In Tenerife

Welcome To Janet Anscombe in Tenerife

In real life, I am an ancient historian, and was a university lecturer in Classics & Ancient History specializing in rhetoric, law and politics before moving to Tenerife. I’ve been here now for eleven years that have gone in an astonishing flash, after finding Higher Education had become just a processing factory churning out graduates in great debt or “failures” who had been pushed to a level of education that was simply beyond them and who’d have been better without a university education. Tenerife was our holiday home before we moved here, and its climate, culture and beauty pushed it to the top of the list of choices for where to retire. It is a sub-tropical haven with a pretty much year-round Spring climate and a language and culture both exotic and familiar. For anyone who wants to stay in Europe but in a place with a buzz, and who has rheumatoid arthritis, like me, and so needs steady humidity and kind temperatures, it is just about perfect.

I live with my husband in a tiny 200-year-old Canarian cottage on the edge of a mountain village a kilometer above the west coast. Our garden is full of flowers and trees, and lizards making constant demands for cheese, egg, fish or fruit! One thing I love about living at altitude is that we have seasons, something I think northern European bodies simply need, and in Spring the air is perfumed with blossom scent, while in autumn it’s a glorious relief to see the leaves change colour and fall and mist roll up the barranco like a steam train! Here’s a view from up here that I never tire of every mid-January, this old gnarled unsheltered almond tree outside my house looks virtually dead for most of the year, but off it goes, middle of every January, covering itself with blossom and smelling like heaven on earth! The other trees will be following suit any time now! The coastline is tiny far below and La Gomera is out there somewhere behind the tree and a bit of cloud. The “blessed isles”. Yes, indeed!

Over the last decade, I have spent quite a bit of my time indulging my interest in houses and homes, particularly interior design but also architecture – ancient architecture was always one of my favourite sidelines in work. My main fields, however, of rhetoric, law and politics have been the launchpad for considerable research into modern Spanish law and politics. If I see this website as having any function beyond that of personal enjoyment, it is as a source of advocacy for anyone thinking of moving here, or actually living here and struggling with bureaucracy and legalities. Ideally in such a place, people would be stress free and fulfilling their ideal of “living the dream”, but all too often it turns into a nightmare. I hope this site is helpful to anyone looking for accurate up-to-date information about what is happening here as well as a straightforward guide to the legalities and bureaucracy involved for resident and visiting foreigners, and their rights and responsibilities.

Please investigate the tabs across the top of the page. They lead to information and advice on being legal, owning property or living here – there are also a few private sales for those looking to buy property – as well as questions and answers on a wide range of related topcis. There are links to pages on everything from the rights of consumers generally to those of patients in the health service in particular, and from keeping dogs to donating a body to science! Under “Useful Stuff”, you’ll find some Spanish vocabulary, links to jobs available for English speakers, books written about Tenerife, essential places to visit, readers’ photos, how to stay safe in heat and water, and a full calendar of “what’s on” with links to detailed information about events.

Below on this page are the latest of regularly-updated posts about news and events; for earlier items, just look to the right and click on the main news link or on a particular date in the calendar  (just hover over a date and it will show you the posts made on that day). The right hand column also has buttons to “follow me” on Facebook, Twitter or by RSS feed; a search box to help locate news items or information of interest; links to recent comments made by readers (please do express opinions or ask questions – just click on individual headlines to find the comments box); and the latest news from the BBC and in English from El Pais. The final tab at the top of the page is to Links and Laws, a whole range of legal, official, practical and inspirational resources for anyone with an interest in this wonderful island I call home.

COPYRIGHT: Unless specifically stated otherwise, or where a news item has derived from a general press release, I have written every single word of text on this website myself. The entire content therefore belongs to me or a source I quote and the copyright is protected and reserved. Spanish law assigns liability for copyright infringement not just to someone who takes text without permission, but also to anyone who “induces or cooperates with” – or can control – the infringement. Readers are welcome to take text without permission on condition that they both name and provide a link to this site. If anyone wants to use anything without crediting me in this way, please ask first.


Latest news and events in Tenerife

Click HERE for the What’s On Diary

El Hierro eruption (continued – 3)

Graphic: IGN

Graphic: IGN 29.3.2015

Update 29 March 2015: It has been quiet for six months or so, but around 5am this morning a strong tremor was recorded at the southern tip of the El Pinar area of El Hierro. Actualidad Volcánica de Canarias (AVCAN) says that although the strength has been reported by IGN as a magnitude 3.1, seismographic readings and the extent to which is was felt – throughout the whole of the island - suggest that it was stronger.

Graphic: IGN

Graphic: IGN 4.9.2014

Update 4 September 2014: An earthquake of 2.4 on the Richter scale at a depth of 33 km was registered by IGN to the west of El Hierro last evening minutes before 8pm. It was followed at 10.36pm by another of 3.8 at a depth of 15.6 km in the same region. Avcan (Actualidad Volcánica de Canarias) says that it was felt throughout the whole of the island.

Update 15 March: The cluster is now a swarm, with the largest tremor overnight at 2.4 on the Richter scale. All the quakes are said to be deep at 15 and 20 km, and have slowly shifted north from the El Golfo area towards Valverde and then turned back south towards the centre of the island, towards an area previously unaffected. This fits experts’ views that the magma is continuing to seek new ways of reaching the surface. Over the last hours of the night the rate of tremor increased, with some 227 being recorded over the last 24 hours

Update 14 March 2014: Avcan is reporting a new magma intrusion in El Hierro which has resulted in some 25 tremors since early this morning. Seismic activity has been building up somewhat over the past few days, but as of 5am this morning  a cluster of  earthquakes has been recorded, almost all of them between 1.8 and 2.3 on the Richter scale. All were located in the eastern wall of the Golfo area of the La Frontera municipality, between the Roques de Salmor to the los Roquillos tunnel.

Update 28 December: Further quakes of 3.7 and 3.3 were recorded last night (11pm and just before 1am) in the same place (10km out to sea to the west of El Hierro) at depths of 20 and 12 km. These are just the “relatively strong” ones – several others in the mid-2 Richter range were also registered  Deformation in the El Pinar and La Restinga area is now said to be “strong”, giving a total lift of 10cm in this cluster.

Update 27 December: A widely-felt earthquake in El Hierro this afternoon has been confirmed by IGN 5.1 on the Richter scale. It was also felt in the north of Tenerife and La Palma. The earthquake was at 5.46pm to the west of the municipality of Frontera, at a depth of 15km. It was widely felt and locals, said to be alarmed, described the effect as a very strong shaking. Five minutes later another two tremors of 2.9 and 2.7 on the Richter were recorded, though these weren’t felt by the public.

Update 23 December: There have been 121 earthquakes over 1.5 on the Richter scale in the last 24 hours, all of them at a depth of around 14km. Vulcanologists say that a new episode of magma eruption has now started, confirmed by deformation data supplied by Involcan: upward deformation is at least 2cm. At present, the tremors have headed to, and are clustering below, the El Pinar area (red on the above IGN graphic).  Seismologists say that at the present depth, there is no immediate danger, but that quakes are expected to grow stronger. Depending on the magma’s success in gaining release, too, the movement may change direction. Watch this space, as they say.

Update 22 December 6pm: And in the last hour, two have been registered over 3 on the Richter scale, and I’ve just received an email from Bob in El Hierro (has posted in my comments) who says that they are “having another house shaking session, two felt in Valverde around 16.30 hours”.

Update 22 December 2013:  It’s been fairly quiet of late, indeed over the last few weeks it’s been very quiet indeed, but it’s woken up to give a Christmas message. A new cluster of tremors has been registered over the past 24 hours which experts say looks like a preliminary to something stronger. The activity started in the Mar del golfo (see the green dots in the above image) with 11 tremors at a depth between 14 and 16 km, and then started to move under the island over the last several hours (red). The highest tremor recorded at present is 2.8 on the Richter scale: vulcanologists say that the magma is still trying to find a way out.

Previous thread HERE, previous to that HERE, and original post HERE.

Easter brings two public holidays next week

Just a reminder that there’s a three-day week coming up, with Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd April being Easter public holidays throughout the Canaries. There is no Easter Bank Holiday Monday in Spain. On Thursday and Friday, most shops and businesses, and all public offices, will be closed. For the full list of national, regional and local public holidays in Tenerife in 2015, please see HERE, and there are links HERE to Easter programmes throughout the island.

Can you help find this missing San Juan de la Rambla man

Police, bomberos, AEA, local authorities, friends and family have been searching since first light this morning for Jacinto Gonzalez Falcón, a 51-year-old San Juan de la Rambla man, who has not been seen since Thursday. If anyone has information, please call local police on 922 350 155, Guardia Civil on 062, or family on 699 376 455.

Local Easter 2015 programmes of events

Photo: Adeje Ayuntamiento

Photo: Adeje Ayuntamiento

Update 27 March: Arona’s Easter programme is now available HERE, Granadilla’s HERE, Los Realejos’ HERE, La Laguna’s HERE, and San Juan de la Rambla’s HERE.

Original post 22 March: I’ve posted on Adeje’s passion play HERE, and Guía de Isora’s Pascua Florida HERE, but apart from these two main events, Easter is a huge occasion in Tenerife generally, and Ayuntamientos pull out all the stops to offer full programmes for a week that is pivotal to Christian belief. I’ll post here any municipal Easter programmes I find, but for the moment, HERE is Adeje’s (in English), and HERE is La Orotava’s.

Arona’s Easter Ruta del Dulce to 5 April

Forget Easter eggs, try Easter cakes! That’s Arona’s offer, with five pastelerias in the municipality offering the cakes below until Sunday 5 April for just €1 each! The cake shops are:

El Hornito, Crta. General 167, Valle San Lorenzo
El Artesano, C/ Los Sabandeños 36, Los Cristianos
Aroma Art Café, C/Francisco Alfonso Güitima 1, Arona Casco
Sweet Cakes, Edf. Tamarte Local 3, Crta. General, Buzanada
La Canela, CC El Valle, Valle San Lorenzo.

Arona Ayuntamiento has photos of the actual cakes on offer HERE.

Shhhh … new Citizens Security Law will fine insult or abuse against Spain and its “officials”

Update 26 March 2015: The new Citizen Security Law comes into force today, and from now on fines of up to €30,000 can be issued for any and all insults to Spain or its symbols and officials. Protests are also banned completely outside significant public buildings, though the passing of the legislation was met with defiance in the form of protests outside Spain’s parliament. The new measures enshrine in law 31 “serious offences” for which, in the most serious cases, fines of up to €600,000 can be imposed; these are primarily public order offences, e.g. demonstrations, particularly on significant days like those involving major sports events, or “days of reflection” on the eve of elections.

Update 18 December 2014: This new law, called the “ley mordaza” (gag law) was passed last week despite opponents saying that it would take Spain back fifty years. Such arguments together with public protests saw off the proposed strict abortion law, but one aspect of this new law is that such public protests will now be subject to fines of up to €600,000! That is the fine prescribed for unauthorized protests outside “public service” buildings.

Apart from restricting protest, the new law bans the public from taking photographs or videoing  the police when they could be endangered – a clause clearly open to the widest possible official interpretation – and fines of up to €30,000 are now in place for those who do so. Another clause open to very wide interpretation is that of being disrespectful to uniformed officers: anyone showing a “lack of respect”, whatever that means, can be fined €600 for the privilege of venting their frustration.

The law was passed narrowly, but passed it has been because of the ruling PP party’s majority in Parliament. It will now go to the senate for final approval, but its passage through the upper house is secure because the PP has a large majority there too.

Original post 30 November 2013: In a new law that has been approved by cabinet and is currently starting its process through Parliament, Spain is legislating against “offenses against Spain”. The new Citizens Security Law will see fines of up to €30,000  for “insults or abuse” levied against the country or its officials. “Insult or abuse” is deemed to include shouting, carrying placards, protesting, or demonstrating, even joining a picket line is specified, as is helping prevent an eviction.

Only the other day someone was sentenced to two years in prison for placing a custard pie on the head of a politician. The protester was deemed to have “humiliated” the woman in the course of her duties. He will not go to prison as a two year sentence for a first offender results in the sentence being suspended, but if that is the force of existing legislation, one wonders how severely the ruling conservative party envisages the need for the new law.

The Parliamentary opposition, together with liberty groups, have denounced the measures as repressive. Some use stronger language, but that strong language is likely soon to become illegal on the grounds that it is insulting or abusive. Greenpeace España spokeswoman Sara del Río said that the government was breaking the rules of play in a democracy, and commited the organization to a public awareness campaign to ensure that Spaniards raise their voices against the Bill.

The voices already ranged against the Bill have at least achieved the reduction of the proposed penalties. Originally, the law called for fines of up to €30,000 on those who take part in a botellón, and up to €600,000 for those who organize demonstrations without a permit! Fines for those crimes have been dropped to €1,000 and €30,000 respectively.

The actual object of the law seems to be the anticipated increasing protests from independence-minded regions like Catalonia which want to break away from Spain, but it seems to me that these measures are a real step backward in a democracy that really is still in its childhood, if not actual infancy. How long before even this personal opinion is censored because it’s “abusive” or “insulting”? Well, early next year is when this law is likely to come into force, so we won’t have long to wait to find out.


Alcalá’s new Playa de La Jaquita

Photo: Guía de Isora Ayuntamiento

Photo: Guía de Isora Ayuntamiento

Update 26 March 2015: Guia de Isora’s mayor, Pedro Martin, said that he is proud that Alcala’s new beach and coves have received the VIII Premio Agustín de Betancourt for best civil engineering public works in the period 2010-13. The award was granted for the project’s recovery of the Alcalá coastline for the public, for its contribution to the town’s leisure and tourism, and above all for the quality and ingenuity of the works themselves. The prize is considered an important one, and is named in honour of distinguished Puerto de la Cruz engineer Agustín de Betancourt and Molina. It was bestowed yesterday at the College of Civil Engineering, Channels and Ports in Santa Cruz.

The project first started in 2007, and after seven different designs were submitted to Costas the final form was decided and the proposal granted in March 2012. Work began just two months later, and was finished by the end of 2013 as originally estimated. The works have provided Alcalá with three small beaches, coves, and a promenaded walk shaded by trees in new gardens.

Original post 5 December 2009: Alcalá, in Guía de Isora, is to have a new beach in the La Jaquita area. The mayor, Pedro Martín, has signed agreements to acquire 13,627 square metres of land where the beach is to be sited. Environment Department approval has also been obtained for its construction, which will cost over three million Euros.

Guía de Isora Ayuntamiento added that seven proposals were submitted to Costas before the final one was approved. The one that has been given official blessing includes a promenade, refreshment stands, gardens, as well as the beach which, because of the lay of the land, will be around two bays.

The administrative procedures will now start to release the funds allocated for the project, and to put the works out to tender. The entire costs of the works will be defrayed by the Department of the Environment, as well as those of one part of the compulsory purchase. The Ayuntamiento will contribute around €434,000 for the remaining appropriations.

I wouldn’t be holding my breath for when this will all happen, but it will happen at some point. The mid-West coast is definitely where it is all going to be happening over the next decade.  Diario de Avisos

Germanwings airbus A320 flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf has crashed in the French alps

Germanwings flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Düsseldorf has crashed in the French alps. Authorities are saying that 144 passengers, 2 pilots and 4 crew were on board the airbus A320, and that it is feared all perished. The British ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, has said that the UK is working to establish whether any British passengers were on board, and that it is standing ready to assist any who are involved.

The Spanish interior ministry says that there could have been 45 Spanish nationals on the flight. Spain’s PM Mariano Rajoy says that he is working with Germany and France on the investigation into the tragedy. A special area has been set up in Barcelona’s El Prat airport for the families of those on board, and King Felipe and Queen Letizia have cut short a state visit to France to return to Madrid to comfort them.

Two dedicated official phone lines in Spain – 902 400 012 and 913 948 900 – have been set up for enquiries for those with concerns about someone on the flight. Germanwings itself has set up 0800 11 33 55 77 (UK) and 900 808 890 (Spain). The British Foreign Office has set up 0207 008 0000 in the UK.

Adeje Easter Passion Play, Good Friday, 3 April

YouTube Preview Image

Update 24 March: Adeje Ayuntamiento says that the staging of The Passion will take place on Good Friday, 3 April, on Calle Grande (the road fron the post office up to the Town Hall), and be broadcast live on Channel 2, TV España in Canaries

The council says that its religious Easter events begin in earnest this Friday, 27 March, known to Christians as the Friday of Sorrows: the full Easter programme can be found HERE. The many different processions which will be held over the next several days will allow the public to see the borough’s many different sacred images and statues, some of huge artistic importance, most of which have been carefully restored in the last decade or so in the Council Heritage Conservation Workshop. Cultural councillor Nayra Medina Bethencourt said that “Easter week in Adeje is of particular importance in the cultural calendar of the borough, with the people of Adeje taking part in many of the different acts and events, above all in the staging of The Passion.”.

Bethencourt added that the council understood that not everyone celebrates Holy Week and therefore disruption was minimised. During the passion play itself, however, the whole of Calle Grande is turned into a stage for the reenactment of the last days and death of Jesus of Nazareth. From the Jerusalem marketplace, the last supper in the Plaza de la Cruz del Llano, the Herod and Pontius Pilate stage, to the crucifixion itself in the Plaza España with the amazing Adeje skyline and Barranco del Infierno as a backdrop, if you haven’t seen it, don’t miss it. If you have, you’ll know why you want to see it all over again! As I’ve said in previous years, get there early, and ideally by public transport or taxi, because this gets packed out! The council’s video from 2013 above should give a flavour of this stunning spectacle.

Original post 10 March: I’ve posted in previous years (see HERE) about Adeje’s Easter passion play, and its drama and emotion. It will be no different in 2015, of course, and if anyone would like to be more than a spectator, but would actually like to take part in the enactment itself, you can sign up to do so now in the Cultural Centre in Adeje between 8am and 10pm, or by phone to 922 756 246. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

This year’s preparations are now underway, and each year some 300 “actors” take part in the passion play, the vast majority of them residents in the municipality. The event is famed worldwide, and tens of thousands attend, a great number of them tourists in the area. It is televised live internationally, too. Adeje Ayuntamiento’s culture department says that such coverage allows those who cannot attend in person to watch, but that the best way to experience the passion of the Pasión is as an actor involved in the production itself.

Adeje farmers market adds midweek opening

Photo: Adeje Ayuntamiento

Adeje Ayuntamiento has announced that the Las Torres weekend agricultural market is to add a weekly Wednesday opening to meet demand from regular customers. The new scheme will start on Wednesday 1 April, with opening hours for the midweek market from 4–8pm. During the first few weeks the council will be running a number of parallel activities on Wednesdays to increase awareness of the additional day. These will include courses in fruit and vegetable carving, a workshop for celiacs, a dessert course, making cup cakes, wine, cheese and honey sampling, flower arranging, etc. Details of each course will be published by the ayuntamiento in advance.

Adeje Farmers Market first opened its doors to the public six years ago and is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am-1.30pm. Councillor Esther Rivero Vargas said that “the success of this borough service has been noted from the start. On any given weekend we can expect up to 2,500 shoppers. A few months ago we carried out a survey among shoppers and included a question regarding a possible mid-week opening. The response was overwhelmingly in favour.”

Janet Anscombe
Tenerife News
March 2015
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