The lights went off and the stars switched on

April 22, 2018

In spite of worries about the weather, Friday night’s “Switch off the lights and switch on the stars” went really well. It was gusty, but there were very few clouds. I did wish I could have blown one off the Pleiades though. I’d hoped for more people (Note to self: next year do more advanced publicity so there’s a bigger crowd.) but I was very glad I’d invested in a…

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Turn on the Stars

April 19, 2018

Friday is the 11th anniversary of the starlight declaration. To celebrate, street lights will be turned off for an hour starting at 14 locations around the island. Most of the places will have telescopes for the public to look at the stars for free, and live music. I’ll be at Puerto Naos, at the north end of the sea front with my 4″ telescope.

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Things that go SKRAWK in the night

At this time of year in La Palma, you might hear rather unnerving Howie-howie-SKRAWK! noises in the night, something between a furious tom cat and a duck. You’re particularly likely to hear it near the sea. The first time I heard it, I wasn’t exactly scared, but I was rather glad that I was inside a solid house and the whatever-it-was clearly outside. I’m sure I’d have felt decidedly uncomfortable…

June 1, 2016
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Things that go SKRAWK in the night

At this time of year in La Palma, you might hear rather unnerving Howie-howie-SKRAWK! noises in the night, something between a furious tom cat and a duck. You’re particularly likely to hear it near the sea. The first time I heard it, I wasn’t exactly scared, but I was rather glad that I was inside a solid house and the whatever-it-was clearly outside. I’m sure I’d have felt decidedly uncomfortable…

June 28, 2013
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San Juan (St John) 2013

The feast of San Juan (St. John the Baptist) is June 24th. Many people light bonfires on St John’s Eve. In the days before municipal rubbish collection, it was a practical way of having a clear out. But in Puntallana, there is a long-held folk belief that the bonfires keep away witches. Jumping over the fire is supposed to protect you from disease and the Evil Eye. It’s also a…

June 20, 2013
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Fire fiesta on La Palma

Thursday is the feast of St John the Baptist.  On La Palma, they have the very sensible custom of holding the party on the night before the public holiday, so that everyone can sleep late the morning after.  Since fiestas often go on until the early hours, sleeping in next morning is delicious. In Catholic countries, people celebrate the feast of St John with bonfires.  (Any similarity to pagan midsummer…

June 21, 2010
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