Monday, August 27, 2007

Still moving but slowly

After 10 days it seems like we have not got much more of the room done , but all that is left to do is vanish the doors and sort out the floor.

To day Theresa went looking for tile cement and floor leveling compound, she got the tile cement but not the floor leveling compound. It seems that no one knew what it was... could it be that they don't have it here on the island. That could be a small problem, but we should be able to work round it.

We hope to be finished with this room by the end of the week. And then its time for a few other things and then on to the next room and work on the solar power instillation..

Friday, August 17, 2007

Looking better

Over the last few weeks we have really been moving into high gear on getting the entertainment room sorted, and at last things are starting to happen. We have had a number of issues which have required a lot of attention. The first of these is the woodwork, which was covered in a green paint which was very cracked and poor. This has been striped completely back to the bear wood, a very messy and time consuming job. Once this is done and the wood has been sealed and varnished the results are fantastic. The other major issue has been the state of the walls, the surface of the walls was so poor that the have required a lot of filling and sanding to get them to a state where we would be happy to paint them. The main problem with all the filling and sanding is the resultant dust which gets everywhere through the house. But now we do have paint on over half the wall and the ceiling is complete with the plaster being painted and the beams sealed and varnished.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Some how I got talked into this.....

Our friend Sheila asked if we would go with her and her son Julio to join the other amateurs astronomers who were going to be out on one of the high peaks to watch the persied meteor shower. I agreed and we had decided to camp out at one of the local camp sites as we would be up quite late in the night and a 10 minute drive back to the camp site was better than an hour down the mountain, and anyway August in the Canaries won't be that cold.

How wrong could I be...

The night in question was Bad, as we drove up to the campsite we were hoping to come out of the cloud but we didn't, and by the time we had got the tent up and started to cook food it was getting dark, so dark in fact we ended up eating by torch light.

We went down to where everybody else was, as it was totally covered in cloud, add on top of that the fact that there were car lights on everywhere, people taking flash photographs, none of which aided night vision. When the cloud did clear the sky was impressive but unfortunately the meteor shower was disappointing. After a while we decided to call it a day as it was very cold. So we all returned to the tent and settled down for the night. In the early hours of the morning I was awake, needing the loo but not wanting to get up and wake everybody else up. Eventually I shifted my position and at this point Sheila said "Are you awake?", when I said "Yes" she replied "Good I can go to the loo now". We had both been lying there not wanting to get up for fear of waking the other up.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Biggest Telescope in the World

Today we managed to piggy back on a tour of the telescopes that was being given by our friend Sheila. This also included a visit to the GranTeCan which at 10.4M when complete will make it the largest optical telescope in the World.

Firstly we had a tour round the William Herschel Telescope (WHT) which is where Helen used to work about 10 years ago, it was the first time Helen had been back for a while as well. I have seen other large telescopes in the UK but nothing really prepares you for walking through a set of doors and being faced with a telescope that's over two stories high.
WHT Cassagrain instrument cluster with the ISIS specrograph and the bottom of the mirror cell, with our friend Sheila.

After a look round (not as in depth as I would like as it was a public tour) we went over to the GranTeCan. If I thought the WHT was big I was in for a shock. After putting on hard hats as this is technically still a building site, We walked up several flights of stairs just to get to the floor of the Telescope. As we came out into the dome my jaw just hit the floor. This thing was huge. The base of the telescope could almost hold a tennis court between the supporting legs.
Theresa looking at the base of the GranTeCan.

The base of the mirror supports is three stories high with the overall hight being almost twice that. The most spooky thing was as they rotated the telescope which weighs over 500tons there wasn't a single sound, the whole thing floats on a bed of high pressure oil and is rotated by a linear motor which runs completely round the base.