“🎸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

Spanish Resort or Soft Drink 🥤

The Buggy hasn’t passed the road test, the drive is now smooth and the change from Hi to Lo gear is transitioning nicely, but there is a front wheel vibration that could be a prop-shaft or steering wishbone issue. Work to do.

Karl and Trish are back with us in the sun. The part I needed for their generator arrived with them. After sitting open in any weather, the generator ran first start after rebuild …. and produced 240/115volts

Luckily they brought back another generator that was broken to help keep my skills up

All broken toys and wiring jobs are on hold until after Barcelona. A getaway five days to sort out the Catalunya independence.

The first part of the journey, after ruling out trains (11hrs) and flights (only from Alicante 2hrs away) is a drive until the coffee stops and sightseeing is over due to bad light.

Temperature in the car was going up and down – I asked Prisci if she had a problem setting the control. She answers that she was trying to tune the radio but it wouldn’t keep on station 🤷🏻‍♂️

Overnight was in a city that I’m told I’m mis-pronouncing

It is a beautiful city, the morning stroll for breakfast had a choice of clean cafe’s on pristine streets. May well be the overnight choice on the return journey

Odd Jobs, Another Paddle’r and Taxi days

The boiler fit at Camposol sparked (not literally) a few more tasks for the new home owners. All completed now with new gas hob, electric oven, washing machine, dishwasher and fridge freezer plumbed/gas/wired in

Other little jobs of replacing electrical sockets and some heavy lifting have left a panicked couple at ease. They had a finite time to vacate their rental and make the shell of a house habitable, they just made it.

No time to work on the buggy these last few days, so the final ‘grease and go’ will be later in the week.

After the busy days with tools, Garth was having a beach BBQ for his 14yr old son on his last night of a weeks visit. It was nice to be invited and meet all his brood.

Ollie was really good on the paddle board, sailed off into the sunset happily

I’ve taxi’d a few people around over the last few days, picking-up after they drop off cars at the garage and airport runs, it’s been a good way to meet up, chat and share a few breakfasts.

It’s getting quiet and dropping into the lower 20’s now. Good to keep up with the surrounding Hill Billy’s

Although Margaret and Deryk have only three arms between them (an unfortunate slip on a wet surface that has put Margaret into a sling for a while), they hosted a beautifully prepared meal for Valerie, Prisci and I. The arm damage is a prompt to them to relax for a few weeks after their UK drive, family visits, Bridge weekends in Mojacar – over enjoying their retired life!

I’ll have the Wednesday volunteer day with Stu and see if we can come to a final point on the Radar project. It keeps luring us into upgrading work we complete.

Karl and Trish should be back in Spain soon. They will bring the part for the generator that’s laying stripped for repair.

Only event of note is the great job of preparation I did on the C30 ready for the airport runs. The sandy paddle board kit taken out of the boot, seats wiped clean and where else to temporarily put something for safety until the cleaning is done ??? Ahh put the insurance, MoT, log book pack on the car roof. Back home a few hours later and a lady had chased my address down and had the important document pack to hand me. Didn’t realise I’d lost it and couldn’t speak enough Spanish to tell Irene how thankful I was. Seems I have a monthly momentary memory lapse, mint time …..

Nationality, where’s your baby?

After a few days of fitting a sink, boiler and other small plumbing jobs, I spent Friday with Prisci to take her to the Spanish Register Civil.

Her Ecuador nationality could now become dual with Spanish.

Spain only recognises Ecuador for duality. Other nationalities have to relinquish their passports if they want Spanish.

We arrived in Cartagena to find the registry for the 09:20 appointment stated in her letter from the Totana administration.

The counter clerk confirmed the appointment but asked where the baby was. The appointment was requested by Totana to give the child of Priscilla Spanish nationality. Prisci’s letter showed it was for just her, and she explained that she does not have a baby.

Spanish administration is protracted and inflexible normally, today they excelled. No Baby, No appointment. Prisci will need another day off work to attend an appointment in her own name (only hers was on the forms and letters).

She asked for a note of attendance to give to her manager at work. Ahh he said, As there isn’t a baby present the appointment can’t happen and so attendance hasn’t occurred. They can’t give proof to people who visit babyless.

Prici’s morning was not getting better, a coffee stop so she could use the bathroom was the next let-down. Ladies loos were in a bad state, so she had to use the gents. Then the cafe served her the wrong breakfast. She was sent a gif that summed her morning up

I had a cracking day, my breakfast was perfect, shopped for clothes and tech stuff and had a Cerveza at Vicky’s on the way back, introducing the ladies to each other – I never understood a word of their Spanish conversation though.

The super yachts in the puerto Cartagena were amazing. Biggest yacht in the world and only €40 Million.

The visiting Pirates of the Caribbean looking ship seemed minuscule against them

Valerie has completed the refurbishment of her eight outdoor dining chairs, done comfortably inside her weeks deadline. I think she is understandably pleased with her efforts.

Boiler job, Electrics, on wavy roads and Birds

The tools are out again in Camposol. Helping a new owner on the inland housing estate – must be the attraction of the golf course – I’m hanging and piping his new boilerA simple job after drilling through the concrete and iron bar reinforced wall. The boiler is going to connect to a gas bottle, so it’s been more brute force to fit rather than any tech skill.

The house is on a series of estates labelled Camposol A, B, C and D.

My seaside birthplace on the Wirral peninsula and career in the RN followed by settling in The Port of Mazarrón, is probably a clue as to why this inland gigantic housing estate is not my cup of tea.

The estates started 15 yrs ago and have been problematic as to planning permission, council adopting roads and land shift. Owners have in some cases walked away and the banks now have hundreds of sets of keys. I’m told the banks cannot sell-on until 10yrs after the house has been vacated. Seems true and explains why there are so many empty properties without Sale boards.

The best, or worst, example of the streets state is one that seemingly had prime position. On the outer edge and clear view of the mountains that blocked the way to the coast, the street had imposing homes. Now you can see the garden swimming pool and shower through the gap where a wall once stood. Other properties in the road are still being lived in

The job done, and some additional electrical work (sockets, light fittings etc) completed, I had a Military Museum day to prepare for. Nothing notable to do there, just tidy up the work done so far on the Radar.

The Buggy is back together and after greasing the new suspension bushes will be ready to test drive

There is a lack of calls from U.K. now, saying how the weather is the same as Spain, I wonder why that is??

Here the weather is presented by zip dressed, ankle bracelet wearing dolly birds pointing to Puerto’s high 20’s Brightens up the morning👏

The lady At Vicky’s who arrived with her pet Raven on her shoulder reminded me of a workmates comment when we noticed two starling flirting then making out. I said the lady starling had been playing hard to get, then my mate said “yes but soon gave in, that ones rigged like a blackbird!”

All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) – CF Moto, Variator Clutch Refurbished

I think I used 250 pounds/foot on the nut that is stated as 80 lbs/ft torque. After lots of attempts using lots of advice didn’t get the job done, I rigged a bolster and lock arrangement using the recesses in the casing. A thick shafted screwdriver fitted a casing hole and a ring spanner on it that jammed the opposite end jaws to the buggy frame helped steady the clutch. Then extended the socket driver using elongated spark plug sockets to join the extender bars. Once the nut was off I could see the sliders (yellow pieces originally) were in a poor condition, with one really jammed. Rollers seemed to be reasonable enough, but on using a micrometer they were a little oval

Fitting the new belt and putting the clutch together was a 30 minute job

The re-build will take another day, with the front suspension bushes to replace (matching the rear suspension that seems perfect now).

I returned the extended socket to Raul and asked him his thoughts on the old parts. He confirmed the observations I had made, but showed how the belt was in a worse condition than I had said.

There was cracking between the toothing on the inner race. Failure of the belt was probably a few thousand miles away at most.

As I had arrived in Raul’s workshop his staff had explained he was in the showroom just along the road. I saw they were working on a very similar engine. Raül arrived and pointed to the shredded belt on the customers buggy.

A new belt was at least a week away, with a customer needing the transport back ASAP.

Old belt off the CF Moto could be used for a week to help out the man who had given me time, advice and tools. A nice end to a day I had made progress on three projects

Test drive will be Thursday morning 👏🎉🏎

La Manga, Mar Menor/Mediterráneo

Feedback on the pump refurbishment at Deryk’s isn’t good. I think it needs a strip-down for the umpteenth time. But not at the weekend. I’ve put some bits back on the CF Moto Buggy, and then put the tools down until MondaySunday is a trip out day, not a long drive as the weather isn’t too great. I’ve seen the strip of land that creates the lagoon looking ‘Sea of Menor’ from flights in and out of San Javier airport. Taking a drive along it appealed. The road to La Manga strip is an autovía and the coast road itself looks to be new from google mapping the day ahead

Morning coffee and cake was on a concrete ship. The cafe is near one of many points you can throw a stone from one sea to the other I liked the ‘castles-in-the-air’ design of a hotel group, lining the beaches, great views across the seas and Islas Beach strolls all along some 15Km of the strip were quiet at the close season and windy cloudy weekend.

A stop on the way back to Puerto Mazarrón to try Restaurant Martinez Just past Perin, found it to be a top dining place the menu del día was delicious, with the desert I picked a bonus. The pudding with whisky wasn’t a laced mix but a plated pudding that was accompanied by a bottle of whisky that a serving is at least a double shot poured over. The bathroom is down impressive marble stairs, with the planter a nice indicatorThe Restaurant sits on a sizeable estate that draws you to a post meal walkabout.

Refreshed for a busy week ahead, I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed La Manga as much on a sunny seasons day, the street and plentiful hotel/apartment buildings probably gridlock the narrowish road and make the casual stop-and-picture trip a parking nightmare. But a place well worth a visit and one for taking my paddle board later in the year on quiet sunny days

Take a seat, an old pallet re-used

The eight veteran chairs at Valerie’s have lost their seating cord. Each giving way over the last summer as the heat and flow of visitors took their toll. The metal scrolling makes the chairs ‘keepers’ for Valerie. Her brother-in-law, Ron, had made a cardboard template with the idea of some type of board to be used. Ron returned to U.K. before he and Valerie had decided on material.

I took the template to see if I could give an option, and in-between other projects produced a seat from an old pallet on my roof terrace. The work on the pump at Deryk’s was on hold for a few days as he had pressing businessValerie was pleased with the idea of a seat that was rugged, low cost and she could treat/paint/varnish to suit. A replacement would be easy to make if there was any problems too.

Stu had a lot of ready broken down pallets that we had done for a project a few months back. Ten lengths were enough and we met at Pablo’s for the exchange of material (and a Cerveza). Back on my roof I cracked on with ‘production’ (and Spain v England repeat during my coffee break)….The padded cushion covers Valerie has should make the chairs comfortable, but I’ll sand down and edge the wood before passing them on in case anyone sits down without a pad on. If they did and cut their bottom it could be death by Arsenick!