So here we are in Tenerife……
Actually, it’s a bit like Scotland. Hotter, obviously, but that’s
the thing. In Scotland there are times when you just stay indoors
because it’s too cold and wet, here it’s too hot. With the windows
closed, lights on, you get on with the washing, try a bit more of
the book you thought you probably wouldn’t bother to finish, and
write a few lines for your newsletter.
When I say get on with the washing, you understand, I’m not
actually meaning me. When Fiona went outside to hang it up,
(and I think it might be dry by the time it’s hung up,) we closed the
door to keep the heat out. The sliding door, which doesn't quite shut, allows a hot, moaning wind to remind me of when our windows and doors didn’t quite fit, and all the heat went up the chimney.
I’d better go and let her back in, it’s quite extreme out there, even the hardened sunbathers have mostly gone and hidden themselves. There’s always a few getting their money’s worth and I can only assume that they go for a swim in factor thirty beforehand, or they have some kind of natural defence against melanomas, otherwise I’d be completely swamped at work.
I find those all over golden tans rather less attractive in the (abundant) nubiles now that I know what it does. (I thought of putting a few photos of nubiles for comparative purposes here, but decided against it, so here's a picture of a Dragon Tree instead)
I suppose sunbathing will always attract a few, there are still
those to whom cigarettes are still sophisticated, debonair, or
whatever, not that I’m complaining, now that there’s a fair
chance of not having my restaurant airspace polluted, I think of it as
a voluntary tax that I’ve declined. I do wonder whether there might be some addictive component to sunbathing though.
The locals tell me that this is the hottest it’s been in ages.
Certainly I wouldn’t expect to see so many cars without
air conditioning if this was the norm. It’s not actually unpleasant
here, I’m sure the Tenerife tourist board would be upset if they
thought I meant that, but you can see why tourists and the local
people dodge the hottest bits, sleeping and partying late in the
height of summer. The Brits especially, keep coming out here,
so I guess they like it, though I suspect the school holidays push them into a bit of a corner, and perhaps it really is unusually hot.
The numbers of non-native old folks on the island, (as I reluctantly admit to be at least technically one of them,) is quite low, which isn’t too surprising considering the temperature. They tend to different resorts, differing mainly in the kind of musak and the number of small children, and the amount of football on in the drinking holes.
The natives are much more weather-beaten and I find it difficult
to tell how old they are. If they have any sense they probably go
to Scotland at this time of year, and enjoy the drizzle, haar, and
smirr. (All different kinds of wet, in case you’re wondering, although
we can do rain, hail, blizzard and cloudburst and a sort of general
cold wetness called dreich. They’d love that, though probably not for
a whole week.)
Sorry, (incidentally), this thing doesn’t do foreign fancy bits like
accents and umlats, or at least I haven’t found them, and despite the
“UK English dictionary”, it has considerable difficulty with non US (teenage) words. So if you are reading this on a computer, there’ll be a few wiggly 'spell checked' red lines.
Getting back to the present, it’s an odd thing for a chap from the
placid chalk bowl of Hampshire to be faced with, but I seem to be
more and more surrounded by volcanoes. Recently there's been Icelandic ructions, and (less recently) Edinburgh has some pretty obvious lumps of rock sticking up in the middle of the city, not that recent as they were there when I got here. Skye, where we go when Fiona thinks it’s time for some get some geography practical in, is undoubtedly an indication of when the rocks were hot and bubbly. Between those, geologically speaking, the Galapagos are certainly uncompromisingly brand new stuff from the inside of the planet, and only have the lightest of dustings of vegetable matter, soil and animals. Strange and specialised that they are, the life-forms seemed appropriate for their surroundings, especially the iguanas, who have a primeval quality which is fine as long as
they are an order or two smaller than we are, I wouldn’t trust them if I was bug sized in relation to them, I can remember 2,000,000 years BC (the film, I'm not that old) and even Ursula Andress in a fur bikini wouldn’t get me back there.
However, back to the present, here I am, sitting on a very pleasant
balcony with my child bride, a glass of wine or two, and a very small,
battery powered computer, (this one is windows based, so it can do
Homestead). In the middle distance there’s an airport, surprisingly
unobtrusive, perhaps because of the rocky terrain between us. And
there’s the oddity, well it is to me, there are in a few miles no less than nine volcanic cone vents, each being a simple heap of a few million tons of ash and clinker. Beside them there are, now happily cooled pyroclastic lava fields. (I thought the electronic dictionary might gag on that one, so I’ll have to hope for the best as far as the spelling goes.)
That’s the oddity to me, it’s just a bit too much like a rather expensive CGI scene from a Hollywood space fiction film (they’re all blockbusters now) or a clever bit from Dr Who at four and sixpence. The really weird bit for me is how it goes from golf course to lava field to road to banana plantation without so much as a pencil line, let alone a hedge in between. It really is like the surface of the moon, but an ambulance just crossed the scene about a couple of miles away, disappearing for a moment behind a small fumarole
I wonder who owns the land when it was sea a day ago and poured out of a hill a few hundred yards away? The owner of the hill that spilled it? The state? The first person with heat proof shoes and a flag? Kev, who lives there, tells me that the owners of a few houses nearby found that in buying their house they got a plot of land, several miles away, thrown in. Difficult to know what to do with it, no roads for miles and no services. Still, hang on to it and one day a road will arrive and your son or grandson gets a free
building plot, an allotment, or better still it turns out to be in the
middle of a proposed multi-storey hotel. It's one way of distributing
the spare stuff. In Scotland and hereabouts they sell land with the
catch-phrase "they aren't making any more of it" They don't use that
in Tenerife.Here's a picture of a relatively recent Lava flow, it's
the big brown patch in the middle.
So what are we doing in Tenerife at this time of year?
Well, some time ago we got sucked into one of the timeshare/points
things that turned out to be a bad one, there are good companies
but ours was a dud. Flexi-club, and there was a “never ending”
component to the contract that we hadn’t spotted, combined with
an escalating maintenance charge like the national debt.
Any way, via a few rogues and legal corkscrews, DWVC and a
company called Cashback, if memory serves. We eventually ended up in the hands of a company specialising in escape routes, RCI, and we might well get our money back. There are conditions but it’s better than the total loss we expected. I’ll let you know, but if you are in the same boat, you might give them a call, as they have done what they said they’d do and not done anything they said they wouldn’t, which puts them up in the good guys in my books Aparently the victims of the scams don't have long to get restitution before the window closes, 2013.
Meantimes, while I’ve been rabbiting, the weather seems to
have gone a bit more sensible, and though it’s still nice and warm,
the breeze is a great relief, a few smallish clouds have taken the
edge off the tumble-drier effect, and I feel that another small glass
of wine would be acceptable.
If all goes well we might be able to get out here for a week in
November. We generally don’t do two visits to an island of this size,
mainly because with Fiona’s planning and my driving, (combined
with the fact that we don’t do sunbathing,) means we’ve usually seen
most of what we want, and there are plenty of other islands to go.
We’ll see, It is a 5 star hotel that’s offering, and pretty good rates,
and the season is more to our liking……a pity to miss it.
Here's a picture of the road they made to get to a village called Masca. It is reported that nobody had noticed the village until the 1960's, and the residents didn't say anything, thereby avoiding taxes and other annoyances.
Tenerife does wiggly roads like you wouldn't believe
Ah well, Buenos Noches, or something like that.