Sunday, December 20, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Christmas card
We would like to wish all our readers a very merry Christmas and a happy and Prosperous new year.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Car boot Stories



Apparently the car boot sale between Catral and San Isidro was raided last week and all goods impounded until the vendors could prove they are the rightfull owners, some of the items on sale were suspected of being the proceeds of house burglaries, meanwhile another new car boot /flea market has opened up at The Rojojuna in Punta Prima this is on Sundays. Previous Punta Prima car boot sales have been closed down as they came under the jurisdiction of Orihuela Costa town hall, but The Rojojuna is in the part of Punta Prima that is under Torrevieja town hall control, which allows the car boot sale.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Easyjet pull out



Sadly Easyjet are stopping flights to and from East Midlands airport from 6th January 2010, this will affect us because it is mainly this airport we use when we fly to the UK, and we have always found Easyjet to be the best with prices and customer service. we actually had a flight booked but in an efficent manner they have already transferred our booking to a flight with BMI Baby which we are quite happy with.
It appears that several of the budget airlines are pulling out of various UK airports and consolidating some of there other bases, I have a feeling .that prices will start to rise as there will be less competition at each individual airport and there will be fewer operators working from each one, Maybe the budget airline operators have come to an agreement with each other to make this possible. BMI baby are certainly cooperating with Easyjet over the East Midlands pull out. Time will tell!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Suzie video star

video

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Guardamar calm sea

All the time we have visited Guardamar we have found in the summer the sea can be fairly choppy and rough, with very few calm days, since we have been here in the autumn and winter months the sea has been relatively calm on most days, and some times there has barely been a wave lapping on the beach. Surprisingly completely the other way round to the summer, this winter the weather is unbelievably good with fine warm days and little rain, so I wonder if this is the normal pattern.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Non residents tax warning


The tax authority is now closing in on non resident property owners who are not presenting there annual tax returns and payments, the tax authority has linked with the land registry system and knows who owns every property, resident and non resident in Spain, every property owned by a non resident is taxable as income even if you don’t rent it out,The tax declaration and payment for 2008 has a deadline of December 2009, late declaration and payment incur a fine, ignorance of the law is not accepted as a reason for non payment, Property and bank accounts can be embargoed until back taxes are payed in full.
It is important to realize this is an income tax on your property, and is separate from and and in addition to the local tax IBI/SUMA which is an annual payment on the actual bricks and mortar, It does not relate to income in terms of your wages and pensions,but only to property ownership.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Guardamar day of activity

On the ride
At the start
Sunday was the day of the bicycle at Guardamar, at least a couple of hundred people met up at the bottom of the Reina Sofia park for a long bike ride in and around Guardamar, most of them were children of all ages with their parents, and were escorted by the police (with sirens blaring) local cycle clubs and the Cruz Roja. A draw was held at the end of the ride where one lucky child won a brand new bike.Later in the day it was the turn of the runners in the 7th Guardamar marathon, the main street was blocked off for the start and finishing line which was at the town hall square, with a large crowd attending there was the marathon, and then shorter races for different age groups and sexes.
The event was extremely well sponsored with organizational support from several groups and free refreshments provided.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

There's A Cold Wind from The North

Chocolat and churros
blowing bitter to the south, just to cheer up those of you who have emailed to express envy re the November weather here. Our weather, as is common this time of year, is effected by the heavy snow in the north of Spain. Madrid and surrounding areas are having a very chilly time of it. Madrid is said by the Spanish to have 9 months of winter and one of hell (as hot as). It’s not surprising so many people like to come down to Guardamar from the capital.
Today snow with its accompanying high winds which were battering the north of the country begins to move away.

Many roads in the Madrid Sierra are still dangerous because of the ice and snow which has formed earlier this week.
Motorists are advised that chains are needed on many mountain passes and the snow ploughs have been in operation in the Sierra Nevada.
As for us the forecast temperature is 18 degrees but is colder as the wind is quite icy. The sun is out though so find a sheltered sunny spot and it’s not bad at all. What a good excuse for Churros and cups of hot thick chocolate, you know what they say “it’s an ill wind....."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Is There A Point To This?

road sign
New traffic regulations have now come into force in Spain, effective from Wednesday last. The new regulations reduce the number of offenses which could mean a driver losing points on a license. The new traffic Law was approved by Congress only last month so they did not hang about did they. Its is the changes which are seen as favorable to drivers which come into effect last week, with the remaining changes to the Traffic Law to be brought in at a later date.

These changes will include the removal of seven infractions from the list of points-related offences, although it’s reported in the Spanish Press that each will still carry a fine. They range from driving without lights, parking in a bus lane or on a bend and negligent driving which is seen as a possible danger to other traffic or pedestrians. Also removed is driving on a motorway in a type of vehicle which is banned from motorways and driving with twice or more the maximum permitted number of occupants.

As far as speeding is concerned, points will now only be lost for motorway driving at 130 kph or more.
The other important news for drivers is that those who have appealed against losing points for any of the 7 offensives and have not yet received an answer will automatically keep those points. The DGT Central Traffic Authority is now obliged to archive all such cases.

The penalty of the temporary loss of a license also goes. A license may now only be lost when all the points have been used up.

Other changes, such as the 50% reduction for on-the-spot payment of a fine and the loss of 6 points for using radar inhibitors, are due to come into force in about six months time.

On related point, we had an interesting comment from an American guy we met the other day. He was praising the Spanish police and saying how friendly they were, also that they just did not hassle you. He compared this to their counter parts in the USA who he said where very threatening. So much for the Land of the free and the home of the brave then


Click here for related posting
http://a-brit-in-spain.blogspot.com/search?q=points+on+your+licence

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Not turkey!

Ducks
Donald
When we go to Guardamar market we always like to walk through the Reina Sofia Park. It’s still looking lovely and the wildlife seems to be enjoying the cooler weather. We never fail to see a red squirrel or two playing chase around the trees and as the children’s playground is quite mid morning the local duck population seem to make good use of it.
The Muscovy ducks are my particular favourite, they look a little like the wild turkeys of America which could be pretty dangerous for them at this time of year.
The Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) are a large duck which is native to Mexico and Central and South America. They are particularly good at adapting to different weather conditions.
The weather is still warm enough to fill the air with the scent of pine eucalyptus and even Jasmine, unbelievably we are still hearing the odd cicada as well. I must say it does feel like summer goes on and on this year. We have lots of self sowers coming up in pots and containers on the terraces, seem like winter is bursting out all over.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Not So Mean Streets

Rojales Square
There has been a lot of digging up of streets and new pavements being laid in many of our local towns and villages, indeed Rojales had major disruption during a lot of the summer due to such works. Torrevieja Council has just received more money for public works to help ease unemployment in the town. It’s good to see central government money getting into circulation in the area. Also good to see what a splendid job has been made of the little area out sides the bars and lotteria in Rojales. Its now got some new seating and has had a general tidy up with Bollards now in place, ideal for watching the world go by on this busy little corner. I must nip down to the other end of Formentera and see what it’s like now the pavements have been widened and improved there. Now the weather has cooled it’s a lot easier to stroll around and see what’s been done, though it’s by no means cold during the day it’s the early morning and evening which are chilly. I would tell you about having lunch sitting on the beach yesterday but I don’t want to upset our UK readers who are somewhat under black cloud weather wise. Lets just say it would be no problem spending sometime resting on that new bench..

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Now heres a thought



We were just having an interesting conversation on language usage ( well what do you do on a saturday afternoon) in particular the terms expat (expatriate) and immigrant. So what are you? A number of years ago when we were queuing for our residencia I had a few sharp words with a lady(?) from London who commented to us as she joined the queue that she had been standing in the wrong place earlier, in the immigrants queue, in fact it was the non EU applicants queue. I felt obliged to point out that we were in fact all immigrants; this did not go down to well. I was correct of course, those of us who have chosen to move here are all immigrants whether we like the term or not, personally I have no objection. An immigrant is after all defined as a newcomer to a country who has settled there. So what’s an expat I hear you ask got big ears me. Well the origin of the term is actually based on economics. They can be a citizen who has left his or her own country to live in another, usually for a prolonged period. In original common usage, the term is often used in the context of professionals sent abroad by their companies, as opposed to locally hired staff (who can also be foreigners). The differentiation found in common usage usually comes down to socio-economic factors, so skilled professionals working in another country are described as expatriates.
In some countries the term "expat" is not used for all foreigners living and working there but refers to those on "expat" contracts. In Switzerland for example expats will be living in housing provided by the employer, with most other expenses such as children's (English) education also paid by the employer. In theory, this is because they are still maintaining a home in their original country. This is in strong contrast with those on "local" contracts who are treated and paid like other locals. The "expats" have a reputation of being flush with money, and raising the prices for others who are not subsidised in this way. Expat contracts are usually time limited, so the expats either move on to another assignment, or are given a local contract without expat subsidies.
So here’s a thought how many of those in our "expat communities" fit the above description, not a lot is my guess .Quite a number I guess where "flush" with money when they got here, given the exchange rate and the lower cost of living, my how times have changed. Question is has there title now changed, I would say there is a good argument for it to do so, in fact for most they never were and never will be an expat in the true sense of the word. No problem for us we always saw ourselves as very lucky immigrants to this country. Oh yes by the way there is another definition of the term expatriate its a citizen who has renounced his or her citizenship or whose citizenship has been repealed.Makes you glad your just a less well healed immigrant.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day trip To Cartagena



Yesterday on the spur of the moment we decided to go down to Cartagena on the Costa Calida. Its one of those places we have been meaning to visit ever since we moved to the area. It’s about 60 KM from here and a nice little run either by the motorway or the 332.
Cartagena has been a major sea port for centuries and has a fascinating history. It is a walled town and has a fine harbour defended by forts. In the time of Philip II of Spain, it was a major naval seaport of Spain. It is still an important naval seaport, the main military haven of Spain, and there is a big naval shipyard. Cartagena had a population of 211,286 in 2007, making it the second largest city in the Region, the 6th among the non-province capitals of Spain, and the 24th overall.
For all that it has a charming old quarter and many free to enter museums. So much to see in fact we are already planning another day there.
We were quite astonished by the style of the buildings and the fact that there seems to be a concerted effort to save the facades where the building is beyond repair. There is also an abundance of cafes and restaurants with menus at very reasonable prices. We had a lovely meal, real home style cooking and regional dishes and only 8 euros for 3 courses salad and a drink.
On the way back we called in at Mar Menor, another place we have always meant to visit. Mar Menor is a salty lagoon separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a sand bar 22km in length and with a variable width from 100 to 1200m. It belongs to four municipalities including Cartagena. In 1994 it was included on the list of the Ramsar Convention for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands. It is also a one of the Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI) by the United Nations.
If you take a drive down do look out for the remains of the windmills, they are all over the place with a very few still intact. Can you imagine what it must have looked like in past times, very Don Quixote. Before the arrival of modern technology the turning sails of the windmills could be seen at almost every place where a small hill rose in the flat plain. With the arrival of electricity and new machinery, the old windmills were allowed to decay and many now are not much more than circular heaps of stones. However, the picture is not completely black and there plenty of enthusiasts who love the windmills and are working to restore them. Interest in the history of the windmills is very high amongst local people.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lets hope it starts trend


Airline approaches to Spanish airports will change in 2010 when airlines will have to adopt the ‘green landing’ system at Spanish airports.

What does this mean well for one thing an end to those twists and turns and rapid changes in altitude ahead of landing. Also a longer and gentler approach to the runway will be taken. Planes will in effect glide down to land and start the approach from as far as 180 kilometres away.
Those on board will probably only notice that it seems to be taking a long time to land. The good news is that between 300 and 480 kilos of carbon emissions along with 100 to 160 kilos of aviation fuel will be saved on every flight. These changes will mean the plane is in the air for a full two minutes more than before.

Those who live below the flight paths may notice a 4-6 decibel reduction in noise if they live more than 18 kilometres from the runway.

France and Sweden are testing similar systems, but José Blanco and his Development Ministry in Spain are to be congratulated for making the move now and re-arranging the flight paths as needed. In some cases airspace previously reserved for the military will have to be used.
On a practical note aside from greener flights I wonder if those of us that suffer ear pain at landing will find it different, I do hope so.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?



We had a lovely morning in Torrevieja last Sunday along with quite a lot of other people. It was such a nice sunny, warm day we decided to have a walk along the front, out on the harbor wall and a look around the marina. Although there are signs of the economic crisis hitting business it was still very lively, especially for the time of year. Would be nicer if the local council and police got to grips with the graffiti issue though so many buildings are defaced in the town.
As we drove out of the town along the 332 we had a real surprise sighting, we are quite keen bird watches so were alerted at once to some thing a bit unusual in the skies. In fact it was a Griffin Vulture, birds of prey are classified as an endangered species here in Spain but we do not normally see them in this area.
The Griffon Vulture is 93–110 cm (37–43 in) long with a 230–269 cm (91–106 in) wingspan, and it weighs between 6 and 13 kg (13.2 and 29 lb). Hatched naked, it is a typical Old World vulture in appearance, with a white bald head, very broad wings and short tail feathers. It has a white neck ruff and yellow bill. Believe me if you see one you cannot mistake it.
Five griffon vultures have been rescued in Orihuela Costa over the weekend. They are most likely to come from a feeding station in Alcoy, where there is a colony of 70 to 100 of the birds. We just hope the one we saw was one of them.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Driving your other Half up the Wall

bottoms up
As you can see its Johns who’s making his way towards the ceiling. I will be following him with a bit of luck and a lot more effort and practise. Ok Ok what the heck am I talking about, in word Yoga. We are trying to ward of old age and have started to get to grips with this ancient practise. Novices still we will get better meanwhile as you might have guessed Johns further up the wall than me

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stop Press.................

The Government has granted a six month grace period in Spain's mobile phone switch off. It gives users of pre-paid lines the chance to recover their number if they register after the phone has been deactivated.
Ah so thats why its was so manic in the phone shop!

Stone Me Man

Smoker
News is in the Spanish papers that 12 tons of Cannabis were seized in Santa Pola. The haul was found at a local industrial estate
This is one of the largest hauls of cannabis ever made in Alicante province: The estimated 12 tons were seized in a Civil Guard swoop on Monday.

The smugglers network had been under surveillance for some time and is reported to have brought over regular consignments of cannabis into the country by sea, hidden in containers of fish. The papers note that 10,000 kilos of fish were confiscated as part of the Civil Guard operation.

This is the latest haul of cannabis in Alicante province in the past 5 years. There have been no details as yet on how many suspects face charges in the case.
I wonder if any local "smokers" noticed anything fishy about the stuff they’ve been buying recently.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

I've got one with Wheels on

Shopping
If there’s one everyday sight, other than you've average housewife out and about in her dressing gown, that tells you your in Spain it is the lady with shopping trolley. I know you see them in other countries but here in Spain they really are an essential item. They range from the tatty, well loved, well used, years old ones to the brand spanking new fashion item. The range of colours and designs they can be seen in seems endless. You also see smaller version used by schoolchildren to carry books etc. to and from school. I have to admit to having one myself, bought at a bargain price from a local charity shop, not a very exciting colour but serviceable. I tend to pull mine along but I noticed the other day while having a coffee in Guardamar Street market that the local ladies push there’s. I think they may have something, its a lot less strain on the arms that way. Incidentally it’s not only the women who use "shoppers" older chaps can increasingly be seen making use of these practical items. I wonder will the manufacturers catch on and start producing more butch, manly looking trolleys?

The Phones With No Name

No Phone
Phoneman
If you have not registered your prepaid Spanish phone then you had better get cracking because all unregistered pre-paid mobile phone lines in Spain will be permanently disconnected at midnight Sunday night. Despite the objection made by the phone companies the Spanish government insists that all pre-paid mobile phones numbers which have not been registered by midnight on Sunday night will disappear forever. The phone companies wanted to delay the switch off of what they say will be some three million lines. Its seems to me the date of the action has been in the public arena for some time. The measure comes as a result of the Madrid train bombings in 2004 where anonymous pre-paid phones were used to set off the explosives. The Law for the Conservation of Data in Electronic Communications came into effect in Spain two years ago and obliges the phone companies to keep all the data on the destination and origin of calls, as well as the identity of all the people implicated in the communication. Any one who has not registered there phone will find it no longer works and that any credit they have is lost. For some time now any one who purchased a phone or new sim had to give details and show prove of who they are and where they live.
What we need now is for other countries to do likewise for the actions to be fully effective.

Friday, November 06, 2009

In Sheeps clothing

clothes
If you spend any time in Spain you may well notice the habit of keeping your dressing gown on. What do I mean? Well its very commonplace to see your average Spanish housewife in her dressing gown until lunch time. No they are not all late getting out of bed. It’s a habit that’s easy to get into and this time of year, when the mornings can be chilly indoors, it’s a perfect way of being cosy. So you wear you nice snugly housecoat while you do the housework, water the plants, see the kids off to school,take out the rubbish, walk the dog even. Its one of those things that brings a smile to your face and makes you think it could only be Spain. If you want to join the club try your local market for a bargain in the housecoat/dressing gown line. Me I've got three!
PS:: My merino wool is the Fav

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Charity begins at Home

Officina
and if you’re reading this in Spain then you may like to help a very worthwhile charity here. Caritas is the charity arm of the Catholic Church, indeed the word caritas translates as CHARITY.
It was created in 1971, Caritas Europe bringing together over 45 organisations that work in 44 European countries. It is one of the seven regions of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service organisations working to build a better world, especially for the poor and oppressed, in over 200 countries and territories.
Caritas Europe focuses its activities on issues related to poverty and social inequality, migration and asylum within all countries of Europe, humanitarian assistance and international development throughout the world.
What this means at a grass roots level is people get fed. Many people in this area have received food parcels in these difficult times. So what can those who are more fortunate do to help? Its simple really, donate non perishable food stuffs to you local branch. You can be sure that everything you give will be passed on to a family who have fallen on hard times.
With the jobless total in Spain going up by almost 99,000 it seems likely more and more families will need help, so if you can give please please do.

http://www.caritas.es/

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Did you miss us?


I expect someone out there must have wondered where we were, as you can see from the posting below we had a little holiday. For more pics of our trip look on the Photo gallery.
http://a-brit-in-spain-gallery.blogspot.com/

Here we are again




HAPPY as can be. So nice to be back home in Spain after the grey and frantic UK, we do choose some funny places for our hols! I mean every road seems to be a slow moving car park. Nice trip up to the ferry though, France is so tidy and so expensive, though the diesel is less than in UK. All the places we saw on our trip, with hardwood trees, looked lovely though. The heart of England does have some lovely pastoral countryside and charming little towns and villages. So does France for that matter with quieter roads, it was really very cold in France though. The SATNAV was a great help though I do like to have a map too, it gives you useful and interesting info of what you are seeing. Two memorable stopover where Rouen in France and Cariñena in Spain. The architecture of Rouen is breathtaking; we also had the best meal we have had in France since we where in Briar a few years ago. Call me bias but we have consistently had far better food in Spain than France though the French cheeses are legendary it’s true, they also seem to be sold at just the correct ripeness. In Cariñena we stayed at the El Vino hotel that is part of a local winery, well appointed rooms but lacking any Spanish character I thought. The tapas in the town lacked nothing tasty fresh and large amounts plus a price that did not give you indigestion. As I said good to be back though, we are still able to swim in the sea here its that warm. even the nights are not really cooling down. Now if only the flies would disappear, still you can't have everything can you

Friday, October 30, 2009

Get your fish

fish barrow
Most days of the week when you are in Guardamar you will see the women with their wheelbarrows selling fresh fish, the Species depends on what the local fishing boats have caught, Today is was mainly Lubena, Mullet and a kind of horse mackerel, you select your fish and it is weighed on a primitive hand held balance scale, and a near enough! price is charged, this is a age old traditional that we hope will carry on for a long while.
Also at Guardamar marina the Cofriadas de Pescadors have a Sale of fish every day of the week except weekends, the sale starts at 10:30, they have a good variety of fish including squid, octopus, and some of the deep sea fish species, if there are quite a few people at opening time, the fish are auctioned in lots suitable for a family size meal, the fish that are left because there are too few bidders, are sold at very good prices.(much cheaper than the supermarket) An ideal way to stock up the freezer.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Plague on you

Hungry mosquito
It’s as we thought the heavy rain has enticed a new wave of visitors to the area. Some businesses have been making a few quid out of this but the saluds have also been extra busy in their wake. No not lager louts, I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies! The visitors are flying in in droves though and Easyjet is not to blame, after all mosquitoes, which are the visitors I am referring to, come with their own sets of wings in addition to the bits that do the damage. And it seems the female of the species is more deadly than the male. Female mosquitoes, unlike males, have a proboscis. This is a long thin needle-like built-in syringe located at the mouth. They use this to stab their victims, so that the mosquito’s abdomens fill with blood. Certain proteins in the blood are needed to produce fertile eggs. As males cannot produce eggs they have no need for blood. Females require a new blood 'meal' for every nest they lay, and produce about 250 eggs per meal. Female mosquitoes live anywhere from one to several weeks depending on the species and the environment. Some females can survive the winter to lay eggs in the spring, before dying. Males generally live 4-5 days, and die after mating. When a mosquito bites it injects a small amount of saliva that thins the blood so it doesn't coagulate in the narrow channel of the proboscis. When it's done feeding, some of this saliva remains in the wound. This causes an immune system response and itching. A welt forms, known as a wheal, and the body goes to work breaking down the proteins from the saliva. The bite will continue to itch until the body has broken down all of the proteins.
It’s a myth that only the female mosquito makes a buzzing sound. The buzzing sound you hear is from the beating of the wings. Both female and male wings make a buzzing sound. Most people don't hear the male mosquito because it doesn't bite.
all very interesting don't you think' All I know is I am being driven mad by itching wheals or welts or what ever you choose to call them. Over 200 hundred people have had treatment for allergic reaction Torrivieja, Guardamar and San Miguel are worst hit but it’s none to good where we are. Whose making money out of this you may well wonder. Well anyone who sells insect repellent, anti mosquito coils and sprays not to mention pills and potions if the little buzzers do get you.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Celebrations unlimited


We almost thought we were back in UK at the supermarket today talk about busy. Well the shops have been on an open closed open closed cycle this week. Friday was Valencia Day, King James the First of Aragon reclaimed Valencia for Christianity on October 9th, 1238, and it’s the day remembered as the birth of the Kingdom of Valencia. Monday, 12th October, 2009 - Dia del la Hispanidad - Dia del la Hispanidad is the national day of Spain or Hispanic Day. It is held on October 12th every year, and commemorates the day when Christopher Columbus first landed in the Americas in 1492. To commemorate it, there is a parade led by the military (usually held in Madrid) presided by the Spanish King, who is the Head of State.
The large number of people in the shops reflects the mighty amount of eating that will take place on Monday as family and friends get together to celebrate.

Friday, October 09, 2009

My Sand Castles Bigger Than Yours!

Tidied up
tractors

A nice day off in Guardamar mid week. Lovely weather it’s still very hot for the time of year. Started off with an early morning swim in the sea then walked up to the town for a coffee and tostada with olive oil and tomatoes. We went to the lovely new place called Dia Y Noche around the corner from the Ayuntamiento on the road down to the beach. We had strolled along the prom on the way and were well impressed. Hats off to the local council for organising the repair work to the beach so quickly. All Gota Fria damage is well on its way to being sorted. Though the presence of rather large jelly fish in the water may well mean I do not take another early morning dip for a while, John got tangled with a beast of one, but is not suffering any ill effects, don't know how the jelly fish is faring though. Still a surprising number of people on the beach these days, but there are three local or national holidays in less than a week and it appears this is when a lot of people come down from Madrid to close up their holiday homes for the winter. It fascinates us the way many of them wrap all the railings in plastic sheeting for the colder months.
We were even treated to a bit of music from the local Marching Band, it been fiesta all over the region for the last two weeks. Lots going on in Rojales and Guardamar for the Fiestas Virgen Del Rosario (Mary Mother of Jesus) who is the patron saint of Rojales.
One little touch of genuine humanity I had to mention: as many of you know a number of local people try to make a living with their well constructed sand sculptures during the holiday season. When the gota fria hit the remaining sculptures were ruined. Some of the artists still had belongings on the beach, It was good to see there things had been neatly placed in a safe place by the council workers so that they could be collected by their owners.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Behind Locked Doors

Ribbon
Regular readers will know our blog is an eclectic mix of fun, fact and family doings. The subject of today’s blog gave me much food for thought and soul searching so serious is the subject matter. Domestic abuse in Spain, not an easy thing to think or write about.
Last year I met with a most interesting and informative Spanish guy who's partner is a psychiatrist working within the Spanish prison system. Her specialist area of work is domestic violence. We talked , amongst other things, about the subject of domestic violence in Spain. I had thought that the high incident of this awful crime could be due to the historic position of women in Spanish society. Although women have made huge leaps since the Franco days when their place was very much in the home with little or no rights. After discussing the issue I was better informed. There is without doubt an issue of equality for women in Spain but the horrific figures on injured and murdered women cannot be taken at face value. It appears that a high number of these crimes are perpetrated by non spanish nationals.
Tragically we have had this point driven home to us this weekend with a murder suicide in San Fulgencio. It appears a British national has shot his wife as she slept then turned the gun on himself. Two other women where killed in there homes in other parts of Spain this weekend. This is only the tip of the iceberg and I hope and pray that those persons in a position to make a difference to all sufferers of domestic violence, be they men, women or children will take heed and really move heaven and earth to offer protection through prosecution and appropriate sentences as well as counselling and places of safety. Lastly I would like to say behind every headline is a story of personal tragedy, there are family members trying to cope with the horror and grief of what has happened. Our thoughts are with them all. We hope upon hope things will change for the better in the not to distant future.

Look Out Look Out

big cat
Just in case this particular lady decides to take a holiday on the costa!
At present, up in the Tarragona area and spotted by several groups of people up there.
Right now search is underway for, wait for it, its true cos I read it in the paper, a lioness. The lady in question is thought to have escaped from a circus and has been sighted across the provinces of Tarragona, Teruel and Castellón.

A group of young locals who were out jogging close to La Sénia saw the animal on Saturday and raised the alarm, me I would have run like hell and hid! its believed the animal is running wild in the Ports de Besseit area, between the three provinces. More people saw the lioness on Sunday and again on Monday.

The environmental section of the Civil Guard, Seprona, is recommending trippers to stay away from the area as the search continues.

The regional police, Los Mossos d’Esquadra, local police and rural agents are all taking part in the search.
Serously though lets hope the poor animal is captured alive and well, maybe I should talk to Brenda from K9 about this?

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Water Water Everywhere

Guardamar reserve
Royales weir at the bridge
Its very hot again here, which may help to dry up some of the water that's still around. The new "ponds" that have appeared always look like the perfect breeding ground for the dreaded mossy, to which I am very susceptible. The river segura has had more water than we have ever seen in the almost 5 years we've been here. We have never seen the reserves at Guardamar flood so that was a surprise. John reckons he saw a crocodile in the water but I did not believe him, it looked more like a hippo to me!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chopsticks Allowed

Inside the restaurant
restaurant
On our quest for the perfect chinese restaurant experience we visited an establishment in Guardamar. Food was good but what really made the place shine where the staff. What truly pleasant people they were, had an interesting chat about China and learning other languages with a couple of the waitresses. The decor was very nice too, particularly liked a piece of art work showing a scene from china of a waterfall. Another thing was that the tables were nicely spaced so you did not have squeeze between to get to sit down. The usual bottle of wine with the meal and schnapps after but there was more a gift of a bracelet with the bill and another bottle of wine to take away with us. All this costs us a mighty, wait for it, 10.95. Its so nice to leave a restaurant feeling so relaxed and not to light in the wallet. The name of this new find is Chino Asiatic to be found at the far end of Guardamar past the church and carry on going past the Mercadona turning when you come to a large car park on the left( very handy for the restaurant ) the Chino Asiatic is at the far side of the parking.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Gota Fria is here

Guardamar beach
Guardamar beach damage
Guardamar. With torrential rain throughout the night and most of the day, the damage it is causing is all around, many people with ground floor or accommodation at the bottom of a slope have found the the water pouring under their doors as it cannot drain away fast enough. The roads have been like rivers with 3 or 4 inches of water running down them. Manhole covers in the roads are being forced up and gushers of sewer type water gushing out of them. All this water is running down towards the beach and has eroded the beach into deep gullies (some several feet deep) as it makes its way to the sea, taking with it the wooden walkways, rubbish bins and anything in its path. On Reina Sofia park the duck ponds have overflowed and the childrens play area was roped off as the water has washed away a lot of the sand.
Driving inland to Formentera, lots of the fields are under water and resembling paddy fields, the farmers are will like this as they normally have to flood the fields manually from the sluices.

Friday, September 25, 2009

This & That From Around & About

flag carriers
What changeable weather we are having after heavy rain and hail storms in some places now the sun is back, what a surprise! We sat on the beach and swam in the sea yesterday. Still quite a few holidaymakers about , taking a chance on some sun after the awful UK summer I expect.
Heard an interesting and some what alarming tale today. A local business woman was attending a funeral, well that was the idea at least. It seems everyone got to the crematorium and the proceedings ground to a halt. The Funeral Director refused to continue until payment was made, expected cheques had not arrived. This good samaritan stepped in and paid the bill, later to be reimbursed by the grieving family. Makes you wonder what has occurred with other expat funerals and payments that lead the company to act in this way. I await further info on the matter.
Dia is once again open all day, well it was at the last count. Have you ever noticed they always have women working in our local Dia shop, one of the women told me that the company never employ men at this branch, I shall expect to see some of the men from around here burning there tee-shirts in protest at this blatant sexism. Spain certainly has a long way to go on the equal rights issues but my usual observation are that its the women who are short-changed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is it Thursday already?

terrapins
Seems it is and no posting since saturday last. Its been a busy week. John did a stint on the animal rescue ambulance and boy did he need a shower when he got home. The hugh young dog he took to foster carers had been running loose eating anything she could find poor animal. What heroes the fosters are because this young lady is big now and still growing, lovely nature though as I saw when I meet petra out with her foster mum the next day.
As I say busy week, Bec poor thing has the flu, hopefully on the mend now though. We've had quite a bit of rain , oh yes bring it on. We did manage to get a nice walk through the park in Gaurdamar the other day though. The wild life there seemed to be enjoying the fact that everywhere had had a good wash. One lot of creatures that fascinates us are the terrapins in the parks pools. I recall friends keeping these type of reptiles as pets back in the sixties. There are native species of terrapins here in spain but we will have to get closers to see which these are. They range in size from one that would fit in the palm of your hand to huge things the size of a large dinner plate. The water fowl do not seem to bother them at all. We wonder what they find to eat in the pools, must be some good stuff has the population appears to be increasing

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Its that time of year again

ear candle time
you know the weather cools down, quite a lot as it happens, leafs start to turn,days get shorter, everywhere gets quieter and as for John? Well he gets out the Hopi ear candles and gives us all some entertainment. This time Joaquin was around to see the whole process, mind you they are effective much more so than any thing the Doc tried. You can see from the photo Joaquin thought it was hilarious, and now he wants to try it himself. If he does I will be waiting to snap away for a few more pics to put in the family album. Makes you wonder what future generations will make of the whole thing. Bit more interesting than your average holiday photos I should think.

NB: Hopi candles came from the Health shop in Guardamar. No ears where hurt in the making of this posting

Friday, September 18, 2009

Miniature Horse Show

horses
On Sunday the 18th of October the easy horse care rescue centre in Rojales is holding a miniature horse show to raise funds for the work they do in rescuing and caring for abandoned and abused horses. The centre have already rescued several miniature horses and will be able to highlight the beauty of this breed at the show. Visitors will also have the opportunity to view the facilities and see some of the other horses that have been rescued.
Miniature horses are found all over the world and come in various colors and coat patterns. The designation of miniature horse is determined by the height of the animal, which, depending on the particular breed registry involved, is usually less than 34–38 inches (86–97 cm)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Time for the ITV test again

ITV station
Time for a ITV test again, this time for the Citreon Saxo, its always a bit nerve racking in case there is a major fault you don’t know about, anyway I did not bother making an appointment but went quite early, 64 euros fee - a bit more than for the Renault but this test will be valid for two years. The examiners speak very little English and start the test by checking all the lights and wipers with the owner turning them on and off as requested, (if you know what they are asking for)
It only takes about 15 minutes for the examination, much of it is computerised. Exhaust emissions and brake diagnostics for example. Rust is not a problem here as it is on vehicles in the UK and the main focus is on the mechanics.
Anyway the car did not pass because the airbag warning light was showing on the dashboard, I have always thought it was a faulty connection so did not bother about it but it is enough to fail the test, on the way home I stopped at the mechanics at Benimar, and they set about fixing it straight away, plugged the car into the computer and the fault showed as a loose connection which they fixed for a mere €40. I have been told if you don’t return the same day you have to pay again for the test, i was not going to risk it so returned to the ITV testing station at Torrevieja where they checked it had been repaired and gave me a pass certificate for the car. Well, I am 100 euros lighter in the pocket, but at least I know the car is road legal.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Where do you go to my lovely

Seagull
Now here is a mystery that I hope someone further along the coast can solve. Its like this, ever since we have been here we have noticed large flocks of seagulls heaing south every evening at dusk. We have christened them the “squadrons". There can be anything from a handfull to a few hundred birds in any one formation. Question is where do they come from and where are they going to. You never seem to see gulls in large numbers down on the playa so we are assuming theses birds live inland. If they spend their days or nights near you please get in touch as we would love to know. We have thought about giving chase but that would be crazy would'nt it? It’s interesting that they fly in a V formation too, never knew that until we came here. Flying in a V formation helps the birds in covering long distances efficiently. All the birds except the first are flying in the upwash from the wingtip vortices of the bird ahead. The birds in the formation take turns flying first. A little upwash assists the bird to support its own weight in flight in the same way a glider can climb or maintain height indefinitely in rising air. In V formation of 25 members, each bird can achieve a reduction of induced drag by up to 65% and as a result increase their range by 71%. The birds flying at the tips and at the front are rotated in a timely cyclical fashion to spread flight fatigue equally among the flock members. The formation also makes communication easier and allows the birds to maintain visual contact with each other. Nature never ceases to amaze me.

Another Day Another Dog


Having a bath
and what a lovely wee chap he is.A Shi Tsu crossed with a Highland Terrier he is a handsome fellow and such a fun little dog with very endearing habits. The vet thinks he's around 10 months old and he is in very good health too. We are of course fostering him for K9 so if you know anyone who wants this lovely dog do get in touch. He is house trained have no bad habits as far as we can see unless you count stealing hearts!
We are often asked how we can bear to part with the dogs we foster and it is not easy as you can imagine however we always know they are going to a good home and will be well loved. You need to have a particular mind set to foster I think. What we say is its the same as looking after a friends pet you know you will be handing them back at some point, they are just on visit as it were. Its true that some of the dogs we have require that extra bit of TLC but what a reward you get for this as you see them begin to trust humans interact and enjoy their little lives.
Skipper who's with us now had a shower to day so he's looking extremely attractive though he's not quite sure about the tea tree and lavender aroma that's following him around.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fiesta paella


Last Saturday as part of the Fiesta celebrations paella was order of the day, two large paellas, one fish and one meat were brought into the Los Palacios Square and served up by Pedro and his team, Extra tables and chairs filled the square and a large crowd of local people turned up to enjoy a drink and delicious meal, There was not a scrap of food left. A large stage had been set up in the square and in the evening the entertainment was live music from female vocalists, electric organ and guitar, with a short interlude for the Firework display, although we did not stay up, apparently the live music and dancing finished around 2:00 and continued with a disco untill the break of dawn. Noticably the pool and bar were closed for the Sunday for the majority to recover.
Sunday At 14:00 was the official end of this Fiesta, Marked by a barrage of exploding rockets.
The swimming pool in the Square closes permanently for this year next Sunday the 13th September.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

One man and his horse

seed heads
man and horse
Another of our evening walks had us meeting up with one man and his horse. The meeting took place along the river path to formentera. We were treated to a short display of Spanish horsemanship, Caballo y Deporte, as he put his steed through its paces. Its always great to stumble upon these bits of real local life. The autumn was very much in evidence on this recent walk, witness photo number two the sun shining through the seed heads of riverside plants