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ASOCIACIÓN EL VALLE DEL EMBALSE NOTICIAS – MAYO EDICIÓN


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IN THIS ISSUE

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1. FROM THE CHAIR APRIL MEETING NOTES 2. MEETINGS & EVENTS. 3. LAKE VIÑUELA PHOTO CLUB 4. WALKING GROUP 5. QUAD DIARY 6. DRIVING LICENCES 7. DRIVING LICENCES POTATO POISONING 8. BIRDING NEWS 9. COMMITTEE

EDITORIAL Hello members, here is my first attempt at the Newsletter! I hope you will bear with me for the next month or so until I get my bearings, it’s quite a lot to learn and I am extremely grateful to Doug for his help with putting this edition together. There has been quite a bit to put together this month, there is an article on the dangers of eating green potatoes and the ongoing saga of driving in Spain.

FILM & SUPPER NIGHT Report by Alan Impey Friday 20th April saw the latest foray into the world of film with the showing of War Horse at Paco's Bar Puente de don Manuel. 30 seats were sold for the film and supper night and as per the usual format we ate first from the pre-ordered choice of rosada and chips or chicken and chips. No complaints were heard about the food which was served at the table. A welcome surprise was the ice cream desert!!! The film commenced at 8.30pm and judging by the silence throughout it was well received. Most of the tables sported packs of tissues ready for tears to fall. I was not aware of anyone not enjoying the film but a couple of comments were picked up about the film being slightly long and a short intermission would have been liked. That said it was an enjoyable evening and the sub titles, "Property of DreamWorks Films, Do Not Duplicate" that appeared a couple of times were not charged extra but were included in the original cost of a reasonable €7.50. As usual someone has to organise, set up and run things so thanks to Stewart, Lindsey, Jane and the rest of the committee for their time and effort in putting on a good evening’s entertainment.


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FROM THE CHAIR a message from Lyndsey Padley On behalf of your new committee we would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support, we look forward to working with you over the coming year. In order to fulfil our duties we do need your input, ideas and suggestions for forthcoming events and club nights. So get thinking!!! There are no bad suggestions, they can always promote a good one (the only bad suggestion is one that is never mentioned!!). A big thank you to Sue for her years as Chair person we wish her well in her new role as Editor of the newsletter. We look forward to seeing you all at our next club night.

APRIL MEETING NOTES Monday 2nd April 2012 was another milestone in the history of the AsociaciĂłn El Valle Del Embalse. It was our A.G.M.!!! A somewhat disappointing 57 members attended this important meeting from a membership approaching 200!!! Sue, our outgoing chairperson, opened the meeting thanking everyone attending and introducing two new members, George and Hazel, a couple well known in the dancing circles. She then handed over to Terry, our treasurer, who presented the yearly accounts, and who pointed out that he, and the committee, were aware of the increasing bank balance and that it was intended to take steps to reduce this in the coming year with further subsidies of events to the memberships benefit. The yearly accounts were accepted by the membership. Sue then confirmed her standing down as chairperson and thanked the committee for their support in the past year and also thanks to Eddie, the box, Kemp, myself for report writing, which I enjoy doing, and a special thanks to Mike Hickman who continues to run the web site from England and keeps the site up to date. Sue also gave an overview of the past years events organised by the committee, it was an impressive list, and brought home the fact that a lot of hard work, time and effort is given by the committee. It was now time for the election of the new committee and as there were no positions being contested I will only name the four main elected members, Chair-Lyndsey Padley, Vice-chair Jane Harris, Secretary Stewart Common and Treasurer Terry Frost. (All committee members can be found on the website and in the news letter. Congratulations and thanks to all) Lyndsey then took control of the meeting and outlined her proposals for the coming year and then introduced Peter Goreham, another unsung helper, who presented an informative and interesting quiz consisting of forty questions with an animal theme. The winning team scored a creditable 35 (the team I was with would have pushed them hard if not for some strict scoring from Peter) and a bottle of wine went to each member of the winning team. It was now time for The Box which contained â‚Ź230.00 no one was successful in drawing the winning key and it rolls over to next month. Lyndsey then closed the meeting and all that remains is to wish Lyndsey and the incoming committee all the best for the coming year and thanks again to Sue who is not going far as she has volunteered to take over as editor of the newsletter. This leads into a special thanks to Doug who has done a great job as editor in his time in the roll. Report by Alan Impey


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FORTHCOMING MEETINGS & EVENTS ALL MEETINGS START PROMPTLY AT 7.30pm Monday 7th May: MEETING FOLLOWED BY A PERFORMANCE FROM THE DRAMA GROUP Monday 4th June: MEETING FOLLOWED BY A TALK FROM TIM CHURCHILL Monday 2nd July: MEETING FOLLOWED BY EVENT TO BE ADVISED

TUESDAY 8th MAY LEAVING 5 BERTURA (HOTEL ROMERO) 8am COST, MEMBERS 12€ - GUESTS 14€

WEDNESDAY 20TH JUNE SKITTLES 3:30pm FOR 4:pm. FOOD approx:8pm MEMBER BOWLERS 10€, MEMBERS 6€. NON MEMBERS 8€

DATE; SATURDAY 21st JULY LEAVE 5 BERTURA(HOTEL ROMERO) 8pmLEAVE RACECOURSE 2am MEMBERS 11€ NON MEMBERS 13€

DATE; WEDNESDAY 15th AUGUST LEAVE 5 BERTURA (HOTEL ROMERO) 6pm, LEAVE ALMUÑECAR 1 am MEMBERS 8€ NON MEMBERS 10€

DATE; SATURDAY 8th SEPTEMBER DETAILS TO BE ANNOUNCED LATER


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We now meet at 11.15am on the first Thursday of the month at the Moreno’s Bar, Puente Don Manuel.

After a busy month, March came to a close with the entries for our latest challenge, an exercise in the technique of “Colour Popping”. The process is achieved by using a “photoshop” programme or one similar. The following are two of the images submitted, the other 23 entries can be viewed via this link: http://tinyurl.com/d8pjgh8 April’s challenge was in the style of Martin Parr, he is a member of the famous “Magnum Photos” agency. Martin is a photographer that particularly chooses the typical and sometimes funnier side of life. His work is well documented and can be viewed on the internet.

There is a choice for May’s challenge, either an open category or an exercise in the technique of “Air Brushing” providing a before and after photo in order to show the difference. A field trip to the botanical gardens in Málaga on Friday, 4th May is being organised. If space allows we may include photos in our June report. LAKE VIÑUELA PHOTOGRAPHIC CLUB are holding a PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION st Thursday, 31 May at Bar Scirroco, Chiringuito Antonio from 5pm.

June’s challenge will be “Reflections” a subject we are returning to. If you feel inclined to enter any of our challenges please do so, you can join us at any time either by applying for a membership form by email to lvphotoclub@yahoo.co.uk or attending a monthly meeting at Moreno’s Bar on the first Thursday of any month at 11.15am. We are an independent club with no conditions of membership other than an interest in photography. Follow what we do and when by signing up to our blog:https://lakevinuelaphotographicclub.blogspot.com


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EL VALLE MONTHLY WALK Despite the weather forecast for rain about twenty people turned up for this month´s walk on 12th April and we got off to a prompt start. It started and finished at the popular Lo Pepe Molina in Almayate and meandered through a variety of different terrains; country tracks, palm groves, riverside, fields of artichokes and lettuces and even a stretch of beach. We had been promised a walk in the Axarquia with not a single hill and that´s what we got. We skirted the village around the hill with the Osborne bull then crossed under the N340 before strolling through open fields down to the beach and back again on dry river beds. The local livestock obligingly put in an appearance: oxen hitched to a cart, a group of plump mules pacing around a small corral and some donkeys with their foals – there was a lot of eeing & awing (by us, not them). We stopped at some Phoenician ruins where the group leader gave a short but informative talk about the relevant history of the old port of Mainake and then made our way to Almayate Costa. A lone escapee from the nudist beach was enjoying the morning air and a splinter group decided to walk along the beach (!). We arrived back at the restaurant in time for lunch. Should we eat on the terrace or inside – what would the weather do? It was sunny so the staff obligingly moved us outside. The sun went in – oh well you can´t get it all right.

Thanks to Jan and Barry Barnett for leading the walk and organising a good menu del día including paella and generous portions of spit roasted meat. Walks take place usually on the second Thursday of the month. Start points and times differ; please check current newsletter for any changes to venue or time. The following are the times and starting points of forthcoming monthly walks:MAY 10th : Route by Anne Dibden, meet at the crossroads (A356) approx 300mtres west of “Camping Bar” - 11am JUNE 14th : Route by Stewart Common & Elaine Edwards, meet at km29 – A356 (second Los Romanes turn off, above Camping Bar) – 6pm please note time change.


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QUAD DIARY By Chris Pegman ‘Compare and contrast...’ is a favourite opening gambit for many teachers- ‘Compare and contrast the life of the baboon to that of a politician...’ is one that could have inspired me to write at school. (I would obviously have argued strongly on the side of the baboon being the one to be allowed to remain in the balloon!) This month has been a time to compare and contrast our life in Spain to the life we would have been able to lead in the UK. Family issues surrounding the elderlies led to a hasty departure back to Manchester. The first comparison had to be the weather. After hearing all about BBQs being the order of the day for a while, whilst we were there, roads were closed by drifting snow! Another issue that (literally!) brings you to a halt is the amount of traffic and the number of people. Who allowed the Trafford Centre to be built where it is?! Anyone who knows the M62 from Manchester to Leeds will understand the frustration of gridlock. Twenty miles of 50 mph roadworks- if we could have done anywhere near 50 mph it wouldn’t have been so bad! Looking out of the window at identical estate boxes, on a grey over-cast day, is a clear reminder as to why we chose the Spanish countryside. The amount of open countryside in the UK appears to be shrinking. Where there were open views before, there are now legions of wind turbines marching across the hillsides. Importantly, from a personal and selfish point of view, unless you own a farm or an estate, there are few opportunities to ride a quad off-road! (I had to get a mention of ‘quad’ in, as this is a ‘quad’ diary!) In Spain there is kilometre after kilometre of empty tracks, winding through stunning scenery. (See photo). Returning to Spain the light, the quality of the air, the views and the space assault the senses. The day we stop appreciating it is time to give up! I will even be able to put up with the expats who can’t even be bothered to learn the Spanish for ‘a cup of white coffee’ and those who continually complain about ‘the system’. Those who moan about the queues in Malaga at peak season need to be forced to park up on the M25 or the M62 for a week in penance! We choose to live here so we need to either ‘put up or shut up’- a trip to the UK is a sure-fire way to restore one’s perspective as to what is important in life!

“The Diabetes Support Group” Contact Ann Bowles: 952.464.184 / 607.879.450 abowles@terra.es / www.lacaladiabetics.com


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DRIVING LICENCES AND THE GUARDIA CIVIL The note below is my experience only about Driving Licences and their use in Spain.

On the February 4th 2012 I was stopped for what I thought was a routine road side check. I gave the officer the vehicle documents; he also asked if I was a resident of Spain which I am. He then asked to check my driving licence (which is a UK issued licence with the European logo and has three years left to run). He checked all documents while sitting in his vehicle, which he must have checked with Trafico Malaga. When he returned all documents to me he also gave me a Denuncía which he asked me sign, I did not sign it as I did not understand what I was signing for. I have since found out since that the Denuncía stated that I did not have a Medical certificate registered with Trafico Malaga. He did not have any problems with any of car documents or my UK driving licence, only the fact that I did not have the medical. I asked him to explain and all he said was that I had to have a medical for driving in Spain. Following this Elaine and I went to one of the authorised Trafico medical centres in our area for a medical check to be carried out. (Trafico have a website which they list a number of authorised medical centres in our area who can carry out their medical checks and send these directly to Trafico via the internet) We had the medical checks carried out whereby the details of our driving licences and other information were recorded and photos taken. She insisted it had to be carried out by 2.00pm so it would be uploaded through to Trafico. The medical certificate had a large green tick at the bottom indicating that all was well and it was uploaded. There has been much said recently on this matter and I think much confusing information given out. I decided to make a visit to Trafico in Malaga to clarify the situation and discuss the Denuncía. When we arrived we went through the system to get to one of the counters. I asked if I needed to get the medical certificate recorded and registered with Trafico. The assistant looked at the Denuncía and the medical certificate and then went off to check with his colleagues. His reply was that it was not necessary even to have the medical completed as I was using a UK driving licence. I asked if I needed to change to a Spanish driving licence and was told that as my licence had three more years to run it was not necessary until the UK licence was due to run out. I could then change to Spanish licence. If I wanted to have Spanish licence now it would be purely voluntary. I was then told that the Guardia Officer was incorrect in issuing the Denuncía. What he stated was not correct according to Spanish law and it was perfectly correct for me to be driving in Spain on a valid UK (i.e. European) licence. The counter assistant stated they would pass this information on within Trafico and get corrected information sent out to the Guardia Civil officers giving them the correct understanding of the law. I was given a form to complete in Spanish, quoting the Denuncía details, number and other bits of information and to resubmit the form to have the Denuncía cancelled. This form also needed a photocopy of my driving licence, front and back. I have done this and the form was received by Trafico and stamped and receipted last week. I have a neighbour who has a UK driving licence and has been for a medical check at Clinica Rincon and has also been to Trafico to get her medical certificate registered. She was told the same as I was that the medical was not required and it was not a requirement of Spanish law. She was also told that we are all European and therefore a UK driving licence is totally acceptable whilst driving in Spain. She was also told to go back to Clinica Rincon and ask for her money back. Therefore with her information separately obtained and from a different counter at Trafico and on different day to the one I used, it has totally agreed with my understanding of the driving requirements as above.


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Again I must state this is only my experience of what has happened and is my understanding from my recent visits to Trafico. If you have any enquires please contact Trafico directly yourselves to clarify your personal situation. ADDENDUM I received a letter with a fine €200 for the offence last week and went to Trafico last Friday 20th April (this crossed over with our claim submitted on the 26th March). We are now told that all persons with Spanish Residency and using a UK licence have to have thier licences registered with Trafico. They charge €8 to do this and you need to fill in a form and supply various copies with originals to prove of residencia, passport, NIE and licence. They then contact the DVLA and will ask you to come back to Trafico to complete the process.

POTATO POISONING an article by Eunice Roberts Just a word of warning. Never, EVER, eat potatoes that have any green bits in, at all, or that have the “eyes” that can be present, without cutting it all out. The potato plant is a member of the deadly nightshade family and although the tubers are usually perfectly safe to eat, in certain conditions they do generate an alkaloid called Solanine in those parts of the tuber that are green or around the sprouting areas which we usually call “eyes”. The results are severe stomach cramps, diarrhoea, severe headaches, nausea & vomiting, dizziness and in severe cases hallucinations and death. Often these symptoms are confused with gastroenteritis. I have been growing potatoes and some of them have been very small but absolutely delicious just scrubbed and smothered in butter! The last batch had a lot of “eyes” but because they were too small to peel, I just scrubbed them as usual and tried to rub away some of the “eyes”. Also some of the larger ones had areas of green which I cut away but in some cases the green streaked towards the centre so I left it , thinking it wasn’t too much. Several days later, once my illness had started to abate, I decided to cut in half all the small potatoes that were left and found that quite a few of them were slightly green all the way through even though this greenness wasn’t visible on the outside of the skins. Incidentally the greenness is actually chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the green pigment present in all green leaves e.g. lettuce, cabbage etc and is NOT poisonous. However, in potatoes the chlorophyll accelerates the production of Solanine which is the actual potato poison itself. This is, of course, one of the reasons why potatoes should always be stored in a dark place as chlorophyll only develops in sunlight. Luckily I only had a very mild case that has lasted 5 days ( at the time of writing) and is very slowly working its way out of my bloodstream but a friend of mine had it many years ago and she was in a virtual coma for 5 days and was ill for 3 weeks. Hope this doesn’t put you off eating potatoes. Personally I love them and will continue to eat them in spite of this very bad experience but always taking care from now on, with their preparation!


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Birding News Part of the Axarquia Bird Group www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com

It may be dry with water levels rapidly falling in our local rivers and lagunas, lots of high winds and not very warm for a normal April but the birding year moves on. Most of our winter visitors have now departed and all save the very late arrivals are on their summer sites for the start of the bird-breeding season. However, there are still one or two special sights to be seen and early April saw a sudden influx of crakes into the area. Over at Fuente de Piedra (“Flamingoland”) many were able to see the diminutive Spotted Crake whilst to the east both Little and Baillon’s Crake were regularly observed at the Charca de Suarez reserve near Salobrena. Returning to Fuente de Piedra, the water Whimbrey levels are now so depleted that rather than the approaching 40,000 Greater Flamingos gathering in the breeding colony, numbers seem to have been reduced to perhaps a thousand or less as these magnificent and graceful birds move away to seek a better habitat. It looks very much as if there will be very few breeding pairs this year. On the other hand, we still have many passage migrants passing through the area which, given the lateness of the season, leads to some waders actually being seen in their summer breeding plumage; a sight normally reserved for venues much further north. In addition, this past week we have some wonderful views of newly-arrived terns, especially Whiskered Tern which prefers to feed on insects over fresh water. Whiskered Tern So with the skies over us filled with both Common and Pallid Swifts and House Martins in the villages, Barn Swallows in and around both town and country now is the time to see if you find the aptly named Red-rumped Swallow. This bird arrives in smaller numbers and is a summer visitor to the south of Spain. Think of a “normal” swallow but with the pale rump of a House Martin. Yes, it has a forked tail but look closer and you will see that rather than the “Persil white” of a House Martin, the bird has a rust-coloured rump. Once seen, you will also notice that the Red-rumped Swallow does not have the pure white underside of a House martin. Certainly there are plenty to be seen around the lake and I can usually guarantee on seeing at least a handful as I drive up to Los Romanes from the lake. We are used to seeing House Martins nesting under the eaves on the outsides of our homes back in Britain with Swallows using an open cup inside a shady building such as the rafters of barns and stables. The Red-rumped Swallow is a bit of everything. The pair builds a larger version of the house Martin’s nest but with an entrance funnel that can be up to 15 centimetres long. The nest is also on the outside of a building and a favourite site seems to be under the porches of empty houses. So, if your neighbour only spends a few late weeks in Spain, or not at all, you might be lucky enough to find such a nest by taking a look under the porch where it meets the upright wall. As yet I am still to see my first Golden Oriole of the year but these birds are only just arriving along with the popular Turtle Dove which, again, is usually a late arrival to its breeding site. Both flycatchers are also just arriving and I have already seen Pied Flycatcher. To follow what is going on in the area then visit the website from where you can both read about the latest happenings in the blog or see the dates and names of birds seen in the area. Both pages have direct links from the website. Happy birding


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ASOCIACIÓN EL VALLE DEL EMBALSE COMMITTEE 2012-13 Chair: Lyndsey Padley - 628655801 Vice Chair: Jane Harris - 633615154 Treasurer: Terry Frost - 697569141 Secretary: Stewart Common - 647076177 MEMBERS Linda Kemp: - 951167088 Elaine Edwards: - 647076177 Anne Dibden: - 605826358 Carol Jackson: - 635291532 Kim Rogerson: - 696126204 Editor: Susan Jones - 680407894 Almoner: Christine Goreham – 635361233

INFORMATION. v WEBMASTER – MIKE HICKMAN v

webmaster@el-valle.org WEBSITE - www.el-valle.org

A representative of the committee is usually on duty between 11am – 12.30pm at Mis Tapas (“BILLY’S BAR”) during Friday Market - Chiringuito Antonio Asociación El Valle del Embalse normally meet at 7pm on the first MONDAY of each month with the exception of August, at the “Camping Bar Restaurante” by Lake Viñuela (km 31/32 A356).

ASOCIACIÓN MOBILE ‘PHONE. 676.641.577 NB: THE ASOCIACIÓN MOBILE IS ONLY IN USE DURING TRIPS OR EVENTS, PLEASE USE THE NUMBERS AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE TO CONTACT A COMMITTEE MEMBER AT OTHER TIMES.


May 2012