No Telly

Boats on the beach at Las Negras this morning

Boats on the beach at Las Negras this morning

We have been horrified by the pictures we have seen of the dreadful weather and flooding in the UK at the moment. Here in Andalucia, as you can see from these photos taken this morning, weather is not a problem in the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata although it was quite windy over the weekend and the beginning of the week. However, there is another problem which is concerning the British expat population in Spain – the loss of their telly.
For many years the British in Spain have been able to watch their favourite English programmes via satellite using a dish of just over a metre in diameter to receive a signal directed through a Sky or Freeview box to their television. Hundreds of thousands of expats have used this system although it is irregular as the British television companies only have a licence to broadcast in the UK.
Olive trees

Olive trees

Last November a new satellite was launched and last week the BBC transferred all its channels to it. On Monday night ITV and Channel 4 followed suit. The new satellite transmits a narrower beam directed at Britain and so the British homes in Spain lost their signal.
Cortijo in El Valle de Rodalquilar

Cortijo in El Valle de Rodalquilar

A bigger dish will not solve the problem in our area. Even a dish of over 3 metres in diameter would not be able to pick up the signal. The obvious solution would be to stream the channels through the internet but, unless you have a British Internet Provider, you will not be able to receive programmes from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 web sites. There are web sites such as http://www.filmon.com from which you can stream all British television and much more but these are operating illegally and are being closed down. The picture is not of very good quality either.
Bermuda buttercups fill the fields

Bermuda buttercups fill the fields

We can still get British TV on our computer because we have a satellite internet system Avanti which sends its signal from Goonhilly Downs in Cornwall, thus the British TV web sites sense that our Internet Provider is in the UK. The problem we have is that, although our system is fast and stable, our download is limited to 50Gb a month which is not enough for regular TV viewing.
Rugged coast

Rugged coast

Our advice is do not panic and invest in anything yet. In a short time a viable alternative will emerge and in the meantime do not sit indoors watching telly. Go outside and enjoy the beautiful spring weather and countryside of Andalucia and improve your Spanish by watching their TV at night.

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About Margaret Merry

I grew up in Falmouth, Cornwall, England where, after leaving Falmouth High School, I spent a year at Falmouth School of Art. Then followed three years at Hornsey College of Art in London where I obtained a Diploma in Art and Design. I then spent a post-graduate year at the West of England College of Art in Bristol where I gained an Art Teacher?s Diploma and a Certificate in Education of the University of Bristol. I lived and worked in Truro for over 30 years and became one of Cornwall's most popular artists. My paintings have been exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Paris and London and have been bought by collectors from all over the world. I have published 4 books which became local bestsellers - 'The Natural History of a Westcountry City', 'Margaret Merry's Cornish Garden Sketchbook', 'Sea & Sail' and 'Tidal Reaches'. In 2002 I moved to Spain and now live pn a small farmer the town of Alhabia in the Alpujarra Almeriense in the Province of Almeria. I now get my inspiration from the dramatic scenery of Andalucia and its old cities, towns and villages which I usually capture in watercolour. I also enjoy portraiture and figurative art, particularly nudes and dancers. For these paintings I use artists' soft pastels. I have written and illustrated 3 children's books - The Wise Old Boar, The Lonely Digger and The Adventure of Princess The Pony - which have been published in the USA.
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