BREAKING NEWS - Coronavirus - Spain orders all discos and late night bars to close

Spain announced on Friday the closure of all late night bars and discos across the country

The drastic move, announced by Health Minister Salvador Illa, comes after the country recorded 2,935 cases in the past 24 hours, the highest since April, and 26 deaths. Smoking is also banned if you cannot maintain the two metres distance rule.

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Could Culex Crisis Mean Mossie Mayhem?

Just when you thought that 2020 couldn't get any more, ahem, "interesting", what with one thing and another, now we have something else to watch out for.

The areas of Coria and La Puebla del Río in Seville province have reported 12 cases of West Nile virus (WNV), spread by Culex mosquitos.

West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States and is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito.

About one in five people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About one out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.

There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. The good news, however, is that most people infected with WNV do not feel sick.

Spain's Asociación Nacional de Empresas de Sanidad Ambiental (Anecpla) has appealed for calm and advised using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long trousers to prevent mosquito bites.

The way the year has been going, I'm expecting plagues of boling frogs, Godzilla, or a full blown alien invasion by September. In the immortal words of 'Hill Street Blues' - "Let's be careful out there".

Picture perfect - Marbella Beach Clubs rank in Instagram Top Ten!

If you've been lucky enough to be chilling out at one of Marbella's Beach Clubs this summer, then along with the great setting, perfect weather and tempting food and drink, you'll also have noticed 'influences' and 'Instamodels' preening and posing around the pool.

Ocean Club was the top Marbella Beach Club

So it comes as no surprise to find that when swimwear brand Pour Moi analysed Instagram data to pinpoint where the most photographed beach clubs in the world - two of Marbella's best known - Ocean Club and Nikki Beach - made the top ten in seventh and ninth respectively.

Nikki Beach was listed ninth in the list

Three of the beach clubs in the list are located in Spain, but the Potato Head Beach Club in Bali topped the list. The ten most photographed beach clubs in the world were ...

1. Potato Head Beach Club – Seminyak, Bali
2. Phi Beach – Sardinia, Italy
3. Blue Marlin – Ibiza, Spain
4. Le Club 55 – St Tropez, France
5. Scorpios – Mykonos, Greece
6. La Brisa – Canggu, Bali
7. Ocean Club Marbella – Marbella, Spain
8. Sundays Beach Club – Uluwatu, Bali
9. Nikki Beach Marbella – Marbella, Spain
10. Ku De Ta – Seminyak, Bali

Hopefully this will offer a little bit of comfort for Ocean Club, that took the decision to close for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But with its palms, huge pool and nsta-worthy food, they can be confident of making the list again.

Sunday Morning Mutterings - Figs and Fings

Fig season has just finished as I write, which means for the past couple of weeks I’ve been enjoying breakfast on my lakeside terrace with fresh fruit plucked straight from the tree.

Before you all start to get romantic visions of my pastoral lifestyle, however, it’s best to note that the fig picking is best first thing in the morning, otherwise you end up fighting a losing battle against the residential wasp population. It is also a good idea to have a quick look around to make sure there are no early morning fishermen or kayakers in the vicinity. Stumbling around in shorts that you have just thrown on is never a good look and, as I have normally had just the one cup of coffee – saving the rest for breakfast – I am certainly in no mood to make pleasant conversation.

The other golden rule is to take your footwear off before you head back into the kitchen, or back to bed. Otherwise you run the risk of depositing squashed figs on the floor. If you don’t pick the discarded fruit up quickly enough, you run the risk of attracting enough insects, assorted bugs and crawlies that will make your kitchen look like a scene from a Pixar animation.

I also lost a couple of kilos in the first week of August. No, it has nothing to do with the cleansing properties of figs. The weight loss came as a result of standing in the supermarket queue as the newly arrived Madrileños did their traditional ‘first weekend of August’ shop. With multiple shopping trollies piled high with every considerable provision known, I pondered that Scott of the Antarctic probably took less stuff with him.

I would have swapped places with the doomed explorer as the heat rose and my beard became ridiculously itchy under the mask. The thought of having to endure this all summer was too much. I grabbed a packet of razors and once back at the Casita quickly took my beard off.

Who would have thought that latest victim of Covid-19 would be my facial hair?

Starlite - Pijo Popsters Performance Proves Pandemic Protection Pointless!

Starlite Festival came under a hail of criticism on Social Media after Friday's performance in Marbella by Madrid band Taburete.

The criticism wasn't for the paucity of the group's 'pijo pop' - which is bad enough trust me - pijo is roughly the equivalent to yuppie. You know the type. Lots of chino wearing, untucked polo shirts, living in Madrid, PP - voting types (frontman Willy Bárcenas is the son of disgraced PP Treasure Luis Bárcenas, currently serving a 33-year prison sentence for his role in the Gurtel scandal) - that come to Marbella for August.

In a week when Spain became the European nation with the most coronavirus cases and police have been fining individuals and closing establishments for failing to wear masks or observe social distancing, it was a little galling - to put it mildly - to see the crowd dancing together at the concert, with Bárcenas urging them on.

Many questioned why the police or security failed to intervene, or why Tarburete urged them on.

After years of complaints from nearby residents about noise levels and opening hours, once again it seems that, in Marbella, there is one rule for Starlite and another for the rest of us...

Watch the skies! Mars, the Moon and Meteor Magic!

With the current heatwave making the average bedroom in Marbella the temperature of an oven on full blast, sleeping outside seems like a sensible option. And if you needed another excuse to bed down on the terrace for the next few days, there is a stargazing feast that starts on Saturday night!

Tonight Mars and the Moon will form a dazzling conjunction - they obviously aren't socially distancing. The stargazing spectacle, known as a conjunction, improves as night turns into the early hours of the morning.

Head out around midnight and look to the East. Obviously, the further you are from bright lights the easier it will be to spot Mars close to the waning gibbous Moon. The pair will then travel together - although in reality they are millions of miles apart -westwards across the sky before peaking at their highest point just before dawn.

In addition you should be able to spot Venus as well as a good number of meteors ahead of the Perseid meteor shower's spectacular peak early next week.

If you have any trouble locating Mars, a stargazing mobile app like Night Sky will label the stars, planets, and more as you point your phone at the night sky.

Mars is set to look brighter and brighter every night this month and next ahead of reaching opposition, when Earth passes between it and the sun in October, its brightest. So, if you haven't been watching Mars yet this summer, the conjunction with the moon marks the perfect time to start.

Having said that, the way 2020 has been going thus far, I wouldn't be surprised if we were subject to a Martian invasion as we pass by...

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Marbella's mayor inspected the renovation

Marbella Bullring ready for 'cultural events' in 2021

Marbella's Plaza de Toros will be open for business next year.

A seven month renovation project costing 800,000 euros has revitalised the bullring and modernised the facilities, including improving the security measures.

Marbella mayor Ángeles Muñoz and Councilor for Works, Diego López, visited the bullring this week to inspect the facilities. She stressed that "the refurbishment of this emblematic building was a commitment of the Town Hall team to which we have responded. It is an excellent venue to host shows, but the precarious state of disrepair prevented it".

The mayor added that the next task was to talk to "companies that may be interested in developing a cultural agenda in a public facility that has always been a special attraction in Marbella”.

López added that the project included the total renovation of the electrical installations; the installation of fire hydrants, manual fire extinguishers, detection systems and alarms in case of emergency, signage and lighting for evacuation routes; the remodeling of the toilets, adapting them to people with reduced mobility; and the painting of the exterior and interior façade.

López also pointed out that the albero, the densely packed rock used for bullfights, had also been totally replaced.

Bullfighting still proves a divisive subject in modern Spain, with protesters demonstrating both inside and outside the Marbella Bullring at the last event. If one of the 'cultural events' next year includes bullfighting, we can expect more protests.

Olivia Valere closes temporarily after coronavirus cases

Iconic Marbella nightclub Olivia Valere will remain closed until Thursday after the venue recorded cases of COVID-19 among its staff.

"We will reopen on Thursday 6th August" the club said on its website "We are working on cleaning and disinfecting our space so we can keep it clean and safe for you, as law (sic) requires".

Olivia Valere, that has previously welcomed Prince, Naomi Campbell, Bob Sinclair, Paris Hilton and Axwell, had already hit the headines when it was closed by the Policia Local for being 150 people over capacity at an event where Soolking was performing/

The hottest weekend of the summer - and there's more on the way!

This weekend saw the highest temperatures across Spain to date this year, with Velez-Malaga at 45.6ºC and Coin at 44ºC.

Thirty provinces across the country were under amber and yellow weather warnings for extremes of temperature on Saturday, the hottest day of the year in many places.

A farm owner in Murcia eas arrested after a labourer died of heat stroke on Saturday. The undocumented South American worker was abandoned on the doorstep of a medical centre and died shortly afterwards.

Temperatures are expected to continue to fall today, however weather agency Aemet has warned that another heatwave is expected from Wednesday.

Photo by Kseniia Zaitseva on Unsplash

DJ Duo craziness castigated!

Malaga DJ duo Les Castizos have found themselves in hot water after footage of a gig in Torremolinos has gone viral.

Víctor Roldán and Fali Sotomayor, who claim to be well known for their spontanious and crazy performances, were at Kokun Beach Club earlier this week.

Video footage widely shared shows one the DJs swigging from a bottle of cava before spitting it over the crowd. He then passes it around the packed venue - with little sign of social distancing or masks.

With the new outbreaks of COVID-19 on the increase amongst young people, perhaps that wasn't the wisest move...