Page 1

Issue 4 December 2008


A Native Spain Christmas

Christmas in Spain

by Debbie Jenkins - page 10

by Keith Nicol - page 25

see the online digital magazine at

www.mar menor

Dia yLaNoche Manga Strip -

Traders Directory and Index on page 27

Bookings now being taken for Xmas Day Lunch & Pre Xmas Parties - call in for details or go to

Restaurant & Bar - ‘Where we lead others follow’

See our main ad on the back page


Telephone: 968 145 572

the Mar Menor FOCUS

Murcia Villas are No 1 for property rentals in the Murcia Region specialising in z z z z z z z

Property management Long term rentals Holiday lets Key holding Property sales Off plan property sales Snagging reports

z z z z z z z

Furniture packs Soft furnishings Pool maintenance Garden maintenance Airport transfers Air conditioning installation Extensive marketing for holiday lets

With three offices in the region of Murcia offering a flexible and professional service for all your property needs Murcia Villas La Torre 968 137 372 699 568 062

Murcia Villas La Manga 968 137 372 619 415 561

Murcia Villas Sucina 968 581 062 638 382 420

Majestic Aircon S.L. Air Conditioning Specialists Domestic



Quality Air Conditioning Units

Spanish and English staff

Fully qualified engineers

Excellent References

Competitive quotations

We wish all our clients, old and new, a very happy Christmas and a prosperous 2009 Calle Mayor 53, Los Belones, 30385 Cartagena, Murcia Tel: 968 137 835 Fax: 968 137 839

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Christmas is Coming with 25% off during December on all your favourite clothes, M&S, BHS, Wallis, Evans and many more Check out our selection of Xmas cards and cards for all occasions Plus Glamstraps for those evenings out OPEN

10am-3pm Monday-Friday Saturday 10am-2pm

Tel: 660 284 970 or email:

We buy and sell

new and nearly new furnitur e Stock arriving daily Also white goods available

Plus over 100 books to choose from

Ray: 697 545 693 - Dave: 686 750 190


Telephone: 968 145 572

Seasons Greetings from Mar Menor Focus,

the magazine for the Mar Menor coastal area, this issue we are bigger again now 40 pages! This month we have a look at how to celebrate Christmas Spanish style and the origins to some Spanish traditions. We thank our readers for their suggestions and contributions - with your help we can continue to make the magazine informative and interesting for everyone. Our website has everything in the magazine, and more! Every edition is archived, so you can always refer back - check it out on

the Mar Menor FOCUS

Distribution points include:

Bars, Restaurants, Golf Clubs, Shops, Estate Agents, Tourist Offices, Post Rooms, Tabacs, Supermarkets and more.

Advertising Rates Full page Colour €120 - Mono €70 Half page Colour €65 - Mono €40 Quarter page Colour €38 - Mono €25 Special Positions (full colour) Front Box or Banner, Back Page Inside Back / Inside Front page Phone or email for prices Tel: Bob on: 968 145 572 - email:

We can use artwork provided by you, or design your advert using text & images approved by you. (there is a minimal standard origination charge of €10 for this service) Prepayments for 3, 6 & 12 months will qualify for 5%, 10% and 15% discounts respectively. All prices quoted are subject to IVA @ 16%. Our deadline for adverts, to ensure insertion in the next issue is the 20th of the month. Payment, in full, is required prior to the advertising deadline. Disclaimer: ‘Mar Menor Focus’ does not accept responsibility for the standard of goods or services given by it’s advertisers and does not endorse, unless stated otherwise, any company or individual published in the magazine, or any views or opinions expressed in any articles. ALL THE ADVERTISEMENTS designed by the Mar Menor Focus magazine for use in its publication remain the property of Mar Menor Focus and may NOT be reproduced in any other publication without our prior written consent Published by Robert McKinley, C/Himilce, Cartagena, Murcia 30385. X5128759N.



Advertise your Business in the next edition of

M ar M enor Focus The place to be seen

A ff ordable a dver ti sing tha t really works Full colour advertisement s from only €38 Full Page Full Colour only €120 (+IVA) discounts for 3, 6 or 12 months advertising Call Now on Tel: 968 145 572 - mobile: 667 821 082 email:

see our online magazine at Advertising Enquiries - To advertise in the next edition call Bob on: 968 145 572 - 667 821 082 or email

Distribution: Copies are widely distributed throughout the Mar Menor area, coastal and inland.

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Telephone: 968 145 572

the Mar Menor FOCUS

Don’t miss the Galerias el F Visit our Website at

All your favourite UK branded Lingerie & clothing, M&S, BHS, Next, Wallis, New Look, Evans and many more. Huge selection in stock, with over 1,000 bra’s. We also have a great selection of swimwear.

Xmas cards now in stock OPEN 10am-3pm Monday-Friday Saturday 10am-2pm

Tel: 660 284 970 or email:

Sunny’s Lavanderia/Laundry

Domestic & C o m m e r c i a l Wa s h e s Opening Times Monday- F riday 9.00 - 14.00 Dave - 686 750 190 Ness - 619 929 770

Tel: 667 324 404

EUROSAVER MENU Special Tommy Tucker Burger €4.50 English Breakfast 3€ Tea/Coffee 1€ Saus, Mash & Onion Gravy 4.50€ Steak Pie & Peas 4.50€ WINTER OPENING TIMES Mon-Sat 10-4

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Flamenco Christmas fayre

every day from 18th December Sunny’s Services Key holding from Los Belones to top of La Manga z Key Holding z Cleaning z Laundry z Security Checks z Nursery Hire z Car Hire Prices to suit individual needs

Ray - 689 392 173 Dave - 686 750 190


Diego welcomes you to come and try his home made tapas with an English twist to them - have a complimentary tapas with your drink. Made to order paellas etc for you to take home for your dinner party. Come and give us a try, you will not be disappointed

Telf: 626 937 084

TRANQUILITY BEAUTY, NAILS & BODY CLINIC Spoil yourself with our Christmas Specials Pamper Day €70

Facial, Manicure & Pedicure Top to Toe €30 File & Polish for Hands & Feet and Mini Facial GIFT VOUCHERS AVAILABLE

Tel: Julie 697 363 469 Lou 638 300 656



Telephone: 968 145 572

the Mar Menor FOCUS

the Mar Menor FOCUS

Judy’s Gift Shop

Sirena de Mar

Tel: 968 56 92 35

Merry Christmas to everyone

We’re now into December and we have plenty of gift novelties and stocking fillers for Christmas. New items in every week, If you haven’t popped in before, now is the time to have a browse.

New picture framing service Baby/Kiddies Room - personalised baby cards i.e. name, time, date of birth. Enchanted Room - Buddahs, Fairies, Angels, Egyptian etc.

Arrange a private consultation for Meditation *Readings*Mediumship*Healing Fine bone china beakerrs and gifft setss Glamsstrrapss - decorrative brra strrapss You can have your Christmas cards personalised with family or friends names, or for any occassion Monday-Saturday 9.30-3pm & C/Mayor 66, Los Belones (Next door to Jan’s Lounge)

JAN’S LOUNGE Calle Mayor 68, Los Beloneses Pre Christmas Menu available from 14th Dec booking advisable

English Breakfast & Lunch served from 10am - 3pm

Evening Meal - 6pm till late Sunday Evening Roast 6pm - 9pm Friday Night Quiz - 8pm Please reserve Tel: 968 137 256 Menu del Noche €15 Monday - Thursday 6pm till late



Telephone: 968 145 572

by Debbie Jenkins

the Mar Menor FOCUS

A Native Spain Christmas

We've spent 6 Christmases in Spain now and each year it gets better. We've been welcomed with open arms into our Spanish village and adopted by a Spanish family, so our Christmases are as Spanish as you can imagine. From the Christmas Eve shindig in the garage of our adopted family, with a 6course meal for 30 people, drinks (lots of drinks), singing (well, shouting), guitars and cigars (only the men of course!) to the quieter family lunch on Reyes day, with a 6-course meal for 30 people, drinks (more drinks!), singing (slightly more tuneful than Christmas Eve), guitars and cigars. Plus the 4 parties in between and of course the 3 King's Procession through the village, the bouncy castle for the kids, the 12 grapes on New Year's Eve, dare I go on! The Spanish Christmas period is not for the faint hearted. This year we're reciprocating by holding a lunch of our own during the festive period, where I'll dutifully prepare too much food, chill too much wine and drink too much gin. I'm planning on roast beef followed by Christmas cake ice-cream, for 30 people. Now, I just need to catch that cow‌ A custom when being invited to a Spanish home for food is to take something to eat with you. Usually something sweet. Last year we excelled. We made mince pies, with our home-made mince meat. I cooked and decorated a Christmas cake. And we made fairy cakes for Reyes Day. All of them were greeted with a little suspicion, a sniff and then scoffed! I'm still wondering what I'll surprise them with this year. We also baked the Murcian Christmas specialty of Cordiales. These are the deli-

cious little almond cakes, with angels' hair filling. They are very simple to make, fun and sticky, taste scrummy and don't hang around for long in our house. When you see these in the shops you know it's Christmas, but I think they're just too good to only have once a year (unlike Cadbury's Cream Eggs - yuck!) and so I suggest you make some yourself. (See Debbies recipe for Murcian Cordiales on page 32) But the highlight for me last year was seeing my husband dressed up as a King. He was chosen (much in the way when the army asks for volunteers and 19 recruits step backwards, leaving 1 remaining "volunteer") to be a King at the Reyes day procession. Whilst I had seen and read about the procession, it's only when you're involved that you realise how much thought and attention goes into it all. From the costumes, the gifts and the roscĂłn (large doughnut shaped cakes), every detail is planned, and all the children get a gift from the Kings. What surprised me most was that the Kings also visited the elderly and sick in the village, sharing happiness and good wishes with all people. Whilst I'm not a religious person (and the 1 hour mass was a little tiring!), I think that this event totally summed up the "meaning" of Christmas. It's not about the cakes and the food, nor the booze and the cigars. It's about being with people who care and whom you care about. It's about taking the time from busy lives to celebrate the young, appreciate your peers and honour the elderly. The Spanish really do take having fun seriously!

Debbie Jenkins is co-author of "Going Native in Murcia" and author of "Buying Property in Murcia". Find out more at

the Mar Menor FOCUS

Cocktail Corner Recipe courtesy of Q-bar,

La Manga Club, Tel: 968 175 317

Strawberry Daiquiri The first daiquiri was created by an American mining engineer working in Cuba in 1896. He had run out of gin and tried rum based drinks instead.

Ingredients z 5-6 ice cubes z 25ml white rum z 12.5ml creme de fraises z 12.5ml lime cordial To decorate z powdered sugar z strawberry Method Put the cracked ice in a margarita glass. Put the rum, creme de fraises and lime cordial into a blender and blend for 30 seconds. Pour into the glass and decorate with the powdered sugar and strawberry., Serve with a straw.



Telephone: 968 145 572

the Mar Menor FOCUS

Ardly Arrods Largest Buyers & Sellers of Quality Used Furniture. House Clearances & Removals Baby Hire: Cots, Safety Gates, Pushchairs, Car Seats Office space available, Secure storage space available Bob and Caron,

00 34 968 136 501 00 34 626 253 569 Ctra Cabo de Palos Km 1, El Algar La Manga, Cartagena, 30366

the Mar Menor FOCUS


Seven years teaching Spanish in La Manga After 7 years teaching Spanish mainly to British adults in the La Manga area, I would like first to thank all my students for trusting in my guidance to become fluent in Spanish. 90% of my students were total beginners when they came to me and they did not know any grammar at all, as for most of them it was the first time they had tried to learn a foreign language, so together we have created a teaching method that is a simple and effective way to speak Spanish. The main advantage I can offer you as a mature learner is that I also learnt my foreign languages as an adult. That’s why I know how you feel and I will be guiding you along the process. I will tell you everything you need to do to become fluent in Spanish with just a 2 hour lesson once a week and 30 minutes daily study on your own. During the first 6 months we will be working on the brain level as we can not say or hear any word that is not previously in our brain. At this stage my first objective is to teach you to read Spanish with the right pronunciation. My first lesson is called “The reading lesson” in which I will tell you all the rules to pronounce Spanish properly, phonetically speaking, Spanish is much more simple than English. Spanish has 28 sounds and English 40 so you should have very few problems. The second step is to develop your vocabulary and grammar. Mainly I will teach you how the Spanish verbs work. As in any language the sentence is the unit of meaning and the central part of any sentence is the verb. Without verbs there is no meaning and we are left with simple words which have no connection. At this level lessons are translated totally into English.

After one year learning you reach the ear level, by this I mean that little by little you start to understand more and more but you are still unable to reply quickly enough to maintain a conversation, at this stage you will have more listening and speaking and although lessons are still translated into English I gradually introduce more and more sentences in Spanish. Within 2 or 3 years learning, depending on the groups, you accomplish the mouth level, by this I mean you can understand easily Spanish and you can reply quickly enough to maintain a conversation. At this level lessons are held totally in Spanish. From the moment you start to feed your brain with the Spanish words, grammar and sounds by all means (lessons, CDs, TV, songs, radio, etc) it takes one year at least to understand Spanish, and 2 or 3 speak it, so only the ones who really enjoy the learning process will last long enough to become fluent, that is why I always try to make my lessons as enjoyable as possible. I would like to thank you Bob for inviting me to have a regular section in the Mar Menor Focus to publish a Spanish lesson in each issue from January. Finally, I also would like to let you know that I am launching a new Immersion Course adapted to your needs. If you want to know more about my Spanish lessons and activities please feel free to visit my web site on : or email me on:, phone : 968 546 859 / 678 936 110. Maria Linares Spanish teacher


Telephone: 968 145 572

Coming to a Computer screen near you soon is the new Information Station for the Costa Blanca (and Calida), Costa Blanca TV. This Video On Demand WEB TV channel has been developed by former broadcasters from the BBC, ITV and Living In Spain TV who are now living on the Costas. Fed up with reading and hearing about 'yesterday's events, CBTV plan to redress the balance with their regular Weekly What's On Guide so no matter if you are planning a trip from the UK or reside here all year round, if you can 'Log On' you can 'Find Out' and plan your time accordingly, before it happens! Costa Blanca TV is a one stop site for Information about the Costa Blanca. You'll find a Review of the Spanish News in English, dozens of short advice videos about living in Spain, entertainment guides, short news items from ITN, CNN, BBC and others, local Sports, TV, Radio, Newspapers, Magazines, Clubs, Associations, Charities, Schools, Video dating, Weddings in Spain, Business Directory, Hotels, Free Text Messaging

the Mar Menor FOCUS

Service, and even Sudoku, Crosswords and Horoscopes. You'll also find video tours of Properties for sale and rent, Hotels, a guide to towns and cities throughout the region (and later other parts of Spain), cars, boats, planes and bikes, shopping, telephone savings and even a chance to join the brand new GEM Lifestyle village, of which you'll hear more and more about in the Spanish and International Press but, remember that you heard it here first! Costa Blanca TV have a few well know names lined up as contributors to the channel, and are even offering YOU, the chance to have your shows shown on the channel. So, Log On and Find Out more than you ever thought went on, on the Costa Blanca, Costa Calida, Murcia, Mazarron up to Valencia and beyond. Going live on December 1st (fingers crossed) Web TV for your PC (and Mac).

It’s ‘Ladies Day’ - Saturday 13th December From 11am at Jan’s Lounge in Los Belones There will be discounts on the day on Beauty Treatments, & Christmas gifts, GIFT VOUCHERS AVAILABLE

Legs & Co - Tranquility - Judys Gifts & more Everyone welcome to join us for a glass of Cava & nibbles

the Mar Menor FOCUS


Spangles Concerts 13th December 16.00

La Manga Branch



With the Poppy Boxes collected, and the contents counted, the committee are very pleased to announce that over €2,800 has been raised - a big thank you to all those who donated, and a special thank you to all the businesses who sold the poppies on the Legion’s behalf, it wouldn’t be possible without them.


BINGO - at Julian’s Bar, Playa Honda,

every Monday Night Car Boot Sale - Saturday December 6th Pre-C Christmas Dinner at Paddywacks, December 14th - only €20

For details of the above - call Joanne on 620 460 557 or see the website -

Las Claras, Los Alcázares This is the fifth year that Spangles will perform at the EuroNavidad. Get into the Christmas spirit at this annual Christmas Fair. *******

14 December - 19:00

Carol Concert Los Nietos Church

A fun evening with a multi-national congregation - Spangles is delighted to entertain for the third successive year. Spangles is a ladies' barbershop harmony chorus - we sing unaccompanied four part harmony. Our Christmas repertoire will include both traditional carols and some upbeat numbers. It's a performance not to be missed!

Local Markets Monday San Pedro del Pinatar Sucina Tuesday Los Belones La Union Pilar de la Horadada Los Alcazeres Mil Palmeras Wednesday Santiago de la Ribera San Javier

San Javier Autocine (car boot sale) Saturday Los Alcázeres (Los Narejos) Torre Pacheco (Dolores) San Javier Autocine (car boot)

Thursday Los Urrutias La palma Torre Pacheco (Balsicas) San Pedro del Pinatar (Lo Pagan)

Sunday Cabo de Palos Los Nietos San Javier Autocine Torre Pacheco (Roldán)

Friday El Algar Llano del Beal Pilar de la Horadada

La Manga - Santiago de la Ribera Ferry

winter timetable

La Manga

Tomas maestre

10.30 12.30 14.30 16.30 18.30

Santiago de la Ribera 11.30 13.30 15.30 17.30 19.30


Telephone: 968 145 572


The aim of the sudoku puzzle is to insert numbers in the boxes so that: each row, column and 3x3 box contain one each of the digits 1 through 9.

Codebreaker A Codebreaker is a crossword puzzle with no clues! Instead, every letter of the alphabet has been replaced by a number, the same number representing the same letter throughout the puzzle. All you have to do is decide which letter is represented by which number! To start you off, we reveal the codes for two or three letters. When these letters have been entered throughout the puzzle, you should have enough information to start guessing words and discovering other letters.


the Mar Menor FOCUS

the Mar Menor FOCUS



Telephone: 968 145 572

the Mar Menor FOCUS

Shape & Tone Now that winter is here and Christmas around the corner, many people are thinking of losing some weight and getting into shape in time for the festive season. If you are unsure where to go, then Shape & Tone in Los Alcazares has something to offer everyone. The center is run by Paul & Charlotte who have been trained and certified by Shapemaster, they make you feel at ease immediately, and the whole atmosphere is one of fun and ease. The toning tables are the most popular part of the centre with the PowerPlates, or Wobbler as the clients have renamed them, a close second. For those of you who are not familiar with this innovative technology, the range consists of 6 indi-

vidually designed machines which, combined, give a total body workout.

A new way to exercise! Unlike conventional fitness equipment, the toning tables do not rely exclusively on muscle power. Instead, with a motor and gearbox the machines work the muscles, rather than you working the machine. With smooth gentle movements that motorized performance brings to exercise, users can exercise confidently without risk of overstressing any joints or muscles. These toning tables will help you lose inches in all the right places. For your free trial offer call 661002648. Special winter packages available.

also available at shape & tone are a range of hand made natural castile soaps and tea tree products,.. Castile soap or Jabon de Castilla originated in the kingdom of Castilla, a part of the country that we know today as Spain. The name Castilla (or Castile) means land or region of castles, in reference to the castles built in the area to consolidate the Christian re-conquest from the moors. Contrary to the methods of soap production in northern countries where animal fats were used as the main ingredient, Castilla had an abundance of locally grown and pressed olive oil and it was soon discovered that this main ingredient produced a far superior soap. Castile soap today has the same basic ingredients. A true Castile soap still contains 100% olive oil, however, olive oil used alone is not to everybody's taste. This is because it is low lathering with a slimy feel, Coconut oil is added to rectify this. The first Castile soaps were made without colour or fragrance, mankind has developed methods of extracting and distilling essential oils from plants and fruit. These

can be added to naturally fragrance the soap and also provide further valuable, therapeutic qualities that are beneficial to the skin. Castile soap is a skin regenerator and a natural humectant, drawing moisture from the air, keeping the skin soft and supple. Olive oil soap has the ability to help skin retain moisture while nourishing and providing protection for all skin types, especially dry and sensitive. It is non-greasy and does not clog the pores. It has been proven to accelerate the healing process which is thought to be due to the vitamin E content. Shape & Tone would like to wish all its clients past, present and future a very merry Christmas and happy & healthy 2009.

the Mar Menor FOCUS

Give someone you love the perfect Christmas gift RYA , Nautical Books & other Gifts

View our range of books and gifts. Choose from Imray Pilot books, RYA books, Day Skipper and Yachtmaster by Alison Noice, light rules and much more. Visit our on-line shop

Personalised Gift Vouchers

Any amount available, these vouchers can be exchanged as part or full payment towards both theory and practical courses, charters and gifts.

Sailing & Theory Courses

Our courses run all year round. Whether you're in full time employment or retired, we can personalise training to meet your needs. Call us today and find out how easy it is to get out on the water and enjoy the wonderful world of sailing. For more information please contact Debbie 695326184 or



Telephone: 968 145 572

the Mar Menor FOCUS

the Mar Menor FOCUS

Dave and Clair wish all their customers a Merry Christmas & a prosperous New Year.

Small Breakfast €5.00 Big Breakfast €7.50 Served 10.30 to 1.00pm, Wednesday - Monday

New Lunchtime & Evening Menus ********* Fish, Chips & Mushy Peas/Garden Peas available every lunch time & Friday evening €9.00 *********

Sunday Breakfast Served 10.00 - 1.00pm Sunday Roast served 3pm - 9pm 2 Courses €10, 3 courses €12, Child price €7 bookings now being taken


Tuesday is Bingo Night

open at 7.30 eyes down from 9.00pm ********* Thursday Night 3 Course Menu plus Quiz with Prizes €7.00 followed by Race Night booking advisable

Children & Vegetarian Menus available All Main Sports Events shown on our Large Screen TV Open 10.30am - midnight, Tuesday 7.30 - midnight



Telephone: 968 145 572

the Mar Menor FOCUS

the Mar Menor FOCUS



Telephone: 968 145 572

the Mar Menor FOCUS

the Mar Menor FOCUS


Christmas in Spain

You're staying in Spain for Christmas so, apart from the language barrier, there are a few typical Spanish Customs that we should embrace and enjoy.

So what is it that the Spanish do that's a little different? For a start, most families eat their main Christmas meal on Christmas Eve rather than the 25th. The traditional Spanish Christmas dinner is 'Pavo Trufado de Navidad' which is Turkey stuffed with truffles (the mushrooms, not the chocolate ones!) although here on the coast it's very common to enjoy seafood. Boxing Day is 'just' the day following Christmas and not one for celebration but you'd better keep your wits about you as December 28th is 'Día de los santos inocentes' or 'Day of the Innocent Saints' and is very like our April's Fools Day. Apart from Christmas, there is another festival that is celebrated in Spain, called Epiphany or Kings' Day and is celebrated on 6th January the 12th night, called 'Fiesta de Los tres Reyes Mages': in English this means 'The festival of the three Magic Kings'. Spanish Children receive some presents on Christmas Day, but most are opened at Epiphany. Each child chooses one

King and writes a letter to them with their 'wish list''. Some children believe that the Kings bring presents to them at Epiphany (just like Santa) but if the children have been bad, the Kings might leave pieces of coal made out of sugar, in the presents! ‘You have been warned.’ Most of the big towns and cities have Carnival Parades with each King having a big float. The Three Kings are : Gaspar: has brown hair and beard and wears a green cloak and a gold crown with green jewels on it. He is the King of Sheba and represents the Frankincense brought to Jesus. Melchior: who has long white hair, a white beard and wears a gold cloak, is the King of Arabia and represents Gold. Balthazar: has black skin, a black beard, wears a purple cloak, is the King of Tarse and Egypt and represents the gift of Myrrh. And now you know just a little more of what to expect of your Festive Season in Spain. Merry Christmas; 'Feliz Navidad' Keith Nicol Your Information Station

CANCER SUPPORT GROUP (MABS) MURCIA/MAR MENOR REGION - EVENTS DECEMBER 2008 4th & 11th December at 20.30 - Play Your Cards Right Sand Bar, Avda Rio Nalón, Los Alcázares 13 December - 16.00 - EuroNavidad Fayre - Las Claras, Los Alcázares For further details, please call 693 275 779 or visit our website Advertise your business in the next edition of Mar Menor Focus, phone Bob on: Tel: 968 145 572 - mobile: 667 821 082 or email:


Telephone: 968 145 572

the Mar Menor FOCUS

A Chef’s Eye View Hi my name is Andy Taylor and I am Chef/Proprietor at Dia y Noche Restaurant, La Manga. Over the next few months I will be sharing some tips and secrets with you and also giving you an insight into the life of a restraunter, “warts an all”.

Well, here we are, Christmas already, I don’t know about you, but it seems to come around quicker each year, which is a bit of a stupid statement when its still 12 months between, must be an age thing! seems only yesterday it was summer. Anyway, for those of you who are preparing for a traditional Christmas at home, here is a recipe for a shortcrust pastry, perfect for mince pies that will melt in your mouth,

Vinegar pastry

3 cups plain flour 1 cup shortening (1/2 butter and 1/2 lard is a good mix) 1/2 teaspoon salt - 1 egg 5 tablespoons cold water 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar (this won’t change the flavour, but will make the pastry short and flaky) Mix flour, shortening and salt until fine crumbs about the size of small peas. Beat in egg. Add cold water and vinegar. Combine with flour and shortening mixture. This recipe makes three single 9-inch pastries. Bake at 425 degrees F. If this mix is wrapped in plastic wrap, dough will keep in refrigerator two weeks. It can also be frozen. If you fancy having a go at making your own mincemeat try this recipe: Note: If possible, this mincemeat needs to mature for at least two weeks before using. Once sealed, it can keep for at least a year. Preparation time overnight - Cooking time 2 hours

Ingredients: For 6lb mincemeat:

12oz (350g) seedless raisins 8oz (225g) sultanas 8oz (225g) currants 4oz (110g) cut mixed peel 4oz (110g) chopped dried prunes 12oz (350g) soft brown sugar 1lb (450g) cooking apples - peeled, cored and grated 8oz (225g) shredded suet grated rind and juice of 2 oranges grated rind and juice of 2 lemons 2oz (50g) chopped almonds 2oz (50g) chopped pecan nuts 1 tbsp (15g) mixed spice 1 tsp (5g) freshly grated nutmeg 5fl oz (150ml) brandy


1. Mix all the ingredients together, except half the brandy, in a large ovenproof bowl and cover and leave to stand overnight. 2. The next day, preheat the oven to 110C/225F/Gas ¼, cover the bowl with foil and place in the oven for about 3 hours. 3. Allow to cool, then mix in the rest of the brandy and put into sterilised jars. If you can’t be bothered to make these for yourselves but still want to try them, then come down to our Carol Service on Christmas Eve for mince pies and mulled wine, full details can be found at As usual, heres a bit of festive humour to finish with, Have a great Christmas folks and dont forget, we at Dia y Noche are open all over the Christmas period so please pop in and see us. It was coming up to Christmas and Sammy asked his mum if he could have a new bike. So, she told him that the best idea would be to write to Santa Claus. But Sam, having just played a vital role in the school nativity play, said he would prefer to write to the baby Jesus. His mum told him that would be fine. Sam went to his room and wrote ' Dear Jesus, I have been a very good boy and would like to have a bike for Christmas.' But he wasn't very happy when he read it over. So he decided to try again and this time he wrote 'Dear Jesus, I'm a good boy most of the time and would like a bike for Christmas.' He read it back and wasn't happy with that one either. He tried a third version. 'Dear Jesus, I could be a good boy if I tried hard and especially if I had a new bike.' He read that one too, but he still wasn't satisfied. So, he decided to go out for a walk while he thought about a better approach. After a short time he passed a house with a small statue of the Virgin Mary in the front garden. He crept in, stuffed the statue under his coat, hurried home and hid it under the bed. Then he wrote this letter. 'Dear Jesus, If you want to see your mother again, you'd better send me a new bike.' See you soon folks, and for those of you who "over indulge" over the Christmas period and need a surefire hangover cure, email me at Merry Christmas

the Mar Menor FOCUS

Mar Menor Focus Business Directory Your business here, under the heading you choose for just 60 euros a year!

Call Mar Menor Focus on 968 145 572 or email:

AIR CONDITIONING MAJESTIC AIRCON S.L. AIR CONDITIONING Specialists. 968 137 835 Fax: 968 137 839 email: (page 2)


Q-BAR La Manga Club 968 175 317 Restaurante SAN REMO Plaza Bohemia, La Manga 968 140 813 TOMMY TUCKERS Galerias El Flamenco (behind Zoco) 667 324 404 (page 6/7)


BAR APICOCO Playa Honda 968 563 958 (Page 21)

TRANQUILITY Galerias El Flamenco (behind Zoco) 697 363 469 (page 6/7)

BAR LA TAPA Galerias El Flamenco (behind Zoco) 626 937 084 (page 6/7)

REVIVE Health & Beauty Los Alcazares 618 111 398 (page 19)

BRAMBLES BAR Playa Honda 610 622 249 (page 39)

SHAPE & TONE Los Alcazares 661 002 648 (page 19)

DIA y NOCHE Urb Nuevo Puerto Bello 11 968 146 400 (back page) FRESCO BISTRO / FRESCO LOUNGE Opp. Mercadona, Los Alcazeres (page 5) JAN’S LOUNGE Los belones 968 137 256 (Page 9) JULIAN’S BAR Playa Honda (page 33) PADDYWACKS IRISH BAR La Manga Strip (page 23) PEPE’S BAR Mar de Cristal (page 35) Restaurante EL SABINAR Los Belones 968 137 865 (page 17) Restaurante JULIETTA Playa Honda 968 564 552 (page 35) Restaurante MARC’O POLO Galerias El Flamenco (behind Zoco) 968 102 169 (page 6/7) Restaurante LOS BEATOS 968 135 994 (page 8) SINATRAS Tapas Bar Pto Thomas Maestre 616 110 678 (page 22)

CAR DEALERS Specialist Vehicles (GB) Ltd 968 146 158 Confay Motors Ltd 968 539 070

CAR & VAN HIRE IBERCAR La Manga 607 900 655 (page 12)

COMPUTING SUNNY PC Los Belones 968 569 191 (Page 8)

DENTISTS Clinica Dental ALEMANA La Manga 968 175 300

GIFTS & HOBBIES JUDY’S GIFT SHOP, C/Mayor, Los Belones 968 569 235 (Page 9)



Telephone: 968 145 572

INSURANCE David Mason Insurance Services Los Belones 968 137 719 / 659 226 112 (page 11) Richard Howard Insurance Services, Los Belones 968 13 72 59 (Page 9)

LAUNDRY SERVICES SUNNY’S LAUNDRY Galerias El Flamenco (behind Zoco) 686 750 190 (page 6/7)

LEGAL & FINANCIAL SERVICES IBERBRIT LEGAL, La Manga Strip 968 337 392 (inside back page)

PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CD Property Management 968 563 598 (Page 20) OPI, Avenida de la Fuente, Los Belones 968 137 448 (page 29) Resort La Manga Mar de Cristal, 968 545 204

PROPERTY SALES CD Property Sales 968 563 598 (Page 20) Murcia Villas S.L. C/Mayor, Los Belones 968 137 372 Mobile: 619 415 561 (page 2) VECOS, Rentals & Sales Galerias El Flamenco (behind Zoco) 968 140 957 (page 6/7) EDEN International Independent Property Agents Los Carmenes, Gran Via Km 3 30380 La Manga, Murcia, Spain Tel: 0034 968 143 185 Fax: 968 143 755 email:

PROPERTY SERVICES Sunny’s Services Galerias El Flamenco (behind Zoco) 686 750 190 (page 6/7)

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RETAIL ARDLY ARRODS, Quality used furniture, El Algar - 968 136 501 (page 12) D & G Garden Leisure Products Los Narejos, Los Alcazeres, 968 334773 GUD AZ NEW, New & used furniture Galerias el Flamenco 697 545 693 (page 3) DJ’S PICK N MIX Los Belones 617 029 321 (page 24) HONDAMAR Supermercado Playa Honda 968 56 43 68 (page 8) LEGS & CO, Galerias el Flamenco 660 79 25 13 (Page 6/7) MISSING LINKS (Cornish Pride) Los Belones (page 12) 620 562 973 / 650 267 650 THE CORNER SHOP English Supermarket Los Belones (page 5) TRENDS Boutique, Cabo de Palos 650 129 743 (page 11)

SECURITY e.g. ESSENTIAL SERVICES La Manga, 679 979 962 / 608 836 392 (page 11)

SIGNS & GRAPHICS PA & CHU La Manga 617 468 090 (page 35)

SPANISH LESSONS MARIA LINARES Spanish Lessons 968 133 331 / 678 936 110 (page 12/13)

WATER SPORTS Aqua Adicta 968 545 193 / 659 434 811 (page 34) Mar Menor Sea School 968 143 718 / 695 326 184 (page 19) Workman International Marine School Puerto Tomas Maestre 968 142 423 / 654 771 708 (page 22)

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Telephone: 968 145 572

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TIME FOR A BREAK The Big Puzzle 69 "Cat on __ Tin Roof" 70 Part of a stairway

Down 1 Sack 2 Drubbing 3 Diarist in hiding 4 Kind of acid 5 Candle holder 6 Interrogate 7 Varnish ingredient 8 Tiny particle

Across 1 Dutch portraitist Hals 6 Pleased 10 Crack and redden 14 That's an order! 15 Assess 16 Time of day 17 Reach in amount 18 Screen symbol 19 German car 20 Everlasting 22 Treated badly 24 Capricious 26 Tertiary Period part 27 "Moon River" lyricist 29 Judy of "Laugh-In" 31 Gardner of Hollywood 32 Surprise cries 34 Pulitzer category

38 Mil. rank 39 Set free 41 Careless 42 Signed 44 Talent 45 Tournament sit-out 46 Promo pro 48 Scared 51 Fish hawk 54 Yielded 56 '83 and '84 Wimbledon winner 58 Monkee Mike 61 Use an auger 62 Drained 64 Sparkling headwear 65 Tavern orders 66 Self-confident words 67 Ho-hum feeling 68 Once, once

9 Fineness measure 10 Author of "The Canterbury Tales" 11 Monopoly purchase 12 "The Age of Anxiety" poet 13 Inordinate self-esteem 21 City in Ohio 23 High-altitude probe 25 Reverberant 27 Nativity visitors 28 Uniform 30 From 33 First name in gymnastics 35 Some Kosovo residents 36 Request for permission 37 Terminated 39 Milk source 40 Barrel slat 43 Sincere 47 Nearsightedness 49 Rankle 50 Adriatic seaport 51 Game played with deck of 40 cards 52 Wash abrasively 53 Salon orders 55 Regarding 57 Singly 59 Unfeigned 60 "Age of Aquarius" musical 63 Cambodian's neighbor


Telephone: 968 145 572

The 12 Lucky Grapes

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Murcian Cordiales Ingredients

31 December is of course New Years Eve – known as Nochevieja or ‘old night’ in Spain. The equivalent of the UK’s Trafalgar Square convergence is M a d r i d ’ s Puerta del Sol where tens of thousands of people assemble to celebrate seeing the New Year in. But wherever people are in Spain, they will be seeing in the New Year in the traditional way – with the ‘eating of the grapes’ (tomar las uvas). Everyone gathered around the clock has twelve grapes, and as each chime of midnight rings out, so they have to eat one grape. A good insider tip is to take the skins off the grapes first to help you eat them so quickly! This tradition dates back to fairly recently – the beginning of the 20th century – and supposedly came about after a bizarrely large crop of grapes was harvested in Spain one unusually warm winter. Not knowing what to do with the unwanted crop, the grape growers came up with the idea of every person in Spain eating twelve grapes at midnight to see in the New Year. El día de año nuevo, the first of January, is New Years Day and is a public holiday in Spain.

1kg of Almond Flour/ Ground Almonds (you can make your own or buy it in small bags from most supermarkets) 800gms sugar 1 kg of Angels' Hair (cabello de ángel) it comes in tins 9 eggs Lemon rind Obleas - which are the wafer thin edible sheets, a little like rice paper and found in most supermarkets


1. Mix the ground almonds, sugar, lemon rind and the eggs together in a large bowl. It will form a sticky mess. 2. Place the obleas on a baking sheet. 3. Using your hands take out small balls of the dough, poke a hole in one end with your finger and squish a bit of the angel hair in the hole. Cover up the hole with a little dough. 4. Form the ball into a small cone shape, place on the obleas and start on the next one. 5. Place in a hot oven (about 180º) for 25 minutes or until they are a little golden. This makes about 40-50 cordiales which is plenty! They last well (if lightly covered) for a week or so, and are probably at their best the day after baking (unless you like them warm or can't wait that long!)

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Telephone: 968 145 572

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This week we took a trip on Bob (the boat) to investigate the bird life on two islands in the Mar Menor. Armed with a bird spotting sheet and a pair of binoculars, we headed for Isla del Sujeto and Isla Redonda. These islands are situated just to the north of Isla de Ciervo (which used to be connected to La Mango strip via a causeway). Both islands are nature reserves and many birds live and breed there. It is best, if you wish to view the birds, to do it from the water. You should not land on the islands, as this will distress the birds, particularly when it is breeding season. Most of the birds we saw were gulls and in today's article I will provide details on the two most prevalent; the Yellow Legged Gull and the Lesser Black Backed Gull. We also spotted a large number of Little Egret (featured in last week's article) on Isla Redonda. These birds are pure white, with black legs and bill and therefore easy to distinguish.

Mar Menor Island Names Isla del Sujeto - Island of the character (I assume a local “character� such as a hermit must have lived on the Island) Island Redonda - Round Island Isla del Ciervo - Deer Island

Both the Lesser Black Backed and Yellow Legged Gulls are very similar in both size and appearance, the key difference is the Lesser Black Backed Gull has much darker wings. Both birds have yellow legs so you can't use that to help to distinguish them. These gulls make nests on Lesser Black Backed Gull piles of grass on the ground, this makes their nests vulnerable to predators and is why they tend to nest in locations which are inaccessible by foot. They generally feed on; aquatic invertebrates, molluscs and fish. Due to the volume of fish that they can consume they are not very popular with fishermen! Lesley Singleton Aqua Adicta

Yellow Legged Gull

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Telephone: 968 145 572

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Productive Gardening

By Clodagh and Dick Handscombe

Having now gardened in Spain for over twenty years we look forward to sharing some of our accumulated experience with you through this new monthly column. Knowing that many readers living near the Mar Menor have small gardens or terrace gardens, we will concentrate on how you can make the most of small spaces and make them productive in terms of flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables. Yes, even vegetables on apartment terraces. To show what can be done, for the mini growing chapters of our book ‘Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain’ we managed to grow some fifteen vegetables in three large containers in less than one square metre of space. If you have limited ground area the trick is to use the walls, balustrades plus the ceilings of covered terraces to support plants. The many shapes and colours of pots, troughs, hanging pots and window boxes give every opportunity for creating eye catching feaClodagh and Dick's latest three books are: Your Garden in Spain - From planning to planting and maintenance, Growing Healthy Fruit in Spain and Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain. Each include chapters on terrace gardening. They can be purchased from bookshops or for convenience direct from the publisher on or tel: 952 485 838. It's not too late to purchase them for Christmas or Los Reyes presents.

tures with a little creativity. Naturally all readers will not be full time residents but the same applies, as many plants suitable for small spaces are not expensive and can be given away to friends and neighbours at the end of each holiday if you are not able to arrange for someone to water them for you, or don't trust a mini watering system in your absence. Thinking of water, there are now small, even mini, water features just right for terraces and patios that add the cooling sound of water on hot summer days and magical sounds for late dinners under the stars. Thoughtfully placed lighting is also useful and can make night time terraces look larger than they are, as can end wall murals/paintings, mirrors and wall mounted pots of plants. Each month we will select a topic and cover it in depth. If you have a special topic you would like us to cover just send an email to: headed Mar Menor Focus Magazine.

the Mar Menor FOCUS


P u z z l e

The Big Puzzle

S o l u t i o n s

The F un Spot The Christmas Angel One Christmas, a long time ago, Santa Claus was getting ready for his annual trip; but there were problems ...... everywhere. Four of his elves were away sick and the trainee elves did not produce the toys as fast as the regular ones. So, Santa was beginning to feel the pressure of being behind schedule. Then, Mrs. Claus popped in to tell Santa that her mother was coming to stay for Christmas; which stressed him even more. After a while, he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence and run away, heaven knows where to. Then, when he began to load the sleigh one of the boards broke and several large toybags fell to the ground, scattering their contents all over the place. Needless to say, Santa was not in the best of moods.



Suddenly, the doorbell rang and he went to the door expecting another problem. But when he opened it, there was a little angel with a great big Christmas tree that she had brought especially to cheer him up. The angel greeted him very cheerfully, "Merry Christmas Santa Claus. Isn't it just a wonderful day? I have a beautiful tree for you. See, isn't it just the loveliest Christmas tree you've ever seen? Where would you like me to put it?"

Thus began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree. ************** A frog goes into a bank and approaches the teller. He can see from her nameplate that her name is Patricia Whack. And I quote; "Miss Whack, I'd like to get a â‚Ź30,000 loan to take a holiday". Pattie looks at the frog in disbelief and asks his name. The frog says his name is Kermit Jagger, his dad is Mick Jagger, and that it's okay, he knows the bank manager. Pattie explains that he will need to secure the loan with some collateral. The frog says, Sure. I have this, and produces a tiny porcelain elephant, about half an inch tall - bright pink and perfectly formed. Very confused, Pattie explains that she'll have to consult with the bank manager and disappears into a back office. She finds the manager and says, There's a frog called Kermit Jagger out there who claims to know you and wants to borrow â‚Ź30,000, and he wants to use this as collateral. She holds up the tiny pink elephant. I mean, what in the world is this? (have you guessed yet?) The bank manager looks back at her and says... It's a knickknack, Pattie Whack. Give the frog a loan. His old man's a Rolling Stone.


Telephone: 968 145 572

the Mar Menor FOCUS

Useful Numbers to keep by the phone EMERGENCY NUMBER - 112 AMBULANCE - 061



Cartagena: Santa Maria del Rosell Naval Hospital Murcia: Virgen de la Arrixaca J.M. Morales Meseguer San Javier: Los Arcos

La Manga del Mar Menor La Unión San Javier San Pedro del Pinatar

968 563 222 968 560 011 968 335 920 968 180 610

LOCAL POLICE - 092 Cabo de Palos Cartagena El Algar La Manga del Mar Menor La Unión Los Alcázares San Javier San Pedro del Pinatar

968 337 238 968 128 877 968 135 695 968 337 300 968 560 051 968 171 919 968 570 880 968 188 092

968 325 000 968 327 400 968 369 500 968 360 900 968 570 050

BUS STATIONS Cartagena Murcia San Pedro del Pinatar

968 505 656 968 292 211 968 182 942





968 320 722


968 128 880 968 171 782

Telefonica 1004 Iberdrola (Electricity) 901 202 020 Aquagest (Cartagena) 968 122 600 Aquagest (San Javier) 968 572 112

FIRE BRIGADE - 112 Cartagena Los Alcázares

MARITIME EMERGENCIES – 900 202 202 MEDICAL CENTRES Costa Calida El Algar La Manga del Mar Menor Lo Pagan Los Alcázares Los Belones Portman San Javier San Pedro del Pinatar

968 142 060 968 135 510 968 142 125 968 184 728 968 575 800 968 137 476 968 548 064 968 191 866 968 187 865

AIRPORTS ( Alicante San Javier (Murcia)

966 919 000 968 172 000

968 501 172 902 240 202

LOCAL TRAFFIC OFFICE (Cartagena) 968 500 883 PROVINCIAL TRAFFIC OFFICE (Murcia) 968 256 211 CORREOS (POST OFFICE) General Information 902 197 197 SUPPORT GROUPS MABS cancer support 968 432 525 email: HELP MMM

968 570 059

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Iberbrit Legal Legal and Financial Services



z Conveyancing. z Integral Tax advice for Individuals and Companies. z Annual Tax returns for property owners. z Social Security advice. z Spanish Wills. FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CALL:

Phone: +34 968 337 392 Fax: +34 968 563 224 email: -


z Preparation of the NIEIdentification number of foreigners. z Spanish Residency. z Financial advice “Mortgages” z Power of Attorney. Iberbrit Legal are located on La Manga Strip at: Gran Via s/n – Km 1.5, Edificio Monterrey – Iberbrit Legal office, PO BOX No. 163 – 30380 La Manga – Cartagena


Dia y Noche

La Manga’s Best Kept Secret

Restaurant & Bar

Nuevo Peurto Bello Blq 11, La Manga - Tel: 968 146 400 -

‘The Best Roast on the Coast’

Full English Breakfast €3 served from 10.00 - 12.00

4 course Menu del Dia €8 served Tues - Sat 12 - 3

New for Sundays - Our Popular ‘All You Can Eat Carvery’

Is Now Available Lunchtime & Evening

now served 1 - 4pm and 7 - 9.30pm

choice of 3 meats, Yorkshire Puddings, large selection of fresh vegetables - only €9 - children only €4.95 Full A La Carte menu available Tues - Sat from 7pm, serving Lamb, Pork, Steaks, Chicken, Fish, Pizza, Pastas and Burgers PLUS LOTS MORE FREE Wi-Fi HOT SPOT Bookings now being taken for Xmas Day Lunch & Pre Xmas Parties For more details go to

Opening hours Tues-Sun 10.00am-3pm (Sun 4pm) & 7pm-late

Mar Menor Focus Edition 4, Costa Calida  

Free monthly magazine with news and useful information for residents and visitors to the Mar Menor area, on the Costa Calida