• A Breathtaking Window on the Universe
  • The Seer’s Stone
  • The Dodo Dragon and other stories
  • About Sheila Crosby

A Breathtaking Window on the Universe

Table of Contents for the Second Edition of “A Breathtaking Window on the Universe: a guide to the observatory at the Roque de los Muchachos”. Any words in bold are explained in the glossary. The second edition of “A Breathtaking Window on the Universe” is now on sale, price 17€ from shops or 15€ + P&P from this site. To continue reading, click here to buy the book.

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Belmaco Cave, the Royal Palace in Mazo

  Before the Spanish invasion, Belmaco Cave was the home of the kings of Mazo. The first rock carvings were found in the 18th century, which was the start of archaeology in the Canary Islands. Today, it’s open to the public. The entrance is on the other side of the road. A little farther inside, there’s a small, two-story building housing various artefacts, like shell spoons and bone punches, and…

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Tobacco in La Palma

I don’t smoke, so everything I know about Palmeran cigars is from hearsay. But they seem to have a very good reputation. Certainly Winston Churchill was known to be a fan, and certainly they get shipped off to the Spanish royal family. Most of the tobacco farms on the island are in Santa Cruz, Breña Baja, and especially Breña Alta. Typically, the crop is grown in tiny fields and given…

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The Inauguration of the LST

  The Large Sized Telescope was inaugurated on Wednesday October 10th. I didn’t get chance to take many photos, because I was working. My part in the inauguration was to look after a group of 42 Japanese scientists and engineers for the day, showing them around GTC and the Roque before the speeches and ribbon cutting. The VIPs incuded Pedro Duque the science minister, and Takaaki Kajita Nobel Prize winner and director of…

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Whitney Port wearing Manolo Blahnik's 2009 design 'Tribeca'. Photo: David Shankbone

Manolo Blahnik

Manolo Blahnik’s Czech father met his mother on a stopover in Santa Cruz de la Palma. He continued his journey, but promised to come back. The unusual bit is that he did indeed come back and marry her, and they set up home just south of Santa Cruz on a banana plantation. “Our property had no neighbours apart from my grandfather’s house. It was just bananas, the sea and us……

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Wild Canary in a juniper tree, Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma

Wild canaries

 For some time I’ve been trying to identify the birds twittering in a Canary Islands juniper tree (Juniperus cedrus) at the Roque. It’s been frustrating because although you can frequently hear a whole flock of them twittering, they tend to stay deep inside the tree and it’s very hard to catch a glimpse of one. It’s even harder to get a photograph in order to identify them. As you can…

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