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Crap! It’s here

It was bound to happen, I suppose. There are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the island. They were self-isolating at home before they were confirmed and the health authorities are hopeful that they can contain it. Obviously in this situation too many precautions are better than not quite enough. Schools, museums etc. have been closed. There are no visits to the observatory until further notice. Sporting events are cancelled…

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Handkerchief Trees

On one of my tour guiding jobs I was puzzled by a girl asking about the handkerchief trees. “I know they’re not really growing hankies,” she said, “but it looks like it.” It took me a while to work it out, but “handkerchief tree” is actually a very good description They’re actually little bags. Anything in the plum/peach/apricot family tends to attract wasps which lay eggs in the fruit, so…

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Rock formation which looks like Napoleon

Napeloen Bonepart in the Caldera de Taburiente

At the top of the Caldera there’s a rock formation that from one angle looks distinctly like Napoleon Bonepart, or an native American. So it’s called Boniface or El Indio. This photo is taken from below the Roque de las Viñas, beside the vineyard. The best viewpoint has a lethal drop and no guard rail. It’s totally unsuitable for small children, people with vertigo, and idiots. I’m assuming readers of…

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Goodbye Street, Tijarafe, La Palma island

“Goodbye Street”, Tijarafe

This is the street in Tijarafe which leads from the church to the Town Hall, where the cemetery used to be. Consequently it has the eloquent and poignant name, “Goodbye Street” (Calle Adios) This stuck in the mind of a local girl who emigrated to Cuba and became a poet: “If you come to visit my island, La Palma, do not forget Tijarafe where there is a street called Adios……

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The Dust Storm

The Canaries just had a dust storm. It’s not unusual to have dust from the Sahara; it happens whenever we get a southwest wind. But in 30 years of living here I’ve never seen anything like this. One reason the Canary Islands have world class observatories is that the air is usually clean. From our balcony we can see Tenerife more often than not, and that’s about 100 miles away….

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