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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 9 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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Archive

Archive for the ‘Bedrock’ Category

Meanwhile in Galera

John and Peter

Stop press: The observant reader may notice that the blog is now forcing https: as against http: in the address bar. I’m doing this with all my sites as this simply means the site is more secure and there is no chance of any personal info spilling out. This is good for readers and good for the blog as Google are starting to “disadvantage” site that don’t do this. With luck in your address bar you’ll see a nice green lock.  Other than that it makes no difference to you whatsoever….

Right now it is Wednesday evening. Today we’ve been at the garage in Huescar getting the brakes fixed on the car after the last “improvement” made them soft as sponge. Fortunately they sorted it without blinking an eye or charging extra…

Spent part of the morning in Galera at the market – which has a markedly improved atmosphere these days and then spent the afternoon working on these blog changes and sorting today’s rather large postbag full of Chinese gadgets. Yesterday I spent the day slowly recovering from a somewhat late evening (early morning) on Monday in which we had friends over – and for the first time in too long – all of our current neighbours for drinks and nibbles. Sadly we could not invite everyone we know – any more and they’d be hanging over the wall but we’ll fix that in time. The area is wonderfully quiet now and we all spent Monday evening simply relaxing and solving the world’s problems – as you do while enjoying fine Spanish wine.

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Bloody Hell its Friday

Pete and MaureenThat was a quick week – which started last Sunday when I was supposed to pick Maureen up from Alicante but a friend of ours, Jackie kindly volunteered as she was already picking up someone at the airport at the same time.

We met up at the pub in Galera and had a few beers before heading off home so Maureen could unpack.

On Monday we went off to the local bank to put an American cheque in. Well, you could not make this up. The bank seemed unable to handle the date on the cheque which of course being American has the day and month reversed compared to ours and looked like it was in the future. We were asked to come in the next day. I don’t know about you but I’ve known about American dates since I was pre-teen, reading DC comics but hey-ho.

Pic of LCDTuesday and we headed off to the bank again – only to stand there for something like half an hour with the aid of an interpreting friend – the end result – the bank just cannot handle an American cheque for reasons still not properly understood. Is there a pattern here? The Spanish customs would not handle life-saving medicine for our friendly god-daughter, the only time I get customs issues is when buying stuff from America.. could well be a pattern?

Anyway – I’ve had it with the bank – 8 years of business, always polite – no problem there – but they could not put in that little extra effort for something out of their usual  – not impressed – their cash machine is in such bad condition you can’t read it in bright sunlight – and the online banking is nothing to write home about – worse -  they don’t seem to have that many branches in far-away places either and that means charges from other banks to withdraw money – so first chance we get we’re going to investigate the alternatives.

In the time in between I’ve spent a LOT of spare time getting to grips with some technical protocols (I2C and SPI) – for my little home control projects so I can drive a range of displays and sensors.

Meanwhile – the old pergola was being dismantled this week in preparation for the new one.

Pergola gone

Wednesday Maureen went down to the local market and we ended up in the pub again at night but not before getting out of the car to be greeted by this (dead) fellow.

snake in Galera

Thursday – nothing – we decided to have a relatively early night because we were going down to the coast the next day – I spent most of the day either dozing off or chatting to friends in Canada and the UK.

So much for the bright idea of getting extra sleep on Thursday – because early Friday morning I was woken up to the worrying feeling that a bloody SCORPION was trying to take my hand off – and indeed he was – but despite my advancing years it seems I was fast enough to wake up and slam him into the bed sheets James-Bond style (except the Bond scene featured a spider) because within what seemed like milliseconds I was out of bed and off to get a slipper to give the by now buried-in-comforter scorpion a good telling off.

Mojacar

Of course several bashes across the head had little effect from soft sandals and an even softer bed so, for good measure, I suffocated him in fly-spray before Maureen slung him out of the house.

No way was I going back to bed after that and so by evening time, while getting ready to walk down to the village for the beginning of the August festivities to meet with friends – I have to say, after a beach trip to Mojacar and a shopping trip to Albox (including the garden centre) followed by groceries in Baza, a round trip that started at 9am and finished late afternoon with temperatures peaking over 40c….  I was feeling totally knackered.

Albox garden centre

The funny thing is that after an initial tingling, my ravaged thumb was fine – I suspect he grabbed onto me in preparation for sticking his stinger in me and didn’t ever get the chance to complete the operation before he was being suffocated.

We left his broken body outside as a lesson to other scorpions and for the ants for lunch.

Anyway – off we went with our friend Debbie down to the town and met up with loads of the guys in the village – I have to say – we had a nice time – great entertainment, too!

Party in Galera

Saturday the new Pergola turned up first thing in the morning –  and of course it was hot as hell throughout the day – a day where I was not at my best due to having a late night…

Anyway, Maureen and I rolled up our sleeves as the sun went down – and by late evening after a few beers and a lot of work – we were up and running at least in part, with the new Pergola. Solid as a rock but not yet acting as a sun-shade.

New Pergola

Meanwhile down in the town the festivities were just starting up – thankfully due to zoom lenses – we didn’t miss a thing..

Fireworkds in Galera

Fireworks in Galera

I believe the Orce Medieval Market is on tonight (Sunday) and late Monday my friend Simon is coming over from the UK for a few days for a visit.

Busy-busy… I’ll leave you with more pics of entertainment – Galera style.

Entertainment in Galera

Entertainment in Galera[6]

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

Swimming with the Fishes

Another fine day yesterday. I spent much of the morning setting up my new 5” LCD for the Raspberry Pi (successfully) and then we headed off to the pool for a swim before our trip to Baza for paint and a rather fine Pizza at Venecia Restaurant Pizzeria (Calle de la Puerta de Lorca, 26, 18800 Baza).

Pool at Orce

birdsHardly a soul in the pool and despite the water being quite cool, with 30c outside the whole thing just worked.

We spent maybe an hour in the pool before heading off to Baza as I needed some fasteners for the extension to the watering system here at Bedrock – Maureen has been putting up a heightened extension near the steps to keep out intruders and improve that corner – so we’ll soon have cactus up there – which means more piping for watering. The large Chinese store in Baza had the bits I needed. After that we ending up in the restaurant around teatime.

The pool at Orce is different to most of them in that it is full of fish – mostly they mind their own business and certainly are harmless – indeed, rather relaxing to watch.

fish

Today I’ll finish off the watering setup and Maureen can hopefully get some soil and plants in there.

Monday Life in Galera

Huescar Church taken at Restaurante El Mano IIAfter a successful morning which saw Aidan and I working together by Skype as he helped me sort out thermostat issues (successfully up to now) at Hollyberry Cottage (Skype and decent broadband are a wonderful combination), a bunch of us headed off to Restaurante El Maño II at the far end of Huescar for lunch which ended up filling the otherwise rather miserable (weather-wise) afternoon  – and I have to say, the service and the food were both excellent.

It’s going to be a couple of days or so before we see the end to this unusually damp weather (hopefully by the time Aidan and Helen get here) and so chatting with friends all afternoon made a great alternative to fretting about lack of sun. We had a nice time. Thanks to all for making it that way.

Calle Ceuta 14Tonight I’ve been debugging some silly issues with lighting here in the cave – again successfully (one of my late night experiments I’d forgotten all about and left running). That and the first of several additions to my new camera turned up – a screen protector for the display. I’m hoping to continue my current success record at actually getting post delivered to the house! About the only thing that hasn’t gone well, I left my charger out yesterday in the short-lived sun which as it happens was quickly followed by a downpour – I’m not sure the LCD is ever going to recover.

Working on the hallway water feature to make it all WIFI controlled – this needs a little more care than usual given the fact that it uses water!! 

Finishing off the night with a nice glass of Spanish wine and some blogging. I could see an early night tonight as we have a busy day tomorrow.Hopefully will pick up some material to restore the Pergola to showroom shine after the winter winds have taken their toll.

The Winter Cometh

It’s been a great summer here in Galera, the weather, by and large has been stunning, with temperatures up to 40c in the afternoon and really pleasant evening temperatures, ideal for BBQs. The last couple of weeks have been good – but it’s not summer – still wearing t-shirts but no-one is in a rush to go off to the lake for a swim. Yesterday it rained which was a bit of a novelty but by the look of the forecast we’re going to see sunny conditions, the odd cloud and maybe 21-22c in the afternoons for the next few days at least. Ideal for getting on with projects.

graphI’m currently working on a number of projects – one of which is my lighting – we’ve simplified the external lighting basically down to one colour – green. The lighting is predominantly LED-based and so I decided to go for 12v – this has the advantage that I can run the lot of a battery. I have a couple of small solar panels here, each able to give out 40w on a good day and they’re currently mounted flat on the pergola.

Well, that was fine until maybe a couple of weeks ago, every day they’d fully charge my 12v deep-discharge battery (basically an average size car battery that doesn’t mind getting heavily discharged) and so the lights would come on at dusk and go off at midnight. That, some Pergola lighting and a WIFI controller of my own design would take the battery down just below 12v in time to be fully recharged the following morning. You can see the last few days in the graph above (the system reads the battery voltage every 15 minutes). from the peak, the voltage drops with the lighting on until midnight where the lights go off, at which point the battery instantly recovers a little – but then continues to drain overnight as the controller itself takes some power – then come dawn it starts to go up again – etc. There’s a general downward slope, halted only by reducing the amount of time the lights are on but we’re only just into October here so it’s going to get worse – I’m hoping by angling the panels I can get that power back up.

GaleraNot so now, over the past weeks the hours of sunlight have dropped and this week I had to dramatically alter the timing, keeping the main lights off for an hour after dusk. I’ve been sitting here this morning looking at optimum angles for panels and of course my current flat setup is useless in winter. It turns out the optimum winter angle here is around 50 degrees – and thinking about it, the flat panel would be pretty useless if it snowed – so I need to make a little A-frame to hold the panels, easy to do when you have a B&Q around the corner, here we have a “Carpinteria” – and yesterday I tried the one in our village and the next – both closed all day!! I can see a trip to the big town coming on. It really just isn’t as simple as in the UK – on the other hand it’s probably pouring down back home by now. It’s 8am, the sun is thinking about coming up, a little damp outside but there’s not a cloud in the sky so it might well be a nice day.

All of this just just a project of course – I could just as easily power everything by the mains – but it’s a fun project and lots of knowledge is coming our of it. Between that and years of playing with garden lights I’ve a fair idea of what you can and can’t get out of solar panels.

Meanwhile, Maureen is taking an interest in local Pilates lessons and glasswork and I’m learning all about the operating system Linux – the hard way – by experimenting. Yup, it’s going to be a nice sunny day today.