Weather 23rd August 2014 – Los Cristianos/Las Americas

Another very misty morning, in fact solid grey with not a break in the sky, however it is also extremely hot already 26C totally airless and ‘muggy’. Locals are discussing that over the next 120 hours we could be in for some “Unsettled weather as possible tropical storm starts to form south of Canaries” I have not seen this in any national newspaper however, I only read a few papers, in an effort to improve my Spanish; but we are having extremely strange weather of late so nothing would surprise me.

23 aug

Yesterday was unbelievably hot, in my back garden it reached 43C in sun and 35C in shade but I did see someone on Facebook mention where they were it was 48 degrees.

temp Capture

The following images are for Las Vistas Beach in the south of the island and Puerto de la Cruz in the north of the island and are taken from the webcam yesterday at 12.00, 3.00 and 6.00. These times are approximate and are at whatever is the nearest before or after the hour. You can check this  LINK and it will give you 72 hours of what has been/is happening should you wish to see.

Las Vistas Beach – between Los Cristianos and Las Americas

Puerto de la Cruz

Why not Step Through the Looking Glass and read the  Red Queen Musings

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TV Programme featuring El Medano and Los Abrigos

If you don´t watch all of this make sure you fast forward to the 35.28 minute mark where my friend Pablo Padron and my all time favourite restaurant Placeres, Los Abrigos are featured.  I am so very pleased for him he works hard and deserves whatever success follows the showing of this programme.

Step Through the Looking Glass and read the  Red Queen Musings

 
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Weather 22nd August 2014 – Los Cristianos/Las Americas

So now we are back on track and know what date it is……

I woke up this morning to see dew on the mosquito netting and a thick ‘fog’ outside.  It wasn´t cold – in fact it had been a very hot and sticky night but the temperature at 7.45 was 22°C however with no sun around to burn off any mist it didn´t look great.  Now less than an hour later the sun is starting to break through, temperatures have risen to 24°C and it looks as if we are in for another hot day … yip the Calima is still with us!

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Yesterday had to go to both Los Cristianos and Las Americas and temperatures showing on the boards at lunchtime was 38C.  Coming in from last nights quiz at just gone midnight it was still 27C so no reprieve from the heat even at bedtime.

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Capture 1

The following images are for Las Vistas Beach in the south of the island and Puerto de la Cruz in the north of the island and are taken from the webcam yesterday at 12.00, 3.00 and 6.00. These times are approximate and are at whatever is the nearest before or after the hour. You can check this  LINK and it will give you 72 hours of what has been/is happening should you wish to see.

Las Vistas Beach – between Los Cristianos and Las Americas

Puerto de la Cruz

Why not Step Through the Looking Glass and read the  Red Queen Musings

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Tenerife History – Guanche art and artefacts

By comparison with other islands of the Canaries, the Guanche art of Tenerife is looked upon as the most primitive, although that doesn’t say a lot, because the rest of the archipelago was not so much more sophisticated.

Gran Canaria, where letters of the Berber alphabet have been found, is judged the most developed of the islands, although recognisable Berber letters have also been found on El Hierro, La Gomera and Tenerife. On La Palma there are spirals and circular patterns carved on rocks, much the same as found in Northumberland and elsewhere in Britain, and on the western fringe of mainland Europe.

On Tenerife there seems to have been no evolution of art since Neolithic times. Apart from what appear to be rare instances of carvings of human figures, fish, turtles and even, and this must have been in the later days, ships, Tenerife rock art in the main is in the form of straight lines and grids simply scratched onto the surface of the bedrock, it’s hardly art at all. Perhaps the shepherds were just doodling in an idle moment, much as we do with pen and paper.

With regard to Guanche pottery, it could be classified as either art or industry. Pottery finds have been almost exclusively of containers, called ‘ganigos’. They have been found all over the island and their purpose seems to have been purely functional with the absolute minimum of decoration, made for cooking and storage of food and liquid. The Guanches do not seem to have known about the wheel, so, even though the pots were round rather than square slabsided, they were shaped by hand. Decoration was usually limited to minute indentations around the rim, or occasional stripes, which themselves could have been functional, perhaps to aid in handling the vessel. The pots are unusual to north European eyes because, although their basic form is similar to prehistoric ware found in Britain, they often had two opposing handles in the shape of spouts, which they sometimes were but more often weren’t (seems like a lost opportunity).

There have been occasional finds of spoons and plates, but it may be that these implements have simply just not survived to the present day to be discovered. It’s strange that there is no evidence of development by way of fashion coming and going, which makes the pots difficult to date, as in Roman pottery for example. The consistent style appears similar to that in vogue in North Africa at a time no earlier than the 2nd century A.D. There’s a nice display of pottery in the little museum in Puerto de la Cruz, that explains the various categories and their uses, but it might be an idea to take a torch with you, because the last time I went most of the lights in the display cases weren’t working.

Many clay beads have been found, either spherical or cylindrical, to show that the Guanches did have some aesthetic sensitivity after all. The beads have been found with Guanche mummies in the form of necklaces, bracelets and anklets. Necklace beads were also made from shells, fish bones, animal bones such as vertebrae, and wood. A range of objects that still intrigues researchers are small, flat, rectangular and triangular pieces of baked clay with a wide variety of embossed patterns. These are interpreted as being a form of printing block for use with dyes for leather or as tattoos for humans. There is also a small range of simple wood carvings that have survived in the form of staffs, or ‘anepas’, symbols of authority, identified by either a hemi-spherical or an oval knob at the top, and javelins, called ‘banots’. It’s possible that not just anybody could make these things; there are hints that potters and carpenters were specialists who were paid for their products in kind in a barter economy.The most enigmatic piece of art, if that’s what it is, is the fish-shaped ‘Zanata’ stone, found near Icod de los Vinos in 1992 and now on display in the Museum of Nature and Man in Santa Cruz. The alphabet lettering on this small stone is the only example of its kind to be found on Tenerife, although other letters have been found elsewhere on the island.

They seem to be the exceptions to the rule of Tenerife being the most primitive island, and they form the most definite link between the Guanches of Tenerife with the Berber people. This special stone has a case all to itself and it makes us wonder, what was its purpose? What was its maker saying?

The Guanches, in common with other Neolithic people, lived a simple life and they were still semi-nomadic. They lived in the hills for part of the year and by the sea for the rest of the year. Because they were pastoralists, they had to look after their herds, so when one area of grazing was used up, they took their herds and flocks to places where the grazing was lush and so let the first ground recover. This practice, called ‘transhumance’ (a lovely word – sounds a bit sci-fi), was still carried out in the north of England until the end of the 16th century. For this reason the Guanches had no need for a large array of tools or implements, and those they did have were portable. Such arable farming as existed was carried out using implements that were very simple, and yet the Guanches made the best and most intelligent use of materials to hand. The tools consisted of hoes and rakes with long wooden handles that had prongs, or tines, made from sheep horns or goat horns. Perhaps if metal had been found on the island the story might have been different.

Guanche home comforts were likewise basic. Because there was no flax or cotton, clothing and bedding was made from lamb skin or sheep skin very neatly sewn. The native sewing skills, using needles made from fish bone or animal bone, are particularly in evidence in wrappings of mummies that have survived.

The most cumbersome item that the natives had, the nearest to anything like a machine, was the quern, comprising two stones that formed a rotary mill for grinding grain to make gofio. Although this implement demonstrated their know-ledge of circular motion, the natives did not know of the wheel. Their round pottery, as I wrote earlier, was made by hand without a potter’s wheel, but in any case wheeled vehicles would have very limited use and a short life on an island without roads and with very rough rocky terrain.

In general the Guanches were typical ‘primitive’ people, in that they took and used only what they needed without polluting or scarring the landscape, unlike us, the ‘civilised’ people of today. (The debate starts here.)

Incidentally, there has been a comment about my articles on the Guanches that, although the articles are well intentioned, there are some mistakes. I realised when I started this subject that I’m in dangerous territory. I know little about recent academic investigations, of which there have been many. So I can only apologise and repeat the disclaimer I made somewhere along the line that all mistakes are my own. I hope that the gaffs aren’t too bad and that readers of these not-too-serious, lightweight but informative articles will be inspired to discover for themselves more of the facts about this intriguing race by reading more thoroughly researched books. And perhaps someone on Tenerife might publish an up-to-date, authoritative, yet popular book in English.

Alastair RoberstonOf The Tenerife News.

 

Step Through the Looking Glass and read the  Red Queen Musings

 
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Weather 22st August 2014 – Los Cristianos/Las Americas

This morning is a lot brighter than at this time yesterday but we are still in the throes of a calima. No sun, no cloud just very hazy blue sky and extremely hot, already it is 26°C.

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Top temperature that I noticed yesterday was 32C in the shade. At 8.00pm here in the south it was still hot as you can see from this weather map.  But I did read on facebook someone was asking what the weather was like in the south as it was ‘damp in Icod’…. We should be so lucky, but looking at the pictures from yesterdays Puerto webcam it looks a bit more than ‘damp

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The following images are for Las Vistas Beach in the south of the island and Puerto de la Cruz in the north of the island and are taken from the webcam yesterday at 12.00, 3.00 and 6.00. These times are approximate and are at whatever is the nearest before or after the hour. You can check this  LINK and it will give you 72 hours of what has been/is happening should you wish to see.

Las Vistas Beach – between Los Cristianos and Las Americas

Puerto de la Cruz

Why not Step Through the Looking Glass and read the  Red Queen Musings

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What’s happening in “sunny” Puerto this summer?

August is upon us, the vacation month, the month when the whole Spanish system effectively shuts down and Puerto is no different (not that anyone gets over-excited here during the rest of the year!)

So again I am faced with the same dilemma, finger poised over the keyboard, thinking what on earth there is to write about.

What has the council had to say for itself lately? A good place to start. There have been plenty of new announcements; I hesitated slightly before typing new, because of course, although the announcements may be new, their content surely isn’t.

Playa Martiánez, for instance. Work will commence on phase one after the summer. Work is expected to start on the new bus station before the end of the year. News of the new port project is imminent, this month, or maybe next, depending on how many more amendments have to be made to the overall plan.

There is a reoccurring theme; the timescales, they are so very vague and lacking commitment. Are there local elections coming up by chance? Next year I think, so perhaps we will yet see some of these long outstanding projects at least get underway.

So what is actually happening in Puerto? San Telmo, for a start and true to their word, access to the sea, if not the small beach, has been reopened, an anxious attempt to retain its coveted blue flag status, no doubt. Yes, there is access, but it is by no means easy, constructed from scaffolding, I would liken it to an assault course.

Anyone with a fear of confined spaces, or sufferers of vertigo, should definitely give it a miss. I am not a supporter of overzealous health and safety regulations; have often applauded they apparent lack of them here. More often than not they appear to place unnecessary constraints on projects, causing delays, where a common sense policy is all that is needed. I take back my words; this is one time when they should be stringently applied. This bridge to provide access should never have been constructed, common sense should have told them that an accident is waiting to happen.

More roads in the area are to be resurfaced; a list has been published of the streets that will receive the black stuff and rightly so. We all paid our RFL, or the local equivalent of it a few months ago, so it is good to see that some of this money has filtered its way down and will be spent on maintaining the local roads where it should be.

So it seems Camino Tapias was not a one off; this former bumpy track is now so smooth that it has created a new problem. Now drivers using the narrow winding lane are going much too fast. The council for its part have installed a 20 kph speed limit and placed warning signs to alert drivers of pedestrians, but it is not enough, road signs are often ignored. Speed humps, or traffic calming measures , as they like to call them now, although I still prefer to call them by the old term ‘sleeping policemen’, that is what is needed now and they shouldn’t be too hard to find.

There have been reports of restaurant and bar owners not only taking the Council to task, but going further and actually taken it to court over increases in the charge levied this year for outside tables. There have been reports of charges being twice, or even in some cases, three times that of previous years. They had my sympathy, my thoughts were along the lines of, the money grabbing so and so’s, or something similar, but now my opinion has changed. There are two sides to every story and the Council’s side has a ring of truth to it.

Their reply to restaurant claims is that the charge is reflective of the actual number of tables being used. Reading between the lines, I would say that restaurants that are consistently putting out more tables than they have declared are now being asked to pay for them. Take a walk through Plaza del Charco on any weekend evening and you are dodging tables and chairs, evidence enough, I suspect. Either way it is a dispute that needs to be settled and in a courtroom is not the best place for that to happen, but ultimately it will be the customer who has to pay.

Now it seems, as if to throw another spanner into the works, there has been recent Canarian government legislation that states that the number of tables and chairs, be they inside or out, are to be restricted depending on both the number of and the size of the toilet facilities that the establishment has. Bad news for owners of small bars with large terraces, but good news overall if it results in improvements to facilities, many of which are barely adequate.

More of the town’s wheelie bins are going underground, this time, just off Calle Mequinez, bins that are not even prominent. They have been working there a couple of months; I wonder just how long it takes to dig a hole.

I have said in the past that I am not a fan of this out of sight is out of mind approach to dealing with the rubbish. It is not as if it works, rubbish does not just come in uniform size and when it doesn’t fit the chute it is simply stacked up alongside. Sort of defeats the object don’t you think. I fully understand the logic behind the move to hide unsightly rubbish from view in popular and prominent positions, but if that is the town’s aim, why then weren’t the row of smelly bins alongside the harbour, in what must be one of the most popular tourist spots, the first ones to go below ground.

I may be writing this in brilliant sunshine with clear blue skies, but let’s be honest the weather in Puerto has not been great this last couple of months. More fuel for the ‘it’s colder in the north, it’s always cloudy’ brigade, but this year unfortunately it has been true.

The cloud for the last two months has decided to take up almost permanent residence in the Orotava valley. Let’s hope the last few days of sunshine are a sign of better things to come.

As a result of the weather I have been spending more time out of Puerto, visiting neighbouring towns and the surrounding area, just half an hour away yet they have enjoyed entirely different weather.

Having visited various events and fiestas it has been interesting to see the different approaches and the organisation of such events. Quite an eye opener when compared to similar events in Puerto, but then perhaps they have more money to spend.

Author Brian Eldridge and first published in Tenerife News

 

 

Step Through the Looking Glass and read the  Red Queen Musings

 
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Weather 20th August 2014 – Los Cristianos/Las Americas

As I suspected yesterday when I mentioned the hazy horizon it has now been confirmed that a calima is due so temperatures will probably sore.  Looking at the cloudy images of the north on the webcam it looks as if it arrived there yesterday and whilst it was hot here in the south we had pretty good visibility at least until early evening. This morning is a different story, the following two photos are taken almost 12 hours apart – might have been 12 seconds. At the moment temperatures are 24°C but feels hotter.

Taken at 20.47 19th August

Taken at 20.47 19th August

Taken 7.45 20th August

Taken 7.45 20th August

Yesterday another hot day, mid afternoon 31C and yesterday evening at almost 8.30pm still 26 degrees here in the south.

CaptureThe following images are for Las Vistas Beach in the south of the island and Puerto de la Cruz in the north of the island and are taken from the webcam yesterday at 12.00, 3.00 and 6.00. These times are approximate and are at whatever is the nearest before or after the hour. You can check this  LINK and it will give you 72 hours of what has been/is happening should you wish to see.

Las Vistas Beach – between Los Cristianos and Las Americas

Puerto de la Cruz

Why not Step Through the Looking Glass and read the  Red Queen Musings

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