19/08/2013

TEN TON TRUCK - RESEARCH



In the interests of research I wanted to know the size of a delivery van large enough to move the contents of a small cottage. I asked the OH and he said a ten-tonner, so I Googled "Ten ton truck".

The first items that came up began, "There is a light that never goes out." Strange, I thought, that's not what I was after, but I read it anyway.
Apparently there is a song by that name and in the lyrics my research item is mentioned.
 I have removed the direct quote because I understand it infringes copyright! There's nothing to stop you looking it up for yourself, and I assure you it mentions a ten ton truck!
It was sung by The Smiths, which in a weird way was appropriate because my book's working title is "The Smith Girls" !

I tried Googling images of "ten ton van" next, and among the pictures of all kinds of vehicles was this face. Why? I thought, so I clicked on it.
He was Ton van Heugten, the Dutch 1981 Side-car-cross World Champion. A nice face but not what I needed.

And besides, the OH was wrong - a ten tonner is too big. My chap in the 1950s drove a smaller vehicle, so I've gone for a four ton van.
Research can lead you in odd directions, can't it?

18/08/2013

BANANAS!

This is the fruit and veg we bought for the weekend, all locally grown. Potatoes, batata yema huevo, oranges, lemons, mangas - I have yet to discover the difference between mangoes and mangas - and bananas.
That's real bananas off a banana tree, still warm from the sun and possibly with a few insects adhering to the sticky bit at the join. Delicious.
So why would anyone buy these that I saw later, lurking in the freezer of our village supermarket? Frozen peeled bananas in Tenerife?
Please! Do me a favour!




My morning walk was particularly fragrant today - after yesterday's severe gusts of wind there were so many peppercorns littering the pavement that I couldn't help but walk on them.

Imagine inhaling the scent of crushed fresh peppercorns at every step.
And then to top it all the yucca was in flower, reminding me that on my next visit to the Venezualan greengrocer I must buy some yucca - nothing thickens a stew better.

What veg and fruit did you buy for the weekend?




14/08/2013

CLOUDS

"I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o'er vales and hills" . . .

We were driving home today after a dentist appointment (oh joy - another root canal) and I saw a solitary cloud in the otherwise dusty, calima-laden sky. So naturally the above poem popped into my mind - a lonely cloud.

But just a cotton-pickin' minute . . . wasn't Wordsworth an Englishman? I mean - how often do the skies over England only contain ONE cloud?

Just wondering.

09/08/2013

¡HOLA! ‘WAVES’

The sky was peculiar this morning – still dusty with the calima, which diffused the sun making it seem enormous – but yet there were low-lying clouds on the mountains.

What's going on with the world's weather this year?

Tenerife has been put on Yellow Alert for an ola de calor (heat-wave) this weekend, and the authorities are still dithering about whether it would be wise to cancel the annual procession for the Virgen de Candelaria – the patron saint of the Canary Islands. Doing so would disappoint thousands of people, some of whom travel a long way to take part. 
Carrying on with the pilgrimage from various parts of the island in excessive heat would put a strain on the ambulance services.
What a pity the festival isn't in the winter!


There is also concern in San Andres, where high tides and strong winds are throwing olas muy  grandes (huge waves) over the inadequate sea defences.

Down in Las Galletas where I went this morning to shop, the sea was actually roaring as I parked my car, and the waves were glorious.
I wasn’t the only one revelling in the sight of its power – there were people sitting comfortably by their camper vans watching the spectacle – and even between the breaking waves you could see the sea’s muscles flexing.


As I was driving home, all those waves - heat-waves and sea-waves - made me think. If ola means a wave, and the Spanish say hola without pronouncing the H so it sounds like ola, is that where the English verb “to wave” comes from? 
Just wondering.

07/08/2013

I'M A WINNER!

Modesty is not the name of the game when you're a writer - every small triumph must be shouted to the skies.
This is mine . . .
I came first in a poetry competition in Writing Magazine!!

The brief was to write an eight line poem using foreign phrases that are in common use in the English language. It was great fun to write, and even better that it won.

See my "Verses" page on the right of this blog to read it - and some of my others.

06/08/2013

THE SMITH GIRLS - another re-write!

It's been a while since I blogged about writing, mainly because I've been too busy actually doing it.
A month ago I finished a rewrite of my novel Helter-Skelter and re-submitted it to an agent. Waiting to hear whether I've cracked it this time is torture, and I have been too nervous to do more than faff.
Well, that's not quite true - I wrote a 200 word story for an online competition run by Writing Magazine's Talkback forum and was a runner-up, and I also wrote a humerous poem for the same competition.
I had a short story accepted by an online site http://alfiedog.com/ - my story should be published in September - and I've expanded the 200 word story into a longer one, so I've not been completely idle.
I still haven't heard about H-S (I'm hoping no news is good news) but now I am settling down to the next big challenge - a total rewrite of the sequel to Helter-Skelter.

Just reading my chapter summaries from when I wrote it two years ago has highlighted a problem - I need to shift the emphasis. In the original I was still focusing on Albie Smith, the MC in H-S, but the sequel begins twelve years later and Albie is now a family man. I had spread the story too thinly over Albie, his wife and their children, which resulted in the book lacking a central thread.

I gave up attempting a rewrite after the first chapter and had a rethink, lying awake for several nights. Then Mandy and I had a brain-storming session over a coffee which produced several ideas but nothing concrete, especially as every time I suggested dropping a character she cried, "Oh you can't do that - I like him/her!"
But now I have finally worked it out and I'm all excited about it again. Without losing sight of Albie and the rest of his family, the main focus is going to be on his two daughters.
They are in their very early teens, one dark, one fair, sometimes the best of friends, at others sworn enemies.
Hence the working title of my current project:
  The Smith Girls

01/08/2013

THE WEATHER IN TENERIFE

 Una calima mas!
No sooner has one dust cloud lifted – or rather, dropped its load onto my car, my terrace and every surface in the apartment – than another drifts in on the prevailing summer wind from Africa.

These calimas often used to be followed by rain, which freshened the air and washed the trees – we have even hastened to park the car outside in it – but this no longer happens. 
We’ve had nothing more than a few pathetic showers in the last two years – we need RAIN!



And yet the wild plants manage to survive. I drive past this fig tree several times a week and I thought it was dead. Today my morning’s walk took me right past it – and it's struggling but alive! 




As is the yellow weed that is taller than me, waving bravely against a sere desert backdrop.

If you know where to look, life is bursting out all over.