Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Country life

I've forgotten exactly what Ohm's Law says but I know that it gives you the relationship between current and volts and something else electrical. When I did know what it was I worked out that a 13 amp UK plug was getting stretched with a 3 kilowatt device, like a big electric fire or a fast kettle plugged into it.

Down in Cartagena our electric supply is 5.5kw, so two fully loaded 13 amp plugs worth. It's pretty typical for a newish Spanish house. If we're not careful with the cooker, kettle, heater combinations it's easy to pop the circuit breakers.

It's been horrid weather in Cartagena for the past few days and, when we got back to Culebrón it was cold, wet and windy here too. Because of the rain we haven't been able to hang out any laundry in Cartagena. In Culebrón we have a tumble dryer so we brought all the laundry back with us.

I set the washer going as we were still unpacking. A little later we turned on the tap to make the welcome home cup of tea but the tap spat and bellowed as spurts of water mixed with air exploded into the sink. Obviously the water had been off and when it did finally start to flow sensibly again the pressure was next to nothing. It was still bad this morning. My shower involved kneeling with one hand on the mixer tap.

Back on Friday afternoon the washer was bleeping. ERR 10 on the display. Maggie set it going again. The low water pressure had caused the machine a problem. The washer load done I loaded up the tumble dryer. In Culebrón we only have a 2.2kw electric supply but when we got the house rewired the sparks put in a circuit breaker board capable of dealing with 5.5kw. What this means is that the fuses hardly ever pop but that everything goes slower as more demand is put on the supply - lights dim, the air conditioner slows down and defrosting something in the microwave takes longer than driving into Pinoso to get the unfrozen version from the supermarket.

I'm on the Internet, it seems to be taking a long time to load something. I check the speed and we have 2.75mgb. We are way below the Alicante, Valencian or Spanish averages but at least we have broadband of sorts - not everyone around here does.

Geoff, who lives about 3km from us, phones me. He's been having trouble with his phone. His land-line, provided by some sort of radio system, has been on the blink. The mobile signal is weak, coverage is a bit dodgy. We have the conversation OK though.

It's always nice to come home. To get comfy on the sofa in front of the telly with our own things around us but there is no doubt about it that basic services in the Spanish countryside are miles behind the services provided to town dwellers.

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