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.


Building up to Christmas – part one


It’s a bit of a strange way to build ourselves up for the Christmas season this year.

You see, after Lisa and I decided to move to Spain, and had been here and found the home of our dreams, then came the difficult part.

We bought a furnished property but without any kitchen items such as crockery, cutlery, pots and pans, microwave, toaster, kettle, teapot – the list goes on. We also knew that we needed a new washing machine and wanted to replace the working but old traditional cooker with a more modern range one.

So, it has been a busy time and something like a newly married couple goes through when setting up their home together for the very first time. I am sure that Lisa and I have gained just as much pleasure from doing this as any newlyweds. In fact, as this is the first home we have really set up together, the whole exercise has been more fun than a chore.

Then, as each box arrived with no indication of what it contained, it was just like opening wedding presents. Although we had ordered and paid for everything, discovering the contents as we opened each box was a surprise.

Actually, although I am using the past tense as most items have now arrived, there are still a handful that have yet to arrive – so the fun goes on, lol.

We ordered the washing machine from the local branch of Euronics and it was delivered and installed inside 24 hours. At first, though, it would not go into the spin cycle so an engineer came out and spent about 30 minutes here. We have no idea what was wrong but the important thing is that it has worked properly ever since.

Our new range cooker arrived a week later, again thanks to Euronics, but has still not been installed as we have been having a great deal of difficulty in finding gas fitters who can give a firm commitment to a particular day. At the moment, the job will go to the first one who can guarantee completing the installation before Christmas.

Our new television has arrived but as it was delivered in a fully branded box, we have left it unopened until Bob, the guy who runs the company that provides satellite and broadband television connections, arrives. Then we will know that it is installed properly. The model we ended up buying, for the technically minded among you, is a Philips HD Smart 200Hz LED with a 32” screen.

We looked at various options but felt we do not really need a 40” screen as we don’t want to feel overpowered by it. The Smart TV option was not that much more expensive, although I am not really sure what we are going to do with it.

As far as high definition is concerned, I did have that in the UK for a time but stopped paying for the HD channels on Sky as I could not really see any significant improvement. Now, all TVs seem to be HD and we have been assured that we will see a difference this time. I hope so. One good thing about our new system is that we don’t have to pay more for HD channels; they all come as part of the basic package.