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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 ‘Internet’ Category

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.

Another summer rolls on

It seems like a matter of weeks ago that I was starting longingly at my phone which has a little day timer.. “75 days to go” it said… yet here I am about to get on a plane back to the sun -  except that right now it’s not sunny in Andalucía!

It should be around 23c and sunny at the airport when I get there but by the time I get to Galera this evening it is likely to be as cool as it is in the UK.  The weather forecast however looks good – and by Wednesday it’s supposed to be sunny and warm.

Aside from not having the heat on when I first get there – which could be a challenge…. this is not a problem as I plan on spending a couple of days working on my new pet project… Internet remote control.

I’m up early in the morning here in the UK to package up my circuits and wires, I have a prototype capable of checking inside and outside temperatures and controlling a couple of relays etc. – all controllable from my Samsung S4 – works a treat here so the trick is to get that up, running and reliable and leaving it in Spain until the summer begins properly by which time I’ll no doubt have come up with a very much expanded “MK 2”

I head off at lunchtime – a spot of shopping in San Javier to populate the fridge… and I’ll be on my way over to Galera armed with camera. Lots of renovations to be getting on with – the new hole in the wall for the fridge should be ready for painting and the bathroom wall upstairs needs a bit of work having been brought back to stone by our builder. All good “rainy day” jobs.

5 days on my own then I’m joined by Maureen at the weekend.


Of Sunshine,Telephone Calls and Cars

To describe yesterday as a “lazy” day would be an understatement. This morning Maureen and our friend Alison headed off in the early hours with our helpful neighbours to Granada to pick up a rental car.

Meanwhile I took the opportunity for a lie-in and then after catching up with the email mountain, to read all about telephone numbers in Spain. I thought I’d found a cheap provider who offered a Spanish number for under £3 a month – turns out the advert was a little misleading – they wanted £10 up front and then a fiver a month. I’ll keep looking. Currently investigating localphone.

El Parador near Galera Monday 27th August 2012Oh, the saga of the broken CAR! Well I contacted ANNA last night and she was to meet us at the dealers in Huescar today at 1pm.

We turned up at 12:55 and no sign of Anna outside? – no, indeed she was already in there interrogating the dealer. She seems to have good sense of humour and certainly speaks good English – the whole thing was wrapped up in minutes – turns out a pair of large retaining clips in the gearbox had broken – they had the whole thing on the ramp open to show us – they broken bits will be replaced tomorrow and we’re likely to get a bill for around £100 – not too bad really considering the alternatives.

After a successful chat with Anna and the mechanics, Maureen, Alison and I went off to El Parador for lunch – Menu Del Dia – very pleasant indeed – nice food, helpful waiter. Armed with our rental car, by tomorrow we should be a 2-car family for a while. And now to find out why I can’t read my cameras on the mobile phone. The perils of fitting a new router. Tonight I need a trip to the Chinese store to get some cable ties then I think we MIGHT just be up to a trip to La Posa.  No sign of my new spotlights.

Our thanks again to neighbours.

Peter Scargill.

Sunset in Galera 26th August 2012

More Fun in Andalucía

Sun at the lakeThe last couple of days have been interesting – Wednesday the three of us went off to the lake – and basically just floated about and took in the sun – I’m beginning to see why entire cultures became sun-worshippers – at it’s best the sun can turn the most drag surroundings into a work of art. On the other hand I supposed ancient civilisation didn’t have cameras so ignore that..

I get bored quite easily sitting around sunbathing even with magnificent water to soak in, so it didn’t take me long to go off the beaten track in a search for Kodak moments (though given the recent downward direction Kodak’s been heading in – perhaps the phrase should be “Nikon moments” as they’re just releasing an Android-based camera at long last – what took them so long?).

Finding magic spots for photos is child’s play in Andalucía hence I have far more photos than I have room for, as usual.  We spent Wednesday afternoon at the lake then had a quiet night in to finish off the day which saw peaks of maybe 41c?

Thursday we went off to Huescar, firstly for the Thursday market and the inevitable “cafe con leche” and Churos… and more importantly for me – to the BEEP store for a replacement modem. Between my rubbish Spanish and their less-than-ideal English I managed to select a suitable (quite reasonably priced) modem to do the job (I need to be able to connect to my gear from the UK including cameras so it’s not quite your kiddies USB jobber).

By lunchtime Thursday we were back here and I had the new modem wired up and running? No – not a sausage…. it turns out that Habland keep a track on your MAC number (each modem has a unique number) so that if someone nicks your antenna it does them no good – but thanks to the incredibly helpful Antonio at Habland who I’ve never met but who is always helpful by email, by mid-afternoon I’d scrapped the old modem and hooked up the new one.

The lakeEarly evening and Tom from upstairs helped me get the wiring done to get my new broadband layout working – with 3 benefits – firstly we get faster wireless broadband up to the far end of the cave, we give a better signal to the neighbours who’ve kindly made a contribution and finally I’ve implemented a simple, dirt cheap PayPal offering for passers-by to save them a trip to the village when we’re not around (“WIFI for YOU” – log in – go to the browser and follow instructions)

The night, as it invariably does on a Thursday ended up with a trip down to La Posa – apparently the normal UK gang were not at the Galera hotel as people had airport pickup duties and all sorts of diversions – however we met up with friends and had a nice evening regardless –the air was wonderful, I’m guessing 25c at 10pm, quite dry air and so just the way to end a pleasant day.

Not heard anything from the guys at Cueva Cascada but I understand they had issues with the power cut we all had on Wednesday night. Today I’ve email duties, I had to hide the wiring abortion I’ve made and the girls are off to get supplies in for the weekend – if I remember to remind them, a hunt for Russian salad will be added to the list (potatoes, mayo, olives, peas, carrots… lovely).


More Lighting Please

Yesterday I spent most of the day working, I had a ton of emails to attend to and with friend Alison having brought my new router from the UK I decided to tackle replacing the existing one. I’ve been having issues with the main broadband router simply stalling occasionally, something I’ve not been able to pin on the broadband supplier so I decided I’d swap it out. Sadly that simple task took several hours and failed miserably.

It turns out the new router doesn’t handle the external connection side and so instead I tried swapping to the Netgear router I use as a booster for upstairs. That would simply NOT connect to the service provider here (Habland) and so it’s going to have to wait until I can bring another one from the UK. Meanwhile I did manage to get the NEW router to perform a couple of tricks – it’s designed for hotels and despite being low-cost and tiny, allows you to create a welcome screen and integrate voucher and credit card handling. Currently experimenting with leaving a connection called “WiFi for You” up and running which allows anyone within range to gain access with Paypal etc.

Ongoing work on the lighting at Bedrock

Meanwhile I’ve been trying out the lights we bought in San Javier – a pair of 5w LED spots and as you can see in the picture above (right side, the white lights flooding the hillside) they give off a considerable amount of light for their size! Just need to come up with a mounting arrangement. Indeed apart from the green rope-light, all the lights you see above are LED and most are solar. With these new 5w jobs giving off so much light, the need for fluorescents and old style lighting is rapidly disappearing.

Today a trip down to the post-office and then we’re going to visit Huescar pool, I’m hoping the mist from yesterday has cleared away but it’s guaranteed to be in the mid-30s anyway so no worries about not being warm enough for a plunge.

An interesting Week in Galera

Bedrock  -up in the mountains outside of Galera

If you’ve read my previous blogs we’re here at Bedrock to get the place ready for the summer – the usual – holes appearing in walls etc. and the plan was to get some paint and cement and start the process early this week.

That was kyboshed when our Spanish-registered car packed in on the way over here. I can’t remember ever being without a car… it’s an interesting experience… not half as bad as I expected but we were beginning to wonder how to get the next set of groceries up the hill (it’s a BIG STEEP HILL) when one of our local friends who’s been talking to the garage in Caravaca De La Cruz for us informed us that it’s a wiring issue (so much for the road-side mechanic and his BATTERY theory) and we can pick it up tomorrow –AND it’s not going to break the bank. We’re so grateful for offers of help we’ve had – nice to have decent neighbours.

Meanwhile it turns out there is still an issue with some paperwork stopping us getting the electricity sorted and so we’re ok as long as we don’t go above 2-3Kw – which means no hot-tub…

On the upside the broadband is working a treat and the weather has been SUPERB – it’s 33c out there as it was yesterday also – BEAUTIFUL sun-bathing weather with a nice breeze to stop you frying.  Maureen is alternating between outside jobs and watching the royal celebrations – I on the other hand have two genes missing – one for watching sport – the other for following the royals – so instead I’m alternating between plugging holes in the walls, doing a spot of programming and buying cheap Chinese crap on Ebay – I managed 30 minutes in a deck-chair and that was it – too many things to do, too little time.

We just found out today that Lorca has a decent shopping centre with an Eroski supermarket so no doubt we’ll be taking a trip there before long. But first… a trip to the local bar for a beer and pizza.

Bedrock  -up in the mountains outside of Galera