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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 ‘General’ Category

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

4th July 2016

4th July[6]An interesting couple of days. For the 4th of July, the local Galera Hotel did a cracking American-style breakfast which we attended, then lunch (which we skipped) and in the evening a disco with American-style food.

If you blow up the image on the top left here you’ll see the menu appeared not without a sense of humour (first two items on the top).

Galera poolThe Galera pool is all fixed up and now full of water, I’m looking forward to giving that a go – and then yesterday after a supplies trip to Baza followed by a trip to the lake where we met our upstairs neighbour’s son and his girlfriend, we had them over for drinks last night – a nice relaxing evening – we turned the lights out and watched the stars (and satellites and shooting stars etc.)

This morning we went off to Huescar to pay the dentist – the office was closed! I must’ve gotten something wrong in the translation so we’ll try again tomorrow.4th JulyLater today we have friends coming over from the UK. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to take them out to see the sights. I’m sitting here blogging and trying to sort out some technical issues with a new mini-router I recently bought. Looked too good to be true and it seems it WAS too good to be true.

LKW nEGRATIN

Happy Mondays

MoonYesterday was a good day, despite our friends Aidan and Helen having now gone back to the UK.  Sunday night I took another half-decent moon pic as you can see on the right (click any of these and other images on the blog to see larger versions).

Monday, despite being a holiday here and despite constant predictions I was wasting my time, once again the couriers delivered gadgetry to the door, on time – this one was a microprocessor board I’m writing a review on this week and as they’re launching the product this coming Friday, that was good timing.

Near MariaThe rest of the morning was spent working on new and significant Raspberry Pi updates and blogging some of the more complex programming aspects of the unit – as well as staring at intermittent clouds hoping they’d disappear in time for our BBQ and indeed they did – by mid-day things were warming up and by the time we got the BBQ going out in the beautiful countryside near Maria, the sunshine was out and eight of us (and 3 dogs) had a great time in an area kitted out for BBQs with dedicated stone BBQ units way out in the wilds.

picnic

A huge zoo-full of school-kids turned up and of course being from the UK I was expecting someone to cause  trouble – instead – they were really good – they wanted to speak English, take photos and learn about us – quite refreshing.

One of Debbie and John's dogsUltimately I needed a break from the constant chatter of kids and took the opportunity to go walkabouts for a while, followed most of the way by Debbie and John’s very friendly (and quiet) dogs – and got some great shots of the surrounding area.

Another of Debbie and John's dogs

Around this area you can only have BBQs until sometime in June from which point they are rightfully banned as it gets very dry and hot so we’re taking advantage of the opportunity while we can. No doubt it won’t be the last.

We all had a great time and four of us ended the evening watching “The Hateful Eight” which despite having blood and guts as the central theme as with all of his movies, turned out to be yet another Tarrantino work of art and a great laugh.

Country

Traffic jams

This morning (Tuesday) my long awaited displays turned up together with some other new bits and pieces the Chinese want me to take a look at – more tech blogging this morning then possibly a grocery shop. Time for a quiet spell before the heat starts in earnest later this week – wonderful.

You are in a forest

End of another Summer

Velez RubioThe summer is well and truly over here in Galera with temperatures plummeting to maybe 8c at night and rarely getting over 20c or so during the day. Still a million times better than back in the UK but I’m sitting here with the heating on in my office.

I’ve been looking back over the summer – which started with my trip to Boston in July – a great adventure marred only slightly by incompetent Iberia Airlines who managed to misplace my baggage, finding it only at the very end of my trip. That started a communications saga via their Facebook page – and only now in November have they finally agreed to cough up for the clothes I had to buy. I’ve not yet figured out a way to punish them for the state of my feet (I took light sandals on the plane and so after walking several miles to restaurants etc. my feet suffered somewhat. They couldn’t have given two hoots of course.

Fireworks

Other than that the summer went very well, it’s amazing how many places, friends we’ve visited and the good times we’ve had. With temperatures as high as 40c and a comfortable 25c in the evening, reasonable general prices and dirt cheap fuel, there is absolutely no comparing life here and in the Northeast of England. Sure, it has it’s downsides, I’ve fought with couriers who should not be delivering crisps never mind packages and as in previous years I’ve struggled to get parts I would easily find in the UK.

CountryBut this year more than others we’ve found ways around issues and discovered that materials are indeed widely available here as in Britain – you just have to look harder. Outside of the towns there are a myriad of industrial buildings that look like you really should not be there. In fact many of them are open to the public and are jam-packed with goodies – who knew !!

Meanwhile my home control projects are starting to come together thanks to taking the summer out and away from the FSB – something I’ve never done. Before the FSB it was business keeping me occupied all the time and so I’ve never really stopped and spent the time needed to really get as heavily into interesting projects as I’d like. As they say – there IS more to life.

I’ve finally started to make a break with Skype – I’ve had a Skype telephone number for many years – indeed since Skype first introduced “Skype In” – I started with a London number and migrated (when they screwed things up) to a Newcastle number. Last week they made a major gaff, sending out an email to their subscribers to announce an unfeasible price hike. By the time they announced they’d gotten it wrong, many of us had already told them to shove it. I’ve been researching other operators and those offering standard SIP IP phone lines. I’ve chosen one and now have both English and Spanish incoming numbers – both for less than I was paying Skype for one. I spent the afternoon making sure everyone knows the new numbers.

And there it is – my new modem has just arrived, we’ll be spending a little time in the winter in the UK with a break in the USA in the middle of it…  and when we return, the cottage in the UK will once again be holiday rented – I want to ensure that guests have a totally isolated WIFI setup while leaving me with full access to everything – the new TP-Link router should do that job for me.

BEACH

As the weather cools off I’m missing the sun already as are my solar panels which now struggle to handle the (bright) outside lighting for more than a couple of hours or so. When we come back I’m bringing batteries as the electricity here is prone to un-announced failure.

I think I should probably have been born in a hot country… Time yet however, according to the ever-inaccurate forecasts we could be looking at clear skies and 23c toward the weekend. Fingers crossed.

Another Fine Winter Day

Another fine day in Galera – not that warm I have to say – quite a cold wind but not a cloud in the sky (my solar-charged deep discharge battery will be thinking its summer). Spent the morning wasting time following some guy’s guide to emulating the Raspberry Pi 2 only to find out at the end of the day that it’s physically impossible for it to emulate the full memory of the new unit – timewaster.

Galera

Went down to see friends for a while just to chat – and we’re planning a lunch later in the week – that’ll be nice. Meanwhile I’m back in my office late afternoon to catch up with the (work) email mountain (done) and to progress the learning curve I started this morning. I can see an early night coming on. Meanwhile here’s a couple of sunny pictures I took this afternoon to cheer up the folks back home – apparently the weather is not too good back in Blighty.

Galera[6]