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A happy ending in sight for the cemetery tree

What should be done with the eucalyptus tree that is a well-known landmark
outside the cemetery walls in Torrevieja? The tree is 3.6 metres in diameter
and has been a feature there for more than half a century. It is a rare species
of eucalyptus in Spain and is remembered and recognised by many visitors to
the town. However, its position and existence has been threatened by
Iberdrola’s plans to give more power to the desalination plant.
The news that it was to be moved caused great consternation amongst local
people. It has provided relief and solace for many on their journeys to and
from the cemetery and the idea that it should be re-located or even destroyed
has been met with horror.
It’s been under threat due to the laying of additional electricity cable needed to
double the capacity of the desalination plant. The tree lies bang in the middle
of the planned route for the cable. However, its predicament has attracted the
attention of many local people keen to see that the tree is not forced to budge
from its current location.
Some other trees in the area have already been moved. An olive tree and a
pine tree have been uprooted and replanted elsewhere. However, moving this
great tree is a more complicated procedure. Now, a solution has been found
at the last minute. An organisation called Dotor Árbol, a business from
Catalonia, specialises in the rescue and preservation of trees in similar
circumstances.
They use a special method that enables the cable to be placed below the
ground without the need to remove the tree. The good news is that this
operation will be paid for by Iberdrola and with a guarantee that the tree will
not be harmed as a result of the process, this has to be one piece of good
news.

Vicente García stand bites the dust

The councillor for sports, Victor Ferrández, has announced that the firm
contracted to demolish the main stand at Torrevieja’s football stadium has
begun its business. The work started with the demolition of the roof and a
crane has been sent in to dismantle it. The main indoor grandstand and
changing rooms are all due to be demolished and there will be disconnection
of all utilities.
Asbestos also needs to be removed from the site which will be left good
following the removal work. The demolition is expected to be complete by the
end of August. There are plans to replace some of the facilities and to ensure
that the team has somewhere they can play in future.
Councillor Ferrández has explained that in the new football season it is hoped
that the field will be back to normal and that the second phase can begin of
drafting a new project which will allow for new seating to be developed and
the stadium to have more modern facilities.
The need to demolish the stand and team locker room is nothing new. In 2014
it was recognised that there were deficiencies in the building work and a
technical report suggested that measures should be taken to limit the use of
the stand and accompanying locker room.
The stand did not, in fact, have a licence and it would have been too
complicated to have made the corrections necessary to enable one to be
applied. Instead it was decided that demolition and rebuilding would be a
better option. A minor contract has now been issued for a drafting of the
project and work is being carried out following the approval of the 2018
budget.

Improved view for Punta Prima.

 
The Municipal Department of Beaches, which is headed by Councillor Luisa Boné, has
carried out the refurbishment of the viewpoint on the promenade of Punta Prima.
The viewpoint on the seafront was in a very bad condition. The sidewalk was damaged with
numerous loose stone slabs and the pergola had only half of the prefabricated beams, as
they deteriorated steadily due to years of wear and tear. The balustrade had numerous
broken sections.
The city councillor said: “We from the Municipal Department of Beaches felt it necessary to
renovate this viewpoint, because it was possible to turn it into one of the most beautiful
enclaves of our coast, where we can sit down and enjoy the wonderful view."
"The work consisted of the demolition of the old structure, the preparation of the soil and
the construction of a 24-metre- long and 4-metre- wide pergola made of white wood, the
cover of which consists of planks which are separated from each other and so allow for a
shadowed effects.”
She added that the beams and planks along the pergola were placed in such a way as to
create the optical effect of a wave, ideal for the enclave in which the pergola is located. And
a railing was installed with the same planks from which the pergola was built to add
symmetry and better aesthetics. The stone floor was replaced by a wooden grey floor that
matches the colour of the pillars. Four grey wooden benches in a modern style complete the
viewpoint and give it the pleasing look that the government team wanted to achieve.
The city councillor for beaches pointed out that the cost of renewing the viewpoint at Punta
Prima is equivalent to an investment of €37,458 including VAT and added that the Municipal
Department of Beaches will continue to slowly improve all the facilities that are located on
the beach or in the immediate vicinity.

Hard work pays off for Footwork duo

Danielle Dickie and Neve Bradley,are about to fulfil their dreams of becoming professional dancers ,
when they take the next important step by attending UK Performing Arts colleges in September
this year. Both have auditioned and been accepted and are very excited at the adventures which lie
ahead for them.
The girls have attended classes at Footwork Dance Studio in ballet, tap modern, jazz and acrobatics
under the tuition of Principal Erica Dorrill 3 or 4 days a week over a period of time. Their progression
has been such that they have reached a standard to allow them to take the next steps to become
professional dancers and performers.
Principal Erica Dorrill said: “Everyone wishes them lots of luck for the future. Both girls have worked
extremely hard and proved to be a great credit to the Dance School.”
Erica added, that she will be sad to see the girls go, but is happy in the knowledge that when
students take the next steps towards their chosen career, you have done your job correctly.
If you are interested in taking part in classes, at Footwork Dance Studios, they have classes for
everyone, from 2 years through to adults, with the eldest member being 80 – proving it’s never too
late to join a class. Contact Erica on 662003823, email: footworkdance@hotmail.com or check out
the facebook page ‘Footwork Dance Studios Spain’.

Donation to homeless men

Imagine living without electricity, running water, sanitation – all the conveniences of
modern living. People living rough on waste land in Orihuela Costa face just that.
But now they have a petrol-driven generator, provided by a local church and a charity,
and at least can charge batteries to have electric lighting and can use low-powered
electric appliances.
It’s all thanks to the contributions from the congregation of the International Christian
Assembly in Torrevieja and Help at Home Costa Blanca, who jointly bought the 200
euro generator.
It was presented to those living rough by Carmen Perez, president of the charity and
church pastor Rafael Restrepo.
In addition, the church and charity have given the homeless in the area food parcels,
blankets, bedding, clothing, cooking utensils and personal hygiene items.
It was the idea of Eileen Mayes, past president of the charity and a member of the
church who realised there was a group of people living from hand to mouth beyond
the reach of social services’ facilities.
“There are a multitude of reasons why people end up homeless or living rough –
mental problems, marriage break-ups, things going terribly wrong in their lives which
they cannot cope with. There is no excuse for any country in the developed world to
allow people to slip through the net and turn their back on them,” said Eileen.
Pastor Raphel agreed. “It is wrong for people here in Spain to have to live this way and
there should be somewhere people can go where they have a permanent roof over
their heads and have the basic needs for modern living.”
Carmen added: “There is some accommodation, but this is in Orihuela town, miles
away from the coast and there is no provision here. Sadly the council in Orihuela think
most people on the coast are all financially secure second home owners who come
here for holidays.
“The truth is far from that. Sadly there are too many expats living on the coast who
don’t register on the Padron, don’t vote and don’t figure on council statistics, and as
the Padron is used to allocate funds per area, much money which should go on
providing facilities on the coast instead goes to Orihuela town and the surrounding
villages.”
Eileen added: “We need to get people on the coast organised to get this dreadful state
of affairs sorted. People forced to live rough because of a lack of social services care,
are out of sight and out of mind. But a lack of council funding for Orihuela Costa is
there for everyone to see every day of the week. It’s staring you in the face with roads
full of unrepaired potholes, of pavements not maintained, and if you need an
ambulance or fire service be prepared to wait ages because they have to come from
quite a distance. Lives are at risk and it needs to be sorted.”
She added: “These homeless need to have a secure home in which to live. Not be living
under the constant threat of eviction on top of all the other hardships they are facing.”

Cinderella comes to Hondón de los Frailes

The Frailes Players’ big night arrived recently as Cinderella came to the stage (Oh no she
didn’t. Oh yes she did!) and the spotlight shone on this first endeavour by a group of people
showcasing their talent in the best traditions of a pantomime.
Playing to a sell-out audience over two nights, the theatre in Hondón de los Frailes rang with
the traditional cheers for the goodies, boos for the baddies and the ever popular phrases
‘He’s behind you’ and Oh no I didn’t’, ‘Oh yes you did’ in a show full of audience
participation.
Who knew that so much hidden talent was to be found, the scenery, costumes, make-up,
sound, lighting plus importantly, the music, were of a very high standard and it was
apparent that everyone involved was thoroughly enjoying themselves. The audience
laughed at the ‘Shifty Scene Shifters’ who broke the mould by sometimes working their
magic in full view of the audience. Buttons, played by Janni Menday, had a wonderful young
sidekick, Bows played by Scottie, a young lad who has a great future in acting.
Young children from the local school were the stars of the night as they became a wonderful
cast of Fairies, Woodland Creatures and Stars. Denise Watson as Cinderella charmed her
audience as well as her Prince Charming played by Kim Vance.
The Prince was ably assisted by his valet, Dandini, played by Barbara Colclough and to round
up the Palace crew was the Herald played by George Rushton.
Now for the baddies, one had to feel sorry for Baron Hardup (Paul Menday), his was a tough
row to hoe, short of cash and with a terrible taste in women, he married the proverbial
Stepmother, (Tim Kay) who decided that her Really Ugly Daughters, Benidormia (Jim
Gallamore and Magaloofia (Len Simm) were going to rule the roost in future and the only
place for poor Cinderella was as a down-trodden slavey.
True to the best Panto tradition, in steps the Fairy Godmother, (Carol Rowland) to save the
day and with the help of her Fairies, gets Cinders to the ball after a miraculous change of
dress and the transformation of a giant pumpkin and mice into a coach and horses. The
story then followed through, the slipper was lost, found, tried on the Ugly Sisters (and boy
were they ugly!) and at last, Cinderella emerges triumphant to marry her Prince.
A wonderful evening all round with grateful thanks to the Director, Martyn Rissen, the
Producer, Carol Rowland and all the wonderful cast, both front of stage and those behind
the scenes. But of course none of this would have been possible without the wonderful
cooperation of the Hondon de los Frailes Ayuntamiento and especially Victor.

UK bottom of ‘quality of life’ study

Spain came out second from the top in a recent study by uSwitch on the quality of life across
Europe. The UK did not fare so well, coming out at the bottom of the table. Despite earning
more money than average Europeans, Britons are not as happy. Not helping the fun factor is
the lack of sunshine, the high retirement age and the third lowest health spend as a
percentage of the country’s GDP. Workers in Britain have five and a half fewer holidays and
food, fuel, alcohol and cigarettes all cost more in the UK than elsewhere in Europe. Only 5% of
those Britons surveyed said that they were happy.
Spanish people can expect to live just over a year longer than people in the UK, and enjoy the
highest number of holiday days in Europe with 39 days. Spain also has the lowest alcohol price
of the 10 countries included in the survey.

Lane Discipline Explained

There have been a number of reports in the press regarding drivers in Spain being fined for driving in the
centre lane of a motorway, even when the road is clear. This is an offence and drivers who do so can be
fined, but the reality is, other than we drive on the right in Spain, there is no difference to the UK, where
“middle lane hogging” is also an offence.
Looking at how the two countries compare on roads with more than one lane in the direction of travel, if
we first look at the UK, and what Rule 264 of the Highway Code states.
“You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a
number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely
past.”
Comparing that to Spain, where we drive on the right, in fact the rule says as far to the right as possible,
Article 31 of the Reglamento General Circulacion is where we see rules for normal traffic flow explained.
“On roads with more than one lane for the direction of travel, the normal flow of traffic is in the right
hand lane, although you can use the other lane(s) when traffic circumstances dictate”, there is also an
extension of the rule which states “provided you do not hinder the progress of another vehicle”.
Although the wording is slightly different, bearing in mind the Spanish version is an interpretation for
ease of understanding and not a literal translation, the concept is the same. Under normal traffic
circumstances, unless traffic determines otherwise, in the UK we should always drive in the left-hand
lane, in Spain we should always use the right-hand lane.
The problem has always been one of understanding the rules of the road. The concept forms an integral
part of UK driver training, and has done for many years. You only have to look through historic copies of
the Highway Code and you will see the rules clearly printed. But it is a rule seemingly difficult for many
to understand.
In 2004, the UK launched a pilot scheme with road signs pointing out the correct lane discipline, and yet
these were still largely ignored.
More recently, the UK changed their procedure for dealing with drivers who remain in the centre lane,
by changing the procedure for reporting the offence and making it punishable by fixed penalty notice,
thus drivers can be fined on the spot and be 100 pound out of pocket.
Back in Spain, the same process is already in place. That is why drivers are issued with on the spot fines,
not because they are targeted for being foreigners or any of the other excuses that have been made, but
because driving in the right-hand lane is the normal procedure for the flow of traffic, and the fact that
“nobody else was around” is not a justifiable excuse for committing any offence.

Raising money for suicide awareness

It’s the perfect combination if you can raise money for a worthwhile cause
whilst having fun. That’s what a group of volunteers have been doing on
behalf of the Samaritans in Spain. They took part in a sponsored Zip Wire at
La Rufeta to raise money for suicide awareness.
The Samaritans in Spain receive many calls from people who are
experiencing such emotional distress that they are considering taking their
own life. Through encouraging people to talk and giving time, the volunteers
who are on the end of the Samaritan’s help line provide a much needed
listening ear.
However, it’s also important that society generally is aware and understands
the issues associated with suicide, depression and mental health generally.
There is still stigma around the subject that can prevent people from coming
forward when they really need to.
Events such as this are hoped to raise awareness generally amongst the
public. On this occasion it was organised by Maureen and Colin Smith of San
Luis, Torrevieja. Those participating included Maureen, Colin, Johnno, Kath
and Alex. Recording the event for posterity and a little publicity too was
Warren Bradley. Thanks go to all those who took part on the day as well as
those who sponsored them.

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