Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Solar-powered Water Heater

Some time ago we decided to go for it and get a solar-powered water heater. The financial planning wasn't much more than a wet finger in the air, but we think it'll pay for itself in about 5 years, and it should last for 10.

So we ordered it. Or at least we thought we ordered it, but there was some sort of mix-up, and the firm that sells it were waiting for our go-ahead, while we were waiting for them to call and say it had arrived. And once that was sorted, we had to wait for delivery, of course. And when it did finally arrive, both the firm's cranes had mechanical problems. And then we had a lot on our plate and couldn't take delivery for a while. We started to feel jinxed. And then the crane driver had to have emergency compassionate leave, which restored our sense of proportion in a hurry.

And yesterday we finally took delivery.

Of course now it's sat up on the roof until we can get it connected. We are now taking bets as to how long that will take.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The not-so-elite X box

Remember the Xbox 360 elite on e-Bay and couldn't use because it arrived during a power cut? The e-Bay advert said it was "unused, with intercooler and present". As soon as the power came back on, I emailed the seller to ask about the present. He said it's that you can download games from the Internet instead of buying them. That's a present?

The official X box site says that the elite comes with a 120Gb drive, but when we bought a game and switched it on, the Xbox said it had no drive. Nope, it's not an internal drive damaged in transit, there is no hard drive, so you can't save games. The seller says his advert never mentioned a drive.

What do other people think? Is it just me, or is it like selling a car with no engine and then saying, "But I never said it included an engine!"?

Now the seller's threatening to complain to e-Bay if I don't give him a positive vote.

It's 1 am, and I'm too angry to sleep.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Well my son's pretty much healed up. His main problems now are:
  1. The nasty scrape on his elbow is slow to heal.
  2. Major back-to-school-itis, and
  3. Frustration.
The frustration is because he spent all his birthday money and savings on an Xbox 360 on e-Bay, and it took over a week to arrive. And when it finally got here, we had a power cut. The whole island was blacked out for over 5 hours. We had salad for lunch and I got a replacement cannister for the little camping stove, ready to cook dinner. And then I went off to my yoga class.

And when I got home, all the lights were on. But there was no game for the Xbox: the "surprise" included was that you could down load games from the internet onto the hard drive we haven't got.

And then the lights went off again, this time just our half of the village. I suspect that whatever happened at the island's power station left them with insufficient power for the whole island, so they had rolling power cuts. Anyway, I cooked dinner on the camping stove by candlelight, and it was at least edible. And I got all nostalgic about the miners' strike when I was a kid.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Meeting the Devil

On Saturday night I went to the fiesta in San Miguel, a little village in Breña Alta. It starts off like most fiestas, but the devil appears after midnight, only to be scared off by a cross of fireworks.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


My son set off on his scooter for his friend's house in the next village, and I settled in for a peaceful afternoon's writing.

After just ten minutes, the phone rang. It was my son's friend. He'd fallen off his scooter, and could I come and fetch him please?

The hill between the two villages is really steep, so although I was hoping he'd just need a hug, I was a bit worried.

It turned out that I was right to worry, too. He'd been cleaned up a bit, but he obviously needed stitches, so off we went to the local hospital.

Thank goodness, we didn't have to wait. They weren't all that busy, and with him being a kid, they waved us straight in.

And we knew the nurse! She's a friend of my nieces', and she was very kind.

So they injected general anaesthetic round the gouge in his elbow and stitched it up. Then they did the same with the smaller gouge in his chin. Then they cleaned up all the grazes on the other elbow, his hands and his knees. Of course that all took time, and he was over the worst of the shock by the time it was all cleaned and bandaged. Then he went off for X-rays, just in case.

The doctor was almost certain that he hadn't broken anything, but apparently it's really had to be completely sure with kids. They have a tendency towards almost invisible hairline fractures, she said. So they strapped up his right arm, just in case.

Then we had to hang around a bit for his discharge papers.

Then we had to hang around a bit to make an appointment for him to see the traumatologist on Friday.

Then we were all hungry and thirsty.

And once I'd got him home, I had to dash out to the supermarket in search of food that could be eaten with only one hand. And then I had to cook it - Herreñan cheese and egg soup actually, and it tasted rather good, though I say it myself. There's something very comforting about a good soup, and we all needed a bit of comfort.

So you can guess how much writing I got after that lot.

Friday, September 11, 2009

La Zarza

Rock carvings at La Zarza, Garafia, La Palma

The summer's nearly over, and I haven't been out much at all. Worse, I haven't dragged my son away from his video games nearly as much as I planned. So I persuaded my friends in Franceses to come out to see the archaeological site at La Zarza and La Zarzita, in Garafía.

Well, I think it's beautiful. In some ways it reminded me of the Garoé on El Hierro: the same feeling of sacred nature.

My son disagreed. As far as he was concerned, it was just an unwelcome interruption. Fresh air and culture - bleh!

But he did like it when we went back to Franceses, because he got to play on their X-box.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Colds and birthdays

I've been too busy to blog again.

The boring part was the heavy cold coming back - so I took it easy for a couple of days to get rid of it.

The fun part was my son's 13th birthday. Yup, we have a teenager. But in spite of all the dire predictions, he hasn't turned into a werewolf. He's still a nice kid and mostly polite.

We held his party at the local swimming pool. Wouldn't you know it, that was the day when my head was really stuffed with cotton wool. I was so busy thinking, "DON'T FORGET THE CAKE!" that I forgot my son's swimming costume, so we had a mad, last-minute dash to fetch it. But it all went reasonable well.

And I spent Sunday collapsed in a little heap.