What’s this about?
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.

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.

Get in touch via Facebook Peter's Facebook Page
Please follow Peter on Twitter Follow Peter on Twitter
Join Peter's LinkedIn network Join Peter on LinkedIn

Archive for the ‘solar’ Category

Another weekend is upon us

A fine time was had last night, we met up with Alan and Ant at Cueva Cascada and also with fellow Geordie Brian and his wife Maureen – some amazing work on lighting over at Cascada which has given me lots of new ideas for the future. We all had a great time – I spent some time talking to Ant who is Russian – he has one hell of a camera and it shows in his photos… and now I’m sitting here checking out Ebay for lighting.

We had hoped to get to the lake today for a baking but despite being 28c, it’s a little overcast. The lake is quite cool and so it really needs to be 30c+ to get the best out of it.

Scenery around Galera

Maureen has been checking out properties this morning while I’ve been catching up with the email mountain and figuring out some new lighting and solar power ideas. I still have to hook up my remote controlled relay unit for controlling stuff on the mobile phone… amazing how powerful the sun is at sapping enthusiasm for projects.

I reckon I’ll implement some of this stuff when it gets just a little cooler maybe in October. For now we’ve a BBQ then there’s some horse show on later tonight and of course a trip to La Posa at some point.

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.

Improving Weather Mid-Break in Andalucia

Notes from QatarSun going down in GaleraYesterday was great, the humidity dropped markedly and the skies cleared – which made the 36c temperature even more pleasant than usual. We had a quiet day at the cave and I got some work done, in the evening we went off to Huescar for a spot of shopping and inevitably ended up in the Galera Hotel for drinks and tapas. What little clouds were in the sky went, in a short period, from white to a magical shade of red as you see in the photo.

Pizza La PosaAfter a short stay at the hotel we then headed back up to local cafe La Posa and met up with a South African couple who’re working in Qatar and had a really interesting conversation with them before settling down to chatting and drinking with friends from the village.

I finished the night off by taking my chair up to the top of the mountain to do a spot of star-gazing but no matter what, I could not see any meteors – must be the wrong part of the sky.

Maplins solar lightsThis morning I was up in the early hours – around 6am – it’s amazing how quickly the sky lights up – one minute it was pitch black – the next thing the sky was blue – and so on – I’m not normally up that early and I did notice Moonthat though almost all of our solar lights were dead, having lit up our cave all night, the new super-solar lights I bought from Maplin (larger cell, much brighter light) were still going 100% strong and continued to do so until the ambient lighting turned them off automatically – I so wish I’d bought a dozen while they were on sale (£4.90 each) back in the UK.

As the sun was coming up I noticed the moon and an incredibly bright star just above it – and took the pic you see here – according to my iPhone star guide that was Jupiter.  As it was nice and cool I’ve done a spot of outside painting, all that remains to do now, having written this blog and an article on external drive access for the Nexus 7 (see the tech blog) is fill a hole that’s appeared in the bathroom before heading off down town for coffee and to perhaps meet up with our new South African people who are apparently planning to pop into our place this morning to take a look around.

After I catch up with emails the plan is then to clear off to lake Negratin to progress the suntan. There is no doubt, it’s going to be a lovely sunny day – again.

Sunrise in Galera

The smaller images you see above can be zoomed in by simply clicking on them.

Weekend Mid-August 2012 – The Granada Airport Trip

South of GuadixSaturday night we were kindly invited to a party on the outskirts of the village and a very nice time we had – but we had to cut it short thanks to the need to get up in the early hours of this morning wherein we headed off early to drop our friend Marsha off at the Alhambra in Granada via the airport to drop off her bags. To fill the day, she’s planning the Alhambra tour followed by the bus tour around Granada before heading off, via Madrid, to the USA.

Negratin - far endAfter dropping her off and after failing to get even a McDonalds in Granada (it’s like a graveyard on Sundays unlike the seaside resorts which of course stay open pretty much seven days a week), we headed back via a diversion to see a swimming pool somewhat south of Guadix – turned out to be a damp squib because of the fact that it’s a Sunday and everyone and their aunties were out – WAY too noisy.

Granted we did take in some nice new scenery on the way – so after taking a few pictures and using up a lot of fuel, we headed back up to Embalse De Negratin (the lake) for lunch at the lakeside. At 36c the temperature was just right for quietly enjoying the sun from an air-conditioned restaurant:-)

We then headed back to the ranch for a clean-up, blog update, phone battery charge and email catch-up before heading off the medieval market in Galera Sunday evening – and I have to say, it was very good – these fairs are a great way to get people out and talking – we met loads of people we know and chatted with them before finished the night chatting to friends at the usual local bar.

Meanwhile I’ve been experimenting with converting a standard Ikea PIR LED lamps to solar power with success… just finished modifying the first to add a charge diode and solar panels on the back – the whole lot held together and sealed with 2-part resin adhesive – that’s been sitting boiling in the sun now for 2 days and it’s now sitting on my desk blasting out free light! If this stands up to some weather I have several of these to convert over.  Lamp £3, diode 5p, 2 solar panels £1 for the pair.

This morning (Monday) after a brief trip to the post office to FINALLY get some mail from the UK, we’re back at the cave. I’ve just finished repairs to the gatepost and now I’m sitting looking at a pile of emails. No great plans for the day.

Fireworks on the bridge in GaleraFor an updated image gallery of our visit so far,minus the 3d pics as I’m having trouble reading the SD memory on the camera – check out this link. http://goo.gl/qe6Yj 

Before I forget – I took some pics of the fireworks in Galera the other night – here’s a composite – very good entertainment (and free).

A somewhat lazy week so far

Arrived late Sunday, bought some cement Monday to fix potholes. Yesterday we headed off to Baza and beyond so Maureen could get her share of plants and a new olive tree, calling in at the Chinese junk store in town for a new sunshade for the beach and a nice sandwich at Sevillanos (opposite Lidl and one street behind the main street) before heading off home to do a spot of maintenance painting and decorating.

Sevillanos in Baza

Sat next to 3 young women who we guessed were not academics as their entire conversation was based on discussing how much alcohol they’d sunk, punctuated with the odd “and I was like, wow”.

Picked up a new test meter as the old one had succumbed to software rot and refused to display anything other than 1.1volts regardless. I’m testing some solar cells and power units I brought over (a super capacitor and a lithium button cell) to see how well they charge under Spanish sunshine! Also picked up some material to improve the pergola (sun blasts in the side in the mornings).

Huescar market tomorrow – no doubt we’ll bump into friends.

So much to do, so little energy…

The end of the beginning

That’s it for our pre-summer trip – cleaned the place up, sorted the bedroom – not too much work left to do for the summer other than repair the gateposts that ex-builder Tony put together for us and which immediately fell to bits! Now I know what materials are needed the repairs should last.

Sunset Saturday 10th June 2012 - GaleraThe weather here has been superb and we’ve done our bit for the community, cleared some of the weeds, put some new lighting on the roundabout etc. and done far more walking than I would have imagined. Stopped in last night

Came up with some new ideas for solar lighting which I’ll put together in the summer once I have all the bits I need (inc. batteries) and we’re looking forward to soaking in the lake (the water this time of year isn’t QUITE warm enough but give it a few more weeks of blasting sunshine).

I took the panorama above Saturday night just on the mountain, it covers around 180 degrees – quite late at night… you just can’t beat the view and it’s different every time. This morning the weather is great – probably 28c already, theory has it, its over 30c down at the coast and our flight is this evening so we’re planning to have a leisurely trip this morning, late lunch up North of San Javier then pick up a garden hose and a few other bits and bobs which we’ll leave in the car (the car is parked long-term outside of the airport at a very reasonable rate – sub-300 euros a year) for the summer trip.