What’s this about?
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 a decade or more and now we're spending a lot more time here.

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

Find out more about this by reading through the blog entries, menu-accessible pages and archives if you're interested! Welcome to Peter and Maureen's Spanish website.

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Expat blogs in Spain

Archive

Beautiful Scenery

Around Galera

The photo you see above, I took while wandering around the hills, just up from our cave. This is typical of the nearby scenery. One of our neighbours, a Scottish couple, live in a cave even higher up than our own and have a marvellous roundabout in the middle of their garden.

Roundabout

As the weather picks up generally, we’ve had several days recently peaking at 30C. There are a few clouds this morning but this is now very much the exception – still, gives me a little time to update the blog… I’ve also been checking in on the home automation back in the UK to verify that all is well. From what I can tell, it is starting to warm up back in Wark, too.

Last night we had a special treat, imported spiced pork from our friend Antonio (Mr Shark) in Italy.

An Evening of Photography

Last night was my first visit of the year to the (very friendly) Galera Photo club – and what a pleasant evening.

Some time ago I received a request via email to take and submit photos on the subject of “A Walk in the Park” for the next meeting. Simple enough, I thought. Though I’d read enough to realise that the park in question was in nearby Baza, I had no idea which park in particular they were talking about.

Despite missing the organised park tour thanks to my rubbish memory, I took it upon myself to trundle along to Alameda park in Baza before the Monday judging meeting last night, armed with phone and camera and came back with a shed-load of photos only to then realise that I had no idea what the judging criteria were. In the end i only liked one of my many photos and while reasonably well exposed, it wasn’t that hot on one of the declared criteria – a subject. Who would have thought I’d wander into a popular park mid-day to find no people, no dogs, nothing of any great interest.  As it happens, had I been more on the ball, I could have made something of the various kids rides etc. but that never occurred to me at the time.

Unsubmitted photo of Alameda Park in Baza

Luckily, despite having decided to keep a low-profile at the meeting, when I arrived (early), the very first thing that happened was that I was cornered and asked to be the judge for the night. Just as well I wasn’t itching to show off a photo.. and so much for the “low profile”.

I’m wary about judging the photographic work of others… with only one winner, the judge is guaranteed to annoy everyone BUT the winner. Happily, they’re a cheerful and forgiving lot down at the club (the meeting was held in the excellent Hotel Galera with owner Jack providing coffee). My choice of winning photo scored (imho) on a combination of techniques they’d been learning about in previous meeting (composition, focus, exposure) and a sudden urge to reward hard-to-repeat photos. While there were many decent entries which included static items such as the tree in my own (above) un-submitted photo, the winner had chosen a bunch of elderly gentlemen and one lady in a unique park-bench opportunity.  At that point I was glad I’d left my photo out of the mix.

I’m fanatical about photo exposure and hence I have a tendency to concentrate on techniques such as HDR (high dynamic range)  which, though commendable, has not yet been covered at the club and hence could not be factored into  the judging. As it happens, another popular trick in photography, “rule of thirds” wasn’t discussed until last night so that might’ve been another reason to keep my pictures out of the mix had I thought of it, In short, a good night, excellent weather, great, friendly company and of course some of us ended up at “La Posa” bar to finish off the night.

If anyone is even remotely interested, I started my photographic journey some 54 years ago with an inexpensive camera and a friendly local chemist where I could buy all the chemicals I needed to do the whole DIY processing thing (imagine that today, firstly “high street pharmacies” don’t supply chemicals and imagine the “terrorist” implications of buying highly flammable, basic tools of the photo-lab” toolbox) all of which gave me a great start so long ago.

I went from DIY low-budget photo-snapping and processing through several expensive cameras plus decent enlarger to a complete void until the dawn of the digital camera camera age and then onto the smartphone age. Recently I sold my Nikon P900 83x zoom SLR and today my phone is, largely, my camera of choice, boasting a decent camera and tools to do all of the tricks I used to spend hours on in the lab (otherwise known as my dad’s garage) and far more besides. All that is missing is a decent telephoto lens and I have a small Panasonic camera for that. 

Despite owning Photoshop and several other PC-based photo packages, my tool of choice has for some time been the free Google-developed “Snapseed” app which I transfer from one Android phone to another. Insanely powerful, this package gives me everything I need to brighten up otherwise dull photos. On the odd occasion I get the urge to “cartoon-ify” a photo, another favourite app is “Prisma”.   Of course, depending on your needs, there are many photo apps for both Android and IOS, some are excellent, few of note are free, some are utter rubbish even after upgrading to the paid versions, hence my choices.

I’m looking forward to other photo-opportunities this summer as the weather picks up and hopefully meeting up with other members of the local photo club. With luck I might even convince Maureen to join in on the odd occasion.

A quiet afternoon at Emilios Bar and Cafe

Emilios bar and cafe

Not that many people out last weekend – the shops are closed Thursday and Friday as it was a bank holiday – and the weather has been atrocious for the time of year, so we settled down at one of our favourite local restaurants for coffee and tostada.

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A lovely Winter Morning

Lovely winter morning? Not a lovely winter morning! The first of these pictures was sadly taken precisely 1,198.3 miles (1,928.5km) North of the second (hence the quality variation) mid-morning this morning. For those of you enjoying the sunshine in Southern Spain, please spare a thought for friends suffering the god-forsaken weather in the Northeast of England – it’s been like this since at least 1954, with brief bursts of sunshine in between showers.

Crappy winter morning

Lovely Winter Morning

Still, at least we still have mail from China, just as well as we soon won’t have a lot from Europe, another good reason to be in Spain.I’ve spent much of the Christmas holidays collecting new toys from our oriental friends, a great way to keep warm and at least I can keep an eye on the place and enjoy the sun by proxy – a poor substitute for the real thing.

I hope our friends in Galera and surrounding area are making the best of this sunshine – looking forward to seeing everyone in the not-too-distant future, meanwhile, of course,  keeping in touch with some of you via Facebook and email.

The September coastal Trip

We spent most of the week – start of September 2018 with our friends Dave and Karen, travelling at the bottom end of Spain – we made a base just outside of Ronda (just over an hour Northwest of Marbella on extremely winding roads) and from there took a day-trip to Gibraltar.

Our Hotel just outside of Ronda

Above, our hotel, a cute place complete with gardens and a pool, just minutes outside of Ronda.

Below, eating out near Ronda:

Eating out in Ronda

For our first night out, after a long and interesting walk through the shopping area, we ate in Ronda itself, not much there to talk about as the cafe food there is mostly Spanish. On our second night we ate out of town, again nothing in the way of international cuisine but we had a good time anyway with plenty of variety, half-decent wine and most importantly, good company.

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A Nice Sunday Walk

Much as it was tempting to go to the village pubs AGAIN, instead, this evening, we went for a walk in the hills and here are the photos…

Hills around Galera

Hills around Galera

Hills around Galera