The Menjabollos Giant is a famous man at Christmas time in Guardamar del Segura, this mythical character is very tall and strong and is known well around the area. He lives deep in the forest in a very nice timber house and he looks after the forest and keeps it clean and tidy. He comes to Guardamar every year to announce Christmas and stays untill the night before the Three Kings day, while he is in Guardamar he gives gifts to the children at midday on 23rd December and takes part in a dancing procession -the dwarves and giants dance- through the streets with the children. Afterwards in the Placa d Constitution afternoon snacks are served.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
The latest Christmas decoration of a Father Christmas hanging from balconies, windows and chimneys has really caught on this year, of all sizes from 2 foot tall to lifesize they are everywhere, unfortunately some people do not realise the danger they can create, a couple of days ago a young child fell out of a fifth floor window trying to reach the Santa, young children do not appreciate how easy it is to fall and the consequences.
But the danger of windows and balconies for children here in Spain are always present, with so many multifloor apartments and studios. while walking the other day i saw two young children playing a bouncing game on a bed beside a 3rd floor open window, they had no idea they could have bounced out the window quite easily - i shouted at them, danger, in Spanish and they went away from the window. Whether they realised what the danger was is another matter.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Police have cracked a new code used by burglars to mark properties that are targeted for break-ins. A list of the codes was released this week by Altea citizens’ safety councillor Gregorio Cortés, although the code has been used widely in other areas of the Costa Blanca.
The authorities warn that these marks have been chalked or engraved on the outside walls or entrances of properties that are targeted for robbery.
Police have enquired and victims have corroborated the signs that had mysteriously appeared on their properties before they were broken into.
Monday, December 11, 2006
The Coastal Authority of the Costa del Sol has announced that it will start the demolition of buildings built illegally along the sea front in a couple months time. The Chief of the Coastal Authority in Málaga, Juan Carlos Fernández-Rañada, says they want to recover all the land which belongs to the public and which has been built on, and that the current list has around 50 properties along the province coastline. Most of the constructions date from the 1950’s and 1960’s and include beach bars, buildings, and a pumping station. Two of the main cases are the Marymar residence in Benalmádena Costa, and the Nautical Club in Torre del Mar. The local council is trying to save the Nautical Club building by having it declared as being of historic architectural interest.The new Coastal Law passed in 1988 established a zone on the beach which is for public use.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
There is a small selection of bars and restaurants, a few shops and a good size municipal swimming pool. The town hall looks over the square where there is a kiosk bar this is the centre of festivals and events.
Monday, December 04, 2006
On November 20th La Mata wine was presented for the first time. The vine growing area around the the salt lakes had fallen into a state of neglect and is now being improved for cultivation of the vines. A wine museum and bodega are being built to promote the wine and show how it is produced from the grape to the bottle. At the moment only there is a limited quantity of the wine available, from restaurants in and around Torrevieja. The new wine will be called Humedal and is made from the mersegeur grape. It is the first time this type of grape has been commercialised and made into a viable wine product.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
In Spain there are 120,000 kilometres of rights if way known as Cañadas, these were granted by the King for the movement of animals and cattle between pastures, farms and markets, and for movement around the country, they are actually ancient footpaths which are between 20 and 75 metres wide, allowing room for grazing. It was not until around 1970 that the rise in the interest to protect the environment resulted in a movement to re-instate the traditional cañadas. The cause was about reasserting the Public Legality of the Right of Way, just as has happened in the UK with many of the old footpaths and bridleways. In 2003 there was a big demonstration in Madrid when a large flock of sheep and goats was driven along the exact route of a lost cañada, exercising legal rights, crossing a Golf Course before arriving in the very heart of the Spanish Capital.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
We see the orange groves being waterlogged and the farmers diverting the water in the irrigation channels, this is all controlled by the Water Judges.Every Thursday at midday The Tribunal de Aqua (Water Tribunal) meet in Valencia. This was set up by Jaime I to regulate the distribution of the River Turia's water for irrigation. The irrigation system itself was designed and built by the Moors. The judges are eight ordinary workers who each represent a different irrigation network. It's their job to sort out the inevitable problems and conflicts between users. They are elected for two year terms of office, wear traditional smocks and hand down their sentences orally in the Valencian language. There is no right of appeal. The speed of this particular justice system and its longevity have made it world-famous.
Friday, December 01, 2006
It would take the stamens of 15000
purple crocus flowers to make a kilo, and the product is called saffron, it can be bought in little satchets for about a euro and is used in paella, chicken dishes, fish, stews and for making cakes. It was probably introduced to Spain by the Arabs.
It would take a proffesional all day to pick the flower heads to produce couple of ounces of the stamens, which are toasted over charcoal to bring out the flavour, the harvest period is normally mid October.
Spain produces 70% of the worlds saffron. In the campo people grow enough to keep themselves supplied throughout the year.
Only a small amount is used in the cooking, 0.3 of a gram would be enough in a paella for 4 people.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Around this time of year in the Costa Blanca and Murcia, you will see flocks of brightly coloured pigeons circling round, this is not just the whim of the owners to tart them up a bit, but they are painted in individual owners colour schemes to participate in a sport, not racing, but the sport of being amorous. The male pigeon is trained from the age of about three months to have the staying power of a long and intense courtship. At the start of the competition up to 80 cocks are released to fly around then a hen pigeon is released under a tree- any kind of tree, and the cock birds all arrive and make up to her. The hen is trained to be an expert in evading their attentions and will hide in trees, veer away while in flight and get up to all sorts of tricks. The competition takes place over 6 days and the winner is the the male pigeon that has spent the most time in the the air with the female and the most time in courtship on the ground. The referee totals up points by watching the proceedings and at the end of the week comes up with a winner.
Since moving to the campo in 2011 we have found that some people actually use whole houses as a pigeon loft, living in the town and coming out to the campo house to tend their pigeons.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Well at last we have just had a week of rain , heavy at times and grey skies to go with it, the temperature dropped and it was a bit cool to say the least. On the television news the main stories were of flooded streets and film of cars being swept down rivers of muddy water, people get so used to parking in dried up drainage channels that when the rain appears the channels turn into a raging torrent and their cars disappear bobbing down the river. The happy people were the farmers whos crops relished the good soaking. Now the rain has stopped and we are back to blue skies and warm days, the evenings have a chill to them and the sea has cooled down a bit but it is still nice for a swim.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The weather is cooling down a bit, so we have to get in some swimming while we can, the sea is still reasonably warm so we had a trip down to La Marina, we got there to find with a stiff breeze the rollers were coming in like it was the Atlantic, we still went in for a dip but it was quite hairy at times swimming in white water and diving through the waves as they were breaking. The depths are very variable so not to be recommended unless you are a strong swimmer. At one time we saw a large shoal of sandeel type fish in an oncoming wave, seconds later a very big fish, possibly a shark, surfed through the wave after the small fish and was gone in a flash. The beach runs from Guardamar harbour northwards and has sand dunes as a backdrop, it is a long section of beach where there is a beach bar, part of it is a recognised nudists beach.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
All this weekend, there has been a Medieval craft fair at the Caves of El Rodeo in Rojales. The stallholders dressed in Medieval costume were selling a vast variety of craftwork, and demonstrating their skills. There was copper plate printing, pottery making and brass-etching among other things . One stall was selling large loafs of bread of unusual varieties, another a large variety of dried plant leaves to make infusions to treat every ailment you could think of. A lot of the caves are inhabitated and the owners were selling there crafts from within them as well as serving tea coffee, cakes and paella. The Cave bar was also doing a brisk trade and is open throughout the year, winter opening is at weekends and it normally some musical entertainment. There is a great view over Rojales and Formentera from the bar terrace, perfect for sitting and relaxing with a Cerveza.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Monday, October 02, 2006
Millions of Anchovies weighing more than 3 tons have been found dead on a northern Spanish beach, it is thought that they were trying to escape predators - Tuna or Dolphins, another reason for the beaching could be the unusually high water temperatures for this time of the year, which may have disorientated the fish. No chemical toxins have been found, so the disaster has not been the effect of pollution, Anchovies in the french and Spanish coasts are the most expensive and valued in the world, with the best flavour. Anchovies are considered a rare species, They are a protected species and there are European Union restrictions on fishing for them.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Friday, September 22, 2006
If you have a Spanish Driving licence the points system changed in July 2006, Each licence starts with 12 points, if you dont loose any points for 3 years you get another 2 points.
Speeding - Between 2 and 6 points depending on how far above the speed limit you were travelling.
Using the mobile phone or any other apparatus considered a distraction – 3 points.
Not using your seat belt or helmet for bike riders – 3 points.
Drink driving – 4 or 6 points.
Points can also be lost in the following circumstances:
2 points will be taken for:
Using radar speed trap detectors
Forgetting to turn on your headlights
Taking a child under 12 as a passenger on a motorbike
3 points will be taken for:
Making an illegal turn
Driving too close to the vehicle in front
4 points will be taken for:
Driving without the correct license
Taking a vehicle onto a motorway that is not authorized
Reversing on a motorway
Dangerous driving or overtaking
Blocking another driver from overtaking
Jumping a red light
Disobeying police instructions
Throwing any dangerous objects from the car – this includes cigarette butts
Driving with too many people in the vehicle
And finally 6 points will be taken for:
For extreme dangerous driving, which could be, for example, taking part in racing, driving against the traffic and so on.
Professional drivers risk losing six points if they do not respect official rest periods.
Passengers can lose points too. If you are a passenger in a car and stopped not wearing your seat belt, then your license will still be deducted the three points, even if the driver is wearing his.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Here are some tips on Water conservation, being as there is a shortage of water. It will also save on your water bills
- don't leave the tap running when you clean your teeth
- take showers, not baths, and fix dripping taps -share a shower.
- buy water-efficient household appliances
- only fill the kettle and saucepans up with the water you need
- only wash full loads in your washing machine or set machine to half load
- fit a water-efficient toilet -did you know if you press the flush a second time it stops it flushing.
- only water your plants when necessary and use a watering can
- collect rain water to water your plants
- wash your car with a bucket, not a hosepipe
Traditional food in Spain -- This is a really nice one, Roasted Lizards, apparently they used to eat them cooked in tomato, with spot of garlic and parsley, meant to be delicious. rather like the texture of chicken, and the taste of herbs. the lizard that was eaten was the Oscillated Lizard which now is a protected species so unfortunately it is a traditional food that can´t be tried.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Apart from the Poisonous Snake I mentioned a couple of days a go, there are 4 more in Spain, Seoanes Viper, Asp viper, Latastes viper and the False smooth snake, here are pictures of them.
False smooth snake
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Saturday, September 16, 2006
This is a hot country, so of course we have snakes here, of the 14 different types there are 5 which are venomous. Normally you will see snakes in mountain areas, the campo, on scrubland and on the saltflats, when you walk in these areas it is a good idea to take a stick and thrash about a bit with it, this will reduce the chances of stepping on a snake and being fanged. After all they are only trying to defend themselves, If you do get bitten stay calm -ha,ha. -phone 112 for immediate medical attention, and try to get a description of the snake, while you are waiting -calmly- try to keep the bite above the level of your heart.
There are only 4 or 5 snakebite deaths a year in the whole of Spain.
(Photo by Jan Van Der Voort)
The Montpellier snake. - It can grow up to 2-metre long
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Sunshine F.M. 101.3 - 102.8 is one of my favourites, with a great variety of music and it is easy to make requests. Details of programmes and times for Sunshine F.M. and other english radio stations can be found in local english newspapers.
Although i do not advocate watching and listening to all things english, it is good to listen to some of your favourite tunes.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
photo credit www.FreeFoto.com
Monday, September 11, 2006
Last evening we went for a walk through the nature reserve at Guardamar, this has been created to hold back the sand dunes that are pushing back from the sea at an alarming rate, this reserve runs for several kilometres to the north of Guardamar as far as the Marina.
We could not believe it when we saw someone with a handfull of wild lillies that they had picked from the reserve, - there is still much ignorance about conservation of the flora and fauna.
The highlight of the evening was when we spotted a hawkshape bird diving and flitting, in the moonlight above the dunes , it was the nocturnal, red neck nightjar searching for moths and other insects, they can normally be seen at dawn and dusk. Back in the middle ages these birds were called Goat Suckers as they were believed to come down and suck the milk from the teats of goats.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
I cant believe it, I can sit out at night with a light on, walk around outside with no anti mosy protection and all through the year i have absolutely no problem with Mosquitos. i have visited many destinations in the summer and the mosquito has always been a big problem, but it seems that this microclimate does not suit them. The only insects that are a problem are the daytime flies, there are not a lot of them, but one always seems to decide to antagonise me continually untill i chase it in an attempt to KILL, then with its superior intelligence it hides untill i resume what i was doing, then it comes back again, if i do manage to kill it another takes over where the last one left off, -- Back shortly i´m just going for the kill...........
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
In 2005 reservior levels dropped to 45% of there capacity after the driest winter and spring for 60 years and rationing of water supplies for up to two million people could soon be put into place in the Murcia region.
Olive growers in the town of Granatula de Calatrava, in the La Mancha area of central Spain got more than they expected while deepening a well to extract more water,they unleashed a 30-meter-high gusher - or spout of water - that has been shooting from the earth for more than a month, the fountain gushes its mixture of water, clay, sand at rate of 50 litres a second.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
My old car that i got for 500 Euros brought from the side of the road. Theres not many cars in Spain without dents and scrapes, with this car, it does not really matter, It is economical and reliable and thats all that matters.
Many of the smallholding farmers have a crop of Pumpkins, the pumpkins make great soup ( soup recipes) and a Spanish traditional preserve "Angels Hair" jam (cabello de angel), and are used in many other recipes.
These pumpkins are just down the road from here.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Palacios is the area of Formentera where we live, it is Fiesta Weekend, last year the celebrations consisted of three nights of all night disco music with the usual fireworks.
This year in the square we have a bouncy castle, trampoline and various other entertainment for the kids, this evening there is live music, so it is a lot more appealing for all who live here.
Today is the last day the swimming pool is open this year, i hope they let the water out soon because it is going to be frustrating seeing it there, while it is still so hot.
Galicia emergency service dealt with 2,055 fires during the first two weeks of August - up from 995 during the same period last year. Most of the fires were lit by arsonists. On Friday Police arrested a man suspected of having lit 94 fires since 2002, Two women died last month in a fire he allegedly lit.
Most of the fires raged between August 4-15 and scorched 77,000 hectares of land in a province which borders the Atlantic Ocean and is normally rain swept. Three new fires broke out in the region on Friday.
Police have arrested 52 people in connection with the fires this year. Four people have died in the fires.
Friday, September 01, 2006
The Costa Blanca News is in the paper shop today and every Friday, it has gone up from €1.50 to €1.60, it is full of paid advertising and and a relatively small amount of news, i have to wonder why the price increase.
There are very few jobs in the situations vacant, some of them appear to be in week after week, with the shortage of employment i wonder why! i am sure some of the employers collect c.v´s for a hobby.
I noticed the binmen round last night, i was amazed to see the operatives scrub the outside of the bin, then it is loaded into the truck and emptied , the back of the truck then closes down and the bin is automatically power washed, then returned to its position at the side of the road.if you leave a large item by the rubbish bin, a vehicle is sent to collect usually within 24 hours.
The recycling here deserves a mention , there several are recycling points all within walking distance , with separate bins for cardboard ,plastic, glass, and battery's.
We all wait with bated breath to see how the fiesta (so called) pans out this weekend, last year we suffered extremely loud music from 11.00P.M. to 7.00 A.M right through the weekend, -nobody slept. This year several people are leaving the area for the weekend to get away from it.
But this year they have not blocked the road with disco equipment like last year, so maybe it is going to be more people friendly.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Murcia-San Javier airport is located on the north shore of the Mar Menor. It used to have free parking with 900 spaces, but in the last couple of months, the barriers have been put into action with a parking charge of 8 Euros a day.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
I´ve mentioned the pool ...It is actually a Municipal pool, the great advantage it is looked after by the Town hall, If it was a community pool the property owners in the community would have to pay for the upkeep, which could be quite expensive over the year, (more than half the owners do not even want to pay their normal community charges) The Community would also have the responsibility of running it, This would mean having a management committee and everything that goes with that!
The disadvantage is that is is only open times the town hall allow that is --- 11.00 A.M to 2.00P.M. and 5.00P.M to 8.00P.M between the months of June and September.
We hardy brits do like to swim earlier and later in the year, but we can always go to the sea.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
We are Shopping early today, Have you ever been to Dia % supermarket, Great value with a lot of own brand products, If you fill in a form to get the Club Dia discount card ,each time you get to the checkout, you show the card and you get the item at the price shown on the yellow ticket of the shelf price --if not you pay the white ticket price, also, each month you get a handfull of vouchers with great discounts of various items -discounts vary with two items for the price of one and up to 50% off , show your voucher at checkout and you get those discounts as well.
The only problem is that like Lidl, they only seem to have one checkout running at a time so you sometimes get a queue, but it can be worth it when you get, a litre of lager for 42 cents, as happened a couple of month ago.
The staff are always pleasant and friendly --and i think overworked , they certainly have long hours, open at 9.30 A.M. and close at 21.30 --closed on Sunday.
Dia% are actually owned by Carrefour.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Amazing, i put a CD rom in the PC, there was a big bang, when i opened the draw the CD was in little pieces, so later i´ve got to take it to the shop otherwise the guarentee will be no good.
Swimming pool is closed today as always on Mondays so cannot have a 'cool down' swim.
Mary has just finished her Ebook on 'Communities in Spain' she is quite an expert on the subject as she is also the president of our community of 44 residences.
We have fish cakes for dinner left over from the fish (palometo) last night. the weather is hotter here today --about 33 degrees in the shade-- but August has been cooler than last year.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Today we started the day by going on a wild goose chase to find a Car boot sale that one of our neighbours told us about , her directions were not too good so we did not find it, but we had a nice walk by the Rio Segura, when we got back we went for a swim in the pool which is 50 metres from the apartment this is a great oportunitie to catch up with the gossip from friends and neighbours, ---back to the apartment for a very late fried breakfast, i laze away the afternoon, while Mary my wife, carries on writing an article for an Ebook,
Got a Palometo (fish) from the supermarket it looked interesting so we thought we would give it a try tonight for dinner.--- later--- Excellent eating fish, texture like chicken and quite strong tasting.
Formentera Fiesta this weekend so there was fantastic firework display viewed from our Balcony.