F-WORDS were FLYING round our apartment yesterday – the boiler packed up. FIVE years is FAIRLY average here with our water so FULL of cal. Nigel FITTED a new one, FURTHER up the wall so the OH won’t bang his head when he FILLS the washing machine – and we’re €180 worse off. “What F-word?” you ask. FIDDLESTICKS, naturally.
FIGURES – I checked my blog stats yesterday and FELL into a depression at how FEW hits I’ve had. But it’s early days, so thank you to my FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS!
FOOD - FRESH FISH is our FAVOURITE food to eat here (a very appropriate subject on Good FRIDAY) and we live on an island with more FISHERMEN than FARMERS. In the village near us there is a fish market – a dozen or so stalls that back onto the beach where the boats come in. On the terrace behind the stalls, seagulls wait by buckets for the offal to be thrown out, and on the pavement in FRONT we join housewives and restaurant owners to buy fish that was in the sea less than an hour ago. I bought some bonito once, and when the woman FILLETED it, the sardine that had been its last meal was still wriggling.
The best meat in Tenerife is pork – local, tender and FANTASTIC. When we FIRST arrived to live here the butcher didn’t understand my request for pork with the skin on, and gave me a carrier bag containing the skin FROM a whole pig. I shared it with FRIENDS, FROZE some more, and we FEASTED on crackling for months. Now the butcher is used to our strange FOREIGN ways and asks whether I want my pork “con o sin piel.”
FRUIT is another treat – oranges, lemons, mangoes, papayas, bananas and of course FIGS. I remember leaving a coffee bar one day and picking a handful of figs off a tree in the street. One of my mother’s Christmas treats was dried figs, which I can’t stand, but fresh ones still warm from the sun – that’s a different matter entirely.
And talking of food, I must not FORGET to mention my husband’s favourite – Papas Canarias – food of the gods. Small local potatoes cooked in their skins in salt water. The locals used to cook them in a bucket of seawater but now they use sea salt. Serve them with Mojo Verde – a green sauce made with olive oil and cilantro (fresh coriander).
FIRE The very word sends shivers down the spine, especially when we’ve had a drought as bad as the last twelve months. A spark can set off a FOREST FIRE that destroys acres in hours. A few years ago there was a devastating fire that reached one of Tenerife’s most beautiful places, Masca, which until recently was only accessible by goat track. The road isn’t much better now, and getting FIRE-FIGHTING equipment up there was a nightmare.
When the fire was FINALLY out there was a media appeal for help, so my daughter and I took some spare household goods and plants and went there. Our gifts were welcomed, and one man showed us his burnt-out home. It was awful - like a Dali painting – have you ever seen a melted television set? One can understand why it is a criminal offence here to chuck a FAG-END out of a car window.
But for FUN with the FAMILY and a real FESTIVE spirit you can’t beat an open fire, even in the tropics, and my son-in-law has built a FIREPLACE on his roof terrace.