Bush fires

Despite living in Australia and Spain I’d never seen a bush fire before. Until this year.

In the space of a few weeks, we saw fires both on the way up and down the N340, perilously close to houses, flames leaping into the air, and helicopters desperately trying to drench the flames.

Apparently some 50% of fires in Australia may be caused deliberately.

And in Spain? Well, apparently 95% of fires are due to people, whether deliberate or otherwise.

Farming practices, deliberate arson, people throwing bottles or fag ends on dry and brittle vegetation = fire.

Spain apparently has suffered the driest winter for 40 years. No wonder there were bush fires in May.

And while we drove past the first one at La Duquesa, the one near Sotogrande was a definite no-no – and we were sent back up the road by the Guardia Civil to take an alternative route.

Smoke at La Duquesa

Flames at La Duquesa

Time to turn around. No arguing with the Guardia Civil

Flames taking hold near Sotogrande

Helicopters to the rescue

Helicopter drops water over the flames

Please people, never throw your cigarette ends out of the window, or chuck them anywhere, in fact don’t smoke. Don’t leave bottles lying around in dry areas, in full sun, dispose of them sensibly.

Or this is what happens. Burnt trees, burned ground, houses luckily surviving. Where everything was once green and full of life, it is now, burnt to death.


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130 double cabs

It’s not often that Land Rovers come up for auction by the MOD in Gib.  And if they do, they are usually basket cases for spares.

But the last one this month had three, a 110 single cab for spares, and two D130 double cabs.

Saw this the other day in one of the Gib car parks. Wonder if it was one of the auctioned ones?? We didn’t get to go, sadly.

Tips for driving in Spain ;)

Travelling on the N340 today and watching varying styles of driving, made me think it would be useful to compile one of those lists for how to drive elsewhere – in this case in Spain.

1) The obvious one. Speed limits do not apply. Or if they do, they are the minimum speed for driving.

2) When you are merging onto a dual carriageway or motorway, it is important to go as quickly as possible and push your way on in front of someone, especially if it causes them to ram on their brakes. Those little white lines that indicate ‘Give way’ certainly do not apply to you. Someone already on the main road does not have right of way.

3) In the unlikely event that a Spaniard is driving in the inside lane of the dual carriageway/motorway, when approaching a merger, they should immediately speed up to prevent as many vehicles as possible entering in front of them.

4) Stopping distances are for wimps. Tailgating at 120 kmh, or more, in the outside lane is the way to go.

5) The obligatory joint, shot of your spirit of choice (eg brandy, anis, whatever) is how to start your journey.

6) The most important thing is to get to your destination as quickly as possible. So drive quickly and don’t stop when you feel tired. It doesn’t matter if you doze off for a few minutes, no-one will notice.

(The above two points go some way to explaining the meandering style of some drivers and the erratic speed changes).

7) When your mobile rings – answer it immediately regardless of where you are and what speed you are going at. It could be important. You can then slow down of course as you chat away on your non-hands-free mobile.

8) And don’t forget when you want a fag, take one or both hands off the wheel to faff around lighting it. When you have done that, continue to drive with one hand on the wheel so that you can enjoy your cigarette.

9) If you are looking for somewhere, make sure you slow down without warning, speed up when it is the wrong exit, and then slow down again to check the next one. Finding out which exit you need before you start the journey spoils all the fun.

10) If someone is attempting to overtake you, immediately speed up and do not let them.

11) If you fail, and they do succeed in overtaking you, you need to get them back straightaway.

12) Wait until the very last minute to swap lanes to avoid the toll road. This has the added bonus of cutting across all the vehicles who want to use the toll road. Similarly if you are speeding along in the outside lane and want to take the next exit, it must be a last minute dash across the lanes.

13) Indicators are unnecessary. They are a waste of time and whose business is it where you are going anyway? So never use your indicators unless you are bored and want a little diversion. Especially at any roundabouts – where – if you do use one, make sure it is the wrong one (assuming you know how to indicate at roundabouts).

14) If you are suddenly going slowly – for whatever reason – do NOT put on your hazards or give any indication that you are dropping speed.

15) This last one is perhaps the most important. If someone is foolish enough to indicate to pull out into your lane – DO NOT LET THEM. Never pull into another lane to allow someone to move out. Even if there is enough room for them to pull in front of you, you absolutely must speed up so they are stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle. Keep them out at all costs and watch them lose speed and be totally unable to pull out. Oh! So! Funny!

This is a tongue in cheek guide, I hasten to add. I neither recommend nor condone anything on the above list.

We also saw numerous examples of every single one of the above in a two hour drive today.

Is that because we drive a Land Rover??

What a pane – lessons and costs

Here is the much promised post about lessons learned and costs when replacing the glass/doors, based on our mistakes.

Short and sweet:

1) When you find a windscreen at the scrappy, take the frame as well. The glass is easy to get out of the frame of the donor vehicle, but it is a pain to put back in yours. And new windscreens are dear. As we know to our cost.

2) Don’t be in so much of a rush when you buy doors that you forget the striker plates. They do vary. Again .. as we know ….

3) With the rear sliding windows, make sure you line up the aluminium box sections correctly. At least we got that one right this time around.

4) Washing-up liquid helps to make working with the rubber seals easier.

5) Don’t rush. Sit down and think about what you need to do. We started off by pricing new glass from UK suppliers and the price was horrific. Don’t rush at the scrappies either. If you are reading this from Spain, the system is different – normally you have to wait for them to take off bits, but if you take your tools they will usually let you do it yourself. Use forums and ask for help. It doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t cost, and you may get some useful info. We did.

Costs:

The first lot of glass we got was from El Inglés at the Poligono Industrial in Málaga. The cost was €25 for each piece of glass regardless, ie the back door, windscreen, two front doors and two pieces each for the two rear ones. Eight, if anyone is counting.

And at San Miguel in Arcos de la Frontera, €40 for each middle door.

So far so good, €280. Until the windscreen went and it was another €300+ to get it done professionally in La Linea. More than the cost of all the others put together.

Desguaces (scrapyards) in Andalucia

It’s always good to waste time, I mean travel around usefully, looking for scrapyards in Andalucía.

So here, for anyone who wants to visit them, is a list of some of the ones we have visited in the search for Land Rover spares in the provincias of Málaga and Cadiz.

So, first up Málaga province.

A quick google and some queries on a very helpful Spanish forum – 4x4malaga revealed the main contenders to be at:

Valle Niza
Malaga Industrial Estate (Poligono Guadalhorce)
Estepona

There a couple of others at Cartama/Coin but we haven’t visited those.

At Valle Niza you can find Discos and Freelanders but no Defenders/Series/Santanas.

‘Possible en Málaga’ we were told.

So, off to Málaga.

The industrial estate is well-signed and easily found. For anyone who doesn’t know, it is basically east of the airport, off the ringroad/autovia. If you don’t do Spanish look for Poligono Industrial, or sometimes PI with a factory type image.

There are loads of addreses for scrapyards on Carretera Azucarera- Guadalhorce. This is one of the main arterial roads of the estate, it runs south to north on the far west of it. Easy eh?

Well yes, if there hadn’t been road works. I gazed at every single plot we passed on our side of the road and not a single one was a scrapyard. Got to the end of the estate and found ourselves at an oil refinery. Nope. Not what we wanted.

Argument ensued between navigator and pilot about inadequacy of navigator. Navigator insisted she was correct and threw maps, directions, addresses and anything near to hand at pilot.

Plan B. Ask someone. In fact Plan B in Spain should always be Plan A.

Navigator well sulky by now so refused to ask.

Reluctantly agreed to drop window so pilot could ask a worky wandering up.

‘Where’s the scrapyard?’ or ‘Donde esta el desguace?’

‘Just down there on the right mate, where the trees are.’ or ‘Muy circa a la derecha amigo, donde estan los arboles.’

Or words to that effect.

So just for the record, the navigator was correct. Anyway, we parked up and decided to go through the scrapyards systematically from top to bottom. Actually the navigator decided that, as she was feeling very smug and assertive.

What neither of us thought of, was marking down which scrapyard had what vehicle, which, when there are 12 or so scrapyards all looking the same, is not good. At all. By the time we had got to the end we had seen four Land Rovers, and could only remember two of the places where we had seen them, and one of those only had a basket case.

Moving on swiftly down the coast to – Estepona. El Padron del Rio. Note – google has one listed on the poligono. It does not exist. The one at Estepona is best approached from the east, and is just after KM 160 on the N340, take a right when you see some bath store or something like that. No Land Rovers when we went though.

Cadiz province

Next up, scrapyard in Jimena. Hmm, what scrapyard in Jimena? Couldn’t find it on the internet search so asked at our local garage in Gib. Found a mechanic who lived there. No scrapyard in Jimena – but – there was a good one at Arcos. Quick change of plan and shot off up to Arcos to Desguace San Miguel.

First one, incidentally, that we have found here that allegedly opens on Sat morning – or so it says on their website. I would advise ringing before turning up on Sabado. It was huge. And it did have four Land Rovers, in various states of dismantling. There was no vehicle newer than early 80s.

Arcos is very pretty though and so is the surrounding countryside. And the venta at the bottom of the road does tapas with excellent olives and drinks for a very fair price.

So:

Lesson numero uno. Take pen and paper and definitely write down the name of the scrapyard and what you have seen at that one. And what parts it has that are useful.

Lesson numero dos. People say that in Spanish scrapyards you can not take off your own bits. Oh yes you can, so take your tools so that you are prepared if you are allowed to do so. Ask nicely, tell them you have your llaves and all your herramientos. If you are really lucky, someone might help you – although they might ask for a tip.

Lesson numero tres. Ask to look at the vehicle you are interested in. In some places you can wander off if they like the look of you. In others you have to join a queue. So far, experience says, queuing to see a basket case isn’t worth the time. Whatever, do not wait thinking people will ask you what you want. Join the queue if there is one, but otherwise, approach people and ask. You will always, in the end, need to speak to the yard supervisor. S/he is god and will tell you if they have the vehicle and, if you like the bits, they will give you a price.

Lesson numero cuatro. If you like what you have seen and you can afford it, accept the price you are given. We saw a most entertaining argument – in Arabic – between a Moroccan wanting a tyre cheaper than the given price, and the Moroccan scrapyard worker telling him he couldn’t have it for any less. Just pay, we all have to live.

Lesson numero cinco. They shut between 2pm and 4pm. Arrive in time to do what you want. Or for them to do what you want – which will take even longer. Come back at 4pm or – come back next week.

Lesson numero seis. When someone tells you there is a scrapyard some miles away, do not assume it is correct unless you get exact details or co-ords. But on the other hand, if you are looking for a desguace, always ask a) someone who appears to live locally b) a road worker c) any garage mechanic d) at a petrol station e) a truck driver.

Lesson numero siete. Make sure you know all the relevant words. There are three words for scrapyards – to my knowledge – in Spanish. Desgauce, chatarra, and cementario de coches. You may need to try all those out before they understand your accent.

Suerte!!

List of scrapyards and addresses here:

Valle Niza

Auto Desguace Valle Niza
Ctra. Cádiz, Km.3, Vélez-Málaga Málaga
952115853

Malaga

Auto-Desguace Hnos. Gonzalez S.L.
Ctra. Azucarera-Intelhorce, 13-B 29004 Malaga
952173704

Autodesguace García, S.L.
Ctra. Azucarera-Intelhorce, nº 13 A 29004 Málaga
952171753

Autodesguace Inter S.L.
Carretera Azucarera-Intelhorce Nave 11 B 29004 Málaga
952173593

Auto Despiece del Automóvil Hermanos Martín
Ctra. Azucarera-Intelhorce, P.I. Guadalorce Málaga
952173875

Auto Desguace Hermanos Vargas
Ctra. Azucarera-Intelhorce, P.I. Guadalorce Málaga
952173452

Auto Desguace La Alberca
Ctra. Azucarera-Intelhorce, P.I. Guadalorce Málaga
952173160

Scrap Yard – Auto Desguace El Inglés
Ctra. Azucarera-Intelhorce, Nave 7 Málaga
952241551

Auto Desguace Avilés
Ctra. Azucarera-Intelhorce Málaga
952173423

Estepona

Desguace Rio del Padrón
Ctra. Cádiz-Málaga, Km. 159 Estepona
952804096

Arcos de la Frontera

Ctra.Arcos-San José del Valle, Km 2
956 70 20 71 – 856 02 31 21 – 956 23 16 61

Thanks again to everyone on 4×4 Málaga for all their help in finding desguaces. Much appreciated.

MOT in Gib

This is an easy one.

£20 for the test. Valid for two years. Only catch? This is for Gib residents and people with Gib businesses, ie registered in Gibraltar, only.

So no, you can’t bring your GB reg coche for an updated MOT when you have been living in Spain or anywhere else and out of the UK for longer than your MOT lasts. Nor can you buy some cheap Brit vehicle that has been kicking around on the Iberian peninsula for years and suddenly think you will get an MOT in Gib. Let me repeat, this is a non-starter.

So back to the beginning. If you have a Gib registered vehicle that you are legally entitled to drive – this is how to get your MOT roadworthy certificate renewed.

Go to the MOT station in Eastern Beach at the far end of Devil’s Tower Road.

Take your log book, last MOT cert, and ID to be on the safe side.

Pay your money in advance and you will then get an appointment.

Note, you can not do this over the telephone. You have to turn up in person to make an appointment, with the papers.

If you already have a certificate you will probably get a helpful reminder that your MOT is due to run out, we did.

On the due date of the test, you turn up and you are allocated to Lane 1 or Lane 2 depending on your vehicle.

Sadly we failed, but not on anything mechanical.

We had a broken window that had been shattered one Friday night, some time ago, by someone.

After a while we sourced the glass and put it in. All ready to go again in a few weeks, and it went straight through the test. Good to go for another two years.

Total time to replace glass – three and a half hours.

1) take out the complete frame with the existing good piece of glass

2) split frame

3) insert new glass

4) replace grub screws that hold frame together

5) Haynes would say – complete in reverse order – in other words, lift the frame with complete glass and insert into panel. Note two pairs of hands are helpful at this point.

6) Pop rivet the frame into the panel. On the Santana, some of this also needed two pairs of hands because it was very fiddly.

7) Refit rubber seal.

And – off to the MOT station for new certificate.






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