Thursday, January 12, 2017

 

With the Free Press, Someone is Always Paying

Our local free newspaper, The Euro Weekly News (Almería edition), lives from its advertisers. Evidently. It's not a pay-for newspaper with some responsibility to its readership.  Thus, its content can sometimes be somewhat partisan, taking the view, above all, of its clients.
Such an example is a recent one-sided report about Mojácar's plans for the beach-bars, which failed to mention the spirited opposition from the general public for the project to extend the beach-promenade at the cost of a number of popular and historic beach bars.
But then, the Town Hall is an enthusiastic advertiser both here and on the local radio (Spectrum). These media live from advertising, not from good-will  (check Actualidad Almanzora for better reportage - a medium, incidently, that the Mojácar town hall refuses to consider for either news or advertising).
At the same time, other stories at the Euro Weekly are pushed aside. There was no mention of FITUR in this week's paper (the Golden Indalo?), nor of the sad anniversary of Helen and Len Prior, now living in their garage in Vera for nine years (since January 9th 2008) nor indeed of the recent death of Alan Bishop, one of the founders of The Entertainer (the precursor of the EWN).
The free-sheet gives some useful club and commercial information - but is it enough for one's news-feed?

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

 

Sexist Toys

Spanish toys can be sexist - you know, little fire engines for boys and pink dolls for girls. This naturally can stymie their later intentions to mature naturally and easily into either hetero- or homo-sexuals.
You might think that the foregoing is ridiculous, but the 'Observatorio Andaluz de la Publicidad no Sexista del Instituto Andaluz de la Mujer' evidently doesn't - with its complaint (here) that an unacceptable number of children's adverts on the TV are offensive with a painfully exact 43.27% of ads being deemed 'sexist' and therefore inappropriate.
What, someone has been watching all the children's telly over the season  armed only with a red pen and a bottle of tequila?
According to the leader of this alarming group, 'these toys reflect in a very clear way the gender stereotypes that are inculcated on impressionable children and young people, without any consideration of the impact they might have on the conduct of the future adult'.
The next ludicrous campaign, to be seen in a few days, is to switch warlike toys (little plastic guns and the like), for peaceful non-sexist non generic toys or games in non-gender identified colours.
Go!


Anyhow, what's wrong about a tool-set for girls? A pink one, obviously.



Monday, December 26, 2016

 

Where the Sun Passes the Winter Season

You've seen those endless agony of pictures from the Tourist Office - wide empty beaches, narrow empty streets, the impossibly long empty promenade? Honestly, it's not as bad as that here. There may not be many people around in the winter (the village, frankly, is a mess), but the weather is warm and a few brave restaurants and bars have remained open for the residents.
So, how to promote Mojácar outside of the rather obvious sun, sea and cheap souvenir season?


Well, follow the advice of the old mayor Jacinto, who back in the sixties coined the phrase 'Mojácar, donde el sol pasa el invierno'.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

 

This Year: Next Year



An interesting year indeed. In Spain, we managed most of the year without a government, and then got the one we expected all along. Along the way, the PSOE collapsed into third place obscurity. In the UK, the appalling Brexit was voted by a small majority and in the USA, an eccentric anti-establishment candidate took the presidency. How does all of this have an impact on foreign residents and investors in Spain? Will the housing market be further affected and could tourist figures stagnate? Could the British living in Spain find themselves excluded from EU privileges? Perhaps more worrying still – could the USA go, in some unexpected way, rogue? We must wait for next year to find out: January 20th is Inauguration Day in the USA for President Trump (or his replacement) and the end of March seems to be the final date for the UK’s decision on leaving the EU. 
Sometimes, living in the land of the Lotus-Eaters, we hope that none of those earth-changing events happening elsewhere will affect us. Maybe the pound will go up or down a few cents, but we shall soldier on, enjoying (as is our right) a glass of wine on our terrace as the sun gently sets behind the mountains that, in some way, have protected us from the real world for so long.
Maybe things will stay sweet. Maybe if we don't know what's going on, then those things we don't know about won't threaten our way of life here. 
Maybe. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

 

Mojácar Village: Quiet (Noisily speaking)

I'm told by Blogger that you are now liable to see some rubbish about cookies when visiting this and other European sites. You can remove this superfluous notice from your visits across the Internet once and for good with an app (at least for Firefox) called 'I don't care about cookies' here.


Here is the view from below of what was (and will, by Easter, again be) the mirador, the viewpoint from Mojácar village. They are trying to get people to visit the pueblo this winter: Good Luck with that.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

 

Horsing Around








Monday, November 07, 2016

 

The Old House in Norfolk

About the last thing I expected to be doing last Thursday was to be sitting in a bar in Villaricos with a visiting British couple, reminiscing with the husband: without doubt the only person in the entire world who would be familiar with my old childhood bedroom.
You see, it was his, too.
I was born in a large crumbling mansion in Norfolk in 1953 and spent the first thirteen years of my life, when not at a British prep school being beaten for neglecting my Latin, living a carefree if lonely life in the house and grounds of the family pile.
Both were extremely large. The house had thirteen bedrooms - not all in a comfortable shape, since eleven of them were empty - and it sat in a park of fifty acres, which it shared with a number of cows. The nearest building that wasn't, in some way, beholden to the 'Hall', was at the edge of a village about two miles away. The local policeman would regularly fall off his bike into the ditch rather than see my parents driving home in an erratic fashion from the nearest public house at some time after 'Last Call'.  In return, he got a crate of whisky for Christmas. In fact, now that I think of it, perhaps this explained more his lack of balance on the bicycle rather than his passion for noblesse oblige.
I had no siblings, and hardly any playmates. The house was far away from any neighbours and surrounded by a large park. In Norfolk in those days, besides the dearth of other local children, the fact was that they, as well as being within a comfortable radius, also had to be deemed appropriate to mix with a young gentleman like myself. 
This whittled the final list down, I think, to six.
School, while providing more children of an age and accent similar to me, was not a solution, since I preferred books, hated football, and was known to all as 'a solitary type'.
When I reached thirteen, and was on the cusp of being sent to a public school (even worse than a prep school, since the bigger boys at 18 were, in fact, grown ups), my parents sold the house in 1966 and sensibly moved to Spain, a place where there was no class system, and where the policemen preferred brandy...
On a flying visit back to England, they auctioned the furnishings with the help of the local vicar (during, I have to say, a drunken stupor: some odd bits being later sent in a large box to Spain, including a three-legged chair, an empty crate of whisky bottles and a broken bicycle pump) and left word to sell the roost, which eventually went to a family of whom I know nothing beyond the name - Leggett.
Many years later, when my father was gone to His Reward, I briefly toured Norfolk with my new wife, Barbara. We had come for a memorial service in the tiny Saxon church which stood on land we had owned. My father had given the church to, well, The Church, and in return, the diocese had agreed to allow a memorial plaque to be affixed in the nave, 'when the time came'.
We drove through those narrow Norfolk lanes that summer day in 1987, and where the old house had stood for several centuries, all that we could find left was a large pile of rubble. The Leggetts, it appeared, had been obliged to sell the park and the house to an avaricious gravel company who later mined the entire area, the Saxon church by now resting on a tiny island, apparently providing much of the gravel that lies under the M27. The preservation order on the house being no match for an unattended digger with the motor left foolishly running...
Here comes one of those odd things that happen to make life interesting.
The son of the Leggetts, a boy who spent ten years in the same house as me, who slept in the same bedroom as I did, now lives forty years on in France.  Like any expatriate of sound intelligence, he has a poor view of the Brexit nonsense and, while posting something scathing the other day on Facebook somewhere, found a post of mine nestling just above his own.
I duly got a message (the wonders of the Modern Age): 'Are you the one who...?'
For once, being called Lenox was a help.
My bunk-mate was coming to Spain and would be staying in Villaricos, the beach where the Americans mislaid a few nuclear bombs back in 1966, around the same time that my parents were settling into Spanish life.
Villaricos is about ten kilometres from Mojácar, where I live.
And so, last Thursday, we met over a few beers and a remarkable number of fresh sardines.
And we talked about the old house where we were both brought up...

 

The Old House in Norfolk

About the last thing I expected to be doing last Thursday was to be sitting in a bar in Villaricos with a visiting British couple, reminiscing with the husband: without doubt the only person in the entire world who would be familiar with my old childhood bedroom.
You see, it was his, too.
I was born in a large crumbling mansion in Norfolk in 1953 and spent the first thirteen years of my life, when not at a British prep school being beaten for neglecting my Latin, living a carefree if lonely life in the house and grounds of the family pile.
Both were extremely large. The house had thirteen bedrooms - not all in a comfortable shape, since eleven of them were empty - and it sat in a park of fifty acres, which it shared with a number of cows. The nearest building that wasn't, in some way, beholden to the 'Hall', was at the edge of a village about two miles away. The local policeman would regularly fall off his bike into the ditch rather than see my parents driving home in an erratic fashion from the nearest village at some time after 'Last Call'.  In return, he got a crate of whisky for Christmas. In fact, now that I think of it, perhaps this explained more his lack of balance on the bicycle rather than his passion for noblesse oblige.
I had no siblings, and hardly any playmates. The house was far away from any neighbours and surrounded by a large park. In Norfolk in those days, besides the dearth of other local children, the fact was that they, as well as being within a comfortable radius, also had to be deemed appropriate to mix with a young gentleman. 
This whittled the final list down, I think, to six.
School, while providing more children of an age and accent similar to me, was not a solution, since I preferred books, hated football, and was known to all as 'a solitary type'.
When I reached thirteen, and was on the cusp of being sent to a public school (even worse than a prep school, since the bigger boys at 18 were, in fact, grown ups), my parents sold the house in 1966 and sensibly moved to Spain, a place where there was no class system, and where the policeman preferred brandy...
On a flying visit back to England, they auctioned the furnishings with the help of the local vicar and left word to sell the roost, which eventually went to a family of whom I know nothing beyond the name - Leggett.
Many years later, when my father was gone, I briefly toured Norfolk with my new wife, Barbara. We had come for a memorial service in the tiny Saxon church which stood on land we had owned. My father had given the church to, well, The Church, and in return, the diocese had agreed to allow a memorial plaque to be affixed in the nave, 'when the time came'.
We drove through those narrow Norfolk lanes that summer day in 1987, and where the old house had stood for several centuries, all that we could find was a large pile of rubble. The Leggetts, it appeared, had been obliged to sell the park and the house to an avaricious gravel company who later mined the entire area, the Saxon church by now resting on a tiny island, apparently providing much of the gravel that lies under the M27.
Here comes one of those odd things that happen to make life interesting.
The son of the Leggetts, a boy who spend ten years in the same house as me, who slept in the same bedroom as I did, now lives in France.  Like any expatriate of sound intelligence, he has a poor view of the Brexit nonsense and, while posting something scathing on Facebook somewhere, found a post of mine nestling just above his own.
I duly got a message (the wonders of the Modern Age): 'Are you the one who...?'
For once, being called Lenox was a help.
My bunk-mate was coming to Spain and would be staying in Villaricos, the beach where the Americans mislaid a few nuclear bombs in 1966: it's about ten kilometres from Mojácar, where I live.
And so, last Thursday, we met over a few beers and a remarkable number of fresh sardines.
And we talked about the old house where we were both brought up...

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