Archive for the ‘Maintenance & Repair’ Category

Re-connected

February 8th, 2018

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After one freezing day without power we are now back up and running again – normal service can be resumed. Ironically, on the day that we had no electricity we were contacted (via a remote e-mail connection) by a transport company that wanted to collect an export order. Of course, physically loading the truck would not be difficult – the wine was prepared and ready to go, but then, there was one big problem….. the paperwork!

When we are exporting goods (as an ‘intra-community’ transaction, in tax and duty suspension), they have to be accompanied by official customs paperwork. These documents are very detailed and have to include the registration number of the vehicle – this is simply because if the truck is stopped and inspected at any point by the police, then the driver can prove that the goods are being moved legally.

Because these vehicle details cannot be added to the documents until the last minute, with no power, this rendered the collection impossible. Unfortunately only one fixed PC in our office is loaded with the official customs software, and therefore we couldn’t simply use one of our laptops. Of course, the secondary problem being that we couldn’t print the documents anyway (a full set of papers have to be physically attached to the goods in transit). Unfortunately, the collection had to be postponed. 

The good news is that our office heating, computers, printers, telephone system (and teapot) have now been fully restored!

Cold & cut-off!!

February 6th, 2018

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It was just over a year ago that we had a small fire in an electrical box connecting us to the grid, temporarily cutting off our power supply. Well, today, after lots of planning, quotes and discussion, the temporary repair is now going to be made permanent. Our electrical contractors are now working on installing the new junction box (pictured on the floor here). Of course this means that we are without power, we assume for most of the day.

To be honest (apart from the fact that it is not raining), they really couldn’t have chosen a worse day to do it – it’s freezing! Probably the coldest day of the winter so far. The outside temperature is around 0°C (32°F), and because the power is off, we have absolutely no form of heating. So winter jackets are on, but trying to catch up on a bit of filing whilst wearing gloves is almost impossible.

It never ceases to amaze me how we take electricity for granted, and you really don’t realise how many things you can’t do with out it. Sure, our laptops are working, but without power, we have no internet connection without setting up a mobile phone network. And whilst our mobile phones might be working, our fixed lines are down, as our small phone network also relies on electrical power. But the biggest disaster of all? No tea! We can’t even boil any water…..

OMG! It’s now probably wetter and more humid inside the wine cellar than it is outside! Yes, we have had some reasonably heavy rain and high wind in the last week or so, but now we have water pouring through the ceiling inside the cellar. As I write this we are still not 100% sure of it’s origin, but we believe that there is a broken water pipe, inside the ceiling, sealed by concrete. Not a good scenario.

It would appear that the entire ceiling cavity is full of water, and so we have temporarily drilled some holes to allow the water to escape (see photo). Before we did this, then obviously the water simply found its own escape routes, which unfortunately was mainly through our light fittings. On the plus side, these florescent fittings are designed to be water-tight, but one did leak a little, and immediately caused a short-circuit cutting all the lights throughout. Although there is some water falling directly onto our tanks, the wine itself is in absolutely no danger, as they are of course completely hermetic. 

Naturally we have turned off the water source, and will now simply leave the water to drain for the next day or two. Once reasonably dry, we will start the daunting job of finding the actual source of the leak, and carrying out repairs. I guess we only have to be thankful that this leak didn’t occur during harvest or the wine making period – that would have been a complete disaster!

The one thing that our recent photos have in common, is that they are all taken under clear blue skies. For the first couple of days of November we experienced two or three of days of rainfall, and of course, we simply assumed that our normal Galician winter had finally taken hold….. not at all. Within a week the skies had cleared completely, and the fine, sunny weather continued. To be honest, we really need some sustained rainfall even if it will make it extremely uncomfortable for our guys who will start pruning in a few weeks time.

The combination of this dry weather and the comparatively early harvest this year have enabled us to squeeze in a few additional jobs before the start of pruning. An unsightly piece of ground (actually more of a ‘dumping ground’) adjacent to the grape reception has been cleared, and the back of the bodega completely repainted…. Considering all the building and maintenance that we have carried out this year then perhaps we should start a construction business as a sideline! Having said that it’s amazing what a bit of cleaning and a lick of paint can make, even if people rarely visit the rear of our bodega.