Moving The Telescopes to Spain

In May 2005 the time finally arrived when we could move the telescopes to our house in Spain.  We decided that we would take the ferry from Plymouth to Santander and then drive across Spain to the house.  You can see from the pictures how much stuff we squeezed into the trailer.  Everything you see in the house was taken over with us.  It was a great trip and a super holiday, and we hope you enjoy this pictorial record of our expedition.

The beginning of our journey was of course to pack the trailer, which had spent a year sitting on our driveway, waiting for this moment to fulfil it's destiny

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There really was a huge amount of stuff to take, all the telescopes and mounts and cameras and ancillary equipment such as generators and pieces of furniture

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The "little brick" as the trailer became fondly known, required us to park in the motorway services on the M5 south alongside rather larger vehicles

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Here we are in the queue to board our car ferry.  Liz HATES sea journeys and this one turned out to be no better than all the rest - but we made it, and she is still alive

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The dockers cast off the ropes holding our ferry to the quayside, and our last links with England are broken.  Our 'babies' are on their way to their new home

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Plymouth rapidly disappears astern

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And after a pretty calm overnight journey we arrive in the northern Spanish port of Santander.  The pilot boat accompanying us in to the harbour

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The journey south is uneventful and the weather very kind.  Here we have stopped for diesel on the motorway around Madrid

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And because we didn't want to arrive at the house in the dark we decided to stop overnight and rest.  This is our chosen hotel, just south of Granada and within an hour of the house

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Our first view of the house - with the builders vehicles parked outside.  They have promised us it will be ready for us

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As we arrive outside the garage we get out of the car and look inside, to see.......

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The first indication of what was to greet us.  Chaos and dirt was everywhere.  Yes, the house was "finished", in that it had a roof, but we had no water, no power and not a lot else

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We talked to the builders about the state of things and agreed that they would help us get a cooker and a washing machine as fast as possible

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The secondary cage of our precious16 inch reflector sits on the floor of the bedroom as a builder files and cuts PVC pipe just above it

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Lizzie does her best to get the "lounge" in some kind of shape and we decide to use the astronomy folding table as our dining room table

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The solar panels are on the roof and providing power, it just isn't getting to the lights, but after a couple of hours we manage to sort out the problem and all is well.  We have power at least

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And then we manage to sort out the water problem and are able to pump water to the tank.  Our water comes from a spring and is gorgeous

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Lizzie gets on with the important task of trying out the new cooker and creates our first meal in La Divisa

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The washing machine arrives and is fitted.  It works very well and has now washed many dusty clothes

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The patio we had built alongside the house was quickly pressed into service.  Here we are discussing things various with the people who sold us the house, and some local English friends

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When not being used for evening meetings the patio doubles as an area to dry the washing.  Eventually we will grow vines over the large posts

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We also started laying out where paths will be, and bringing some order to the garden

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Liz wanted to use one of the old original beds from the old house, and here Paul is painting it with white enamel, prior to installing it in the bedroom.  It is now in our lovely bedroom and is very, very comfy

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One exciting feature about living at 1200 metres is that you are right 'up there' with the weather.  Here you can see clouds spilling over the mountain top to our east - and spilling down the valley to our south

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As soon as things were reasonably straight we put together the 16 inch and tried it out.  It worked superbly and we are satisfied that we are going to really enjoy our dark Spanish skies

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Once we were satisfied that things were good enough to leave we took time to enjoy ourselves.  Here we are enjoying lunch with visiting English friends at a local restaurant

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And here we are being hosted to dinner by our local astronomer friends, who have pulled out their best china and crystal for us

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After dinner we sat on their patio and watched as local people ploughed between the grape vines in the clouds - very atmospheric

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But on other days the sun shone as it can only shine in Spain, and the locals brought their mules to harness them and to plough the fields immediately around the house

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Standing at the top of our track, the High Sierra mountains in the distance, we are constantly reminded of why we love this place and how much we enjoy being here

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