Jauja.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Well, well, well

When you travel through France, you have two choices: you either follow the Autoroutes and pay or you take the country roads and don’t pay. If you want a simple fast route from the north to the south of the country then it is going to cost you money. It is the same in Spain, in Germany and for all I know, in most other European countries So why should it be different in Britain?

The new transport secretary, Philip Hammond, has answered my question with plans for a new generation of privatised motorways and trunk roads to be funded by tolls. People are already up in arms about this idea asking what is road fund tax for? In his favour, he has ruled out a national road pricing scheme but he is considering charging lorries on a pay-as-you-drive basis.

Now this will please many: he is opposed to both fixed point and average speed cameras, and has made clear that there will be no new cash for their expansion. Instead, the focus will be on making British roads safer.

“It is a lazy approach,” said Hammond of cameras. “Most people are not malicious speeders, they are careless. When reminded they are over the limit, they brake. We do not believe speed cameras [should be] the primary tool for delivering road safety in the future.”

Hammond is also in favour of introducing roadside testing for drug-driving, but has yet to be convinced of the merits of cutting the drink-drive limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg.

“We are all very conscious of drink-driving, but perhaps drug-driving has not had the attention it needs,” he said.

Hear, hear!

Last chance

Those of you who are fans of medieval markets will want to go down to the Parque de las Naciones in Torrevieja today. This version is much smaller than the one in Orihuela held in February but still has the same sort of features, jugglers, birds of prey etc. The main features are of course  the stalls selling everything from wooden toys to clothing. Inevitably there are lots of places to stop for food and drink.

When we first visited the medieval market in Torrevieja it was held in the Era de Sal and was quite small. Its new location in the Parque de las Naciones is much better. Those of ou who bought your house through Euro Anglo Sur will know where the park is and how attractive it is with its lake, its ducks and avenues of trees. It is easy to find, just head down the Crevillente road and turn right onto the Ronda at the roundabout after the one that links you to the N-332 in the direction of Alicante. 

Will the AVE saga ever end?

As part of the austerity measures announced by the government this week, all public works in the pipeline are to be halted. In response to that decision, the Councillor for Infrastructure and Transport for this region, Mario Flores told the Valencian Autonomous Government that he would neither allow cuts nor delays to the work on the AVE (the new high speed rail link). He has already met with the mayoress of Alicante, Sonia Castedo to assure her that the rail link will go ahead

Flores doesn’t know yet which projects will be affected by the austerity package until the announcements are made by the Minister of Promotion, José Blanco but he is adamant that these should not include work on this rail link which is due to be completed to Valencia this year, to Alicante by 2012 and Castellón by 2014. The high speed link to Malaga and other independent communities was completed five years ago. He claims that Valencia has been treated badly in this respect.

I dare say, councillors from each of the autonomous regions of Spain will take a similar stance about cuts been made in their communities. In the end though, it is the government who will be paying for these projects and therefore they will make the decisions. The high speed rail link has already caused a lot of concern in this region with regards to its route. Now that the route is more or less worked out, it is set to cause a whole lot more.  

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A hard decision to make

Awarding yourself a cut in pay is not something you would be thrilled to have to do. However, following the example set by the Spanish Government, Orihuela City Council have proposed cuts in their pay of 10%. These cuts are deemed essential if the Council are to try and balance their books bearing in mind that the support that Orihuela receives from national government was reduced from 19 million Euros in 2008 to 14 million Euros for this year.

Whether other councils, including Bigastro, will follow suit remains to be seen. Although, I can’t see it as an item out of the fourteen on the agenda for the next council meeting, I am sure it is bound to arise at some point.    

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thank you Google

Betty's house My house

What a fascinating program Google maps is. Now that they have incorporated street views into it, you can have a close look at the houses where you used to live. It does take a bit of work to get the exact location and the orientation correct but once you are there, the detail is incredible.

On the left is the house where Pam lived when she was in her late teens/early twenties. At the time her father was based at Crewe Fire Station and this was their house in Weston just outside the town.

On the right is the house in Gildersome where I lived before emigrating to Canada. Ours was the middle house which at that time belonged to the West Riding Constabulary. 

Making lives richer

Yesterday we went on a trip with the ladies from the other adult classes and members of the progressive ladies group. Our destination was the house of the lady in the blue top carrying the plant.

It turns out she has written a book about life in Spain when she was young – a fascinating tale of how things were very different than they are today.

The lady had invited us all to her casa which sits just below the Sierra de Orihuela. As you can see we did not go empty handed; the plant was a present for her from the people of Bigastro.

After a short discourse about how the lady came to write the book and a brief history of her life in this area, the tables were laid with plate after plate of the most delicious food which was washed down with chilled cider.

One of the ladies from the adult classes then paid tribute to her teachers by explaining that before - she could neither read nor write, she couldn’t even use the telephone because the numbers were incomprehensible. Now, as she went on to say, her life was so much richer because she could read the books that her grandchildren brought home.

Without their hands, these two would have difficulty talking.

We would like to thank the Ayuntamiento and the Progressive Ladies for organising the trip and the lady whose house we visited for making us so welcome.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A bleak future

Premier Jose Luis Zapatero told a stunned nation that public sector pay will be reduced by 5pc this year and frozen in 2011. "We must make an extraordinary effort," he said.

Pension rises will be shelved. The country’s €2,500 baby bonus will be cancelled. Aid to the regions will be slashed and infrastructure projects will be put on ice. Mr Zapatero’s own monthly pay will fall 15pc to €6,515.

Mr Zapatero - who long prided himself on being an "anthropological optimist" - plans to cut the deficit from 11.2pc to 6pc of GDP this year, with further cuts next year. The fresh move is to placate bond vigilantes and to calm German fears that eurozone discipline is breaking. He has already raised income taxes and lifted IBI (VAT) from 16pc to 18pc.

Javier Perez de Azpillaga from Goldman Sachs says Spain has climbed rapidly up the technology ladder. Its exports have grown faster than those of Italy or France. It has a low public debt of 53pc of GDP, but a "highly leveraged" private sector. Real estate companies have debts of €445bn, or 45pc of GDP. "Banks may not be able to recoup large parts of these loans. These losses will have to be recognized eventually, bringing down many institutions and forcing the government to recapitalize them," he said.

The `Cajas’ -- public sector banks -- have assets of €1.3 trillion and account for most mortgage debt. Many are struggling. The saving grace is that the two giants, Santander and BBVA, have global portfolios and are in "excellent shape".

Caixa Catalunya said the stock of unsold homes in Spain reached 926.000 at the end of last year, equivalent to 6.5m in the US. It expects the market to touch bottom this year with real falls of 20pc to 25pc from the peak. Spanish households have been able to draw on a very high savings rate of 17.9pc to absorb the shock.

Realistically, we all knew that Mr Zapetero would have to deliver a bitter pill and he has. Whether it will work and more to the point whether it will trigger social unrest in the form of a general strike remains to be seen. We have become so used to pay rises and year on year house prices increases but those days are over – the debt just can’t go on. If the whole world was allowed to go into debt, who would be left to finance it?

The second of the forums

Bigastro is ready to welcome the second of the forums aimed at revitalising the construction industry in the Vega Baja. On this occasion the main theme will be how tourism could be the way forward for the region. The meeting will also look at how  the current stock of houses could be bought and used as council owned homes. 

For the main topic, two experts in the field; the vice dean of Tourism of the Faculty of Philosophy and Liberal Arts at the University of Alicante and Sergio Campanella who is a consultant for the European Union will address the audience.

Their theme will be cultural tourism as opposed to the normal model of holiday tourism or the model of tourism generated by landmark buildings. It works for cities like Orihuela  which attracts many tourist at Easter, during the fiesta for Moors and Christians and for the Medieval Fair so why not for other towns in the area. The cultural events already exist, they just need some careful marketing.

They will look at the Italian “bed and breakfast” model. I don’t know about Italy but anybody who has toured Britain will know that is a more affordable alternative to a hotel. All you need is a spare room in you house and you’re in business. Pam and I have stayed in some very good B&Bs in our time.

Finally there will be a discussion about the alternatives to the traditional hotel as a lodging for tourists. I guess that involves the B&B model again.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Celebrating 500 years

This Thursday at 7:30pm, celebrations for the fifth jubilee of the Cathedral in Orihuela begin. With the permission of the Pope, the celebrations are set to continue until the 13th May next year.

During the jubilee year, there will be guided tours of the cathedral, conferences, a photographic competition, organ concerts etc all under the banner, ux Fidei”. Commemorative books will be published along with DVDs and Cds. Most significantly, the Cathedral will celebrate Mozarabic mass* for the first time in the Orihuela-Alicante Diocese.

You can find out more about the celebrations by clicking on this link. Please note that if you want to visit the cathedral on a guided tour can use the website to make a booking:-

• Visits to the Cathedral last between 35-40 minutes.

• To make a booking choose one of the available slots, indicate the number of people and your language of choice (Castilian or English).

• The maximum number permitted in a group is 60.

• You can visit the tower of the Cathedral; Fridays evenings and Saturday mornings.

• If you want to modify your booking; telephone +34 965 304 828 or send an email to NB This email address if protected against Spam bots. So you need to activate Javascript to use it.

• If you can’t make your visit contact reservations at 965 304 828 to allow other groups to take your place.

• During your visit please respect the zones of restricted access. Follow the guide and remember that the Cathedral is a work place.

For a virtual tour click on this link.

* Mozorabic is an early Romance dialects spoken in the parts of the Iberian Peninsula under Moorish power and heavily influenced by Arabic. I would therefore be surprised if many of the congregation will understand it any more than they do Latin mass. No matter, it will be a unique occasion.

“Those who can, should, those who cannot, we will always help.”

That is a great sound bite from the 52nd British Prime Minister, a promise that we all hope he can keep.

After all the behind closed door discussions and the political wrangling that has gone on since the election on Thursday, at last we know what is going to happen. There is to be a Conservative/Lib. Dem. coalition for the next five years; Mr Cameron will be Prime Minister and Mr Clegg his deputy. This will be the first full coalition government since 1945. In the meantime, Gordon Brown resigned as leader of the Labour Party with immediate effect and has suggested that he will also stand down as MP – presumably at the next election.

So Britain now has the youngest PM since Lord Liverpool in 1812: David Cameron is a few months younger than Tony Blair was when he took office in 1997. To be honest, it is not a job I would relish because you just know it will not be smooth sailing for the new government. Crisis will occur, promises will be broken and they will have Labour watching their backs all the time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A long way to go

I found this interesting comment on the financial situation that Spain finds itself in.

Well it is now official - or at least as official as it is going to get: the Spanish economy sneaked back into growth by a short head during the first three months of this year. According to data published in the Bank of Spain's quarterly report on the Spanish economy, Spain's GDP grew by 0.1% in the first quarter. Interannually output was still down by 1.3%, but this is evidently a considerable improvement on the 4.2% annual drop registered in the second quarter of last year, and much better than the 3.1% fall seen in the last three months of 2009

So that's it. Spain is out of the woods, the worst is now over, and the Spanish economy can now get back to the agreeable business of growing, and putting people back to work? Or can it? We don't have all the details yet, but from the information the Bank of Spain does provide we already have a sufficient information base to start asking ourselves just how sustainable this quarter's numbers actually are. In the present case it is the how, just as much as the what, that matters.

Obviously, and as everyone by now surely knows only too well, what little growth Spain is able to eke out at this point takes place on the back of massive government deficit spending (estimated at 11.2% of GDP in 2009), but even this is only one part of the picture, since we need to ask ourselves, outside the government contribution, what is actually driving the growth at this point?

Here the bank of Spain is reasonably helpful, since they tell us that, on the demand side, the decline in domestic demand eased (on an interannual basis) to a 2.6% fall (from a 5% one in Q4 2009), while the positive contribution from net external demand weakened to 1.4 percentage points (from 2.2 percentage points in the three previous months).

The net external demand component is simply the difference between the rates of change in exports and imports. These are year on year numbers, but we can deduce what the situation must have been (more or less) on a quarter by quarter basis: domestic demand (which includes government consumption, as well as private consumption and investment) grew on the quarter, while the net trade contribution was negative, since while both exports and imports increased, imports increased more than exports, and as a result the trade deficit deteriorated, which is, of course, for a country with a heavily indebted external position, not good news at all.

The principal reforms that Spain currently needs have been made abundantly clear by both the IMF and the EU Commission, so now is the time to implement them. Only this week the IMF urged the Spanish government to be more vigorous in implementing its fiscal correction programme, so why not spell out line by line where the cuts will come? It is no longer sufficient, as Miguel-Anxo Murado so ironically puts it in the Guardian newspaper, to simply say time and time again "all repeat after me, ‘Spain is not Greece’". This is clear to all. What is worrying people is whether or not Spain could become another Greece in the future, and whether or not the country’s present leaders have the determination needed to take the steps to ensure it won’t. Confidence in Spain’s economy is at a low level, and confidence in Mr Zapatero’s ability to do what is needed is at an even lower one. If Spain’s Prime Minister finds he is no longer able to convince external observers that he can do the job which needs to be done, then in the interest of all Spaniards and all Europeans he should offer to stand down at the and of the European Presidency in July and pass the rudder over to someone who can.

Harsh words indeed but then Spain is in a harsh situation. The problems that the country faces are not going to go away of their own accord. It will take drastic steps to put the country on the road to full recovery.

4% of the total electricity supply for the province

Finally, the last part of the jigsaw is ready to be put in place. In order for the new desalination plant at Torrevieja to work it needs electricity and lots of it. 

The 220 Kilowatts of electricity will be supplied by Iberdrola via a high voltage cable from San Miguel de Salinas. The cost of installing this cable and substation is 7.3 million Euros. Once this is in place they can start tests on the desalination plant before it begins purification up to its 120 hm3 capacity. 

A taste of culture

As you well know, this year is the centenary of the birth of Miguel Hernandez. The infants from “La Paz” are not letting this important event pass by without some form of celebration. For their cultural week they are visiting the Auditorium in the afternoons to enact different stories about the poet along with some of his poems. Yesterday there were children in costume lining up to take their place in the Auditorium and perform. It will be the same again today and tomorrow.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Plenty of sun this week

imageLooks like we will get the Spring weather we expect this week.  Lots of lovely warm sunshine to ease the old joints. Perhaps a slight chance of some rain but nothing to bother about.

Note that it will be a little cooler towards the weekend but still very pleasant in the sun. Is it time to change the winter quilt on the bed though?

How sweet

image “Especially for you – mother” was the concert this weekend at the Auditorio Francisco Grau.

The Sociedad Unión Musical de Bigastro organised this in collaboration with the Concejalía de Cultura (Council of Culture) for all mothers in Bigastro.

All the fun of the fair

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The May fair in Torrevieja closed yesterday but only after the horses and the carts paraded around the fair ground once more.

You will find more of my pictures from this colourful event in my Flickr album at

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Set to spoil your view

image Renewable sources of energy are set to be the future as supplies of fossil fuels dwindle and the impact on the environment of burning them becomes more of an issue.

That means that wind turbines, even though they are a blot on the landscape, are here to stay as a means of generating electricity. In Spain, 2,459MW of electricity was generated by the wind in 2009 – up from 1,609.11MW in 2008.

Out of the whole country, there are only five provinces in Spain that do not contribute to this form of supply including Alicante. It is true that Alicante has 14 installations on the drawing board but none are yet in production and there is no date set for them to start. By comparison, Castellón and Valencia have 29 wind farms producing almost 1,000MW and there are plans to add a further 440 turbines in the future.

It can only be a matter of time before the mountain ranges of the province are scarred with these monstrous towers ruining any photographs that you might care to take of them.

Relying on others

In order to secure a record fourth consecutive title in the Premier League, Manchester United need Chelsea to slip up against Wigan on their own ground. They also need to beat Stoke at Old Trafford. Now, it is on the cards that United will beat Stoke but for Chelsea to drop points against Wigan is almost beyond belief. Even so, the United faithful are relying on Wigan to pull something out of the bag.

By the same token the Conservative Party are relying upon the Liberal Democrats to enable them to form a government. In order to woo the minority party into working with them, the Tories are having to make more and more concessions. With less than a twentieth of the seats of the larger party, you could say that this is a bit like the “tail wagging the dog”. However, looking at the statistics: Conservatives 36.1% Labour 29% Lib. Dems. 23% and you can see where the third party are coming from.

My predictions:- Chelsea will be League Champions tonight and the Conservatives will get the coalition they need but there will be another election next year before they have to concede proportional representation.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Not great news

Pam and I have just received our P60s for last year. For the benefit of our Spanish readers, the P60 shows how much we earned during the last year and how much tax we paid. We need these forms to make our annual declaration to the Spanish tax authorities.

Because we have public service pensions, we pay our taxes in the UK and not in Spain unlike some of our British neighbours. Even still, we have to make a declaration each year to show we have done just that. The end result is usually a very small rebate from the Spanish authorities ( about 1Euro or less).

Along with the form P60, Pam and I also receive a newsletter from Teachers’ Pensions which notifies us of any changes to our pension for the following year and that is where the news gets bad. As with all public service pensions, the amount of increase in our pensions is governed by the Pensions Increase Act of 1971. The annual increase each year is determined by the Retail Prices Index for the preceding year.

As it happens, the rate of inflation in Britain for the year up to September 2009 was a negative figure so in reality our pensions should go down. Thankfully, the Pensions Increase Act does not allow for a decrease in public service pensions but it does mean that we will get no increase in our pensions this year.

The rate of inflation for Spain in 2009 was 4.13% but is thankfully –0.8 for 2010 so we should effectively be slightly better off this year even without an increase in our pensions. Somehow we don’t feel better off. Still, the thunderstorm last night was short lived, today the sky is blue and the sun is already warming the air so what have we to complain about?

Friday, May 07, 2010

I should have told them..

Last night, the daughter of our Spanish neighbours told Pamela that they had just discovered this blog. They are the ones I mentioned back in December 2007 in this post the family Robles Grau.

First of all welcome. Of course a lot of what you read will be familiar because you only live across the road. Before you go any further, I must point out that you will find quite a few articles about your next door neighbour, Aurelio in my blog!

Thank you for being such good neighbours again and I hope you enjoy what you read.

Thank you Google

image The last thing I want on my computer is malware so I was pleased when Google stopped me from visiting (one of the pages I regularly visit for news).
image It wasn’t the fault of the site owners, it looks like someone else has hacked the site and installed the malware.

Bringing them up to speed

image For those parents and teachers who are not yet Internet savvy, Bigastro has organised a Technology Evening for Wednesday 12th May in the Auditorium.

5:30pm A workshop about the use of social networks in collaboration with CONVEGA.

7:30pm A demonstration of the uses and advantages of the electronic whiteboard in the classroom.

All good stuff, I hope it all works on the night! I can remember several occasions where either the software or hardware let the presenter down. It happened to me several times in the classroom!

Another night of surprises

In the UK elections, there are still 67 seats left to be declared. As things stand, it looks like the Conservatives will have the most seats in the new Parliament but not enough to take control and thus form a Government. The landslide they were hoping for didn't happen which meant that many key marginal seats remained with Labour (the Socialist Party). There were a few big losers though including the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith.

The party which must be smarting most though are the Lib. Dems.who, so far, have faired no better than they did in the last election. The good news however, is that common sense prevailed ousting Nick Griffin of the BNP from his seat.

So who will rule the roost? The Conservatives would like to think it will be them but if Labour can form a pact with the Lib. Dems. they could still continue to govern.

The current prediction is as follows:

Conservatives: 306
Labour: 262
Liberal Democrats: 55
Others: 27

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The polls are all finished

All the polling for the General Election in Britain is finished; the campaigns are over and the decision now lies with the ballot boxes.

All the polls seem to suggest that the Conservatives will win but by a slim margin over Labour with the Lib. Dems. trailing in third place. If the polls transmit into parliamentary seats then the Conservatives could end up with between 268 and 294 seats; the Labour party with between 248-274 and the Lib. Dems. with 77-82 seats.

There are apparently still a lot of undecided voters out there who could turn the whole thing “topsy turvey”. In particular, those who have said they will vote Lib. Dem may well decide to vote for one of the two main parties, as has happened before, leaving the third party with fewer seats than they hope for. Instead of voting for the party of their choice, people vote against the party they don’t want particularly in marginal seats.

There have been so many occasions when the polls have got it completely wrong, we shall have to wait and see.  As they say, tomorrow is another day.

Another day in court

You remember that the leader of the opposition party in Bigastro said that the work on Calle Purisima was a swindle. Aurelio Murcia  claimed that the money, which came from the Government under Plan E, had been used to pay council workers and was also used to pay for work on the roundabout on the CV-95 by the health centre. Murcia was prepared to take this matter to court to clarify the issue.

In a counter claim, the mayor, Raúl Valerio Medina,  is prepared to take Murcia to court for making a false denunciation and for damages to his honour.

As an outsider, you can’t help but feel it might be better if all the parties concerned stopped playing these games and got on with working towards improvements in the town. Surely there are papers and accounts which show one way or another just where the money for Plan E has been used. I don’t understand why it takes a day in court to prove whether one party or the other is telling the truth.

It seems to me that when you take issues like these to court, the only winners are the lawyers who make a pretty penny out of all the work involved.  

And so it goes on

The problems in Sector D-6 of Bigastro just go on and on. It seems that yet another proprietor of land in that sector has taken the ex-mayor, José Joaquín Moya to court and in this case, the current mayor, Raúl Valerio Medina and the town clerk appear as witnesses.

The complaint is based on the fact that the proprietor claims his rights were harmed when 1,500 square metres of rustic land became 600 square metres of urban land in the worst part of the zone. More to the point, the plan for his parcel of land was not validated by the Valencian Autonomous Government and he was not informed.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Is this really May?

imageIt might have been cold here in Bigastro yesterday but al least it didn’t snow. However, the strong wind that blew all day made it feel colder than it actually was.

In other parts of Spain things were very different. Snow and strong winds meant that drivers in some areas had to get their snow chains out again just when they thought they would not be needed until next winter.

The Pyrenean region is still on yellow alert for snow and wind today according to the State Agency for Meteorology (Aemet). Aemet is predicting snow falls of up to 18 centimetres and wind gusts up to 90 kilometres per hour.

We came here because the cost of living was cheap, we got plenty of Euros to the pound and the weather was warm and sunny for most of the year. Out of those three, what have we got left? At least the people are kind and the fiestas are great!

The new Semana Santa museum in Torrevieja

image The first stone of the new Semana Santa Museum was laid on Sunday, May 2nd. The ceremony followed Mass at the Corazon Church celebrated by members of the brotherhoods of Torrevieja’s 14 Cofradias, Major of Torrevieja, Pedro Hemandez Mateo  plus a number of other distinguished guests.

A time capsule, containing artefacts pertaining to the history of the Semana Santa in Torrevieja, including newspapers, magazines, medals and signed documents by the guests of honour, was placed under the stone, before it was sealed shut. 

The new Museum which is to be built on Avda de la Habaneras, beside the Law Courts - close to the Bus Station, will be six floor high with three subterranean levels. It will house all of the Pasos that are located in the present Museum, plus documents, photographs, meeting and training rooms.

The museum is being financed in two phases with money from the Plan Confianza. Phase one is an allocation of €1.990.558  and phase two, €3.651.441 making it the second most expensive buling to be constructed in Valencia under the plan. 

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A rare sighting

image Being the man behind the camera, it is very rare that I appear in a photograph but here I am.

This was obviously taken when we first arrived at the Fiesta de la Cruz and I was working out where to get the best photographs of the men preparing the paella.

PS The lady beside me is not my wife. I have no idea who she is because we were not introduced!

A feather in Bigastro’s cap

When the new San José de Calasanz primary school was built in Bigastro, the old buildings lay empty. Some adult classes, including our Spanish class, moved there and talk was that the local police would be stationed in one of the two buildings.

Now there is a further proposed use for one of the buildings which has been approved by the Conselleria de Educación. Following the recent meetings with those parties involved in construction, the building could become a centre for research and innovation for this sector of industry.

The idea has already been put to two of the construction groups, Procosta and Provia and to other groups involved in construction for their approval. Now all they need is some finance from the private sector to make the project work.

Monday, May 03, 2010

From one day to the next

imageJust when you thought the weather might be settling down, it changes. Yesterday was glorious and today started out good but looking at the forecast, the whole province is on yellow alert  for rain

I would hazard a guess that will come sooner rather than later because the wind has picked up, the sky has gone dark and I just heard a clap of thunder in the distance.

Tomorrow looks as if it is going to be better except for that damn wind again which will persist for a couple of days. 

The good news for those who don’t like the heat is that it is going to be a little cooler this week. That is no consolation for Pam and I because we like it hot. 

Not cool

IMG_2636When you are a teenage boy with raging hormones that you don’t understand, it is not cool to make a show of yourself when someone points a camera at you. 

The rest of the family of Juan Diaz were more than happy to strike a pose for me. If the daughter, Raquel had been there, she would have joined in but not the son who happens also to be called Juan – what else! 

All winners

Apart from the main cross, people in the Barrio de la Cruz, decorate their houses with smaller crosses. I went to look for them yesterday and took these pictures.

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I probably missed some for which I apologise. If you had to pick a winner, which would you choose? I think they are all superb.