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 *To e-mail me - write to email@example.com. I don't always answer or open attachments.
The Junta de Andalucía is considering changing part of its housing law, the LOUA, in the weeks to come, to help 'regularise' thousands of homes belonging to foreign nationals in the Valle del Almanzora, where 13,000 homes are considered illegal and thus, at a smaller or greater risk, under threat of demolition. Many of these homes, populated by elderly retired Brits, have no water or electricity and the reputation of Andalucía in the British home press is taking a beating. El País reports today on this situation in an article called 'Una regularización masiva en el aire'. A problem has been homes built on plots were the land was indivisible, and thus the plots themselves were illegal. The Junta has been unwilling to address this issue but may be prepared to become more flexible, says the report.
What looks like a major fire in the Lucainena/Sorbas area is flaming strong tonight. In Mojácar, we can see the flames reflected in clouds over the Sierra Filabres. A local weather watch site in English here. Over 200 fire-fighters working in the area - two fires: Lucainena and Somontín (Tijola way), according to Ideal here. The Lucainena fire is now in Rio de Aguas and Sorbas, according to the first link... Later: the Tijola fire is 'under control' (Ideal). Monday 12.30am. One poster says that Sorbas is now being evacuated. 01.00am. The glow in the sky has gone seen from Mojácar, and reports on the FB site say the fire is going down (someone in Cariatiz, near Sorbas). 04.30am. No fresh news on the fire in the press. Presumably under control? 09.00am. La Voz de Almería says the Lucainena fire is under control.
The ideal town hall shouldn't have much spare change lying about - it's not a business or a family - but it also shouldn't be in debt. Today's Idealreveals that the 102 ayuntamientos that make up the province of Almería owe to the banks and cajas better than 530m euros. That's 754€ per inhabitant. Alhabia, El Ejido and Macael are in the worst shape, while the following towns don't owe a céntimo: Armuña, Bédar, Benahadux, Benitagla, Castro de Filabres, Chercos, Cóbdar, Instinción, Nacimiento, Rioja, Santa Cruz, Senés, Somontín, Urrácal, Velefique and Viator. Mojácar residents pay the most in taxes in this province, at an average of 1,198€ (IBI, cars, plusvalías, licences etc). Town hall staff cost, across the province, an annual sum of 188,351,896€ to the tax-payers. The citizens of Los Gallardos, according to this report (and no doubt thanks to the large campsite there) pay the least in town hall wages at 135€ per inhabitant. The total for town hall costs in Almería is figured at 664,138,063€.
The CCOO union has been busy, warning Mojácar businesses to observe the proper opening (and closing) times during the Easter week since the town does not have a special tourist licence for longer hours. Other towns and resorts in Almería have this licence (Carboneras, Almería, Vera, Garrucha and Roquetas de Mar, together with the coastal strips at Balerma, Guardias Viejas, Almerimar and the road to Almerimar in El Ejido), but the Mojácar licence hasn't been issued by the Junta de Andalucía in time thanks, apparently, to the inertia of the paper-pushers. Businesses over 300m2 and/or chains can't open on Easter Thursday or Friday says the union with that certain satisfaction that these people have for buggering things about. More here.
I'm sure there is no one to argue that Spanish TV isn't terrible. Horrid programs, incessant interruptions and, if we are to believe, Government control over the news. The old analogue TV turned to Spain's adventure with TDT a few years back (losing me in the process) and now has a number of channels to entertain/infect the 'telespectadores' with an average of four and a quarter hours a day of drivel. Now it seems that the TV channels were issued in a peculiar way (under the, ahem, previous Government) and, following a complaint, a number of them must close down by May 6th. A bit like the story of our local radios which ended up with a reduced number of victors... Channels to go include three channels from Atresmedia (La Sexta 3, Xplora and Nitro), two from Mediaset (La Siete and Nueve), two from Veo TV (AXN and Marca TV), and two shopping channels (yukk!) from Net TV. With the loss of the British Satellite channels and now nine TDT channels, no doubt reading books and drinking gin will be making a comeback as popular entertainment.
Today's Voz de Almería has an inspiring article on Mojácar, starting with the new elevator (it sounds better in this context that the British word 'lift'). The ride takes you from a quarter-way up the narrow back road, the tail-end of the Avenida de Paris, to half-way up and the alarming Calle del Aire, which is so narrow that one can touch both walls with one's elbows. The Calle del Aire is transversed by a steep set of steps taking one up to the church and Ground Zero or back down to the Av de Paris. The narrow street will bring you out, past the tattoo shop, a couple of nick-nack shops and through an arch into the Plaza Nueva. The elevator, according to La Voz, 'hará más fácil la llegada de turistas', will make it easier for the tourists to make it to the village (shops), but I'm hoping we residents will be allowed to use it as well? On the beach, there's a four million euro plan to extend the Paseo Maritimo with a bike path, a pavement and flower beds above a stone retention-wall. The first part of this (with ministerial help) will be from the 'Cueva del Lobo' to the Red Cross, just under a kilometre away.
The Guardia Civil have arrested a band of seven house-burglars, responsible, apparently, for at least 45 attacks between Vera Playa to Mojácar and Turre over the last few months. The burglaries were either in rentals or unoccupied 'second homes'. More (without really saying anything, as the Spanish press prefers) here.
From tomorrow's Business over Tapas: It's strange how any 'good news' about Spain that appears in the foreign press gets the 'major treatment' here, while any criticism is carefully ignored. Even the rather dubious story in The Telegraph about Andalucía being one of the World's twenty best places to live, with an implanted agent's recommendation to buy in Vera Playa or Mojácar, has got the national papers and even the TV in paroxysms of excitement (we particularly like '...People dance and eat tapas over the strains of flamenco...'). Other great places to live (according to the same source) include Paris, the Bahamas, Sweden and Morocco. All with their special links to real estate agents. Not, in short, a very serious piece of journalism. Here'sEl Indálico taking the mickey.
Later: A Reader says - I noted all the comments about Vera and Mojácar and all superimposed over a photograph that looks like Algatocín, in Málaga province, on my "doorstep" and about as far from your neck of the woods as Andalucia allows!
Our local cat-house - the big one in Antas - appears to be having something of a spring-sale of non-essential material, which has been placed outside the front of their restaurant next door and includes a rather fed-up looking washing machine and a small number of used cars. To drum up trade they might want to consider putting up a sign that says something like 'Knock and Roll'.
While I sometimes tend to skip through that fine newspaper 'Las Noticias de Cuenca' without taking much on board, some news from the small town of Reíllo (pop 126, plus some goats) has staggered the Good People of Castilla - La Mancha and certainly is worth reporting here. Seems that the Socialists, while in office in the town's Rathaus back in 2008, changed the name of the high street from 'Calle Generalísimo' (in reference to the old Bugger himself) to José Mondejar, the name of a much-loved local schoolteacher and sometime mayor. There's nothing like switching the names of streets to confuse the taxi drivers and keep the stationer in small printing jobs. Now, the current mayor, a man of the PP persuasion, has pushed through an order to change the street back to its previous name, apparently against the wishes of both the population and the strangely named 'Ley de Memoria Histórica'. Wiki is a trifle stand-offish about the town and its traditions: 'Since time immemorial and following medieval tradition and folklore, the lunatic Botarga walks to the corners of the village, disguised with a mask and with a baton in his hand, followed by various groups of young and older people and livening up the streets that recall the dictator Francisco Franco, in violation of the current 'law of historical memory'. This story illustrates the mayor of the village and the party with which he is campaigning, the Partido Popular, to be a formation that supports the dictatorship without regard'. Just when we thought the entire experience of 1936 to 1975 had been artfully removed from the history and geography books.