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 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 input *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.
Can we, as ex-pats, find someone to speak for us - whether in Madrid, or London or in Brussels? We need security and a promise. I was at a meeting in Almería today about this - it could be the beginning of something.
A donkey was stolen from a farm in Turre last week by persons unknown and, after severe and revolting mistreatment, was killed in a foul and disgraceful way several days later. A local pet society called 'Huella Roja', taking a moment to point out that the donkey 'had all its papers in order', warns us that 'anyone who could do this to an animal is capable of similar acts of violence against a human being'. A reward of 1,000€ has been offered by the Los Gallardos campsite owners for information leading to an arrest. Story at La Voz de Almería. Two other animal-related issues have ignited passions locally (and many hundreds of posts in the local Facebook pages) - one of a dog horribly mistreated in a terrible way and left for dead, now receiving ministration from local ex-pats; the other - an itinerant circus with lions and elephants putting up its big top locally, to the general indignation of many. (In the same edition of La Voz de Almería, the story of a 12 year old child sexually attacked by her mother's lover in Huercal Overa for the past two years fails to attract any Facebook time)
It’s been a troubling week. Britain has voted in its referendum to leave the EU. For those who live outside the Sceptred Isle – whether those from the rest of the EU member states, or those Britons lucky enough to live as expatriates in another EU country – it is patently clear that we are in for some dangerous times: the threat of other countries looking to leave the EU, the threat of the markets, of a fall in British tourism, of the growth of European racism. For the British residents in Spain, anything could happen. We are warned of ‘scaremongering’ (we were before the referendum, too) and we are told to keep calm by Simon Manley, the British ambassador: ‘The truth is that right now, nothing has changed. You can still live here, work here, just as you did before’, says the highest representative of the UK in Spain. In a similar vein, ‘It’ll take at least two years before anything happens’ says the free English-language press, understandably worried about both the future of their advertisers and of themselves. Many Britons living in Europe are considering taking out nationality from another European state, and are searching anxiously for Irish grand-mothers, or Italian grand-fathers. Perhaps the Scots would leave the UK and join the EU (while we hold our collective breath and search for a Scottish nan). Never has the lottery of having an immigrant forebear been so intriguing. Others still are looking to take out Spanish nationality through the longer process of fulfilling the criteria (ten years on the padrón, a good knowledge of both the language and the culture, history and politics, as asked in a fifty-point questionnaire). Another plan is to sign some Internet petition, in the hope that the British or European governments will cast aside the referendum results, or allow us to take a European or a Nansen Passport. Spain would never throw us out; they need our money (we say, plaintively). But, there is another factor that edges us towards a ‘perfect storm’. This is the nationalist Spanish minister from the Partido Popular reminiscent of Nigel Farage called José Manuel García-Margallo who wants Spain to absorb Gibraltar in some way. Nothing much is planned for the Gibraltarians, thank-you, just the real-estate. For the 30,000 inhabitants, they can either go ‘back’ to the UK, or they can become unwilling (and potentially rebellious) Spaniards. What would London think? Would the Brits here become in some way involved? For the British living in Spain, unwilling to ever return to the UK, and without the vote either there or, in due course, here; perhaps without the European EHIC health coverage card and with their British pensions frozen to 2016 levels, without the opportunity of work and possibly in need of a visa to stay here (it could potentially even be worse than this, it depends on what the British Government – when there is one – decides to ‘do’ to its foreigners), we shall be known – and probably forgotten – as ‘The Castaways’.
Spain's second attempt to find a government in the last six months was held on Sunday, with better than expected results for the Partido Popular, and disappointing results for the other main parties. Now, as at Christmas, the four main parties will be jockeying for a stable government - with Mariano Rajoy as the most probable winner. In Andalucía, traditional PSOE heartland, the PP came out slightly ahead.
Truly a terrible day for Britain. The pound tumbles against the euro to less than par and Gibraltar falls to Madrid. A racist government is voted into parliament in London as Scotland successfully leaves the Former United Kingdom (or FUK as it will be called for short). Two million Europeans working there will be told to get work-permits, visas and, as President Farage signs an order in a drunken moment, they will eventually all be deported. For the British ex-pats - the two choices are clear: or get a European passport (Irish citizenship increases within a year by 10%); Spanish bureaucracy is overwhelmed as other Britons, furiously trying to remember their verbs, queue up outside the main police stations in Alicante, Almería and Málaga to get Spanish citizenship, their racist purple passports their only identification and the empty promise on the inside page their only hope. Or the alternative: a rusting British destroyer moored off Garrucha. The note from the captain read out by a tearful Richard on Spectrum Radio. 'British subjects are informed that they must report to Nº 1 Quay at Garrucha Harbour not later than eighteen hundred hours today for repatriation to the United Kingdom. British subjects will comply or Her Majesty's Government will forego any further responsibility for their protection. One carry-on bag per person will be permitted, no foreign companions and no pets'. I wonder where they'll put you all when you arrive in Southampton? What a tragedy.
Tito del Amo, one of Mojácar best-known residents, has died after a short illness. Tito was living in Madrid in 1964 and first came to Mojácar in January 1966 as an AP photographer to take pictures of the Palomares incident. He bought a ruined chapel here and, with the help of architect Roberto Puig, built an astonishing home in the village. Tito (real name Jaime del Amo) was an American citizen whose grandfather was from Cantabria and who had settled and married into Los Angeles, California. Tito's father was a friend of General Franco (they would go hunting together) and there is a photograph somewhere of the father, a vaguely uncomfortable caudillo and a long-haired Tito standing together in a line, with their shotguns open on their arms. Following some issues in Madrid in the early seventies, Tito moved full time to Mojácar and eventually bought Las Ventanicas, an estate on the beach, which he converted into a beach-bar complex, called 'Titos'. The bar became popular with several famous musicians, including Miguel Ríos, Jorge Pardo and the leader of Los Toreros Muertos, Pablo Carbonell. Tito was the local defender of the theory that Walt Disney was connected to Mojácar by birth and, despite a complete lack of any evidence, a Spanish film was made to back up his claim. Tito is survived by his three wives, Barbara, Mele and Marie, his companion Barbara and by his two daughters (XX) and Tesni. Tito's brother André started the first English-language daily newspaper in Spain, the 'Iberian Daily Sun' in around 1964. Another brother is Tomás, a photographer based in Hawaii. There are also two surviving half-sisters: Hillary and Christine. A couple of pictures and a write-up from 2014 en castellanohere.
Remember the plan last year by the Junta de Extremadura to build a padel-tennis court in the Roman amphitheatre in Mérida? Well, unlike the earlier idea, which eventually was withdrawn after massive criticism from the public, the next-door Junta de Andalucía has managed to turn the central plaza within the Almería Alcazaba into a concert stadium - at the cost of drilling various metal supports into the already weakened walls. A recent study describes the stronghold as in ‘a dramatic and lamentable situation, with a serious deterioration of the walls and interior buildings’. It seems that the Department of Culture from the Junta de Andalucía is spending ever less money on the upkeep of Almería’s most important relic. ‘Our leaders worry about the number of visitors to the monument, as if that mattered. It’s the presence of this beautiful castle, high above our city, what matters: not the number of tickets sold’, said a local politician this week.
A prisoner from the Acebuche high-security prison (near the Almería airport) escaped while seeing a medical specialist in Almería last Friday. The lock on the door of his retaining cell was broken, apparently. Then off through a window and down a drainpipe. The Press has discussed the story over the past few days, but the Public are hampered slightly as no one has released either a photo of the individual nor even his identity. He could, in theory, be standing next to you at the bar ordering a fruit punch... See Ideal here.
The New York Times has just published a lengthy article on the 'cover-up' at Palomares, following the USAF accident in January 1966 when four un-armed nuclear bombs fell from the sky, two landing on the ground and breaking open, the other two landing in the sea. The article is called 'Decades Later, Sickness Among Airmen After a Hydrogen Bomb Accident'. it deals primarily with the American service-personnel who attended the crash-site and were involved in recovery and clean up. '...Many men say they are suffering with the crippling effects of plutonium poisoning. Of 40 veterans who helped with the cleanup who The New York Times identified, 21 had cancer. Nine had died from it. It is impossible to connect individual cancers to a single exposure to radiation. And no formal mortality study has ever been done to determine whether there is an elevated incidence of disease. The only evidence the men have to rely on are anecdotes of friends they watched wither away...'. The report eventually switches to Spain: '...In the late 1990s, after years of pressure from Spain, the United States agreed to increase funding. New surveys of the village found extensive contamination that had gone undetected, including some areas where radiation was 20 times the permissible level for inhabited areas. In 2004, Spain quietly fenced off the most contaminated land near the bomb craters. Since then, Spain has urged the United States to finish cleaning the site...'. The article adds: '...About a fifth of the plutonium spread in 1966 is estimated to still contaminate the area. After years of pressure, the United States agreed in 2015 to clean up the remaining plutonium, but there is no approved plan or timetable...'.