• The Dodo Dragon and other stories
  • A Breathtaking Window on the Universe
  • The Seer’s Stone
  • About Sheila Crosby
The famous sea-front balconies in Santa Cruz de la Palma

The Famous Balconies

These are the famous sea-front balconies in Santa Cruz de la Palma. Actually these are the backs of the houses: the fronts look onto the Calle Real. When I first came to the island in 1990, the woodwork was all green and the plaster all white. For the town’s 500th anniversay, in 1993, the whole lot disappeared behind acres of black plastic sheeting for weeks while they were repainted in…

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Roque Teneguía, Fuencaliente, La Palma island

Roque Teneguía

Roque Teneguía is an outcrop of clinkstone (phonolite) among the basalt gravel (lapilli) below San Antonio volcano in Fuencaliente. It looks quite striking, because it’s so much paler than the surrounding lava field. It’s also slightly rosey.   The gravel around the base is from 1677. I’m not sure how deep it is, but I know in some other places it’s 2 metres deep or more, so Roque Teneguía must…

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The cover of 'A Breathtaking Window on the Universe: Second edition

A Breathtaking Window on the Universe

t-here’s a guidebook to the observatory for normal people. I think it’s a rather good book, with clear explanations, lots of photos and some good anecdotes. However you shouldn’t pay much attention to my opinion because I wrote it. Table of Contents for the Second Edition of “A Breathtaking Window on the Universe: a guide to the observatory at the Roque de los Muchachos”. Any words in bold are explained…

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Spot the Lava Flow

Just north of Fatima, El Paso Ladies and gentlemen, can you spot the lava flow in this picture? This lava flow at Fatima in El Paso is from the eruption of Volcan San Juan (St. John’s volcano) in 1949, but the whole island is volcanic. And, geologically speaking, it’s still in nappies. The very oldest rocks on the island formed as a submarine volcano, some 3 three million years ago….

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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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