Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On El Hierro

Well, we're on holiday in El Hierro again.

The last week was mad. I enjoyed the fiesta in Puerto Naos. I cooked a giant biscuit as a thankyou for my son's teacher, and we collected his marks. He's passed everything except Geography and History (one subject) so I have to spend an hour most days teaching him. (To be fair to him, most kids seemed to have failed it, so the problem is clearly not just him.)

And then I had to register him for high school next year. I was amazed, because he's already in that school. But I still had to get 4 photos of him, make a bank transfer, fill in four separate forms, and include photocopies of his health card, his ID card, my ID card and his father's ID card. How likelyis it that he's changed parents since last year?

The good bit is that I got him a place reserved for a summer camp at the end of July, and they´ll let me sort out the paperwork after this holiday.

And then I had to pack. And repot several plants which needed it (urgent because otherwise they bneed water every day, and clearly I´m not there to do it). And catch up a bit with the laundry. And my sister-in-law's mother died, so I had to make time for her - far more important than making sure we had toothbrushes on holiday. And I got an attack of flat batteries. So I didn´t get the translation finished after all.

The journey went quite smoothly though. We enjoyed our 4-hour stop-over in Gomera. But the ferry from Gomera to El Hierro was absolutely packed, and it was nice to arrive.

It was great to see my friend here. And one way and another, I'm looking forward to chilling out for a bit.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Procession

I went back to El Paso to see the procession of the Sacred Heart. It meant going right past the site of Saturday's accident, but it had to be done sooner or later. And I got a lot of nice photos, some of which are on the blog about La Palma

And my son's finished school for the summer. We don't get his report until Thursday - fingers crossed.

At 8 pm last night the silly kid remembered he had homework which had to be done if he was going to pass Spanish language, and it turned out to be a lot of it. Well, there were no more classes, and it didn't matter if he was sleepy today. So we let him stay up working until 11 pm. By that time, he'd pretty much slowed to a stop, so he went to bed. And I got up at 5:30 am (ow!) and made him a milky coffee, and called him at 6 am. To my astonishment, he woke up promptly, got up, and got to work. He just had time to finish and have breakfast before school.

And he left his homework behind. After all that!

So I went chasing after him in the car. Yup, I caught up with him, just before the school gates.

Apparently the teacher said it was very messy, not done quite right, and late, but she'd give him 50% which he thinks is enough to pass the subject.


And tonight I'm off to Puerto Naos to photograph another fiesta. This time it's bonfires and a witches dance for St John's night.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A traffic accident

Last night was the concert for Ruido issue 10. I had a siesta, and woke up a bit late, so I was late leaving for El Paso. That meant I went up the twisty road as fast as I felt was safe.

And a dark Berlingo passed me doing about 20 km/h more than me. "Idiot!" I thought.

Almost immediately after that, the two cars in front of me braked hard and switched on their emergency lights. We all pulled over.

Just the other side of the tight, left-hand bend, the same Berlingo had crashed into the cutting wall on the right. Obviously it had tried to take the corner too fast.

So I dumped the contents of my handbag onto the passenger seat, and grabbed my phone. But when I looked up, someone from the car in front was already talking into his mobile, giving directions. So I grabbed the red triangle out of the boot and started off down the road with it. It was certainly needed, because everybody had to brake quite hard when they saw it.

Then I ran back to the Berlingo. The driver was about 19, unhurt and cool as a cucumber. His passenger - on the side that had slammed into the cutting wall - was unconcious. I went to check her airway, breathing and pulse (as I learned from first aid courses at the observatory) but she already had a professional nurse with her, thank goodness.

The injured girl half woke up, and we started breathing again. Then she complained that she couldn't move her toes. Oh shit!

But by the time the ambulance had arrived, she'd fallen unconcious again. Double shit! As far as I remember, that usually means bleeding inside the skull.

And the driver still looked really relaxed about it all. Far more relaxed than the bystanders. Maybe it hadn't sunk in, I don't know.

The police arrived and filmed the accident scene. The ambulance took the poor girl away. The police moved the van and the traffic started moving again. I had to wait until almost last to collect my triangle. Well, it gave me time to calm down. Sort of.

So I fanally arrived at the Ruido fiesta very late, to find that the fiesta was late, too. I felt like downing several large G&Ts, but that wasn't an option, since I had to drive home in a couple of hours. I settled for one beer.

I think what did me the most good was taking photos. El Paso's fiesta for Our Lady of Fatima is similar to the Corpus Christi celebrations in Mazo and San Jose, and they were setting up the archways and carpets, ready for tomorrow's procession.

I hope I can find out what happened the the girl.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Too many fiestas

Ouf! Three fiestas in four days. Corpus Christi in Mazo (on Thursday) and San Jose (today) and the big livestock fair and fiesta in San Antonio del Monte yesterday. I managed to take my camera to all of them, and to fit in translation, housework and taking a sick cat to the vet, too. Yesterday, I even came home via Tijarafe and got a photo of the baroque altarpiece there. The guidebook was right. It's amazing. It's also huge.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Wanna be a Writer?

I've just finished enjoying "Wannabe a Writer?" by Jane Wenham-Jones.

Most books on writing give the same (good) advice. Like go very easy on the adverbs; pick a better verb in the first place. And, show, don't tell. In other words, don't say, "John was cruel." Say, "As John opened the door, he found a half-starved kitten meowing outside. He kicked it."

This book is different. It give no advice on the craft of writing. It's all about the writing life. It has sections on Writer's Block, Writer's Can't Be Arsed (rather timely, to be honest), the serious medical condition of Writer's Bottom, and Bloody Computers. (That bit goes, "Take back-ups. Definitely take back-ups. You really need back-ups. Watch what you're doing with that mug of tea and your keyboard. Don't forget the backups.")

It also advises keeping several "Get Well Soon" cards inthe living room. That way, any unexpected visitors will assume that you've been too ill to keep the place clean and tidy. Genius!