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 something like 8 years or more and now we're spending a lot more time here.

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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Buying in Spain

Or rather, for now, buying in and around the Granada area.

We live about 1.5 hours north of Granada and costs can be low compared to the UK but you have to know what to look for and where to look for it. Pricing DIFFERENCES can be quite dramatic and electrical good can be MORE expensive. Ordering from the UK and China is fine, it is our experience however that ordering from America is likely to result in your goods being held up… there is a story on the blog about some urgent medical goods from the USA so I won’t spoil it by replicating here.

Here are some hopefully useful tips – if you have more -please do submit them!

Fuel – Prices vary dramatically so shop around – at the time of writing, fuel is cheaper here than in the UK and the cost difference between diesel and petrol is the other way around compared to the UK. Shop around, sometimes the small dealers are cheaper than the big guys and self-service stations TEND to be cheaper than manual service.

Compact fluorescent light and LED lights: Go to the likes of Carrefour and you’ll find the CFC lights we buy in the UK for £3.50 to be up to – are you ready.. up to FIFTEEN EUROS! So off you go to the cheap Chinese stores and sure enough they come between 2 and 4 Euros for both CFC and LED … the problem with that is – they can be RUBBISH. They break easily and don’t last as long – avoid lights which say “6400k” like the plague unless you like freezing cold looking refrigerator lighting. Thankfully, shops are now starting to mark them as “warm” and “daylight”.

White external paint “Pictura Plastica”: – Carrefour 15 Litres 25 Euros –  same stuff – Brico Depot 9 Euros…  but buy a small amount and check for yourself – these paints look the same (get internal/external) but some are very watery and useless. Test and get the thicker stuff. If you live in a cave you are going to need lots of this.

Electricity: – Electricity here is more expensive than the UK – BUT much of that is down to standing charges – not much you can do about that. The state-owned electricity company does have some strange offers like “Happy Time” electricity – in which you get to chose 2 hours every day for “free electricity”.

Broadband and WIFI: – I get better mobile coverage in most of Spain than I do in the Northeast of England by some way. Broadband however is more expensive and generally not keeping up with (some of the) UK in terms of speed – however they do have good wireless packages for rural areas.

Cement and plaster: There is a lot of bull talked about cements and plasters here – the one thing most of them have in common is they crack and drop off easily. Collect advice and don’t go for the cheapest stuff.  Caves in particular are tricky as there’s a silica material that grows out of the walls – if you just plaster a repair – the material will push your plaster off the wall eventually. Our builder advises where possible putting a metal mesh on the wall, held in with long pins – and then cement over that. I think he’s right – I use a lot of ready-mixed cement and THEN put plaster on top. Beware of builders using rubbish filling in cement and concrete. Try out different plasters – leave some to dry on a flexible plate so you can easily remove it – if it breaks easily – don’t use it.

(the Carrefour and Brico-Depot I refer to are in Granada and both also have branches on the way up to Alicante – Google it).

Stores:  It took us a long time to get to grips with this – rural stores just do NOT advertise in the way they would in the USA or UK.  Many furniture stores look closed at first sight until you realise the lights are movement operated and so as you walk through the door, the place lights up.  Some of the larger hardware stores are in factory units and for all the world you would think they were a factory or wholesale place until you get inside. We learned by taking advice from others and even then it took nearly 7 years to discover the best hardware store in the area despite driving past it on a weekly basis!