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

Pitahayas

The fruits of several different cactuses are called pitahayas. The yellow ones in the picture are Hylocereus megalanthus, and the pink ones are Hylocereus undatus. To be honest, I was rather disappointed by the (lack of) flavour of them both. Some time ago I had what I think was a Hylocereus costaricensis, which was deep red all the way through, and much tastier. I wish I had a bigger garden,…

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Blessing the Animals

January 17th is the fiesta of San Antonio Abad (St. Anthony the Abbot) in Fuencaliente, and at midday the priest holds a special, traditional service to bless the animals in the church square. I was curious, so a few years ago, I went. I didn’t know whether to expect pets or farm animals, but there were both. At twelve promptly, the priest came out, gave a short sermon on looking…

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Where the Heck is La Palma Anyway?

I originally came to La Palma to work at the astronomical observatory here. Almost as soon as I heard I’d got the job, my parents went to a travel agent to find out how much it would cost to visit. The girl at the desk said, “Las Palmas de Gran Canaris? Certainly Sir. I’ll just look it up for you.” “No,” explained my father. “The island of La Palma. My…

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Roscon de Reyes

Today the three kings visit babay Jesus and bring presents for all good children (and coal for the naughty ones). There’s also a tradition of eating a ring-shaped cake called roscon</ There’s a Canarian version, something like a light fruitcake, but this year we tried the one from mainland Spain with a custardy filling. They come with two srprises, rather like the charms in an English Christmas pudding. My husband…

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New Year Celebrations: Australian and Spanish

New year is a big thing in Spain. In the last few years, many town halls have put on events for  “Australian New Year” which means they start at midday so little kids can enjoy them. The poster above is for the one at Los Alamos in Breña Alta (take the main road north out of San Pedro for a few hundred metres.) The writing in the bottom left is pretty…

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