Canary Day 2012

Wednesday is Canary Day. It’s a big thing here. On Tuesday, most schools will have a party for the second half of the morning. They’ll serve traditional food (probably lots of gofio) and play traditional folk music. Some will have Canarian sports, like the Shepherd’s Leap. Schools and most shops will be shut on Wednesday. There’s a good chance that you’ll be able to catch a folk group performing somewhere.

May 29, 2012

La Palma’s Violet

This is the lovely little Palmeran Violet, Viola palmensis. It only grows on La Palma, above 1,900 m. (There’s a similar violet on Tenerife, but it has smaller flowers). It used to be rare, but the island government has a program of replanting areas and it’s making a comeback. You can find them beside the road from Santa Cruz to the Roque de los Muchachos well above the tree line….

May 28, 2012

Morning Walk in El Hierro

I’m in the middle of one of my weekend escapes to El Hierro. I woke up early and went for a lovely walk before breakfast, from El Pinar towards Las Playas and the Parador.  Not that I got all the way down to the Parador, because that would have meant hiking back up.  Besides, the path was very steep and slightly slippery, and nobody knew where I was.  Of course…

May 26, 2012

Dragging contests

A feature of many livestock fairs on La Palma is the dragging contest (Arrastre de ganado). Two cows or two bulls drag a weight around a course (usually 70 m), and the fastest team wins. The animals compete in various classes – heifers, bullocks, cows and bulls, dragging different weights. At San Isidro, the weights started at 400 kg, and went up to 800 kg, and the fastest team dashed…

May 23, 2012

Inside the HARPS-N spectrograph

The big defraction grating on its zerodur support, HARPS-N spectrograph, Galileo telescope
May 21, 2012

  Francesco Pepe invited me to see inside the HARPS spectrograph. I was very lucky, because the enclosure was closed for the inauguration, and closed again (probably for years) soon after I took these photos. Of course I had to wear special over-clothes to prevent dust getting into the instrument. The top photo shows the grating, which splits the starlight into a rainbow, and the bottom one shows the collimator,…


Creative Friends

May 18, 2012

My friend Alba Molina has an exhibition of paintings up at El Alisio, along with Esteban Lorenzo and Juan Diego Villasán.  The exhibition is open from 4:40 – 8:30 pm, Monday – Friday, plus Saturdays from 10:30 am – 1 pm, until June 11th. My friend Merche (another artist) now has her website up although it’s still a work in progress. Me friend and fellow writer Rosemary Kind has  a…