Usually my morning walk is a time to put my thoughts in order for the day’s writing. I drag my wandering mind away from last night’s gossip, or what I dreamed about, or the shopping list, and deliberately tell myself, “Right – let’s sort out this bit of dialogue,” or, “How would a twelve-year-old boy react in that situation?” The mere act of putting one foot in front of the other seems to untangle knots.
The views help too – the blossom is now falling from the flame trees, carpeting the pavement in orange and smelling of sweetish rot.
The eight-forty bus waits outside the ruined bull-ring.
The old house still stands stubbornly by the huge hump in the road that its owner’s refusal to move forced on the road-builders.
But for the past few days it has been impossible to think about anything other than the forest fire.
On Monday morning there was a towering cumulus of smoke obscuring Mount Teide. On Tuesday one couldn’t breathe without inhaling specks of burning forest, and we learned that the beautiful Barranco del Infierno had succumbed.
By Wednesday we knew the inhabitants of Villaflor had been evacuated, the volunteer firemen were battling the blaze on several fronts, and hydroplanes flew over our home at regular intervals, collecting water from the sea to drop on the flames.
The fire is reported to be under control now, but this morning the planes were still flying – I saw both of them and took photos. You can just see it if you look really hard. It was too hot to be wearing an anorak!