Week 570

Sunday, 24th November, 2019

Wonderful day of strong sunshine with 26C/79F but interspersed with cloud cover. It is really lovely to get some cloud to graduate the sky. We walked to photograph my favourite garden. We have both turned from elaborate house decoration and fully planted gardens to far more minimalist everywhere. The white, simplicity of Cycladic style is ingrained on our imaginations. Our new house is white, bare walls and our garden is grass with just some utilitarian pots of plants on the patio. 

Gorgeous girl with gorgeous planting.

The lack of rain leaves gardeners here planting for largely arid conditions and mulching everywhere with dark, volcanic pebbles which set off the plants beautifully. Palms and cactus abound. I particularly love these ball cactuses. 

Sunday, of course, the day of packed supermarkets and empty churches and, in this Catholic community, so it is here. Good to see they are getting their priorities right. I am trying to. I’ve done my sunbathing, swimming and my walking and now I will eat fish & salad before watching a difficult match for Man.Utd. against Sheffield Utd. Looks an enjoyable watch.

Monday, 25th November, 2019

Can you believe that we are in the last week of November already. Schools have about 4 weeks left of this term. Whoever thought teaching was arduous? You’ve no sooner started than you’re breaking up. What are these teachers moaning about?  Some of us have to cope with resting in the sunshine.

In Tenerife, the temperature may be a sunny 25C/77F but commerce must go on. After Black Friday – whatever that means – the shops are now decorated out as if the temperature is cold enough for maintaining snow. The Christmas tree has gone up and is illuminated by the sun. It wouldn’t get me in the mood but that’s quite difficult nowadays anyway.

Jingle bells …..

Actually, I did get carried away on seasonal euphoria and bought Pauline a present. She spotted it in an outdoor shop:

I know she’s always wanted a peg bag even though she doesn’t even have a washing line and nothing ever gets pegged out. It’s the thought that counts and the €9.90/£8.45 I paid out.

The best Christmas present ever!

We are going mad tonight and cooking fillet steak. I will take some time to get over that but it is a rare aberration so I will try to be kind to myself. 

Tuesday, 26th November, 2019

As the sun rose outside and, after I had downloaded my newspaper and reviewed my Twitter-feed, I checked the bank account. Nothing much changes apart from standing orders going out because we always pay for time abroad in local currency to avoid additional exchange rate costs. Over the year, as the £/€ rate fluctuates, I buy thousands of pounds worth of euros for future use. I have apps on computer/iPad and smartphone and check the rate many times each day. It has become an addiction I picked up when we were buying for our Greek house and especially when we were selling it. Picking the right rate/time made £1000.00s difference.

Brexit machinations have meant a fluctuating rate which, although I’m not dealing in hundreds of thousands now, still makes a small difference and makes me feel better. What it means is that I am forward-buying all travel expenses which makes it less painful at the time. Today, however, I was shocked to find 2 x £100.00 deposited in our account until I suddenly realised it was the Winter Fuel Allowance for old people.  

This old chap is more than 2 years younger than me!

It does feel rather wrong of me to be receiving help with my heating while sunning myself in the warmth of Tenerife. I absolutely agree that fuel poverty must be alleviated but we really don’t need it. Having said that, we know that means testing leads to many not claiming what is rightfully there’s. 

Wednesday, 27th November, 2019

Sue Wilson

My radio alarm goes off in UK at 5.55 am. It opens on Radio 4 weather forecast and Tweet of the Day followed the Today programme. It has been like that for more than 40 years which means that I don’t actually need the radio to wake me up on time. Here in Tenerife, I have my phone alarm set to 5.55am and my iPad at my bedside to stream radio.

Actually, I didn’t need any of this to wake me this morning because my cousin, Sue Wilson deep in the Dordogne, rather pre-empted my routine by blasting my phone at 5.46 am with a Messenger conversation. She wanted to know who to vote for in her ‘home constituency’ of Market Harborough so she’s either got a postal or a proxy vote. Unfortunately, This middle England constituency is and always has been solidly Tory. The prediction is that Tories will take 55% of the vote with Labour getting 25% and Lib Dem’s on 18%. To reduce the Tory majority, she needs to vote Labour. 

Thursday, 28th November, 2019

We leave this place tomorrow after 28 wonderful days. We have really enjoyed it. The weather has been absolutely outstanding – the best of all the 4 November stays we’ve had. The property we’ve rented has been the best and the area has been by far the most enjoyable. We have loved walking around the area in spite of the hills and we have completed 56 hours of walking and I have covered 160 miles over the stay. I have done 2 x 30 mins swimming each day. I really do feel that 28 hours of swimming have made me fitter.

As relatively recent converts to fish, this place is like heaven. It is available, plentiful and incredibly cheap. Although most of the fish is well known to us, there are still many that we don’t know to sample on our next visit.

Steaks of Blue Butterfish which isn’t blue or buttery but is fish.

We’ve also enjoyed sampling the local wines and cheeses particularly one or two lightly smoked, goat’s milk cheeses.

We had a family planning meeting last night. We were planning our travel for next year. Currently, we expect to be quite busy with a week in Bordeaux in May, a trip of about 5 – 6 weeks in June-July in which we will put the car on the Portsmouth – Bilbao/Santander ferry and then a drive across Spain to the coast of Murcia where we will rent a villa. In August-September we will go to Athens as usual. Mid October will see us back in Yorkshire and then we would be happy to return here next November for another month or maybe 5 weeks. All of that will amount to more than 3 months away from home in the next 12 months.

Friday, 29th November, 2019

We brought to an end one of the most enjoyable months of travel we have had in recent times. It was absolutely delightful and it ended in just the same way. The day was hot – 29C/84F – and sunny. We were up early – me to do some exercise and get out of Pauline’s way while she packed our cases for leaving. We stripped the beds, collected the towels for the cleaners to take away. Pauline cleaned the floors and the kitchen just as she would in her own home. I did man’s work outside by tidying the pool area – a lizard had come down to drink over night and had drowned. I tidied up the patio and laundry house.

VIP Lounge – Tenerife South

Darius, our property manager, arrived right on time to take us to the airport where we immediately exercises our EasyJet Plus privilege of dropping our bags off early having already checked-in on line. We quickly went through our fast track security checks and went down to the VIP Lounge – Sala Montana Roja. This provided us with quiet respite from the hubbub outside plus refreshment and excellent wi-fi.

Our EasyJet flight was an Airbus A321 and we paid a little extra to choose our ‘extra legroom, emergency exit seats months ago. All the extras like early bag drop, accelerated security checks and speedy boarding all came for the modest extra outlay for seat choice.

Easyjet A321

Currently, we love Easyjet. We use it whenever we can. We caught one of the first ever Easyjet flights from Athens in 1995 but it was not very reliable. We tended to prefer Olympic or British Airways.

We were landing at Gatwick almost before we knew it – actually, the flight out was 4 hrs 20 mins but the return was only 3 hrs 40 mins. Our pre-booked taxi was there to meet us and we were home within an hour. Taxi cost £50.00 each way which is a lot cheaper thgan 4 weeks in the Long Stay carpark. I had switched the central heating and hot water on first thing in the morning via my Hive app and the house was toasty and welcoming after the shock of the cold around Gatwick. The hardest part of the journey back was pushing the door open because of all the post on the mat.

We had the most wonderful month and could have stayed for more quite happily but home coming is so welcoming. It makes going away all the more worthwhile!

Friday, 29th November, 2019

A different palm tree on a different shore.

We set out early on a massive shopping round. It was cold but I stuck to my short sleeved tee shirt and shorts. We were at the Post Office Parcel Depot by 8.00 am to be told that the parcel we had missed had been return to China. Next was a frustrating round of shops in Worthing town centre looking for Christmas cards. They seem increasingly hard to source and particularly good ones. I know email, etc., is so much easier but I can’t quite make that leap yet. It seems unfriendly, uncharitable and a little mean spirited. Actually, quite a lot of our older contacts I only know the postal address of and nothing else. It is just a pleasant way of keeping the past alive with a seasonal acknowledgement.

To get to town, we drive down the coast road and you can see how dark and inhospitable it was at that time in the morning. I think we were registering about 6C/43F. The palm trees survive but they’re not happy.

Winter Seascape

Asda, Waitrose, Wilko, Sainsburys, Tesco – we shopped in them all and didn’t get home before mid day some 4 hrs later. We hadn’t eaten either. Still, time for a bit more self-discipline! Football this afternoon and it was good to see Man City held to a draw and local team, Southampton score a later winner for once. Tomorrow, Pauline is going to trial her Christmas Day starter which will remain very hush-hush until she serves it. We will also start back at the gym after a month away. Could be a hard day!

Week 569

Sunday, 17th November, 2019

A quiet day which has started with politics and political interviews as well as reflections on  a devastatingly crass interview by a member of our royal family broadcast last night, will be gently played out with newspapers and exercise. There is certainly plenty to read today and, as I write at 11.00 am, I have already completed a 30 mins swim and are preparing for our morning constitutional. 

A really useful pool.

Our pool is exactly right for us. We don’t want some plunge pool to cool off or a playing pool for families with children. We want a swimming pool so we can do ….swimming. This pool is ideal. It is 16m x 2.5m / 52ft x 8ft. Even in the lovely, warm weather here, the water in a pool can feel quite chilly to get in to. Our pool is heated all day/night to a deliciously warm temperature. The owners usually charge for this but gave it to us ‘free’ because we were renting for a month. They have also clearly heard that I stumbled into the pool in the evening darkness at last year’s property because they have automatic lights fitted for all round illumination. Although we don’t need to, we make a practice of covering the pool after every swim in order to cut down the cost of maintaining the temperature.

Sifnos Police Station & its only patrol car.

Been reading an amusing story in a Greek magazine/blog about Sifnos and its police force. We never really had much to do with the police force apart from getting identity documents authorised/stamped (for a fee) prior to receiving building permissions. The one police station is about the size of a public toilet. The force for the entire island is three strong although one is on long term ‘leave’ and they only have one patrol car at their disposal which is an ancient, 4-wheel drive that keeps breaking down. No wonder the islanders feel they should not fear the law because it may turn up late by bus.

Monday, 18th November, 2019

A lovely hot (warm) and sunny day in which we rather indulged ourselves by relaxing in the sunshine. Of course, we did do our regular hour’s swimming and our minimum 10,000 paces.  Actually, we are averaging 12,000 per day while we are here. We did walk down to the shopping mall where Christmas decorations had been put up over the weekend.

Christmas in Tenerife…Where did we leave the snow?

Nothing seems appropriate about Christmas here as the sun beats down although villa rental prices significantly increase for the month of December. Pauline cooked the most wonderful meal of pan fried tuna steaks which she served with salads. Pauline’s sister is not well. She has had a hospital procedure which has led to complications and left Pauline concerned. It makes our current destination feel quite remote. P is back in hospital. However, there is nothing to be concerned about yet.

Pizza Express in Woking  has suddenly achieved celebrity. I …….. have driven past Pizza Express in Woking and would do no more than that. Woking is bad enough. Pizza Express is a step too far!

Tuesday, 19th November, 2019

Looking across to La Gomera

This is our 19th day and we have just 10 more left. We are really enjoying it and will definitely book this again. Today has been wall-to-wall hot sunshine out of clear, blue skies. We have exercised, followed political television and relaxed in the sunshine.

It is hard to stress how important the internet is to me, particularly abroad. Here, the internet is my connection with the outside world – television, radio, the web – and control of my house in UK. Last night was a cold one in Sussex and I was able to check the temperature inside our home, switch the heating on and, later, switch it off again via Hive. In this villa, the internet provides us with UK TV via a supply box, it provides our iPads and smartphones with internet connection to download our newspapers, our emails, Twitter, Face-ache, etc.. I just cannot manage without it.

Hot & sunny outside – politics inside.

In the last couple of days, our internet provision, which has been fantastic for over two weeks, has suddenly become a little flaky. I have had to reboot the hub a couple of times which is not confidence inspiring.

Today, apart from downloading our newspapers and emails, we have been keeping in touch with Pauline’s sister who has been in hospital again. I have had to report my INR result to Worthing Hospital. Pauline has had to order our repeat prescriptions from our local medical centre. We have monitored lights and temperatures in our house in Sussex. How would we do any of that without the net?

Wednesday, 20th November, 2019

After 20 days here, we have done 20 hours swimming and 40 hours walking. We made a conscious decision not to rent a car although we have a garage for 2 cars here. It is a 10 minute walk down to the supermarket from here but a rather longer walk back because of the very steep hill. We do quite a lot of admiring of the view on the way back. The weather is so wonderful – 24C/75F and gorgeously sunny most days that walking is a pleasure. This November has been the best weather in the past 4 Novembers here.

As regular readers will know, we are incorrigible foodies. One of the true pleasures of travelling and particularly abroad is sourcing and sampling the local foods. We love cheese but don’t eat a lot of it nowadays because of its high calorific content. However, foreign cheeses have to be sampled and on this trip we have become addicted (That might be a bit strong.) to a white, lightly smoked cheese called Quesos Flor Valsequillo.  It is not for vegans like my sister, Catherine, because it comprises cows’, goats’ and sheep’s milk. Occasionally, if we are desperate for a snack after all this exercise, we will eat the smoked cheese with some Beetroot remoulade called Ensalada de Remolacha

Actually, I was so enamoured of the cheese that I searched it out on the net and discovered it had been awarded World Cheese Award this year in Bergamo, Italy. I am not surprised.

Thursday, 21st November, 2019

Scorching hot day after a muggy night. We spent the morning swimming, sunbathing on the patio, watching the Labour Manifesto launch and doing a little shopping. There is nothing of great value that Tenerife can offer other than stark scenery and climate or weather. I don’t know which word is more appropriate.

We have had a couple of days when the temperature reached 28C/83F but most have hovered between 24-25C/75-77F. Night time has ranged between a minimum of 22C/70F – 19C/66F. Every room here has air conditioning but we haven’t felt the need for it either as a cooler or a heater. Imagine that, an environment where little energy is expended on temperature control. It’s a difficult concept for we poor Brits to understand particularly in the middle of November. What I also don’t understand on an island of perpetual sunshine is why solar power is not in more evidence. Look at the roofs on the Mall below. Wouldn’t you expect them to be energy generators?

Looking down on to the roof tops of SIam Mall.

When we go shopping, we walk down from the seclusion of our villa to Siam Mall which is next to Siam Water Park. It is an easy enough walk down but a killer walk back. It is so steep that it has taken three weeks before we have really got used to it. On days when we do a big shop, we return up the hill by taxi – blowing at least €3.00/£2.60 in the process. As we intended, our life here has settled in to a ‘normal’ process of contentment. Unfortunately, we leave a week tomorrow but we will be back.

Friday, 22nd November, 2019

Morning becomes Electric

Our villa is South facing. The sun rises in the morning through the mountains on our left and sets across the sea to our right. You won’t be surprised to read that this morning has been no different. The most gorgeous sun rise at 6.30 am which followed a lovely sunset across the sea last evening.

Evening dies at Sea.

There was one difference. When we walked out on to the patio this morning we noticed small pools of water on the furniture. Over night it had rained. We didn’t hear it so it can’t have been strong but water there was and the surrounding cactuses had obviously thought it was Christmas come early.

Today has proved the most delightful one with strong sunshine and 25C/77F temperature. We ate our meal of cold meats & cheeses with salads out on the patio under a burning, late afternoon sun. We watched the sun sink beneath the sea and prepared for a quiet evening of reading and watching the political debate. What more could anybody ask?

Saturday, 23rd November, 2019

Start of our final week for this spell. Actually, although the temperature is 22C/70F by 9.00am, the sky has clouded over and the light is dulled. It is no problem. Actually, a break from sunshine after three weeks of it, is a welcome change. We know it will be back soon. Just done my first swim of the morning and the water was deliciously warm – rather like swimming in the bath. 

Made a mistake with my phone camera.

We know that we have a couple of hours of walking and another half hour swimming to build in but today will be Pauline watching Strictly on TV and me watching Spurs v West Ham with Mourinho in charge followed by Man City v Chelsea on my iPad via the VPN.

Well, the day has turned into a blazing hot and sunny one with clear, blue skies and strong sunshine. We have already reached 27C/81F and Pauline has retreated to the pool. Spurs have beaten a poor West Ham and, having done my required walking for the day, I am limbering up for a 30 mins swim myself. Just 5 more hours of swimming before we leave. I’m going to be so clean!

Week 568

Sunday, 10th November, 2019

What a wonderful, wonderful but exhausting day. Hot and sunny all day, we walked for miles/kilometres and swam for ever – or so it felt. It is only 7.30 pm and I am struggling to move. 

Looking across Adeje & the North Atlantic with West Saharan Africa behind us.

We still did all the normal things like watch the round of political programmes. I watched two, excellent football matches particularly Liverpool easily seeing off Man. City. We followed an hour’s swimming with a long walk up above our villa to the huge volcanic crater which is now cultivated with acres of banana plantations, salad vegetables and prickly pears.

Beauty & the Bananas.

Pauline produced a delicious meal of roast chicken breasts wrapped in Serrano ham with roasted red peppers, onions and garlic mushrooms. There is no luckier man in the world! Pauline’s reward is to watch the results show of Strictly Come Something.

Monday, 11th November, 2019

Another wonderful, wonderful day. Hot, wall to wall sunshine we really had to push ourselves to complete our exercise targets …. but we did. We walked and sweated under a beating sun up to the volcano crater which is incredibly fertile farm land and produces acres of salad vegetable plus even more acres of bananas. 

Local Businesses.

There is really only one booming business here, however, and it is tourism and particularly property development connected to tourism. Homes for retirement and homes for rental are going up everywhere. Of course, the weather is perfect for builders and for sellers. There is really only one reason to come to the Canary Islands and that is the all year round climate.

You’ll need at least a €1 million for one of these.
These developments are everywhere.

There is almost unstoppable development moving further and further up the mountains and away from the coast.

Tuesday, 12th November, 2019

The lovely days just go on. Today we had a gentle walk down to the market and bought fresh langoustines and scallops for our meal. The langoustines are incredibly cheap in Spain. We bought a kilo for €7.84/£6.70 whereas a kilo in UK would be £18.00/€21.00. It is disgraceful that our market is so out of kilter with the real cost of healthy ingredients.

The joy of cheap, fresh ingredients.

Langoustines, of course, generally tend to be shipped from UK fishing fleets to markets in Spain. The small amounts sold in UK are premium priced. Why? It is an absolute joy to shop for fish here.

Pauline loves Papaya for her breakfast.

The Spanish are big on really good, fresh produce. This fruit stall contains Pauline’s Breakfast for a year – lots of huge, ripe Papaya but it also has locally grown bananas which just cannot compare with the South American ones I buy from Asda in Sussex. You may notice a section of Prickly Pears which are cultivated here And you can find growing wild all round Greece. They are the fruit of the cactus and pickers have to fight past dreadfully painful spines in order to harvest them. There also different cactus fruit in the form of the bright pink/red Dragon Fruit which, I must admit, I’ve never tasted. This month could be a first.

Wednesday, 13th November, 2019

Interesting and really enjoyable day. We registered 26C/79F but it was a little more cloud and sun today. We did our 30 mins walk to Adeje. It was delightful as an exercise and we walked along beautiful streets on our trip:

The roads below our villa.
My view of all womens’ clothes shops.

We walked down to the shopping area of Adeje but it was very disappointing. Blackpool on steroids was an over statement. I stood around while Pauline went in to Mango and then this:

We walked back and did our second swim of the day followed by grilled swordfish steaks and salad.

Thursday, 14th November, 2019

Exactly half way through our month away. We have done our 14th hour of swimming and our minimum of 140,000 paces. Actually, we have done much more than that. We had a downbeat day after quite a demanding one yesterday. Even so, we walked down to the sea and back. At the risk of sounding snobbish, this place is not for us. Adeje beach makes one want to run a mile.

All these people .. and so many tattoos!

The streets are lined with Irish Bars, Curry Houses, Fish & Chip Parlours interspersed with the odd Nail Bar and Tattoo Shop. This is the sort of thing that abounds on the path side.

We slunk off back to our villa and cooked Sea Bass en papillote to eat with green bean salad and tomato salad. It was absolutely wonderful. I don’t know why but I watched a bit of England. I couldn’t really watch it as the score reached 5-0 but it played out in the background.

Friday, 15th November, 2019

Dori Fidler

A day of fulfilment and enjoyment. We are so lucky to share this experience in our lives. Warm, sunny, relaxed, we have done our full exercise regime and eaten the most wonderful, pan-fried tuna steaks with tomato salad and mixed bean salad. 

We had very sad news of the death of our former colleague’s wife of 60 years. Dori Fidler was wife and partner to our colleague and friend, John for 60 years. We have been involved with John for 47 years and are trying to understand what it must be like to lose such a long-term partner. 

On our walk this afternoon, we found Tenerife’s answer to the Corinth Canal. The only problem was that it is ‘dry’. Obviously it has seasonal use as floods pour down the mountains to the sea.


Tenerife’s answer to the Corinth Canal.

It has been a delightful day and we have really enjoyed ourselves but we are carrying round the mortality of our colleagues. It is a heavy feeling which impinges on us and our own mortality. It underlines how important it is to squeeze the most out of our lives. 

Saturday, 16th November, 2019

The sharpness of light.

We are half way through the month and half way through our stay here. It is a beautiful day with crisp, bright views. There is something about the Mediterranean colours and vivid clarity of light that appeals to artists and really appeals to me. This view from our property early in the morning sums it up.

After breakfast and a swim, we walked down to the supermarket for our major shop of the week. We believe that living here would cut our regular cost of living by about 50%.

Pauline sourcing Tuna steaks and Sea Bass.

All this wonderful, quality foodstuff is so cheap. I have found the most delicious, fruity red wine for just €2.48/£2.13 per bottle. At the fish counter, I have my smartphone constantly ready to provide translation. Just making the slightest effort is rewarding because the staff immediately respond more positively.

We broke the habits of our recent past by also purchasing some sirloin steak which Pauline used with shiitake mushrooms, green peppers, onions and garlic to produce the most wonderful stir fry. Obviously, there was no noodle content but it wasn’t missed.

My self-discipline is appalling but my addiction to routines overcomes that weakness. We did our 2 x 30 mins swimming plus 10,000+ paces walking routine. Actually, we are recording an average of 12,000 paces per day for the time we’ve been here. I know it has to be done so it is done.

Week 567

Sunday, 3rd November, 2019

The sun rises at 7.00 am.

Up early on a beautiful morning. The temperature throughout yesterday stayed a steady 29C/84F and didn’t fall lower than 22C/70F overnight. At least we are missing the strong winds and heavy rain back in UK although, reading our local news on-line, we find a lot of trees blown down in Sussex. Even on our Development people are posting pictures of branches down.  

Trees blown down on our Development.

So many properties are on the market round here that we thought we would investigate. We were flabbergasted to find that the property we are renting was recently bought for €900,000.00/£780,000.00. It’s lovely but this can only be for its all year round income.

Monday, 4th November, 2019

Up early to the BBC R4 Today programme on my iPad. We’ve got fantastic and currently reliable wi-fi here. Downloaded our newspapers while Pauline squeezed 2 huge oranges for me and made porridge for herself. I went out to the pool and did a 20 mins swim and then coffee with the ’Sky News’ All Out Politics programme while Pauline had her swim. 

Around mid-morning, we set out to walk to Playa de Las Americas. It is a downhill walk and fairly quick and easy. When we got there, we wondered why we’d bothered. It is hard not to adopt a snobbish, superior tone but the place was awful. Big women covered in tattoos, big men struggling to complete word searches, Burger Bars and Irish Pubs intermingled with Tattoo Parlours and Tourist-Tat shops. It is the stuff of Brexit!

We gave the place a chance – honestly – and then took a taxi back to the relative sanity of our villa high up above the hell on earth. We watched the start of the contest for Speaker. They have a small man’s big shoes to fill. At least Bercow has ensured it will be a Labour MP as next Speaker which will be a help.

We did our second swim of the day which meant I had exceeded my DL Health Club routine with well over my steps target and 40 mins swimming on the record. Pauline cooked a wonderful meal of roasted chicken breasts wrapped in Serrano ham and accompanied by roast florets of cauliflower which we ate as the sun went down.

Tuesday, 5th November, 2019

A quiet day ‘at home’ today after our long walk yesterday. We did go down to the supermarket – HiperDino – at Siam Mall and do quite an extensive shop. The fish choice in Spanish supermarkets is incredibly diverse in choice and cheap in price. We bought swordfish steaks, tuna steaks, whole sea bass and a bag of John Dory. This latter is considered the king of fishes in UK and commands a premium price. Here in Spain it is just another fish and very moderately priced.

We bought salad vegetables, grapes, figs and huge oranges for juicing, bottles of cheap wine, Spanish cheeses and lots of other, interesting things besides. It’s just too much fun shopping in foreign supermarkets. By the time we left, we were so overladen that we couldn’t possibly have walked back. We went to the taxi rank and paid the huge sum of €4.00 (Including tip) for a ride home up the incredibly steep hill. 

Morning Again

We got up as the sun shone strongly over the sea and enjoyed an hour or so of sunshine on the terrace before doing our first swim of the morning. We did two, strong sessions of swimming amounting to an hour in total. I felt absolutely exhausted after it. Pauline cooked a wonderful meal of swordfish steaks with green bean salad and tomato salad. We ate it as the sun went down over the sea towards La Gomera.

And so the sun goes down ….

Wedesday, 6th November, 2019

I’m tired today. I think (hope) it’s down to all the swimming I’m doing. I did 50 mins yesterday and have to manage an hour today. At home, we only manage half that each day. Having a heated pool constantly staring us in the face just piles the pressure on. There is no escape. However, we spent the first couple of hours this morning watching the newly launched Tory election bid in melt-down with gaffe piled on gaffe. It is enough to gladden the heart.

The pool at the back just taunts us off the settee.

This is a comfortable villa. In order to get the facilities, we have had to rent something far too big for our needs. It has this open plan Lounge/Dining/Kitchen room which has the pool out one side and the patio out the other end looking over the ocean.

Patio leads on to a bedroom and the lounge.

We have 3 large bedrooms and 3 large bathrooms each with a walk-in shower. Every room has air conditioning and the house has 2 televisions with UK channels. The wi-fi is excellent and relatively quick. The kitchen has oven, ceramic hob and hood plus a dishwasher. As well as the main dining table, there is another on the patio for eating outside. There is another, outdoor settee and armchairs as the photo illustrates plus sun loungers for 6 people. There is a laundry room to the right (but out of shot) of the picture above which contains a washing machine, Dryer, Ironing Board & Iron. In short, there is virtually everything we could need for a month’s stay.

This place is ideal for our purpose which is not to come on holiday. We’ve been ‘on holiday’ permanently for over 10 years. No, this villa is to allow us to move our life, temporarily, to another location for a month where we can continue to live in our shorts, a location where we can continue our routines of exercise, political discourse, current affairs, sourcing, cooking and eating nice food and generally hiding away from the world in our own bubble. It’s what we do!

Thursday, 7th November, 2019

Canarian time is exactly in line with UK time although someone forgot to tell our mobiles which thought we were in España and added an hour. These, in turn, interfaced with our watches and completely fooled us for a while. We are not even in the EU here and I managed to sort it out after a while so we have resumed our usual sleeping/waking/eating pattern. Awake at 6.00 am and up at 7.00, I was swimming by 7.30 am. I am enjoying falling out of bed and into a lovely, warm pool – via a gorgeous glass of freshly squeezed orange juice – for a 30 mins swim.

Fish Heaven & amazingly cheap.

After newspapers and the All Out Politics programme on Sky News Channel, we set out for the down mountainside walk to the supermarket. We love shopping for quality ingredients at the best of times but particularly in European supermarkets. Admittedly, it was rather trying on a small, Greek island but we rose to the challenge. Here, so many wonderful things are available in such abundance that the struggle is all about what not to buy.

John Dory

Today, Pauline is cooking Fish – John Dory – which is expensive to buy in UK even though it is caught in UK waters. A strange looking, but delicious fish a, john dory’s bizarre shape and long fins make it look weird.  It has a large mouth which is used to suck in very large prey items such as fish and shrimps. It has a black spot on each side of the body which is said to be the thumb print of St Peter.

I had always thought that the famed fish, John Dory, was named after a person but have learnt today that it is an English corruption of the French description. It is essentially yellow-golden in colour. In French it would be Jaune-d’Or. Hence John Dory. You have to admit, it’s a real looker. Alright, it’s not but it tastes wonderful.

Friday, 8th November, 2019

Gorgeous day here with full, hot sunshine all day which contrasted strongly with reports of flooding back in the UK. We did 30 mins swimming then we walked down to the supermarket and Pauline indulged herself.

Siam Mall

We spent a little while ambling through the ‘Mall’ (horrible Americanised term) and then did a reasonably large supermarket shop. With more bags than we would care to carry up a steep climb back to the house, we took a €4.00 taxi ride and got home in about 4 mins..

Siam Mall

Back just in time for the Politics programme, we spent the next couple of hours relaxing. Then, we set out on a couple of hours walk up the mountain, past the volcanic crater, the farm shop and the banana plantation. By the time we had walked home and done another 30 mins swim, we were ready for our meal. Actually, we just had a bottle of wine, some cheese, salad and that was it. 

Saturday, 9th November, 2019

After freshly squeezed, Valencian orange juice and Yorkshire tea, a 30 mins swim and then Kenyan coffee, we set off to walk to the shops. Saturday is a good day to buy the newest fresh produce all over Europe and the Tenerife market is no exception. Particularly, we were looking for fresh Tuna (Atun) & Swordfish (Espada). In UK, the former is much more expensive than the latter. We have been shocked to find that here the complete reverse pertains. Everything here is almost half the UK price or cheaper. Even so, Tuna is just €9.95/£8.58 – in UK £22.10 per Kilo. Swordfish is €14.90/£12.85 – UK £20.00 per kilo.

Wonderful, fresh, Spanish produce.

The worrying thing for the Brexit-voting, British fishermen is that so much of this fish goes through UK markets en route to Spain and that will be priced out of the market if we leave the EU. 

Motacilla Cindera – Grey Wagtail

For the last couple of evenings as we are finishing our second half hour of the day in the pool, a little, yellow-breasted chap with a long tail visits us and drinks from the water splashes on the tiled surrounded. It looks and acts like a pied wagtail but the brilliant yellow colour is unusual. I’ve looked it up and it is, indeed, a wagtail known as Motacilla Cindera or Grey Wagtail. It is anything but grey.