Green Eggs (hold the ham)

June 18, 2010

My son had a school project on cabbages. So I bought all the different varieties I could find to be photographed, and we asked everyone in sight for recipes, and an elderly neighbour let him photograph his gardening tools. So far so good. But it’s nice to have something nobody else has got in their project, isn’t it? Well, I was looking through “How to Fossilise Your Hamster” for teaching…


Visiting the Observatory at the Roque de los Muchachos, 2010

La Palma is home to one of the three most important astronomical observatories in the world. (The other two are Hawaii and the Atacama desert in Chile.) The observatory sits at the top of the island, at the Roque de los Muchachos. It’s a fascinating place to visit, but it’s not normally open to tourists – they’re too busy doing science. However, the IAC who run the site are organising…

June 17, 2010

The biggest and Bestest

June 16, 2010

Sometimes my life contains far too much laundry and cooking and mopping floors. And sometimes I get to be really jammy. Today I was jammy. I spent the morning being trained to guide visitors around the biggest and best telescope in the world, Grantecan. I used to work at the William Herschel Telescope, when that was the biggest in Europe, so I’m used to big telescopes, but Grantecan is something…


Fiesta in San Antonio

The procession to bless the animals, San Antonio del Monte fair, Garafía
June 11, 2010

  The biggest cattle fair and country market on La Palma will be held at San Antonio del Monte this weekend, in honour of St Anthony of Padua. About three hundred years ago, San Antonio was one of the biggest villages in Garafia, but the people gradually moved away. Now there’s just a pretty little church, a house where pilgrims used to stay and for one weekend a year, a…


Corpus Christi in Breña Baja

San Jose in Breña Baja always celebrates Corpus Christi on the Sunday after Mazo’s celebration. Since the whole thing takes out on a flat, tarmaced street, the tradition is to make carpets of coloured salt, with the altars being much more modest. In recent years, many of the carpets are made from seeds and petals, like the ones in Mazo. Much as I love the petals, I think it’s a…

June 6, 2010

Corpus Christi in Mazo

Mazo in La Palma is one of the best places to be at Corpus Christi. Of course, Catholics all over the world celebrate the fiesta, but in Mazo they make the most wonderful archways and carpets decorated with petals, leaves and seeds. Each village of the municipality makes an archway with a carpet and a little altar. During a normal Catholic mass, the host is put into a special vessel…

June 4, 2010