Saturday 30 March 2013


Oh dear, I just looked at the BBCs weather site which shows temperatures in Whitstable are just above freezing with light snow forecast overnight.     Sorry to rub it in .... but here on Fuerteventura the recent unsettled weather has passed, the winds have dropped and yesterday was an absolute scorcher with brilliant blue sky all day.

The temperature in our garden here is 25deg (shade) at 9.30am.     Actually it was just too hot to sit in our sheltered garden yesterday and today will probably be the same so we'll take a walk along the beach path into town to get the sea breeze  (tough life) and I'm sure you sympathise LOL

I had to smile at these pictures taken by Birgit (you may recall I recently did a sepia style portrait of Birgit and her husband Manolo as a first anniversay gift).    Chocolate bunnies sunbathing on the beach path - you can just make out the ferry on the horizon which runs regularly between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote

and skinny dipping - well its very important for chocolate bunnies not to overheat!

One of our Fuerte friends, Lynne AKA Catwoman devotes her life here to rescuing sick and/or abandoned cats.   Sadly too many people think its OK to commit to having a pet when they move over here but when/if expat life doesn't suit them they pack up, go home and just leave the animals on the streets.

Lynne regularly rounds up stray cats and arranges with a local vet to neuter them.   Neutered cats have the tip of one ear clipped off so they are easily recognisable.   The cats are either rehomed or, if that's not possible, they are released onto 'safe' patches on local complexes where she maintains feeding/watering stations so they live a semi feral life but are well fed.   Because of her efforts the cats aren't a problem to tourists as they are on many holiday islands.  If cats are too sick to be released she keeps them herself - skin cancer is a problem with some of the lighter coloured animals here.

Lynne arranged a fund-raiser yesterday - an Easter Cake coffee/wine morning at one of the bars in town.   All home made (but not by Lynne) I thought these were cute:

David's personal selection .... you can see he wanted to do his bit to help the cats :-)

Another friend, Val,  has two rescue cats.   One just turned up at her house and decided to stay.  When Catwoman was asked to arrange the neutering she suggested Val ought to get another cat to keep the stray company and she just happened to have one of the same age and colouring at home (!!!)  Never one to miss an opportunity, our Lynne  ..

and this is how the cats stay cool on days like this ..... find a patch of shade, stretch out and let the breeze get to your bits ...

Hmmm her 'sister' hasn't quite tgot the hang of finding a shady spot first

They are both lovely cats .. not sure whether you'd describe them as tortoiseshell or calico?

Hope you are all enjoying the Easter Holiday whatever the weather

Wednesday 27 March 2013


Having a few problems with the computer/internet at the moment but was very pleased to get a message telling me that my tiger has been awarded a Highly Commended listing at the 11th Annual 'World of Coloured Pencil' exhibition which is running at the Pencil Museum in Keswick until 27 April.

Its a tiger I photographed at Antwerp Zoo last year.  He was so regal sitting up high and just staring at we human visitors.  Tigers have such intense stares don't they?   This is coloured pencils on drafting film with a black backing sheet.   

Monday 25 March 2013

25/03: RAT -A- TWO- EEE

Sorry about that!

I accompanied David and Steve (local singer) round the 9 hole golf course on Saturday just spectating, learning the language(!) and keeping the scorecard.     David is playing again today but this time its an 18 hole session (they have two flags/holes instead of one and play the course twice .. or something like that).  Anyway, as its a more serious game spectators/walkers aren't permitted so I stayed home being productive.

I've sanded down and varnished the front door and frame - looks 100% better now.   I wish I'd done it a couple of years back as the sun bleached/faded wood looked very sad.    Then I made some individual strawberry/raspberry/ginger sponges to take to a friend's tonight.  He is cooking a curry banquet for a few of us and I'm doing the puddings

On Saturday at the clubhouse I was pleased to see my little friend Ratty again

and when he realised I had biscuits on offer  .... he brought a friend to share the goodies

Difficult photographing them as they were coming out from the dark rocks with the sun behind them .... apologies to my rat-phobic Blogger friends but I do think these are cute - just look at those wonderful whiskers.

I agree with Jan's comments though (previous post) and wouldn't actually want them near my house but I enjoy watching their antics here at the golf course.

Friday 22 March 2013

22/03: GOLF WIDOW?

Anybody who knows David will know how 'anti' Golf and Golfers he is/was.   He was adamant he wouldn't be sucked into the Golfing fraternity - mainly because he doesn't like the constant reliving of every game, stroke by stroke, in the Bar afterwards .... and also what he perceives as the formality, rules and regulations and the many notices and signs plastered around some of the Club Houses we've seen.

But ..... expat friends here suggested we visited the local 9 hole course on the outskirts of Corralejo (our Town).     We walked there last Saturday, it took us an hour but it was a lovely walk and the course is beautifully laid out in a 'hollow' between some rocky hills - which helps protect it from the famous Fuerteventura winds.

We met our friends as they finished their usual Saturday morning round and joined them for a drink at the Club House verandah where I was chuffed to find how tame the little chipmunks are.  They live in the rocks surrounding the course and they come to call and eat from your hand.

and I was curious about a bird that landed on the practice putting green by the Club House.   Looked quite cute with its little bandit mask

Having Googled it, I now know its isn't so cute after all.   Its a variety of Shrike, often called the Butcher Bird because of its habit of impaling its prey on spikes - barbed wire, cactus thorns etc.  It eats insects and small rodents so the little chipmunk babies need to be pretty careful I guess!

Anyway, after our walk to the course we were invited to a friend's house to have a 'few swings' with some borrowed clubs on a piece of wasteground they'd converted into a golf target area.   David took to it like a duck to water, I wasn't so good and managed to hit the ground and jar my hand badly so ended up with bruised/swollen knuckles!

David played his first round on a proper course on Tuesday.  He did really well (although did lose 2 balls in the water) and ended up just 5 strokes behind Al who took him round and who has been playing here regularly.   Its a very friendly Club and quite informal.  Trainers are permitted and dress code quite relaxed

Proof for those friends who wouldn't otherwise believe David is on a Golf Course

and I was forced to take this photo to show how close he got to a 'hole in one' - this was where the ball landed on his first stroke on hole 7 - yawn!!!

He's hooked!     and off to play another game tomorrow morning.   I will probably go with him as I enjoy the walking and the wildlife.

As well as the chipmunk visitors on Tuesday, look who else came out to grab some biscuits ...

Cute rat eh?    I don't have a problem with rodents as they tend to be furry and have lovely bright eyes etc ... but I really can't cope with spiders.    Thankfully Fuerteventura doesn't have any nasty venomous wildlife (snakes or spiders) so its only the occasional mosquito or jellyfish you have to worry about on the island.

Ratty actually pushed chipmunk away from the cake he'd been eating but I didn't manage to photograph the scuffle unfortunately

Tuesday 19 March 2013


The end of the Carnival is always celebrated with a final Fiesta .... the Burning of the Sardine!

Here in Corralejo, Fuerteventura, the huge model Sardine is wheeled through the Town accompanied by hoardes of wailing, crying men and women dressed in Black.    All accompanied by the inevitable drumming groups

The Sardine is taken down to one of the small beaches in the Town where it is Burned/Cremated and then we are treated to a firework display on the beach/in the Sea.

A few pictures

The Sardine at rest at the top of Town, awaiting the crowd of mourners before starting its journey to the Beach.  As the Carnival theme this year was 'Caribbean' the Sardine has been dressed up accordingly ... bless

One of the many drummers .... during Carnivals/Fiestas its quite normal for men to dress as women and vice versa!

Some of the mourners

They've reached the beach

The Town Beach was jam packed with spectators ...

The last couple of 'Burnings' we've seen have been a bit slow winded and the sardine has taken forever to be cremated.   This year the Fire Brigade guys really doused the sardine in some kind of inflammable liquid.    Here's one of them applying the torch

and the sardine was gone in a matter of minutes ....

the fireworks were some of the best we've seen here .... a brilliant spectacle.   Lots of oooohhs and aaaaahhhs to be heard

Sunday was also St Patrick's Day, another well celebrated event here on the island where there are lots of Irish homeowners and holidaymakers.    Plenty of folk dressed in Green all round Town

Yesterday was noticeably quiet everywhere ..... lots of subdued people shaking off hangovers methinks!

Anyway, we've been out and about a lot so plenty more photos to follow but I'm not able to leave comments on anybody's Blogs at the moment for some reason.    Will need to get David to have a look at the settings as he has been working on a Blog/Website for somebody and I think he may be to blame :-)

So - I am reading all your posts and will get back to posting on your Blogs asap.

Monday 18 March 2013


What a weekend!

We've hardly been home except to sleep for the last few days - meeting with friends, following the various Carnival events etc.  We're in need of a couple of days rest now and I hope to catch up with emails/Blogs etc this week.

I have never been able to use the Flash facility on my camera and had assumed that the camera was clever enough to cope without.  However, David did a bit of research and found that other users of this model had the same problem which was resolved by taking the camera back to 'factory settings' ... he did this and I can now use flash again - sadly we found out too late for the main Carnival Procession on Saturday evening so the pictures I took aren't best quality.

But I think photos can't do justice to the event anyway, you really have to be there to experience the sights and sounds - so much drumming (they do like their drumming groups out here on Fuerteventura) and really, clever as the Floats are, I much prefer looking at the people on the street having fun.

Despite all the doom and gloom about the economic climate, they put on a fantastic show.  I think the floats may have been less 'flamboyant' this year but there were many more people attending and the parade took about 4 hours to travel the length of the main High Street.  Austerity measures meant that despite this year's theme being 'Caribbean' the thrifty locals were dressing up in whatever outfits they had to hand from previous events - it all added to the fun though.

(Sunday/yesterday evening) was the Burning of the Sardine parade with fireworks on the beach and, again, much drumming and drama ...

but whilst I sort out my photos, here are a few that aren't 'too fuzzy' from the big Carnival Parade on Saturday evening

making an escape bid from Mum ...

Thursday 14 March 2013


I hate shopping.   Clothes, groceries, furniture I hate it all.   David on the other hand is like a kid in a toy shop when in the supermarket, examining the packets and reading ingredients, comparing prices etc .... so annoying when all I want to do is grab the essentials and get back home.

Now if more supermarkets had cashiers who looked like this I might change my habits.

Think I'll be spreading the grocery shopping over a few days this weeks

This isn't normal by the way,  usually we have lady assistants dressed in standard uniform.  This is all part of the mayhem that is Carnival Week on Fuerteventura .... never know who/what you'll bump into in the street.   

We passed a 'person' pushing a baby in a pram earlier and I'm still not sure if the adult was male or female, the outfit was so good/outrageous.     The BIG day/night is Saturday with the Grand Procession which takes a couple of hours then the (younger) residents head down to the harbour and dance till dawn.    

Oh, this was a cute little chap I met outside the supermarket - not in fancy dress but who could resist those eyes. 

That's it for today.   4pm and I'm going to chill out by the pool for an hour - tough life.   

I understand its minus 2 degress back in Whitstable ...... shame     LOL