General Franco

I’ve been doing a little research into the Franco years, as background for a possible novel. It was worse than I expected. I knew divorce was forbidden under Franco, and that a woman who ran away from a violent husband would be brought back by the police, who, like as not, would tell the husband to give her a good hiding to teach her not to run off again. I…

October 8, 2017
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Photos of the Pirate Invasion

August 6, 2017

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but that was fun! I hadn’t expected nearly so many actors in such good costumes, so very well rehearsed. I hadn’t expected so many spectators either. The crowds made for a great atmosphere, but they also made it hard to get good photos, and it didn’t help that I was using my new camera so I had to think about what I was doing….

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Happy Birthday Copernicus

  Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Torun, Poland on February 19, 1473. From the ancient Greeks, everyone in Europe believed that the Earth was the centre of the universe. The great work of Copernicus De revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres), published in 1543, showed that the sun was at the center. You can see evidence of this yourself with binoculars or a small telescope. Both…

February 19, 2017
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Happy Birthday, Teneguia!

The eruption of Teneguía, Fuencaliente, 1971
October 8, 2016

  The oldest rocks on La Palma are 3,000,000 years old, which is very young for geology. But the youngest rocks are just 45 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…

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Ship building in Santa Cruz de La Palma

The Bell from La Verdad. Photo: Thomas Cox
November 4, 2015

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…

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Hacienda de Abajo

July 25, 2015

 The poshest hotel on La Palma is both the newest and the oldest. That is, the hotel has been open for only three years, but the main building dates back to the 17th century. Hacienda de Abajo in Tazacorte was a sugar cane plantation and the main family house of the Sotomayor Topete family who owned quite a lot of the island, including an estate higher up (Hacienda de Arriba)….

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