I was talking to my ten-year-old grandson yesterday and asked him how he was getting on with the book he had told me about a fortnight earlier.
"I'm halfway through it," he said.
"That's a bit slow," I said, "Aren't you enjoying it?"
"Oh yes, it's good, but I've got five books on the go at the moment."

FIVE? One of my ambitions has always been to have my children and grandchildren read my books - if he reads that voraciously I had better write a lot faster!

His seven-year-old brother sent me an email the same day to say that he liked the dragon story I had sent him and could he have more.
A good review is wonderful wherever it comes from!

 I am writing Remus and Greg in serial form, and if you would like to read it, go to my short story page.

Oh yes - and a Happy New Year to all my family, friends and followers.




FRIDAY FICTIONEERS is an online group of writers from around the world who write 100-words stories once a week prompted by a photo posted on Rochelle's blog http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/

This week's other stories are on here http://new.inlinkz.com/luwpview.php?id=346493  so do pop along and read some of them.

This is this week's photo prompt and my story.


They caught me unawares – it’s difficult to breathe in that polluted atmosphere and I was concentrating on collecting my specimens quickly so I could leave.
I wasn’t doing any harm, although the way they treat their environment, a bit more damage wouldn’t make much difference.

When that bullet hit my shield it reverberated through my body and I started running. They nearly caught me once but I upped the charge in my shield, reached the ship and gave the command.

As we lifted off, one specimen made a strange noise.
I must ask the scientists what ‘mum’ signifies.



One of my friends said the other day, "You can never have too many poinsettias."
So I have taken that as permission to post the best of my poinsettia collection as a pictorial Christmas card.

This one I photographed on my walk this morning - it was lovely to see the actual flowers which are normally so insignificant.

The next few I found in a local garden centre where I bought this year's plant.

Then there are those adorning balconies all over Tenerife . . .

. . .  an entire hedge of the pompom variety between a banana plantation and the road . . .

. . . and a less showy variety in a garden near us.

This last picture is a close-up of our poinsettia from 2012 which came back to life and put on a brave show earlier this year, then turned up its toes (roots?) last month. We assume this was a deliberate built-in obsolescence - a ploy to make us buy another one.




Friday Fictioneers is contributed to by writers from all round the world. We write 100-word stories prompted by a photograph posted on this site
This week’s stories are on here  http://new.inlinkz.com/luwpview.phpid=346495 
so do check them out.

Here is this week's photograph . . . 

. . .  and my story.


If I stand on a chair I can see people through the dolphin window.
The postman’s face looks really funny all blue, like an alien.
So does Daddy’s, but it turns pink indoors which is soooo boring.

When Mummy came home from hospital last week I waved, but she didn’t wave back because she was holding our new baby.
His face changed to red indoors, but I wished it would stay blue like my Smurf.

Then yesterday Mummy was screaming, “He’s turning blue!”
Daddy cried too, which was even worse.

Did I kill my brother with my wish?



Out for my walk on the back road today
My mind was a blank - I had nothing to say –
The editing’s done but there’s no time to play –
Find an agent!
Immediately every excuse raised its head –
The print in the Yearbook is too small to read –
And for over-strained eyes too much screen-glare is bad –
Where’s the agent?
Procrastination’s the curse of our craft
And reading those guidelines is too much hard graft –
But to hope they’ll come looking is simply plain daft –
Get an agent!
Two books I have written are ready to go
But the Christmas deliveries are bound to be slow –
Dear Santa – along with the gifts and ‘Ho-ho!’
Send an agent!



Friday Fictioneers is contributed to by writers from all round the world. We write 100-word stories prompted by a photograph posted on this site http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/

This week’s stories are on here http://new.inlinkz.com/luwpview.php?id=341075 so do check them out.

This is my first story in this challenge - comments welcome but please be gentle!


He removed the wrapping paper slowly – from the shape and weight he knew what she’d bought him. She looked so anxious that he couldn’t tell her he’d been saving for some decent Berghaus boots.
“They’re lovely – the right size, too.”
“The man said they’re a good brand – you can wear them on holiday.”

He was so uncomfortable that he missed the right path, and when they reached a wall he removed the boots to let his feet breathe.
“Just going for a leak,” he said and vaulted over, carefree and careless.

She sold the boots on Ebay – ‘Only worn once’.


We don't have rivers in Tenerife - that brown flood you see is the run-off from the storm of 10th and 11th and 12th December, during which more rain fell than we have had in the last eight years combined!
While I was taking this photo I had to move to make way for a lorry tipping mud scraped from the twin road tunnels at Guaza.  http://www.islandconnections.eu/ showed the state of affairs there on Wednesday with this photo. That's the TF1 autopista on top of that wall beneath which are the twin tunnels. To exacerbate matters, half of the autopista was covered in landslides.

Tuesday and Wednesday we followed the advice to stay at home but by today - Thursday - we were stir-crazy, and the rain had stopped, so we set off to our local shopping village, Las Galletas.
The road was closed. So was the alternative route past the petrol station - and this is why.

Add caption
 Another run-off down another barranco that goes behind the banana plantations at Guaza had cut the back road to Silencio completely.
So I left the OH drinking coffee at the cafe and walked towards the village to find out why the road was closed. It wasn't difficult.

The raging river you see behind me in the previous photo had found the sea - via the seafront road, the promenade and the beach.

I'll leave you with a few more images of the power of water - and we in the south of Tenerife came off lightly compared with some.

This young man, having leapt from one mini-island to another, obviously decided that discretion was the better part of valour and legged it back home.


Show and Tell 2

We stopped this morning on our way to buy food in Las Galletas to take photographs because the cunims were spectacular.

Then we looked right and just outside the harbour mouth we saw this . . . 

. . . man walking on water!


PARQUE ROADS - the saga continues!

When the Cabildo improved the TF-655 road from Guaza to Chafiras a few years ago, they levelled out the highs and lows and straightened the bends, but one fifty-metre stretch in Parque de la Reina was left untouched - the houses whose front doors open onto the road would probably collapse if disturbed.

This stretch is a blind hump from both directions with a 40K speed limit that isn't low enough - but drivers ignore that anyway. The only relatively safe place to cross is actually on the brow where your silhouette would be easier to see, but people walk - or run - over on one side to go to Maxcoop supermarket, and on the other side the little old ladies from the little old houses wander across, presumably putting their faith in the Almighty.

Then this week we saw machinery nearby. Was it possible the Cabildo weas about to level it out?
Between downpours, the machine dug out the rough ground at the edge, a metre wide and two metres deep. A man with a stop/go sign stood on the brow of the hill all day, causing even more delays to traffic already diverted away from the collapsed autopista slip road (see earlier posts)

And then at nine o'clock this morning I watched as they began to fill it in again! With picon - small gravel from the volcanic store which comprises Tenerife.

So presumably all they're going to do is cover it with tarmac and go.
Leaving an extra metre for the cars that already zoom over it so fast that their wheels leave the road, and for the cyclists who struggle over it three abreast to spread out even further.

Nice one, Cabildo!



First things first - apologies for absence. I have been busy lately rewriting a novel - I'll tell you about that another time - and my blogs have been infrequent, to say the least. So I have decided to kick-start it again with a "Show and Tell Sunday", and if I have any followers and visitors left, please leave a comment to encourage me to continue!

Christmas is coming in Tenerife as well as the rest of the world, and one of our first signs is the poinsettias coming back to full colour in the gardens. We also have Los Reyes - The Kings - waiting on the roundabout to be lit up at night.

For those of you who have been following the avalanche story - here is this morning's set of photographs.
When the workmen told me it would take twenty days, they should have added 'probablemente' - this is manana country, after all!

People have been blaming the rock-fall on the heavy rain we had two days earlier - our first in over a year - but I think it is more likely to be due to the banana plantation perched on top. This is a closeup of the cliff through which they cut the access road when building the autopista 25 or so years ago -  Huge rocks, so heavy that I cannot lift a head-sized one - interspersed with gravel layers riddled with holes in which the local pigeons nest.

Twenty-five years of steadily-seeping water - we are lucky there wasn't a school built at the base of the cliff.

Steady as a rock? I will never use that phrase again without visualising this - and  yes, that side road really IS that steep!



We see this sign all over Tenerife and usually drive light-heartedly past it.
As I blogged last week, we should not be quite so blasè, for although there was no warning sign here, on November 11th a rock face fell and almost crushed a young couple in their car.

Since then we locals have been following the progress of repairs with interest, because anyone wishing to go south on the motorway from here has to take another, more convoluted route, and the sooner it's fixed and re-opened, the better.

I walked up there this morning, and stood under the bridge to watch while a workman wrapped a canvas belt round a rock as big as he was. He then stood practically underneath it while a machine lifted it into position in what appears to be a retaining wall built from the rocks that fell. Recycling at its most basic.

Oh yes - and someone has covered "Los Cristianos" on the road sign. I looked round the back and it's just several strips of black bin liner tied together, but I suppose it's better than nothing - perhaps I should take some parcel tape with me tomorrow?



These two pictures appeared on the website www.newsinthesun.com this week - the young couple just escaped being crushed when tons of rock fell from a vertical cliff-face on the road from our village - Parque de la Reina - to the motorway on Monday 11th. Luckily the driver reacted quickly enough to swerve onto the other side of the road.

The Cabildo put a barrier across the tunnel, but failed to warn drivers leaving the roundabout in Parque de la Reina that they couldn't get through -

a Men Working sign and a Falling Rocks sign is not enough information. The traffic during the rush hours since has been chaotic. Cars wanting to access the southbound carriageway of the TF1 drive up, stop and look, and then do a three-point turn in the road and go back to find another route.

Cars wanting the northbound carriageway have to wait until the 3-point-turn is completed, and cars rushing OFF the northbound carriageway have to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting them.

I walked up there again this morning and in five minutes I counted 23 cars, one truck and three motorbikes maneouvering to turn round.
Oh yes - and three near-collisions.

There were workmen clearing more of the rubble, but they couldn't tell me when the road would be re-opened - presumably the cliff must be made safe first, although the banana plantation worker on top of it didn't seem concerned as he chopped back cacti within inches of the edge.



 To anyone who lives in Tenerife, and to knowledgeable visitors, ‘Puerto’ can only mean one thing – Puerto de la Cruz.
Don’s son treated us to a night there on Tuesday, and although the drive up took little more than an hour, it felt like a holiday.
Puerto is on the north coast, and its exuberant verdancy is in stark contrast to the arid south where we live. Both are beautiful in very different ways, but a change is always refreshing.

We stayed in Hotel Marquesa – one of the old hotels in the centre of town, with wooden balconies overlooking an internal courtyard - 

– so much more atmospheric than a tall modern block.
Having checked in – the rooms have been modernised and all are en suite - we walked around the town and harbour. 

Tourists for the day, we admired the castle and the old houses, 

 a bronze statue of a fisherwoman on the quay 

the Fishermen's Fraternity building with some seriously dangerous-looking external stairs,

and a couple of nice young men swimming among the boats.   
We ate lunch and then ice creams and had a siesta, then went out in the soft evening to eat again –dinner this time - listened to Spanish songs over a brandy, 

and then slept, despite the rumble of cars over the cobbles and the chiming of the quarters from the church in the square.
I was up early in the morning to stroll through the old streets alone, admiring the houses, 
some beautifully preserved, others in desperate need of some TLC.

After breakfast in the main square we spent a couple of hours in the Botanical Gardens. I do love trees and added many photos to my album,

but here are just a few of the more exotic ones.

Then it was coffee in Garachico – the last town on the island to have suffered from a volcanic lava flow – and lunch (more food!) in Los Gigantes, home of these gigantic cliffs,
and back to Parque de la Reina.

We seemed to have been away for much longer than 24 hours, but even so there simply wasn’t time to take in the Agatha Christie Festival which I saw advertised in Puerto.