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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I don't always answer or open attachments.
Those four pesky magistrates who said that the ghastly Hotel Algarrobico outside Carboneras, perched between a national park and the deep blue sea, was built on urbanizable land, were accused in the Supreme Court by Salvemos Mojacar of pettifoggery. Now the ruling has been handed down by that august body. The hotel was erected on legal land, as and when - or if not (says the Supreme Court slyly), then it wasn't for lack of trying.
They say there are 2.2 million Brits living on the Continent in the various countries of the EU. Most of them in Spain. I doubt that the authorities in the UK particularly know where we are and I am sure that the Spanish don't have much idea, despite the very exact numbers furnished on occasion by the INE. The concern is about the stay-at-home British dislike of the EU. I think that it comes down to a balance of ignorance, racism and the Daily Mail. If there were a referendum on the UK leaving the EU (and becoming a small and anecdotal country), most of us 'ex-pats' wouldn't even be able to vote in this spurious plebiscite, whose foregone result would affect us much more than any home-staying Briton. We would lose many of our European-given rights here and - while probably being able to stay - would be classed as non-Europeans with all what that entails. I wonder if attempting to claim a Scottish passport would be the way to go (since Scotland may leave the UK and re-join a grateful Europe). Perhaps the Spanish would allow us to take out fast-track nationality, or perhaps again, the EU would create a kind of Nansen passport for us. I certainly won't go back to the UK, but if 2 million of us did, where on earth would they put us?
The PSOE had a rare public vote for card-carriers (militantes) on Sunday to choose their new interim leader after Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba handed in his badge. While the natural leader (apparently) was Susana Díaz, the President of the Junta de Andalucía (placed there last year by the outgoing and disgraced Griñán): a candidate supported by the ex-King (!) amongst others of the Great and the Good, in the end, three other candidates duked it out, with an eventual win for the Susana-supported Pedro Sánchez who will be the probable candidate to lead the party forward following their primaries planned for November. He's young and handsome: just 42, a university prof and a party member from Madrid (Wiki).
The best hotel in Almería (living in Mojácar, I have to say I really don't like using 'Best' and Hotel' in the same sentence) is the old Gran Hotel de Almería, down near the water. It used to be a place with good food, a very good bar and a number of scruffy actors with I've-seen-him-somewhere faces wandering through the lobby and out towards Tabernas for another day of filming Spaghetti Westerns. That was before the 'sindicato' put the prices up so high that all the film makers moved to Yugoslavia, ending, as the Andalucians often do, any chance of wealth for the region (ask the Priors about this). It was a proper hotel, never phased by its clientele: an outpost of civilization in the dusty and unloved City. Now forty years later, it's become an anachronism. These days, we want modern. The old hotel, we hear, is now in the early stages of bankruptcy with a debt of 54 million euros. Now, that's a hell of a bar bill.
Competition doesn't work in Spain as well as it might. Tricks, influence, strikes, the protectionism of a 'colegio profesional', the handy application of a spurious law – all are useful methods of tackling what injured parties like to call 'la competición desleal'. But why stop in the commercial world? President Mariano Rajoy is looking for a law to grant the largest party voted the automatic right to the mayorship in local elections. This would weed out those meddlesome small 'hinge' parties that sometimes steal the town by allying themselves to the second party. Who likes the sound of that? The PP, the PSOE, and in the Regions, the CiU and the PNV are certainly prepared to support the obvious. Does this mean the end of the political tiddlers (the IU and of course the thorn in the flesh Podemos included)? Carmen Crespo, the Government representative in Andalucía, says pointedly: 'Government by the most voted list is a measure of democratic regeneration "that all citizens are demanding"...'. Indeed, why stop there: Andalucía is run by a coalition of the PSOE and the IU, while the most voted party was the PP. Of course, a minority president or mayor might not get much done without a few interesting side-deals with the opposition. I wonder what they'd offer. Editorial from today's Business over Tapas. Special offer: Free for the remainder of 2014 to The Entertainer Online readers. (email@example.com)
I was staying in Laguna Beach, California. A fancy town on the coast, famous for its artists. There are 180 galleries in Laguna. Here in Mojácar, there are essentially two. One is the magnificent Bar/Galería Delfos just past the Mojácar cemetery on the road to Turre, open when Mariano feels like it. There is always a collection of interesting art to admire or buy. Then, on the roundabout at Río de Aguas, on the way to Garrucha, there is the Galería Miguel Ángel, with regular exhibitions (here). There's an absorbing photographic exhibition on at the moment to do with the magic of the Cabo de Gata. A smaller exhibition on at present is at a place called Spain Activa Mojácar on the Paseo del Mediterraneo 167, with a show by Laura Quintana. Then, in this beautiful town which was discovered by artists in the late fifties, there is also the Municipal gallery at the Fuente which is of varied appeal. The Tourist Department has a Facebook page here.
I am back after a few weeks staying with my daughter Amber in California. Flying is getting to a disagreeable experience though, with the Americans particularly keen on putting visitors through an exhausting experience with Immigration. It's not the fingerprints or photo, it's the wait. This time was two hours of queuing, and last time, in Chicago a couple of years ago, it took four hours for several hundred of us to be filtered by one agent. You are tired after a long and cramped flight: it's not right. On my return to Spain yesterday, passport control took less than ten seconds. But the biscuit come from the English, of course. To make the World a safer place for travel, the Americans make you take your belt and shoes off, and you must waddle through a body-scanner before you can absorb the delights of the Duty Free beyond. The Spanish do a half-hearted version of the same thing, but the British - I was diverted via Heathrow - are ferocious. I have never cared for the UK, after going to school there (beatings, misery, Latin, sports, cold showers and, above all, wearing a tie - in the sixties - to mourn the passing of Queen Victoria who shuffled off this Mortal Coil back in 1901). Studies in England in drafty classrooms and merry holidays in Spain: it was an easy choice. I have never been back to England since. Indeed, I suffer from a recurring dream of being processed at the airport by some balding ginger creature with a cheap suit and an unpalatable accent, telling me I can't leave until I pass my Latin test. So, yesterday, and following two deep pat-downs at the hands of some fellow in a turban, I was passed to another officer, this time from the Indian sub-continent. He opened and emptied my suitcase, rifled all the books (looking for guns, explosives or copies of Rudyard Kipling), passed the eye drops and toothpaste through some fiendish machine, shook out my shirts and found - in a transparent plastic bag - a bottle of contact lens solution. It's 105cls and you are only allowed 100, he said. Well, pour some of it on the floor, I answered. No, can't do that, he said, tossing it into the bin. Imagine a Spaniard doing something like that! So, a good trip to the USA, where I saw two of our kids (Amber and Daniel) and met some of Barbara's cousins for the first time. Now home. Financial Timestoday: US and UK Tighten Airport Security.
My poor Barbara died on Wednesday June 4th and she was buried in the Mojácar cemetery the following day. She had suffered from a horrid disease called Wegener's Granulomatosis for many years and she died of kidney failure. I miss her terribly. Lenox
The King of Spain is to abdicate in favour of his son Felipe. The BBC has the story. Forty-six striking photographs of the future king here. Should there be a referendum on the monarchy before Felipe ascends to the throne? The left-wing thinks so here. The coronation of Felipe VI will be celebrated on June 18th. El Mundo kindly published its translation of the King's Speech at lunchtime today. A translation of sorts, that is: '...I made the commitment to lead the exciting national task that allowed the citizens to elect their legitimate representatives and perform that great and positive transformation of Spain that we needed so much...'.
(Please please don't let Lizzy do the same over in the United Kingdom)
I was sued by the owners of the Euro Weekly News some years ago for calumny and injuries and, following a court appearance in February, things have been quiet on both sides (after a peculiar flurry in some Manchester newspaper). The judge in an 'abbreviated court sitting' pretty much relieved me of the punishment asked for by the lawyers for the prosecution, and left me with a moderate fine. Now, following appeals, I am told I must report once again to the Court, in July next year!