The Dragon Tree Viewpoint

There’s a rather nice viewpoint in Puntagorda, on the main road at km 78. Its most obvious attraction is the dragon tree, leaning much further over than the tower at Pisa. > But when I was last there, I was charmed by a tame red-billed chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax barbarus. They’re relatives of rooks and crows, but this particular sub-species only lives on La Palma where they’re called grajas. They’re something…

July 30, 2013
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Growing Bananas on La Palma

When I first came to La Palma in 1990, around 40% of the population depended on the banana trade: growing bananas, packing them, or driving them. But even with the EU subsidy, it’s hard to make a living from bananas. If you’re unlucky with the weather, you can work hard all year and still make a loss. So the economy is diversifying, and a good thing too. But bananas are…

July 26, 2013
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Smile for the camera

“From its perch in the Saturn system, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft took pictures of Earth from nearly 900 million miles (nearly 1.5 billion kilometers) today. To celebrate the first time the public has had advance notice that Earth’s portrait was being taken from interplanetary distances, scientists and engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and other Earthlings elsewhere gathered to wave at Saturn on July 19. Cassini took pictures of Earth between…

July 19, 2013
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Fiesta del Carmen in Puerto Tazacorte

Wednesday was the Fiesta del Carmen, which is celebrated in Santa Cruz and Puerto Tazacorte. They have a special mass, and then they take the statue of the Virgin of Carmen out for a procession. So far, so much like most fiestas on the island. Only in this case, they take the statue of the virgin out on a boat parade, to bless the fishermen.These photos are fromPuerto Tazacorte. The…

July 17, 2013
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Satelite Photo of La Palma

This is one photo I didn’t take myself – I wish! As you probably guessed, it’s a NASA photo, taken from the Space Shuttle in 2008. If you want to see the high-resolution version, together with some text about the geology of La Palma, and how the image was taken, click here.

July 15, 2013
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Isaac Newton’s birthplace

July 12, 2013

Today we went to Isaac Newton’s birthplace, Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire. It’s a nice little manor house, mostly from the 17th century. In the field opposite, there’s a horse with markings exactly like a Friesian cow. We nicknamed it the moo horse. More to the point, the house has drawings scratched into the plaster walls by the young Isaac Newton. Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day, premature and so…

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