Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Still Hot

The weather was supposed to have got back to normal by now, but it's still too hot for my taste. All right – it's less hot. In fact it's just about perfect for lazing on the beach.

Me? I've been rushing around again.

I'm still taking little Sam to and from nursery. Actually this is a small job, and a rather nice one. I'd forgotten how nice it is to have one of your fingers clasped by a whole, tiny hand.

So what else did I do this morning? Well, I went to look at the patio furniture in a shop that's having a closing down sale. I saw something I liked, but it's not cheap, so I didn't want to buy it without consulting my husband. I popped into the bank. I did two loads of laundry and one load of the dishwasher. I bought beer at a wholesalers, and I took some more photos of the old manor house. It doesn't look any better by full daylight. And I updated the Ruido web-page.

Surprise, surprise, the wasn't a whole lot of morning left after that lot.

When we took Sam home after nursery, it was the hottest part of the day. Lou had a marvellous bit of lateral thinking – who says the water can only be outside the dinghy? And it wasn't long before Julio got in with Sam.

One thing led to another, and we wound up staying for lunch.

Which means that most of the rest of the afternoon will be taken up with homework. But it was worth it to have some fun.

Monday, April 28, 2008

San Jose Manor House, R.I.P.

San Jose has a ruined manor house, dating from something like the C16th. I've always dreamed of one day being filthy rich enough to buy it and restore it, because it must have been gorgeous once. It had carved balconies and wooden ceilings.

For some time it's been empty and far too dilapidated to live in. I heard that the owners couldn't get planning permission to fix it, so it slowly decayed while they argued with the bureaucrats. I found that rather sad.

And this evening it caught fire. The roof beams were tea - resin-filled heartwood from the Canary Pine. It doesn't catch fire easily, but once it gets going, there's no stopping it. It also burns with a distinctive smell, clearly noticable even from my house at the other end of the village.

So I imagine that's pretty much the end of that. I can't see anyone restoring it now. So that's a bit more of the village's heritage gone.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hot Stuff

We have the calmina - the wind off the Sahara again. This used to only happen a couple of times a summer, but for the last five years or so it's been happening more frequently, and over more of the year. We even had calima in January this year. To be honest, that was rather nice for everyone except the farmers. We don't often swim in the sea in the middle of winter. (Tourists do: They've just come from sub-zero temperatures after all.)

Now we've got calima again, and it's too hot for comfort. I react badly to heat, and yesterday afternoon I felt ill. Oddly enough, I couldn't face the ironing, especially since the ironing board is in a west-facing room, which was getting full sun. I did some first thing this morning, before it got really hot. That'll have to last us until it cools off, tomorrow or Tuesday.

And apropos of absolutely nothing, here's a YouTube video my husband found this morning.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Living in Ad Land

I cooked stir-fried beef for lunch. After the first couple of mouthfuls, my husband started making "yum-yum" noises and pointing at his plate. (He's far too well brought up to talk with his mouth full.)

I had my own mouth full, so I put my hand over my heart and bowed as best I could sitting down, then held my cheek out to be kissed.

He obliged.

Then our son started making "yum-yum" noises and giving me a thumbs up. So I gave him a bow too, swallowed, and said "Thank you," to them both.

So for about two minutes we were just like the families you see in adverts, where everybody is sweet to everybody else all the time.

It was great while it lasted. (Although I will say, we're habitually much nicer to each other than some families I know.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Flowers and hospitals

This morning Lou had a hospital appointment at 8:30 pm. Great timing! This is just when both our sons are supposed to start school. Fortunately little Sam was well enough to go for a while, so I left home with my own son early, then we picked up Lou and Sam, dropped Sam off at nursery, dropped Julio off at school, and got tot he hospital only a couple of minutes late.

Now the hospitals here have this wonderful system of giving twenty-something people an appointment to see the same doctor at the same time. So I was mentally prepared for a very long wait. Actually it wasn't too long - we were out of there for 9:30, which gave us time for a sandwich in a bar. The really bad news is that poor Lou is going to be stuck in plaster for at least another three weeks.

The spring flowers here are lovely. I took this photo on some waste ground near the bar.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I scream, you scream...

A couple of weeks ago, my poor friend Lou has torn the ligaments in her foot, and has to wear a plaster. That would be bad enough on its own, but her son is just two. And to really put the tin lid on it, her partner's run out of holiday now, and he's currently working in Barlovento. That's normally an hour's drive away, but with the current roadworks, he can't get home much before 8 pm. I promised to take little Same to and from nursery, starting today. Only he chose today to run a fever, so he couldn't go.

Meanwhile, Julio's school's on strike (the teachers haven't had a pay rise for three years). So we decided this was an awfully good day to visit Lou and Sam.

In the end we went to the local homemade ice-cream shop. How to you keep track of a two-year-old beside a busy road? You eat the ice-cream in the car. Which was rather a squash, but great fun.

Then we took Sam to the kiddies park in San Pedro, to run off some energy. Julio did a great job of looking after Sam while I chatted to Lou.

It worked. As soon as we took them home, Sam fell asleep.

So that was our good deed for the day.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Credit cards and Baskets

Idiot that I am, I've gone and lost my debit card. I spent yesterday evening and half the morning hunting everywhere, which at least left the living room and home office considerably tidier. So I went into the bank and cancelled it. They checked, and it hasn't been used by anyone else, thank goodness. So I'm waiting for a new one.

Of course I half expect the old one to turn up any moment now.

My son's school are on strike again tomorrow. I had hoped to go and visit the archaelogical site at La Zara, but the road's closed, and I have to get back by 1:30 pm to help a friend. With a bit of luck we'll go somewhere or other. I've seen enough of this computer screen lately. At least I've made some progress on the current translation.

Do you think the average tourist really cares what they use to make baskets in Barlovento?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Day's Serfing

No that isn't a spelling mistake. It was Helen's birthday on Wednesday, and she said she didn't really want anything you could buy in a shop. What she really wanted was some help with getting the house and garden sorted. So the whole family spent yesterday being serfs. We shifted the piles of vine prunings tot eh bonfire, where Theresa burned them. We dug out the old rubbish heap and dumped it further from the house, so that the place could be used as a compost heap. The old pigsty became a wood-store. I weeded the flowerbed and Carlos moved a small pile of cement blocks to where Helen's going to build a wall.

I wish I'd taken some "before" photos, but here's the flowerbed afterwards. You'll just have to take my word for it that the flowers were barely visible beneath the weeds.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Funny how fast it changes. I found the missing files, and yesterday I had a fit of efficiency: I ordered the prints and posted them along with the baby hat, a magnet for my sister-in-law, a birthday card for the kid I sponsor in Sierra Leone, and a letter. Phew!

And after I came home I critiqued a friend's story and finished the first draft of my own.

I'm doing rather well today, too. I worked at the translation for a while and sent off a submission. And then, by golly, I set to and cleaned around the desk I work at. The job's only half done, by you can certainly see which bits I did, which makes for a nicer working environment.

If I keep this up, I might actually wind up with a writing career.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I'm feeling horribly overloaded again.

Since I spent the weekend having fun (gasp!) I'm behind with the housework. The Spanish have a very eloquent expression; "The house is falling on top of me". That's how I feel.

I'm even more behind with the current translation.

And I have a very nice problem in that someone's ordered some prints from my website, and some of the digital files aren't where I thought. So I'm having to spend lots of scare, precious time hunting for them.

On the other hand, at least I finally finished the hat I've been knitting for a friend's new grandson. And the current short story is making progress, even though it's extremely slow progress.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Walk in the Woods

On Saturday I went for a walk in the woods at Cubo de la Galga. It's one of the most famous walks on the island, but it's the first time I've been.

Well it was lovely. The path starts out as tarmac, one car wide, and turns to a dirt track the smae width, butt here was no chance of getting lost. It was all uphill, but we were all as unfit as each other, so nobody complained about the slow pace, or my frequent photo stops. I killed three birds with one stone: I gave my brain a break form all the computer work lately, I got a little fitter, and I got some material for the other blog (although I won't post until I've got the photos I took on Helen's camera.)

I'd have liked to go a little farther, but we ran out of time and I had to get back to pick up my son.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

All this fun!

Lately it's felt like all work and no play. I've been trying to catch up with a long translation job, keep up with the blogs, and get issue 4 of Ruido up on the website before last night's launch party. The trouble was, all three things were computer jobs, so I've sat in this chair far too much, and for the first time in my life I've had aching shoulders. Finishing the ironing pile and tidying up the guest room just enough didn't help.

It was really nice to finish up with Ruido in time to go out for a walk to Cancajos yesterday. We were just in time to catch the end of the classical concert. It was rather windy, so they'd moved from the promenade ampitheatre to just outside the Tourist Office. The light was lovely, so we went for a short walk along the sea-front.

We didn't get far before my son needed the loo, so we headed back to the shopping centre. Now our favourite cake shop had shut down some months ago, but we could see people up there, so we had to investigate. It's open again with new owners. Well of course we wanted to test, and I talked the others into having cream cake for dinner, just this once. Yup, the new people also make a great cream cake. They even have a lovely baby girl to coo at.

Then there was just time to go home, change, and go out to the Ruido fiesta. The first group - Susy Rodríguez and Pedro were good. The second group, No Rula, were great.
Concierto de No Rula

I took photos and video for the Ruido website, and you can see the best here. after the concert we ate kebabs and took a taxi home.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Warp Speed Nine

Hurray, the gales have stopped. In fact there was hardly any wind at all today. As soon as I woke up I started looking forward to a peaceful day.


It got off to a nice enough start. I met an old friend, Jo, in town. She used to work at the observatory, but I hadn't seen her since she left, over five years ago. So we chatted, and drank coffee, and chatted some more. Then she came back to my house, which she hadn't seen before. We were just looking through her wedding photos on the computer when the phone rang.

Another friend, Lou, had fallen and hurt her foot badly. Her partner's working a long way from home, and could I possible run the 15-month-old to and from nursery?

Easy-peasy, since it fits in very nicely with my son's school run. But poor Lou!

While I was still talking to Lou, my mobile rang. My son needed his paperwork to book his end-of-school-year trip. The school wanted them today to make the bookings. I hadn't realised that today was the deadline, and I knew I didn't have a copy of Julio's Social Security card (for health cover) because he didn't have one. But I reasoned that they'd need that for the trip, but not the booking. So I got the rest of the paperwork together and dropped it off at the school on the way to dropping Jo back in town. Then it was off to the Health Centre to sort out the missing Social Security card. The reason he'd never been issued with one is that they still had him down as a foreign national, even though I sorted out his Spanish nationality years ago. But to my delight, I got it all sorted out in under half an hour.

Which gave me time to pop around to Lou's with chocolate biscuits and sympathy before collecting my son at 1:30.

This afternoon I did some translating and tackled the ironing pile (because it sits on the guest bed, and I have friends staying tomorrow). Then we went to the dentist's, because my son's braces had come loose. We also tried to go to a TV recording, because my son had been invited to be part of the audience. But the directions were so poor that we went around in circles until we gave up, by which time I had a stinking headache.

I want a holiday.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


It's windy today, even more than yesterday. In fact my son's school is going to be shut tomorrow, due to the weather alert. My usual weather site says the wind's gusting up to 57 km/h, which would be 7 on the Beaufort scale. I'd say those gusts are pretty constant, because every time I go outside, I feel I have to be careful.

And theoretically, tomorrow should be worse. Mind you, the last two occasions when the school's been closed for a weather alert, they've done so on the day after the worst of the weather. But my son is rather happy, of course. And I'm rather relieved too. You see, we have to go to the dentist this afternoon, and it can be hard to fit in that and homework.

Ruido 5 will go on sale on Friday, so this morning, Norma came around, and we spent hours putting the contents of Ruido 4 on the website. All that , and we only got about half way! But I'm so grateful for the front end provided by helresa.com. If I had to code the HTML like I did for the first website, I couldn't do more than about 10% of it.

And the fiction is fun again. On The Premises have a fun mini-competition: "Describe a single moment in time just after something has happened so clearly that the reader can understand what happened without having 'seen' it happen. Think of a photograph, as opposed to a movie. " So I've got two first drafts for this, although I can only enter one of them. And I'm still having fun with my hamster secret agent.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Fun at last

Lately it seems to have been all work and no play (except for writing just a little about my hamster secret agent every day). I'm behind with everything, and more stuff to do arrives faster than I deal with the old lot.

So I felt it was urgent to recharge my batteries. I talked Helen and Theresa into visiting both flea markets today: the monthly one in Santa Cruz, and the weekly one at Argual, on the outskirts of Los Llanos.

I haven't been to the one at Argual for at least ten years, and I really enjoyed it. But I'm not going to give a long description here, because I'll do that in the other blog tomorrow.

And then we went off to Puerto Tazacorte for lunch. And then we came home. The late afternoon light was beautiful when we arrived, but it soon started raining.

At least I don't have to water the garden now. And I've got material for at least four blog entries about La Palma.

Friday, April 04, 2008

E-Bay Pain

On March 18th, my son wanted to buy a PS2 game on E-Bay. Of course that meant he had to use my account to do so. It meant running the anti-spyware scans, which was slow going, because at the time we were still recovering from the computer virus, but eventually we bought it and paid for it.

The same evening I got an email saying the payment had been received and they'd put the game in the post in the next couple of days.

The post can be rather slow from the mainland, but yesterday I realised that it darn well should have arrived by now.

So I emailed the seller. The email bounced because his inbox is full. Very profesional - NOT!

So I sent him a message via E-Bay. I hate doing that because it always takes me ages to find out how to do it. You'd think they'd have a link on the page that shows the things you've bought, but no.

Today I got a message from PayPal saying he'd refunded my money. This hasn't shown up in my account. Then I got an email from the seller saying, in effect, "So are you going to pay me then?"

This annoyed me. I went through all the rigmarole of sending him another message via E-Bay, and also sent a longer email, with the previous messages attached.

The email bounced again.

I'm spitting tacks.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Ruido 5

Last night Helen took all her hard work on the layout of Issue 5 of Ruido to the printers, and I went along to translate.

Since this was Helen's first ever magazine layout, she was pretty nervous. She was more than half expecting that she'd forgotten something and would have to make lots of changes.

But the printer's reaction was, "Oh! Oh that's good. Fine. I'll get the proofs done by tomorrow."

I knew she could do it!

And I finally finished reviewing "Interspex", sent off two submissions, and wrote a bit more about the hamster secret agent. Fun!