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

Archive for the ‘Bedrock’ Category

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.

What a way to spend a Sunday

SantiagoWe didn’t MEAN to end up at Santiago de la Espada, the idea was to take a drive and go down the first road we’d never explored. Well it wasn’t until we got to Puebla de Don Fadrique that the opportunity to do just that happened.

We’ve been round mount Sagra many times but never ventured off to the right – so, armed with petrol and good weather, off we went. The road isnt’ ideal – it’s a tortuous, mountainside route and it took us longer than Google would suggest – but I have to say, well worthwhile – the scenery out there in the mountains (not to mention the HEIGHT) is pretty spectacular. And the coffee in the village wasn’t bad either.

Sagra

And so off we went – and spent the afternoon simply adventuring. We came back via another route avoiding Don Fadrique but to be honest the road was a little dodgy so I won’t recommend it other than to say the scenery in both directions is marvellous. Here are some photos.

Mountains

Comarca De Huescar

mountains[6]

the town

Where do the weeks go?

HuescarI can’t believe it is a week since I wrote in here.  It’s been a quiet but productive week – we’ve had a few sessions down in the village – we’ve been to the lake and I’ve fixed the loo (most important).

Today after starting the morning with (wait for it) breakfast in the hot tub!! I’m putting up new mesh on the windows now that our far-too-bright cats have figured out that this is a potential escape mechanism.

In between jobs I’m improving my cave control APP for the phone – learning in leaps and bounds – and I’ve a spot of cementing to do later. Still some reliability aspects to sort – that watering system has to work EVERY time not most times… but I’m getting there.

Meanwhile, apart from some storms which always seem to be somewhere else, the weather has been great. typically 30c or higher during the day and still t-shirt weather at midnight.

Oh if you get a chance – check out “Legends” – there’s an entire series 1 available on Sky catchup – bloody marvelous television.

Right – on with the jobs – you can’t beat Sunday morning with your fingers covered in clear silicon sealant.

A Typical Sunday at San Clemente?

Not a great start to the morning, as I was minding my own business on one of our rocking chairs I got the urge to stretch and for reasons still not clear that took the chair beyond it’s range of movement. I don’t know how I managed it but I got my hands around my head just before it went crashing down onto the very hard bathroom floor tiles, the result being a very loud cracking noise and a very sore head.

The Lake

dogStill, that didn’t stop us getting down, via a very poor excuse for a road, to the waterside – to give it the proper title “Embalse De San Clemente” to spend the day with friends and sandwiches – I have to say not a bad way to spend a Sunday. San Clemente is at quite a low level now – but one of the advantages of that is hitherto unavailable beach areas! I can only assume that this is the reason we had for most of the day, the whole place to ourselves… maybe that and a rather forbidding road sign.

We set up shop on the “beach” complete with umbrellas and deck chairs and we had a great time fighting with the umbrellas thanks to a particularly enthusiastic gale – but at 30c+ that actually came as a bonus.

Click on the photos to expand them – originals are quite big. San Clemente is a stone’s throw away from Huescar and a pleasant enough drive apart from the last bit… did you ever see the Mars Rover videos?

So that’s how we spent our day – me nursing a bad head but otherwise everyone relaxing. I took loads of pics and will put them up on Flickr but here are some samples. What is really nice about this area is the lack of steep slope once you get in the water (and relative lack of sharp stones). The weather is changing as you can see in the photos – we started the day cloudless and now the clouds are winning though it is still very warm – I don’t suppose a downpour would do any harm and the lakes would certainly benefit.  Tonight we’re planning to pop down to the medieval market in Galera for a while.

Lake

Galera Celebrations

Another night of activity in the town – last night some of the guys stayed up all night (I didn’t – still jet-lagged) and so tonight Maureen and I stayed in and sat by the Pergola.  I managed to stop up until midnight when the fireworks went off – and very nice, too.

Galera Fireworks

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]