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Posts Tagged ‘soldiers’

…similar to the War of the Roses but with only one ground upon which the battle is being staged; the peach tree in the garden.

On one side we have the rightful owner of the garden and heir to the peaches; me, and on the other we have the scavenging pretenders to the throne; the tree rats. Naturally, being a Manchester lass, I consider myself to be on the side of the Lancastrians and have placed the rats (sorry, York) on the side of the Yorkists.

The War began three weeks ago when the peaches reached a size deemed edible by the Yorkists, despite the fact that any self-respecting Squire could see they were plainly unripe. That being so, peach after peach was ‘nibbled’ during the course of night time raids leaving the fruit 90% untouched but completely ruined and the rats with diarrhoea.

Since then, night skirmishes have resulted in the loss of about 5 kilos of fruit and every morning I have the unpleasant and soul-destroying job of removing the injured soldiers from the field and unceremoniously chucking them onto the compost heap. Casualties on the side of the Yorkists have, I’m sorry to admit, been just one soldier hit on the arse with a pebble whilst retreating from a branch in a daring sunset raid.

The Prize

The Prize

Then last week the temperature notched itself up to summer time levels and the sun shone from morning til night sending the peaches into furry amber sweetness; not ripe enough for harvesting, but fragrant enough to give off deafening ‘eat me’ signals to the enemy.

On Saturday night I posted sentry from the terrace with a small stash of pebbles and a flash light at the ready but the Yorkists smelled the trap and there was only one sighting. Reduced reactions due to wine consumption resulted in no  enemy casualties that night.
On Sunday morning five big, fat, peachy dead soldiers were laid to rest on the compost. Tragic.

Another weekend of blazing sunshine and we now teeter on the brink of the deciding battle of the war.
Every day the peaches are checked for harvest-readiness; pick them too soon and they won’t ripen fully, thus throwing away the prize. Leave them another day and the cover of nightfall will inevitably see increased casualties.

I’ve just checked the tree and we can’t be more than two days away from harvest.
Will the rats face their Battle of Bosworth this week and despite winning so many skirmishes lose the trophy to my jam and chutney store cupboard for the coming year?
It’ll be in dispatches.

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“Let’s go and see the giant paella on Sunday.”

Horror movies are really not my thing so I wasn’t all that enthusiastic until Jack explained that the Lions Club were making an actual giant paella as part of the Puerto July Fiestas and that perhaps we should pop along and witness the creation.

We left at midday in the firm expectation that we’d be parked and down at the harbour by 12.15 (ish). But having queued for 20 minutes to find that the town’s main car park was closed (of course no signs until you actually get there when 4 Policia Local are manning a 2 foot wide barrier), queuing to get back out again, kerb crawling our way through town and finally driving all the way back up to La Paz district before we could find a parking space, it was after 1pm before we got into town.

It was a glorious day and the small beach at San Telmo was packed beyond capacity for swimming and kayaking competitions (not simultaneous you understand). Although this is low season for Brits and Germans in Tenerife, in the north, it’s high season for Spanish mainlanders and the town was teeming with visitors. Puerto is in the midst of its July Fiestas and there’s a festival atmosphere throughout the month, particularly on Sundays.

I was keeping myself amused by  admiring the hordes of young, muscle bound, suntanned men (I think there were women there too) who were milling around the temporary bar, presumably having finished their competition swim and now chilling to the Indie rock sounds that were blasting forth, when my attention was caught by a silver flash in the sky.

I can only speculate on the size of the adrenalin rush experienced by the pilots of these things

I can only speculate on the size of the adrenalin rush experienced by the pilots of these things

I looked up to see a fighter jet at what seemed merely feet above the San Temo rock pools, heading towards me at supersonic speed. It was eerily silent, any engine noise drowned out by the music. Just as it came parallel with the shoreline, it‘s nose went up, it began to climb, the condensation clouds spilling across its wings and the air shattered into an ear splitting roar that silenced Coldplay.

I watched it bank and come back across the horizon, spinning twice and flying upside down before righting itself and once again screaming into the heavens. It was so low I could almost see the pilot.
I felt a surge of adrenalin that sent my heart beat into overdrive. I have never been in such close proximity to such power and danger and I cannot imagine what sort of person would fly a fighter jet, they must be in the top one percentile of the population.
“Tom Cruise” said Jack, bringing me back down to earth.

There was no shortage of volunteers to see off the giant paella

There was no shortage of volunteers to see off the 'giant paella'

By the time we reached the harbour, the prospect of a giant paella had paled into insignificance in the excitement of the air show and having long since missed its creation it was now half way to being completely consumed and not all that giant anymore. Still, it rallied a few points with its delicious aroma and bargain basement price; a plate of paella, a banana, a bread roll and a small beaker of wine for €5. Understandably, there wasn’t a spare seat to be had at the makeshift restaurant beside the fishwife.

In the Parque Marítimo car park we discovered why it was closed; four helicopters and several divisions of armed forces were displaying their equipment (sooo tempted to say something very Julian Clary there). Amongst the helicopters was one belonging to M.A.R., the type used in fire fighting. I was surprised at how small the bucket that holds the water was, especially given the double blades power of the helicopter. It brought back the horror of last year’s forest fires and the difficulty of getting adequate water to the island’s interior to deal with such an ecological disaster.

Small children were being placed inside the cockpit of the helicopters while their parents photographed them. I could see the machine guns mounted in the nose, rows of bullets ready to thread their way to destruction should the need arise. Given that the soldiers were Canarios and not in fact Tom Cruise, I gave the nose a very wide berth lest someone had forgotten to engage the safety lock.

Boys and their toys

Boys and their toys

I’d gotten just about as close up and personal with military hardware as my nerves could stand for one day.

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