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This is Peter and Maureen Scargill's Spanish website. We live in Galera in Andalusia (for clarity, 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 it is now our permanent base though we retain a small home in the UK.

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Archive for the ‘Baza’ Category

Overheating and OverClouding

MapWhat a day it has been so far.

So the plan was simple… lie around until Maureen was done with her keep-fit in nearby Cullar, pick her up, drive to Baza for supplies, off to the garden centre in Zujar then off to the lake for a swim.

Well, that was the plan…reality was somewhat different…

After a couple of short falls of rain over the weekend I figured we were all set for a super-sunny week and that is indeed how the day started.

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Pergola building and another week in Paradise

Interesting week but then it would be – we’re in peak season here so the pubs are chocker at night – it’s a short season of course.  Wednesday we met up with friends Roly and Jackie as it was their last night in Galera for a little while. Last night we’d planned to go visit neighbours but we’ve been that busy we decided to simply stop in and relax – which we did – well, kind of, I was finishing off the Pergola for most of the day and Maureen was working on the garden – thankfully both are now now well on the way to completion.

Today a new solar regulator turned up – I blew one of mine up last week due to incompetence and I need a spare – so the new one is now taking pride of place – I just need to make the wiring a little more permanent – my early evening job when it cools down a bit.

PergolaaftershaveSome of the lighting is fixed (green) – the rest is programmable to any colour we fancy – and all of it is for free and controllable from anywhere like the cameras and monitoring sensors.

Today we went off shopping – firstly to Commercial Morino past Baza for some new mesh – Simba in one of his desperate bids for freedom (he HATES being inside when we’re outside but it’s not a nice environment outside for him) managed to slightly damage one of the window meshes – this one is more substantial – anyway, so then then off to the Chinese store for general shopping and to check out their very expensive after-shave (not) – and finally – we went off to Negratin for a soak.

What a CRACKING day for it – calm (though the water could have been calmer) and 36c – just superb.

Tonight we’re stopping in – got some company later on – I think a few glasses of wine in the Pergola are in order – I’ve been writing technical blogs every spare minute and my fingers need a break.


Oh, the waterproof camera case was a failure – nothing down there but green – same colour as the water looks from the surface – which is a huge shame because was we were wandering around aimlessly in the water today, the fish were jumping out of the water constantly – clearly lots going on down there and I noted a couple of times some fairly big fish wandering past me – but the camera was not having it. I’m guessing it is due to high calcium salts or similar – it’s certainly not due to pollution as power boats are not allowed – though I did notice on inconsiderate type out there ignoring the rules.

This morning the sky was wonderful and it is still that way now early evening – I think the rain we had the other day has cleared the way for a nice few days – or weeks…

Another successful delivery from Seur – obviously we’ve cracked that nut – mind you it did say delivery between 9pm and 10pm – and it turned up at 7pm – but that’s just a minor detail in the scheme of things.

Galera this morning

And just for the sake of it, here’s a strange tomato we bought this afternoon! More expensive than normal tomatoes – but then a lot bigger too.


Early morning in Bedrock

Galera7am here in Bedrock as we start our second full day here in May. It’s been a challenge organising this holiday break,between turmoil in our professional lives and the new cottage extensions, which took a detour last week when the new bathroom plumbing burst, soaking the place and requiring professional de-humidifiers running around the clock to fix.

Thankfully as I sit here the builders are correcting that issue and in a couple of weeks we expect to be able to get on with the job of converting Hollyberry Cottage into not only a fantastically improved holiday rental cottage but also a great place for us to shack up in the winter.

LakeMissed the all important G7 drinking session last night. Between overdoing it when we arrived here on Wednesday and just so much to do, we decided to give the first session a miss – no doubt we’ll make up for it over the weekend.

We arrived mid-Wednesday at Alicante airport and for the first time managed to find our way to Brico-Depot in Crevillent just a short hop on the way here from Alicante. The place is great, all the major stores are there including Carrefour and Aldi etc. When we arrived Wednesday night the weeds had taken over (it’s hot here but it hasn’t been hot for long enough to kill them off yet) so as well as readying the place we’ve been clearing the path. It’s starting to look good already and this morning Maureen is of with some of the women to have fun while I sort out some tech work I have to complete via Skype with my friend Aidan in the UK.

testing solar panelsMy other jobs for this weekend include getting the watering system back up and tested. I’ve brought much more meaty power supplies with me to Spain this time to handle the rather unpredictable power here – though I suspect I’ve not brought enough.  As an experiment I brought another solar regulator along with an alarm 12v battery and panel –I want to see if I can run the router and new Raspberry Pi controller off the sun entirely. I suspect that’ll have to wait for our June/July run in which we’re bringing the car from the UK as I just could not fit the second large solar panel into the travel case!!

lampsI’ve recently started to work on my tech blog which now regularly achieves around 750 users a day and the new tech Facebook page just tipped 1000 likes – all of which imposes a slight responsibility to keep them up to date but first, we need to get into that lake and enjoy the fine weather Spain is having right now, it’s a little misty but typically sailing past 30c in the afternoon with peaks around 40c which might sound a bit much to Brits starved of sunshine but trust me – you get used to it and it beats the pants off the UK, in particular because that means you can sit outside at night without a jumper on!

Thankfully as you see in the graph (my systems have been logging temperature and humidity for a couple of years now) the humidity is finally dropping rapidly – we picked a good time to arrive.

Graph of temperature and humidity

So looking forward to a couple of weeks at least of fine weather before any more painting. We’re off to Baza this afternoon so that Maureen can pick up some supplies at the garden centre after we’ve had a soak in the lake.

The Spanish Summer Adventure

toastStarting in Galera, then off via Granada , Seville (on the way back), Rio Tinto and Portugal – what an adventure – the general idea at the start was to leave Galera (right on the map – we’re looking at the south end of Spain here) on Monday, pop into Baza for an early morning sandwich and then head off down to Gibraltar to spend a little time with Gemma Vasquez and her husband (Gemma heads up the GFSB – the Gibraltar Small Business organisation over there – and as a Brit who has been there more than once and listened to the traders and local government complaining, I have considerable sympathy for the hassle the people of Gibraltar from time to time get from the Spanish authorities) and then head off to Huelva in Spain for some history.

Well, as it happens,  all of that mutated into something completely different and we scrapped the Gibraltar trip PARTLY due to fears of horrendous queues at the border and partly due the inevitable restrictions caused by Maureen’s (at the time) bust foot. As it turns out, I emailed Gemma to apologise for our change of plans – and it would seem that was a smart move as that the queues at the border were as bad as ever – with a change for the worse which apparently allowed Spanish traders into Gibraltar without issue while making everyone else wait!!! I wonder if our press ever picked up on that.


So – the revised plan took us to Rio Tinto and Huelva. Let me explain – Rio Tinto is a small town and also a mining area in South West Spain not far off Portugal, famous for a river that runs blood-red due to the iron oxide and other chemicals in it. Turns out this mining has been going on since Roman times until very early in the 21st century and one of the mines is as deep as the Empire State Building is high!!! Worth a look, surely, we thought.

2 sunsSo, we set off on Monday and, as you do, we stopped off along the way, discovering Spanish towns we’ve never even thought of before – and one area we passed late in the day seemed to have two suns (see above) resembling the fictitious Star Wars planet Tatooine (a beige-colored, desolate world orbiting a pair of binary stars) – we figured we’d check that out on the return trip. We’re glad we visited Huelva – very nice – see ships lower down.

Moving on, we had arranged bed and breakfast in a little place called Rio-Tinto – straight off the Internet as you do – and what a winner. Ok, I’ll grant you we had a little issue that neither the owner nor his wife spoke much English but we Townmanaged – between Google translate, enthusiasm and arm gestures… we managed – what a REALLY nice couple – she has her own paintings all over the house – he was into gadgets and he’d taken the time to study my blog with the aid of Google…. the house was pristine, neighbourhood pleasant and they had a pool – a NICE pool.

The reason we travelled to Rio-Tinto was to see the river, which runs red due to iron oxides. We were not expecting the history we found – turns out they’ve been mining there for the last 5,000 years!!! More photos at the end of this blog entry.

All done with Rio Tinto we headed off to the Algarve in Portugal – to Vila Real to be precise – just for a quick visit before heading off home. It’s a long time since we’ve been to Portugal and I have to say after settling down for dinner at the sea front, I’m not in any mad rush to go back.

Portugal… well, the bit we were in…


So then we headed off back home – and again the strange “suns”  below, resembling Tatooine in the movie Star Wars – We had to investigate – the result – STUNNING – the twin solar collectors of Seville – 2000 mirrors, designed to produce 30MW of electricity, a world’s first. 20Km west of Seville this plant generates power from steam – receiving up to 15 hours of sunlight in summer per day… I really can’t explain how bright the tops of those towers are except to say you can see them from a long, long way away. 624 moving mirrors ensure the towers are hit with concentrated sunlight all day. Check out this link for more information.

solar collectors

And so here are more pictures of our trip…

The mines at Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto

Yes, the water really IS a strange colour…


The main roundabout at Rio Tinto… yes that’s a full size steam engine – more pics coming…

Rio Tinto[7]

Christopher Columbus history at Huelva


And inside the ships complete with sound effects..

Columbus etc

We finished our visit at the museum where we learned all about the mining operations and the fantastic range of materials they got out of them – Galena, Yeso, Quartz, Galena and much more.


The scale of the mining is (was) incredible. and  if you want to see some great pictures of the Rio Tinto area check here

Marvellous trip!

Another weekend over

Hotel Abadi in Baza

Our first weekend in Spain of the summer over, not quite the weather we’d anticipated but still way better than the Northeast of England I’d expect. After Saturday’s excellent wine-tasting, a quiet Sunday down at the Sunday market in Baza.

This is not one of the best markets by any means, tends to be the same old tat on sale every time but we did manage to get a nice coat hanger for the hallway and the Hotel Abadi does a very passable bacon sandwich.

Spent the afternoon working on my cameras – finally getting a combination of settings allowing all 3 IP cameras to operate at once. Maureen is still having a little trouble with the TV due I suspect to WIFI bandwidth or the VPN that lets us pretend we’re in the UK. We finished the weekend with friends testing the sparkling wine we’d purchased the day before.

Today I’ve lots of little projects to be getting on with while Maureen goes off to Pilates. Still have an office that resembles a bring-and-buy sale.  Weather is looking good – the sky is clear and I suspect it will be at least 25c by mid-day.

A perfect day

Lake Negratin

Popped down to the lake today with our good Friends Aidan and Helen – today was their last day here and they’re off very first thing in the morning. It rained this evening but we’re hoping the weather will pick up tomorrow so Maureen and I can get back to the lake tomorrow – missed a trip to the Chinese store today as we were too late getting out of the water. 

We found a new place to go on lake Negratin today – just being built but already usable – no-one there but 3 kids one of which was female and somewhat deranged as she never shut up all the time we were there –often screaming for no apparent reason even though the boys were elsewhere – at one point I developed a serious fantasy about throwing a grenade in her direction – but I let it pass mainly as I don’t keep grenades handy, Thanks to Brian and others here in Galera for that information – very pleasant and there’s a nice floating barge to swim to.

NegratinI need a plastic sleeve to protect my external temperature sensor here hence the need to visit the Chinese store in Baza tomorrow. Tonight for the first time, my light up time and dawn timing software is working as part of the remote control system I’m putting together for the cave – inside solar lights are still on while the outside lights are due to turn off in a few minutes. Spent a little time with Aidan at teatime researching cricket generation software and we have a little chip making a fine impersonation of a little cricket – something to take home – the idea being to make it solar powered so the sound comes on at night without needing wires etc.

It’s approaching midnight and I’m shot – time to give up – just waiting for midnight to ensure my lighting is working as it should be – tomorrow, as they say, is another day – hopefully a beautifully hot and sunny one.