Monday, May 25, 2009

Still translating

I haven't posted lately, because pretty much all I've been doing is translating, and translating and translating.

It's not just the quantity of translating. It's stuff about church architecture, full of technical stuff like "a balcony supported by six cantilever beams with turned-wood balustrade". I've learnt the Spanish technical term for the central third of a tie beam roof. And then there's the job-titles of the people involved: military governors, church building inspectors and trustees. Not to mention the names of the patron saints. I've known the Spanish for St Peter and St Joseph for years, but St. Blaise and
Saint Maurus Abbot took a bit of research.

Mind you, I did get out to Las Nieves for an hour on Thursday to take some photos.

It'll be nice when I can get back to writing fiction.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Make This Stuff Up

Lately, my life's felt like all work andno play. Even the blogs feel like work. Worse, even the little fiction writing I've done has felt like work. So I've started a just-for-fun fiction blog at It won't earn a thing, if only because there isn't a logical advertising niche to go with it. That doesn't matter. In fact it's almost the point. I write what I like, when I like, without thinking of cash at all. If I feel like being kidnapped by aliens, fine.

The result is predictable. Once I don't have to write, I want to. Once I stop thinking about the quality, it's actually quite good.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Be Prepared!

Mass for the virgin of la Punta, la palma

Last night I went to La Punta in Tijarafe, to get some photos of the fiesta. It's not a big fiesta but I've been going cross-eyed with the current translation, and I really, really needed a break in my routine. Besides, in 18 years of living on La Palma, I'd never been to La Punta.

Since the procession was going to be quite late, I made sure I had the big flash gun (affectionately known as "The Tactical Nuke") with its external battery nicely charged up. It will take standard AA batteries, but it draws a lot of power. That soon drains the batteries, so that it can take 10 seconds to recharge, which means you miss shots.

So off I went, straight after yoga. When I got there, I phoned my husband, and the mobile's battery went flat, mid-conversation. Silly me, I should have charged it. Not so hot for an ex-girl guide. I'm supposed to Be Prepared, you know?

La Punta's a pretty little place. I found the church, no bother. The mass was still going on, and the crowd spilling out onto the patio. This meant I had plenty of time to assemble camera, Tactical Nuke, and softener attachment. I tested it out on a nearby tree - all fine and dandy.

Then I turned the flash off while I took a couple photos of the mass, because that flash is very intrusive. These photos were also fine and dandy.

Then the procession started, and I took two photos with the flash.

And the camera battery died.

Well the Nuke will run off AA batteries in a pinch, but the camera won't. So I found a handy wall to stand the camera bag on, and I hunted inside it for the spare battery. And hunted. And hunted. And swore.

My mobile has a camera, but that had a flat battery too, remember?

But all was not lost. By sheer dumb luck, I still had my son's compact camera in my handbag. Just 6 Mpixels instead of 10, far less control of the tricky lighting, and an annoying lag between pressing the shutter and taking the photo, but enormously better than nothing.

I got it out, took two photos, and its batteries died too.

At which point I thanked my lucky stars that I had spare batteries in the camera bag. By then, someone was making speech, so I didn't even miss anything more while I changed the batteries over.

Then they had fireworks, and I sighed for the big camera, but I got something.

And then I got hungry, and the smell of fried pork was delicious. And I realised that I had about 27 cents on me.

Of course a hamlet that size didn't have a money machine. I had to go into Tijarafe village, ten minutes drive each way. Still, it made the sandwich all the tastier when I finally got it.

By then it was 11pm, and I had an hour's drive to get home. So I missed most of the fiesta, because they were barely warming up. But yes, it broke the routine rather nicely.

OK, for next time I will need: spare charged camera battery, flash and charged flash battery, AA batteries, spare SD card, money, charged up mobile.

And brain.

Friday, May 08, 2009


This week my friends in Franceses had a plague of flies. Today I've got a plague of spam. Over 1,500 message trying to sell me Tamiflu.

Presumably other people are getting this. Look, if you're thinking of buying from these people, allow me to point out that they've almost certainly paid for your email address with a stolen credit card and invaded lots and lots of computers with viruses to do the actual mass mailing. Do you really think they'll give you what you pay for? Or do you think they'll sell your credit card details to the highest bidder?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Fiesta de la Cruz

I love Fiesta de la Cruz, when they decorate the roadside crosses. Even though I really had no time for anything except translating and housework, I went out on Sunday night to see at least a few crosses, and this morning I took my son to Santa Cruz to see more. To my delight, there were lots of mayos again.

More photos and details on the blog about La Palma.