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

Franco’s body will be moved

Ever since he died in 1975, Franco the dictator has been buried in the Valley of the Fallen, some 64 km from Madrid. On Thursday he’ll be moved to the family mausoleum. This is controvercial. The right w ing say that moving Franco’s body will just open wounds while others say that it will close the wounds of hose whose family members died on the republican side. Officially the Valley…

Read More >>

Dragon Trees

The north of La Palma is one of the best places to see dragon trees. These exotic-looking plants grow throughout the Canary Islands, and also in Cape Verde, the Azores, Maderia, and western Morocco, but  on La Palma, they’re still reproducing naturally. The Canary Islands used to have a large, flightless bird, something like a Dodo. This bird ate dragon tree fruits, so the seeds evolved to have a hard protective…

Read More >>

Ship building in Santa Cruz de La Palma

Santa Cruz used to be the third biggest port in the Spanish empire, after Cadiz and Antwerp. So perhaps it’s not surprising that it also used to be quite a big shipyard. Some 90 ships were built there between 1809 and 1948. In fact I was recently told that the chestnut trees weren’t introduced for the chestnuts: they were mostly for the wood, for shipbuilding. One of the biggest was…

Read More >>

El Paso’s Silk Museum

La Palma has a long history of silk production, going back to the 16th century. In fact, at one time, silk was made in all the Canary Islands, but since the 19th century, El Paso, in the centre of La Palma, is the only place which still produces it. They use an old fashioned, labour-intensive technique, the only place in Europe which still does so. You can see most of…

Read More >>
The eruption of Teneguía, Fuencaliente, 1971

Happy Birthday, Teneguia!

  The oldest rocks on La Palma are 3,000,000 years old, which is very young for geology. But the youngest rocks are just 48 years old, and it’s their birthday this month. The Teneguía volcano erupted during October and November of 1971. My husband was a teenager at the time, and he remembers going to see it from the San Antonio volcano, and he remembers hearing the deep rumbles at…

Read More >>

Ravens on La Palma

Common Ravens live all over Europe, Asia and North America, but we have a different sub-species here. Some biologists group our raven in with the North African sub-species (Corvus corax tingitanus) and others think the Canaries have their own sub-species (Corvus corax canariensis). Like other members of the rook-and-crow family, they’ll eat whatever’s available: carrion, insects, cereal grains, berries, fruit, small animals, and food waste. And they’re pretty intelligent about…

Read More >>