Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Siamese mushrooms

I thought it was time this blog had another photo, so here's what I found at the supermarket.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A sale!

I got a lovely email.  
I'm just wrapping up an anthology of time-travel and other time-related stories for Robinson Books and would love to include your story "Scream Quietly". I hope the rights are available.
It's sooooooo nice when the editors come to me, especially when I haven't been actively selling while I finish the book about the observatory.

Talking of which, the book about the observatory is coming along nicely, in between bouts of tour guiding.  In fact, that's what I should be doing now.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cheering me up.

It's been a bit depressing lately. My body clock still hasn't recovered from the house disco at the weekend, which is probably one reason why progress on the book has been slower than I'd hoped. Plus, there are forest fires on La Palma, Tenerife and La Gomera.

Then I posted on Facebook my opinion that global climate change was one thing making forest fires worse - just one thing - and somebody jumped down my throat claiming I'd supported cuts in the number of firemen.  [Huh?]  I later found out that he's uncomfortably close to the fire on Tenerife, so I've forgiven him for being het up.  But I didn't know that yesterday.

Then someone else flamed me saying that vaccines were TOTALLY UNNECESSARY and EXTREMELY DANGEROUS (because you don't need facts or data if your opinion is in ALL CAPS).

And then someone reading my book seemed very annoyed with what I'd written.  This turned out  later to be a misunderstanding, but it worried me at the time.

One way and another, I was quite down.

And then I found this photo of firemen protesting government cutbacks, basically telling Rajoy (Spain's Prime minister) "Kiss my arse!"

I feel better now.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Music and the stars

From top to bottom: Jupiter, the moon, and Venus

Our village is having its annual fiesta, which is nice.

Last night there was a house music disco.  I'm not a fan of house, but hey, my parents didn't care for Status Quo.  I can live with this one night  a year.

The music from the house disco fought with the music from a thrash metal concert in the next village.  That was annoying.  Even after I shut the windows, the sound in my bedroom was about as loud as I usually play a radio.  That was worse.

It went on until 5 am.  That was seriously annoying.

I had planned to get up at 6:30 to photograph the conjunction of the moon, Jupiter and Venus.  When I was still awake at 4:30, I decided to get up and see whether the moon had risen yet.

It had, but it looked fuzzy, as though there was thin cloud or dust in the way.  So I went up to the viewpoint at Llano de La Venta up at 1,300 m to try for a photo.

But I hadn't had much sleep, had I?  I left the camera bag behind, and didn't realise until I got to the viewpoint, half an hour later.  So I had the compact camera, but no DSLR, no torch, and no do-hicky to fasten a camera to the tripod.  And no sleep.

All things considered, I think it came out quite well.

Another sale!

My story, "The Appliance of Science" is up at The Dunesteef audio fiction magazine.  I originally wrote this story to cheer up a friend who was going through a rough patch.

Monday, July 09, 2012

The Honourable Agent Hammer

My story "Agent Hammer: License to Kibble" is up at On the Premises, where it got an Hono(u)rable mention in their humo(u)r competition.

Todoque Cave

I've been on a caving course this week.  From Monday to Friday I've had theory classes (yes, in Spanish) which were mostly fascinating.  But since they ran from 5 - 9 pm it made for a busy week. On Saturday we actually went into two caves.

The course teachers said that overalls would be the best clothes to wear.  Well, the only overalls in the house were the ones my son used for his carnival costume - Ghost Busters.  So I made people happy all day - all they had to do was look at me and they started giggling.

I loved going down the caves.  Well, except for climbing down the small cliff to get it.  I'll be glad when they fit Todoque cave with a ladder.

I loved the light down the cave.

I loved the geological formations too. Above are little "snowflakes" formed by mineral salts seeping in. And I think the crack below was formed because the surface while the lava behind was still runny.

And I loved the chamber at the end.  Mind you, by that time, I was glad to stop walking on lumps of rock the size of breeze blocks, ducking through the bits with a low roof, and in a few bits, crawling on my hands and knees.

Monday, July 02, 2012


Well, we had to queue for two and a half hours, but eventually they took my son's plaster off.

And then they put a bandage on, which has to stay on (and stay dry) for a week.  So he still needs help to get a shower, but not for much longer.