Saturday, March 31, 2007


I've got some sort of abdominal lurgy. I'm not dashing to the bathroom, thank goodness, but I'm suffering from abdominal cramps and nausea, and feeling very cold all the time.

Helen and Theresa came around for lunch yesterday, and took the chance to have a nice hot shower. They've unloaded the van and bought lots of stuff and generally started on the long job of sorting out their house.

Norma was supposed to come too, but she was too busy sorting out the next edition of Ruido. I did get Theresa to show me how to check the stats for the Ruido site, and we're both delighted to find out that we've had 355 visits from 149 different people. Heaven knows we've worked hard enough.

And I've got a story up at the critters this week, and so far (early days yet) it's going down well.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

And then my friends phoned up to say the ferry from Cadiz was going to arrive late in Tenerife, and they'd miss the Fred Olsen ferry to La Palma. Since their cat, Tabby was arriving in Tenerife on Wednesday, it didn't really make sense to come for one night.

So I phoned around and found a hotel for them - the Delfin in Bajamar. It was a bit of a trek from Santa Cruz de Tenerifewhere the ferry arrived, but I reasoned it would be easier to find than something in the middle of the city. More importantly, they had a secure car park. This was vital, given the amount of stuff in the back of my friends' van.

They finally got to the hotel at 10:30 pm, only to find they had to park on the street.

I am not pleased with the Delfin Hotel at all. Still, nothing was stolen.

Since Helen and Theresa were goign to arrive late and go straight to Franceses, I went there on Wednesday morning. I took more of the stuff they'd left at my house, since they couldn't come and fetch it for a while. I also took some food and bedding and made their bed. Hopefully that made arriving at midnight at a house with no electricity rather more bareable.

Antonio had cleared his stuff out, and left a bottle of wine for them, which I thought was rather sweet.

I went to check on the spinach I transplanted on Sunday. Most of the baby plants are doing well, so they should be fine from here on. And I saw poppies in the field next door, with bees buzzing around them. Since I'd just learned to use the motor drive on the camera, I took hundreds of photos.

In the afternoon I went round to my friend Farida's. She has a new computer, which is the first one she's had. I've been trying to help her learn how to use it. It's uphill for her since she speaks Spanish fine, but reads it with some difficulty. (Well it's a completely different alphabet from Arabic, right?) At the weekend we'd got her webcam working well enough to call Morocco and wave at her friends there - but there was no sound going in either direction. I spent another hour or so on it, and I'm beinging to suspect that this particular camera doesn't work with Vista. Argh!

The girls duely arrived on the ferry, and I met them at the port with the keys to their new house. Tehn I went home and collapsed in a heap.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A lot's been happening.

Since my camera arrived, it's rained almost non-stop, and when it wasn't raining, it was cloudy.
But on Friday I did get chance to see my friend Ana and take photos of her gorgeous little girl. In fact I took over 100. Well, I wanted to practice. I like the results, but I'm going to need a softer flash at some stage.

On Saturday morning my son had a workshop and the son was shining, so I left him there and went to Las Nieves where I took another hundred or so photos. The one on the right is the famous 16th century crucifixion scene from the church. Then I went to my friend Farida's house, and tried to get her webcam to work with Instant Messenger. It's the first time Farida's used a computer, never mind owned one. What's more, she reads Arabic fine, but Spanish is slow going. I started off by loading the driver for the camera! By the end of the morning, we'd contacted her friends in Morocco, and we could see each other and type, but there was no sound going either way. Both speakers and microphone work outside Messenger, so I can't be far off.

Meanwhile my friends Helen and Theresa (See "Aunties in their Panties") got to Cadiz and found the ferry to Tenerife was delayed. ( We thought they could still get here for Monday night (today), so on Sunday I went over to their new house in the north of the island to take some of their stuff in advance.
Of course I took the camera, and got in some more practice. This lily is in their garden. I had a nice drive there (lots of photos), opened up the house and saw that the previous owner, Antonio, obviously hadn't finished clearing out yet. So while I waited for him to arrive, I weeded the potato patch in the garden, and planted some of the local spinach. Eventually I realised that Antonio wasn't coming so I phoned.

He thought they weren't coming until Friday, so it's a darn good thing I went to Franceses and found out. Once we got our wires uncrossed, Antonio promised to get the last bit of his stuff out, pronto. And I set off home.

I didn't get very far. I'd parked as close as I could to the house because I had some heavy stuff to shift, even though the parking bay is a sod to get out of. It's just off a steep track, and just above a bend in the track. I decided to go up the track rather than the road to see something new. But when I reversed out pointing uphill, I misjudged it and got too close to the right. I was worried that the front, right wheel would go over the edge, into the steps down to my friends' house where it would hang in mid-air. So I tried to go up. But like I said, it's very steep, and I just spun the wheels. So I tried to go down again, and I managed to keep the wheel out of the steps, but the back of the car was dangerously close to the rocks at the bend.

I started to think it would take a tow truck to get me out of there. And the nearest one would probably be Santa Cruz, so even once I'd got the number and phoned, it would take over an hour to get to Franceses. It was already later than I'd planned, and I'd be lucky to get home before eleven.

At this point a couple of neighbours turned up. I said I felt really stupid, which broke the ice, and they said they'd got stuck in similar circumstances. One of them phoned a man (I think her husband) to come and help. He got me to sit in the back, so there was some weight over the wheels, touched the accelerator very gently, and managed to get a foot forward before the track got steeper and the wheels spun again.

Actually that was enough. When we went back down again, we were a couple of inches farther from the rocks. He did it again, and we farther still. After the third go, he managed to reverse down past the bend to where the track was a lot less steep.

"Do you want to go up or down?" he asked.

I said, "Down please! I've had enough adventures for today!"

So he reversed down to the bottom of the track. I thanked them profusely and drove home, with only one stop for photos, at La Tosca.

I suppose it's one way of getting to know the neighbours.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It's here!

I've got it! The shop phoned at midday to say my camera had arrived, just before they shut for siesta. So as soon as they opened at 5 pm I was there, clutching my credit card, ready to pay the balance.

I'd had dreams of taking photos on my way back to the car park, but of course it came with a flat battery. As soon as I got home, I put the battery on charge and started reading the manual.

That's when I realised it came without the SD card. And the old camera uses an XD, So I went out again, this time to the next village rather than all the way into town. The only card they had was 4Gb, but hey, I'll be doing a wedding in August, so I'll need a big card then.

By the time I got home, the battery was half-charged, so I put it inthe camera ready to play. The first few shots were bad, because I had it on manual focus, and I hadn't focused. The others are rather boring because the light was going and neither of my fellers was feeling co-operative, but this is the best of the bunch.

I'm really looking forward to lots and lots of practice!

The other news is that my friends - the ones mid-emmigration - made it over the Pyrenees in spite of the snow.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Power Cut

Well, after months of dithering I've finally taken the plunge and ordered my new camera. I'm getting a Pentax K10D, with two lenses, and it should be here by the weekend. I had considered getting it from the UK or eBay, but this works out cheaper. Once it arrives, I have a lot of practising to do - great!

As I walked back to the car, it started to rain and then pour. It's been pouring on and off most of the day.

We have a crack somewhere in our upstairs balcony which lets rain drip into the living room. Of course the water follows the path of least resistance, which is the hole drilled for the light, so it shorts the darn thing out. The house is still under guarantee, and the builders should come back and fix it this summer, but meanwhile my husband stuck a load of woodworker's glue down all the likely-looking cracks and the leak stopped, at lest for a while.

So I was worried that the temporary fix would fail and the lights fuse again. Nope. The glue held fine. But the whole village had a power cut. So my son did his homework by candlelight. We were just starting to get bored when the lights finally came back on.

The friends who bought the house in the north of the island have left London to start the long drive thorough France andSpain to get here. You can read about it on their blog at

Now I really must get on with all the computer work I was supposed to do this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Whether the weather be hot

Whether the weather be hot
Or whether the weather be cold
We'll weather the weather,
whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

We've had cold and warm fronts shasing through for a couple of days, giving us unsettled weather. My son doesn't like it. He says he likes to know what it's going to do.

I do like it. I like the dramatic light before and after the rain, and I like the rainbows we often get with it. This shot is from the balcont outside my living room.

Mind you, I'm glad I've finished the big backlog of laundry left over from visitors and the flu. I don't own a dryer - don't remotely need one for most of the year - and getting the stuff dry was the main bottleneck.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dratted tom cat.

A tom cat left his calling card at our front door. (This is a bit odd because both our queen cats have been speyed and shouldn't have the pheremones to attract toms, but of course the smell the tom left is unmistakable.) I tried chucking a bucket of water at it, which reduced the smell but nowhere near enough. So just when I thought I was catching up after flu and visitors, I'm having to spring clean the entrance hall. It wouldn't be so bad in a normal house, but in our clutter-ridden house, it one of the many places where the males just dump things. Like most cleaning jobs, it took a lot longer to clear the floor than to mop it.

Oh well, hopfully I've fixed it now. And it was high time the doormat had a wash anyway.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Some energy at last

One reason there haven't been many blogs lately is that I've been exhausted. After the recurring flu came the recurring flat batteries. Today at last, I've got a touch of the fidgets. Insteaed of pushing myself to acheive a bit of carefully-selected-something, I actually want to tackle things. It probably won't last long, but it's awfully nice while it does.

And my page of Carnival photos are finally up at
or there's a Spanish version at . They're a lot more interesting than photos of my newly-clean bathroom or the huge pile of laundry I've waded through lately.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Aunties in their Panties

I had the most surreal dream last night. Two of my friends were doing a TV program, "Aunties in their Panties". (You have to say it with a northern accent so it rhymes.) Now these friends are large ladies, more seaside postcard than Barbie doll if you follow me. And there they were, in their new house, the one that needs all the building work. Helen showed off her new compost bin to the camera, dressed only in a leopard-print thong and bra. Then Theresa explained how to tell the sex of baby chickens, wearing just a scarlet thong and bra.

Then they had a tap dancing lesson from the cast of "Happy Feet," - yes, cartoon penguins - still wearing very little.

Finally the guy from Art Attack appeared. He used all sorts of stuff from a garden centre to make a giant picture of the two of them dancing the tango. They had rather more clothes on for that bit, as I recall. Black basques.

It's not like I'd been eating cheese. I haven't a clue what brought this on apart from the fact that we'd been telling Julio about the old kids' programme, "Bananas in Pyjamas". But I'm very glad that they think it's hysterical too.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Well, my friends have a house now, and I have a hangover.

On Friday, my friend Norma came over to look after Julio, who had the tail end of the flu. (Thanks, Norma!) Then I set off to Los Llanos with my friends. Of course we had to park about half a mile away, which wouldn't normally be a problem, but I've had the flu too, and I've got rather flat batteries. We went to the bank first, to take out great wodges of cash to pay the estate agent, and then on to the notary.

I had to translate a six page document in dense legal Spanish. Some of the sentences went on for about 10 lines! Consequently, the English translation wasn't exactly elegant, but it was enough to do the job, and correct some small mistakes (like my friends' postcode in London, and the fact that I was translating into English, not German). Then we all signed. We went in at about 1:15pm and finally got out at 2:30, and my brain felt fried. But both the notary public and the estate agent said I'd done it very well, so I might just pick up some translating work as a result. It wouldn't be a bad little niche - learn all the technical words once and get paid for knowing them maybe twice a year for years.

Of course after we all left the notary, local custom demanded that we all go for a celebratory drink. I only had one beer, but it was on a very empty stomach and its a good thing I wasn't doing the driving.

When we got home, I opened a bottle of Cava and we had a very late lunch followed by a siesta to sleep off the cava. When I surfaced again, I sent off a non-fiction submission. And in the evening we went out again on a pub crawl.

For some reason, whenever I go out with Norma we have a great conversation but no male attention. This is not a problem because I'm married and I intend to stay married. But whenever I go out with Helen and Theresa, I get blokes trying to chat me up. (This isn't a problem either because it does nice things to my ego.) Theresa thinks it's because I'm prettier than her or Helen. Well it's nice of her to say so, but I'm not sure that it's true, and even less sure that it's the reason. It's not that Norma gets male attention when I'm out with her. I think it might be because H & T don't speak much Spanish, so I order most of the drinks. Therefore blokes see me a little apart from my friends and speaking Spanish.

Whatever the reason, I'd just ordered a round when a bloke tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Hello. I'm single you know."

I said, "Hello, I'm married. Sorry."