FINESTRAT: Defender un territorio

I came to live in the countryside near Finestrat nearly six years ago, returning again to work as a teacher in Spain after a long time away.  I was educated in the Graduada and the Instituto de Enseñanza Media in Ibiza in the 1960s; I worked in Barcelona in the 1990s, as teacher to the TMB transport workers, Vitalicio bank, and teacher of Jordi Pujol himself (for which I received no Swiss Francs in payment..)

Yes, indeed I have a long connection with Spain.  My grandfather was with the International Brigades in Albacete in 1937.  I would not share his political views for I am a Catholic, but I respect his search for justice and peace, and his desire to support democracy.  In all those things, I admire the Spain of the modern period after Franco. I see a new Spain with wonderful social institutions and healthcare and education on a level that sometimes surpasses my experience of provision in the United Kingdom.  I am pro-Spain.  I am one who would opt for Spanish nationality if I was given the opportunity in a post EU Britain, if we ex-pats were all left stranded here.  I love Spain, its culture, its history, its sense of irony which is so similar to the English sense of irony.  (Just read the Quixote alongside Henry IV Part I and you will see what I mean.)

But in my desire to live a quiet life in the countryside with four lovely donkeys,  I have found myself targeted by a minority little group of people from Finestrat in their nasty little war against “outsiders”.  These are hunters, not just having a hunting mentality, but an aggressive rejection of residents of other nationalities within their midst, eventually leading to threats of violence.

Finestrat has a fascinating history.  As a teacher of Geography it has been a great privilege to live and work here and bring school children to the village to appreciate the history and culture of Finestrat.  In the past few years I have brought school groups every year to Finestrat, from Costa Blanca College and then from Elians School.  We spent time in the museum and we met with the Mayor in the council chamber.  Our appreciation of the culture and history of Finestrat was always foremost, and we learned about the way the village was a “beacon of integration” between traditional Valenciano culture and modern multi-national immigration.  Mayor Honorato Algado was enormously appreciative of the input of Residents of Other Nationalities, in his talks to the school children I brought to Finestrat.

A good local history text is “Finestrat: Defender un territorio” which relates the history of the defence of this territory by those who lived here over millenia.  How they lived their quiet and productive lives and defended their homes against the aggressor.


The local history and culture is rich and glorious.  It is a shame that this vision is completely let down by a small minority of people who live in Finestrat village and take an isolationist aggressive stance against “outsiders”.  They are represented by the hunters: these are the men who go out of Finestrat into the country (where we live) at weekends with packs of uncontrollable dogs, firing guns in all directions – with hardly much aim and very little reward – and insulting and abusing residents who live in the country, while destroying their peace and quiet at the weekend.  An example of this was recorded by me in November on my donkey field.

The man who gets out of the second car is the secretary of the Finestrat hunters association.  He is in court in Benidorm at midday today and I will be answering the judge’s questions as best I can in Spanish, representing myself against these bullies.  The land on which they are standing is private land, by the way.  They have no right to be there.

I will present the outcome of the case on this blog later today.

The video has been seen by 2548 people since it was first uploaded in November. (According to stats, most of those were in Finestrat.)  The video will be used in court.

See the original post on this matter from November last year.  The video has been seen by most of the population of Finestrat.  The local police have been very sure where they stand: this case must go to court and this kind of aggression should not be tolerated!


UPDATE 15.30 after the court hearing:

Only the two hunters who appear in the video were in court.  The third (who stays hidden in his car in the video) is the man who made the most serious threats earlier in the day at 9.30, holding up a very large rock, picked up on the edge of my donkey field.  The above photo just caught him as he was putting it down in a panic when he saw me taking the photo.

The Policia Local officer who arrived in the morning instantly recognized his face in my photo and said he would speak with him later that day.  However, in court today the judge told me, “The Policia Local were unable to identify the man who threatened you with the rock in the morning.”   How convenient.  I wonder if the Mayor of Finestrat knows him? Mayor Juan Fran is a hunter, after all, and – oh, yes – by coincidence he is responsible for the Policia Local.  🙂

Regarding the incident later in the day at 13.10 – the incident shown in the video – the two men both claimed that no threats were made.  In the video one of them can be plainly heard saying, “Come here I am going to break your face!”  Also, that man can be seen getting out of his car and picking up a small rock to threaten me.  By way of explanation in court, he said he had dropped his phone and stooped to pick it up.  The other man apparently witnessed exactly the same dropping of a phone, although no phone can be seen being dropped or picked up in the video.

What woeful lies these were, easily contradicted by the video! Talking about the video, the man who made the threats whined to the judge that I had put the video all over the Internet and had no right to do so.  The judge totally ignored his complaint.

At the end of the hearing, the curious thing was that there was no verdict!  The judge now assesses all the evidence and comes to a conclusion, then informs the complainant and the alleged offender by post.  What a very curious system.

Naturally, when this is decided I will post the result with a translation of the judge’s findings.  I was glad the judge was a woman: she is less likely to be impressed by these bullies and their ignorant machismo.  Particularly as one of them addressed her as “Señor” and then hastily corrected it to “Señora…”

Thanks to many in Finestrat for your support, and when it comes to election time, remember that the Mayor Juan Fran Llorca tried to get me to quietly drop this case in November.  He is a hunter.  My days of supporting the Partido Popular are over, as with many thousands of other people in Valencia after the latest corruption and money laundering scandals that go right to the top.

It would be a very ugly thing if influence was used to protect a person who has been involved in threatening behaviour and had been easily identified.  “The Policia Local were unable to identify who was the man who threatened you with the rock in the morning.”  That is not true.

Matilde in Finestrat: helping the Museo de Finestrat demonstrate its exhibits.  My donkeys are very skilled at dealing with the increasing population of village idiots – and meanwhile try to take their place celebrating the history and traditions of the village.



6 thoughts on “FINESTRAT: Defender un territorio

  1. Well done Gareth for showing courage, decency, integrity and all those things which are slowly being chipped away in various parts of our society. May God be with you today and all day, but especially today as you stand in that Court house and say why all this foul behaviour is SO WRONG on so many levels. Many blessings to you and the lovely donks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you. Just handing over my Year 9 Geography class to the Head of Secondary and heading to the court. Ironically, the planned lesson is about respect for the environment in a tourist resort…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for your support. It is much appreciated! I came home from all this stuff to Morris with an eye problem, so I have been bathing it with warm water. Nothing serious, thank goodness (I don’t need any more stress!) I bet your donks are colder than mine at the moment. What’s the temperature there, high up in central Italy?


  4. Possibly, by the time you get here the verdict will have been delivered. Whatever happens, this has implications for the security of the donkeys. Most people in the village are saying that these embarrassing people (including the Secretary of the Finestrat Hunters’ Association himself, who was in court on a charge) would be very stupid to come anywhere near my house or my donkey field again.

    However, it is clear that one individual involved in this case has already been protected by the local mafia and was “not identifiable by the local police”. This does NOT encourage any trust in the ability of the local police – or the (hunter) Mayor of Finestrat – to prevent any future menaces.

    When you are here next month to look after my donkeys, you will have a list of phone numbers to call in an emergency, several local friends within a few minutes drive or walk, and there are now security lights on the donkey field which stay on all night.


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