Passing the time: Córdoba and generators

Mid-Jan to Mid-Feb:

Valerie and Her brother-in-law arrived at the new Murcia International Airport (RMU has released ‘MSJ’back to its military function). I welcomed them with service they now expect – smart driver with chauffeur cap and vino tinto

Thirty minutes later it was glasses raised to their home arrival

Likes a drop of red does Ron…….

Córdoba was the next city visit, five hour drive with a stop at Ecuador!

The city is ideal to stroll around. Lots of cobbled streets with tapas bars around the Mosque

Breakfast by the river,

Then back to Cartagena Military Museum to start the new project – a British built generator set on a Military trailer. The ‘Lister’ engine is the one fitted in a vast majority of canal boats.

Ed (museum volunteer) asked if I could check out a small portable Hyundai generator that was used by builders. Looks like they ran it dry and the windings are earthing

The Pillar Drill in the museum workshop is back in service after I fitted new condenser and relay unit

Stu had a ‘lucky black cat’ story for the chips and Cerveza stop after Museum work. The cat survived being kicked (accident says he) when closing his gates in the dark. Stu wasn’t so lucky, tripped and banged his lip and head. The aim then was to make him smile so his lip cracked, tough challenge with ‘lippy’ ….

The weather difference between Puerto Mazarrón and U.K. is negligible I believe. Strolling the seafront in either place gives you red cheeks

Mid-January:- Apartment fitout, ‘i’tech and Solar start-up

Keyplan 3D is a great free app to use for designing house remodelling. Easy to use, even on my small iPhone 7.

The flat needs its makeover, with the work on the roof terrace also wanting upgrading from my plans into hands-on.

Small bits like the waterfall shower were easy to get done in-between lots of visits to Alley Palleys (at Campersol) for the holiday season football and meals. The walks and rides in mid twenties centigrade are not taking-off enough belly fat!

The RCD/MCCB fault at the finca was double checked with an inspection of the meters that supply Peter’s and his neighbors properties. Long overdue refurbishment, we sent pictures of exposed terminals and broken insulation to the landlords

Obviously discussed over a pint, where Peter asked for the name of a iPhone engineer. His problem was the loss of ring tone, alert tones and alarms. Being highly skilled and a government trained artificer, I switched his mute button to off and asked for €30’s repair fee🤷🏻‍♂️

Prisci is happy the family dog, Tumy, seems to be on the up. To help him along she took him to the annual ‘Baptism of the Animals’

Corvera Airport has now taken over from San Javier as Murcia International, with San Javier returning to its military airbase function.

My first visit was to pick-up Valerie and Ron, with a ‘red’ welcomeand finish the bottle at their finca

Karl is busy with his project, and I’m looking forward to giving a hand after concrete has setMeanwhile I’ve restored power to Jason’s property with a battery reconfigure and have costed for replacing the twenty batteries of the eighty that had to be withdrawn from the set-up

2019 feels like it has started at a fast rate, and as yet no concrete travel plan. A Global Explorer ticket is the outline plan. Travel one-way around the planet,maybe packing the toothbrush late Feb/March?

Update 3 – End of 2018

The blog works well for me at this time, as it’s easy to flick back through rather than select and post ‘highlights’ as FB and other media offer. Looking forward rather than back is my preference anyway.

My aspiration for travel, after the extended dog nursing duty, is to circumnavigate the planet. Planning has started.

Christmas weeks have been different as a Spanish dweller. Zero cards written, minimal present buying and Xmas dinner was at the Chinese Wok (buffet). The celebrations in Spain focus more on the 6th January

Three kings Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltasar — and the Spanish Christmas traditions. Once the end-of-the-year parties are over and the New Year begins, in Spain, the children are still waiting for the most important day of the holiday season. Every year, Three Kings Day.

Busy end of year for friends –

Blakey has made it a mission to eat all the holidays mince pies

Karl is ready to ‘ring in the new’ after starting a little redecoration

Margaret and Deryk have spent time with Anne and John in Benidorm. Dressed to impress and then taking it easy on the paseo with a double buggy

Sally and Martin enjoyed the holidays in Stourport while making plans for their coming six week Thailand trip

Stu is enjoying a Xmas break without Museum Wednesday’s, and meeting up at Pablo’s for a beer when I cycle the Rambla.

Joan is packing her bags for a cruise, another one!

Chrissie has kept me up with her news in a family letter, my ski oppo from Austria days on the piste is still in a dream since her BBC make-up artist time with some singing Partridge (apparently from a family of them🤷🏻‍♂️)Karen (sis) and Tommy have treated themselves to new cars (Rav and Frontier) and blessed themselves that their December was saved when my Abu Dhabi travel had to be postponed At home – A new project for me for the start of the year is to restore the solar power at Jason’s estate. Getting the best out of his 24 volt system with only two solar panels and 80 wet cell batteries has started with finding 10 of the batteries are unfit for purpose. Reconfigured to keep him ‘live’ was easy while I cost an upgrade to capacity

It’s been a good 2018 to watch Liverpool (first season I’ve missed being at an Anfield match), hopes are high for a top finish in five months, nice win for final 2018 game

Adiós 2018

Update 2 – Some Rain, More Winter Sun

The red carpet was out in the City of Murcia, and following around sites and plaza’s I’d not seen in many wanders around the streets was pleasant

Coffee outside the Ayuntamiento, which reminded me of the Eva Perón scene on the balcony in Buenos Aires, was followed by a river bank walk

Timmy, Prisci’s dog, was about to undergo follow-on surgery to the throat lumps he had. The recovery time from the first op was shortened

And dog-sitting extended after the second op

Wednesday work at the Museum was spectacularly successful, with the aerial now freely rotating with the gearbox configured without the unnecessary secondary units and oil replacing the heavy grease that was needed when operating in sub-zero to equatorial climates.

A satisfying result at a fellow Museum volunteer workers home in El Portus was tracking an electrical fault that had caused daily multiple drop-outs for some time. The drive from the coast/inland/coast is worth doing the job for, and Peter is an ex-Royal Navy man.

Peters new washing machine was suggested as a cause by some. The day I arrived was the same as the engineer on call to it (I think we share the same barber).

I had suspected the aged RCD, and to eliminate this I changed it for an equivalent MCCB.

Whilst moving the cable I found the ‘live’ red lead from the supply (lower right to upper left) was completely loose in the terminal. This feed wire also coupled the next breaker. Both wires pushed firmly home and terminal made tight was the real cure, the RCD may have degraded due to the fault too. The reason for intermittent trips after the new washing machine was thought obvious and Peter’s home runs un-interrupted on full load.

The 26 degrees weather returned after a few days of heavy rain, and its strange to see empty beaches over the last weeks in weather that would see fights for sand space on the U.K. coast in August.

Boring Update 1. Waiting for Xmas

Winter in Southern Spain – getting through the harsh mid-twenties with a mess about in Las Azohia.

Putting The seats in the wrong way round meant the front rower (me) was actually left with trying to put your feet into the short cargo space!

Passing the time as December starts with a five hour drive to visit the family 🦍

Getting to Gibraltar by foot allows a stroll across the runway which serves as the Spanish- U.K. borderThe day time crossing can be interrupted by flightsThe apes are unperturbed by all the fuss, and concentrate on waiting to steal bags/sunglasses/snacks after you get up there

The AC Marriott Hotel in La Linea is decent, reasonable (£55) and a 15 min walk to the Gib border. Parking is safe outside the hotel or £7 underground.

Usual Gib stroll through what is now an elongated street Mall to the cable car (£15.50 return).

After an evening visit and then spending daylight hours on the Rock, we lifted and shifted to Algeciras ready for a day trip to North Africa.

The Reina Christina Hotel was cheaper, grander, bigger by miles and on the doorstep for the ferry

08:30 on the boat, breakfast at sea, Rock and Submarine spotting to pass the time (easier when they’re not dived)

Arrival in Cueta was impressive, clean and fascinating city that has a Spanish – Moroccan border on the outskirts. Claims to Gib by Spain must be ridiculed by their holding of a chunk of North Africa!

Visits to Tetuán and Tangiers were perfect to experience the infrastructure, history, markets and food.

I think the two day excursion would be better to have more free time in the markets and monuments if your keen on either.

A day trip to Cueta would be a great filler for anyone near Gib or Algiciras.

The coach was a favourite for the local kids to try riding under the chasis. Four had to be cleared just after leaving Tetuán and more when leaving Tangier. They pack the back of their clothes with plastic for soft landings when falling or dismounting

My last visit to Gib is hazy, but there were more bars then shops then

Wrap-up time

WU 1….. Travel to U.K. for New Year (after a December fortnight in Abu Dhabi) will soon be finalised. The winter ‘woolies’ and gloves are being dragged from storage or bought. A drive up through Spain to Santander ferry, then a loop from Portsmouth, Wales, Wallasey, London and return via ferry or the Cannel Tunnel and France in January – madness to leave the Costa Cálida in this season of Good Chill. The ‘Onesie’ will be packed!

WU2….. Cartagena Military Museum now has a Radar exhibit that is dynamic. The tumble dryer motor and controller, with a light stand dimmer, rotates the aerial. The PPI display creates a track and cursor image using a fan oscillating motor.

WU3….. Jobs and projects started as fill-ins between large projects are complete, with a new skill range of boiler fitting, fibre-glassing, structural building, walls, satellite, wind generator build and erect, swimming pool pumps and controllers, diesel generator repairs, to various uses of pallets under my belt.

WU4….. Spanish transition. The blog started as something to help my communication skills and focused on getting a old Frankia Motorhome from Wales to Puerto Mazarrón. My re-Matriculation of the Volvo C30 to Spanish plates moved on from that, and now I am in the final stages of transferring my driving licence to Spanish. I passed the Spanish Driving medical recently with a score of ‘Major Precision’ on the steering section (might mean I can avoid the hapless drivers on the roundabouts). So transport life is sorted.

WU5….. House-Sitter, the mantra of “leaving the ‘sit’ better than you found it” I think held up on all sits – Fareham, Bournemouth, Wales, six in Spain, Canada. Now I’m settled in Spain I’ve stopped sitting locally, and Shadow has passed on so Fareham is closed. Canada, it was near to Pantera and Tigre’s time this year, sad but I don’t expect a need there for me in 2019. Along with the pets I’ve met amazing folk and have new friends I cherish.

I will enjoy reading back through the blog, and add to it on a monthly update, but to all intents and purposes, as bugs said

“🎸I Want To Break Free🎼”

After watching Bohemian Rhapsody 🎬 – really enjoyed it – the sight of Stu running to an open gate for coffee (panic in case he missed a cuppa) made the tune haunt me all day, The work on the Radar unit is nearing an end to its electrical/mechanical fit-out. The next few weeks will be spent painting inside and out.

A spare motor for the Radar drive and spare program control module will be made ready as ‘hot spares’ from a washing machine donated by Peter (ex Royal Navy diver), a fellow working volunteer at the Military Museum.

A stowaway – The visit to Cartagena for her mother’s birthday gift meant we had a cleaner for the Radar shack…

Homeward bound, and a coffee stop in Pablo’s gave a view of a reverse dog-sleigh. The owner aiming to make the 320 metre climb with a smug looking Labrador taking in the sights from his trailer

Prisci and I also gave the Cuesta challenge a go, with a credible time for the uphill. Downhill however was impeded progress as Stu ambushed us with Cerveza at Pablo’s

The easy start along the paseó may have made us overconfident of hitting personal bests to the Cuesta

Remembrance Day was marked with a ride to the church at Islay Plana, where I pictured the clock at the correct time, but waited an hour in thought until syncing with the U.K. in showing respect

Monday was a birthday celebration for my Spanish instructor, who is failing still on achieving any fluency in my language skill.

Now being given Spanish Nationality, we attended the National office in Cartagena without the baby they demanded last time. We were prompt, as the security guard had admonished us last visit for arriving a little after nine for a nine twenty appointment.

The same guard was smoking outside the building as we approached for a nine o clock appointment and said ‘Hola’. We walked to the door and he stepped in front of us. We were ten minutes early, the waiting room doesn’t open until nine he told us. So a coffee and Tostados across the road🤷🏻‍♂️

The place was twee, with great coffee and fresh pan, so no complaints here.

I’ve cracked a few jobs this week, but it’s been slower than most with time spent on paperwork.

Lighting restored at Karl’s, and a new circuit fitted with approved connections were the most technical outside of the Radar work.

In the paperwork world ….. The Spanish admin system is one to work around. The letter from Totana with instructions to attend in Cartagena was followed (one hour drive to Registro Civil) only for Cartagena to say that Totana need to process the final document. An hour drive to Totana and discussion with staff as to needing an appointment at their Registro, reconciled by the fact that the place was empty with no booked appointments for the two staff to actually do any work.

Ten minutes to enter data and make one signature and we are told the next stage !!

Collection of the final document has to be made via an on-line appointment at the National office. On-line appointments at Cartagena are one month wait, but you can book at any office of five in the region. Finally it gave an option of an appointment only ten days waiting in Lorca (an hours drive in a different direction to Murcia, Cartagena and Totana – completely normal here to get this run around that can vary dependent on an officials mood or opinion of you.

A three hour stroll to ‘walk-in’ Prisci’s new Fitbit brought a near sedate week to its end

Barcelona – Sagrada Familia, and the Temple of the Sacred Heart v the National Palace

The ‘Two’ Hotel by Axon has the basics, a Rooftop Bar with swimming pool and Sauna. Just off a Main Street between the shopping concourse with Cartier and McDonalds 15 mins one way and the Mall and Olympic Park 10 mins the opposite way.

Booked on-line from a motorway cafe stop, it was ideally located for us and a puzzle to the Hetrofriendly comment.

Superb room and great breakfast, the Volvo secure in the bowels of a car park designed by Hobbits, it was a great choice if a little ‘pink’.

The sightseeing day before the event we had come to watch Sunday evening took in Barcelona Football Club stadium tourthen a walk to the Sagrada Familia and a coffee while taking in this sight from each of the four sides

The National Palace is a walk up steps and some escalators, past the Majica Fountain (not a sprinkle from it, seems misnamed to me)Behind the Palace is the Olympic Park, where the event Prisci had booked was being held We were going to watch wrestling after we had watched a Netflix series based on the style of WWE. The performers were bouncing off ropes and posing around, it was entertainment actually with the crowd really caught up in it all

The walk from the Palau Sant Jordi stadium back across the palace veranda gave a great view across the city, and to a monument on the hill opposite. we sat with a beer then …. After listening to a few Beatles tracks from the organist (he was playing Hey Jude when we arrived) we walked to the harbour. Decision was made to visit the church/monument on our way out of Barcelona heading home.

At the harbour there was the usual bars/restaurant complex and super yachts, with a rival to Copenhagen’s mermaid. A statue you expect to see commanding the harbour, but ridiculously small for the notoriety it hasThe variety of plazas, streets and alleyways with stylish bars and cafes was endless.

Finding the ‘Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus’ is a charge up winding steep roads that I expected to end in a view of a small church.

At the top you can look back to the Palace on its green hill bank and see all the city. The area is called Tibidabo Park, with fantastic rides outside of the Templeone of the rides was an aeroplane that span around countered by a weight, and flew you over the edge as it rotated

The drive home would nudge the diesel cost to just under a hundred euros. Tolls were another seventy euros, and parking forty euros. The hotel was one hundred and seventy euros. The convenience of the car would have been given up if train or plane matched the costs (but then we would have missed a night in PenisCola).

Worth every dinero, but without any noteworthy (read cock-ups) to blog, I was surprised to have no drama, pocket picked, rip-off moment. Just a cracking weekend to remember

Back at Puerto Mazarrón it helped to stroll the morning after the midnight arrival home, and I took a little exercise up the roundabout lighthouse that unusually had the door open. Quick all-points camera shoot before anyone declares it a no-go building