Local Author in International Fairytale Collection

The cover for the 'Thrice upon a Time'  anthology

The cover for the anthology

Today we have a guest post from Rosemary J. Kind of Alfie Dog Fiction. It seemed the least embarrassing way to do it.

The website www.alfiedog.com carries over 1500 stories from more than 350 authors
around the globe, with more than 20 countries represented. Unlike most epublishing companies Alfie Dog is editorial led to ensure the high quality of the work available to the reader.

You can contact Rosemary at rjkind@alfiedog.com


Local Author in International Fairytale Collection

Local author Sheila Crosby is the author of the lead story for the
fairytale collection ‘Thrice Upon A Time’ from publisher Alfie Dog
Fiction. The collection brings together some of the best fairytales
from 18 authors across the globe.

Sheila who lives in Breña Baja on La Palma is a starlight guide,
specialising in showing visitors around the European Northern
Observatory at the Roque de Los Muchachos. She has 3 stories available
for download with www.alfiedog.com which is one of the biggest short
story download sites in the world.

With authors selected from America, Australia, France, The Canary
Islands and the United Kingdom it truly is an international
collection. ‘Thrice Upon A Time’ has some tales which retell stories
written long ago, but from a different perspective, and others which
are completely new. “Fairytales became popular again with the 200th
anniversary of the brothers Grimm,” says Alfie Dog Fiction’s managing
director, Rosemary Kind. “Our authors have set out to provide a
continuation of this grand tradition.” The humour of the fairytales is
aimed at adults and, as with the originals, the stories often have a
moral to them.

Sheila has had SF and fantasy stories published in SF Adbusters,
Cosmos Online, Wily Writers, Oceans of the Mind and Farthing, among
others, and non-genre fiction to the UK magazines Chat and Yours. It
comes to about 50 fiction sales so far. She has also published a
non-fiction guide book to the astronomical observatory on the island
of La Palma.

Sheila’s delighted to be in this collection of 18 fairy tales. Some of
them are old favourites given a tasty twist, while others, like
‘Thrice Upon A Time’ are completely new. All of them are fun.
Alfie Dog Fiction specialises in publishing short stories for download
as well as in book form, and has over 1,500 stories on its website
www.alfiedog.com, in multiple formats to suit most readers.
The collection will be available as download and in paperback from
21st August with the download priced from just £1.99 / $2.99 and can
be bought direct through www.alfiedog.com or through Amazon and other
leading online retailers and bookstores.

La Cancelita Viewpoint

La Cancelita Viewpoint, Los Llanos, La Palma, Canary Islands
The view of Los Llanos from La Cancelita

La Palma has even more glorious viewpoints then the other Canary Islands. One of my favourites is La Cancelita, where you get two amazing views for the price of one. The good view covers Los Llanos and a good chunk of the surrounding plain. (Los Llanos means ‘the plains’ but it’s not that flat by UK standards.
La Cancelita Viewpoint, Los Llanos, La Palma, Canary Islands
The view of the Caldera de Taburiente from La Cancelita

And the fantastic view sweeps down across the Caldera de Taburiente. All right, so you get fantastic views of the Caldera from almost anywhere around its rim, and from an awful lot of the Caldera floor, too. But this ones very accessible — just a short drive from Los Llanos.
Follow the brown signs for the Caldera, and then take Calle Cancelita. You’ll need to park when you run out of tarmac, and then walk along the dirt track for about five minutes. Believe me, it’s worth it.

La Cancelita Viewpoint, Los Llanos, La Palma, Canary Islands
La Cancelita viewpoint

Piscinas La Fajana, Barlovento

La Fajana salt water swimming pools, Barlovento, La Palma, CanaryIslands

La Fajana salt water swimming pools, Barlovento

Fancy swimming in sea-water without the waves?

These are some rather nice salt-water swimming pools at Fajana, five km outside the village of Barlovento, on the main road to Santa Cruz. At one time they were only the natural pools, but they’ve been improved rather nicely. There’s a pool near the top for senior citizens and the disabled, but the best places are reached down two flights of steps. They come in different depths, so that some are ideal for nervous beginners and some have more space. There’s lots of flat space for sunbathing, and some caves beside the pools provide space for those who want to read a book without getting burned.

Salt water swimming pools at La Fajana, Barlovento, La Palma

Salt water swimming pools at La Fajana, Barlovento, La Palma

There’s a cafe/bar/restaurant. It costs a bit more than similar places on the islands, but then they’ve obviously made a considerable investment by providing the pools. You aren’t allowed to take your own food down to the pools.

You can stay in the self-catering apartments (visible at the top of the first picture) Tel 922 186162.

There are also fresh water showers (50 cents) and toilets.

And would you believe it, the toilets/changing rooms have a lovely mural on the ceiling and the tops of the walls. ! It’s signed by the local artist, Luis Morera.

The toilets at La Fajana swimming pool, Barlovento

The toilets at La Fajana swimming pool, Barlovento

A Grotto in Breña Alta

The grotto in Breña Alta, La Palma, Canary Islands

The grotto in Breña Alta

La Palma has a network of marked hiking trails. The LP 19, in Breña Alta runs up from San Pedro, past a series of springs, into the lower end of San Isidro, and back down to the main road. Like most of these paths, the scenery is beautiful and keeps changing. And this path included bonuses.

Several of the springs feed laundry bowls. Since it’s easier to carry clothes than water, women brought the family laundry to the springs. I don’t know when the ones here fell into disuse, but I believe the one at Isora, in El Hierro, was still being used in the 1960s.

But my favourite bit is near La Sociedad, in San Isidro. The path climbs steeply up the side of the ravine, and passes several small, natural caves. And somebody has been very busy. They’re full of pot plants and religious statuettes, with a sprinkling of religious medals and rosaries.

Well I’m not religious, but it’s absolutely lovely. The biggest cave has tree trunks to sit on, and it would be a wonderful place to come when you’re feeling troubled.

The grotto in Breña Alta, La Palma islands

The grotto in Breña Alta

La Zarza Rock Carvings

Tree heather, Garafia, La Palma

Tree heather, Garafia, La Palma

One of the best archaeological sites on La Palma is La Zarza and La Zarzita, in Garafía.

You have to walk, but it’s a beautiful stroll through woods of heather and bayberry trees. Yes, heather is a tree here – see the top photo.

The whole walk takes about an hour, and first bit of the path is the steepest. It’s clearly signposted.

Rock carvings at La Zarza, Garafia, La Palma

Rock carvings at La Zarza, Garafia, La Palma

You reach La Zarza first. Here there is a cave with rock carvings around the entrance. The 29 carvings themselves are low relief swirls and meanders. they are definitely pre-Hispanic, made by the Benawara at least 500 years ago. They were only discovered in 1941.

Rock carvings at La Zarza, Garafia, La Palma

Rock carvings at La Zarza, Garafia, La Palma

They remind me a little of cup and ring stones on the Yorkshire Moors, only these are much more elaborate. It must have taken hours and hours to produce the designs, hammering on the rock “canvas” with another rock.

La Zarzita is a short walk away, and has 18 carvings.

The woods at La Zarzita, Garafia, La Palma

The woods at La Zarzita, Garafia, La Palma

La Zarza and La Zarzita are the most spectacular, but there are lots of similar sites on the island. Archeologists disagree on the meaning of the carvings. Certainly they’re nearly always found near water and/or pasture for goats, so most of the explanations focus on fertility and water cults.

La Zarza Rock Carvings

La Zarza Rock Carvings

Most visitors arrive by car. The car park is signposted, just off the main road around the north of the island, between La Mata and Llano Negro. Entrance is free to residents of Garafía, and 1.80€ for everyone else, and includes a small museum. In summer they open from 11 am – 7 pm and in winter, from 11 am to 5 pm.

There’s another famous archeological site at Belmaco in Mazo. That has an easier, less beautiful walk, more inhabited caves, and a larger museum, but the rock carvings are smaller and there are fewer of them.

The woods at La Zarzita, Garafia, La Palma

The woods at La Zarzita, Garafia, La Palma

La Palma’s Craft Fair, 2014

Poster for the 2014 craft fair in Tijarafe

Poster for the 2014 craft fair

Every year La Palma holds a craft fair, and usually there’s an amazing variety of crafts on display and sale: embroideries, cigars, ceramics, woodcarving, paining on glass, bags made out of goatskins, leatherwork, hand-made paper, etc. Last year’s fair was held in Los Cancajos. This year it will be in Tijarafe football ground from today (Wednesday 13th) until Sunday 17th. It’s open from 11 am until 9 pm.


It’s a great opportunity to get souvenirs and presents actually made on La Palma, instead of a plastic banana which says “A present from the Canaries” on the front and “Made in China” on the back.

Shooting stars on Tuesday night

La Polvacera (Breña Baja)  basketball court, full of telescopes.

La Polvacera basketball court, full of telescopes.

Tuesday night is the best meteor shower of the year, the Perseids. Of course it should be visible all over the planet, but La Palma’s astronomical viewpoints will probably be a particularly good place to see shooting stars. Unfortunately the full moon will spoil the show quite a bit. Cielos La Palma will be in La Polvacera basketball court from 9 pm – midnight with telescopes. Toño will also be pointing out constellations and talking about their myths.

I’m sure there are other activities elsewhere on the island for the Perseids.

[Cross-posted to starisland.co.uk]

New plants in the Caldera

arrot's Beak (Lotus pyranthus) in flower

arrot’s Beak (Lotus pyranthus) in flower

La Palma is very popular with botanists, because there are hundreds of species of plants which grow wild only on La Palma.

When three employees of the Caldera National Park went to do a survey on the north slope of Bejenado in the Caldera, the got four nice surprises. The first three are in the Rock Rose family.

  • Helianthemum broussonetii is a bush with white flowers which grows around Los Sauces. It was a complete surprise to find it
    in the park.
  • Helianthemum cirae or Helianthemum sp1 is a relative. They were particularly pleased to find this one, because all the Helianthemum cirae plants in their nursery came from one bush, which means that the genetic diversity was extremely low. Now they have another 100!
  • Helianthemum sp 2 is such a new discovery that it doesn’t even have a name yet. A few individuals have been found around Los Sauces, but I gather they’re really plasesed to have another 15.
  • Lotus pyranthus or pico de fuego (Parrot’s Beak) is on the red list of endangered plants.There are several examples in protective custody which are certainly surviving, but it’s not yet known whether they’re reproducing. One got killed by a fire, and it was thought that there were only three left. A fourth is very welcome.

Four plants in the world gives a whole new idea of “rare” doesn’t it?

The Pulpo bar/restaurant

The Pulpo, on thebeach at Los Cancajos

The Pulpo, on thebeach at Los Cancajos

The Pulpo bar and restaurant has been open for 40 years down on the beach at Los Cancajos. There were no charter flights to La Palma when the Pulpo opened in 1974, and it was a simple bar just for locals who fancied a beer after their swim. It’s grown over the years and for some time they’ve been serving food too. The menu isn’t that large, but it’s mostly fresh local food properly cooked, and cheap.

I’m betting they’ll keep going for another 40 years.

Pork chops at El Pulpo, Los cancajos, Breña Baja

Pork chops at El Pulpo


Mulberries growing in Breña Baja

Mulberries growing in Breña Baja

Mulberries were originally introduced to the greener parts of La Palma to feed silkworms for silk production. The fruit is a delicious side-effect. Sadly, you rarely see it on sale, because it’s fragile and doesn’t keep.

It’s also a strong, natural dye (and is used as such). If you pick your own, expect stained fingers and watch your clothes. In fact, if you’re staying near a mulberry tree in fruit, don’t leave washing out any longer than necessary, because they still dye even after it’s been through the inside of a bird.