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Archive for the ‘Spain’ Category

Another busy week of travel

BrusselsThis week starts with a trip to Belgium via London – I can’t believe I have to sit around in Heathrow for a couple of hours – sitting here making sure my laptop is up to date so I can do something useful with the time. First stop this week will be Brussels  We have some work to complete rapidly for the EU ESCO project with the international team I’ve been working with now for, well, approaching a couple of years I guess and I’m hoping to meet up with an old pal while I’m over there for a few drinks at the King of Spain in Grand Place (that’s if the remnants of flu will allow it) on Monday night.

2 days of intense meetings in Brussels then I’m back to London – Victoria area for 2 days of FSB meetings – and that just about wraps the week up once you take travel into account. I’ve spent much of the weekend buried in paperwork but this evening we had a very pleasant wine tasting evening in Bellingham, Northumberland.

And that’s about it – I’ve been working on my technical blog which is topping 3,000 page views a day… who would have thought it. The outcome is a vast hike in knowledge thanks to being able to bounce ideas of so many people so next weekend I plan to start constructing some new kit to take to Spain with us in February to bring our home over there into the 21st century.

LondonBoth of us have been really bad this week with the flu but Maureen is now starting to come around, I think I have another couple of days to go, can’t stop sneezing right now. Nothing else is new.

A Birthday, a Spanish Trip and more

It’s Maureen’s birthday today and we’re off to get her a new tablet – the Samsung Note 10.1 2014 edition. Not to be confused with earlier lacklustre attempts from Samsung this thing has resolution vastly exceeding most modern flat-screen TVs at 2540 pixels across, effectively making the dots invisible even on close inspection. Add to that an octal-core processor and it looks like a winner. I will write a review at some point.

Then we’re off to see friends, I’ve been working with my pal on some circuit boards one of which we hope will soon turn into a Kickstarter project and another we’re just doing for the fun of it. Tomorrow we select a new Main Coon kitten having recently lost our cat Pamela (and to be honest it didn’t exactly break my heart as she was a miserable git) which should then make us a 3-ginger-kitty family. That is if we don’t lose one of the existing gingers who, despite having been fitted with a chip seems to have a pathological mis-trust of cat flaps and who hence has trouble getting into the house when we’re not there.

Short trip to Spain coming up wherein I plan to take some kit over to do further work on my home control system which allows me to control stuff via my mobile phone at a distance (lights etc). Weather is warm there still but cool enough to actually get some work done.

The Winter Commeth

Peter Scargill in Lake Negratin

I don’t know about you but I HATE winters. We’ve spent the summer here in Galera and even when it’s raining the temperature rarely falls below 23c and is usually 10c higher. It’s been a great summer but reality sets in and the weather is starting to show cracks – there’s been the odd cloud and last night there was some rain. It won’t be long before the days are fine but the evenings too cool to stay outside at midnight – perhaps another month – meanwhile back in Northern England it’s probably that way already.

We’re planning an extension in Spain so I can work without messing the house up – meanwhile in the UK we’re moving – not 100% sure WHERE thanks to a slight screw-up at the sale and purchase end but no doubt within a couple of weeks we’ll be planning the new house and my workshop (within fairly close range of Wark I suspect). Here in Spain I want to use solar power and it’s looking good – I have a pilot setup with battery, solar panel and solar controller, enough to light up an office without any problem – I don’t think the same setup will work in the UK where we have maybe 10th of the sunlight! There are some GREAT new E14 LED candle lights out now and I plan to make extensive use of these in future, abandoning the rather coarse-looking compact fluorescents as I think their day has come and gone.

However it all makes for excellent winter planning – and scouring Ebay for suitable products to do the job. Andalucia in winter isn’t a great deal warmer than Northumberland and often cooler at night but at least the sun stays out most of the time! Meanwhile for any techies looking in – I’ve just finished a pretty good solar powered cricket generator – code and info here. http://scargill.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/digistump-cricket-generator/

A Perfect Day

Lake Negratin

Maureen and I went to lake Negratin today with our good Friends Aidan and Helen – today was their last day here and they’re driving off very first thing in the morning back to the UK. It rained this evening but it is most likely that 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.

Packing

java wineI don’t remember such a frantic week. From Wark I went off to Blackpool, then to Birmingham and then to Manchester, in the process taking something like 120 photos of staff, solving technical issues, chairing a talk on social media, seeing the results of a pretty awful accident and enjoying (sometimes not enjoying) the best weather in living memory in the UK.

BellinghamBellingham was wonderful over last weekend and Maureen and I spent some time there working on the cottage. It’s fully occupied now so that’s our work done for now.

Throughout my travels this week, seeing the car thermometer top out at 30c or more has been the norm – amazing and we’re not even talking the bottom end of the country. 

It’s not going to last of course, it never does and Hexham is due for rain most of next week albeit with temperatures in the lower 20s hitting 25c in the rain on Wednesday… can’t imagine that being much fun.Weather in Hexham

The week began in Blackpool with a meeting about hard disks – all pretty boring but essential stuff Accident on the M6and a reminder that disks don’t last forever. The day ended with David Miles and I enjoying sitting outside of JAVA restaurant in Lytham enjoying the weather and a glass or who of wine followed the next morning by a fellow giving us a talk on social media and SEO – very enlightening – and confirming the idea that it is no longer ok to think of the web and social media as distinct..

The Midland Hotel, ManchesterThat afternoon I headed off down the M6 only to be greeted by a large amount of smoke and a several mile tailback. Turns out someone’s car had either exploded or something like it judging by the state of the front of the car.

That evening after much driving back and forth, I ended up in the Midlands Hotel in Manchester – a fabulous and very large hotel apparently favoured by politicians. After enjoying The Manchester Centrea quiet night out in the Chinese quarter of Manchester, I spent much of Friday in a meeting at the “Manchester Central” venue where the FSB will next year have it’s annual conference.

Got home last night to check out the new circuit boards for my holiday project only to find that one of the chips is not something I have handy and not that easily available – not at short notice anyway and it doesn’t get any shorter than this being Saturday and we’re leaving on Monday.

The Manchester Centre

So nice weather for the week, a pretty mixed bag otherwise.

For now, if you want to keep up with our hols – head on over to www.bedrock.es

Ready for the Off

BrusselsAfter a very enjoyable trip to Brussels I’ve been working this week on my usual FSB email mountain and spending every spare hour up at the cottage in Bellingham doing repairs and upgrades. Today as well as solving people’s problems,

I’m starting to put together my tech pack for Spain not to mention copying massive amounts of stuff onto a laptop to take with me.

Big ginger cat OllieSome bare circuit boards I’ve been waiting for are sitting waiting for me in Blackpool, I have to pick them up during my meeting-fest which starts tomorrow.

Meanwhile the new cat-flap has arrived, just waiting for big ginger cat (Ollie) to grace us with his presence so I can train the thing to accept his chip.

And that is that  – fairly boring but essential stuff – the weather is absolutely cracking and looks set to stay that way – well – but for history – the last few years have shown ATTROCIOUS summer weather in the Northeast of England – thankfully Maureen and I will be spending some of that time in Spain – where the weather is all but guaranteed.

Back in the land of Snow and Rain

Sagra in winterWell, that was an interesting week -  starting in Alicante we headed off to our place in Galera for the week, meeting new neighbours and enjoying spending time with friends over there. 

I would not call it a holiday in the sun as the weather was changeable but there’s no comparing it to the miserable cold back here in the Northeast of England.

Huescar marketWe got off to a flying start by leaving the keys back in the UK, so we started our holidays with a locksmith and a new set of keys. Our local mountain was covered in snow for most of the week (though by the end of the week it had almost all gone) and the weather went from sunny to overcast.. but that’s about it.

We managed a trip to Baza just for supplies and also the Huescar Thursday market (and a trip to the supermarket for my Russian salad) but nothing special – just a relaxing break away from the cold. The company we use for broadband – Habland – were kind enough to ramp up the speed for the week for a small sum – I leave it on standby speed when we’re not there so that I can check up on the cameras and also leave running a WIFI service called "wifi for you" available for those folk in the area around our place, who don’t have any broadband.

Stray cats in the mountainsThroughout the week we had a new dog pestering us for a home – just as well we didn’t take him on as his owner turned up at the end to take him away!

The cats however were there in droves as usual, getting more friendly by the day (though FAR from domesticated). On our departure they got our leftovers so by now there will be a very happy group of them.

AlicanteWe departed by way of the journey back to Alicante but leaving WAY before time to give us a few hours to enjoy the beach there which at this time of the year is very pleasant during the day. We stopped off and had pizza for lunch before having a nice walk along the beach.

AlicanteOur flight to the UK got is in late Saturday night and we arrived back in Wark at around 2am or so – to miserable, freezing conditions, so very, very different to what we left behind in Spain. Still, not too long to go before we’re back for the summertime – 40c – BRING IT ON!!!!

Our friends have planted some trees near our place over in Galera and I’ll be bringing a fresh set of solar lights to make the place look welcoming.

Click on any image to see a larger version.

Galera - our patch

The Summer of Sun

Entries in here in August are likely to be thin on the ground as we’re in Spain now for the duration. If you want to head over to the Spanish blog site you’ll find I’m keeping that up to date.

Here’s a typical (though ever so slightly hazy) sunset in Galera where we’re currently enjoying peak daytime temperatures of up to 37c.

Sunset in Galera, Andalucia

Life without a car

We’re over in Spain right now enjoying the SUPERB weather – 33c mid-afternoon and dry as a bone with a slight breeze – what more could you ask for.

Peter Scargill - collecting vitamin DWell a car for one thing… the car packed in on the way here on Saturday and it’s been in the shop ever since. Between that and continued issues with electricity one could easily get depressed were it not for the broadband working really well and continuous sun – which makes up for a lot.

Nice walk down to the market today and working on my electronics projects while Maureen is enjoying movies on NetFlix.

Still no car… more details over on the Bedrock site.

 

Sunset in Andalucia - June 2012

A break from Winter

Just taking a short break from the cold misery of old Blighty (though to be fair it’s not been THAT bad a winter). Here’s a few shots of Embalse Del Negratin just outside of BAZA in Andalucía that I took this morning – and remember – this is FEBRUARY! The water’s probably a little cold to go swimming but it’s a nice thought.

Embalse Del Negratin - Photo Peter Scargill