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!
For
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
On
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.
Descending
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. https://devilslayingamongstotherthings.blogspot.com/2015/03/romancing-stone.html

 

  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 https://books.google.es/books/about/Narrative_of_a_Voyage_to_Madeira_Tenerif.html?id=o09BAAAAIAAJ&redir_esc=y

 

  The location was also featured in a travel book written by author Florence Du Cane and featured illustrations by her sister Ella https://www.amazon.es/Canary-Islands-Ella-Du-Cane/dp/1116674173/ref=sr_1_7?qid=1638272172&qsid=260-83718 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. https://www.amazon.com/Man-Sea-Agatha-Christie-Short-ebook/dp/B00D64I5TK

 


   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. 

  


    

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Eclectic Mix

  

 One of the things I love about living in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, is the eclectic mix of food available throughout the island. The Canarians love to socialise around the tables in the street cafes and restaurants, and I do too. My ever-expanding middle is proof of that.


  While we were locked down last year I missed both the social side of sitting down in a small bar, chatting with friends and sampling the fantastic array of tapas that many offer to accompany your cold beer or glass of chilled Rioja at little cost. 


  Since the covid restrictions have been relaxed a little here, I've been trying out some fab eateries throughout the island. I've tried tapas ranging from goat croquettes, serrano ham, white cheese to baby squid, at first when you view the menu you may think it is a carbon copy to the place you've already visited, But, trust me each establishment has its own twist on the Canarian classics. 


   Restaurants offer tapas which can be eaten just the same way as you would eat them in a bar but can be substituted as a starter to be followed by the main meal. Main meals are very much influenced by the nationality of the owner of the establishment. That's very much where the eclectic mix comes to fruition. Here, in the Canaries, the population is a melting pot of many nationalities and this is reflected in the food.


   Chickpeas to cherne, kleftiko and koftas, can all be found somewhere if that's what takes your fancy. Being able to sample these foods is a privilege and something I am truly thankful for.
                 





#food #CanaryIslands #Tenerife #tapas

Sunday, 7 November 2021

 As the Petals Depart

 


 

    Hi, remember me. I haven't posted in a while, you could say  I reached a hiatus. Over the last few months. my brain has popped back into writers mode, ideas and most importantly words have started to be put down on paper once again.

    Blogging is something I always enjoyed. Writing various themed posts twice or three times a week was fun. However, when your ideas temporarily dry up, the enjoyment fades. I found in the past that my inspiration came from ongoing events happening around me, places I had visited, things that I had read or, heard about on the radio. 

    So, here I am now about to tell you what prompted me to write this post. On the island of La Palma, a neighboring island to where I live here in the Canary Islands, there has been an ongoing natural phenomenon. Over the last seven weeks,  the eruption of Cumbre Vieja has caused devastation for a number of the island's 84, 500 inhabitants. Fortunately there has been no loss of life, but the lives of the islander's whose homes, businesses, towns and farmland that lie in the path of the lava flow, have been turned upside down.

    On November first, All Saints Day (Dia de Todos Los Santos) is observed in Spain and a day when people pay their respects to their loved ones who have sadly departed. On the island of La Palma this could not be done as the largest cemetery  has been carpeted by a thick covering of volcanic ash. Also surrounded by amass of lava the area is totally inaccessible to residents, forcing their culture to take a back seat.

    Knowing how distressing this was for those affected, the Spanish Air-Force took to the skies. Having loaded their helicopters with sacks of flower petals, the onboard personnel took it upon themselves to pay the islanders respect on their behalf. They released the petals over Las Manchas Cemetery, hoping that their actions would alleviate some of the grief felt.

    This wonderful gesture, I found moving and I wanted to share it with you. We'll chat soon. Thanks for reading and take care.

 

Who  would have thought my shriveled heart could have recovered greenness? 

It was gone,

Quite underground; as flowers depart to see their mother-root, when they have blown,

Where they together all the hard weather,

Dead to the world, keep house unknown.


The Flower, By George Herbert, (1633)

 

                          

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Poco a Poco


  
    We're now halfway through our eighth week of lockdown here in the Canary Islands. My waistline has expanded a little, ( I'm probably not being too honest about that) and the grey roots of my hair are getting harder and harder to disguise. (I am telling the truth about that.)


    I've been keeping myself busy the best I can. I've read a barrel load of cozy mysteries and I have been very productive in the writing sense. This work I hope to share with you very soon. Something I won't be sharing with you is my baking, which I do once a week as I'm afraid we've managed to scoff it all. Hence the larger waistline. Okay, I've included a picture of my cheese scones, because I didn't want to disappoint.

    On Sunday past, we started a phase of de-escalation of the state of emergency, here. De-escalation will be done poco a poco, as they say in Spain. Thankfully, we are now allowed a little exercise, which will help rid the extra pounds as well as the cabin fever that has gradually crept in. We can leave our homes for an hour each day to walk, run, or cycle, as long as we stay within 1 kilometer of our homes (6/10 of a mile.) This can only be done with members of your household, meaning if your son or daughter lives down the street you can't walk with them.

    In order that social distancing can be maintained our daily exercise has been given time slots by the government, according to age.  My partner and I can go out of doors between the hours of 6am-10am in the morning or 8pm-11pm in the evening.

    We choose to take our walk around 8am and the first morning it was strange to walk along the main road and find it fairly deserted of vehicles and pedestrians. A small line of people had started to form outside the supermarket and one of the store assistants kept a watchful eye on the forming queue, making sure that the 2-meter rule was being adhered to. But, otherwise, there were no queues at the bus-stops and the buses passed with no passengers on board.

    Hopefully, within the next few weeks, we can start to move around a little more freely. Our contagion is now nearly zero within the islands and thankfully the number of deaths has fallen into near solitary figures. But, freedom is not the most important thing right now. Staying alive is.

God bless. Stay safe.