Peter's Blog

Iberianspices spicesiberia

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

UK TV is now no more.

Before i made my move to my bit of Paradise i got myself a large satellite dish ready for when i made my move. When i arrived here in Gois i had to wait two weeks before i could move in and during that time i would go to the Internet cafe most days.

I found that most or if not all i  wanted to watch on my TV i could download from the Internet. It's a good job i could do this because i found when i visited my soon to be new home didn't have space for my huge satellite dish.

Now over two years later we have a situation where the people who run the satellite for BBC, ITV and SKY launched a new satellite to replace the old one and to be able to give better reception for certain areas that proved difficult before. The downside is that many areas of Portugal and Spain can no longer get  UK TV.

There are various companies selling all manner of products to enable  there customers to be able to get UK TV. I did hear about one company to be charging £250 per year for TV. On the many Forums Comments like " Wait and see we may get the TV back " or " You need a good Internet speed " " Or you need a VPN " Of all the many replies to the various questions about UK TV very few posters offer answers to the question How do we get UK TV.

When the answer is given too many people are quick to say " You need fast speed " " The picture quality is poor " plenty of negative comments but no answers for the problem of how to get UK TV.  One or two people have mentioned that Filmon is the answer or Mediahint. With Filmon you just go to the UK TV and go down the list of programs and pick what you want. Or with the Firefox addon Mediahint installed all you need is to go to BBC, ITV, Channel4 etc and click the program you want to see and watch it.  I have found that at times ITV ask for a postcode and when given the program starts as if i was in the UK. A bonus of using the Firefox addon is i can now use the HULU system in the USA.

From the picture you can see that my speed is only 0.81Mbps and while i am typing this i have on my TV a program called HOW IT'S MADE. Critics say you need loads of speed but i have found and proved that you don't. Due to a cabling problem PT my Internet provider tell me that the main cables to my village need to be replaced but they can't give me a date for there replacement.

A bonus of using PT as my Internet provider is by paying by direct debit means that i get unlimited amounts of downloads. Even with the slow speed i have i am able to watch TV and download programs i have missed to watch later.

One clever bit of kit fits into the USB slot on the rear of your TV and it makes your TV into a Smart TV. You can get all the TV you want and you don't need to connect your TV to your computer as i do. On Ebay there are many devices that plug into your router.

I have mentioned on various Forums about how easy it is to use  . Today i did a speed check as i do most days only to find a tiny bit of extra speed. I had Filmon on my TV and decided to try it at the same time on my laptop and it works fine even with my speed. I do suffer a tiny time lag on my laptop using it on Wifi. I don't use the HD on Filmon as it's a paid for feature and i am happy with the reception as it is.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

The wall came tumbling down, well almost

The weather has been very bad and very depressing, getting up to rain most days or if no rain low black clouds and miserable.I had started to get the lounge plaster boarded but i came to a point where i would have finished one half only to start to rip the other half out and take out a wall. It's only a few days ago i mentioned that the weather forecast was for clear sunny days ow wrong i was every other day is great blue skies, warm and makes you feel so much better. The next day it's back to the rain, just when it looked to be getting better it worse that before. At least when it rained it rained all the time and you lived with it but when it's sun and the rain you don't know what to do or even plan for the days ahead. 

A friend pointed out that it would be wiser to do all the demolition first and then carry on with the plaster boarding to the walls and ceiling. I have a drill that also allows me to breakup the walls with the hammer action of the drill. Sadly it came to a stop when the brushes burnt out and finding them online in the UK seemed the only answer until i mentioned to a friend that work was held up do to needing brushes for my drill. He told me of a builder/ garden center not to far away. How lucky i was that they had some that would fit and that was my only bit of good luck. The brushes are held in with a plastic type screw but as i removed one it fell apart into bits.

Again back to the internet i found a firm that sell parts for B&Q's own make machines. A call to them got me through to a very nice helpful young lady who told me that the parts i want they don't have but they have been able to match some up for others in the past. So it's another delay but one that should not take to long and the wall in the picture below will be down and my lounge will be so much bigger.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Sun Sun and more Sun on todays weather forecast

A pet hate i have is i don't want to know what the weather is going to be. I like nothing better than to wake in the morning and reach up to the window above my bed and open the shutters. Mostly sun comes shining through and brightens up the whole room what a start to the day.

Even the local Brits know not to tell me what the weather has to offer but today was different. I had a call from a friend in the UK who was telling me how the weather was where he lives. While talking i went onto Google and put in the weather forecast for my area and i got a nice shock. I was so shocked after what we had had for nearly two months that i took a couple of screen shots from my laptop.

As you can see Sun Sun and more Sun at the top of the screen shot you can see where it says Arganil that's the nearest town to where i live. The question now is has the weather turned and the rain and wind gone only time now will tell. A forecast from me is that the 3rd March will be a nice warm sunny day.

After the rain came a rainbow

We have had rain like all or most of Europe since mid December and i can't remember a dry day. If the local Camara didn't take the measures that they have water would have been a big problem. River years ago where made wider and dredged, the gullies at the side of the road can carry vast amounts of water. During the year the local Camara worker are sent to clean out the gullies even on the very minor roads.

What remains to be seen will the UK learn from the problems they have at the moment who knows. Even the Dutch have been called in to help but who better as a large part of Holland is below sea level. I noticed over the weekend down the lane a rainbow and took some pictures but it's a pity none came out as good as the rainbows looked but still a beautiful picture.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

From the summer of 1999 to now

Going back to the summer of 1999 a lot of the news was about computers and that a virus would cripple all computers as the time came to midnight. That was of no concern to me i was just turned 50 and i wanted to see the new Millennium. As time grew near i found myself wishing the day was closer i was worried that something would happen and i wouldn't get to see the new year. Each day was a day closer and then it came and all my worry was over, i did worry over nothing but that's me a worrier.

Now it's 2014 and something bigger is looming my 65th birthday when i finally and officially reach retirement age. I normally keep my date of birth quite due to on-line scammers and identity fraud but as of the 3rd March i will be 65 years old/ young.

Now for a while i have been worrying again about something happening, i really want to see my 65th birthday. Another expat here is a few weeks after me so we are going to have a pension party and all the local expats are invited to join use. We are going to a restaurant called the Beria Ria for a meal. We did want to use the club we normally go to on a Friday night but even though it has a fire sometimes we can't get anywhere near it due to the amount of locals who have started to go in before we arrive.

In the bar the floor is made of granite tiles, the walls are bare brick and the bar is bare brick and granite and everything is ice cold even the ceiling is made of concrete so that's why we are going to a restaurant. I have been counting down now for a few months and from today it's 3 weeks and counting.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

And the Electrician arrived on time.

Well the electrician was booked and he arrived on time and all I had to hope that I had laid everything in place as I had planned. I have 17 sockets, 1 ceiling fan and light and also 12 LED lights running 2.5w each so cheap to run. My lights use only 35watt's of power, that's less than a 40w bulb but as you can see from the photos the kitchen is as bright as anybody could ask for.

Hi Tim this picture is just for you. As you can see i do have 12 LED lights but there days are numbered they will be replaced for 12v instead of 240v and solar to power them.

Breadmaker on and my first cup of tea. Also when i arrived i put into semi retirement my Road Runner mug well today he is now out and ready for this my first cup of tea.

 I still have a lot of work to do and that's why i have been buying all the tools that i need. Around the windows will be be faced in timber and the skirting. One thing i can't do is make my cupboard doors and a local timber guy called Chico will make them.

One major change in the summer will be i intend to start to use Solar powder for my lighting in all of the house. I will be using 12v LED lights instead of 240v. This means i will be using free lighting instead of having to pay for it.  To have the rest of the house on solar means to much of an investment so i will be happy just to have free lights. I may have 1 12v socket to power phone chargers, laptops etc.  

Monday, 3 February 2014

I got myself a new Nail gun, soon i can get so much more done

Until Tony the Tory changed the gun laws i was a member of a gun club. I was the proud owner of three hand guns. Nothing was better than a few hours shooting paper targets of politicians or in fact anybody i wanted. In those days to get permission to own guns you had to be checked out by the police and to keep guns you needed security almost as good as a bank would have.

My first gun was a Smith and Wesson model 686 i even had a barrel weight made and fitted and it was my favourite. Next came my UZI 9mm the same as you would see in films and the i got a Dessert Eagle now the 50cal is officially the most powerful hand gun in the world.

Tony Blair known as Tony the Tory having an election coming had a clever idea if we ban all hand guns the people will vote for me or he thought. Well his idea went ahead and all legal guns where taken and all we got was about 30% of the value. I lost over £1200 on my three guns but what was more important was that something i liked doing was taken away from me. Clubs closed jobs lost but today gun crime is increasing in the UK to alarming levels.

I spotted on Heyportugal in the classified section  for sale a Nail gun. OK it may not be what i was used to but it's my Nail gun and nobody will be taking this from me. The Nail gun was on sale for 25€ when new they are £60 plus. After contacting the owner and agreeing that i wanted it they agreed to meet me at the Sunday market and bring the Nail gun with them. My shock was that it was brand new still in the box and never used.

Along with the other tools i have been getting when the weather gets better and warmer i will be better placed to get a lot more work done on my house. My first job will be to make a bench to go against the wall on my veranda. Oh yes i need to finish the veranda but now i have the tools i don't need to rely on anybody else o get things done.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

The rains will stop but will anything happen in the UK.

I have been watching the UK news and seeing the damage done by the floods. Here in Portugal and in particular the part i live in have had our share of rain But a big But. The local Camara for those in the UK that's the local Councils name. When rain comes here we get it just as bad as the UK here is the BUT in the UK in the gutter at the side of the road you have drains covers that don't work because they were never planned for the level of rain. As the drains are of no use were is the rain supposed to go? nothing is built with the future in mind.

Lets look at Portugal we done have drains like the UK that can't cope when it gets bad, we have open gutters along all the roads and some as deep as 2ft in places. When we get rain it rains for days without stopping and the land has had so much it can't soak up any more rain and it's been that way now since before Christmas.

Unlike the UK our rain will stop and the sun will start to dry out the land, when the land gets dry  you can't even dig it up anymore as it goes like concrete. It gets so hard my chickens have trouble scratching the ground and i need a big wrecking bar to try to break the ground up. When the UK gets back to normal and the ground gets back to how it normally is what will happen. Hose pipe ban You have all seen it year after year out comes the Sun and on the news a Hose pipe ban.

What happens here in Portugal, we gt from as early as maybe April sun all day every day till October or maybe November. Rivers are down to a trickle and in some cases they dry up all together but hope de we cope, easy we just carry on as before. No water bans life is just as it always has been good.

In recent history of the area i live there had been floods when the rain was so bad, the local Camara sent the workforce out to dredge the rivers and also widen some rivers. Since these steps where taken the rivers now never get close to overflowing

After recent events with the floods in the UK what will happen, not a lot i would guess, other countries have there problems and they adapt to events but the UK i don't think will learn anything or if they do it will be to little to late.