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Posts Tagged ‘red’

As I sit here I can barely hear myself hitting the keys on my keyboard.

Beyond the window that fills one side of the room, the storm rages unabated. Leaves, branches, young avocado fruits, broken tiles and bits of plastic roofing are rushing past in an angry roar that’s filled with dust and dirt.

We got the warnings days ago, it began as a yellow alert for high winds and speculation across the island was rife. “They’re calling it San Andrés”, they said. Presumably as it was being forecast to peak on the 29th November, the Eve of San  Andrés, or Saint Andrew’s day and a day of celebration on the island.
Then on Saturday the alert changed to red.

Yesterday afternoon we removed all the plant pots from the top of the terrace wall and stashed them in corners, huddled together for protection. We dismantled the tarpaulin that acts as a tent for the dogs who usually sleep alongside the wood pile – they were being upgraded to sleeping inside. The patio table was dismantled and placed in the garden shed, the chairs stacked and wedged against the wall.

Then we waited.

The evening was ominously calm and we began to give ourselves false hope that maybe the warning was unnecessary, maybe the storm had switched direction. We’d forgotten that the phrase ‘the calm before the storm’ was rooted in reality.
At midnight we went to bed and still all was calm.

At 12.24am the wind came out of nowhere and ripped through the avocado tree like a nuclear blast.

The storm had arrived.

Gusts tore through the garden, hurling debris across the roof, deafening us with its ferocity and discharging a constant rifle fire of branches and leaves against the patio doors just feet from where we lay.
The gusts raged for 20 or 35 minutes at a time before falling silent into a lull when snatches of sleep were  grabbed, always tempered by the ominous knowledge that this thing wasn’t over.

At around 4 am the storm moved up a gear and with it, our fear factor grew.
Now branches and debris were hitting the roof constantly and the deafening roar joined forces with the rattling of the door to ensure that sleep remained a distant relative.

Around 5 the storm abated to just  strong winds. I could see the shadow of the avocado tree as it took on an almost rhythmic swaying against the prevailing wind. It lulled me finally into sleep.
At 6.45 am an almighty crash woke me with a thump of my heart against my ribs and we were out of bed in an instant. A large branch of the avocado tree had smashed onto the roof just yards above our heads and crashed to the terrace floor in a cascade of roof tiles.

By daybreak the storm had switched again to 5th gear.

We ventured out to check the damage in our garden and in the golf course on which we live.
The driving range had been torn to shreds, its flooring ripped from its fastenings and flapping in the wind.
Trees had fallen all across our neighbour’s garden and across the golf course. The roof of another neighbour’s patio had been ripped from its posts and large sheets of plastic roofing were flying across the golf course.

Swirling dust storms made it almost impossible to open my eyes and the wind roared harder. A bamboo fence was ripped from its anchor and flew past me, uncomfortably close.
We retreated to the house from where I am now typing this.

We’re in a lull right now but the red alert is in place until 3pm.

It’s going to be a long day.

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The Cava’s chilling in the fridge; the grapes have been de-seeded and wrapped in small foil bundles; the picnic cool bag has been rescued from the garden shed and its plastic wine glasses rinsed and, most importantly of all, I’m wearing my new red knickers.

New Year’s Eve is a complicated business in this part of the world and care must be taken lest one upsets the omens of good fortune for the coming year and risk the shadow of Bad Luck dogging your every endeavour.

First, there’s the whole grape thing…you have to eat 12 grapes, one for each stroke of midnight.

Our first year in Tenerife we didn’t think to de-seed the grapes and, having nearly choked, the final stroke of midnight found us floundering around grape number 8. The following year we weren’t entirely sure when the actual strokes of midnight had begun, several ‘hoax’ fireworks having been launched in the immediate run-up to the real thing. Consequently, amidst the confusion some grapes were prematurely consumed.

Last year we sussed the start and confidently popped the de-seeded 12 with every pyrotechnic chime despite a fit of the giggles which resulted in several snorts and teary eyes. When the last stroke finished, so did the grapes.

Now, I wouldn’t exactly say that if it wasn’t for bad luck in 2007 we wouldn’t have had any luck at all, on the other hand, neither would I say that things couldn’t possibly have gone better for us and a large dose of good luck was most decidedly conspicuous by its absence.

So what went wrong?

Well apparently, as I’ve since learned, in order to ensure Good Luck for the forthcoming twelve months, one should wear new red underwear, preferably purchased by someone else as a gift.

So, this afternoon we scoured La Villa shopping complex for a suitable addition to my undies drawer and after a few dodgy moments when it looked like all that was left was a couple of G-strings with Minnie Mouse in a glittery frock on the crotch or granny-sized bloomers, we finally settled on a pair of Brazilian fit, plain red knickers in Women’s Secret and Jack parted with the cash.

New Year's Eve in Puerto de la Cruz5! 4! 3! 2! 1! And off we go! Grapes successfully consumed in perfectly synchronised chomp to chime! Cava cork is popped and sails over the heads of the crowds, plopping into the harbour water where it bobs happily amongst legions of its mates.

The sky fills with colour and my ear drums vibrate to the cracks and bangs of the gunpowder explosions which bounce around the windows of the apartments that front the harbour. When the pyrotechnics subside, we finish the Cava and head to Calle Perdomo. The bass beat sends electric currents through our bodies and we dance until 4.15 am when, with all the booze consumed and our legs and feet aching, we begin the 40 minute walk home.

So welcome, 2008, and any time you’re ready to bestow a little good fortune this way, I’m ready and waiting…

¡Feliz Año Nuevo”!

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