Wednesday, February 27, 2008

1st Helresa Caption Compertition

OK this large vegtable was culled from our garden, it is a relation to the marrow. Suggestions for a caption on a postcard to Casa de Estrellas...... or alternativaly just add them here as comments.

It´s finished...... Phew that was fast

OK there are a few things left to do, like tomorrowremove the wooden formers and in about 4 weeks time remove the props from that inside but that is it the roof is on, and we have a hole through the wall.

The wall before the doorway
The hole ready for a doorway
The whole roof, complete in 3 Days!!!
The bracing to hold all the concrete in place while it sets
and the props to hole the whole thing up until it dries completely in about 28 Days.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The roof goes on

Well from just the old roof being removed yesterday and a little bit of wall being knocked off things are now speeding along. The concrete beams are in place and the blocks have been placed between them. The whole roof is bring surrounded with steel reinforceing bars that will form a solid ring beam to hole the whole roof togeather once the concrete is poured tomorrow.

Our Builder finishing tiying all the reforcing bars togeatherAnother shot showing all the materials stacked up and the ventalation tube going in.
On the inside the hole for the door is progressing well with just about another 2 foot at the bottom to remove, apparently the wall is harder than they thought.

Monday, February 25, 2008

EEEK!! The Cement mixers are breeding and somebody has nicked our roof

Not much has been happening on the house over the last week as we have had Helen´s son Ben staying with us so we have been doing all the touristy things. Including 2 trips up to the Roque to show Ben round both the Gallilao and the GranTeCan.
Today Helen took the car to drop Ben off at the Airport, so after I finished work at the school I took the bus into Santa Cruz to meet up with Helen to do some shopping. When we got home we discovered that the builder had arrived that morning and started on the work to put a new roof on the water tank and he had brought all his tools along and put them next to ours.
So far all he has removed the old wooden roof and removed the top part of the wall read to put on the roof. Tomorrow he should be creating the doorway through and prepearing to lay the roof.

The old wooden roof has been removedAnd materials to construct the new roof ready and waiting and a shot from the side showing where the preperation has started

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bertha's New Hips

After a number of weeks with problems about parts and postponement due to the weather. Bertha our Berlingo finally has new suspension ball joints. Thanks to our friend Sheila's husband Carlos. Now hopefully once we have had the alignment checked we should stop going through a set of tires every 3 months.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

No Soldering Required

I was going to make a small electronic circuit called an EQMOD which would allow the computer to talk directly to the stepper motors inside the EQ6 telescope mount. However with the latest version of the firmware for the mount handset there is what they describe as a "PC Direct Mode".
This can be found in the V3.21 of the handset firmware. With this mode you can just connect the PC to the handset and then the handset to the telescope mount as normal, but use the EQMOD software which gives a major improvement over the standard controls contained within the handset.

On other news I have contacted Nick Hudson at Tru-tech about my filter wheel and he has promised to put some replacement chips in the post

Hole in the Wall Gang

This week I came home from work one day this week to discover that not only had Helen put some rendering on the wall in the dinning room but also a large hole had appeared in the corner of the room through to the bedroom.

Why is there a hole through the wall from the dinning room to the bedroom? Well the trick is that where this hole is there will be a wood burning stove. The hole will house a grill and a fan which will push the hot air from the stove through into the bedroom.

Helen has made a plywood frame to sit in the hole with a correctly sized hole and mounting points to take a standard PC case fan. The PC fan will be powered using a peltier element attached to the stove so that as the stove heats up the peltier will start to generate current causing the fan to run .

Plywood frame ready for fitting.
Fitted in the wall And finaly the wall made good

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Oranges & Lemons

One thing we have noticed living here is that every now and then you have various items of produce turn up. We have had potatoes, pumpkin and other things like that, but the other day as we were sorting out some things outside the house to go to the dump. We heard a "hóla" coming up from the steps to the lower terraces, an then appeared the farmer who owns the large house a the top of our pista. On his shoulder was a large bucket full to the brim of Oranges.

It's Broke

As I am typing this I am at Sheila's.

Carlos is outside trying to put the suspension back together on the Berlingo. We took it in last week to get the tires changed as they were badly worn (even though they were only 6 months old) and to check the alignment. However they discovered that the ball joints on the bottom of the suspension were badly worn and needed replacing. Hence why the car was eating tires. We got the parts and this weekend we stayed overnight so that Carlos could change the parts today, however like most things on our berlingo it would seem that the parts are non standard so we are having to put the old ones back until next weekend when the correct parts should be here.

It's not the only thing that I have discovered broken this week. While trying out some of my astronomy equipment this week I discovered that my tru-tech filter wheel is broken. I have been in contact with Ian King who I brought the wheel from and luckily there is somebody else on the Island that I know who also had a problem with his wheel and might have some spare electronics to help me repair it.

What does 2 cubic meters of Gravel look like?

What does 2 cubic meters of gravel look like? Well if you look at the photo below you can see.
This is Helen with her shovel moving the pile a bit so that we could get the car in after the lorry had been. In order to get the gravel delivered we talk to our friends Ann & David from La Casita over at the other end of the village and they then speak to Luis that delivery driver who then if he doesn't forget (which he has a habit of doing!) comes along with his small dumper truck and delivers sand, cement, gravel and what ever else you have ordered.

Why do we need so much sand and gravel? This is the second delivery we have had in the last few weeks. The reason we need so much is that while the weather has been fine for the last week or so and as it has been half term we have been working a lot on the steps and ramp out the front. This is now taking on such gigantic proportions that we have now named it "The Franceses Bypass"

Friday, February 01, 2008

Save Our Astronomy

Now you know that I don't get that political unless it is something that I really feel strongly about.
Right now I am fuming at the stupidity of the current suggested cuts to astronomy research facilities across the UK.
This has come about due to a £80millon budget shortfall in the budget for the Science and Technologies Funding Council (STFC)
Not only will this entail a 25% cut to all physics grants, but several important UK Science facilities are under threat. The most stupid is the withdrawal of the UK from the Gemini north 8Meter telescope on Hawaii this now leaves UK astronomers with out access to a large telescope in the northern hemisphere. Also the funding for most of the UK Telescopes here on La Palma looks like it will stopped as well.

Update, My friend Sheila has put it much better than I ever could on her blog here

To find out more and to find out how you can help visit the following site.

Save Astronomy