Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Decoraciones - la última palabra

Fantastic Christmas decorations from Seattle on YouTube. Seems that someone has out done our local council.

¡Feliz Navidad!

A merry Christmas to all family and friends. For a welcome change from the normal consumerism we spent the day together making crackers for tomorrow.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


This site is quite amazing. It all started as a result of my son not being at school today and finding something to do. After a thinking session I decided to show him some history, both ancient and modern.

The modern history is the site where I work. I had heard of Carteia from another expat some time ago, but this was my first visit. I cannot recall a site with more handicaps than this one. It is hidden, no, VERY well hidden behind an oil refinery. During out time there we were the only visitors. There was no admission fee, and after a few minutes we were sorted out with a guided tour on a golf cart. The staff seemed genuinely surprised to see us. The tour guide (and administrator, workman etc.) was helpful and friendly - obviously from Andalucía but not local.

He explained that the site was first uncovered in 1927, though nothing much was done to the site until about four years ago. Because of this the site has been robbed of some items, nobody knows how many or how important.

According to our guide the site was originally Punic, but greatly extended by the Romans, and he estimates that up to 4,000 people lived there at one stage. Although clearly not on the grand scale of Rome or Mérida, I became entranced by the man's enthusiasm for the site he looks after.

Because of money constraints, only about 5% of the site has been excavated so far. Digs operate during the summer only. Uncovered so far is the temple, with a piscina at the back (see photo). The temple is partly covered by the site of a c.16th cortijo built by a Gibraltar family. They have also partly excavated the theatre on the North-East of the site, though we were not shown that. Part of the town has also been excavated and its sewers which have yielded some coins and other artifacts. A little further away is a lookout tower built by Phillip II from the Roman town walls.

I felt and mentioned to the guide that the site is like Fishbourne Roman Palace in the UK but with so much waiting the be discovered. I've entered the site on Wikimapia. You can see the ruins quite clearly - and also its appalling location!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Solo un fallecido en las carreteras andaluzas el pasado fin de semana

What shocks me about this story is that the unfortunate person was a policeman on traffic duty.

This is the second time in a fortnight that a traffic officer has been run over in Spain. The common factor between the stories seems to be that both were directing traffic through temporary diversions for other accidents. It's almost like Spanish drivers have a lemming instinct, when one accident occurs, the risk of another in the immediate vicinity skyrockets.

Please be careful out there this Christmas.

Monday, December 18, 2006

En la sombra

Watching the man drive this combination of tractors and its 1,600 tonne load brought to mind a line from Apollo 13 where Deke Slayton mutters under his breath to Jack Sweigert "Come on rookie, park that thing!"

Más decoraciones

It seems the town hall is determined to blow all its Christmas budget on lights. This is the latest addition to appear in the plaza.
At least If the heating fails in the house I can get warm by hugging Mary or Joseph.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Esperamos todavía

The boat managed to get on the berth yesterday, but no unloading so far.

The weather has not helped. It's been rough enough to break two mooring lines.

Hopefully today we'll get the tractors underneath the tank sections.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Un gran día III

No unloading today. The boat has dropped anchor in Algeciras harbour.

Un gran día II

The buzz on the site at the moment is whether the ship will dock today or stay offshore until the wind dies down a bit.
You can see in the photo that the tanks are in sections (3 per tank) because of their physical size. Each tank when assembled will be 50% bigger than the Iberostar Hotel here in La Linea, which I've just added to Wikimapia.

Decoraciones III

There must be a few watts of power in that decoration!

Decoraciones II

Our terrace illumination for Christmas courtesy of the town council.


The Christmas decoarations are up in town now. For some reason the council has seen fit to buy miles of purple rope light to put around the castle.

The blob on the right hand side of the photo is the 'Star of Bethlehem' which sits right above our house - saves having to use the terrace light to get the washing in at night.

Un gran día

The job goes well, and the project reaches a milestone today as the gas tanks arrive from Korea. They are about 1 mile offshore, so the zoom on the phone camera does not show a great deal... yet.
The concrete blocks in the foreground are where the tank sections will sit once offloaded.

El puente de la Constitución deja al menos 40 muertos en las carreteras, casi un 30% menos que en 2005

Some improvement in traffic fatalities, 30% down on the same period last year (1st ten days of December). Congratulations to the province of Albacete who managed to survive this year's puente without any fatalities, and to the region of Castilla-La Mancha in general with only four.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

DGT retira el carnet por puntos a un joven que cometió tres infracciones con su moto

Almería.- Tráfico disqualifies a youth who committed 3 offences in one day on his scooter.


The youth, identified as LMG, aged 19 becomes the first person in the province of Almería to lose his licence following the new points-based system introduced in July.
According to DGT, the youth committed three offences on the same day the new law came into force. The was spotted riding his scooter without a helmet by local police officers [worth 2 points]. The officers ordered him to stop which he failed to do [another 4 points], and he then attempted to escape by making dangerous manoevres [another 6 points].

Yesterday the youth's name was entered on the list of disqualified drivers, which bans him from driving. If he is caught driving again he faces a fine of between 301 and 1,500 euros and a further ban of two years.

Now he's lost his licence, LMG must pass a 'road re-education' course and theory test.

Since July, 213 drivers in the province have lost points from their licences.

It appears things are tougher here now than when I was a spotty youth in Portsmouth. I was hauled by the police back in 1984 for (would you believe it) seven separate offences committed at the same time! This caused no end of joking at my expense by my mates. Well, I'm older and wiser now, and big enough to admit it.

I was riding a scooter (Honda C90) back from work in the ferry port and the police fell in behind me because my rear light had failed. When they put on the blue lights I panicked and attempted to flee - pretty hopeless really on such a machine. They caught me, of course. I spent a night in Pompey nick and had to go to court. I still remember that day (the only day I've had in court). The sergeant stood to give his evidence and said "on turning on the blue light the motorcycle appeared to accelerate". Praise indeed!

The charge sheet read (if I recall rightly):
Failure to display a tail light
Failure to stop when ordered by a police officer
No tax disc
No insurance
Theft of a tax disc (I was displaying that from a mate's bike)
I forget the other...

Total damage was 6 points on my licence and a GBP 400 fine, which took me 6 months to pay off.

Thankfully, I learnt my lesson. Let's hope LMG does the same.