Tuesday 13 February 2024

Words from the Heart



To love, is to cherish

To cherish, is to adore

To adore, is to treasure

To treasure, is to be devoted to 

To be devoted to, is to be faithful

To be faithful to, is to be committed to 

To be committed to, is what I am to you

My darling Valentine 


Tuesday 6 February 2024

Watching You Watching Me


    A few years ago I wrote about a little unexpected housemate I encountered  in my home at the time.https://devilslayingamongstotherthings.blogspot.com/2014/09/meeting-my-room-mate.html?m=1

    In my house now, in the last few months  one of her distant cousins has set up home with us. We had suspected for a while that a gecko had moved in, after catching fleeting glances  as she darted behind the fridge/freezer or, dishwasher. ( For the sake of the story I'm genderising as she.)

    But, she has grown comfortable in our environment and has now made home behind our sideboard. The lizard realizes we do not pose a threat to her. How do I know that? Each night at 18.20 p.m. on the dot she climbs out of her hideaway and sits in full view. I'm not sure if it's a, watching you, watching me scenario. No connection to the Bill Withers song.

   A few times this normally nocturnal creature has freaked me out a little, but she does a good job of keeping unwanted insects at bay. Because of the warm climate here, mosquitoes, and ants are a common pest in the home.

   She is a little camera shy, but I did manage to photograph her the other night when she was roaming around. Unfortunately, the flash did scare her and she darted behind the print on the wall for the rest of the evening.

   However, she must have went home in the hours of darkness, as she appeared same time, same place the following evening.

Whatever you're watching, or doing this week enjoy!

 Care for the Lowest


I would not enter on my list of friends

Though graced with polished manners and fine sense,

Yet wanting sensibility the man

Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.

An inadvertent step may crush the snail

That crawls at evening in the public path;

But he that has humanity, forewarned,

Will tread aside, and let the reptile live.

The creeping vermin, loathsome to the sight,

And charged perhaps with venom, that intrudes,

A visitor welcome, into scenes

Sacred to neatness and repose, the alcove,

The chamber, or refectory, may die:

A necessary act incurs no blame.

Not so when, held within their proper bounds,

And guiltless of offense, they range the air,

Or take their pastime in the spacious field:

There they are privileged; and he that hunts

Or harms them there is guilty of  a wrong,

Disturbs the economy of nature's realm,

Who, when she formed, designed them on an abode.

The sum is this: If man's convenience, health, 

Or safety, interfere, his rights and claims

Are paramount, and must extinguish theirs.

Else they are all the meanest thing that are

As free to live, and to enjoy that life,

As God was free to form them at the first,

Who in his sovereign wisdom made them all.

Ye, therefore, who love mercy, teach your sons

 To love it too.

By William Cowper

Monday 29 January 2024

Inspiration from the Tedium

    The last few weeks I’ve been nursing a cold and annoying cough. The good news, for my partner is that I lost my voice for a few days. Of course, for every piece of  great news, there is a piece of not-so-good that seems to come along and smack you in the face. Yes, my voice has returned.

    Due to the tedium of spending all day at home and my eyes feeling a little tired, with screen time, I decided it was time to look through old notebooks and files.

    Some notebooks contain the blogs I've written over the last eleven and a half years. That's six hundred and twenty-five to be exact. I even came across a few surprises along the way, as to how I chose my subject matter in the early years.

    Now, my  completed and unfinished manuscripts, are contained in plastic folders. Some of the unfinished works have been printed out on paper and some not, I hold them all on my hard disk drives anyway. But, each file has a notebook enclosed and sometime these are also accompanied by sheets of lined A4. 

    These notebooks/A4 sheets contain outlines, descriptions of characters, plots and rough drafts for each of the chapters. All written in longhand, as unfortunately, shorthand is not something I ever managed to grasp.

    There was one of these unfinished works  that caught my eye dating back to 2015. I started to try and remember why I just never finished it. The answer is that in everything I write, I always require to know how it's going to end. This story I just could never think of an ending.

    I read through the notes and character outlines, call it inspiration or, boredom, the ending came to me in a flash. 

    So guess what I’m working on?

    Have a great week.




Monday 15 January 2024

Nature Sculpting the Landscape


    If you live in Tenerife or any of the principal Canary Islands, it's impossible to not realize that the landscape has been resculpted by volcanic explosions in years gone by.  

    The last one in Tenerife was November 18 1909. The following extract from a poem by William Cowper, although written about Mount Etna, Italy, is very appropriate and could have been written about Mount Teide.

 Slept unperceived, the mountain yet entire;

When, conscious of no danger from below, 

She towered a  cloud capped pyramid of snow,

No thunders shook with deep intestine sound

The blooming groves that girdled her around.

Her unctuous olives and her purple vines

Unfelt the fury of those bursting mines

The peasant’s hopes, and not in vain, assured,

In peace upon her sloping sides matured.

When on a day, like that of the last doom,

A conflagration laboring in her womb,

She teemed and heaved with an infernal birth,

That took the circling seas and solid earth.

Dark and voluminous the vapor rise,

And hang their horrors in the neighboring skies,

While through the Stygian veil, that blots the day,

In dazzling streaks the vivid lightning's play.

 But oh! what muse, and in what powers of song,

Can trace the torrent as it burns along?

Havoc and devastation in the van,

It marches over the prostrate works of man;

Vines, olives, herbage, forests disappear.


Heroism by William Cowper (1731-1800)

Tuesday 2 January 2024

Best Foot Forward !!




    Happy New Year! to you all. Yes, it's that time again when we think about our past year and we make positive plans for the future.

    Thinking about the past can make us a little melancholy, but also brings a smile to our face. One of the many memories that brought a smile to my face, was when I was recalling New Year's Eves or Hogmanays as it is called in Scotland.

     In particular, I was remembering the parties my mother and father had in their home. My mother would spend all day preparing a midnight feast, which normally consisted of scotch broth, steak pie, boiled peas and mashed potatoes.

    This feast was given to all who had gathered to see the bells in, (strike of midnight). Before the clock struck twelve, the first foot was selected. This man, (yes, no equal opportunities then), had to be tall with dark hair, not part of the household and didn’t enter the home until after twelve.

    Tradition was he would bring the householders good luck for the year ahead. Similar to the three kings he had to come bearing gifts, which included a lump of coal and whisky.

 As a party usually lasted all night, sandwiches, beef stew, soup and shortbread were provided for any of the later revellers. In our home, they were free to fill their bellies after they gave the company, (other celebrators) a song.

   The normal for many of the partygoers was to go from house to house in a street, most would carry a piece of coal and whisky, just in case they happened to be the, ‘First foot’.

   These were fun times, a tradition which died a long time ago. However, the memory definitely won't, hopefully for a long time.

    Have a great year and remember in the words of Robert Burns;

‘Now’s the day and now’s the hour’


Tuesday 26 December 2023

Come To My Sun–land!



    Do the first, second, and third words or lines of poems and books capture your imagination when you first read them? 

    Yes, it is a rhetorical question, I know. For many of us, that's why we keep reading an author’s work. It reminds us of something we've already experienced or want to add to our bucket lists.

    Today, I've included an excerpt from a poem written by Joaquin Miller, which reminds me of the  sights I've seen on my trips around Tenerife.

    I've also included a collage of some of the pictures I've taken along the way. Hoping that if you haven’t already visited the island, you will definitely want to add it to your travel bucket list.

Come to my sun-land! Come with me,

To the land I love; Where the sun and sea

Are wed forever; where the palm and the pine

Are filled with singers; where tree and vine

Are voiced with prophets! O come, and you

Shall sing a song with the seas that swirl

And kiss their hands to that cold white girl,

To the maiden moon in her mantle of blue.

The Arizonian by Joaquin Miller

Monday 18 December 2023

The Bells Are Ringing


     All over Puerto De La Cruz, the name of Tomas De Iriarte is celebrated, with a street, a school and a library bearing his name. Born in the city in 1750 the poet was educated in Madrid under the supervision of his uncle Juan De Iriarte, who was librarian for the King of Spain.

    Every time I visit the city, I can't help but take photos of the cathedral and churches of the city and surrounding areas. Since it's the time of year when church bells ring out regularly, I've included a fable by the poet and some of my photos.


The Cathedral Bell and The Little Bell

In a certain cathedral a huge bell there hung,

But only on solemn occasions was rung;

It's echoes majestic, by strokes three or four,

Now and then, in grave cadence, were heard never more,

For the stately reserve and its wonderful weight,

Throughout the whole parish, its glory was great.

In the district the city held under its sway,

Of a few wretched rustics, a hamlet there lay;

And a poor little church, with a belfry so small,

That you hardly would call it a belfry at all,

There a little cracked cowbell, that in it was swinging,

For the poor little neighbor who did all the ringing.

Now that this little belfry might ape in renown,

The cathedral's huge tower, that loomed up up over the town;

That briefly and seldom on festivals noted,

The safe little bell should be rung it was voted,

By this cunning device, and their rustical eyes,

It's tinkle soon past for a bell of great size.


A fable by Tomas de Iriarte