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Posts Tagged ‘Correos’

Friday was our seventh anniversary of moving to Tenerife and it’s ironic that having spent so many years trying to make enough money just to continue living here, we didn’t have time to celebrate it until Saturday night because we’ve been so busy.

But celebrate it we did and several glasses after the cork left the cava, thoughts and conversation turned to reflecting on how the working environment here is so different from the one we knew in the UK.

Here, life has a way of simply getting under foot and you constantly have to try to find a way around it. Partly that’s due to the working from home factor; without a shiny, fully equipped office in which to sit, you’re vulnerable to all sorts of interruptions but also, it’s about rural living on a small island in the Atlantic.

Take Friday for example. Having been working 12 hours a day, seven days a week for the past three weeks to achieve a deadline, I was trying to upload the last couple of hours of work when a friend arrived with two dogs that we’ve agreed to look after for a mutual friend who’s currently recuperating from illness. We’re totally unprepared for dogs here at Casa Montgomery, but having a network of people on whom you can rely is an essential part of living in a rural community. So I abandoned the keyboard, popped the kettle on and greeted our canine house guests and their chauffeur.

 

The latest (temporary!) additions to the household

 

We sat on the tatty garden chairs around the old pine table on the terrace and as we chatted we watched the fat, shiny leaves of the banana plants on the next door plantation wafting in the gentle breeze as if operated by invisible punkah wallahs. Conversation ebbed and flowed between corruption in local politics and the likelihood of acquiring a 30 foot ladder on which to tackle the avocado tree in the garden which has grown to such proportions that it’s now a landmark feature on Google Earth.

Earlier in the day we’d had to visit the Correos (post office) to despatch the last of the week’s orders for Island Drives. We can’t just put a stamp on the guides and pop them into the post box because the Correos operate a weigh and frank system, and two of us have to go because road works have annihilated all the parking in the area and double or triple parking is the only option; so someone has to stay with the car to move it when necessary. On Friday there were 43 people ahead of Jack and a whole hour was donated to the Spanish postal system.

Sitting on the terrace and mentally fretting about my rapidly approaching deadline, I couldn’t help wondering if the folks who would read my Tenerife Expert and Tenerife Insider opinions would have any idea what life out here is really like. I guessed probably not.

 

The megalomaniacal avocado tree

 

It’s been an amazing seven years and a journey that has at times lifted us to new heights and at other times dropped us on our heads. Just 18 months ago we faced the harsh reality that we had just three solvent months left after which we’d have to put the house on the market and leave the island. Today we’re so busy with financially and creatively rewarding projects that we’re struggling to keep the plates spinning… and we’re loving every minute of it.
Last night we realised that it’s almost one year to the day since we sat on this terrace with our friends and colleagues on a red hot day and floated the idea of setting up an online lifestyle magazine. One year later Tenerife Magazine gets 11,500 visits a month, has almost 2,000 fans on Facebook and we’re making expansion plans.

Seven years on Tenerife and the only thing that has remained constant is the inconsistency of living here…and our love of its lifestyle.
We can never relax or become complacent and boredom is a foreign land for which we don’t own passports.
I wonder what the next 12 months hold.

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I have long held a personal philosophy of ‘work hard, play hard’. I know it’s not original, nor is it ever going to be the subject of “Discuss” on a philosophy exam paper. In fact, let’s be honest, it’s a sort of Mars Bar philosophy on life…but nevertheless it works for me. If I don’t feel that I’ve achieved something at the end of the day then I’m usually irritable and find it difficult to relax. If, on the other hand, I’ve worked hard and achieved results, the sound of a beer can opening is music to my ears and I can settle down to a movie or listen to some sounds with a light heart and an easy mind.

Life's 'yin & yang' concepts beautifully illustrated by alceu

So I can easily appreciate the symbiotic relationship of the yin and yang of life.

The same is true of living in this island paradise. Often, days can be filled with frustrated attempts to move forward in even the simplest of matters and it feels like all the negative energy is stacked in your direction.
Like the two minute job of posting a package which turns into a half day’s lost production courtesy of the Correos (Post Office), or the trudging from shop to shop in search of even the most basic of items because re-stocking on a weekly basis appears to be beyond the wit of the average supermarket, or spending all morning without electricity because someone forgot to flick a switch when they put the cables back into the road.

But then there are days when the yin and yang scales tip the balance back in favour of our Tenerife lifestyle.

Yesterday was one such day.
We had a meeting scheduled in the south of the island and we left the house in plenty of time. As we approached the car, we saw that one of the rear tyres was flat, and I don’t just mean it needed air, I mean ‘metal rim in contact with tarmac’ flat.
After a few perfunctory swear words, Jack got to work removing the spare tyre and toolkit from the boot and wrestling with the jack to free it from its handy moulded plastic container.
As he began to jack up the wheel, I thought I might try to hurry things along a little by loosening the bolts. After about a nano-second I gave up entirely on that idea and just watched as the veins in Jack’s neck stuck out with the exertion of pushing on the brace. At one point he finally managed to loosen one and it spun his hand downwards, scraping his knuckle along the ground and removing a slice of the flesh…ouch!
Sweating, hands covered in oil which was mingling with the bloody knuckle, Jack finally managed to get the wheel off and the temporary spare on and we set off to the Vultesa garage at the top of the road.

 

Vultesa - I cant recommend them highly enough.

'Vultesa' - I can't recommend them highly enough.

 

The speed and efficiency with which one man repaired the puncture, removed the temporary wheel and re-affixed the newly repaired wheel was a joy to behold. It took him approximately 11 minutes in all, not pit stop speed (but then I doubt he’s on pit-stop wages) but certainly impressive enough.
I paid the bill (the princely sum of €5), threw a euro into the tips basket and we were on the road, just half an hour or so later than planned.
The flat tyre had been a negative force but it could have happened while we were on the TF1 which would have been far worse. The need to repair the tyre took us to a local business with smiley staff who knew what they were doing and set us back on the road with the minimum of fuss; a very positive experience.

7C Marketing for all your advertising, marketing and PR needs in the Canary Islands

Although we arrived late in Los Cristianos for our meeting of the 7C Marketing Group, everyone had waited patiently for us and we spent the rest of the morning receiving copious pearls of wisdom from John (sorted-sites.com) and sharing laughs and experiences with Julie (Tenerife-tattle.com), Joe (MyTenerifeinfo.com) and Colin (canary-green.com), rounded off by a great lunch courtesy of John.
As we drove back up the TF1 mid-afternoon, we felt like a part of a community that, although it’s invisible and only virtual most of the time, is as real as the skinned knuckle on Jack’s hand. A community that works unseen to raise the profile of its own and other’s web presence; a cyberspace circle of friendship and a part of the yin and yang of living on Tenerife.

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