Growing Bananas on La Palma

When I first came to La Palma in 1990, around 40% of the population depended on the banana trade: growing bananas, packing them, or driving them. But even with the EU subsidy, it’s hard to make a living from bananas. If you’re unlucky with the weather, you can work hard all year and still make a loss. So the economy is diversifying, and a good thing too. But bananas are…

July 31, 2011


I still seem to be tired all the time, and I’m getting very little done. Even my blog posts are getting shorter.

July 28, 2011

The Swedish Solar Telescope

The Swedish Solar Tower, Roque de Los Muchachos observatory
July 26, 2011

Two of the fourteen telescopes at the Roque de los Muchachos observatory are solar telescopes — highly specialised to observe our own sun. This is the Swedish Solar Telescope, which was one of the first telescopes built on the Roque. It’s currently the best solar telescope in the world since they added the new adaptive optics in 2005. (Adaptive optics compensate for air turbulence.) It can resolve details of the…


Concert in San Jose

July 24, 2011

I’ve been frustrated by a like of progress with my writing projects, but then I was tour guiding three mornings last week, plus it’s the village fiesta (which makes it too noisy to sleep some nights) plus we had my husband’s belated birthday party on Saturday. One way and another, perhaps it’s not so very odd that I’m tired. Certainly I was tired after the birthday party, but after a…


The Old Church of San Juan, Puntallana

The exterior of the church of San Juan, Puntallana As Palmeran churches go, the church of St. John the Baptist in Puntallana isn’t all that old. The presbytery and the side chapels date from the 16th century, and the nave from the 1719. It was officially declared an Asset of Cultural Interest (rather like a listed building) in 1994. The main altar in the church of San Juan, Puntallana The…

July 23, 2011