If you are visiting these pages for the very first time and you are in a hurry.......... do yourself a favor and click on the 'Hymno de las Islas Canarias'... (just below) It will give you an "Insight" into the Pride, Full Heartedness and generosity of the Tinerfenians..........Merry Christmas everyone.

Friday, 30 October 2009

"The Good times" & identifying them as you have them!

The smell of Bourgainville invaded the flat as I sat back in my new and very comfortable 'Directors' chair and perused my recent computer efforts. Spinning the chair around and leaning forward thro' the veranda doors I could still hear the sound of crickets over the din of the Plaza below. Nestled in my hands was a glass of Pernod and fresh squeezed orange..... but it was late and time for bed.
The morning was still and tranquille with that clarity of air you only get on Islands. Nestled in the leather of my car I glanced across at Gran Canaria, it seemed one could almost reach out and grasp it. Even at 8-30am it was hot enough to have the top down and my hair barely knew we were doing 100kph. The sea was bright blue and what waves there were glistened brightly in the Sun. A few small fishing boats bounced at anchor; the owners 'feet perched up against the rail with an early morning beer in hand' hoping that the fish would leave them alone for a while!
This is my daily commute to the South of Tenerife along the Motorway and I enjoy every second of it.
Today there is a small ring of white clouds around the mountain slopes that manifests their true height and casts little moving shadows on the dark green slopes below.

The outside temperature increases significantly as I speed South and I look forward to having breakfast with clients.
Question:- I have sometimes looked back and thought, Gosh wasn't '84 great and that sailing holiday in '90 was fantastic.......and I know you have too......but did we know "at that time" that we were having a an absolute ball?      I suspect not!
Part of life is learning to identify that one is having a great time, in the present moment...... Is it not?

Thursday, 29 October 2009

"Winter Clock Change" and "Clouded by Determination"

The walk was nothing special, I would have done it on my own but Natty wanted to do it with me and worked until 2pm on the Sunday (yes I had changed the clocks)        The walk was going to be from the village on the right across to and around the "Roque Taborno" that you see on the left. (2 hours max)
All three of us did not arrive until 3pm (equivalent of 4pm) and as the day was dull we started out walking just below the cloud base. We took the obvious path when we hit the mountain base but half way round we nearly walked into midair!
So, we backed up and tried the other path in the opposite direction, which took us upward and more into (by now) dense clouds.
"Reasoning is the better sense of valour" so they say but 'Determination' had taken hold!  No Problem, though as there were plenty of Green paint marks and piles of stones to follow. But, slowly and surely these dwindled and suddenly we were disorrientated, semi-lost and it was getting dark....... there were three different opinions as to which way to go etc etc etc.  Bursting out in nervous laughter we renewed our efforts to escape. (for that is how we felt and by now it was dense fog)
Because, you are reading this you can gather that it all worked out fine but we only regained the car a little before dark!!! (now 7pm, as it took us over 3 hours)
Three large Cognacs, Three black coffees and three Fresh Rosquettes refreshed our humour at the nearest bar.     Take heed.......Because of the Clock change. go early if you are walking in the Mountains.    Hic! [sic]

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Three flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (Teide)

This formed Front Page news in the newspaper Diario de aviso (this  link will take you there, then just scroll down for more fotos) foto credit, DiariodeAvisos.
Fancy, jumping out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft and planning on doing a circuit of Teide without using a parachute..........No!
Well, three adventurous types did exactly that, yesterday. They did it over Teide, "just for fun". Although, reading between the lines it formed part of a World Record for Human flight in freefall (6.42 mins). They wore special suits that allowed them to glide but because of the rareified air, gliding was more difficult.
Now, please remember that Teide is more than 2 miles high, and the last time I was there; I was watching the tourist aircrafts coming in from the North; below me!
Oh! how i wished that I had been there to see these guys dropping in. Incredible!  Pretty Cool huh!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Getting to know the language......the embarrassing way

So, I had just arrived in the house and was greeted by the words  "¿Estas vendiendo Vino, Señor?       Well, I understood that I was being asked if .....I was selling wine...... but what was the context? Had I forgotten something....perhaps a birthday....should I have brought some wine for tonight......  So, I had to ask  "¿Que?"...." ¿Que pasa?" The reply was very slow and very deliberate with a lot of mirth from all the Tinerfenians, "¿Estas vendiendo Vino, Señor?"           Now, hopelesslly confused by..... by a lack of understanding.......it was one of those moments!!       A long pause ensued.......... while sniggers and embarrassed laughs abounded.       Then Alexis sidled up to me and said "Tu cremallera esta abierto, Señor"  .....   it took a second or two for me to realise that I had walked in with my ZIP undone !!!     OMG..... the room erupted and I went bright Red............                  So, now you know what     "¿Estas vendiendo Vino, Señor?" really means....      What a great language!    So descriptive!          Now where's the nearest bottle, I need a drink.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Chestnut Recipe (Wild Rice and Aniseed)

Here is that Great Recipe that I promised for all of you that have harvested your own Chestnuts. It is a fantastic accompaniment with Pork. Hope you Enjoy.

1 tablespoon Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup fresh, peeled Chestnuts (also take off the hairy & bitter inner skin)
5 medium Shallots peeled and finely chopped
2 Celery ribs (chopped up finely)
1 cup Wild rice (rinsed in cold water)
1/4 cup Dried currants
2 teaspoons Aniseed
A pinch of Sea salt (Or:- big lump of Salted Butter which is my preference)
4 cups Water
1 teaspoon Finely grated Orange zest

Directions: (this method uses a Pressure Cooker), but if a stove and Pan is used you will have to soak the Chestnuts in fresh water overnight.
Heat the oil in the cooker. Add the shallots and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until softened slightly, about 1 minute. Stir in the rice, chestnuts, currants, aniseed, salt, and water. Lock the (pressure cooker)lid and over high heat bring up to pressure. Lower the heat just enough to maintain this pressure and cook for 20 minutes. Allow the pressure to drop without the weighted valve. If the rice or chestnuts are not quite cooked, return to high pressure for a few minutes. Drain (reserving the liquid for stock) and return to the pot. Cover and let steam over low heat for a few minutes to dry out. Fluff up as you stir in the orange peel. Break up chestnuts into 2 to 3 pieces with a fork, if desired.

Yummy Yummy Yummmmmmy !!!

The 2009 Orionid Meteor Shower

October 21, 2009: The Orionid meteor shower peaks this week and it could be a very good show.
"Earth is passing through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, the source of the Orionids," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "Flakes of comet dust hitting the atmosphere should give us 60 or more meteors per hour."

Orionids appear every year around this time when Earth orbits through an area of space littered with debris from the ancient comet. So, if clouds interfere on the 21st, try again on the 22nd or 23rd.
The phase of the Moon favors a good show. The Moon is almost new and completely absent from the pre-dawn sky at the time of the shower's peak. Bright moonlight will not be a problem.
Last but not least, the display will be framed by some of the prettiest stars and planets in the night sky. In addition to Orionids, you'll see brilliant Venus, red Mars, the dog star Sirius, and bright winter constellations such as Orion, Gemini and Taurus. Even if the shower is a dud, the rest of the sky is dynamite.
Set your alarm and enjoy the show.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The Almond Fair.... Sunday 25th October

This is a Traditional Fair that takes place in Plaza de San Pedro, Aripe,  Guia de Isora   every year and keeps alive the family work traditions for the younger generation. Open from 10 in the morning til 2 in the afternoon.
The Almonds have been shaken from the trees down onto nets and collected.  Now, it's all hands on deck to break open the dried Nuts.
This fair is by way of celebrating an abundance and is a lot of fun. So, why not take a morning ride, and immerse yourself and the kiddies into some real Tenerife Culture?           See you there.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Teide's Last Eruption (100 Years Ago in Nov 1909)

This is an authentic photograh (courtesy of :- Colectivo Arguayo) taken 100 years ago on 18th Nov, when Teide last erupted!   It shows farmers watching the Eruption quite close by.
It took place at "Chinyero" which is close to "Santiago del Teide" on the Western side of the Island. The lava flow was somehow diverted out of harms way.          I am wondering two things here:-
  1. Will there be any special "celebrations"?  Knowing Tinerfenians they 'will' organise something .... so, watch this spot!
  2. Secondly, of course; When will Teide Erupt again?  !!!

Monday, 12 October 2009

"Buried treasure" on Tenerife

I have always been fascinated by pre 1900 Leather Bound Books, Old Maps, Lythographs and specifically Old Charts.              The smell, the romance and knowing that someone has put pen to paper; largely guessing as to its import and then lovingly painting it with now; fading water-colour.               Over the last few years, I have been doing a lot of research (mainly on the Internet) regarding just how many reported Treasures, troves or caches have been stashed on this Island alone.  There are more than Seventy!     These are very well documented, authentic and are the original places where caches have been hidden and are to be found.     Anyone can ask the correct  authorities for this information and go Treasure Hunting themselves. What it takes is a lot of patience, skill, correct equipment and Luck.

In the olden days, Treasure was hidden well above the High-Tide Line. Somewhere remote and hard to find even with the help of a fading, parched and cryptic map.  If you were superstitious you had to get a fearless crew together and cross their palms with silver before they would even think about the expedition. More recently, you still had to decypher a forgotten language, find the rough area to search and then break out a metal detector. Then, walk a search grid for hours; even days before you would stand a chance of success.

Well, the good news is that things have changed dramatically for all those budding "Treasure Hunters" out there. The 21st century has brought us a Global Positioning System that can place us within 6 feet (2 metres) of a given Co-ordinate!    Handheld gps can be bought for €100 and can be found on many mobile telefones nowadays.              So, Now the only thing we need to know is exactly where our "Cache" can be found.
The old maps cannot serve, so we have to resort to the new generation of maps and these are readily available on the Internet... and it is here that you will find a fantastic "authority" on worldwide caches.      Before I go any further you must by now realise that I am talking about a Modern Day Version of Treasure Hunting that has become a fast growing Worldwide Hobby of enthusiasts that have planted Caches in the more interesting, beautiful and inspiring parts of the Country. (sorry to kid you along a little but, please read to the very end)    The Internet site    http://geocaching.com/   then publishes the gps co-ordinates of each and every cache for us to visit. (click on the link and look around... You will have to log-in, it is free, and then you can download all 70 + co-ordinates on Tenerife) I placed a "treasure, yesterday, which will be published very soon....... It is in a remote part of the Fabulous Anaga Mountains...    I am publishing this for a very good reason.  I have found that most of the caches have been put in places that I would not have thought of even visiting. Yes, they are remote but each and every one will take you somewhere special. With Fantastic Views or Great Walking. You will learn so much about the local culture and be able to visit some out-of-the-way Restaurants/ Bars.            Good Luck, Fun Hunting and Happy geocaching. (more to come.... so please re-visit us)

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Snail Mail (The Old Two Centamos Postage Stamp)

Here's a nice Postage stamp from the past....I suspect from the thirties or forties.    (If anyone can come back with the actual date I would be grateful.)   I do not have one but wonder how much it may be worth to the right collector.

The point for me is that it is obviously for International Mail and secondly:- What great advertising! (and so true)

The prices may have changed but the temperatures certainly haven't.

The Postage stamp is breathing it's last as the Net takes over........ RIP

Chestnut season has arrived!

The castaña (chestnut) season has arrived!          These were picked by the roadside, yesterday, in the South and are lovely eating.     So..... get out there and take a few for the barbecue and enjoy.             To find a lot of them; Take the Road up towards Teide from Guimar. This Road has some tremendous views and some nice picnic places to stop.          About halfway up there is a " Mirador" of special interest.      Then above that point, most; if not all the land on the right hand side belongs to the Cabildo and as such is "owned by the community" so you will not be Poaching, scrumping or anything like that. (Anyway that is what we were told by the forest fire people (Brifor) when we were digging around.          There is a local Recipe that includes Chestnuts and  Aniseed....... but where did I leave it?          If, anyone has the recipe, please let me know.
They are just a little different from the English variety! Mind out for the prickly kernels.........Suerte!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Where Eagles Dare and Hunters Lair

When you look up at the skyline from Adeje you can spot white houses on the skyline. My question was this "They are on the edge of a Precipice, so how do the people get there?" The answer was simple..... Ifonche!
The other week I was up on "Roque del Conde" and observed a Pyramid of a mountain to its North called "Roque Imonde" (the highest part of which looked highly challenging)so that was where I was going.....  The easiest way to it was via Ifonche. Now let me explain about Ifonche..... there is one road in and the same road out. On my first visit the owner of the bar asked me to move my car 3 meters along. I found out why when horsemen turned up and used the wooden rail that I had blocked, to tie up their steeds. (we took a lot of horse manure home that day for the window boxes.)   Today, there was a gathering of Hunters, runners, rifles and their dogs,,, so I did not stop, but carried on passed towards "Roque Imonde".  I stopped where I could see there was a fantastic view over the whole of the South of Tenerife.

I was alone with the wind and the clouds; that was until a minibus turned up and out poured a dozen or so Para-Gliders. Well, my climb could wait, couldn't it? To be right beside these guys when they launched themselves off the precipice was too good a 'photo challenge' to miss.   So.... here's a few shots.

It only takes them a few minutes to get organised, uncross their lines, cross their hearts and wait for that all important little puff of wind that will transform them from ugly ducklings into soaring eagles.

The hunting dogs that were running around did not perturb them in the least.... and suddenly they had all taken flight and I was all alone again!

Well, there you go...... Out of the blue...... pretty cool!   huh!        I wonder if I'm too overweight to have a go?  (stop daydreaming son)

The day was still young so I turned on my booted heels and dragged myself towards that Peak I wanted to climb. It looked more and more impressive the closer I got. The ridge I followed was easier than I thought and there was only a few places where I had to scrabble and finally I got to a point where I could get no further without some rope and climbing gear. Prudence is a marvellous thing. Especially as I was on my own!

To complete my day, I did as much of a circuit as I could and took in the breathtaking views. The camera was always busy and ready as was my handheld gps. (I was hoping to get to the summit and record the height.) All the hunters were way below and only little dots of mischief ....but their whistles and calls were still carried to me with the bay of the dogs as they caught a sense of their prey.

I came down with something nagging at my mind, but what was it? It persisted all the way to the bottom, until I realised that I had left my gps .......up ....there.... somewhere.   Yes, there were a few expletives on the way back up and it is always at these moments that your mobile rings.... and what is the first questions they ask?
Its always, " where are you and what are you doing?"
So......   if ever you ring me and ask similar questions ...... be prepared.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

No mobiles to disturb the Peace just Goat bells

This is a Satelite shot of the extreme North East of Tenerife. The Main Roads can be seen in the lower left corner coloured yellow. The other lines are mainly just tracks (some passable by car/ small bus). It is great walking country! But, be warned there is no mobile phone coverage....so.....Do not go alone!

The idea was to scout-out the hills to the East of "Lomo de Las Bodegas" so we left the car beside a 4X4 "Forestry Commission" Truck and took the Cementary Path where the first and last sign we saw was "Pelegro Veneno" ie. Danger....something around here is poisonous! (Clearly meant to discourage visitors) There were also Red Laces tied to some of the trees.....noted!
A little phased, we picked our way through the bushes in a South East direction down into the valley and towards some derelict houses, picking some large Blackberries on the way. The local Frogs were very vocal and resentful of our presence, as we took fotos and gloried in the sun.

On the way down to this Croft we could smell but not see a nearby Donkey.(curious)
The stained Rock above the Croft turned out to be a small "Waterfall" which was chilled and refreshing. This was turning into Paradise.
Wondering what delights there were ahead; we pressed on.... to find that there were more hidden Crofts and more running water!
Coming away from one of these we found the perfect spot for a picnic! We were astride a High ridge looking one side into a valley full of distant goats and on the side a perfect track led down into Igueste. (The end of the tarmac road up to the North)
High up as we were, whilst eating goats cheese, blackberries and red wine. we could take it all in properly and suddenly realised.... that the goat track below...... would take us down into "Antequera"!  (I thought that it was only accessible from the sea and the boats had stopped going some time ago.)
Unfortuneately, time had beaten us.... this time!
But, we will be return.
Back, at the car we wonderered what the "venom" sign was trying to warn us about...... we hope it wasn't the blackberries... No, surely not.         Hasta La Vista. Por favor Dios.