News, opinion, essays and links for residents and friends of Mojácar, Almería.
This site, started in September 2002, is called The Entertainer Online to continue The Entertainer name, the name of a weekly newspaper started by me in 1985 which ran without interruption throughout southern Spain until 1999 when a three year option to buy was taken by staffers. They never concluded the deal, or paid me, but changed the name when the option expired in April 2002 instead. Que vamos a hacer.
Overview of this site (Sections at bottom of page)
*Rambeau’s Diary – a blog *Freebie-Jeebies® – Some relaxed comment on the poor quality local free-press *Fallout – quotes from other sites *National News Certain pieces that catch my fancy *Local News Certain pieces that catch my fancy *Essays: Various imput *Links about Spain (see top of page) about 200 useful links, including my other blog Spanish Shilling - *Now ten years old (Dec 2015). *To e-mail me - write to email@example.com. I don't always answer or open attachments.
Where would you find a train robber, an English freebie and me all in the same sentence - the same Spanish sentence that is? The cyber newspaper El Español sent down a reporter to find out about Gordon Goody's life in Mojácar, bumped into some likely looking types in Angie's bar and wrote a very good article.
That irritating stretch of road between the Garrucha Las Buganvillas roundabout and the noble City of Vera is to be fixed. Yes, they did a bit of it nine years ago in 2006, a kind of trunk road thing, for a couple of kilometres and then ran out of juice. There are some trees growing on the land they cleared next to the old road. Now, we are told that work on this the road will be started later this year. 18,000 vehicles (apparently) use it every day!
Lijar is a tiny and evidently somewhat truculent pueblo in the interior of Almería. It is best known for having declared war on France, the whole of France, in 1883 and reluctantly signing a peace treaty with the Gallic Nation a century later in 1983. Wiki has the story.
Who are the most defenseless people living in Spain? I would say, the elderly retired northern European expats who don't speak a word of Spanish. You see, they came for the quiet life, the sun, that glass of vino at the end of the day. Now again, some of them have been casually (callously) punished by a stupid and uncaring system. Once again, it's the property owners up on Cantoria: six British-owned houses have suddenly had their electricity cut by the power company since the houses, for the past four years, have been paying electricity for an illegal line, connected, apparently, by the disgraced mayor Pedro Llamas who claims that 'the homes were connected originally for humanitarian reasons' and that the monthly electric payments were going to a local Dutch builder... Hey, fuck 'em, right? They are only Brits, and they can always buy candles. Buying in Spain? Be careful!
Carboneras has good cheap fish restaurants and is worth a visit for that. Beyond, past the horrific industrial area (with the dirtiest power station in Andalucía - and the other heavy industry next to it), there are some charming beaches and quiet, unspoiled stretches until you reach the beautiful village of Agua Amarga (in the municipality of Nijar). On the Mojácar side, there's that fantastic road which curls over the mountain like something from a James Bond thrill. Less apparent, at least in the Carboneras tourist pamphlets, is the unfinished Algarrobico Hotel, criticised and vandalised by Greenpeace (who nevertheless show a remarkable respect for the aforementioned power station). Indeed, the Algarrobico has been airbrushed out of one promotional video from Carboneras. Another charming site, much used in promotion, is the tiny sculpture-home built by André Bloc (1896-1966) on the other side of the town, so close to the power station that one unfortunately needs a PHD in Photoshop to show it properly.
John Davies has died after a long illness. John was the man behind Tarleton Travel, which for many years chartered airplanes from Gatwick and Manchester to bring tourists and home-owners over to Almeria: to Roquetas, Aguadulce and, of course, to Mojácar. John spent many years in this province, and had a house in Mojácar which he shared with his wife Fanny. Their son, Michael, is a well-respected local lawyer. There are probably few people who have done more for Mojácar than this man. In the first ever edition of The Entertainer - back in 1985, two adverts stand out - Michael Gem Sr. (who died a few months ago) with his furniture shop, and Tarleton Travel. John, may your final journey be free of air pockets, drunks and wailing babies!
One of Mojácar most colourful characters Gordon Goody (forever known as 'the Train Robber) has died this morning after a long illness. After his release from prison following his part in 'The Great Train Robbery' or El asalto al tren de Glasgow, Gordon moved to Mojácar in 1975 where he ran a beach bar - the Kon Tiki - for a few years. The Spanish chief of police in Almería, Robles, said he could stay here as long as he gave no interviews about his past activities. Gordon recently 'came clean' about who was the mastermind behind the famous attack on the train, and a book and a film have been produced about his adventures. My dad, back in the 80's sometime, heard that it was Gordon's birthday and invited him around for a drink. He presented Gordon with a wrapped gift - Gordon opened it and found a model train set.
Today's pleno ordinario, the once every two-month Town Hall meeting where the Opposition can ask questions, make suggestions and offer motions, was a debacle. First of all, of the three Opposition parties in Mojácar, only one, the Somos Mojácar, showed up. The other two, both with two councillors (PSOE and the absurd UM), never showed their faces, despite the fact that one of them, the PSOE, had a motion in front of the Mayor for discussion. As Jessica Simpson said at the session, the only tool in the opposition hands is the chance of presenting a motion. So her party presented six. Somos Mojácar para la Gente (the party's full name comes from its support from the Izquierda Unida) had some peculiar motions in today's session. These included inviting street performers to circulate freely - mimes, poets, musicians and the like (we remember the accordion players without pleasure); to promote Mojácar cuisine: migas, ajo colorao, pelotas and similar (it's done and done already, besides which - why should our other restaurants, whether Italian, English, Hindu, Argentinian, Mexican and so on be given shorter shrift?); to defend 'tourism sustainability' (whatever this means, in a time when there's little left to 'sustain'); making a municipal motion to the Ministry of Industry against the TTIP (!); to fix a road which is, as things stand, in fine shape and to move the Mojácar market inside the village. The undiscussed PSOE motion was to have the Town Hall buy the Hotel Moresco and, presumably, to fix it. The PP's own motion was to send a stiff letter to the President of the Junta de Andalucía campaigning against the iniquitous Andalucian Inheritance Tax (which occurs nowhere else in Spain). All motions were voted against except the last one by the PP rubber-stamp majority of seven. Four people (three of whom were reporters) sat in the Public Gallery.
There are, for the purposes of this essay, two types of property, or, as the slightly archaic word has it, dwellings. Those that are preferred by expatriates, or holiday-home owners, such as beachfront homes, apartments in urbanisations, farmhouses, village homes and so on, based around the relatively unimportant towns of Estepona, Marbella, Mijas, Mojácar, Altea, Jávea, Rosas, certain island villages and many other delightful resorts and towns located near the coast (the comfortable equivalent, in British terms, of owning property in Middle Wallop or Henley on Thames) and, in the other corner, the rather larger market which is the apartments that makes up and surround Spain’s cities. How many expatriates live in high-rise blocks situated on the edge of Burgos, or Cuenca, or indeed Madrid? Spanish indicators, such as Tinsa, or the information from the notaries, are skewed understandably towards this second type of property. But perhaps demand and growth go more or less hand in hand. There are both the bad times and the good times. However, perhaps a ‘bad time’ is coming for the expat market. We simply don’t know what might happen if the British people decided to leave Europe in the referendum, which might be held this year, or if not, in 2017. If they left – if ‘Brexit’ came to pass – together with a messy combination of anti-foreign legislation in London, a populist government in Spain, political confusion about Gibraltar and some simply bad choices from ‘the top’, we might find that the first kind of property, as mentioned above, would experience a sharp drop in value following a partial exodus of British citizens from Spain: a drop which would be felt by all expatriates, not just the British ones. For those of us who live in this beautiful country, that might not necessarily be a problem, but for those considering buying here, it could be a reason to wait for another year, or to rent, or to just pay a deposit. Only to be ‘safe’, that’s to say, because we just don’t know what is going to happen: all we know is that there is no one out there to argue our case.
The ecologists seem to be a concerned and dedicated group of individuals in Spain who often make a mess of things through ignorance, stupidity, cupidity and self-aggrandisement. Glossing over their intolerance of people’s right to a legal home (yes, even foreigners), having the wrong plant in the wrong place (it turns out the ecologists imported the cochineal beetle to kill off the ‘invasive’ prickly pear, now successfully doing just that from Valencia to Granada), and other gross stupidities natural for city-folk who attempt to intrude in the countryside. We turn to their basic argument regarding the undeveloped rural Spain: Over-population. The population per square kilometre in England is 407. In Spain overall, it’s 92. In the South, things get better still (as anyone who has looked out of an airplane window will know). Almería population is 80, but removing the population of Almería City and El Ejido, it drops to 48 inhabitants per square kilometre. Yet, we find the population of the Valle de la Almanzora (home of so many ‘illegal houses’), is just 35 (Wiki)! We are not talking of beachfront here, but small, moribund interior villages – who need investment, regular work and cash flow. But, for the ecologists, it’s all about Shakespeare’s Caliban or, maybe Rousseau’s Natural Man: proudly tilling the soil (that part which hasn’t been ‘nationalised’ by other ecologists), as his forefathers did before him.