Monday, June 30, 2008

Germany 0 - Spain 1

I went to see the European Championship Final with my friends in Franceses, who have a big projection TV and satellite feed.

So you have to picture three large English ladies and one skinny boy rising off the sofa, punching the air and screaming "YES!" when Fernando Torres scored. And whent he final whistle went, we were all pogo-ing up and down, singing, "Olé, olé-olé-olé!"

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Still busy

I feel I'm crawling out from under an avalanche of paperwork.

I've sent off my son's passport application and collected his last Primary school report - and picked up a the official application for him to start High School. Now for the last seventeen years I've had plenty of practice speaking (mostly informal) Spanish, but very little practice writing it. And these forms are formal. My son even has to fill in a legal declaration that he hasn't got a High School place elsewhere. I've got most of the associated bits together, like photos, and proof of bank transfers for insurance and the parents' association, and the form for free textbooks. We've got a doctor's appointment to fill in the form to say he's healthy enough to go to school. I could see the sense in that in the days when TB was rife, but it seems a bit OTT these days. But we have to get one, so we'll go waste the doctor's time on Monday.

We handed in our tax return. I also went along and translated for a friend signing off self-employed teaching work over the summer. And we went to hand the next issue of Ruido at the printers. Only the printer's off sick, so I have to go back on Monday. And I did a pile of updates to the Ruido website.

I've given last year's teacher a copy of all the photos and videos my son took on the school trip.

And in the middle of all that, I had a guiding job. Not take-two-groups-round-a-telescope, but stay-with-the-group-from-11am-to-4pm. The Science Museum in Las Palmas held a competition, and the prize was this trip to the Roque. So I had to stay with the group all day but only do the actual guiding around the Herschel and maybe the MAGIC.

First we went around the MAGIC telescope, then the Herschel. Half way around the Herschel, we were joined by the Vice-Consul for tourism in the Canaries, and her driver. Then we went up to the Roque itself to admire the view (photos on the blog about La Palma).

We had a rather nice lunch. Coffee was rather spoiled by a skinny American woman who kept muttering "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" like she owned the place, and generally acting like we were illegal immigrants because we were talking Spanish. In Spain. I ignored her, rather than make a scene, but I now wish I'd asked her when she bought the observatory, because I hadn't even heard it was up for sale. And then she started telling her companions that she really hoped Spain would lose the football. (They won. Yippee!) Altogether it was the worst display of bad manners that I've seen for about a year.

Then we forgot the silly woman and went up to the Swedish Solar Tower. To my alarm, the guide there didn't speak Spanish, so I had to translate, but it went OK. And we finished up with GranTeCan, which was spectacular as always.

All great fun, and presumably lucratuive, but very tiring.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I've been a Good Girl

Well I feel I've been rather productive today.

  • Two loads of laundry

  • Handwashing

  • Scrubbed the kitchen

  • An hour's ironing

  • Sorted through my son's T shirts and removed the ones that are too small

  • One page of translation

  • A ton of email

  • Found a couple of new markets

  • Finished my son's passport application

  • Got a present ready for my son's teacher

  • Nagged my son into a thank you note for his teacher. (He's grateful all right, but writing letters or even notes looms large when you're 11.

  • And this blog post

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Lover's Leap

I got up at 6 am to photograph the dawn behind this statue of a goatherd, and then the sun came up behind a thick bank of clouds. So this was the best photo I got.

There's a local legend associated with it, which you can read on my blog about La Palma if you're interested.

My story "Agent Hammer: Licensed to Kibble" went down really well at the critters critique group. In fact I got an amazing 28 critiques, all mildly or very positive, and I've just finished writing 28 thank you emails.

And the translation is still chugging along.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Well, we haven't got a primary school kid in the house any more. Our son has graduated.

At the end of the school year here, each school has a concert, with the acts mostly being playbacks, performed by the kids. I knew my son had been practising playing the air guitar for his number. But I was a bit taken aback when he came home and announced, "I need to make a pretend guitar for this afternoon."


Fortunately we had a large cardboard box I could sacrifice. With more card on top, it came out rather well. And biased though I am, I thought the concert went well too.

And then they had the graduation ceremony for the kids leaving. Boy was I proud.

So in September, out son's off to High School. And it seems like only yesterday that he started infant school, aged three.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

At Last!

We moved into this house almost five and a half years ago. And I've finally got all the banisters varnished.

To be fair to myself, I got the ones at ground level done years ago, but since then there's always been something more urgent to do first. And of course banisters are almost entirely awkward little corners, so it wasn't a small job. In fact I started ten days ago, and I've spent most of my mornings on it ever since.

Which makes me all the more pleased to have it finished.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A weapon of Mass Irrigation

Today was the annual water fight at my son's school. In previous years he forgot to tell me in advance, and I'd get a sad phone call at 11 am. "Mum! PLEASE bring my water gun and swimming trunks!" This year he remembered about it the day before. Which was a very good thing, because his big water pistol was broken.

He's had this water pistol for years, and it's beginning to look that way. But it fires a long way. Even more importantly, it includes a back pack which holds about two litres of water. We call it the weapon of mass irrigation.

And over the summer, the tube connecting the ammunition to the barrel finally split. So we went to the local iron-mongers - who were out of narrow plastic tubing. But the second iron-mongers we tried had it. So this morning, off he went armed to the teeth, and had a great time.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Fat Point

On Saturday we went to see my friend in Puntagorda, which means "Fat Bridge". My husband did a bit of maintenance on her car, and we chatted, and then while they were out checking the car actually worked, I took this photo of some bricks piled up in the garden,and one of old roof tiles, ditto. They came back and we had a nice lunch on the patio and chatted. And we went to the farmers' market at the other end of the village (details on the blog about La Palma) . I bought quite a lot of veg because it looked so fresh. Then we came home and watched the football for a bit - Spain vs Sweden in the Euro Cup. (Spain won, 2-1).

There wasn't a lot of the day left by the time we got home, but we felt we'd had a good day out for once.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Unlucky for Some

It's Friday 13th.

Did you know that in Spain, nobody worries about Friday 13th, just Tuesday 13th?

Anyway, my son is very lucky today. It's St. Anthony's Day, and so the village of San Antonio has it's local fiesta. And that's where my son's school is, so they wanted to shut for the day.

Initially, they were told that no, they couldn't, because they'd already used up their elective days. Then at noon yesterday, the word went around that, yes they could.

So he's had one school day this week.

I wish I had a day off housework!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yesterday my son had a great time playing with his new PS game until lunchtime. Then, all by himself, he announced, "I ought to study for an exam."

So we started looking for his school bag. And we looked, and we searched, and we searched and searched, and searched.

And after about nine hours, we admitted to ourselves that we couldn't find it anywhere.

We were all worried sick. Not so much for the cost of the books, as for the looming exams. The best we could think of was to go to the school and grovel, in the hope that they'd loan him some of the books at least.

So this morning, off we went.

And the bag was there, on the back of our son's chair!

To be fair to our son, the day he left it at school, they had a party for Canary Day ofter recess, and his mind was pretty full of the upcoming trip.

But we could have lived without that, we really could.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

He's Back!

Our son is home, safe and sound. And the only thing he lost in 12 days and 4 moves was one cap. More specifically, he didn't lose the camera or his ID card.

In the meantime, we got two coats of varnish on the banisters. They were slower going than I expected, because they're all finicky little corners, but they're looking good.

I did a couple opf critiques for the big writing group, and I got a little bit further on with the novel. And I had a morning's guiding work, showing kids around the INT - kids my son's age, on their own end-of-primary-school trip. And of course I gave my son's bedroom a good clean.

And finally it was time to go and meet the ferry. We saw it in the distance and drove down to the port. Only when the ferry got in, it was the Armas ferry, from the other end of Tenerife. So we waited around with all the other parents until the 10pm ferry arrived at 11pm.

Boy was it good to see him!

Even better, because the boat was so late, he doesn't have to go to school this morning. So he can enjoy his new Playstation Game (that he spent his holiday money on) and we can enjoy him.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Achievements at last

Well after the fun and the domestic trivia, I finally got down to some of the stuff I'd planned for my son's trip.

I read through the novel so far, made notes, and found it better than expected. I just need to start fixing the remaining gaps and inconsistencies, a bit every day. It feels good to be back at it again.

I sanded down the banisters, and I hope to get the first coat of varnish on tomorrow.

I even caught up a bit on overdue critiques for friends.

My goodness I'd missed the buzz of actually achieving things.

I even had time for a little fun too. I went with my husband to hear a Cuban-music group called Chango play at a bar one lunchtime. They were great.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Domestic Boredom

Well half my son's trip is over, and I've done almost nothing of what I planned. Of course I've spent a lot of time having fun, which I don't regret.

I got two submissions off. Gotta keep 'em out there, or they won't sell.

I've also spent a lot of time in the last two days cooking. You see I left the freezer open just a crack, and most of the food half-defrosted. Not enough to be a complete disaster, but enough that I feel I have to cook it all within a few days. Plus defrost the freezer, of course, because an inch of frost on the cooling pipes makes it horribly inefficient. Ah well, it'll save cooking later.

I've also done a ton of updates for the Ruido website.

And I've vacuumed the car.

I hope that wasn't as boring to read as it was to do.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Heading North

Well my trip only half worked. On the way to Puntagorda I stopped off at the Sanctuary of Anguish to take some photos. they have little wax votive offerings on either side of the altar - read more at

I stopped again at El Time for more photos. They'll be appearing on the La Palma blog soon.

I saw my friend, which was great, and got some photos of a butterfly. That'll be on the other blog, as soon as I can't think what else to put! But at that point I noticed that my camera battery was running low. And no, I hadn't brought either the spare or the charger. I was none too pleased with myself, but it was too far to go home and fetch the spare.

And then we went down to a little cove on the coast, where I had a swim. I didn't take the camera, partly to save the battery, and partly to save weight, because it was a long walk back up to the car. It was a lovely spot, and I have to go back with my camera another day.

Eventually I got to Franceses, for yet more socialising, along with yummy lemon chicken. But I kept thinking of all the work waiting for me at home, so I didn't sleep well.

Come the morning, the camera battery held out, but there was thick cloud on the horizon, and the sunrise was a total washout. Come tot hink of it, that was probably less frustrating than a wonderful sunrise and no battery. At least I know where to go back to another day. So I settled for breakfast and a good chat.

And then it was home again, via the statue of the Lover's Leap at San Bartolome. Yet another thing for the La Palma blog another day, but yet another place to go back to when the light's better. Fortunately it's only about half an hour's drive away.

And now it's my wedding anniversary, and time to go out for dinner.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Social Whirl continues

I'm not used to all this fun. On Sunday we went out to lunch with Carlos's friend Oswaldo, and we got back at 11pm. Since I wasn't driving, I made the most of my lack of responsibilities.

I didn't feel too good on Monday morning. I did manage a bit of housework, and then it was time to see yet another friend, Steiner, for coffee, to talk about a project he had in mind. Yes, I'd be interested in doing the photography.

Then I'd promised to help N get the last few things out of her house, so we did. But her car was acting up again. In the end it took a while to fix, so she stayed the night. It was fun having her around to talk to, when I'd expected to see a lot less of her.

She's gone home now. I have to deliver a birthday present, and then I'll be heading off to the north of the island. I plan to have lunch with a friend in Puntagorda, and then stay the night with Helen and Theresa in the hopes of catching the beautiful early-morning light in Garafia.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Baptising the Bodega

My brother-in-law's new bodega is finally ready. Since it was another brother-in-law's birthday, and the day after Canary Day, it was a great time to baptise the place. We stuffed ourselves with salted fish and sweet potatoes. I learned how to make kneaded gofio, which I still think is pretty uninspiring food. Then there were two cakes and some biscuits. And of course plenty of beer and wine.

And then we started singing. They're a musical family, and I enjoy these occasions much more, now that I know the words to some of the songs, and we sang a couple in English too.

All in all it was much more fun than doing hte laundry.