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This is the Spanish website for Peter and Maureen Scargill. When in Spain we live in Galera in Andalusia (for clarify that is the English spelling - Mid-Spain they spell it Andalucia and pronounce it "And-a-loo-thee-a").

We've had a home in Spain for something like 8 years or more and now we're spending a lot more time here.

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Archive

Archive for the ‘Andalucia’ Category

Summer is Coming

Galera

Since our Valencia trip we’ve stayed largely local, visiting friends and enjoying the weather – which has been a little more unpredictable than usual for the time of year with a pretty cold breeze for most of the month up to now, though the last couple of days have been superb.

Don’t get me wrong, it has been sunny most days but the air itself when the sun dies down – has been cool. We’ve done some work around the house and garden, Maureen has been catching up with her reading while I’ve been learning some new stuff on the computer. Meanwhile we’ve had several sessions down at the local pub.

I’ve been replacing our very toy solar panels with a larger 250w job (and in Spain you get every watt) – not enough to do anything too serious with but it handles the outside lighting, my workbench lighting, charging of phones etc. and is a great learning tool. I’ve built proper housing for the electronics with plenty of room for expansion.

We’ve signed up to a deal with the electricity supplier to give 2 hours a day of free electricity – 10am to mid-day so now the showers, washing machine etc. all get done at the same time. Wish I had a shed-load of batteries I could charge up while I’m on.

Last week I was out of it for a little while thanks to some kind of mild food poisoning – which I regret to say most likely came from one of the restaurants at the lake! 3 days of stomach hell. Didn’t stop our regular trip to the Huescar market and coffee and churos.

Restaurant in BazaToday we were reminded that the Baza market is on Wednesdays – rather handy as we often do our big shopping in Baza on the same day. Took a visit to the vets as one of the cats is chewing himself to bits and while we were out we had lunch at one of our favourite bars in town.

Tomorrow is Huescar market but if the weather is really kind we may just hang around. I’ve ordered some wood to make new doors for the BBQ and so depending on how quickly “Wood To Go” can process the order we might end up taking a leisurely drive to Velez Rubio.

Baza market

I’ve been continuing my work on the tech blog which has grown to having around 7,000 signed up members – and I’m getting typically 3,000 page views every day, sometimes a lot more. Running something like that means continually coming up with interesting and new information – thankfully a number of manufacturers (mainly Asian) have been making sure I always have something new to talk about which is nice and I’ve built up a network of talented folk I can contact all over the world. I’ve made a start recently on a photography blog which is more about the kit than the images.

Before long we’ll have returning neighbours on both sides – that’ll be nice – and some other changes nearby which will also be nice. All in all it is looking like a good summer ahead.

Galera market

And hopefully soon as the water gets warmer, we’ll be able to take some trips to the nearby lakes for a dip – right now the water isn’t quite up to it. Great to look at and sit by – not so good getting wet in. In a few weeks time all of that should change. Meanwhile, lots to do. I’m guessing we’ll be taking a walk to town tomorrow night to see what everyone is up to.

The Lake

Too short a Break

Wine from BullasI can’t believe we’ve been here a week already – time flies.

Once we got settled into the cave and had time to start looking for things to fix, we discovered more minor issues, there’s been a little vandalism down at the roundabout – someone cut the solar panels clean. You have to wonder about people (especially as there’s an on/off switch). Anyway, that’s all repaired and the shower which had been deliberately disconnected will soon have a new copper connector – might just put a cattle fence generator on the metalwork in future. So all’s well there.

The Pergola had an unrelated electrical issue – a dry solder joint (I can only imagine the extreme cold in the evenings) but I fixed that yesterday. There is always something to keep me busy.

Meanwhile I’ve been working on my tech blog, I’m on a voyage of discovery right now, in-depth learning about something very technical (modern Javascript Objects) and we’ve spend some quality time with our neighbours/friends and had a great night out last night at Emilios Bar (Calle Los Carriones, Castillejar). I noted there’s a photo club of sorts up there but as they meet on the first Monday of the month (8pm) I’ve had that until May.

EmiliosToday, Maureen and I went on our travels to Baza – I left my webcam in the UK so we had to get a new one for here… meanwhile, the broadband fibre coming into the area broke and so we’re all sharing a very slow connection right now – Habland are busy sorting out the problems and respond a great deal more efficiently than some UK providers I could mention. 

Very difficult to see everyone in such a short visit so I hope if we miss anyone out they understand – but of course soon we’ll be here for the summer – new projects lined up and we’re hoping for some exciting short breaks including a big one off to Morocco! Meanwhile our friends Aidan and Helen are up at Valderobres putting together their new place – or at least starting to dismantle the old one – I understand they’ve had some good weather. Looking forward to taking a trip up there in the summer.

I’m just waiting for “we need to go to the garden centre” to repopulate our plants here as some didn’t make it through the winter – I’m hoping the grapevine will come back with a vengeance soon.

A quiet night tonight as tomorrow we’re off to meet more friends to catch up. I’m pondering popping down to La Posa for a quiet pint once I get all my little jobs done here. Can’t do that much with the current broadband so may as well enjoy a beer..

Time is Precious

CaveIt will soon be time for our trip back to the cold, wet, political desert known (just) as the United Kingdom just as the pound equals the Euro on its way into oblivion. I have some great friends there who do I do miss when we’re not with them – but returning to Brexit Britain is not something I am AT ALL looking forward to.

However, for now that’s just something we have to do. It won’t be long before I find an excuse to come back here and of course we’ll be back full swing in April anyway so an intermediate trip is mainly down to finding decent flights and avoiding the worst of the Andalucían winter so probably that’s February out if previous years are anything to go by.

PergolaWe’ve some time yet to enjoy the company of friends, with a trip way up North near Barcelona  this week to spend some time with Aidan and Helen (who are over here to so with their new Spanish property) and hopefully enjoy some more of this excellent weather – it is still t-shirt weather here but it IS cooling off in the evenings.

On Friday after helping one of the guys to repair his motorhome, we went off with our neighbours to a party which we left at midnight and I didn’t wake up until mid-day Saturday – not a bad start to the weekend – I must say I was feeling surprisingly energetic after 12 hours sleep!

On Sunday  after walking down to the village for coffee in the morning we headed off to Puebla De Don Fadrique for a fair – basically an excuse for the entire village to eat and drink – I didn’t – and so last night I went off to La Posa on my own, Maureen was feeling a little under the weather – and needless to say I got back in the early hours. Tomorrow we’re off to the vet.

The one thing I am looking forward to back in the UK is applying the knowledge I’ve picked up in the last several months over here in Spain, to my home control kit back in England. – Oh, yes, that and APPARENTLY there’s a new Indian restaurant opening up in Bellingham!

Bedrock[7]

Meanwhile as you can see I’ve been doing some more experimenting with some superb software to “interpret” photographs as drawings – I think you’ll agree the science is coming along quite nicely. I could see some of these ending up on framed canvas. The one above in particular which shows the front of Bedrock.

Pergola building and another week in Paradise

Interesting week but then it would be – we’re in peak season here so the pubs are chocker at night – it’s a short season of course.  Wednesday we met up with friends Roly and Jackie as it was their last night in Galera for a little while. Last night we’d planned to go visit neighbours but we’ve been that busy we decided to simply stop in and relax – which we did – well, kind of, I was finishing off the Pergola for most of the day and Maureen was working on the garden – thankfully both are now now well on the way to completion.

Today a new solar regulator turned up – I blew one of mine up last week due to incompetence and I need a spare – so the new one is now taking pride of place – I just need to make the wiring a little more permanent – my early evening job when it cools down a bit.

PergolaaftershaveSome of the lighting is fixed (green) – the rest is programmable to any colour we fancy – and all of it is for free and controllable from anywhere like the cameras and monitoring sensors.

Today we went off shopping – firstly to Commercial Morino past Baza for some new mesh – Simba in one of his desperate bids for freedom (he HATES being inside when we’re outside but it’s not a nice environment outside for him) managed to slightly damage one of the window meshes – this one is more substantial – anyway, so then then off to the Chinese store for general shopping and to check out their very expensive after-shave (not) – and finally – we went off to Negratin for a soak.

What a CRACKING day for it – calm (though the water could have been calmer) and 36c – just superb.

Tonight we’re stopping in – got some company later on – I think a few glasses of wine in the Pergola are in order – I’ve been writing technical blogs every spare minute and my fingers need a break.

Maureen

Oh, the waterproof camera case was a failure – nothing down there but green – same colour as the water looks from the surface – which is a huge shame because was we were wandering around aimlessly in the water today, the fish were jumping out of the water constantly – clearly lots going on down there and I noted a couple of times some fairly big fish wandering past me – but the camera was not having it. I’m guessing it is due to high calcium salts or similar – it’s certainly not due to pollution as power boats are not allowed – though I did notice on inconsiderate type out there ignoring the rules.

This morning the sky was wonderful and it is still that way now early evening – I think the rain we had the other day has cleared the way for a nice few days – or weeks…

Another successful delivery from Seur – obviously we’ve cracked that nut – mind you it did say delivery between 9pm and 10pm – and it turned up at 7pm – but that’s just a minor detail in the scheme of things.

Galera this morning

And just for the sake of it, here’s a strange tomato we bought this afternoon! More expensive than normal tomatoes – but then a lot bigger too.

tomato

A Saturday trip to the Coast

I wish I’d taken a photo… yesterday as well as many other places, we visited a little area call San Juan. I was going to do a little map but for the life of me, though there are several San Juan on Google Maps – Eventually I discovered “San Juan de los Terreros!

Anyway, if you find yourself there, don’t go in the water. Between plastic bags and assorted rubbish – I’ve never seen such a mess. Somewhere around there is a nudist beach – Maureen freaked out – so we didn’t hang around there for long.

Vera marketAll of this was part of our big Saturday outing. We set off sharp in the morning from Galera, via Cullar and Puerto Lumbreras down to Vera – where they have what has to be the largest market I’ve seen in recent times – certainly within day-driving distance. Blows away the Huescar Thursday market.

I think we arrived in Vera around 11am and after (with difficulty) parking the car did our best to cover the market in the remainder of the morning, stopping only briefly in the town centre for coffee.

We had a nice time though it was very hot down there, marred somewhat by the news that our pal has had a heart attack and is in hospital (and of course I’d formatted my phone and so had no contact info in there but eventually we got him on the phone to chat to).

Trip

Garden Centre on the way to VeraMeanwhile just outside of Vera we found a very nice – and cheap garden centre  – so now Maureen has new (bright purple) plants for our place – and I have some new watering kit – just waiting for it to cool off a little.

Being a Saturday night, by 9pm we were not hopeful but as it turns out there were places still open at Parque Almenara in Lorca – the huge Chinese store – Corte Asia for example until 10pm (apparently 6 days a week, closed all day Sunday). W

Our trip which started in Galera, via Cullar, Puerto Lumbras down to Vera, took us along the coast (on and off) to Playas de Vera, Vlillaricos, San Juan, Aquilas and several other spots I can’t remember the names of…. and ended up late in the evening at Lorca and then we took the back route home via Velez Rubio, Velez Blanco and Maria, arriving home quiet late. It was a very clear night – we turned the lights out and sat for an hour or so counting satellites (about 20 in all and a couple of meteorites) before retiring from a very eventful day.

A Good Day for a Swim

Last night I did a bit of cementing – incarcerating countless thousands of ants at the same time. Of course that is just setting me up for a painting task in a couple of days. Today for the first time we took off to one of the pools – the public pool in Orce. Fed by constant spring-water, the pool is bollock-freezing cold no matter what time of the year. The fields on the other hand are now dry as a bone but still full of colour.

PoppiesAnd so it was, armed with towels we headed to the fish-infested waters of Orce – and my, have they grown. There were no more than a dozen or so people there today including some Germans who were keen to pass the time with conversation. 

Maureen with new gadgetsThis was our first dip and to be fair the water really was not that cold. With outside temperatures peaking at 26c the cool-off was very welcome.

Getting ready to go to a small gathering tonight – no doubt featuring alcohol and we have a couple of new toys to take to the lake tomorrow! I have to say I am quite looking forward to giving these a try-out – each complete with two drink-holders, no less. Or one drink and a bottle of sun-oil perhaps.

This afternoon I’ve been doing a little more work on text-to-speech for my little controllers – had some success with that – and now looking for a spare battery for the camera – not like the old days when camera batteries lasted for months, it pays to have a spare.

The area is looking great now with poppies springing up all over the place. Today I felt sorry for hay fever types as the air was full of spores. Summer is definitely here – I can feel a tour of the coast coming on soon.

vines