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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 more than 14 years and are currently working on making the country our permanent base.

If you're familiar with what3words (if you're not now you soon will be) we live at dossier.bath.sawn

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Archive

The broadband issue and some thoughts

Here in Galera I’ve noted many Facebook discussions about broadband issues and I was just responding to one in particular when I realised an in-depth response might annoy people for whom broadband reliability and speed is not an issue – so I said I’d follow it up in here. This post, then, is only of interest to locals I guess.

Ok, I’m based in Galera and in the Baza (Southern Spain) area we have a broadband company called Habland who we’ve had for years. Until recently my wife and I were Spanish part-timers and in the months we spent back in the UK, Habland would (year after year) reduce our broadband in speed and price to the lowest level, just enough to run cameras and give me access to stuff I needed. Fine – not stunningly fast but fine.

Today of course, increasingly, fibre broadband is the norm and Habland offer this too. a year ago, despite our street having no phone lines – they (a fellow called Jesus) promised we’d have it “in the coming weeks”. well, that didn’t happen and NOW they want my retired neighbours and I to fund and fit POLES before they’ll fit fibre.

Not only that but they recently “merged” with another company and since then things have changed, it seems for the worse. There are endless gripes on Facebook about their reliability and customer service – and when I asked for the normal reduced service for a short while (as we had to leave for a UK maintenance trip) I sent an email to get that normal reduced service. Instead, the broadband went off entirely for days. When I griped, I was told “we don’t offer a reduced service”. First I’d heard of the change – so much for engendering customer loyalty.

So, on the Facebook post I mentioned above I noted people asking about Musk’s Starlink service – the most advanced satellite service in the world, able to give low-latency, fast broadband wirelessly though no faster than fibre, really. The only catch is the “overpaid middle-class American” pricing – something like 500 Euros install and 99 Euros a month. Musk is missing a serious market segment at that price. Surely taking a leaf out of the airline book would be better – in this case rather than losing potential business altogether, offer a reduced speed (but reliable) service for WAY less, would surely be better than simply losing a chunk of sales… I’m sure, if the price was not much more than Habland, Musk would get Habland’s user base not to mention the “competition”? No sign of that happening.

Here are my thoughts as I’m out of ideas for improving the current service without vastly increasing the price – and even if we pay for poles and get fibre – the people with fibre are doing as much complaining as those with Habland dishes – so one of my thought experiments is a pair of Simyo data-only contracts – 35GB/month each one (total 31 Euros) – one would do the TV, the other for general use, with the ability to auto-swap-over as needed.

Each 4G contract has 35GB with carry-over and they often offer extra bonuses on a regular basis. As for reliability, my 4G phone signal regularly gives the same speed download as Habland’s dish and 10* the upload speed – and that’s without any external, directional antenna. I also have a pilot test, a SIM in a tiny router acting as a backup – not yet perfect but for 5 Euros a month it’s a first step to look for potential issues. I have ONE issue which would not bother most people – no fixed IP address on 4G. As to whether 35Gbytes a month for TV and 35Gbytes a month for everything else is enough, I’ll soon test that theory by constantly checking both TV and general use once we’re not all spending more time than usual indoors due to covid.

That’s it for now, hope someone (Southern Spain Baza region, mostly Galera) locally finds that useful.

Autumn 2020 here in Galera

Sea-front Almunecar

The time for sitting outside at midnight taking photos is once again gone for the year so instead, showing them off at the local photo club… it’s still lovely and warm during the day but as the sun disappears it will soon be time to consider heating.

Still, plenty to do – The new platform is up and running on the outskirts of town (below) and we’ve been up there taking photos, one of the first after they completed the platform, I should imagine. It’s all done but at the time of writing, their first attempts at putting up wooden posts aren’t quite as pretty.

The new platform in Galera

Meanwhile the cooler night conditions are a great excuse to get on with some tech development (getting to grips with ESPHOME recently) not to mention the odd TV series or movie. Tourists have pretty much cleared off now so life is nice and quiet.

TTGO Display

A September Mini-Adventure In the North

Our September mini-adventure got off to a flying start after visiting L’Ametlla De Mar late Monday just in time for a quick look around and dinner after checking our our hotel for the duration.

and after that great start, on Tuesday we headed inland to Valderobres and surrounding area (two photos below) to help check out a (very) rural (as in: miles up into the hills on dirt track roads) property for friends and grab lunch in town.

We then headed back to the coast, calling in at El Perello and L’Ametlla before ending our last full day in Miami Platja along the coast.

Restaurant in Miami Platja

Finally on our way home we stopped in at the superb seaside town of Cambrils – below – turned out to be the best stop of our trip.

Indian Restaurant in Cambrils
Cambrils

I’d like nothing better than a return trip to Cambrils (which is about half way between Miami Platja and Tarragona (east coast, Northern Spain) but that will have to wait for another summer.

Cambrils sea-front

Out with the Old, In with the New

After many years of service, our old hot tub finally gave up the ghost here at Bedrock, so now we have a brand new POOL… just filled today. And there it stands at 3m length and about 1m high. Needs varnish before we start enjoying it but it’s up and running (top is already done)! The pergola has been getting a makeover – we’ve had our new patio installed and this is the finishing touch, on its own concrete base (will will soon have Spanish tile sides and surrounding “grass”.

Thankfully the heat has broken (probably temporarily) so we can start varnishing tomorrow – now the tanker guy has done his job. That’s a LOT of water and we got all of it (that’s next door neighbour Dave’s plastic rat front left).

Two guys spent the best part of 2 days fitting this beauty. Wood, felt, insulation, plastic inside (looks just like tiles once it is under pressure).

Pleasant trip to Velez Rubio just off the A-92N

We had a lovely trip out to Velez Rubio today to meet an old friend (Angus Lyon) and his partner Suzanne and daughter Eliana half way as they are currently staying in their apartment down in Mojacar just off the sea front. Nothing rash – just a quick meet-up for coffee and tostada as a prelude to them visiting us in Galera, maybe in September. Last time we met his daughter she was really tiny.

On the way back as we were on our way to Orce, I took this snapshot – really pleasant weather after the heatwaves of late. We have of course been to both Velez Rubio and Velez Blanco many times – some day I’ll find an explanation of what “Velez” actually means.

A New Adventure up the Spanish Coast

Continuing our tradition of travelling up and down Spain, last week we took an early anniversary vacation up in Dénia, in the province of Alicante, stopping in at Bullas on the way up and Benidorm on the way back. Our 3-night trip was short but sweet and with the decline of Covid here in Spain we’re at the end of outdoor mask-wearing and feeling more “normal” than we have for over a year now. Add to that, very pleasant weather in the upper 20’s heading up to 30C.

Dénia
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