Following my blog about a flour-free sponge cake, here is another one - this time a Chocolate Swiss Roll that doesn't use flour either.

See my recipe page for details of this and a few other favourites from my kitchen.



Yes, it's a slice of cake. A sponge cake, to be exact. Not much to look at, I grant you, but in its own small way a triumph.

My son-in-law has discovered he has a gluten allergy, which means no bread, no biscuits, and definitely no cake. He was fed up - or not, depending on how you define the words "fed up".

Then I found this recipe for an Italian Rice Cake, which is basically a thick boiled rice pudding to which you add eggs, citrus zest, raisins and some Cointreau and then bake.
Alan was ecstatic.

And it has just occurred to me that somewhere in my notes I have a recipe for Chocolate Swiss Roll that only uses egss, sugar, cocoa powder and cream. I shall have to try that next week.



Long-term residents of Tenerife know they must be extra careful not to violate any traffic laws in the weeks before Christmas. Even the slightest infringement can get you pulled over, whereas at other times of year we see the most appalling drivers getting off scot free. We have always joked that the Traffic Police are after their Christmas bonuses from November onwards.

Now we learn that it isn't a joke - it's official. The Guardia Civil bosses have told all their officers that they have been falling behind in their duties, and that if they don't fine more drivers they will not get their 240 euro annual bonuses. That's scary.

It is difficult to get the better of the police, but the other day I heard about one man who foiled their plans. He was stopped for having his fog lights on unnecessarily and told he could pay a 100 euro fine on the spot.
"No thanks, I'll go to court," he said.
"But that will cost you more."
"It will take years to get to court in this country, and I'll be dead by then - I've got terminal cancer. Will there be anything else or can I go now?"



Driving back from Las Galletas this morning, we saw a cyclist wearing a helmet with a flashing red light on top. What a good idea, we thought - especially at night on our unlit roads.

Now England has re-introduced bicycles for policemen, will we see coppers with flashing BLUE lights on their cycle helmets?
I do hope so.



We think our shower may be haunted - or at the very least there was some sort of strange psychic energy in there this morning.
As we were drinking a coffee in Las Galletas today I said to the Other Half, "I had this weird sensation in the shower this morning." (All those people with dirty minds go to the back of the class.)
"What was that?" he asked, which proved he had actually heard me - a miracle in itself.
"A moment of deja vu ," I told him, "But the main thing is that it gave me an idea for a story." I described my idea - an off-the-wall one as most of my story ideas are - and it will get written when it's stewed for a while. In the meantime the OH had his own experience to add.
"There must be something peculiar in the shower today," he said, "Because I was about to get out when I realized I hadn't washed my hair."
Now that IS spooky. The OH takes great pride in the fact that he still has hair at 77, and he uses an inordinate amount of 2 in 1 shampoo. For him to forget to wash the locks is strange indeed.



The headline says it all - CHO VITO FALLS.

I blogged about this Tenerife hamlet a few days ago, when nine residents of Cho Vito - an area of Candelaria in Tenerife - were still holding out against the might of the Spanish authorities, some of them on hunger strike.

They were evicted yesterday by Guardia Civil and their homes demolished. The hunger strikers are in hospital. The residents claim that the Guardia "acted like a brutal gang of gorillas."

Now, instead of a fishing village, we can have another beach.

The residents have been offered money - enough to pay two years' rent on an apartment. They say they will camp on the steps of the Town Hall until they are offered the equal of what they had - their own freehold homes in Candelaria.

Further words fail me.

You can look it up online - www.diariodeavisos.es


NIAGARA - and Silver Service for Dogs!

On my recent trip to Canada, of course the family took me to Niagara Falls, and it was as stunning as you'd expect. Of all the photos I took I think this one gives the best impression of its power .

This photo is the first one I took, showing the cloud of spray which is visible from quite a distance.

Surprisingly it was very quiet - I had been expecting thunder - but all that falling water made me glad I had my son to hang onto.

  There were so many different languages being spoken that I couldn't count them, but I heard German, French, Russian and English voices, and there were an enormous number of Japanese tourists.

The Canadians are a little scathing about the American Falls, which aren't nearly as spectacular, and fall onto a pile of rocks rather than straight down. The Americans can only see their Falls from a platform built out over one side. Their view of the Canadian Falls is obscured, but apparently one needs a visa to cross over the bridge from one country to another.

Further downstream is a strange place where the river swirls into a whirlpool before making a complete right turn.
Daniel and a friend hiked down through the forest earlier in the year and picnicked on the beach there. One wouldn't want to swim, though - that whirlpool is fierce.

And of course there has to be a commercial side to all this scenery - we drove through the "Entertainment" section just to have a look!

Loud Muzak from slot-machine galleries, burgers and chips, fish and chips, candy floss and bubble gum.
 "Buy your Falls T-shirt here!"
"Everything for the Kiddies!"

We moved on to Niagara on the Lake, which was much prettier, though still completely devoted to tourism.

Outside one shop Julia and I saw a silver tray with two serving dishes sitting on the pavement. Moving closer, we discovered they contained food and water for passing dogs. There was even a vase with a flower in it.

There's posh.



This notice appeared in Las Galletas last week beside the houses scheduled for demolition.
It translates as:
Maintenance and Conservation of the Coasts of the Province of Tenerife.
Many people believe "Co-financed" means "Dictated by" and I think they could well be right.
A fortnight ago a solitary villa was pulled down and the blocks hauled away.

On Tuesday the pink block of flats was reduced to rubble. Today we could almost have parked where it had been.

The white building with the concave un-plastered wall to its upper storey is still there, keeping the wind off the Italian restaurant next door. Will that be standing next week? Your guess is as good as mine - there was a Spanish restaurant by the promenade two months ago on what is now empty beach.

You might not consider the loss of a few houses in Las Galletas to be a big deal, but it's happening along the entire coastline in all Spanish territories.

It isn't only the big hotels or modern blocks of ugly apartments, some of which we wouldn't mourn if they went.

It's not even the foreign pensioners who built their villas in all good faith only to have them torn down.

Every fishing village could be affected. Every family who have lived near to the sea for generations, and who take their living from it, could be affected by the draconian law that has taken away their rights.

Look up this site for the story of CHO VITO, one such village in Tenerife http://elespritudechovito.blogspot.com.es/



and the Policia having to hold back the homeless.

Yesterday nine of the remaining residents were on hunger strike - let's hope someone listens.

....and on another note - if you want cheering up, look at the new addition to my "Verses" page.



Except in Canada they call it “fall”. While we in Tenerife are enjoying a spring-like autumn, in Canada their autumn was last month, and I was there to see it. 
My first visit to see where my son has settled with his Canadian wife coincided with the explosion of colour that is a Canadian fall. 
Everywhere I looked was worthy of a painting and I took a load of photographs which I have sorted into separate albums. 

Today's offering is simply entitled "Trees" - I hope you like them.

And finally - a design of leaves.



 The Royal British Legion Tenerife Branch held its annual Remembrance Day Service this morning at Westhaven Bay, Costa del Silencio, courtesy of the Belgian owner Nele.

Branch Chairman Don Young, who did his National Service with the Royal East Kent Regiment "The Buffs", welcomed Senor Ricardo Melchior Navarro, the President of the Tenerife Cabildo - the first time we have been honoured by the presence of a member of the Spanish Government.

Here is Snr Melchior, wearing a poppy.

Rick Farmer, an ex-Royal Marine, led the service, various members of the Tenerife Branch read lessons and led the Intercessions, and I read the Act of Committment in Spanish - always a nerve-wracking two minutes - especially as the service was being broadcast over Coast FM.

Below is a photo of Rick with Kelly, our Poppy Appeal organiser, and Diane Grey, one of our members.

A lady trumpeter played the Last Post before the Silence, which on some occasions has been broken by an aircraft passing overhead on its way to Reina Sofia Airport, and then a few of us went very carefully down some dodgy steps to the rocks below the terrace and placed a wreath in the sea in memory of Servicemen lost at sea.

This is Mary, a former Wren, who read one of the lessons, and Earle, a former Royal Marine who was selling poppies at our local British supermarket all week.

There aren't many of us - we have a membership of 17 of whom half do all the work - but for the last five years we have won the Noel Rogers Trophy for the most Poppy appeal money raised per head. Last year our total was about 9,000 euros.

Paul Grey on the left of this photo is an ex-Army man, Vice-Chairman of the branch and Welfare Officer - everyone has to wear several hats with so few working members!

The superb venue and the great atmosphere draw a large crowd - it's impossible to count heads because once all the seats are taken there are people standing at the back, round the sides, sitting on the sea wall and beside the pool - but we printed 350 service sheets this year and didn't have enough.

Afterwards, of course, there is time to relax with a pint, or a cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate cake.

The smile on my face might tell you how delicious the cake was!



The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal in Tenerife had an unexpected bonus yesterday, when the Royal Caribbean International cruise line invited us to sell poppies on board Mariner of the Seas on its first visit to Santa Cruz.

The ship is huge - 138,279 tons and a third of a kilometer long. The Chief Security Office Bob Smith who, together with the Environmental Officer Christopher Collard, welcomed us on board, told us they can carry 3,800 passengers and 1,200 crew.
In other words, a small town.
 Here are Don and Paul taking a first look at the interior - apart from the slight movement of the calm harbour waters beneath us, we could have been in any luxury hotel.

Looking up several stories through the central well, the lights are dazzling.

 Following on the "Small town" theme, there was a shopping mall with "pavement cafes".

There are theatres, swimming pools and a running track. You can play what looked like mini-basketball, there's a gym and a putting green, and a climbing wall for the more adventurous. There is even an ice rink where international skating stars perform.

The main dining room is on three levels, with the Captain's Table dead centre - of course - and can seat half the passengers at one time. Imagine the noise!

The bridge, at first glance, looked like a luxury penthouse suite, with pale blue carpet and panoramic windows, but the technology reminded me of Star Trek. Everything can be controlled from here, even the massive fire doors that can isolate a fire if necessary.
This is the Boss's Chair, so it was only right that I should be invited to sit in it!

 The three sailors on the left were our hosts, with Don Young, Chairman RBL Tenerife, and Paul Grey, Vice Chairman and Welfare Officer on the right.

The Mariner of the Seas was only in port for a day, and after an excellent lunch - we were spoiled for choice! - we stood by the gangway for over an hour while the passengers returned from tours or shopping trips in Santa Cruz. Our collection box now has euros, pounds and a few American dollars, and the ship sailed with quite a few non-British chests displaying a Royal British Legion poppy.