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

C19th Streetlights in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz de La Palma was the 6th town in the world to have electric streetlights, starting in 1894. It wasn’t some noble idea of progress: the shopkeepers in the centre of town got together and arranged the lighting in order to extend the shopping day. The lights were powered by a hydro-electric plant outside town. Most lights on La Palma are designed to send all the light downwards, where…

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Footpaths on La Palma

La Palma has a network of well-marked footpaths, most of which are centuries old.  As late as the 1960s, walking was still a major form of transport for the islanders, The whole network of hiking trails on the island comes to over 1,000 km, and between them they pass through just about every kind of scenery on the island: lava fields, pine forests, lush laurel forests, farmland and village centres….

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Looking straight down on Baby Canary pine trees , La Palma island

Baby pine trees

Now that it’s autumn, lots of baby Canary pine trees are growing on the road sides above about 1,200m. At first sight, you wouldn’t think they were baby Canary pine trees, because they’re such a different colour. The adults are dark green, almost bottle green, while the babies are this lovely pale bluey-green. Every time I see them, I want a dress this colour. And when you look down on…

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An Ombu

There’s an ombu growing outside St Catherine’s fort in Santa Cruz de La Palma. What’s an ombu? Well it’s as big as a tree and it looks like a tree, but it sort-of isn’t one really. For one thing, the trunk isn’t wood – you can cut it with a knife. this one has a main tunk 90 years old, but the base is about 420 years old. Eventually the…

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Halloween

Halloween is not a traditional Spanish fiesta. Ten years ago, it was something the children learned about in English classes. But you know, kids love a chance to dress up, and they especially love an opportunity for legalised begging (and I was just the same). Naturally they love the idea of Halloween, and so do the shop keepers (obviously). And slowly, Halloween is becoming more popular. Don’t be too surprised…

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Camp Sites on La Palma

If you want to get really close to nature and have really cheap accommodation, you can’t do better than one of the camping sites on the island. They’re open all year round, but be aware that it can be cold in winter, and it’s quite likely to rain. You have to pay before you put the tent up, but you don’t have to book in advance except for the Caldera….

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