Exploring the Stories of the Islands and the Freedoms of Third Age


The Friendliness of Chirche Lightyears from the Coastal Grumps

Chirche is a tiny village, about five or ten minutes directly vertical from Guia de Isora in the South of Tenerife.  I’ve only ever been here for this, particular festival, El Día de las Tradiciónes (The Day of Traditions), so I don’t know what it’s like on an average, working day.  I must rectify that soon, but I imagine it’s quiet.  It clings for dear life to the hillside, and these twisting, narrow streets were never made for motor cars.  The last time I came, my car overheated (OK, it’s not the most modern car in the world, but it is sturdy and reliable usually).

Happily, for Sunday’s fiesta the local town hall had provided transport so neither the overheating nor parking were problems.  A mini bus did the circuit from, what we would probably call the county seat, Guia de Isora, below up to the village, and we were there in time for the first trip before it got too hot.   A vast improvement on my last visit, what with the overheated car and no space to park it!

This year’s festival had to battle for attention not only with the World Cup Final, but also 46º heat ….. and it came out a winner, although it seemed to be a bit less well-attended than the last time I went.  This was the tenth year that the village had turned out to produce what is something like a living museum or even a theatrical production which one can walk through.  The entire village goes about its business as it would have done somewhere between 100 and 50 years ago.

Here candles are being made the old way, from beeswax.  The finished product on the right, and those in progress on the left of the picture.  The hot wax is spooned over the thread time and time again, each layer is cooled and then doused again, until the required thickness is reached.  Can you imagine the time it takes?  Can you imagine spending days and days doing this, just so that you can have light after sundown?

Although Guanche artifacts have been  found in Chirche, this festival portrays life as it was around a hundred to fifty years ago.  It really isn’t that long.  It was my grandparents, my parents time, and even my own infancy.  The scales in the recreation of the local “corner shop”, the flyspray cannister lying atop a wardrobe, some of the products on display in the shop reminded me of my own childhood, so even then, things were somewhat “globally available”.  Since I was brought up in a fairly countryfied area, and my crumbling home had once been a farmhouse, it was easy to identify with much of what I saw around me.  It felt as much like going back in time as witnessing the past of this island.

Life wasn’t that easy for my family when I was little, and yet we did buy our flour from the corner shop, we didn’t have to produce it ourselves.  The lady in the picture above is toasting seeds to make gofio, which was a huge part of the staple diet of Tenerife, and remains popular.  Cereals would have grown on the hillsides surrounding the village, and be brought home for toasting, but apparently sometimes the rhizomes of ferns were also used in the distant past.  The tradition probably was brought to the islands by the Guanches who, it is now widely thought,  came from North African Berber tribes, who also made a similar kind of meal.

This lady is carrying out the next step, grinding the toasted seeds by hand.  A heavy grindstone is pulled around and around, as you can see, until the  seeds become flourlike.  This is how it was done in this, small village.  In other areas huge grindstones were pulled by donkeys, horses and even camels.  Gofio can still be bought in the island’s supermarkets, and to be honest it’s an acquired taste.  Austin has learned to mix it with honey and almonds to make a delicious dessert, and it is used to thicken soups and stews, and to make a really healthy porridge-style breakfast – very high in fibre, people!

Walking around the village, despite the intense heat, was a treat.  Two things struck me hard.  The first was how the whole village seems to join in wholeheartedly.  Every age group takes part, from grannies (and how they manage daily life on a sheer hillside I will never understand!  Seems to me, given a diet of gofio and that kind of exercise each day, they must be incredibly healthy!) to babes in arms.

Above is the old schoolroom, complete with blackboard and children who don’t seem to mind being dressed in costume!  I didn’t see one sulky face all morning – not even from the class’s naughty boy, whom you can spot kneeling in the corner.  I’m sorry about the quality of this photo.  The schoolroom was dark, I’m thinking probably even in the fifties there was no electricity, plus the old houses were designed to keep as cool as possible in summer, which usually meant having only small windows, and thick, thick walls, which kept out the summer swelter and kept in the warmth in winter.  Also, there were so many people vying for space to observe or snap, and I was too polite to hog the vantage point I had …….. another lesson learned – must be bolder!  There were children helping the maypole dancers, playing games in the street or helping with chores, just as they would have been doing a hundred years ago, and every one of them with a smile on their face.

It goes without saying that a hundred or even fifty years ago, there were no video games, no television, no fast food, so children had to make their own amusements.  Below is a selection of the types of homemade instruments which they used to make.

Maybe there is some special karma attached to living in this village, because I rarely remember a time when I’ve met so many friendly people.  People who would stop in the hot sun and wait whilst you fiddle with your camera so you can snap them.

People who are quite at ease being photographed showing off their pride in their traditions….not all instruments were homemade!

People who are willing to attire themselves in heavy, traditional clothing in a 46º heat (might even have got hotter after we left!), so that they can keep this link with their past, and show it off to others.

This lady was crocheting what looked as if it was going to be a small doily, and surrounding her are displayed other examples of lace and crotchet work – most looking newly made, and proving that old crafts are not nearly dead here!  The really nice thing is that it looks as if future generations are happy to go on keeping these traditions alive.  It’s something I’ve noticed often in the folk music and dance groups which I see regularly on tv – no way are these groups composed just of the old folk.  The folklore of Tenerife seems to be in good and safe hands for quite a while yet.

Now this is a tradition many people will be happy no longer is widely used.  This gentleman is preparing a goatskin for use in making gofio or cheese.  The ingredients for either were placed inside to be molded and strained.  Goat is still widely eaten here, and is a treat.  I’ve never had it badly cooked.  The use of the skins?  Well, there was nothing else, back when, and as with other meat products, there wasn’t much waste.  They were different times.

There were demonstrations of bread making in big, old ovens, agriculture as it was (and still, sometimes is) here, the making of roof tiles, which had been the village’s only industry outside of agriculture, and a host of other stuff, and highlight of the day, a mock wedding, but we ran out time and couldn’t stay to watch.  We had a glimpse of the wedding dress, laid out on the bridal bed in a restored house, but no time to see the bride, sadly.  As I mentioned before, we did pop into the pretty church for a few moments, and then we had to be on our way.

We just missed the mini bus, and took refuge from the sun in a nearby bar, which was built directly into the rock face, providing welcome coolness.  I have to mention it was the only kind of disappointment of the morning.  We paid around €15 each for a very average gazpacho, stone cold garlic bread, croquetas (one ration of chicken and one of tuna, which were indistinguishable), a couple of very cold, very welcome beers and best – a plate of papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes), the island’s speciality, all of which came with indifference or a shy smile, depending on who served us.  It was a bad choice of venue, but nicely decorated, as you can see above, and reminiscent of the coastal resorts, where that kind of service is the norm.  It’s a great shame that tourists don’t get out more to meet the “real” people of Tenerife, these people who are so kind and happy and gracious.  I’ve never been to a fiesta of any kind where I wasn’t made to feel enormously welcome, and Chirche would be top of a list like that.  In some ways I don’t blame the kids who work as waiters or shop assistants down in resortland.  Firstly, they aren’t given the proper training in most cases, so they don’t know how to respond to people, and secondly, I couldn’t put up with the sort of attitudes and backchat they get from a lot of their customers.  Frequently, once you have made a contact, their demeanour does change.  Yes, I do realize that the onus is on the supplier of whatever service you are buying to provide that service with a smile, but scratch just a bit and you might find that the nice young waiter comes from Chirche, or somewhere similar.

When I move on from Tenerife, and return for a visit, one thing I intend to do is to stay in the casa rural (rural hotel) here, in the middle of Chirche, and embrace the relaxed and happy lifestyle of its people.

One thing this day taught me.  I’ve always enjoyed snapping, and never really been too interested in video, but watching the maypole dancing for quite a while I would have loved to have videoed it.  Stupidly, because of my lack of interest I’ve never bothered to figure out how to work the video selection on my camera – job for this weekend!  Next year I won’t clash to the World Cup at least!

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Ratha Yatra: The Festival of the Chariots – Lucky for Spain?

The wonder of living in the south of Tenerife is not just the exposure to Canarian or to Spanish culture, but also to the art, traditions and ideas of a host of other nationalities who have gravitated to this island in the sun.

Ratha Yatra is an Indian festival,  my reading tells me that the Hindu religion has a whole host of these, each one more colorful than the previous!  It might have been a happy coincidence, or it might have been auspicious that the dominant colors of this festival are yellow and red………. as are the colors of the Spanish soccer team – or it might be that there was some sort of karma in the air, because, as the world knows, they won!

In the traditional ceremony in Puri in India, where this Festival of Chariots originated, there are three chariots, one for Lord Jagannath (who, so far as I can make out is the same being as Lord Krishna, a name which we, in the West recognize) and one each for his siblings Lord Balaram and Lady Subhadra.  Each has their own color Lord Jagannath’s is yellow, Lord Balaram is blue and Lady Subhardra is black, and their colors are draped over the red canopy of the chariot.  However, in Playa de las Americas on Sunday they had to share, and so red and yellow it was.

It was a shame for the organizers  that it clashed with the World Cup, but, then, it wasn’t the only event to suffer for that! On Saturday afternoon I went down with some friends to find out what it was all about, but arrived a little early, although it was publicized as starting at around 3.15pm.  We did nibble some wonderful samosas, kebabs and other tasty treats, but then retreated in the face of around 30º heat to find a cool place to wait  until the real celebrations which were scheduled for 6 o’clock.   For me that meant about a half hour of mantras before I had to leave to babysit the most neurotic dog in the world – as some of my neighbours are Uruguayan I knew it was going to get noisy around here regardless of who won!!

In Puri, once a year the three dignitaries are taken in their heavily decorated chariots from one temple to another.  There seems to be a long and complex history surrounding the tradition, but since we had the shortened version of the celebration we also have here the shortened version of the explanation :=)   The chariots, or carts, are pulled through the streets by hand, and it is auspicious and pious to be able to help pull the carts, or even just touch the ropes.  In India thousands vie for the privilege, but here, of course, there were a few dozen, so no-one was fighting over the honor.  This journey is the only occasion on which many people may get to see the deities, foreigners and non-Hindus are not allowed into the temples in which they reside.

The feeling of the festival, however, was far from exclusive.  The atmosphere was warm, informal and very friendly.   We arrived just a bit late to see the transfer of the deities to the cart, but were offered pieces of fresh coconut for good fortune as the procession set off.  Apparently, the celebration has spread since the mid-sixties, when our own “gods”, the Beatles, returned from India and people began to take an interest in the religion and culture.  The festival is now celebrated in New York, London, Dallas and San Francisco amongst others – and now Tenerife.

Interesting historical note – the English word juggernaut comes from the name of Lord Jagannath and the chariots used in this procession, which, in the original are enormous, and English colonists were so amazed by their size that the word was coined and passed into use.  In another of those coincidences which make you wonder about the nature of the fate and such stuff, read this definition of the word juggernaut from


any large, overpowering, destructive force or object, as war, a giant battleship, or a powerful football team.
It is typical of the Indian community in Tenerife that they reach out and share, and the chariot was proceeded by a Canrian folk music group, who had also performed the previous evening, talk about having the best of both worlds!
Even this group was something of an oddity to see in the streets of Playa de las Americas, and the gawping faces of some of the tourists were a wonder to behold, more accumstomed as they are to frying on the beach all day, and seeing only their own breed around the streets of town.
As the chariot and its attendents moved slowly through the heat of the afternoon on the wide tourist boulevards, the children on atop the cart threw bags, containing nuts and sweets, eagle-eyed, they seemed determined that no-one should miss out, and I thought of the pictures I’d seen on the internet of this festival in its home town of Puri, where thousands of people crowd around, anxious for at least a touch of the ropes or a glimpse of the deities.  It doesn’t take an awful lot to stoke the fires of my desire to travel, and this was more than enough.  One thing I do know -next year it will not clash with the World Cup, so even if I can’t make it to Puri, at least I can spend more time in Playa de las Americas, making time to see more of the music, drama and dance which are part of the fiesta.
The Indian community of South Tenerife deserve a huge thank you for bringing us this colorful event, and for reaching out to share their culture – something not all other cultures here do!

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I Had a Religious Experience

I had a busy day yesterday (about which more later), but even before I arrived home to turn on the telly to watch the World Cup Final (yes, I watched it alone :=(  remember, I am the owner of the world’s most neurotic dog) it had occured to me, whilst driving, that I had had an odd day in terms of spiritual experiences.

In the morning, Colleen and I went to take a look at the Día de las Tradicciones fiesta in Chirche. With an orange alert out for extreme temperatures, and having seen most of the demonstrations and exhibits, we ducked into the church, partly because it looked cool, and partly because I missed seeing it last time I went to this fiesta. Colleen disappeared for a few minutes,  so I entered alone, and sat for a while, silently, lost in the kind of thoughts someone brought up as a Christian, but who has abandoned the religion,  has in a church. I let the anger go, and absorbed the undeniable sense of peace, as I listened to an elderly granma explain to her grandaughter what the different statues represented. Of course, she wasn’t talking about them as representations so much as if they were the actual dieties and saints of which she spoke, and even with the strong feelings I have about the manipulation of their congregations which many churches practice, I admired her conviction. Of course, the church IS its people, and not its buildings or its management, Jesus taught that, but it is so often forgotten, especially in these days when the Catholic Church has to deal with the fact that so many of its priests have been living lives totally in contradiction to everything Jesus represented. I wish the hierachies of all churches would realize that they are there to serve and help their people, and not exploit them.  This was my first experience of the day, but not my last – that feeling of peace in the church which came from the simple faith of its people.

In the afternoon, we went to watch a traditional Indian  ceremony, about which I understood very little.  I did check it out online first, but there wasn’t very much opportunity to ask more on the day.  The festival is Ratha Yatra, and what I understand is this:  Once a year the deities Jagannath (which, if I understand correctly is another name for Krishna), Balarama and Subhadra are taken through the streets to greet the people. They are taken on richly decorated carts (which happen to be colored red and yellow – very apt on this day!) which are pulled by long, thick ropes.  As the cart (in our case the gods had to share) began to move, people began to sing and sway in that way many of us remember from following the Beatles’ flirtation with Eastern religion in the 60s.   What was really nice was the warmth and welcome of the Indian people, even though we were just spectating, it was easy to feel included in the event.  I followed the cart as it wound its way along one of the main tourist streets, the children on the cart throwing bags of sweets and nuts to  everyone watching, and was struck again by that same feeling of togetherness which had occured to me in the church earlier in the day.  It’s the unity of the people which is the foundation of any religion, in fact IS the religion.

Celebrations began as ways of bringing the people together to honor this unity.  Yesterday it went a step further with the inclusion of the local, Canarian community in this festival.

Being owner of the world’s most neurotic dog I had to leave before the cart had returned to base, but not before someone had passed up a Spanish flag to the people on the cart, which they proudly fixed in a prominent position near the front, which takes me to my next musing.

It was around a half hour drive home, and it was about 50 minutes before the World Cup Final was scheduled to begin.  The excitment in the air was palpable, everyone seemed to be dressed in red or yellow and red (apart from a few, brave tourists sporting orange!), and every other car was flying the flag.  I’ve never seen so many national flags anywhere outside of the US.  No matter who’d won, it was a reason for a national pride which is emotional and passionate.  There are regional jealousies and disputes which often seem to get out of proportion, but yesterday (and today, and many days to come) the sense of togetherness and unity was fantastic.  This is why soccer is sometimes refered to as a religion – it serves the same purpose it would seem.


Of Wine and History and Tenerife

One of the pleasanter aspects of living here over the last 20 years or so has been watching the rebirth of the Canarian wine industry, and whilst, yes, before you say it, I do drink my full share :=)   I can’t really claim more than the tiniest smidgen of credit for this revival……as in most things – I do my best  :=)

Back in Shakespeare’s time Canarian wines were world-famous.  Did it ever occur to you, by the way, that things could have been “world-famous” before the internet, even before tv or radio?  Well, let’s not take the phrase too literally, they were famous all over the world which western man had “discovered”, how’s that?………and …….back on topic ……..

Well chilled, slight sweet Malvasia, the perfect Summer wine

Who remembers in what kind of wine the Duke of Clarence was drowned in Shakespeare’s “Richard lll”?  Right anyone who muttered , “Malmsey, of course”.  I have seen it claimed that that, particular vat of Malmsey was Canarian, but, of course, it probably was an early urban myth that the duke was executed thus in any event, so that claim is highly unlikely to be true.  Malmsey is more readily associated with the Atlantic island of Madeira, to the North of the Canary Islands, and belonging to Portugal, but the Malvasia grapes were grown then on these “Fortunate Islands” too.  The opinions about whether Malmsey and Malvasia are the same thing abound on the web, but for sure the Bard did mention Canarian wine specifically.  Note this exchange between the flamboyant Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek early in “Twelfth Night”:

Sir Toby:  ” O knight!  thou lackest a cup of canary: when did I see thee so put down?”

Sir Andrew: “Never in your life, I think; unless you see canary put me down.  Methinks sometimes I have no more wit than a Christian or an ordinary man has; but I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm to my wit.”

Oh, we have to let slide that reference to beef, not to mention the rich source for a religious debate,  because this post is about Canarian wines!   Someone or other (who probably really needs to get a life) has counted, if memory serves me, 134 references to “canary” or “canaries” in Shakespeare’s works.  The Canary refered to is probably not Malmsey, which was like sherry, but a sweet, wine table wine, made from the Malvasia grapes, which still grow on the islands.

Vineyards in the Abona Region

Remember, these are volcanic islands, the soil is rich in nutrients, and the climate is unbelievably kind.  It’s almost a Garden of Eden.

Ask why the industry declined and you get contradictory results on the web, some say that the grape blight of 1853 wiped out crops, other sites will tell you that unlike Madeira or the Spanish mainland, the Canary Islands were spared the blight, and just sank under the weight of competition and trade agreements over the centuries which favored other locations, and even the destruction of Garachico in the volcanic eruption of 1706 gets mentioned.  It was the island’s main port at the time, so obviously trade was affected.

Whatever the reasons for the decline, the rise has been nothing short of spectacular.  When I first arrived here local wine was the stuff you drank in the inland bars, usually from a small, dirty tumbler, when you feasted on gigantic pork chops or roast suckling pig.  It was white and on the rough side, but left a pleasant hum on the tongue after quaffing.  That was in the mid Eighties, and little did I know it but it was about then that the revival of the industry was beginning.

The first time I remember being really impressed with Canarian wine was on a visit to Lanzarote.  It was one of those delightful, hazy, lazy afternoons, a little inland bar, a bottle of Malvasia, and I was a convert.  I will never desert my beloved, but very-unfashionable-now Chardonnay, but it’s a fine balance with the Malvasia these days.  Sweet enough and cold as ice so on a hot Summer’s day it’s heaven in a glass!

Nutrient-rich, volcanic soils impart wonderful flavors

Tenerife now has no less than five denominacion de Origen on this small island – Abona, Tacaronte-Acentejo, Valle de Güimar, Valle de la Oratava and Ycoden-Daute-Isora, and as well as the famed, sweet whites, smooth and fruity reds are produced.  As the 20th century faded out the quality and fame of wines from Tenerife soared, and they began to win prizes at international level, putting the islands back on the map after more than a couple of centuries in the doldrums.

That’s the short version of the story, and now you are wondering why I am rambling on about them.  Well, apart from the fact that I obviously have a fondeness for them!  Last Friday there was a wine tasting promotion in Los Cristianos, which sorely tested my drink-drive resolve.  I think I might have been somewhat over the limit, but it was early when I cruised home, windows down, soft breeze….you know the kind of thing, so I was ok.

The event was held down by the harbor, and attracted a nice mix of locals and tourists.  I was, actually, surprised at the numbers.  I’d see the information online, but nowhere else around, but it was smack-bang in the middle of the tourist track, as they wander the seafront in search of somewhere to eat.  All five regions were represented, and the choice was huge, far too many, and also far too many elbows in the ribs to make a really informed choice or opinion, but I did discover a couple of new wines which I can’t wait to be able to afford and stock up on.

Since Viña Norte began to be marketed in a sensible way some years ago it’s easily been my favorite red.  It’s varied from year to year, of course, and some years has been quite outstanding, but I found  one from Valle de la Orotava, Tajinaste Tinto 4 M Barrica, according to the catalogue, which was rich with lots more body than Canarian reds usually have, and at €8 per bottle it was well worth it.  That’s one I shall be keeping an eye out for from now on.

My favorite whites are Brumas from Tenerife, and wines from the El Grifo winery on neighboring Lanzarote, but a friend introduced me Friday night to a sensational, sweet Malvasia from Abona, Testamento Malvasia Dulce 2009, which I shall positively go in search of (should I thank the lord that the ATM wouldn’t process my card that night???).  It is very sweet, but for a dessert wine for a special occasion there really won’t be many to compare.  At €12 it was expensive for a wine from this neck of the woods.  Lastly, a sweet young man recommended a rosé, a Marba Rosado 2009 from Tacoronte-Acentejo.  Now, I am not a huge fan of rosé, though I associate it with happy memories of Summer nights in the South of France on vacation, it absolutely has to be chilled to death and the weather has to match, so it is a measure of how much I liked it that although the weather was as ordered, the amount of chilling, given the open air setting, was lacking.

I didn’t intend to chose one red, one white and one rosé, that’s just the way it turned out, but I can’t begin to tell you how good this island’s wines are these days.  On the night the only disappointment was the food, which has been advertised as samples of typical Canarian cuisine.  The only thing on offer when we approached the food tent was some sorry-looking gofio and chunks of stale bread.  Meat had been flung onto barbeques, but it was clearly going to be ages and ages before it was ready.  This would have been because they had flung on a whole side of, presumably, pork, instead of cutting into more easily cookable chunks. Obviously the event had been more successful than anticipated, which is good, and they had woefully under-catered, but hey, we weren’t there for the food, we were there for the wine, and it did not disappoint.

I leave you with a couple more quotes attesting to the former glories of the stuff:

“But that which most doth take my muse and me,

Is a pure cup of rich Canary wine,

Which is the mermaid’s now, but shall be mine.”

Ben Jonson, English playwright, (1573-1637)……and no, he wasn’t so drunk he was seeing mermaids, the Mermaid was a famous tavern where Johnson used to sharpen his wits against that of Will Shakespeare.  Around two hundred years later Keats was moved to celebrate the tavern further, and again mention my favorite tipple thus:

“Souls of poets dead and gone

What Elysium have ye known,

Happy field or mossy cavern

Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?

Have ye tippled drink more fine”

Than mine host’s Canary wine?”

What more can one add to that?


I’m Angry About What’s Happening in the Gulf of Mexico.

One of my friends pointed out on her Facebook page that this isn’t an “American” problem, it’s an international problem, and although, in Europe (though, literally, geographically, personally I’m aware that I am not!) we are not in the direct line of fire, this, let’s face it, may be the first .  The first huge environmental tragedy of these dimensons, that is. There are reports and estimates pouring out daily, and yet, it seems as if only in the US is this a really big news story.  The media are very much to blame, always refering to it as “the worst environmental disaster in US history”.

Don’t we care about the thousands of animals and fish caught up innocently in this horror, or is it because reliable estimates are so hard to verify, and the scale so huge that we are simply turning off to it?  Even before this tragedy there were five different types of turtle either endangered or threatened, as well as fish and coral:

We have all seen friendly dolphins interacting with humans  theme parks, and some of us have been lucky enough to see them in the wild.  There is no thrill like the first time you’re out on the ocean in a slow moving boat with a school of dolphin escorting you through the blue, racing along side, diving under the boat and reappearing on the other side, as if they are playing hide and seek.  Hundreds and hundreds of people leave the harbors of Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas in the Tenerife every year on boats and catamarans just for a glimpse of these engaging creatures.  They fascinate us, why would we wish them harm, or not care if they are harmed?

BP are beyond evil and greedy, but not even only that – they are incompetant as well!

Even if we aren’t great animal lovers, even if we are hiding our heads in the sand regarding the state of the planet environmentally, don’t we care about our fellow humans who, in the midst of the worst depression ever, are now faced with the loss of their livelihoods if they work in the fishing industry, or in related industries like restaurants and retailers?   Isn’t life hard enough right now without big business f***ing up peoples’ lives?  How about, instead of BP as a company having to make compensations to these people, how about it comes directly out of the pockets of the people runnning the company?  Why, come to think of it, should innocent shareholders suffer?  I suppose there are people who invested in BP stock to provide a nestegg for their retirement, why should they suffer (ok, yes, buying stocks and shares is always a gamble, but hey).  Why doesn’t the despicible Tony Hayward pay for it out of his personal fortune, along with every board member and employee, and previous employee who contributed to this horror?

Oh, and btw, my UK friends the latest news does not bode well for the country:

Thousands of us, Europeans,  have visited those stunning, white beaches of Florida, don’t we care that they are now polluted by thick, sticky crude oil?  which is not to underrate what is happening in Louisiana or Alabama, it’s just that a lot of us know Florida.    Even if we are so heartless as to not care about what is happening on the U.S. coasts, don’t we see this as a warning?  If it can happen there, why can’t it happen in our back yards?  It’s already happened in Africa, but we already know that things that happen in Africa don’t move us that much, don’t we.  This might five you an idea of how it would look if it happened near you.


Really I shouldn’t be writing this.  I’m very, very angry, and my fingers are flying without much attention to accuracy or content, and one shouldn’t even be online in this kind of mood.  However, I’ve said my piece, it might help to dispel my own anger a bit, but it won’t directly help what’s happening over there in the Gulf.  It will be a long time before I buy BP again, even though I understand the logic of not targetting gas station owners etc etc I couldn’t being myself to do it anyway, and the cheapest gas station within easy reach of my house is BP.  So, I’ll be going that extra mile for a while.