WATERSPORTS - the A-Z Challenge

WINDSURFING – All I know about this sport is that it’s fun to WATCH from the beach or promenade, preferably with a glass of wine and a plate of tapas to hand. El Medano, at the foot of MontaƱa Roja right by the airport is the place to be. The WIND there is constant and the WAVES roll onto one of Tenerife’s rare sandy beaches.

We often see people arriving at the airport carrying huge black bags containing their boards, some of them of WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP standard..
Naturally there are also enthusiastic amateurs, and falling into the sea from a height is like hitting concrete – or so I’ve heard, I’m not brave enough to try – but the sensation of flying must be amazing when you get it right.

Other WATERSPORTS include this newbie that stopped us in our tracks last year. From where we were standing on Las Galletas seafront he appeared to be suspended on a column of WATER!




NOT THAT WE NEED TO WORRY, apparently. When the tiny island of El Hierro had months of undersea eruptions and earthquakes a couple of years ago, the Tenerife Government issued this statement:

The Cabildo would like to stress that Tenerife remains a safe destination, not only because there is currently no evidence of any risk of volcanic activity, but also because the island is equipped to deal with any volcanic risk situation (evacuation, volcanic surveillance and monitoring programme, etc).

The caldera of Mount Teide is one of the largest in the world, so when the top of the original mountain blew off it must have been a spectacular sight - albeit one best viewed from afar.

The landscape of our adopted island inspired me to write my first book some years ago. Originally I called it ROCK CHILD but in its present draft it is called VOLCANIC RACE. This prologue has never seen the light of day before, so please be kind - and if you're an agent, I'm looking for one!

Picture the scene – a world dotted with volcanoes and cut by rivers of fire that glow bright gold under a dark sky. Dinosaurs graze and hunt, tiny creatures scuttle, insects zip and pester.
Then a meteor the size of a small moon screams a fiery path through the fume-filled atmosphere and bombs a mile-deep hole into the earth’s surface. A billion tons of pulverized rock fountain skywards and the explosion flings an ellipse of mountains around the crater.
The impact creates a hair-line fissure that zigzags down the continent, and the land immediately spews lava in a frantic effort to weld itself back together. Burning vegetation pours smoke into the thickening atmosphere, the stars vanish, and morning never comes. All grazing creatures starve and the predators follow them to a premature grave, insects eat their flesh until that, too, is gone, and there is no life left on the face of the earth.
For decades - maybe centuries – the world is in darkness. The fissure scabs over in time, and the crater, two hundred miles long and girded by mountains high enough to be ice-clad even in summer, is gradually filled by rain, snow-melt and glaciers until it becomes a vast inland sea, from which three rivers spill south. The dust-cloud settles, and in this deep layer of fertile soil long-dormant seeds crack open, and the earth shines with new green.
Eventually a few fish crawl out of the sea on muscular fins and the slow process of evolution re-starts, but when water seeps into the underground lava-flows, the impatient earth mixes it with minerals to create instant life. Before apes learn to walk upright, a race of rockmen has spread out to inhabit the lands divided by the three main rivers.

Near a tributary of the most easterly of those rivers stands a small mountain which, when viewed from the plain, resembles a recumbent giant. Half-way up its steep side, just where the giant’s mouth appears to be, is a cave.


UNDERSEA LIFE - a 100 word story

Having reached U there are not many more letters to go in the A-Z challenge, and as this is Friday I am starting with a 100 word story inspired by a photograph on Rochelle's blog -  https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/ 
This is the photo
and this is my story

Whew! that was close!
I surfaced carefully enough, invisible against the snow in my polar bear furs. It was bone-numbingly cold but we need the fresh meat, and I moved so stealthily that the seal never suspected I was there.

I swear I didn’t make a sound, but suddenly their lights appeared over the ridge. 
I hid in a snowdrift until they’d gone, then I dived head-first through the hatch and here I am. I’m sure they didn’t see me, but I think the seal’s blood has left a trail.

You'd better start the engines – we'll have to move on.

Continuing the UNDERSEA theme, having gone UP Mount Teide in yesterday’s post, we mustn’t forget that its steep rocky slope also goes down 
One of the chief tourist attractions of Tenerife is the clear water that surrounds the island and which is home to many creatures from tiny fish to huge whales, On any given day there will be scores of divers exploring the UNDERSEA WORLD. 

If you don’t fancy being that UP CLOSE and personal with fish, moray eels and octopus, there are glass-bottomed boats and even a yellow submarine, which starts its tourist trips from Marina San Miguel by Amarillo Golf.
And to end today's post - UNUSUAL sights are always fascinating but it’s the small oddities that catch my attention - how's this for a spot of UP-PARKING?


TEIDE - and a TIGER - the A-Z Challenge

Teide is the name of the highest mountain in Spanish TERRITORY and it is the central point on the Canarian Island of TENERIFE.
The black and white photo was taken many years ago and the coloured one only last winter - mountains take a long time to change!
When there isn't this much snow - the Cabildo closes the roads when there is - you can drive to within a few hundred metres of the summit and take a cable car the rest of the way. We like to stop off at a barbecue area a mile above sea level to cook sausages and drink wine. 

The air is so clear that the Tenerife Observatory is world renowned.
Sometimes you can find yourselves driving through the clouds and out above them, which is like being in an aeroplane but with your feet on the ground -
- and I plan to spend a night up on the mountain watching the stars, possibly sipping champagne, before I am much older.

TOYS - Most children have cuddly toys - in fact I introduced you to my own doll in the E post of the A-Z challenge - and I have written poems about some of the toys my children and grandchildren have loved. With apologies if you've seen this one before, TODAY T is for TIGER


Tiger’s enormous
and covered in stripes,
if I’m tired I can ride on his back,
and I know that I’m safe
because Tiger is fierce,
so we’re never afraid of attack.

We go to the jungle
some nights when we’re dreaming,
pacing the green forest floor,
if an animal thinks
he can eat us for dinner
Tiger frightens it off with his ROAR!



SUN, SEA & SANDThe usual image of TENERIFE - which is true in part, although I hope my posts for the A-Z Challenge have SHOWN you there is more to the island.

SUN – we see the sun almost every day, so the logo for this year's A-Z Challenge seems appropriate today.
SEA – we are SURROUNDED by the Atlantic ocean and when the wind is in the right direction we get some SPECTACULAR waves..

If you head west from here the next STOP is SOUTH AMERICA, from whence a friend of mine SAILED SOLO in his yacht. It took Davie 42 days and a few close calls, but he made it, though he was a lot thinner than this when he arrived in Tenerife!

SAND is for SUNBATHING on but also for making SANDCASTLES. Some are so intricate they take days to make, but it's an ephemeral art at the mercy of the wind and the crowds.

Here is a SHORT STORY adapted from one I wrote for Friday Fictoneers - I hope you like it.


Juan built sandcastles for a living.
Every day he took his tools to the beach, collected damp sand from the tide-mark, and constructed dreams. Tourists would watch and take photographs – some even threw money into Juan’s bucket,  although never enough - and each night drunks destroyed his work.
“When will you get a proper job?” Lucia wailed, “The rent is due.”
“I am an artist,” Juan replied grandly.

But two days later he came home to find Lucia in the street, surrounded by their possessions and weeping bitterly. Juan kissed her and promised, ."We will have our own house soon."
"How can we? We have no money."
"I am a builder,” Juan said proudly, and on an unclaimed stretch of beach he mixed cement with the sand and built a house.



I am late on parade today with my A-Z post, so it's a good thing I had it planned!

To those of us who live here, Tenerife is sometimes known affectionately as THE ROCK. and let's face it - there's an awful lot of rock about.
BUT when people say "Steady as a rock" they are using an inaccurate simile, as the inhabitants of my village discovered eighteen months ago.

Parque de la Reina has its own motorway access – No22 if you want to explore – but in November 2013 it was blocked by a ROCK FALL that just missed crushing a car and the young couple inside.
There is a banana plantation perched on top of the cutting and I suspect that decades of watering were responsible for bringing down the wall.

The Cabildo chopped back the rock and were part-way through building a RETAINING WALL when there was a second collapse – fortunately at night so no workmen were injured.
The road was closed for months.


REMEMBRANCE DAY – the Tenerife branch of the RBL – sadly now closed due to the increasing age of its few active members and an increase in the amount of paperwork demanded by Head Office – hosted a REMEMBRANCE SERVICE at Westhaven Bay, Costa del Silencio, for many years. One year the crew of a British Royal Navy ship joined us - that was a day we shall never forget – and other guests have included Ricardo Melchior, President of the Tenerife Government.
These photos show how locals and visitors remember the fallen, Tenerife-style.



QUESO, QUINCE & QUESILLO - A recipe for the A-Z Challenge.

QUESO = Cheese. Most of the local cheese in Tenerife is made from goat milk – cows don’t live happily in our climate and any there are have to be kept indoors or they get sunburned. The supermarkets stock Gouda and Cheddar but we also like the local cheeses – even the fresh white cheese loses its rubbery texture when fried and served with jam 

QUINCE JAM - Membrillo is something I had never encountered before coming to Teneirfe, but every supermarket stocks these slabs of sticky brown quince jam. The traditional way to eat it is in slices on top of cheese.

QUESILLO – continuing the food theme tor today, quesillo is my favourite pudding when eating out. It is similar to flan, which is a caramel egg custard, but the texture is less smooth. You can also get quesillo almendra which is made with ground almonds. Every quesillo is slightly different because they are almost always homemade.
I made some today just so that I could take a photograph – the sacrifices I make in the interests of research!

This is my recipe, though I only used half quantities to make about a pint of pudding.
4 large eggs, 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 tablespoon water 350g can condensed milk, then use the condensed milk tin to measure two of fresh milk, juice of ½ lemon, 2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon.
* Dissolve sugar in water over low heat then boilrapidly without stirring until golden brown. Use this caramel to line a well-buttered bowl.
* Separate eggs. Beat the whites till frothy then mix in yolks.
* Add condensed milk and fresh milk, beat well.
* Finally add lemon juice and cinnamon.
* Pour into caramelised bowl and cook in a bain marie at̊ 180̊ for 60 – 90 minutes.
* Cool in bowl and turn out just before serving. The caramel will run down the side so make sure the serving dish is deep enough.
* You can serve it with cream and/or dark berries, but I prefer it neat. It slides down easily even after a huge barbecue.