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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 ‘Lighting’ Category

The First Weekend

edge of galaxyIt’s been a great first week here in Galera, met some new people who’ve been great company and we’ve already gotten a fair bit of work done.

Yesterday I went off to Huescar in the morning in search of washers to complete the gazebo (or carbuncle as Maureen calls it – after she bought it!!) over the hot-tub. On the way I popped into Spanish Inland Properties to pick up the solar panel delivered from England – I’ve tested that and it’s chucking out 2.5 amps reliably during the day so now I just need to find a suitable 12v 20amp (or so) “deep discharge” battery. I can get one overnight in the UK for around £40 but they won’t deliver to Spain.

stars above the cavesWe spent the afternoon putting up screens on the new carbuncle – and immediately ran out of screen so last night we went off in search of more – turns out the local Ferreteria in Galera stocks the stuff so that was easy -  of course we had to drop into the pub (La Poza) on the way back and that was the end of that night – we sat outside all night had a great time.

Got back very late but not too late to get the camera out as it was a clear night with a smashing view of the edge of our galaxy which you’ll see in the first picture. – look over on the right and you can see it coming out of the corner of the image (the left corner is light pollution from the village). That was a 16-second exposure incidentally – tonight I plan to try taking a bunch of them and averaging out the noise.

This morning I’m taking it easy – slight alcohol poisoning and it’s quite warm out there. I can see a quiet night in coming along and with luck we’ll get some more wall patching done (it’s a never ending task) and maybe we’ll finish off the carbuncle. I’m doing some work on the home control stuff but I’m kind of stuck waiting for parts to arrive from the UK which might take a few days.

I took the shot below late last night – most of the lighting you see there is either solar or LED or both.

Things I’m short of it anyone local has ideas for suppliers…. I need a couple of posts for the Pergola (to run horizontally for fencing off one side) – maybe 75mm diameter, 3 metres long.. and a deep discharge battery (camping type) 12v at maybe 20ah or so – got to be cheap as the solar panel is just an experiment for now.. haven’t even figured out where to mount it yet 🙂

The as yet incomplete Gazebo

Shock Horror – the TRUE cost of electricity in Spain

After reading some time ago on the web that the average cost of electricity in Spain was something in the order of 14p per KW/H (I’ll explain later) I was shocked to say the LEAST to actually sit down with LED fire surround lightinga real modern bill now that we have “proper” electricity – the basic cost per KW/H isn’t bad – but by the time you add in the standing bill (ie payment for nothing) and all sorts of other perks and then the dreaded VAT (which most of us have to pay and can’t claim back) – the TRUE cost of electricity at least around here is currently around 22.4p per KW/H. That’s a LOT.

To put that in perspective for those who don’t do maths – the little dial in the electricity meter is usually marked in KW/H – might be marked to 0.1 KHW or just to the nearest KW/W

How does this work? Simply – if you run a gadget that uses a Kilowatt (Microwave) – for an hour – you’ve spend 22.4p. If the gadget uses 2KW (maybe an oven) it’s costing you 44.8p an hour.

Mainly SOLAR and LED lightingSo why am I showing you my new lights (temporary setup) – because thanks to LED technology which most of these are, the display you’re looking at comes to around 50w all in a running cost of around 1.1p per hour – not too bad, all except for the distant green rope light which is going!! 

I can’t do much about hot water and washing machine etc.. until we get organised and get a solar heat panel – friends recently told us they’d used no electricity for hot water since May! I figure using that same feed for the dishwasher and washing machine would reduce their electricity use by a massive amount also – but that’s for the future. For now with Compact Fluorescent (and some LED) inside and solar outside we’ve made a start at a decent lighting setup without running up huge costs. The lights are all able to take on any colour.

Are you being over-served?

The repair jobIf you’ve been following the blog you’ll know that some of the roads around here are not owned by the local authorities and so there’s no chance they’ll fix them – yesterday neighbours Dave, Tom and I made a start on a particularly bad section of the road where the centre had lifted up and was getting to the point of being dangerous for cars with low-profile wheels.

So yesterday we started to do some filling work with stones and sand. Easy enough, but for the heat.

We had great plans to finish off our road repairs with concrete last night until I heard Maureen shout up to the neighbours “are you coming down for a drink?” – that was the end of that.

We did get to test the new LED floodlights – or one of them – very good indeed – but that was about it for productivity for the night. I’ll try all three tonight.

Don’t get me wrong, we had a great night but 8.30am this morning I was dragged out of bed to be told that the boys were over to finish the road-works.

Galera HotelFeeling like death warmed up, I reluctantly got dressed and off we went – 2 hours later despite at least me feeling awful, the previously fractured and frankly dangerous section of the top road is now spot-on along with another minor pothole repair further down the hill – as long as no-one drives over the new cement for a day or so. See photo above – the right side of the road was sunk in with a dangerously raised edge along the middle. 4 bags of cement, lots of sand and stones later… perfect.

Plans to go to the lake today were put on hold so I finishing my emails and spent the morning soaking in the Jacuzzi to collect rays before heading off to the Galera hotel for a very nice Hamburgerisa Completa (hamburger with everything but the kitchen sink).The Jacuzzi is now out of bounds as it’s full of chlorine for a quick clean-up. Time to tackle the usual mountain of work and otherwise-related emails.

The Post Works!!!

LED FloodsThis morning, my floodlights  turned up from Singapore, just 1.5 weeks after being shipped. Our friendly female post-lady turned up mid-morning and strangely needed to see my passport… I’m sure that’ll not last long when she gets to know us.

The floods are infra-red remote controlled and not only manage the usual range of colours and various sequencing options – but unlike many they also manage decent shades of yellow and white! They look properly waterproofed and they are BRIGHT but of course I can’t do anything in daylight – so watch out for updates this evening!

To add to the morning’s success I figured out why my Internet cameras were not working since the modem upgrade – so they’re now working a treat.

Neighbour, Dave, Tom and I have made our first moves towards fixing the road at the top – we’ve smashed up the raised area and filled with stones then sand – the next step is to put a layer of concrete on the top but even now the road is a lot smoother (probably would not survive a downpour at this point).

At lunchtime, Maureen and I went off to the garage in Huescar to pick up our newly repaired Meganne – and I have to say the cost was lower than we expected… the car is working a treat so now for a short while we have two!

We went off from there to the main park in Huescar for lunch – there’s a little cafe in the middle of it and in an area around the front of the cafe they have a watering system giving off a very fine mist – absolutely marvellous! We had hamburgeresa completa – which in this case meant everything but the kitchen sink – well recommended and a great location.

From there a trip to Huescar pool – absolutely 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.

The War is on…

A quiet day yesterday, we’d planned a trip to the lake (holiday, all the shops were shut) but people turned up and we ended up chatting then sitting watching the scum known as “accident insurance companies” on the TV. Meanwhile I’ve been having a play with black plastic pipe coiled up to see how quickly or otherwise it heats up water.  It does – nearly burned myself! I reckon 100ft of black pipe Las Posaon a simple black corrugated plate would give us all the hot water we need. We have a bath here but generally don’t use it as it’s a little small, so showers are the main reason we have hot water and they don’t use a lot. I reckon feeding the cold water into the tank VIA 100ft or so of coiled pipe as above would preheat so much of the water, we’d really use very little electricity to heat the tank. Simple solution for a simple life!

Meanwhile, after being warned by friends last night while enjoying their company at LA POSA,  that someone over the hill is competing for most-fancy-lit-cave with a set of colour-changers on their wall, last night we took a look over the hill and sure enough. Well, we CAN’T be having THAT, so I’ve ordered a full set of high-power state of the art colour changing LED floods – give it a couple of weeks and you’ll be able to see the place from MOROCCO! I’ve already made a couple of changes but I need outdoor sockets which I’ll get tomorrow.

Galera to FortunaFor now, a nice lazy trip to Fortuna for tonight, then tomorrow we’re off from there to pick up our friend Alison at San Javier (Murcia Airport) and of course fitting in a trip to the Chinese junk store therein.

Another lovely day for it – temperatures in the mid-30s (again).