Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Menjabollos Giant

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.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Father Christmas

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

The break in codes

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

Demolition in Costa Del Sol

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

Turron - An almond candy.

Turron was invented over 500 years ago in Jijona, north of Alicante, It is a traditional sweet invented by the Moors. There are two kinds of Turron , smooth and soft or a thick brittle nougat type. Honey and almonds are important ingredients of the turron, which is made by roasting and chopping the almonds then mixing them with the honey, and it then goes through more processes with different flavours being added to make bars of chocolate, praline and even Kiwi flavoured turron, sometimes other ingredients such as dried nuts and fruit are added. This sweet is real favourite at Christmas time where the supermarkets will have every type available.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Formentera Del Segura

Formentera del Segura is in the Veja Baja which means the low fertile valley, it is situated between Rojales and Benijofar, named after Don Nicholás Pérez de Sarrió ,the the lord of Formentera who in 1731 settled eight families there. Originally it was a moorish village, untill it was re-conquered by the King of Aragon in 1242. The village was completely destroyed in 1829 by an earthquake and took 11 years to rebuild. The main products of the town are oranges, lemons, vegetables, cereals and honey. Situated on the banks of the River Segura it benefits greatly from the regular supply of water in an area of very low annual rainfall. The town now has large housing developments being constructed especially on the outskirts, and there is a thriving industrial estate.
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

La Mata Wine

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

Rights of Way, La Cañadas

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.

There are 5 of these legal footpaths - Las Vias Pecuarias - in The San Miquel de Salinas area, they would probably the original tracks androads when San Miquel was just a small village. To see a map of these routes go to there are signs to help you find the routes.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Valencia Water Judges

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

Six Thousand Euros a Kilo

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

The Painted Pigeons

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.

Walkie talkies are used to pinpoint the flocks whereabouts, the Murcia club use a microlite to monitor the proceedings and when Benidorm hosted the National championships in 1997 they hired a helicopter to track the birds.

There are area competitions which progress to the national championships and the winner can be worth up to 30,000 euros.

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

Rain Rain and Jelly Fish

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.

At Javea, tons of jelly fish were washed up on the beach, so many that council workers spent most of the day clearing them away.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Hallows Eve in Spain

Halloween all over the world and in Spain a very special festival, The children come around playing tricks and getting treats, but then the seriousness starts. Families go to the graves and cemetries of their past family and pass an all night vigil, and on the following day all saints day they spend the day cleaning and tidying the graves and cemetries, - it is a national holiday. Around forty years ago, people would often put cakes and nuts on graves during Halloween, thinking to bribe the evil spirits. A special pastry known as Bones of the Holy is eaten during Halloween in Spain, and this food is actually an anise seed bread with an orange glaze. The bread is also known as "Pan de Muerto" Bread of the dead, and is shaped into skulls or round loaves, with strips of dough rolled out and attached to resemble bones.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

La Marina Beach

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

Da Vettriano

When listening to our favourite local radio station, Sunshine FM, there is normally a couple of competitions to send answers on the phone or by email, we normally have a go at the answers and much to our surprise we had a phone call the other day to say we had won a prize of a meal for 2 at Da Vettriano, an Italian Restaurant at Torre de la Horadada, last night we went for the meal which was absolutely excellent, with great hospitality, so we had a superb evening. They have good variety on the menu with fish, meat, chicken, pasta and pizza dishes all prepared to order, a great wine list, and home made deserts including Taramisu. I would recommend the Da Vettriano Restaurant to anybody.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Medieval Craft fair at Rojales

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

Free phone calls

I´ve just found a website to make totally free phone calls,--- You register your email address and you can then phone from a landline to a landline that is also registered. You can phone between different countries for example - Spain and Australia, the site also provides cheap calls between mobiles and landlines and visa versa and for countries not covered. you are expected to "play fair" and use around an hour a week at the most. Connection is made from your computer by entering your number and the number you are calling, your phone rings and recipients phone rings, you pick up, and the progress of the call is seen on your P.C. screen. This of course means that it is only possible to use this service if you have a broadband connection. Jajah will be expecting to make revenue from members paying for the non free services and advertising. I would imagine that in the future other providers will start similar schemes.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Anchovy disaster

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

La Mata Nature reserve

Extending across the municipal areas of Torrevieja, Los Montesinos and Guardamar del Segura are the La Mata and Torrevieja lagoons, which are still used for salt extraction, as they have been for many decades. Salt water is drawn from the Cabeç de la Sal in Pinoso and left to dry in the sun until the water evaporates. The marshlands here are an important wintering and nesting area for over one hundred different bird species, such as the greater flamingo, the black-necked grebe and various duck varieties. At La Mata there are good walking tracks on a variety of terrain and several hides for studying the nature, Access is well signposted and is gained off the N332 at La Mata and there is an information centre at the back of the car park.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

San Javier parking Charges

Here we are back in the U.K for a few days, first day could not believe the weather it was hot,hot hot, 28 C , but yesterday these wet drops started falling out the sky and the sky was grey, but its nice to see every one, and catch up with all the gossip.

We flew out of Murcia- San Javier airport so i checked on the parking charges, to put the record straight, because when i phoned them they said it was 8 euros a day, NOT. the charges are 40 cents half an hour, 80cents 1 hour, 7.50 a day for 4 days, and after the 4th day 6.00 euros, complicated and pricey! The Airport security from Spain was not very strict they did not even check our passports, between the checkin desk and the boarding gate, but we heard they were even making you take your shoes off at East Midlands Airport, we will find out on the way back.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Driving licence points system

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:
Dangerous parking
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

Water and Lizards

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

Poisonous Snakes in Spain

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.

Asp Viper

False smooth snake

Latastes viper

Seoanes Viper

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Last night of la Plaza bar

The bar in the square is now closed for the winter. It will be opening again in May 2007, it has been a meeting place and watering hole for the community throughout the summer, opening at 11.00 in the morning and staying open untill the early hours. As it was the last night we had a grand finale with our hosts Pedro, family and friends supplying traditional food, entertainment and serving plenty of the amber nectar , there was of course Fireworks as well. With the pool closed and now the bar we shall have to create our some of own entertainment in the square, petanqe is a popular idea. Pedro has gone back to his bee keeping for the winter so the honey will be flowing.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Snakes -- hisssss

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

Blonde Streaks

We went to Rojales market this morning for the fruit and veg for the week. We have found a great stall where you can get tomatoes, peppers, apples, grapes and other things for 1 euro a kilo, it may not be the same quality as you get in the supermarket, but it is fresh farm produce.


I put blonde streaks (highlights) in my wife Marys hair today, i used to be a hairdresser 30 years ago, so she trusts me. I put a plastic bag over her hair (not her head) and poked out thin strands of hair through little holes, then i plastered hairdressing bleach onto the strands of hair, left it for 30 minutes and washed it all off. It worked well and she is very pleased with it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Radio Ga-Ga

Here i am in Spain, turn on the radio and tune in a recognisable tune, -ah, an english radio station, one of the many on the Costa Blanca, these stations provide english and spanish news, information, chat shows , request slots and quizzes among other things.
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

La Gota Fria - The Cold Drop

photo credit

La Gota Fria - The Cold Drop, This is the name given to the heavy rains we experience in the Costa Blanca at this time of the year, a bright sunny day transforms into black skies and a deluge of rain in a very short time. La Gota Fria is created by the warm sea of the Meditteranean and the cooler air coming from Northern Europe, the sea warms the air which rises higher and higher to form cumulus clouds, warm updrafts carry the water droplets even higher forming thunder clouds, these clouds can often reach 20000 feet, When the droplets become too heavy they fall as heavy rain and hailstones, often causing severe damage to crops and property.

The spanish met office is warning of an extreme Gota fria this year, as the Meditteranean is 6 degrees warmer than normal for this time of the year. As I am writing this it is spitting with rain, so maybe the Gota Fria has started.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Goat Sucker

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

No Mosquitos - but flies

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

Pot goes Murcia

Apparently 63% of all Marijuana grown in Spain is produced in the Murcia region, this is put down to the perfect climate and the large areas of agricultural land. In the last year 588 kilos were seized by Murcia police.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Wheres the Rain

Once more it is a hot, sunny morning. On Wednesday the weather forecast predicted rain and thunderstorms for Thursday and Friday, It was a bit cloudy at times yesterday but still no rain.
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.
The source of the reddish fountain is a huge aquifer, a water-bearing stratum of rock or sand, which has been put under pressure, the farmers who unleashed the surprise tried to block it off but were overwhelmed by the sheer pressure of water pushing up from a depth of possibly 140 metres.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bangers and pumpkins

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.

Technorati Profile

Sunday, September 03, 2006

hoop, hoop, Hoopoe

I have seen 3 hoopoes in the last two days around the Formentera area, what a beautiful bird. The hoopoe is an exotic looking bird that is the size of a mistle thrush. It has a pinkish-brown body, striking black and white wings, a long black downcurved bill, and a long pinkish-brown crest which it raises when excited. It lives in open country with a scattering of old trees, olive groves, orchards or small woods. Its call is a soft, low, resonant ‘hoop, hoop, hoop’
Buying/Selling a car
Privately selling a your car on the Costas is a bit hit and miss, you can advertise in the British language newspapers, on the internet or sell to a dealer, but what a lot of people do is put a for sale(se vende) sign, with a price and phone number on the car window, park in a highly visible area or as you drive you advertise, then wait for a phone call, i brought my last car like this from a nice old Spanish guy, we did the deal with my little Spanish language, he had no English. the car cost me 500 euros 18 month ago and its still going strong, having done about 10000k
- and it went through the ITV(MOT)Test first time.

Hot Rastro

The Live music in the Square was excellent last night ,there was a good crowd and nice atmosphere so we did not go to bed till 3.00 a.m. but, we got up bright and early this morning and decided to visit the Rastro (second hand and car boot stalls). Situated on the N 322 at Guardamar, there are many stalls with everything you can think of for sale, with many bargains. parking is quite difficult as there are a lot of people go to the market, so it is worth walking a bit to get there. There are also snack and refreshment bars, There is little shelter from the sun and it was very hot today, so take plenty of water.

I have heard rumours of a new golf course being created between Formentera and Rojales. Which is better for the environment an urbanisation or a golf course.
Long live the Orange groves.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Palacios Fiesta Weekend

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.

Galician forest fires

More than 2,000 forest fires, most deliberately lit, ravaged the North-Western province of Galicia in a two week period this summer, the worst fires in the province in 20 years, a regional government environment spokesman said Friday 1st September.
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

CB News, jobs and bins

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 - Parking?

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.

If you are going back to the U.K. for 10 days it becomes quite costly.After research, there does not appear to be any other medium or long term parking facilities in the area.
A taxi from Torrevieja is around 25 euros each way, and 30 euros from Cartagena.
Bus fare to the airport from Murcia is 7 Euros.
The airport has a good selection of budget airlines to and from a variety of U.K. airports, so now it is quite possible you could be paying more for your parking than your airfare.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Swimming Pool

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

Ever been to Dia%, Discounts Galore

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

Bank holiday Monday----Fiesta day here

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

My wife and myself have now been living in Spain for 20 months, we own an apartment near Rojales but have been working away for quite a lot of the time working in live in Jobs. we have just finished one of these jobs, and are now back at the apartment.
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.