Overtaking the Headless Chickens





I’m still overtaking the headless chickens. I had guiding work yesterday and today, more tomorrow. Then party tomorrow afternoon, and that leaves me Christmas Eve to sort out far too much before the Spanish family party. Then we have guests for turkey on the 25th. Boxing Day will be devoted to doing absolutely nothing.

I’ve had a couple of memorable experiences lately.

On Friday I was tour guiding at the Roque, and for some reason the mobile phone tower wasn’t working, which was a pity because two of my group were driving round and round the observatory trying to find me. They managed to call my boss, who tried to work out where the heck they were from their verbal descriptions. Eventually they described the impassible barrier in minute detail, and the penny dropped. They were at the Izaña observatory on Tenerife.

And having booked a visit to the La Palma observatory whilst in Tenerife, they proceded to blame her, of course.

On sunday I had a bus excursion from a cruise ship. It poured with rain in Los Tilos. Then when we wanted to leave, we were told that the road was blocked by a small landslide. We couldn’t go back the way we came without police escort because it’s one-way and full of blind bends. The man in the high-vis jacket said to sit tight where we could turn around, until either the road was cleared, or the police came for us. “I’ll get back to you in 10 minutes,” he said.

Forty-five minutes later I hitched a lift to the site of the landslide. The cleanup had got as far as a broom. In other words, we could have got past at least 10 minutes earlier, maybe 20 or more. I tried to phone the bus driver, but couldn’t get through, so I stayed in the car as they headed south over the bridge to head back to Los Tilos and meet the bus where I left it. Then the driver rang. She’d heard the road was open, and was driving to meet me at the north end of the bridge.

So I got the friendly couple to drop me at the south and of the bridge and jjogged back to meet the bus. When I say “jog” I really mean “attempted to jog” becauseit’s about half a kilometre, slightly uphill, and I’m not fit.

The passengers were amazingly good about this.

Then today I had a bus excursion from a cruise ship. Someone from the boat came and reserved 4 seats for limited mobility passengers, which is normal enough. An American couple sat in two of them. This seemed a bit odd, because I hadn’t noticed eaither of them having trouble walking, but you can’t always tell. Then two more couples arrived with obvious, serious mobility problems. I was collectingtickets,so I asked the escort from the boat to sort it. The Americans apparently insisted that they had reserved these seats, they had the right to those seats and they weren’t moving. This left one poor woman struggling to get further down the bus.
Then at the end of the tour they got off at the pedestrian exit to the port for a walk around town.
They gave me a tip as they got off. I was so stunned by what they were doing I didn’t think to refuse it until after they’d gone. So that’s a little more for Doctors Without Boarders this Christmas. Come to think of it, that’s better than handing it back.

Tomorrow I’ve got the observatory, and then I’m doneguiding until Sunday 27th.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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