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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 ‘WIMAX’ Category

The Winter of 2012

Arrived yesterday (Saturday), after doing the usual shopping round in San Javier and visiting my favourite Chinese junk store therein.

San Havier Airport

As you can see, the weather here in February at the coast is not that bad – it’s not summer that’s for sure but you could sit outside and drink coffee at the coast, no problem. For the first time we picked up our own car (usually we do car rentals but if you check earlier posts, we bought a Spanish car in the summer and so this was it’s first test). The storage company guy who dropped it off at the airport (right at the arrivals door – we only ended up walking 4 metres out of the airport!) spoke good English and warned us the battery had gone flat in storage (they check the car and get it working if there is an issue), perhaps not surprising as it’s been sitting doing nothing for 3 months – but as we found out – it was working perfectly and still is 30 hours later.

Aldi in San JavierOur new (old) Spanish Renault Mégane is so quiet when idling you would think it was turned off… and so we had a great 2-hour trip over to our place but not before checking out Aldi and the Chinese store and getting supplies for the week over at San Javier – definitely my favourite place to shop for food and rubbish up to now.

We arrived at teatime Saturday to discover that AT LAST we had proper electricity but no water… it’s sunny and several degrees here in the mountains during the day but it’s been quite cold at night. This morning Maureen got the hair drier out and the water is running but there’s a hairline crack in the cheap Chines crappy water valve…  no surprise there, most of the other stuff the original builder put in was, well, crap.

We took a slightly different and longer route than normal, partly as we decided to manage without the satellite and partly because – well, it was such a nice day.

Somewhere in Spain

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not summer and along the way we could see the snow in the mountains but for much of the trip the temperature stayed up near 10 degrees or so and perfectly clear skies, dry air and no wind which makes all the difference.

Just outside of Puebla De Don Fadrique

We opened the place up – no surprises other than the odd length of silica trying to fight it’s way through the concrete walls – nothing new there and easy to sort out in the summer… and after getting some heat going we went off to the local pub for a pint – so much for the diet.

Today, as I promised the neighbours, I put up some solar lights we brought over onto the tree on our newly re-furbished roundabout (not enough, needs more) and spent some time getting the NetFlix TV working properly on our limited broadband here in Spain – with great success – see the blog at www.scargill.net for getting Netflix and iPlayer working over here…  and I caught up with paperwork – not to mention both of us watching the best movie of all time (IMHO) – Iron Man 2 – AGAIN… the opening scene with AC/DC playing and Iron Man landing on stage has to be the best movie scene ever. I can’t wait for the Avengers movie coming out in May which will also feature The Hulk, Thor and Captain America to name a few – now they’ve pretty much gotten over the need to make these movies funny for people who never read Marvel, they really are doing a good job. A shame the CD Comics people seem to have missed the boat.

Tomorrow we need to get a hairline crack in the cold water feed tap fixed (well, we need to replace the tap – easy enough other than finding out where on earth the main tap for the area is!) so we need to organise a plumber, then we’re off to the local market to see what’s new. As always you can click on these pics for larger versions, hope you find this interesting.

Our view of Galera at sunset in the winter

Habland WiFi

A special mention here for the company providing many of us in Galera and surrounding areas with WIFI.  For the first 3 years of being here we dealt with a very expensive company called Iberbanda for our broadband. This is a WIMAX-type service with an antenna in the village which is then used by anyone with line-of-site access and a suitable small dish and account. Iberbanda were prohibitively expensive for many and in our case, being here only part of the time, one of our largest outlays. I could not find any help in English and they were never very responsive. When we started we had a 512K connection – which by modern standards is awful – and we only had that increased to 1 Mbps when I noted that this is the minimum standard acceptable in Spain and wrote to the company accordingly – our speed went up but not voluntarily.

Earlier this year a company called Habland came on the scene and we immediately moved to them on recommendation – they offer 1Mbps (in both directions) as standard, a dramatically reduced monthly outlay (as little as 14 euros a month) and when we first had this installed I had some issues as my requirements are somewhat more involved than simply reading email.  I was initially disappointed by the issues but I have to say that I’ve had support including weekends and strange hours from a fellow called Antonio who manages perfect English and clearly knows his stuff, technically.  This is so very different from our previous experience (and indeed my experience with many tech companies).

The standard offering even includes a speed increase for those merely browsing the web rather than downloading – and the promise of more flexible offerings in the future for those of us who need higher speeds for part of the year.

The first test results below are a little biased because I’m doing this at 8am in the morning and also the speeds reflect the fact that the test takes only a moment to run… continuous speeds would be lower and the SECOND set of figures is more typical of results…

Habland Speed test 1

Habland Speed test 2

The bar below shows how the speed drops dramatically after a matter of seconds… but this does work well for simple web browsing.

Graph showing drop in speed over time

Ok, it’s not broadband as most Brits know it – but it works and works well considering we’re half way up the side of a mountain. You must be able to get line of sight to the village for this to work – and while 1 Mbps may sound poor – consider that for Skype usage, it is your upload, not your download speed that matters – and the upload speed here is faster than my 8 meg broadband upload speed back in the UK (typically 600k/second).

What would be great now would be the ability to bump that speed up to say 8 meg for short periods, say on a daily or weekly basis…. whether or not that happens remains to be seen.

The Friday Post

Huescar square complete with free WIFIYet another lovely day, temperatures in the upper thirties at peak.  Yesterday we had our treat for the week – CHUROs at the Huescar market…. then a cracking night last night with some Brits down at the local pubs, today we went to the Orce pool – mid-afternoon – almost deserted – lovely, followed by a spot of shopping tonight for supplies in Huescar (wherein I discovered free WIFI in the square which is nice – better than Scarborough’s supposed WIFI on the beach which turned out to be not yet commissioned) and a quiet night in Orce for a pizza in the square there.

Back in the cave now, I’m writing the blog, Maureen’s sitting outside on the patio, pitch black apart from our coloured solar lights, talking to her sister in the USA on video Skype on her iPad. I put some acid down on the weeds today, we’ve a few more bathroom repairs to do and looking forward to more sun at the weekend.

Quiet night in the village of Orce - pizzas and a beerOrce market is on Sunday night – WELL worth the trip if you’re nearby – I’ll drop some pics in here after the event.

Currently suffering with wasps outside – Maureen’s convinced they’re hiding in the hot tub so I’ll be taking panels off –looking for a smoke-bomb solution to get rid of them – ideas welcome.

Got streaming video from our PC at home working – but the broadband is not QUITE up to it, Habland (who are most helpful and speak English – forget about Iberbanda) have promised options from September on for varying the data rate – clearly they can handle up to 4 meg either way, it’s down to getting the funding model right I suppose – but for me, slower broadband when we’re NOT here – at lower cost – and faster when we ARE here at higher cost would fit the bill nicely.

Still no sign of my new cameras from China – which is a bit of a worry as they need forwarding from the UK to here! Existing cameras work a treat but I’m hoping to add audio to them before we leave later in the summer.

Pete Scargill

All in All

local restaurantAll in all it’s been a successful if expensive few days away. The builders have just completed our new wall and drainage pipe to stop the mountain falling onto our cave and put in a brand new pathway  with several tons of gravel to cover a completely failed attempt at pavement. I don’t know why we didn’t go down this route in the first place but hey – you learn as you go along.

lizards at local garden centreAfter a pleasant evening at a local restaurant (right)Maureen has been very busy painting and planting flowers and I’ve been experimenting with a new grout to see if it falls to bits like everything else here (it has to be made in China) or not. The weather has probably been on a par with the UK, maybe a little warmer but that’s allowed us to get lots of work done that might have been painful in the summer.

I have my new WIFI installation and it’s all up and running including the cameras, Habland (Wimax) have been most helpful unlike Iberbanda who don’t even ring you back when they say they will (they now have their marching orders and the kit is piled up for them to take away). Between that and my Habland WIMAX dishrecent move away from Orange to Three, things are starting to improve all round.

A short trip back to the UK for some meetings and agro then we’re back again hopefully to enjoy the summer though there’s still much to be done. Lots more painting to so. I’m hoping to bring back some better lighting and perhaps replace one of the cameras with one with full audio so we can talk to builders and passers-by remotely.

Maureen has some new games for her iPad and we’ve signed up to Spotify so we can enjoy some legit music while we’re travelling.

Friday, armed with a new driveway we went off down to the village to share our news with friends and have a nice, cheap dinner out, meanwhile I’ve a new Spanish aftershave to stink the place up. More pictures of the work we’ve had done, below.

Feel free to click on any picture to get the original and larger version!


Drainage pipe during construction Drainage pipe during construction Drainage pipe after construction and embedding in concrete

Stone being delivered for patioPatio just after new stone was put downAnother view of the patio with new stone base

Night view from the pergola, new drain in place

San Javier Airport