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Discovering a new life in Costa Almeria

Having made the decision that full time work really is bad for your health,my husband convinced me that we should get 2 puppies and retire early. What I hadn't anticipated was that retirement would see us in Almeria, in southern Spain. This is our story from making the decision to move to our life here. For more posts read the full blog at What I hadn't realised was that I wasn't ready to retire so after 2 years we are back in the UK. However, when I am finally ready to retire - Spain is still in the mix.

Our new gadget.
09 March 2010 @ 00:21

Bad weather in Spain has consequences not normally experienced in the UK. It doesn't have to be extreme weather - just a heavy downpour, high winds or even heavy cloud which is low enough to cover us. As well as the direct effect of the weather, a lot of rain or a howling gal, the main indirect effect is thay we can lose our TV signal, and the bad weather doesn't even have to be over us, it can be anywhere between us and the UK, and we don't regain the signal until the weather passes. The other indirect effect is loss of power. This happens more often with heavy rain or snow and normally there will be a series of very short power cuts but can often last several hours.

It was always our intention to buy a generator as a back up power supply and with this in mind Neil and the electrician had installed a socket in the utility room where we could simply plug the generator in to run the lights and sockets in the house if we had a power cut for any length of time. This would make sure that we didn't have to worry about the freezers defrosting (we have 2, one in the kitchen and a second in the utility for when we are snowed in), so that we have heating through the winter and also lights for night time power cuts and of course, power to the sockets also means we continue to have the phone, internet and TV.

Neil had calculated that we needed a 3kw genny and we started to look around for one just last week. There is the usual concerns about where to buy them. We could get them cheaper from the UK than in Spain but that raises issues over the warranty, should anything go wrong. We can buy them from the internet in Spain but again, should anything go wrong it is more difficult to get it sorted dealing with companies over the phone. I know this from personal experience as I am still trying to get the phone we bought replaced because the slave handset doesn't work. This has been going on for 6 weeks and we still haven't got the replacement.

We then managed to find one in a local hardware store that fitted the bill and the budget, so after a couple of days thinking about it, last Thursday we finally decided to bite the bullet and buy it. The owner of the store asked us to call back the following day so that he had time to test that it worked ok and we finally went back on Saturday to collect it.

One of the things I still find amazing here is that they never seem to want to take your money. Having called at the store he told us we needed to drive to the other side of the Poligono to his warehouse where he had been testing it. I expected we would have to pay before we collected it - but no, they wouldn't take my money until after we had checked that it worked ok. After loading it into the back of the car we drove back to the shop so we could pay for it but it did make me wonder whether such a system would work in the UK without having to leave proof of your name, address, phone number and car details.

Anyway, genny paid for we called at the petrol station for a can of petrol and brought it home. Neil sorted it out with a cable and plug and started it up and it chugged away nicely. As our electric supply is from the little casita on the hill, about 400m over muddy, hilly terrain, we decided we would try plugging it into the house on Sunday morning so that if it tripped the fuse we could walk up to the casita to reset it in daylight.

Of course, Sunday morning dawned and we completely forgot to test the genny into the house supply...........

until 3.30pm..............

when the power went off and didn't come back on!

There was nothing to lose. We turned off the main fuse and all the individual fuses to the lights, sockets, cooker, hot tub and went and plugged in genny. Then we fired her up and turned on the fuse to the lights. In excited anticipation we turned on the hall light switch.........

and there was light.

We turned on the fuse to the sockets and all the lights on the computer servers lit up. We had power. Now we just had one problem, how would we know when the mains power was back on?

The only way is to turn the genny off every half hour and see. We don't overlook any other houses, we cannot see the town and there are no street lights in view so there is no way of knowing when the power is back on other than to try it.

Looks like we need a contraption to tell us when we have power again, but at least future powercuts will be less stressful, if a little noisier.

Like 0


jan said:
09 March 2010 @ 18:11

Sounds to me as though have got it sorted very well Good Luck

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