Monthly Archives: January 2016

Inner Peace and Sanctuary

IMG_5722Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife, situated on the north coast is a tourist destination but one which, away from the main seafront, maintains it’s old world buildings interspersed with a mix of terraces and restuarants.  Walking around this small Canarian town with Peter, Linda and Matilda, their lovable beagle only seems to pull me closer to this island.

GarachicoHistory is abound throughout Tenerife, on one of our journeys we drove through Garachico a small town filled with reminders of its violent past.  Up until 1705 this picturesque town was a thriving sea port, exporting Malmsey wine and food then,  on May 5thIMG_5635 Mount Teide erupted.  Apparently, the large rock in the picture to the left was washed down by lava flows during the eruption which lasted several weeks.  Garachico’s residents lost their livelihoods and the port was destroyed!  As you travel though the town even today you can see the black volcanic soil that marks the direction of the lava flow down the 500 metre (1500 ft) steep cliff the town nestles below. Garachico 1The few old buildings which remain standing are testament to the beauty of old Spanish architecture.  I’ll be returning here on my next visit to investigate further and to quell my curiosity for knowledge about this old town which was rebuilt after the disaster!

Over the years Julie and I made many visits to the Canary Islands but this time, alone after her passing, it has been different, probably due to the change in my outlook on life and my attitude to growing older.  We both had noticed the sharp differences between Canarian and English culture many years ago, however, I’ve felt it more than before this visit.  I know this is the easiest place for me to write my book.  Indeed, prior to my return this time I’ve written the first chapter!

Over the years I’ve travelled to America, Russia, Europe and Australia but the Canary Islands seem to carress me with a gentle, relaxing peacefulness.  Here in the UK, life is about money, it’s fast paced and stressful, I’ve noticed parents have little patience with their children.  In Tenerife, you still need money but life is such the residents are more content. I’m not and never have been motivated by money, although have had to work hard to support my family and to give them a reasonable standard of living.  The native Canarian population are more family centred as am I, preferring to go to the beach or out for a simple family meal rather than sit in front of the television night after night.  Weekends are always special to them, some driving out to the many picnic areas for a barbecue, while others simply walk around with their dogs, call into a bar, sit and have tapas with their children, who also are content. I watched two boys of about eleven playing, not with playstations or XBoxes, but spinning tops.

The Canarian children have plenty of exercise and are respectful and polite.  While in Puerto de la Cruz, sitting with Peter and holding Matilda, a little girl rode up on her bike and asked “Puedo yo para mascotas tu perro?” which means “Can I pet your dog?” “Ce darling!” I replied, and gently she patted and stroked Matilda until called by her brother who was calling her for tea I guess, off she went with a “Mucha grasias, adios” and a friendly wave. Women and men alike have respect for each other and stop and talk in the street.  If you pass them on the pavement they will always respond if you wish them “Buenos dias” or “Buenos tardes” (“good morning” or “good afternoon”).  People in the UK either look away or look down, generally preferring not to answer and go about their business!  It’s almost as if being friendly is a crime.

I’m lucky enough to be able to travel, but while I’m in this green and pleasant land, I’ll try and spread some of that Canarian charm and cheer to all I meet, hopefully some of it will rub off! 🙂

Thanks for reading 🙂




Relaxing day, good evening, disturbed night!

imageThis is a fairly new village named Abedas, one of the quietest, peaceful places I’ve been to over the past few days.  Overlooked by an old leper colony, it’s residents are mainly Spanish but like most villages there are some German, Dutch and English ex pats.  Abedas (pronounced Abedath) is set in a little bay about half an hours drive east along the coast from Tenerife airport.  I’m pretty sure this is where I’m going to buy a property because I felt immediately at home, almost as if Julie was whispering in my ear, telling me to settle here and write. Peter, Linda and I had an excellent tapas lunch consisting of tuna, prawns, octopus, peppers and salad along with the obligatory beers and wine, except Pete, “the apple juice king”???.

imageAfter leaving Abedas we turned back westward to the little fishing village of Tajao, which reminds me a little of Polperro in Cornwall where I spent some of my childhood, busy but gently going about it’s business during peak times.  Surrounded by steep hills, Tajao is made up of two small bays, one for the port and the other a stony but beautiful beach. image

There are a few restaurants, all very busy even at this time of the year, all serving an array of dishes, the best of course being the locally caught fish which are usually displayed proudly by the the establishment owners in cold cabinets. No microwave meals here! U.K. Restaurants take note! ???. image Of course we even found time for Linda and Matilda to have a paddle.

I took the photo on the left in anticipation that Matilda might get a little over zealous and pull Linda into the sea!??? Never happened imagethough and Matilda decided she would take one final gaze at the sea before we set off back home to Valle San Lorrenzo. What a lovely well behaved dog she is, that of course is a testament to the love she receives from Linda and Pete!

Anyone who knows Linda will know she is a fantastic cook, she quickly put together a delicious curry at the apartment in the evening before suggesting Peter and I took a trip up to a local bar. Of course we obliged and several drinks later returned home…..for a few more.

About four in the morning I heard my door open, Pete stumbled into my room.  “Are you ok bud?”  I asked. “Aye fine lad” was the reply, he then stumbled around the room and climbed into bed with me!  “What the f..k” I think, and shot out of bed faster than a Trident missile on its way to Russia!  I went to the lounge and decide to sleep on the couch.   Linda obviously heard me get up and came in. “Are you ok?”asks Linda ” He’s in my bloody bed!” was my answer.  She then went into overdrive,  swiftly removing the still drunk intruder from my sleeping quarters! ?. ??????

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Pinky, defending the defenceless

imageMeet Martin, affectionately known as Pinky.  We’re all aware of the acts of indescribable cruelty against animals in the UK, it seems it happens everywhere, even on this beautiful island of Tenerife!

The owners of this lovable Labrador decided one day they didn’t want him, as he was “chipped” they knew if they just let him go they could be traced.  These people, I’m not going to insult the animal kingdom by comparing them to animals committed one of the worst cases of abuse I’ve ever heard of. Read on.

First they tried to cut out the chip, this failed, then they tried to strangle Pinky.  Thinking he was dead these morons then dug a hole and buried him.   Regaining consciousness the determined and frightened dog started to dig his way out!  For seven days he clawed and struggled his way to close to the surface.  By this time Pinky was severely emaciated, exhausted, being eaten by maggots and close to death, only able to manage somehow to bark weakly.

imageFortunately, fate intervened, a passing policeman heard his cries and proceeded to dig him out.  The officer gently pulled him out then took him to a local vet, Yaiza, in Los Christianos to have him put down.  This lovely vet decided he was worth saving, then for seven days and seven nights she dressed and tended Pinky’s injuries bringing him gradually back to life!

image imageThese photos make grim viewing but you need to see them to appreciate the gravity of the crime.

The cost of treating Pinky is about 57 Euros per day for the medicine to heal him properly.  A fund was set up to collect the monies required and dog owners from throughout Tenerife responded, culminating in a fundraiser on Sunday, January 10 at a local bar, The Market Tavern in Los Christianos, lasting most of the day.

imageEntertainers from across the island donated their time for free, a raffle and auction was organised.  Local hairdressers cut hair both on the Sunday and at an event a week or so earlier and in general the community united.  Facebook pages have been set up to receive donations, such as been the general outrage.

A huge amount of money was raised a the event, well in excess of 2000 Euros at the event I attended with Linda & Peter, more donations continue to roll in via the Facebook page.   Well done Tenerife!! I was more than happy to dig deep for this worthy cause.

As for Martin affectionately known as Pinky? He’s recovering very well and will be able to meet his public in another couple of months before joining his new family.

The two people who carried out this wicked act, one man and a woman have been arrested, charged and are being held in custody.  They are looking at a prison sentence for what has been described as one of the worst cases of animal cruelty on the island.

imageThanks for reading ??

Rest, relaxation and clarity

Arriving at Tenerife airport to see my longtime friends Peter, Linda and Matilda, their new baby imagehas been the highlight of the last very dark months.  Julie and I would have liked to have come back sooner but of course that was never to be.

Thursday was a day of conversation, wine and catching up, it’s a rare thing in life when after not seeing each other for so many years, you’re able to just pick up where you left off.  Pete, being the straight talking Yorkshire man he is greeted me with “bloody hell Acky you’ve put on some weight!” “Mate, I’m back to the weight I was when I got married” I laughed in reply before proceeding to take the Micky out of his new haircut. Linda unfortunately has laryngitis, which of course is not so good, except for Pete ??.  She seems to be ok but I think she is suffering more than she is letting on, all in all though they both seem pretty good and the Canarian lifestyle definitely agrees with them. ?

Look at the picture, how can you not feel good when you wake up to this every morning! image

Julie and I had planned to live in the canaries when we finally stopped work.  The only selfish dream we had was to move out here and merge with the cosmopolitan, less violent population and live our days out.  Julie, my darling, visiting our friends, has given me new resolve to live out our dream here albeit without you in body, I know you’ll be by my side all the way whatever I decide.

My talents are varied and plentiful, so if I can rebuild my life on this beautiful island, while writing my long planned novel I shall do just that.   The flowers are always in bloom, the people friendly and the sun shines most of the time.  If I can’t produce a written piece under these circumstances then I probably never will……????

Thanks for reading ???

2016 a New Year, a New Start

IMG_0102I picked this photo up this year off the web, the words describe perfectly the life I lived with Julie.  We laughed even through the hard times we had when we were younger.  We cared for not only our own children, but also worried for our extended family when they were facing their own battles.

We felt a sense of loyalty to our friends with some of the activities we were involved in, many times putting our own lives and work second to ensure they got the enjoyment they expected.  Sometimes this was appreciated but as we came to learn, many of those “friends” actually just take without thinking of those around, preferring to whisper and jibe, not realising or understanding the emotional wounds they inflict.

However, as you get older you realise you have a number of extremely close friends, those who will just come and sit for a couple of hours just talking about life because they know every little helps, some who you see on a daily basis, quite a few who you’ve sat with and listened to their problems and a few who, no matter how great the distance, will always be there for you.  Thank you to all of you, both family and friends for understanding and for being there over the last couple of years, you all helped Julie and I to cope and face what life threw at us, even though the outcome was tragic.

Enough of the past!  What about the future?  I’ve resolved to make some changes in my life!  I’m fortunate to have a couple of very close friends in Tenerife, so finally on the 7th of January I’m going to pay them a long overdue visit because Julie’s illness prevented her from traveling any distance.  IMG_3945Linda and Peter became longtime friends when both Julie and I, (then later our daughters, Leah and Hannah) worked for them at  local (now a housing development) pub they were running about twenty years ago.  We had a lot of laughs along with the other staff during our time there.  With their “anything is possible” attitude, they built an esablishment which became the “go to destination” throughout the year.  Was it hard work? Yes, but it was one of the most enjoyable times of our lives.

In Julie’s final letter to me, which I opened about three weeks after she died, she wrote “Do all the things we’d planned my darling, travel and go fishing, I’ll be with you don’t worry!” “When you sit in our beautiful garden (I’m not doing that as sit in my office writing, it’s raining and windy!), I’ll be there holding your hand.  Wherever you are, don’t forget, I’m just in another room”

So 2016, I’m going to travel.  I’m going to take more photographs.  I’m going to write more, including my blog and the story of my life before and with Julie and of the struggles we faced and overcame together and with our family.  The story of two people who were real soulmates.

Watch this space and thank you for reading XXX