Building up to Christmas – part two

Our new HD Smart TV. On the right is our new small broadband tv box.

Our new HD Smart TV. On the right is our new small broadband tv box.

On towards Christmas we go, with part two of our somewhat different, if not unusual, preparations for this year’s celebrations.

The guy who runs his own TV satellite business arrived late on Friday afternoon to install what we need to get good television reception here.

We already get a feed from a satellite dish but that only provides the free channels and we want much more, so we had already opted for his services. Not knowing whom to contact, we took advice from our neighbours and this man, named Bob, came highly recommended.

He gave us the choice of a new box that would give us the paid for satellite channels, like most of our neighbours have, or a brand new box that works via the internet and brings us all that and more. And the ‘more’ includes more than 850 films, free ‘pay per view’ channels, catch-up, and even channels you have to pay extra to see in the UK. It even includes the BT channels at no extra cost.

Of course, we chose the best package – at the same price as the other box – and he set it all up for us. And we still have our ex-UK Sky box connected to the satellite dish so we would still have some television even if the internet was to fail.

It seems OK, so far, but I am always a bit suspicious of new technology. That being the case, I’ll reserve judgement until we have had it for a little while. The programmes available for just 250€ a year, yes a YEAR, are all the ones offered in Sky’s most extensive package including sport and movies, plus the ‘paid-fors’ such as the football clubs’ own channels, BT and ESPN. Then there are the other services not available via Sky such as the 850 films, free pay-to-view and, he was at pains to point out, some rather graphic porn channels which make’s Sky’s ‘adult’ channels look like kids’ comics.

To be honest, I am not sure how much that would actually cost in the UK but, based on my old Sky subscription in Wales, it must be £80 or more every month or close to £1,000 a year. Meanwhile, here we are paying just 250€, and that is about £185, for a year. Now that is a pretty good deal in any language.

As far as Christmas itself is concerned, we did not bring anything like decorations with us. That, of course, means we have to buy new and that is exactly what we plan to do but not until the after-Christmas sales when they will all be reduced. So, this year, just for once we will not have a tree nor put up any festive decorations.

Christmas dinner will either be what we regard as traditional, as long as the new cooker is installed by then, or it will be at a restaurant in the afternoon. We will just have to wait and see how things develop on that front.


Getting there! Home is coming together

living room Spain

It’s all happening here as the dream home that Lisa and I set our hearts on is gradually coming together with new appliances and other goodies arriving by the day.

There are still some on the way and, when they have all arrived and been installed, we will be in position to take some pictures and post them here on this blog to give you all a taste of our life in Spain.

Talking of our life here, it is December 4 and today’s shade temperature is 20˚C/68˚F but out in the sunshine it is way hotter than that. Suntan, even sunburn, are both distinct possibilities.

But, enough of the weather. Last night we took delivery of our new cooker. It is a range style measuring 90cm wide with five hobs and a massive oven/grill, under which there is an equally wide plate warming compartment. It is not plumbed in yet as we are waiting for the gas installers and inspectors to give us a date they can come. We know it is unlikely to be in the next week as both Monday and Tuesday are bank holidays here.

Lisa loves to cook and especially adores baking but this is the very first time that she will have what she has named ‘a grown up’ oven. She can hardly contain her excitement.

Next on our list is an HD Smart television. We have been advised to get a 40” one but we feel that 32” is big enough. Also, we have decided to take our TV feed over our 10mgps broadband connection instead of from a satellite dish. It promises to give us much higher quality performance than we have previously been able to enjoy.

We have already seen the list of channels we can expect and, besides the Spanish stations, it includes all the main UK programmes, the satellite channels we used to watch in the UK, some that Sky decided we could not watch without paying extra – such as BT Sport and ESPN – and well as loads of movies, on demand and catch-up services.

So, instead of paying Sky £64.50 a month for its TV selection, an annual total of £774, we will soon be getting more channels but paying just 200€, which is equivalent to about £150 per year. Now, that is a bargain.

With the saving on television, we have managed to reorganise our TV/telephone/broadband spending so that, by spending the same amount of money, we now get:

  • Broadband at 10mgps instead of 2mbps
  • Satellite tv via broadband
  • Mobile phones (2 instead of 1) with unlimited calls and texts, plus 6 gig of data
  • Skype package with unlimited calls to USA and UK
  • 2 Skype numbers (1 in UK, 1 in USA) for people to make low cost calls to us.

Oh, almost forgot, in Spain no-one has to buy a tv licence, so that saves us another £150 (200€) a year.






In new home but much more to do

Bright colours, sun and mountains. The view from one of our living room windows today.

Bright colours, sun and mountains. The view from one of our living room windows today.

Yayy, we are in! Lisa and I today, finally, completed our move to our dream home in Spain. OK, we have been here since the 15th but today was the first day we could move in as the work overran by a few days.

Once again Lisa shouldered most of the work because of my MS but we welcomed the assistance of Eddy and Geoff who were only too willing to lend a hand. By the time my beloved had cleaned where we had been staying, we were really ‘in’ by about lunchtime.

Then came the part where we could work together easily – unpacking and putting everything away. There was too much for the two of us to do in just an afternoon and by 7pm, we decided enough was enough. By then, half of it was done and we plan to finish the unpacking tomorrow.

It is a lovely feeling sitting in our own place in Spain. It may be November but it was sunny on Tuesday with the same forecast for the next four days. You just cannot complain about the weather here.

A couple of guys from a local broadband company came this morning to connect us to the internet. We had a choice of four speeds, depending on how much we were prepared to pay each month. As Lisa and I both use the internet a lot, we opted for the fastest available – 10 Mbps, a bit faster than we had in Colwyn Bay. ‘A bit faster’, no. A whole lot faster than the 2Mbps common there.

We did hit a couple of snags. I thought I smelled gas. Its LPG, so the odour is distinct. It seems that the cooker we bought with the property had been installed incorrectly. Well, tomorrow, the gas man cometh; then we will know what needs to be done.

The other hiccup is our new backdoor, which was working just fine earlier in the day, now refuses to shut properly although it does still lock. Something else for tomorrow!