The Canary Bellflower

The Canary Bell flower, Canarina canariensis
February 3, 2019

This is the Canary bellflower which you can find it in laurel forests, and ocassionally on the edge of a field. The plant has a tuber which produces a scrambling vine each year up to 9 ft long, and it produces flowers all winter. The flowers are orange, about 2″ long, and have very pretty veins. I believe the black or purple fruit is edible, but I’ve never tried it….

Read More >>

“Goodbye Street”, Tijarafe

Goodbye Street, Tijarafe, La Palma island
February 1, 2019

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……

Read More >>

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,…

January 20, 2019
Read More >>

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…

January 16, 2019
Read More >>

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…

January 10, 2019
Read More >>

Roscon de Reyes

January 6, 2019

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…

Read More >>