Thursday, 28 July 2011

Pilates party

Our time on the island of Tenerife is getting shorter by the day. Hubby finishes his contract tomorrow and then we're on 'holiday' mode. Well, we have paperwork to sort out to make the journey back to mainland Spain but mostly we are hoping to enjoy a couple of weeks and do nothing but fun activities.

The bad part about moving on is having to say goodbye to the people I've met. Some of them will remain in contact, but many will be remembered in happy memories and photos.

Yesterday was my last Pilates class. I had to say goodbye to a lovely bunch of ladies that have been bending and stretching along side me for many months. It was quite sad but I have many memories to keep me going and I know that they won't be quickly forgotten.

So to 'celebrate' my departure I decided to take a cake to sweeten the moment. But little did I know that the other girls had also decided to take things along and we ended up having a delicious light meal - followed by cake!

There were home-made mojoitos which had a wonderful flavour (from the home-grown mint I'm told!) and cooled us down nicely when the class ended.

We also had home-made guacamole with tortilla chips, home-made quiche, pasta salad, chicken salad, spicy potatoes and chicken and a variety of cheese dips.

And then there was the cake - and it was as delicious as it looks!

It was a pleasure and an honour to be able to meet and get to know a fabulous group of ladies and a lovely way to end our time together. They will be sadly missed.

Hasta pronto!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

La Laguna, 515 years old

Today is the 515th anniversary of the founding of the city of (San Cristóbal de) La Laguna. It is to be found in the north of the island, right next to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and is really considered to be part of the same municipality. It used to be the capital of the island before the administrative centre moved to Santa Cruz (1723).

Leal Theatre

Church of The Conception
The historical centre of La Laguna was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999 and is popular with tourists and visitors all year round. It is home to the University of La Laguna, founded in 1701, and the first university in the archipelago. It is also where the second international airport on the island can be found. 
Cathedral of La Laguna towers

The main historical centre is pedestrianised so it's possible to wander around without having to watch for passing cars. The streets and the architecture are definitely worth seeing and it would be interesting to hear the stories the walls could tell! Happy birthday La Laguna!

Hasta pronto!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Currently reading

If anybody is stuck for something to read over the summer (although I'm sure that the reading list was compiled many moons ago) or you've already finished all the books that were piled up waiting for those coveted free moments, then I can recommend:

 'The Leopard' by Jo Nesbo
(translated by Don Bartlett)
Published by Harvill Secker (2010).

It's a nail-biting, fast moving, action packed thriller. There is no lack of detail and some of it is pretty gruesome, but it adds to the feel of the story and is not there just for the sake of it.

This is the second book I've read by Jo Nesbo, the first was 'The Redeemer', and I have to say that I enjoyed this book more. The setting and the storyline are more interesting and the web of characters and their interconnected stories keeps you guessing right to the end.

From the back cover:
'In the depths of winter, a killer stalks the city streets. His victims are two young women, both found with twenty-four inexplicable puncture wounds, both drowned in their own blood. The crime scenes offer no clues, the media is reaching fever pitch, and the police are running out of options. There is only one man who can help them, and he doesn't want to be found.'

Once the story starts it's very difficult to put down and I really had the feeling of a hair-raising roller coaster ride. I wanted to read 'just one more page' and then 'just one more' until I realised that I was half-way through it! I hope you enjoy it too.

Hasta pronto!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Creative self-doubt

I'm currently wading my way through a creative writing course. It's made up of two parts; non-fiction and fiction. To be honest, I'm more interested in the fiction part but, the course is set up to do the non-fiction first and that's the way I've decided to tackle it too.

I recently sent my latest assignment off to my tutor for assessment. I hadn't been overly inspired doing it and it had really taken me far too long to get finished. Today I received the marked assignment and my tutors' comments. She was very happy with the work I'd done and actually told me how well written one of the pieces was. So how come I have so much self-doubt over my own abilities to write? Why do I put the assignments off until the only thing I can think about is the piece of work waiting for me on my computer and I feel guilty for not having done it sooner?

I enjoy writing and researching new topics, it's a great way of finding out new information but I can't understand why I don't believe more in the work that I produce. Is it normal for a 'newbie' writer to be overly critical with their own work? All of my assignment pieces have been well received so, why do I think that my tutor sees something that I don't?

I've started on my new assignment to continue with the course, but again, it's not a subject that really enthuses me. Perhaps I should just take it as another piece of writing practice and get on with it. I think that maybe the problem is that I don't want to do an average piece of work and do it just for the sake of it, I want to produce something of a decent standard. Is it normal to have such doubts and question our own creativity?

Hope that you all had a great weekend and that Monday has started with the creative juices flowing nicely!

Hasta pronto!

Friday, 22 July 2011

YAY! It's Friday!

I spent all yesterday afternoon thinking it was Friday. I've no idea why and it totally disorientated me. So today was really a bonus! 'YAY' for Friday and the weekend! At some point I'd like to walk along the sea front and eat an ice-cream - they're not the grandest of plans, but hey, they make me happy!

-Lose not yourself in a far off time,
 seize the moment that is thine.-

                                                                                        Friedrich Schiller

Whatever your plans, and wherever you are, enjoy!

Hasta pronto!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Future change brings back past memories

Change is inevitable and living the nomadic lifestyle that we do, I would say that it is guaranteed. I mentioned a few days ago that the wind of change was beginning to blow (always makes me think of the scene in Mary Poppins when the wind changes and she comes floating in with her umbrella!) and it looks like it's building up into a steady breeze.

So it seems that it's time to pack the ol' bags again and load them in the car. Not just yet though, we still have about a month to go. But when change is on the horizon it brings with it a very strange feeling. Where I once felt a part of the area, one of the 'locals', I now feel as if I've been shifted away, like floating on a parallel plane, seeing and hearing everything but not really taking part.

It's unavoidable to feel a small sense of belonging to a place, no matter how short a time I've been there. I've met people, made friends, joined in and become part of the group. Now it's time to start to sever the bonds and drift away. I feel excitement for the new adventure, every place has something to offer and experiences to live, but sadness at the same time. It's true that a fragment of who I am gets left behind and I hope that I remain a pleasant memory to the people I've met as they do for me.

I suppose that the best part is that I get to meet so many different people and have contacts far and wide. That's certainly something to be proud of and cherish. And so as not to wallow in feelings of self indulgence, I thought that I would look back and see what I was doing this time last year. This is one of the things that I love about taking photos - the memories they provoke are priceless!

Inner courtyard
This time last year I was working in the northwest of France. And in July visited the town of Châteaubriant. The château rises up majestically in the middle of the town and is open to visitors to wander around. It was a beautiful day and the architecture is so typically French. I remember that we went on a Sunday so it was quiet, perfect for strolling and soaking up the atmosphere.

The river Chère
The town was filled with these lovely buildings and a river ran through the heart of it. It's lovely to be able to look back and remember this visit, another experience that brings back a smile. I feel very fortunate to be able to see so many different places (even if sometimes I feel like my life resembles a travelling fair!).

Hasta pronto!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Windsurf World Championship

For the last seven days 57 'riders' have been battling it out to be the king / queen of the waves in the second round of the Windsurf World Championship. The event was organised by the PWA, Professional Windsurfers Association.

Riding the waves
It's being held in El Médano, on the south side of the island of Tenerife. It's quite mesmerizing watching the coloured sails of the windsurfers zipping backwards and forwards across the waves. And they've got it all set up - part of the beach to leave the board and sail and the rest for the bars, stalls and chill-out areas!

The only thing that I thought wasn't very well organised was when the tests were actually going to be held. There was no schedule, or at least none that I could see. I understand that it depends largely on the wind, but there could at least have been some sort of general list of what was supposed to be happening and when.

I didn't mind seeing them practice but it would have been nice to catch some of the competition. I couldn't spend the whole day down on the beach so I went when I thought that there would be something to see, and I'd missed it. But there was nothing posted for the next day either - I did enjoy a nice cool beer to compensate though!

Hasta pronto!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Yesterday evening I went to see the long awaited final part of Harry Potter. It was a mixture of excitement and sadness and just a little apprehension - I didn't want to be let down right at the end. As the lights dimmed, hubby leaned over and whispered 'Well, let's see if you like it!'.

It.was. FABULOUS! I loved it! The perfect ending, just how it should have been. The film flowed from one magical scene to the next and nothing was left out. It all made sense, the loose ends were neatly tied up and...... Oh no! I'm not giving any more away!!

We saw it in 3D and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It's one of those films with enough effects to make use of the 3D and give the feeling of being part of it. If you've also been waiting for this film then don't hesitate - get out there and see it, I'm sure it won't disappoint!

Hasta pronto!

Friday, 15 July 2011

It's Potter time!

Oh yes, the day has finally arrived! We are indeed facing the end of an era. The final instalment of the Harry Potter saga premiere's today and brings with it the final battle of good versus evil. If you've read the books (as so many have) then you already know the outcome - but that doesn't take away the excitement, oh no!

Image source
I'm really looking forward to seeing this film and I hope (fingers and toes crossed!) that I'll get to see it this weekend!

Are you looking forward to seeing it too? Or have you already seen it (lucky!) and what - no spoilers - did you think??

Wherever you are and whatever your plans, have a great weekend. Enjoy!

Hasta pronto!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Something to think about....

-All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy;
for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves;
we must die to one life before we can enter another.-

                                                                                           -Anatole France

Hasta pronto!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Famous films in Tenerife

Did you know that Tenerife is a popular location for feature films to be made? This is due mainly to its subtropical year-round climate, the lunar landscape in the Teide National Park and the many volcanic backdrops available.

These are some of the films that I have discovered that have been filmed in whole or in part on the island of Tenerife.

Image source
 Clash of the Titans (2009) was filmed partly on the island, and filming for the new film, Clash of the Titans II, has just been completed.

Image source
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) was fimed partly in Tenerife.
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Barbarella (1967) starring Jane Fonda also included scenes filmed in Tenerife.

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Bet you didn't know that part of the epic The Ten Commandments (1956) was filmed in Tenerife?
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And the classic film Planet of the Apes (1968) was also filmed in Tenerife.

So, as you can see for a little island it certainly has been popular with the big movie makers. Now I'll have to watch them all again and see if I can spot which bits belong to Tenerife!

And talking of films - only 2 days to go until the premiere of Harry Potter!!!!

Hasta pronto!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Weekend roundup

Do you ever have such an action packed weekend that by the time you get to Monday morning you feel like you've been run over by a steam roller? That was just how I felt as the alarm started to beep (very loudly, it seemed) yesterday morning! There was no possible way that it could be time to get up already....but the digital clock doesn't lie! Yesterday I felt like I was dragging myself from one thing to the next, and to top it off I had a Pilates class in the evening. Boy did I sleep well last night!

But I can't complain. Hubby didn't have to work in the end so we had the whole weekend to play with. Our weekends' are never domestic orientated, so forget the clothes that need washing, the dishes in the sink and the floor that needs sweeping - they can be done during the week. The weekend is for enjoying!

Saturday morning we were up bright and early and down on the beach by 9am! Oh yes, the wind was just perfect and it was time to get in a bit of kitesurf practice. I've mentioned this before, but it's not really my thing, so I go along and 'help'. It's a good opportunity to get a bit of colour on my legs that, until recently were so white they glowed with a faint hint of blue!! Hubby is doing really well, and managed to get his balance and stand up on the board for quite a way.

Up & away
The photo isn't wonderful (it's taken on the old compact 'cos I don't want to get the new camera covered in sand!), but you get the idea.

The afternoon was taken up with the horses. We loaded them up and took them to the north of the island for a class with our fab dressage instructor. The weather conditions in the north were awful - we left the sun not an hour away for howling wind, dark clouds and the threat of rain. It's incredible how there are such climatic differences on such a small island. We thoroughly enjoyed the class and can see the difference aleready in the attitude and movements of the horses. Dressage is a slow process, but when things go well there's no better feeling!

We finally made it back to our riding club at 11pm - and we still had to clean out the trailer! But it was soon done and we finished off the day with Chinese food - yum!

Sunday was also action filled! We were with the horses first thing (when it's cooler), then kitesurf after lunch - but the conditions were pretty bad, strong wind and big waves - and with the horses again in the evening once it'd got a bit cooler. So as you can see, I have no problem sleeping at the weekends, if nothing else I'm exhausted!

But now is the time to make the most of the opportunities. The wind of change is beginning to blow and we have no idea what is in store for us, we'll have to wait and see....

Hasta pronto!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Friday feeling

So, it's Friday afternoon and the weekend has rolled around once again. This week has been quite productive and I've been getting up bright and early to ride and sort the horses out before it gets too hot. I'm not known for being an early riser but the idea of riding in the afternoon heat has me convinced!

So what does this weekend offer? I'm not sure if hubby has to work this weekend so I suppose we'll just have to see how things go. Hopefully on Saturday afternoon we'll be able to get the horses loaded up and go for a class with a fab dressage rider that lives in the north of the island. Unfortunately for us, we only recently got to know her - but we're trying to make the most of it!

I'm not sure what we'll be up to on Sunday (which is very unusual as we normally have a 100 things to do) but the weather is good and anything done outdoors - or near the beach for that matter! - is good with me!

And the countdown has begun! Yes, folks, only one week (7 days!) until the premiere of the final instalment of the Harry Potter saga!! Yooohooo!! Can't wait! I am a total HP fan, I loved the books and haven't been disappointed with any of the films, so I am really, really, really looking forward to the last one!

The photos in todays' post have nothing to do with anything, I just like the proud stallion pose!

Whatever you are planning to do this weekend, and wherever you are - enjoy!

Hasta pronto!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

And the kids came along too

The category of mares 7 yrs and over brought with it a little bit extra - two of the mares competing were accompanied by their foals! There is nothing sweeter than seeing a couple of foals playing together and running around. They were totally oblivious to the proceedings and were curious about everything - like little ones should be!

Black & white
Mare & foal
Mare & foal II
Friends together
Although the category was for the mares, I think that most of the public were enthralled by the antics of the foals. And who wouldn't be won over by the two carefree friends?

Hasta pronto!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Dancing horses

Many competitions and 'ferias' in Spain have, as part of the entertainment, shows of horses and dancing - together! Spanish horses and flamenco dancers are very popular. The horse shows off its own skills, called 'alta escuela' in Spain and can be seen in the famous riding schools in Jerez and Vienna, while dancers accompany it doing flamenco dancing.

Paso español

Hasta pronto!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Suit-ably dressed

The presentation of Spanish horses at Morphological competition also has its' traditions. Obviously the horses are presented clean and shining from top to tail but also those presenting the horses have a special way of dressing.

Traje corto and sombrero Cordobés
The suit is called a 'traje corto' or 'short' suit, for the cropped jacket, and the hat is a 'sombrero Cordobés'. The suit was traditionally worn by those who worked in the fields when they had to go to market to buy or sell produce or animals. The hat was traditionally made in the city of Cordoba and worn by many people in Andalucia, probably because the wide brim keeps the suns' rays off the face well.

Details on the trousers
The suits are worn by men and women for the presentation of the horses. They are also still worn by men to local ferias (festivals) and especially to the Feria de Abril in Seville.

It definitely makes the competition a lot more elegant and stylish, adding a little bit of tradition to the procedures!

Hasta pronto!

Monday, 4 July 2011

More than just a pretty face

This weekend has been a bit of a horse-fest! On Saturday I managed to get to see the first day of the Morphological competition being held at my riding club and on Sunday I was able to do a new practical test for my dressage judges' course.

If you've never seen a Morphological competition then Spain is a good place to experience one. The Spanish breeders and owners of Pure Breed Spanish horses get very excited when one of these types of competitions is held! It's a bit like a beauty competition for the breed, they're looking for characteristics of the breed in the horses that compete but particularly to find stallions and mares for breeding.

Competition program
There are different categories and age groups to be judged. This weekend there were 5 groups of mares being judged from 2 years old to 7yrs and over, and one group for stallions of 7yrs and over. To be honest, the turnout wasn't as good as at other competitions that I've been to of this type, but I suppose that with Tenerife being an island, and the boat trip from the mainland taking 3 days, that a lot of breeders decided not to bother. It's a shame because these events are always more interesting when there's a bit of fierce competition.

For the judging, all the horses from the same group have to stand in the arena. Then, one by one, they have to move along the long side at walk, do 4 circles on the lunge line at canter (depending on the age group - 2 and 3 year olds are not judged on canter) and then two full lengths of the arena at trot before stopping in the middle to be graded on their physical 'attributes'.


Each horse is then scored individually for each of the following: head, neck, front part of body, chest, thorax and stomach, back and loins, hindquarters and tail, front legs, back legs, overall shape and fidelity to the breed. Then there's also a score for movements. It's quite a rigorous examination and, to me, it seems pretty complicated to score. But the main judge is also a vet, so I suppose he knew what he was looking at!

'Is this my best side?'
As with any competition, first, second and third positions win a rosette and a prize - and can also go home to tell their friends how pretty / handsome they are!

Hasta pronto!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Friday feeling

So what really did happen to the first half of the year?? The Friday feeling today is a biggy - it's the beginning of a new month and the start of the second half of the year. I imagine that the celebrations for Independence Day will be huge this weekend on the other side of the pond and it's Friday - yay!

The weekend is just beginning and all the fun things that await! This weekend I hope to be able to go to a Morphological / functional competition for Pure Breed Spanish horses that is being held at my riding club. I also will be doing another practical test on Sunday for my dressage judge course.

So, wherever you are and whatever you plan to do this weekend I hope that it's fun, relaxing or just how you want it to be. Enjoy!

Hasta pronto!