Thursday, June 30, 2011

Back to school

When Pam and I taught in the UK, the last thing we wanted to see were signs which said “Back to School” appear in the shops just as we had broken up for the summer holiday.

As students though, we view this from a different perspective. Going back to our Spanish class will be like meeting old friends again – a joyful reunion.

Of course there is always room for more in our class and we would love to have new students join us. The atmosphere is very informal and we do spend a lot more time speaking and listening than we do on writing and learning grammar.

Our teacher encourage us to use the correct form of verbs and the appropriate prepositions but in a way that hardly makes you think that you are learning. In a short while, your find vocabulary expands and you can make yourself understood in conversations.

Life in Spain is so much richer when you can converse with more than just your English speaking friends.

To enrol, just pop down to the Ayuntamiento before September and we wil see you in class in October.

A day for young musical talent

20110627_audi2 In total there will be 10 junior bands from the region who will be playing at the Auditorium in Bigastro this Sunday 3rd July.

At 10am


And at 6pm


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We’re all going to the zoo

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For those used to sophisticated, hi-tech zoos like Chester and Whipsnade, the zoo at Elche might seem a little primitive. It is delightful though to be able to get up close to animals and even feed them rather than have to view from a distance. If you are going, take a bunch of carrots for the giraffe because he seems to like them. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A work of art


This must have taken a great deal of patience not to mention care to produce. The picture is made up of different coloured flower petals and leaves. At the top it says Corpus and at the bottom Bigastro 2011.

All that work and within a few hours it would be all cleared away.


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Sunday evening we had the parade for Corpus Christi.

Following mass at 8pm, the children came out of the church and lined up around a pattern of flower petals and leaves that someone had carefully prepared in the town square.

Then the parade set off with the junior band taking the lead followed by the various church groups, the children in the communion clothes, town councillors and the main band.

Bringing up the rear were many of the townsfolk carrying lighted candles.

Every year this parade takes place and every year, it is well attended. You see, traditional values and culture form the cornerstones of society in Bigastro.

A little preoccupied


You will have to excuse me if posts are a bit erratic for the next couple of weeks. We have our youngest daughter and her fiancé  over and with them of course, our granddaughter Molly.

It is very hard to draw yourself away from Molly and her antics.

I don’t recall our own children being this amusing – they probably were but we just did not notice it. Everyone told us having grandchildren will change your lives and they were right.

Anyway, it looks like they are going to have good weather for their stay. Plenty of sunshine and no chance of rain.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A very bleak picture for Bigastro

It seems that the black hole in Bigastro’s finances is much worse than the new lady mayor Charo Bañuls had anticipated before coming into office.

In a press conference with Aurelio Murcia, she explained that one of the main issues the new council faces is a debt of almost one million Euros to Social Services. Added to which are other debts amounting to 735,000 Euros including non-payment of VAT going back to 2004.

The most serious debts though, are the salaries of the 100 council employees which date back four months. You do wonder how they have survived without payment for so long – it must have been a nightmare for them each month facing bills that they could not pay.

Even the company that offers catering services to the pre-school Bigastrin are owed 114,000 Euros in spite of the fact that parents pay 70 Euros a month for this service.

And the fear is that there may be more to come because in the two weeks since coming to power, the new administration have not had a chance to examine all the accounts in depth.

Well worth the wait

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It might not have started until just after 11pm but boy what a performance the town band gave us last night at the concert for Corpus Christi.

There were some very tricky solo pieces which were played with such ease and musicality, it was a joy to listen to them.

Every time we hear the band, we think they have reached new heights of achievement– is it any wonder that they keep picking up prizes in competitions.

Muchisimo gracias a todo musicos.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Clearing up rubbish is someone else's job

Spaniards have many excellent qualities to commend them; they are warm and friendly, compassionate and caring and definitely fun loving. One thing they are not though is litter conscious as those councils that are facing the task of clearing up after the night of San Juan can probably testify to.

Actually, a walk down the street after any fiesta will show you that Spaniards regard the road as their waste bin, a place that someone else will clear up after they have gone. It is the same with the people who drive up to Villas Andrea and sit chatting by the park. When they leave, the road and the park are strewn with empty bottles, cigarette packets, pizza boxes, paper etc. That is in spite of the fact that the rubbish bins are just a few strides away round the corner.

Actually there were rubbish bins on posts by the benches on the way down to the town which the council used to empty regularly, that is until the vandals snapped them off and threw them over the fence onto the land beyond. Now the rubbish just gets thrown on the pavement to mix in with the dog dirt.

I was always taught to either put rubbish in a bin or, if there wasn’t a bin nearby, in my pocket until I got home - I still do that without even thinking about it. Dropping any sort of rubbish on the ground is therefore alien to me. I remember sitting in a bar in Bigastro with a friend who was smoking a cigar. He asked the owner for an ashtray and she told him to use the floor. He could not bring himself to do that and had to literally insist on having an ashtray which she reluctantly brought him.

A conflict of interests

The towns in this area are justly proud of their beaches which easily surpass the “blue flag” standard for cleanliness and safety. At his time of the year and throughput the summer people flock to them to relax in the sun and have a swim and parents take their children knowing that they should be safe to play on the sand.

One of the things which is therefore not permitted on beaches is the lighting of fires and yet on the night of San Juan thousands flock to them to do precisely that.

The General Directorate of Coasts, aware that this is a custom that is growing in popularity, tried to ban the lighting of fires last night by sending a letter to all of the coastal municipalities saying, "we will not allow the lighting of fires or the holding of mass rallies in the seashore and request their cooperation in the night of San Juan is held without detrimental effect on the coast and their users. "

Some municipalities ignored this directive claiming that it was physically impossible to stop the thousands of people from going to the beach, so the local police turned a blind eye to what was going on.

This morning, those town councils, are paying the price because their beaches are littered with waste food, empty bottles, burning embers from the fires, nails from the wood and even human excrement. This all has to be thoroughly cleaned up before the bathers arrive.

Inevitably accidents occur in the days after San Juan where people cut their feet on broken glass or the nails from the wood. That is why the requests to light fires are always turned down. Mass parties, particularly where they light fires are not compatible with the normal use of beaches.

As the revellers from last night sleep off the excesses of their night of “fun”, the rest of us have to hope that our beaches will be made safe once again today.

I'm no killjoy, if people want to celebrate San Juan by lighting fires, let them do so on private land where it will not inconvenience others.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Will it be hot or wet?

You hear all sorts of conflicting reports about what sort of summer we will have this year. Yesterday I was told it was going to be wetter than usual and today I read that it will be hotter than normal – maybe it will be both!

The state weather agency AEMET says that we can expect the first heat wave to arrive in the west and the south of Spain by either Sunday or early next week. They reckon that temperatures could reach 40 degrees centigrade in some parts of the country. Following that, they say that July and August will see above average temperatures.

And now for our immediate concern; the clouds that rolled in yesterday afternoon could well persist for today and tomorrow with perhaps a chance of a shower or two and then the sun will return on Saturday bringing temperatures back into the mid 30s with just a light breeze from the west to cool things off and no chance of rain whatsoever.

Meantime in Britain, an anticyclone centred over Scotland is keeping the country covered in cloud. Our youngest daughter, her fiancé and our beautiful granddaughter along with our frineds Glenys and Peter are due to arrive on Saturday, by all accounts they will be leaving a rainy Britain to find glorious sunshine here in Bigastro.

And for those living elsewhere, the good news is that most of continental Europe should have a hot summer this year.

Setting the record straight

On Wednesday in my post  We are proud to call Bigastro “our town” I said that “one of our neighbours formed a golf society”. I have since been reminded that in fact there was more than one person involved in setting up the golf society.

I apologise for this piece of misinformation and for any ill feeling that might have caused.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wayne Rooney’s hair


Premature baldness is perhaps more of a worry for footballers, pop stars and Donald Trump than it is for the rest of us.

Remember when Elton John had a hair transplant and we all waited to see how it would turn out? Judging by his appearance at the Royal Wedding – not good.

The latest so called “star” to undergo treatment is England and Manchester United footballer, Wayne Rooney. The Guardian newspaper asked its readers to send in pictures of what he might look like once his new hair transplant has taken root.

This is the winner. Coleen might not like the 60s style too much but at least it would give him a cushion when he heads the ball into the goal net.

Oooh, arrgh, no, no, no……

I don’t know where or when it started from but I certainly don’t remember tennis players of old making as much noise as today’s younger players. It seems that a loud grunt has to accompany every serve and every shot they make during a rally. It is almost like listening to a seedy porn film.

As the Wimbledon Championships celebrates its 125th anniversary this year Mr Ritchie, the chief executive of the All England Lawn and Tennis Club (AELTC), said that not only officials but also fans are becoming frustrated with loud players who they believe are spoiling the game. He blamed younger players, whom he said suffered from an “education problem” about the issue.

On the first day of the championships, Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, a player often criticised for her wails, edged towards record noise levels as she made her debut on Court No 2. Noise machines recorded her reach a level of 95 decibels as she shrieked her way through the first round match against Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova.It was not not only at the volume but also the length of her roars, which exceeded 1.5 seconds almost every time she hit the ball before play was suspended due to rain.

This is not the first time that the fourth seed Azarenka, 21, has been forced to defend her noisy play - spectators began to mimic the din she made two years ago.

“People can do whatever they want but I hope they can respect all the players who grunt, which are about 70 per cent of the whole tour,” she said.

“I have been doing it since I was 10 years old. I wasn’t really strong and that was what helped me to accelerate more, to put more power to the ball.

“I cannot change it, that’s what helps me to play. I have to keep going with the thing that helps me play.”

The loudest known grunter on court was Maria Sharapova, who sent the sound monitor into new realms with a recording of 105 decibels in 2009.

If this racket (pun intended) continues, we may have to watch the games with the sound turned off!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A great result

Our band won 2nd prize on Saturday at the entrance parade of bands celebrating the Bonfires of San Juan in Alicante.

Members of the Musical Union of Bigastro participated in this important event accompanying the Commission "Fogueres Carolinas" and got 2nd prize out of the 91 participating bands. The scoring criteria for the jury were: the staging, the way they paraded and the sound of the band.

We, along with the City of Bigastro and the Department of Culture, offer our warmest congratulations to all of the band members who took part.

Go girl go!

As we have discovered, a handful of votes in the local elections one way or another can make a difference as to who gets to rule at the town hall. A mistake made in the count at one of the voting tables is therefore taken very seriously. In Torrevieja, the United Left have contested the count at one of the voting tables which has led to a delay in the inauguration of the mayor.

They face the same same problem in Mojacar where the election was a closely fought contest which the Partido Popular party (PP) won by a single seat majority. However that may be all changed because Jessica Simpson, an English councillor who won a seat with her Mojacar Positiva Se Mueve party, said that errors were made on one of the voting tables.

Ms Simpson said: "There were seven voting tables and on one of the tables the PP were counted as having 121 votes and two void votes, which would have given them a total six seats of a possible 13.

"The count was signed off but ten minutes later they did a recount and suddenly it changed to 122 votes and one void, which then gave them seven seats and an overall majority”.

A separate investigation, again ordered by Ms Simpson, is simultaneously underway into allegations that the PP paid the Roma community for their postal vote, although this claim, she says, will be harder to substantiate.The average postal vote take up across Spain was between two and three per cent, yet it came in at 18 per cent in Mojacar.

The piece of evidence that Ms Simpson has to support her claim is the handwriting on the postal vote envelopes which she says is all the same adding that it's not unheard of for people to receive €150-200 for their postal vote.

Already the expat's arrival on the local political scene is making waves in what is a small town of 10,000 people, made up of 70 per cent foreigners. Ms Simpson relocated to Mojacar from Nottinghamshire with her parents in 1987, when the local mayor set about stimulating the local economy by selling off empty houses to foreigners at discounted prices. The result was that 45% of the population are now English and only 30% Spanish.

PS I'd like to bet that the make up of the council does not reflect the demographics of the population!

Mosquito season

With the rise in temperatures, we can expect the return of mosquitoes, those annoying little insects that bite and can leave you itchy for days.

In Orihuela and around the salt lakes in Torrevieja they spray insecticide at approximately two weekly intervals between the months of May and September in an attempt to control them. The idea is to try and kill the insects before they hatch from their eggs but it doesn’t always work; people still get bitten and if the conditions are right, the insects can go on a breeding frenzy and cause a lot of suffering.

So far this year, there has been no evidence of mosquitoes although there are people who have suffered bites. There has been a plague of small white flies though that no one seems to be able to explain.

Another date for the diary

20110620_audiFriday, June 24 at 11pm ( I need to check that because the programme says 9pm)
Corpus Concert
Under the direction of D. Tomás Rodríguez, the Unión Musical de Bigastro will celebrate Corpus Christi.

Monday, June 20, 2011

More of the same

image A hot start to the week but then getting a little cooler towards the weekend.

image Friday could be the only day when we see any significant amount of cloud about. No chance of any rain though.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It isn’t just towns in the area that owe money

According to the Spanish daily El Pais, the Valencia Region has debts of about €1.3 billion relating just to unpaid healthcare bills from the last two fiscal years, 2009 and 2010. It is further alleged that the region will have another “black hole” in its funding of €1.3 billion for the current year.

Last March, small healthcare suppliers, who had not been paid by the Valencia regional government for some time, where so desperate to highlight their plight that they formed a group to represent their cause, and try to recoup some of their outstanding invoices from Valencia.

The worrying fact is that, last year the debt of the Valencia Region stood at some €17.6 billion, which equates to around 17% of the region’s Gross Domestic Product. Simply to meet interest payments on this debt requires €680 million per quarter, or €2.7 billion per year.

The crisis that has beset certain European countries comes when they are unable to finance the repayment of loans on the debts they built up through years of mismanagement and overspending. The same principal applies to a regional government as we have in Valencia, which, according to El Pais, is the most indebted region in the whole of Spain.

As with the small healthcare providers who have not been paid their bills e.g. local chemist’s shops not being given their prescription payments. Eventually the region’s financial crisis will hit individuals and businesses alike. At that point the s*** will hit the fan!

A trip to the coast in summer

2011-06-26_IMG_2011-06-19_00.56.11__D2502RESTO.jpgIn the days when cars were a rarity in the Vega Baja, people would use carts drawn by either donkeys or horses to take them down to the coast during the summer months. Families would travel between places like Orihuela, Callosa de Sugura, Bigastro and the seaside towns of Guardamar and Torrevieja to enjoy the coastal breezes. Sadly, the replacement of farm animals with tractors has made raising donkeys in the area a thing of the past.

In an effort to revive this old custom, the association Ecu recently organised a pilgrimage between Beniel and Guardamar del Segura. Fifteen carts set off and as they passed through various municipalities, others joined them. The caravan had a lunch stop in Almoradi, I expect donkeys and owners were both in need of refreshments by that stage.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

There is still a lot of explaining to do

Of the five cases against he ex mayor of Bigastro, José Joaquín Moya , the one being dealt with at the moment is the most serious. Moya and Raul Medina Valerio, who succeeded him as mayor, appeared in court yesterday to explain why cheques and promissory notes worth 400,000 from the town’s accounts had been issued. For example, the prosecutor sought an explanation for 19 City Council cheques worth 64,000 Euros which had been paid to Moya.

In his defence, Moya claimed that the money which had been found in his bank account following his arrest had come from the sale of land which he owned. Of the cheques for sums up to 6,000 Euros, he said that these were legitimate expenses for entertaining. He added that because the cheques had been paid to him did not mean he had personally benefitted from them.

As the prosecutor reminded Moya, the problem is that there is no documentary evidence in the town hall accounting for some of the sums of money for example the 36,000 Euros of cheques and notes in his car at the time of his arrest which Moya says were for advertising expenses.

In Moya’s defence, Medina said that, if this is all simply about administrative errors then it was wrong to make a criminal case against Moya.

I think that most would agree that the inability to explain where such large sums of money have gone to is perhaps more than just the result of administrative errors.

The future in their hands

IMG_1549The future of the town is indeed in the hands of these students who recently passed exams that will allow them to go on to a university education.

Many congratulations to them, studying whilst you are working is not easy and the course they have completed is at a high level.

Still, having gained their qualifications, the future should be a whole lot brighter for them.

For those who may be interested, the rest of my photos can be found here.

PS I started to use flash and then abandoned it and used natural light instead. That was perhaps a mistake because some of the pictures suffer from motion blur. Still, at least I did not interrupt the proceedings too much by having a flash go off every couple of minutes.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The earth moved again

There was a 1.8 grade earthquake off the coast of Santa Pola which many residents in Santa Pola, Gran Alacant, Arenales del Sol, Elche and nearby rural areas felt however, no damage was reported. The epicentre was 15km from Cabo de Santa Pola, according to the Seismic Registry Unit of the University of Alicante and the National Geographic Institute.

Local police in Santa Pola received calls asking what had happened, if it was some kind of explosion. This is the second earthquake near the Cape of Santa Pola in the past few months; the last was a 3.1 grade earthquake on March 23.

Dining with friends

Last night, the ladies from the other adult classes asked us to join them for an end of year meal at La Roma bar in Bigastro.

The tapas there are very good and as it turns out, the bar is owned by the sister of our neighbour Eladia and her husband.

Even better than the food though was the company, these ladies are delightful to be with.

It isn’t always easy to follow their conversations but we mostly get there after maybe a repeat or two. Thank you ladies, Pam and I had a wonderful night.

PS On the menu were: bowls of fried almonds, bowls of crisps, plates of little fish in vinegar with slices of red pepper and olives, Russian salad and seafood salad with breadsticks, potato slices roasted in olive oil with garlic mayonnaise, squid fried in batter and bread rolls filled with black pudding, pork or sausages followed eventually by cake with cream.


With beautiful teachers like this, how could you not want to go to classes.

Not only are they stunningly beautiful, our teachers are also truly delightful people. Ana on the right teaches us Spanish and Sandra on the left is in charge of adult classes. After five years of classes, Ana is like a member of our family, we regard her as our Spanish daughter and treat her as such. Sandra comes pretty close!

It is almost holiday time for both of them, Ana is looking forward to being in her beautiful new house in Molins and Sandra will join her husband in France where he is working at the moment.

Pam and I hope they both have wonderful holidays and look forward to seeing them again in Autumn.

PS Actually, I am hoping to see Ana before then because I desperately want to take my camera to the amazing house that she and her husband have designed in Molins.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

For those seeking to improve

We all know the poor situation that the country is in as far as employment is concerned. With forty per cent of young people out of work it is time to do something about it. The Government can’t create jobs but they can make the situation better for those who just need to improve their skills to help them find better work in the future. This is what they call “lifelong learning” - when the skills you have become redundant, it is time to re-train for emerging markets. 

To help those who want to progress, the Association of Economic Development and the Ministry of Education in Spain have launched their Classroom Mentor scheme which offers free, open and distance learning via the Internet to those who seek it.

There are more than 100 online courses available in the following categories:
- Health & Education
- Environment
- Introduction to Computers
- Culture and General Education
- Networks & Equipment
- Electronics
- Web Design
- Programming
- Office automation
- Courses of a professional character
- English
- Courses for SMEs
- Internet
- Design and Desktop Publishing
- Audio-visual
To take advantage of this offer, you need to be over 18 years, choose a course and complete the registration process.Then you can study at your own pace from anywhere that has a connection to the Internet. A tutor will be n hand to guide your steps through towards a final examination.

NB All courses are certified by the Ministry of Education.

Find out more at:
The Association of Economic Development of the Vega Baja. (Avenida Libertad, 35 Bigastro)
Tel 966770606 - or

We are proud to call Bigastro “our town”

We know there have been and still are a number of Brits that moved here to Bigastro who have found it difficult to settle into their new surroundings. There are very many reasons why life in a small Spanish town just has not worked out for them. In some cases they had to reluctantly give up on their dream of a life in the sun, in others things just were not right for them.

It certainly isn’t easy to fit into a predominantly Spanish, tight knit community especially when you have to try and cope with a different climate, the language, the customs and the bureaucracy, it requires a lot of hard work and patience. It must be especially difficult if you have lived most of your life in the same place and have become entirely familiar with your surroundings and the people around you. I dare say that the same would apply to any bigastrense who tried to settle in an equally strange environment in England.

For Pamela and I there were three strokes of luck that have helped us to “find our feet” here in Bigastro. The first was joining the Spanish for Foreigners class where we got to meet both people in our own class and the ladies from the other classes. That helped us to establish some contact in the town and find out a lot about our new home. It has also allowed us to perform on several occasions for the local children.

Then I started to write this blog with the intention of keeping our friends and relatives informed about what we were up to. It seems that others quickly latched on to what I was writing, both Spaniards and English, and soon I became known to a wider audience. Rather than filling this blog with personal news, I now look further afield for information about what is going on as well.

The third stroke of luck came about because of my interest in photography. I’d taken pictures of events in our daily lives which I posted to my blog. Germán Martín, who looks after the excellent web site for the town, spotted my photos and asked if they could be included in his web site’s photo gallery. At that time there was no official person taking pictures of events in the town, so my pictures proved to be a useful resource.

Pamela and I have also gone out of our way to use local tradespeople and local shops as far as we can rather that go for the easy option of using English speaking companies and shopping in British shops. It was a struggle at first to make ourselves understood but in time that has become easier and has proved to be of great benefit.

We have tried to immerse ourselves into the local culture by going to local fiestas and other occasions. We regularly attend events at the Auditorium –not because we feel it is right to but because they are just so enjoyable. Bigastro and the neighbouring towns and cites have so much to offer by way of culture and entertainment, it would be foolish not to get involved and take advantage.

Others have found their own, equally successful ways to integrate into the life of Bigastro for example, three British couples have already been crowned as “Third Age King and Queen” for the annual fiesta and I am sure there are more to follow. One of our neighbours formed a golf society which has found recognition with the Town Hall and many locals, others formed a seven-a-side football team to challenge the local teams. A couple of residents play in the town band and at least one couple sing in local choirs. I know of two ladies who regularly visit the local hospital to sit with patients. There are probably countless other example which I either cannot recall or am, as yet, unaware of.

In some cases it may simply be a weekly trip to the market that brings them into contact with bigastrense. Whatever way people have found to make Bigastro their home, as long as it keeps them happy then that is fine. It would be so wrong for locals to get the impression that because some have chosen to leave that we are all unhappy with out lot here because that is patently not true. As long as you keep reading this blog, I will try to keep you in touch with the town and its people!

A touch of real class

Yesterday afternoon, we went down to the Auditorium for the Entrega de Notas (presentation of diplomas and reports to you and I).

Our teachers had gone to an awful lot of trouble to set this all up for us. We had a slide show of pictures taken throughout the year of the various classes and the activities we had engaged in, we had speeches by the leader of the Adult Education classes, VIncente from the book shop in Orihuela, the Councillor for Education and five of the students from the classes (including me).

Then we had the presentation of the diplomas and certificates, various students then gave their teachers presents and finally we got to sit down for a mini fiesta.

You can’t see it but the lectern we used was decorated with beautiful fresh flowers -this was a very classy occasion!

The new Councillor for Education, Aurelio Murcia was invited to attend. In his speech, he spoke of the importance of the adult education programme and made a commitment from the Town Hall to carry it on next year.

We were all delighted that Aurelio found the time to attend and even stayed to join us in our mini fiesta – it was a gesture much appreciated by all.

Now that he knows I attend Spanish lessons, Aurelio has said that our conversations in future will be in his native tongue!

We would like to thank our teachers, Sandra, Ana and Eduardo for all their efforts throughout the year and for making presentation so special for us. We would also like to thank the Ayuntamiento for making all this possible. The various classes that we attend are of great importance to all of us, they make our lives richer and help us to integrate better into the community we live in.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A turn up for the books

Saturday’s election for the mayor in Bigastro brought no surprises, in Orihuela though things were very different. The situation in the city was that the previous Mayor, Monica Lorente PP had 12 seats and the opposition parties of CLR-Claro, PSOE and Los Verdes, had 13 between them, enough to take the majority.

Clearly some sort of pact needed to be formed to gain an overall majority. The PP needed to persuade just one opposition party to join its cause to maintain its 25 year hold on the municipality. On the other side of the fence, reports of a possible three-way opposition pact were confirmed and negotiations began. With six seats, PSOE candidate Antonia Moreno was favourite to be the Mayoral candidate with Pedro Mancebo CLR-Claro a strong contender. However, Friday brought reports of the pact failing after the parties failed to reach an agreement.

Given this background, what actually happened at the pleno meeting was truly amazing. The Los Verdes candidate, Monserrate Guillen, pulled off one of the biggest surprises when he was voted into the Mayoral office by PSOE and CLR-Claro party. Not only does this end the 25 year reign by the Partido Popular but it also put into office the candidate that had the least votes and fewest seats awarded – just three - in the election.

It also appears that the drama will not end there as thwarted PP candidate Monica Lorente has hinted at a Motion Censure – where a councillor or party may change allegiance – may be on the cards. If this happens the balance of power and the role of mayor would revert back to Monica Lorente and the PP, so it’s still a case of watch this space.

In another surprise, the Valencia High Court suspended the investiture vote in Torrevieja, after the electoral results there were challenged by Izquierda Unida. The results gave an absolute majority to the PP candidate, Eduardo Dolón, and he is expected to be invested at the beginning of July.

The young ones

20110613_audi2Friday, June 17th at 7pm

Choral Concert  & Festival for the End of the Year

Younger pupils from the Musical Union Choir in concert along with students celebrating the end of their courses.

Sunday, June 19th at 7pm

Youth Bands

Two groups  of younger students from the  music associations  in Bigastro  and San Fulgencio provide a concert for us.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Good day sunshine

image That’s more like it, sunshine every day and not a drop of rain to spoil things.
image Please excuse me, I need to clean the pool!

A night of firsts

Last night we went down to the Auditorium for the concert in aid of the people of Lorca. It was the first concert where Charo Bañuls was present as the lady mayor of the town. It was also the first time that our neighbour Pepe got to present a visiting band with a commemorative plaque since becoming President of the band.

Coincidentally, it was the first time Pam and I have seen the Torrievieja band and what a band they are. They tackle the most difficult pieces of music with aplomb. Slow passages, crescendos, solo performances – this band has got the lot! They also have a very full sound which I think comes from the careful balance of instruments in the band. I must mention the soloist on flute because he was possibly the star performer.

IMG_1339 IMG_1360
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IMG_1399 IMG_1412

Following the Torrevieja band, we had our very own band from Bigastro. Their programme was perhaps easier to listen to but equally good. I particularly enjoyed their performance of the Spanish Fiesta by Michael Sweeney.

See the rest of my photos here.

The investiture

20110613_inves1 20110613_inves2
image022 The investiture of the new mayor of Bigastro took place on Saturday.

I imagine that Rosario Bañuls Rodríguez must be feeling very proud, excited and perhaps a little nervous about the job she has taken on.

Of all the pictures, I particularly like the one of Raúl, the previous mayor congratulating the new lady mayor by touching her arm - it shows the character of a man, gracious in defeat. Congratulations again to all those who were elected, you have a tough job ahead of you!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Winners and losers

20110611_plenoOur hearty congratulations go to Charo Bañuls upon being elected Mayor of Bigastro. I must confess, I know very little about the lady as yet; I will have to put that right since it is likely that I will be writing a few lines about her on this blog over the next four years!

For Bigastro, this is a step into the unknown since the town has been under control of the socialists for 28 years. Over the term of this mandate we will find out whether this has been a change for the better or for the worse – hopefully the former (oops got that wrong first time).

At the same time our commiserations go to Raúl Valerio Medina who took over at a time when things were at a very low point both politically and economically.

In my opinion, Valerio’s downfall at the election was not entirely of his own doing because I believe that he succeeded a mayor and a party that had been in power for too long. My feeling is that Valerio, in spite of his best efforts, stood in Moya’s shadow for a long time and possibly still does.

Although no case as yet has been proven against him, I am convinced that the mere suggestions of scandal were enough to taint people’s opinions of Sr Moya and the Socialist party. All credit is due to Valerio in this respect because it took a brave man to try and pull the town out of the mire it had sunk into.

Valerio would probably argue that, given more time, the problems could have been sorted out but the truth is that he was a part of the administration that created the problems. And so the poised chalice has been passed onto someone else, we shall see what they can do.

Viva San Antonio

Last night we went to watch our teacher Ana in the parade of comparsas at Molins.

Molins may be just a pedania, (more like a village than a town) but they certainly push the boat out when it comes to their annual fiesta.

See the rest of my photos here.

Ana as a Madrilena A smile for the camera
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Ana with her friends from the comparsa Ana’s son Angel
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Ana with her niece Africa Ana’s husband, Angel with Africa