Monday, 30 January 2023

Time to Escape


     Today, is National Escapism Day, yeah we all need to escape sometimes from the reality of our daily lives. We all face different pressures, whether work, money, relationships or, health, and to help us cope we all need to have some me time, from time to time. Even if it's just for an hour, indulging ourselves can make a whole lot of difference to our well-being.

    The good thing is that self indulgence doesn't need to cost anything. If you have a garden or, park nearby to your home, sitting for a while watching the local wildlife can fill us with so much pleasure.

    Personally I love just to walk an hour or, so alone each day. I'm lucky enough to live by the sea and there is nothing I like better than to watch and listen to the waves as they hit  the shore.

    Where I live now is so different from when I was back in Scotland, but do you know what? Yes, the scenery the wildlife are very different, but how it makes me feel is exactly the same.

    Now, I know that mobility problems may make getting about difficult for many. But, reading about wildlife, far off places or, even just a good romance can help us escape for just that hour we need.

    Whatever, you choose today to do ENJOY!

Friday, 27 January 2023

The Wise Woman




    Today, January 27th is Holocaust Memorial Day, a day which commemorates an era we as human beings should never forget. A time when one man believed he had the right to say who lived or, died in the world.

    The first book that brought the realities of this period to life for me was, The Diary of Anne Frank. I was absolutely fascinated or was it astonished by what she wrote. Her writing was not of a thirteen year old child, but of a wise woman.

    I know at her age I always wrote in notebooks at every opportunity, with the hope that some day I would be a published writer as she did. But, thankfully what I wrote about was purely fictional and I didn't have any real life experiences of atrocities in my life.  Whatever, age you are, if you haven't read the diary it's a must.

    One of her quotes reminds me of why I continued to put pen to paper and still continue to do so. 

    "If I haven't any talent for writing books or, newspaper articles, well then I can always write for myself."

Anne Frank  1929-1945





Sunday, 22 January 2023

The Goat and I

    I haven't written here for a while, but before the first month of this new year ends I thought it was time to post again. Today I am featuring the poem, The Goat and I by British-Canadian poet, Robert William Service. While his rhyme is centered around the endearing animal, the goat; his words  reflect upon the then conflict that was going on in his world at the time of him writing. His verse I believe also befits the world we now live in and that's why I'm sharing it with you.


Each sunny day upon my way

A goat I pass;

He has a beard of silver grey.

A bell of brass. 

And all the while I am in sight

He seems to muse,

And stares at me with all his might

And chews and chews.

Upon the hill so thyme sweet

With joy of spring. 

He hails me with a tiny bleat

Of welcoming,

Though half the globe is drenched with blood

 And cities flare,

Contentedly he chews the cud

And does not care.

Oh gentle friend, I know not what your age may be,

But of my years I'd give the lot

Yet left to me,

To chew a thistle and not to choke,

but bright of eye

Gaze at old world-weary bloke

Who hobbles by.

Alas! though bards make verse sublime,

And lines to quote,It takes a fool like me to rhyme

About a goat.

By Robert William Service, January 16 1874-September 11. 1958.

  This poem is in public domain.

Monday, 25 July 2022

Nelson's Retreat



    Today  here in our capital of Tenerife, the city commemorates the 225th anniversary of the battle of Santa Cruz. Admiral Horatio Nelson and his fleet sailed to our shores with the plan to take the territory from the Spanish.

    Because of our location in the Atlantic Ocean, the island was desirable for the British. Unfortunately, for the Admiral, the Spanish under the command of General Gutierrez were ready to fight for their King, Ferdinand VII and country.

    As Nelson attempted to land with his party, they were welcomed by cannon fire. Horatio's arm was shattered by shrapnel and the landing party had to withdraw.

    That day the British fleet was badly depleted and Horatio was left with the constant reminder of his failure after his arm had to be partially amputated.

    There will be celebrations tonight, in the capital, that will include battle reenactments and of course lots of fireworks. We do love a good fiesta here!!



#Tenerife #SantaCruzdeTenerife #HoratioNelson #Fiestas #1797Battle

Saturday, 30 April 2022

     Five Minutes of Fame, or Cutting Room Floor ?

    Over four days or so, trucks parked up, car parks and vacated premises were taken over.

 The overhead signs on  the gates leading to the boat moorings changed, and the pricing of

 the jet-ski hire changed from euros to Croatian kuna. Not forgetting that the marina now 

sits on the Adriatic sea rather than the Atlantic Ocean.


    How on earth could that happen? Answer: the makers of 'Tom Clancy's, Jack Ryan rolled

 into town. Our beautiful little town of Las Galletas on the south of the island of Tenerife,

 the Canary Islands had been chosen as a location in the upcoming new series.


    While I'm writing this tonight, several roads are being closed off and security guards are

making sure no spectators visit the sights chosen, in anticipation of filming taking place

overnight in the hours of darkness,

    When the weekend comes around tomorrow, the minor upheaval will be forgotten, and

any signs of a film crew will be gone. The town's people will now be in fiesta mode, it will

be time to celebrate, Labor Day. Normal life will resume and this beautiful little town may

have at least five minutes of fame when series four, hits the screens. 

    Hopefully, the scenes don't end up on the cutting room floor.



Tuesday, 8 March 2022

 A Prayer for Liberty and Peace



   Today is, International Women's Day, and one woman I admire, is poet, Phillis Wheatley. I chose this amazing woman for many reasons.

   Phillis was born in West Africa, on May 8 1753, which is only 965 miles, from the Canary Island I call home. At the age of 7 or 8 Phillis was kidnapped to be sold for slavery. Humans were and still are a lucrative cargo, then in the hands of the greedy slave traders and now to the exploitative human traffickers. Last year 9255, illegal migrants of African descent, many of them Senegalese, as Phillis was, arrived in the Canary Islands.

    Sold to the, Wheatley family of Boston, USA, Phillis at an early age demonstrated her talent for writing poetry. Considering she was not writing in her first language it was a wonderful achievement not only to be published, but also to be one of the first, if not the first African/American to publish a book of poetry.

    The poem of Phillis's I have chosen to feature today is about war, something which is at the forefront of the minds of the world today. 

    This poem also celebrates the end of war. Something, that I pray, Ukraine and the African countries which are also being consumed by conflict at this time, will be able to do very soon.  

    Please, let liberty reign and let peace smile once again, as Phillis wrote.

Liberty and Peace
Lo! Freedom comes. Th’ prescient Muse foretold,
All Eyes th’ accomplish’d Prophecy behold:
Her Port describ’d, She moves divinely fair,
Olive and Laurel bind her golden hair.
She, the bright Progeny of Heaven, descends,
And every Grace her sovereign Step attends;
For now kind Heaven, indulgent to our prayer,
In smiling Peace resolves the Din of War.
Fix’d in
Columbia her illustrious Line,
And bids in thee her future Councils shine.
To every Realm her Portals open’d wide,
Receives from each the full commercial Tide.
Each Art and Science now with rising Charms,
Th’ expanding Heart with Emulation warms.
E’en great
Britannia sees with dread Surprize,
And from the dazzling Splendor turns her Eyes!
Britain, whose Navies swept th’ Atlantic o’er,
And Thunder sent to every distant Shore:
E’en thou, in Manners cruel as thou art,
The Sword resign’d, resume the friendly Part!
Galia’s Power espous’d Columbia’s Cause,
And new-born
Rome shall give Britannia Law,
Nor unremember’d in the grateful Strain,
Shall princely
Louis’ friendly Deeds remain;
The generous Prince th’ impending Vengeance eye’s,
Sees the fierce Wrong, and to the rescue flies.
Perish that Thirst of boundless Power, that drew
Albion’s Head the Curse to Tyrants due.
But thou appeas’d submit to Heaven’s decree,
That bids this Realm of Freedom rival thee!
Now sheathe the Sword that bade the Brave attone
With guiltless Blood for Madness not their own.
Sent from th’ Enjoyment of their native Shore
Ill-fated, never to behold her more!
From every Kingdom on
Europa’s Coast
Throng’d various Troops, their Glory, Strength and Boast.
With heart-felt pity fair
Hibernia saw
Columbia menac’d by the Tyrant’s Law:
On hostile Fields fraternal Arms engage,
And mutual Deaths, all dealt with mutual Rage;
The Muse’s Ear hears mother Earth deplore
Her ample Surface smoak with kindred Gore:
The hostile Field destroys the social Ties,
And ever-lasting Slumber seals their Eyes.
Columbia mourns, the haughty Foes deride,
Her Treasures plunder’d, and her Towns destroy’d:
Witness how
Charlestown’s curling Smoaks arise,
In sable Columns to the clouded Skies!
The ample Dome, high-wrought with curious Toil,
In one sad Hour the savage Troops despoil.
Peace the Power of War confounds;
From every Tongue coelestial
Peace resounds:
As from the East th’ illustrious King of Day,
With rising Radiance drives the Shades away,
So Freedom comes array’d with Charms divine,
And in her Train Commerce and Plenty shine.
Britannia owns her Independent Reign,
Hibernia, Scotia, and the Realms of Spain;
And great
Germania’s ample Coast admires
The generous Spirit that
Columbia fires.
Auspicious Heaven shall fill with fav’ring Gales,
Where e’er
Columbia spreads her swelling Sails:
To every Realm shall
Peace her Charms display,
And Heavenly
Freedom spread her golden Ray.
Phillis Wheatley 1753-1784

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

     City of Eternal Spring



 A couple of weeks ago, my partner and I headed north from where we live in the south of Tenerife. The island itself isn't very large, so our journey to Puerto de la Cruz on the northern coast, only took around two hours. Only stopping for a short time to have a sandwich and a coffee, which was welcomed, after rushing around at the last minute.


  The small city itself sits on the other side of Mount Teide, and the area differs greatly from where I live in the municipality of Arona, which consists of many purpose built tourist areas. In the year-round warm/dry climate, rain in the south is a rare commodity, which means the land is barren and desert-like.

  Puerto de la Cruz has a sub-tropical climate, and near the city, the gardens and parks are filled with tropical green lushness. Yes, that means slightly more rain falls here, but the winters are still warm here and summers dry.




    Its clement climate has made it attractive to European tourists for centuries, many of the owners of large homes here turned them into hotels, many survive today. It has been a choice of place to visit for many famous writers since the early 19th century. One travel such writer, Olivia Stone, I featured in an earlier blog post.


  Irish born doctor and writer, Sir William Wilde, father of Oscar, travelled to Puerto de la Cruz in the early 19th century, at that time the port being known by its English name the Port of the Cross. His ship docked in Santa Cruz but he travelled the north of Tenerife, in search of a cure for tuberculosis, the climate being a key element in his medical research. His travels are documented in the book


  The location was also featured in a travel book written by author Florence Du Cane and featured illustrations by her sister Ella in the early 20th century. 


    I can't help but mention author, Agatha Christie,  who stayed in Puerto de la Cruz too, in 1927. In the week that she stayed there she wrote, The Man from the Sea and The Mystery of the Blue Train. A bust celebrating her visit can be found in the, Mirador la Paz.


   The city of Puerto de la Cruz is a city of eternal spring, it continues to surround visitors with a beautiful botanical landscape, a place that continues to put spring into my step when I visit.