When the Cabildo improved the TF-655 road from Guaza to Chafiras a few years ago, they levelled out the highs and lows and straightened the bends, but one fifty-metre stretch in Parque de la Reina was left untouched - the houses whose front doors open onto the road would probably collapse if disturbed.
This stretch is a blind hump from both directions with a 40K speed limit that isn't low enough - but drivers ignore that anyway. The only relatively safe place to cross is actually on the brow where your silhouette would be easier to see, but people walk - or run - over on one side to go to Maxcoop supermarket, and on the other side the little old ladies from the little old houses wander across, presumably putting their faith in the Almighty.
Then this week we saw machinery nearby. Was it possible the Cabildo weas about to level it out?
Between downpours, the machine dug out the rough ground at the edge, a metre wide and two metres deep. A man with a stop/go sign stood on the brow of the hill all day, causing even more delays to traffic already diverted away from the collapsed autopista slip road (see earlier posts)
And then at nine o'clock this morning I watched as they began to fill it in again! With picon - small gravel from the volcanic store which comprises Tenerife.
So presumably all they're going to do is cover it with tarmac and go.
Leaving an extra metre for the cars that already zoom over it so fast that their wheels leave the road, and for the cyclists who struggle over it three abreast to spread out even further.
First things first - apologies for absence. I have been busy lately rewriting a novel - I'll tell you about that another time - and my blogs have been infrequent, to say the least. So I have decided to kick-start it again with a "Show and Tell Sunday", and if I have any followers and visitors left, please leave a comment to encourage me to continue!
Christmas is coming in Tenerife as well as the rest of the world, and one of our first signs is the poinsettias coming back to full colour in the gardens. We also have Los Reyes - The Kings - waiting on the roundabout to be lit up at night.
For those of you who have been following the avalanche story - here is this morning's set of photographs.
When the workmen told me it would take twenty days, they should have added 'probablemente' - this is manana country, after all!
People have been blaming the rock-fall on the heavy rain we had two days earlier - our first in over a year - but I think it is more likely to be due to the banana plantation perched on top. This is a closeup of the cliff through which they cut the access road when building the autopista 25 or so years ago - Huge rocks, so heavy that I cannot lift a head-sized one - interspersed with gravel layers riddled with holes in which the local pigeons nest.
Twenty-five years of steadily-seeping water - we are lucky there wasn't a school built at the base of the cliff.
Steady as a rock? I will never use that phrase again without visualising this - and yes, that side road really IS that steep!
We see this sign all over Tenerife and usually drive light-heartedly past it.
As I blogged last week, we should not be quite so blasè, for although there was no warning sign here, on November 11th a rock face fell and almost crushed a young couple in their car.
Since then we locals have been following the progress of repairs with interest, because anyone wishing to go south on the motorway from here has to take another, more convoluted route, and the sooner it's fixed and re-opened, the better.
I walked up there this morning, and stood under the bridge to watch while a workman wrapped a canvas belt round a rock as big as he was. He then stood practically underneath it while a machine lifted it into position in what appears to be a retaining wall built from the rocks that fell. Recycling at its most basic.
Oh yes - and someone has covered "Los Cristianos" on the road sign. I looked round the back and it's just several strips of black bin liner tied together, but I suppose it's better than nothing - perhaps I should take some parcel tape with me tomorrow?
These two pictures appeared on the website www.newsinthesun.com this week - the young couple just escaped being crushed when tons of rock fell from a vertical cliff-face on the road from our village - Parque de la Reina - to the motorway on Monday 11th. Luckily the driver reacted quickly enough to swerve onto the other side of the road.
The Cabildo put a barrier across the tunnel, but failed to warn drivers leaving the roundabout in Parque de la Reina that they couldn't get through -
a Men Working sign and a Falling Rocks sign is not enough information. The traffic during the rush hours since has been chaotic. Cars wanting to access the southbound carriageway of the TF1 drive up, stop and look, and then do a three-point turn in the road and go back to find another route.
Cars wanting the northbound carriageway have to wait until the 3-point-turn is completed, and cars rushing OFF the northbound carriageway have to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting them.
I walked up there again this morning and in five minutes I counted 23 cars, one truck and three motorbikes maneouvering to turn round.
Oh yes - and three near-collisions.
There were workmen clearing more of the rubble, but they couldn't tell me when the road would be re-opened - presumably the cliff must be made safe first, although the banana plantation worker on top of it didn't seem concerned as he chopped back cacti within inches of the edge.
This ball of fluff and hundreds of its cousins have been growing over the past few weeks from this. . .
. . . . .. to this
and are due to make their maiden flights this full moon, after which these large, magnificent birds will live at sea and only return to land to nest and breed.
But they will only reach the sea unharmed if the inhabitants of the coastal regions of Tenerife put their lights out between 10pm and 1am tonight, November 2nd.
According to the local paper, the Corey's Shearwater is an endangered bird that breeds on our cliffs, but the new fledgelings can become confused by electric lights and crash-land. We are asked to turn off our lights during those crucial hours, and there's even a list of numbers to call if you find a grounded chick.
The authorities are calling it "Noche en Negro" = "Black Night"