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, I have written every single word of text on this website myself. The entire content therefore belongs to me or the 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

Euthanasia now available in the Canaries for terminal patients wanting a dignified death

The Canarian Parliament has today approved a law to guarantee dignity in death for terminal patients. The law, known as the Ley de muerte digna – Dignified Death Act – aims to ensure that the end of a terminal patient’s life is without suffering, and gives patients themselves the right to decide about palliative care when the prognosis allows for no hope. The bill was not passed without controversy, with the (conservative) PP failing in a pro-life attempt to remove certain clauses “to avoid confusing the public”, but the Canarian health service has now legalised what is effectively free choice for euthanasia where a patient is terminal and wishes to die in a dignified way without pain.

Paraglider seriously injured after Taucho jump

A 50-year-old Finnish paraglider is in hospital this evening after a jump at Taucho, Adeje, went wrong this lunchtime. Emergency services were called out with reports that the man had fallen in an area of very difficult access, and after he was rescued by a search and rescue helicopter he was transferred to the Adeje Bomberos helipad with very serious injuries. Given his condition, emergency services dispatched a medical helicopter, whose paramedics stabilized him and then air-lifted him to Candelaria Hospital where he remains gravely ill.

Woman in critical condition after nearly drowning at Playa de las Vistas

A woman nearly drowned at Playa de las Vistas in Los Cristianos shortly before 9 o’clock this morning. She has not been identified at present but was found unconscious in the water and after being pulled onto the beach was found to be in cardiac arrest. Emergency services were called and paramedics took over attempts to resuscitate her. When they had succeeded, they transferred her to Hospiten Sur where she is said to be in critical condition.

Please be aware of how cold the water is here. It is “cold” in technical terms even in the height of summer, and in January, is cold by anyone’s standards. Please have a read HERE for information on cold water shock and on how to stay safe in Tenerife waters.

Carnaval in Tenerife 2015

Update 24 January 2015: It might seeem that Christmas is only just over, particularly with Reyes just a fortnight or so ago, but already Carnaval 2015 is in full flow. The children’s murga competitions are underway with the adults’ to follow shortly, and there has already been a controversy over one of the male murga group’s songs – it was withdrawn after accusations of homophobia.

There are some who think that the murgas are the last place where political correctness is appropriate, but it seems that even the most outrageous and parodic part of the carnival is no longer exempt from the need not to offend. Tickets long since sold out for the murgas, however, but if anyone would like to watch online, the events are being streamed live HERE.

Original post 7 October 2014: There are already questions about it, so it’s worth starting the post. Carnaval 2015 is set to run from 21 January to 22 February 2015. The programme is still provisional, but the main carnaval website is HERE. Apart from the official website, the organizers have also set up a Facebook page HERE. After last year’s theme of Cartoons, this time it’s the Future, and planning is well under way.

The Tenerife capital’s carnival isn’t just the largest in Tenerife, it is now an official Fiesta de Interés Turístico Internacionalwidely considered to be the second largest in the world, with only the world-famous Rio de Janeiro Carnaval bigger. Events take place over a month, with almost everything seeming to come to a standstill when trying to get anything done in Tenerife!

One of the most keenly anticipated events, or series of events, is the murga competitions – a sort of combination of farce, satire and music (involving a type of kazoo) with outlandish costume and group singing. They are phenomenally popular and there is saturation television coverage of all the stages and groups taking part. I’ve posted videos of them in previous years, e.g. HERE. Perhaps most famous to outsiders, however, are the main parades, the choice of carnival queen, and the bizarre ceremony of the burial of the sardine, which heralds Lent.

Two other Carnavals of great local interest are Los Cristianos and Puerto de la Cruz: Los Cristianos’ carnival will be 6-16 March, and Puerto de la Cruz’ Burial of the Sardine is on 18 February (same day as Santa Cruz), the High Heels Drag race (Mascarita Ponte Taón) on the 20th, and main parade on the 21st. San Miguel de Abona’s main carnival event will also be on the 21st in San Miguel church square from 5pm.

Brave young cancer survivor to climb Teide

Zack (r) with his friend Liam (l).

Zack (r) with his friend Liam (l).

A 10-year-old boy who overcame a three and a half year battle with leukaemia will be climbing Mount Teide to raise money for charities which helped him when he was unwell at home in Alderney, in the Channel Islands. Zack’s mother Jo says that his only respite at the time was the family’s twice-yearly trips to Tenerife, and that her son always wanted to climb Teide. Now he’s going to do so, with his 11-year-old friend Liam, and the two have raised almost £2,000 so far with sponsorship for a two-day ascent in April. The boys’ goal is to raise £5,000 in total, and if that amount is exceeded, any balance will go to Tenerife causes. If anyone would like to sponsor the boys there is a gofundme page HERE to do so online. Good luck to them both!

Santa Cruz now has new dedicated tourist protection police unit

Photo: Tenerife Cabildo

Photo: Tenerife Cabildo

The Tenerife Cabildo has announced a new tourist protection police unit – Prottur – for Santa Cruz which will see six specialist police officers oversee visitor security in the capital. The new unit was presented yesterday by Tenerife president Carlos Alonso and Santa Cruz mayor José Manuel Bermúdez. The unit will operate out of the Plaza de España tourist information office, and the multi-lingual officers will be able to deal with the public in English, French, German, Russian, Italian and Portuguese.

In the presentation, President Alonso said that the move was a very positive one in terms of enabling Tenerife to be characterised as a secure destination. Mayor Bermúdez himself stressed the importance of the collaboration between Cabildo and Ayuntamiento and said that the new unit was designed to attend specifically to visitors and their concerns, problems, and any incidents for which they might need assistance, including accompanying them for any denuncias which might need to be made if they are victims of a crime.

No doubt this is primarily intended for tourists coming off the cruise liners which dock in the city, not least because the service is at least initially available only between 9am and 6pm. though every day. This is, nonetheless, precisely the sort of market the authorities are aiming at, and so their feeling of security is a paramount part of their experience of Tenerife. Hopefully the scheme will make its way beyond Santa Cruz to other main tourist areas in the not too distant future as well. For the moment, it’s a step very much in the right direction.


Body of missing Icod man found

Luis Antonio Velázquez. Photo provided to RTVC by the family

Luis Antonio Velázquez. Photo provided to RTVC by the family

Update 18 January: Tragically, the body of this missing man was found this afternoon in the Cueva del Rey area of Icod de los Vinos. An autopsy will now be carried out to establish the cause of death, but sadly the main hypothesis appears to be that of suicide.

Original post 8 January: There are already seven men who have been missing in Tenerife for some time (link), and now family and friends are seeking help to locate young Icod de los Vinos father Luis Antonio Velázquez who disappeared on New Year’s Eve. Luis Antonio is around 30 years of age, 1.8m tall, and was last seen wearing a blue jacket and short grey trousers. Searches are being organized by the Buen Paso area Cruz Roja, and the family has provided two phone numbers for anyone who has any information: these are 676 204 145 and 663 470 959 – evidently people can also go direct to the police if they can help in any way.

Canarian oil prospecting off eastern islands, cont’d.

This is the continuation thread on oil prosecting in the Canaries. Earlier posts, from February 2012 to August 2014, which I’ve split for ease of management, are HERE.

Update 16 January 2015: That’s it, it seems. Repsol says that it has not found oil in its drilling, and although it has found hydrocarbons, the gas is of low quality and not suitable to extract commercially. After all the political posturing, and irrevocable damage to relationships throughout the Canaries and nationally at all levels, exploration is to stop in any case. In the end, it was nature itself that had the final say.

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Update 16 November 2014: A Greenpeace zodiac craft has been rammed by the Spanish navy, as filmed in the above clip. MEP Ernest Urtasun, ICV member who is part of the Green group in the European parliament, said that an “urgent motion” about the incident will shortly be lodged with the full session of the European Commission in Strasbourg.

The video clearly shows the navy craft ramming the Greenpeace launch, and despite the inevitable war of words over the navy’s interpretation of its action and the causes behind it, Canarian-born Madrid Industry minister José Manuel Soria says that public order and freedom of activity will be preserved in the area.

Canarian president Paulino Rivero was in no doubt as to where blame should be attributed. It was Madrid, rather than the navy specifically, he said, which had not hesitated to use violence against a peaceful protest. Given the opposition to the drilling, and the personal animosity between Rivero and Soria, the regional president could be expected to make as much mileage out of the incident as possible, but regardless of all considerations, the above images are compelling, and undeniable. The Spanish navy rammed a Greenpeace protest launch in high sea. One Greenpeace crew member was injured but is said to be well in hospital in Gran Canaria.

Would you like to take part in a sponsored cycle ride for a mental health charity?

If you would like to take part in a sponsored cycle challenge on Saturday 7 Feb please get in touch with Lisa Allard on the mobile number on the poster above for the information pack. The ride is downhill all the way from Teide to Los Gigantes! Fundación Tutelar En Pié is a registered foundation – a charity in the full sense as described HERE, founded to raise awareness and supporting people with severe mental health problems. En Pié’s website is HERE, and they have a Facebook page HERE.

San Sebastian blessing of goats, sheep and horses in the sea in La Caleta next Monday and Tuesday

Collage of 2011's fiesta courtesy of Adeje Ayuntamiento

Collage of 2011′s fiesta courtesy of Adeje Ayuntamiento

As every year, the first of Adeje’s two local public holidays gives an opportunity to see some real Canarian tradition in the heart of the tourist area. The fiesta of one of the town’s patrons, San Sebastian, in La Caleta next week involves horsemen riding into the sea, and pastoral farmers dragging their goats and sheep into the water for the animals to be blessed. The event’s draw makes it almost more a spectacular tourist event than a religious one, but despite the tens of thousands of people who turn up to watch it, at its core is the celebration of a fiesta to San Sebastian, the saint who can ward off plagues, and so keep animals, and humans, healthy throughout the coming year.

Adeje council says that the celebrations begin on Monday 19 January with a two-day open air exhibition of municipal photographs. There will be a ‘pinchos’ competition - small tapas on a cocktail stick, cheap and tasty, and ideal for eating on the street. You can vote for your favourite pincho from 7pm to midnight. Mass with the Santa Ana folklore group in honour of San Sebastián will be celebrated at 8pm followed by a procession with the Adeje Municipal Band, and fireworks. From 7pm there will also be a ‘Parrandas’ evening, with small music groups playing in public, among them the Paranda Boleros de Armeñime, G. F. La Diata, A. C. Cultural Imoque, the Parranda El Mesturao and the Adeje Municipal Folklore group.

Tuesday 20th is the actual feast day itself, with events beginning at noon with a mass in honour of the Saint sung by the Santa Úrsula de Adeje parochial choir. The procession with the image of the saint then moves outside and takes the pilgrims down to La Enramada beach where the crowds will be waiting to see the traditional bathing of the horses, and quite often a few donkeys and maybe a camel or two.

This is a fiesta steeped in local traditions which was first celebrated here in the 18th century. Indeed, this year Adeje begins to celebrate the 100th year in which the statue of San Sebastián has been in Adeje; the statue, which is carried ceremoniously to the sea, was brought to the parish in 1916 by the then parish priest, Eulogio Gutiérrez Estévez. Over the years country people and local Adeje farmers and beyond continued with their devotions to the saint in a very particular and special way. Many have attributed miracles to the statue of San Sebastián, including cures and favours granted.

Since numbers in the tens of thousands take part in the fiesta every year, the council has security measures in place to guarantee safety for everyone attending: personnel will be present from the Policia Local, the Civil Protection Unit, the Sea Rescue service, ambulances and health professionals. The council asks the public please to take note of any access restrictions on the streets or on the beach in advance of the procession as they are there for the public’s security. Some parking restrictions will be in place to facilitate free flow of traffic and allow people walk along the streets. There will also be a zone cordoned off for farm animals who are taking part in the festivities.

In particular, the public is reminded that given the numbers attending, plenty of time should be allowed for parking and walking. Attendees are also advised to wear comfortable clothes and shoes, to be prepared for long sun exposure, and to bring drinking water. Since this is a fiesta in which animals are very much involved, the council says that if you are bringing you own animal they must be on a lead and have their own food and water too. There are more photos, including those of family pets being blessed, in Adeje English Time’s blog HERE.

Janet Anscombe
Tenerife News
January 2015
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