Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Peace, less-than-perfect peace

Well, I dropped my son off at summer camp yesterday afternoon. Since I only had 800 words of the current translation left, I was looking forward to some "me time" -- sort of. I intended to finally sew the curtains for the living room, so we could watch TV or play video games without having the rigmarole of covering up the windows with whatever's available. (The TV is opposite a big picture window.)

And then disaster struck.

I translated the 800 words and sent them off this morning, and got ready to do the happy dance.

But I got a reply, "What about the privacy policy?"

So I hunted through the old e-mails, and yes, there was one file (out of 79 files) that I'd somehow missed. So I have another 1,900 words to go, which will take pretty much all my time until my son gets back.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sneezing taps

Gosh what a long time since I updated this blog! Since I probably can't catch up, I'll just carry on from now.

Yesterday the council cut off the water all day, to connect new pipes to the existing system. At least they told us well in advance, saying it would last 8 am to 8 pm.

This seemed like a really good day to visit my friends in Franceses. So off we went, and admired their new patio and kitchen floor, and had a good chat and a nice lunch.

We stopped off in Santa Cruz on our way home for some shopping and a snack. My son has to learn the map of Europe, so I bought a jigsaw and I'll stick a map to the back. Hopefully that will be more fun (and therefore more memorable) than just staring at the book.

Now I thought that "8 am - 8 pm" meant "We think we'll finish by about 5pm, but we're saying 8 pm to cover our rear ends." I've done that sort of thing as a software engineer more times than I can count. So when we got home at 6 pm I really hoped we'd have water.

Nope. I was very glad we'd filled buckets the night before and put them beside the toilets. (Thanks for the reminder, Helen). I was also glad we had bottled water to drink and cook dinner with.

It was almost 9 pm when the water finally came on. And then it was dirty (I should have seen that coming!) Besides, the pipes are full of air pockets.

This morning the water's clean, but the air pockets are still there, so the taps are still sneezing. You have to be really careful what you put underneath, or the room gets sprayed.

And boy does the house look like I was out all day yesterday.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Home, Sweet Home

Well, we made it back on Tuesday night, and I still haven't caught my breath yet.

On Sunday we took the boys to see the Garoé, the beautiful old tree which used to be sacred to the people who lived on El Hierro before the Spanish conquest. Last time I saw it in the mist. This time it was hot sun, so we could see the view, including La Palma in the distance, and it was beautiful in a completely different way.

On Monday we had dinner at the restaurant at La Peña, which has great food and a fantastic view.

And on Tuesday we came home. Not via Gomera, as planned, but via Tenerife. The Ferry company changed the schedule to suit the other 400-odd people on the boat. We got home at the same time as originally planned, but we spent more time on the boat and less ashore. No biggie.

Of course I came home to a zillion unanswered emails, a dirty house, and dirty laundry. Plus my son's camp to organise, and my husband's birthday present to buy.

But at least I had a proper break first.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Bajada

I was determined to get up and photograph the procession leaving Isora at 7 am, so I slept really badly. But I did it, and I think the photos will be nice when I've had chance to correct the exposure.

They only have three musical instruments: rather high-pitched flutes, castanets and big, deep drums. When I heard Herreñan music on the telly, I didn't like it at all, because it was far too shrill. I hadn't appreciated that my TV wasn't reproducing the low notes. In real life, the glorious WHUMP! from the big drums balances the flutes perfectly, and you want to dance.

And they do dance. They have people dancing all the way, in shifts. The costumes and dance steps are a little reminiscent of English morris dancers.

It was still dark to begin with, and half light when they danced away up a steep lane out of the village. I was only walking, and I couldn't keep up. Mind you, as Carlos says, they've been practising for months, and most of them probably do physical work anyway. I was on a high when we got back to the house.

We planned to get up on the ridge at 4pm to meet the main procession at 4:45. In the event, we were a bit late leaving. Luckily we found a suitable pista to park quite easily. Unluckily, we still had at least 2 km to go, up a very steep, dusty track, and it was very hot. We weren't going to make it.

And then a family came by in a pickup, and the driver yelled, “Cruz de la Mareta?” So we climbed up into the open back, and had a bouncy ride to exactly where we wanted to go. Of course we thanked him profusely.

It was shady up there in the woods, which felt good after the very hot sun. Better (for us, not the dancers) we found a spot where we were perhaps 5 feet above the path, in the shade, but the road was sunny. Great for photos, if not for the dancers.)

And the procession came through early. We'd never have made it without that lift. As it was, my husband got some good video and I got some nice photos. and then I started to follow the procession, leaving my camera bag behind. Thank goodness my husband was more awake than I was! He grabbed it for me, and we went about 100 yards up the road, where they were handing over the statue of the virgin from one village to another. I got more photos, but my husband couldn't work a video camera, since he was carrying my handbag, camera bag and the water.

Once that was over, it was time to go back down to the car. None of us were looking forward to the long, dusty walk, even if it was all downhill. but my husband went and talked to a guy with another pick up, and yup, we got a lift back to the car.

So it all worked out very well indeed - no thanks to my organising whatsoever.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Juniper trees

We spent most of yesterday chatting and being lazy. Today we went around the west of the island to see the Hemitage of the Virgin of the Kings and the juniper forest. I've wanted to see it for some time, but you have to drive down a dirt track. Since my friend knows nothing about fixing cars, and can't possibly afford to replace hers, she´s understandably reluctant to go off road. Today we went in my car, and found that the track´s in much better condition that I could have reasonably hoped. And at long last, I found the famous tree that´s on a million postcards, T shirts and mugs. This made me very happy.