Sunday, August 02, 2009


I finished the dratted translation on Friday lunchtime, and went to pick up my son. He'd had a good time, although he was rather sunburned and keen to get home.

I scarcely had time to get the washing machine on before I heard that my niece was over from Tenerife, and she'd brought my great nephew with her. So tired or not, I went to the family party, where I found that little Joel was tireder than me, but still adorable.

And on Saturday, I woke to the news that La Palma was on fire. We had the wind off the Sahara, meaning the weather was hot, dry and windy, and some absolute genius at a village fiesta set of fireworks anyway. The fire started at 11 pm at Tigalate, on the boarder between Fuencaliente and Mazo. In the early hours, about 4,000 people had to be evacuated. It's not clear how many homes have burned down. I've heard both "a dozen" and "dozens".

So I spent most of Saturday morning glued to the local news, and never got the shopping done. The weather continued really hot. Up on the ridge where the fire was worst, it was 40ºC (that's 104ºF) with gusts of wind up to 70 km/h (43 mph) coming from every which way. It was so bad that they had to pull the ground fire fighters back and just rely on the planes.

I wrote a post on the La Palma blog about it.

Then my friend arrived from El Hierro on Saturday lunchtime. We had lunch and chatted and had a siesta and chatted and watched more news, so I updated the blog, and chatted until bed time. Then I saw a friend had photos of the fire, so I updated the blog again. I might not have bothered if I'd only been getting the usual traffic, but I got five times as much as usual.

In the morning it was a bit cooler, thank goodness, and we were glued to the news again, until I updated the blog. After my friend left, I went to see how close I could get to the fire. Yup, I took these photos myself. I put them on the blog and emailed a couple to the BBC. Then they phoned me up asking for details. I might be on the news in the UK tonight. I also got an email from channel four, saying they'd found the blog and could they interview me by phone for the news? Unfortunately the email was quite old when I got it, so I think I missed my chance there. Mind you, I think they'd have preferred someone whose house was in danger, and I felt quite safe.

And now it's much cooler, and the sky's cloudy with no sign of the huge plume of smoke, and I'm begining to hope they've got it all under control, at last.

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