Sunday, 3rd November, 2019
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
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.
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.