Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Back on the Road

Finally after two months our Berlingo si back on the road with Spanish plates. so were are now fully road legal with insurance, ITV(MOT), and road tax. This is a big relief as the hire car has been costing us a fortune. It also means we can now go out and get materials that it wasn't possible to get in the hire car.

Friday, July 27, 2007

At Last ...... Bertha is Back

Finally today Helen & Sheila went off to fetch the paperwork from the ITV (Spanish MOT) which will allow us to get Bertha our Berlingo van back on the road. I was expecting that we would have to wait a bit once we had got this paperwork, but when Helen got back I found out that all the paper work is done and we just have to go back on Tuesday to collect the documents and our new Spanish number plates. So hopefully next Tuesday afternoon we should be able to drive Bertha home again fully insured on Spanish plates.

Helen celebrates after sticking the label on the car which indicates when our ITV is next due.

The roof & The ceiling

There has been a lot of work going on since my last post

First the roof, The older part of the house had a flat roof which looked in a very sorry state of repair, with the waterproof paint flaking off and concrete to in some places. So we set to scraping off all the loose material off and patching the concrete up where needed.

Once the surface was clean and patched up where it need to be . Then it was time to apply the rubber biased roof paint. The was applied thickly with a roller using a paint brush to get the edges and any cracks in the surface well sealed. Two coats of this and we should now have a waterproof roof, or at least half of it, the other side which is a newer roof and in better surface condition does have one small crack which leaks very rarely. Once this roof is cleaned and painted all should be water tight.

Now that the roof is sealed from any leaks it was time to take a look at the underside. The underside of the roof is made from large beams of wood with thinner rough bits of wood between them which has concrete on the top to from the roof. now these rough bits of wood don't look all that nice, but the beams do. So we decided to plaster over the rough wood leaving the large beams exposed. We didn't want a perfectly flat finish as this would have looked wrong, so we have a smooth but slightly uneven surface which looks very pleasant and rustic. Below is a sequece of photos that show the process.

Don't worry to much about the yellow stains these will disappear under two coats of paint, this is just the colour leaching through from the wood. Talking of wood the beams have been sanded and given a coat of sealant which brings them up to a nice dark colour.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

M51 First light casa de Estrellas

After many weeks of cloudy nights and just being plain tired I finally had a clear night when I was able to get the telescope out. So having got the telescope out on the roof, While I got the laptop up and running, Helen sorted out the polar alignment of the mount. Once it got dark I started to align the mount, then took a look at Saturn which unfortunately to low to attempt any imaging. So having lost Saturn in the haze close to the ground I swung the scope over to Jupiter which was fairly high in the sky. Having had a good look with my eyes, it was time for me to do something which I have been itching to do for quite a while I finally got the camera out and took some shots of Jupiter. I was amazed at how easy it was to get the thing to focus and having the target stably in view. I always used to struggle on my old scope and mount to keep even large objects in view. I have yet to process the images of Jupiter. But having been able to get a few good minutes of Jupiter I though I would give things a good test. So I slewed the scope round to M51 and once I had it located I took a set of 10 exposures each of 60 Sec. The following day looking at the images I though hmm these aren't that good, there was a lot of noise in then image, then I subtracted a dark frame which is an image taken with the cover over the scope so it will just capture the camera noise. Having done this I was blown away there was the classic double spiral of M51. Here is the result after stacking 4 of the images and Helen adjusting levels in Photoshop.

M51 Stacked image from 5 60 second unguided exposures. Mount: EQ6, Scope: Skywatcher ED80, Camera: Meade DSI Pro, Filter: IR block.
Taken: 17 July 2007 00:00 (Yes Midnight) First Photographic deep sky image from Casa de Estrellas, Canary Islands

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Two major events this week and they both happened yesterday.
  • First we got the new floor down in the entertainment room, around 24 loads of concrete and one cement mixer. We thought that it would take most if not all the sand and gravel we had and 4 or 5 hours work. In the end we only used half to two thirds of the sand and finished in 3 hours. The only problem was that the cement mixer stopped working just before we started the last load .. so had to mix this by hand. Getting the concrete level was fun, used a laser , a peace of wood and a garden rake.. The laser is aligned with marks on the walls and a mark on the peace of wood that corresponds to the correct height of the concrete. The Rake is used to move the concrete around and get it level.
  • Second the previous owner arrived and cleared out the second under croft so we now have a second storage/work room to use.
Things move slowly on the bathroom front, we are still awaiting the quote from the builder and still don't have an idea which type of documentation is requited for the planing permission - mind you in a strange way I am not so bothered about it. It will get done some time, I must be becoming a local. The only problem is if we have enough Money!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Wash day Blues

Today I finally got to do the washing at home instead of driving half way across the island to use the machine at our friends Sheila. The machine was delivered several weeks ago but we just hadn't got round to sorting it out, so with Sheila out of the country it was a case of necessity. So having dismantled the worktop which was resting on top and moved the machine into the middle of the room so that the hose would reach to the tap, and it was ready to go. The only trouble is the outflow was via a large pipe that just empties out into the garden outside. All worked fine and we now have clean clothes. I tried to hang stuff up on the line to dry but with 30km/h winds stuff kept falling off so it's now all on the indoor drying rack.

On other things the floor has now been totally removed from the entertainment room. We have started to run over the conduits for the power, read surround sound speakers, and a feed for a possible projector which would be mounted at the top of the back wall. We now need to mark out the floor level and get the conduits fixed to the wall and then once we have the damp proof lining down start mixing concrete and put it all back again.