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    4:08
    It is strange how expats suddenly develop a craving for something that reminds them of life in their countries of origin. I guess it is...
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    • BarrieMahoney The Ship that Died I am not a great lover of things nautical; after all, I tend to get seasick when having a bath if the water is too deep. However, the recent announcement of a new ferry service from Las Palmas in Gran Canaria to Huelva in Peninsular Spain, with a journey time of just over one day, as compared to nearly three days on the alternative service, set me thinking about a once-beautiful ship now lying off a beach on our neighbouring island of Fuerteventura. www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com
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    • BarrieMahoney When I moved to the Costa Blanca, I recall being told by one consular official that, “The Brits come here to die”. I quickly discovered that nothing could be further from the truth...
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    Regular readers of ‘Twitters’ may recall that an emaciated, flea ridden and sickly kitten burst into my life last year, and a number of...
    • BarrieMahoney Regular readers of ‘Twitters’ may recall that an emaciated, flea ridden and sickly kitten burst into my life last year, and a number of readers have been asking about what happened to him... www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com
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    • BarrieMahoney As much as I love visiting friends and family in the UK and Ireland, the necessary air flight fills me with dread, which is why I avoid this tortuous ordeal as much as possible. No, it is not the actual flying part, nor the possibility of catching pig flu from all that recycled air, nor being crammed into airport buses and queues and not even the major airports’ policy of processing passengers like sardines. No, my horrors begin when packing my suitcase, or several in my case, a week or so before the trip. www.barriemahoney.com
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    • BarrieMahoney Do we ever really know our neighbours? From a quick glance at the rotary clothes dryer, we know that the lady of the house next door has a liking for daring red underwear, and that the gentleman of the house likes to use his power drill early on a Sunday morning ...
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    • BarrieMahoney It is easy to understand the fascination of many Americans with these small volcanic islands just off the coast of Africa. More than two hundred years have passed since the arrival of the Canary Islanders in Louisiana. However, Spanish surnames are plentiful in Louisiana as well as in other states, and their descendants still treasure the unique heritage of their brave ancestors from the Canary Islands. www.barriemahoney.com
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    • BarrieMahoney "I have been a vegetarian for many years. I was a vegetarian when it was seen as cranky, receiving comments such as, “Are you sure you can live without meat?” to the time when vegetarianism became the thing for weight loss, or as a declaration by students, mainly to annoy their parents. It then became fashionable to be vegetarian, later it was definitely for the health conscious and now vegetarianism is seen as the way to conserve the world’s scarce food resources. My personal reason for becoming vegetarian so many years ago was very simple; I like animals and I do not wish to eat my friends." www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com
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    • BarrieMahoney Over the years these values have been recognised and supported in most civilised societies, who have felt that a collective investment in children is an investment in society as a whole. Sadly, as we have seen with the increase in tuition fees in the UK and the erosion of the principles of “free education for all”, these values appear to be under threat or, depending upon the colour of your politics, are requiring “readjustment to meet changing fiscal needs.” www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com
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    • BarrieMahoney As much as many expats such as myself enjoy living in our newly adopted countries, it is strange what we miss from our countries of origin. Lemon Curd, Persil tablets and Branston pickle are just a few of the items that I know our friends beg visitors to bring when they visit. For me, it is Marmite, mince pies and ‘J’ cloths that ensure that our visitors receive a particularly warm welcome. I also miss BBC radio news, as well as radio drama... www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com
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    • BarrieMahoney I am not sure why, but a recent news item from Columbia set my mind racing about submarines. The story was about Colombian soldiers seizing a fully submersible drug-smuggling submarine capable of reaching the coast of Mexico, and reminded me of how determined and devious drug smugglers can be. The story is even more astonishing because previous drug-carrying vessels found in Colombia were only semi-submersible, with part of the structure always remaining above the surface. However, the submarine recently discovered could operate completely underwater, and was estimated that it could hold eight tons of drugs. www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com
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    • bikeman Thanks Joan it should be fun and looking forward to taking lots of pictures.
    • Joan_W Have a good drive tomorrow!
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    • BarrieMahoney My first encounter with ‘The Big Beast’ came shortly after moving into a new housing development in the Costa Blanca. Obtaining a reliable electricity and water supply were both considerable challenges, but none more so than getting a telephone. I recall standing in endless queues with other equally frustrated expats of all nationalities, and sometimes the shop closing before anyone was available to attend to our needs. I have witnessed grown men cry with anger and frustration at the sheer incompetence of trying to get a telephone line installed. www.barriemahoney.com www.thecanaryislander.com
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    • BarrieMahoney "Despite all the positive aspects of living in the Canary Islands there are, as in all things in life, a few negatives too. One of my main irritations is slow delivery of parcels, which is often due to the Aduana (Customs) process. Even though the Canary Islands are part of Spain, and within the European Union, we are outside of both for the purposes of taxation. This state of affairs is of great benefit to residents and visitors alike, who can buy all the luxury goods they can afford whilst on holiday, and pay only 5% IGIC (local tax) instead of IVA or VAT in Spain of 18% and in the UK at 20%. However, there are downsides too..." www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com
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    • BarrieMahoney Lighthouses and Lime Kilns "There are many lighthouses in the Canary Islands and locals and many visitors will know that there is a particularly fine one at Maspalomas in Gran Canaria. The lighthouse, or Faro in Spanish, helps sailors to navigate their ships and is an integral part of sea-life. Usually, they are cylindrical towers with a light on top, and emit a fixed sequence of beams that is unique to a particular lighthouse. Built in 1980, the Maspalomas lighthouse is still operational and, for those who like full details, provides 3 white flashes every 13 seconds. Before lighthouses were invented, sailors were warned of hazards by the lighting of fires along the coastline..." www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com
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    • BarrieMahoney It is a safe bet that few people living in the UK and Northern Europe will have little sympathy for poor weather conditions in the Canary Islands. At the time of writing we see people facing horrendous weather conditions in the UK with reports of temperatures plummeting to minus 20ºC in parts of Scotland, and little better in most parts of the UK. Daily lives and routines are all thrown into chaos, and the health and safety of the young and elderly in particular are put at risk by the excessive cold, as well as very dangerous road conditions. www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com
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    • BarrieMahoney "My eye was drawn to a young man in a wheelchair being pushed by an elderly woman from the arrivals lounge and into the main airport corridor. He looked painfully thin, with a pallid unhealthy looking skin, and his frail body was strapped into his wheelchair. An elderly man followed the wheelchair, pushing several suitcases on one of the airport trolleys. It was clear that these passengers did not travel light. I immediately recognised the Welsh accent as being from the valleys when the elderly woman began speaking to the young man. However, I could not decide whether the elderly couple accompanying the young man were his elderly parents or grandparents." www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com
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    The Canary Islands have a history that is, quite literally, littered with explosions. Each of the seven main islands was created by hot...
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    • BarrieMahoney Agatha Christie visited the Canary Islands in search of a tranquil and recuperative environment to help her calm a troubled mind. In February 1927, at the age of 36, she visited the Canary Islands to recover from a number of events that had taken place in her life and were having a serious impact upon her mental health. www.barriemahoney.com