Rolling Out The Thrills With The Roller Derby Girls

Lex Plode, Max Voltage, Lady Macdeath, Jackie The Ripper, and Sherry Bomb were whipping up a storm as they whizzed around the circuit with The Buzzcocks lending an edgy punk soundtrack. This was just the warm up of my first roller derby match and if those names weren’t intimidating enough there was always the seven officials including Bella Karlofa and Belle Anger. I had only recently discovered that this popular ladies sport wasn’t just confined to America and now I was seeing it first hand in Santa Cruz at the Pancho Camurria sports centre.


The visit of Batter C Power from London reeled me in and a few hours before the action I met Hannah Charles, AKA Baby Cheesus, near the London teams hotel by Plaza del Candelaria. The Welsh international explained some of the basics and the UK angle. “London Roller Girls is a big club with around 60 players and we play out of Crystal Palace but for this trip we’ve brought 11 players from the third team. Normally there are 14 on a side with five skating at a time, four blockers and a jammer that does the scoring by overtaking opposition players. “

My nearest points of reference to Roller Derby were following ice hockey, and the 1972 Raquel Welch film Kansas City Bomber but it was amore recent film that drew Hannah to the sport. “I saw Whip It three years ago and had to have a go, I was soon hooked. It’s great for all body types, I’m a jammer and that’s more about being nippy but the sport has a strong physical edge that I like. Broken legs and concussion can happen and there are always routine bruises.” Hannah showed off a shoulder bruise at this point but I was already enchanted long before that.

Tenerife was just one of many stop offs since Hannah took up the skates. “I went to Belgium last year with the Wales team, we finished fifth out of eight countries. London Roller Girls were the first non American entries in the World Club Championships last year in Nashville.”
I had also made contact with Tenerife Roller Derby and arriving at the Pancho Camurria for the warm up I had a chat with captain Mercedes (skating as Mercromina) who brought me up to speed on their history. “Esther Arrocha formed the team four years ago, she had played for Erasmus in Manchester and is now living and playing in London. Spain are playing in the World Championships in Dallas this December and there will be seven players from our club as well as Esther.”

There was a lot of preparation before the game started, the refs were marking out the oval track with tape, the teams were practicing their drills and slipping in their gum shields to go with the knee, elbow, and wrist pads. Mutual respect was high on the list too, the teams each skated a few laps to get the applause of the near 400 crowd and then swapped high fives as they filed past each other. Once the first 30 minute half started the niceties were at a minimum as the jammers (identified by a star on a helmet cover) tried to barge, dodge, and power their way past the blockers. Effectively there were two battles going on as the teams tried to shield their own jammer until they could break through and also keep out the opponents scorer.


The officials made sure safety was preserved with sin bin seats for offenders, and close attention to the furious action but there were medics with a trolley on the sidelines just in case. The Pancho Camurria also hosts boxing but it didn’t come to that and when skaters did crash there was an instant ring of refs around them as they recovered. It was quite technical, alert minds and bodies were definitely needed, my little pea brain was just about getting to grips with the scoring. Breaks in play for pack changes and new laps extend the game time to nearly two hours including a 15 minute halfway break.


Sadly my schedule meant I had to shoot across the city to meet the Armada Sur for the CD Tenerife game so I left at half time. It was long enough to get a taste of the dedication, skill, and passion of these players, there’s no big money for them, just late training around jobs and studying and paying for kit etc. The London ladies had to cover nearly all the cost of their trip over and undergo similar unsocial hours for training. Tenerife loves sport, with regular games the Pancho Camurria could be packed but it’s costly for other teams to come for friendlies. You can’t fault them for organization, they run their own drink and snack bar, produce a programme, and sell replica shirts and merchandise, they were even selling London shirts for their visitors, that’s a classy touch.


It was a close run contest, Batter C Power edged it by 153 points to 149 and the two sides enjoyed an after match party to cement the links between the clubs. Tenerife games are as and when they can arrange friendlies so if you want to catch the action or take up playing join them on Facebook at Tenerife Roller Derby. UK based readers can do the same via www.londonrollergirls.com

 

Predictable CD Tenerife Running Out Of Excuses

With such poor away form it has to be fortress Heliodoro at home but once again CD Tenerife rolled out the welcome mat, this time in a 0-2 defeat to Recreativo. Coach Cervera’s name was whistled before kick off and the doubters were louder when the final whistle went.

Igor Arnaez came in for Raul Camara at left back and Suso was back in the starting lime up but too much of the home play relied on playing the ball up to Suso on the right, Recreativo soon picked up on this and closed him down quickly. The last thing we needed was a howler from keeper Roberto but after 11 minutes a break on the right found Joselu with a tight angle view of the goal. Roberto should have had it well covered but the shot trickled through his gloves and into the net.

Tenerife were poor, the passion of the derby game was nowhere to be seen and several players were cruising, Vitolo is still playing way below his experience and salary and Aridane might as well have stayed in the dressing room. At least Roberto pulled himself together and made some important saves, he tipped the ball over from a Joselu corner, that came from a near own goal by Carlos Ruiz, luckily for him the ball bounced the generous side of the goal. Whatever happened to the dominant and commanding central rock of last season, maybe he is missing Bruno, aren’t we all.

Visiting goalie Galvez had little to do, Tenerife had no cutting edge in front of goal, Uli was playing more of a striking role but looked lost. Cervera had to do something at half time, a double change saw Aridane gave way to Guarrotxena and Igor depart for Ricardo and it helped the balance a little. Tenerife found some spirit at last and made some good creative moves only to see them flounder at the feet of our forwards. The second goal seemed inevitable, after 67 minutes Recreativo pounced on a weak ball from Ruiz and opened up their right side to give Rios an easy task to slip the ball past a stretched Roberto.

Former Tenerife coach Oltra was enjoying his return but it was hard to take for the 8,155 crowd. Ruso got a run out for Uli after 74 minutes but he didn’t look much better, the lack of goals is a big worry this season. Galvez did get some work to do in the visitors goal, Moyano had one of the better chances with a headed duel against the leaping keeper but it was all too little and too late.

One coach left the field with his reputation further enhanced in the eyes of the home fans while the other is starting to run out of friends. Osasuna away next week is a toughie and another ghost from the past, Nino, will be waiting to pile on the agony – as always we hope for better things.

 

 

Only The Toughest Tackle Teide Xtreme

This was a day of extraordinary athletes, nature had designed the most unforgiving of all courses and as the sun rose over Guaza Mountain some 200 sportsmen and women lined the shore of Las Vistas beach in Los Cristianos. Five hours, twenty seven minutes and fourty nine seconds later Kevin Thornton from Galway, Ireland, burst across the Teide Xtreme finish line as the winner but Tenerife was every bit the star as the drama unfolded.

A tractor resurfaced the beach in the half light and the water lapped at the feet of the eager athletes as 8 am approached. The swimmers splashed into the waves, some in cut off wet suits and others in shorts and steered across the bay via the marker buoys as support boats and surf board mounted stewards watched over them. Two laps of 850 metres was the opening challenge with a few toes full of sand as they rounded a beach marker before submerging again.


It was amazing how soon they spread out and even more impressive how quickly the leaders came bounding out and up the sand to the promenade and on towards the transition zone. Competitors had arrived from 13 countries and must have been impressed at the slick organization of Tenerife Top Training. Everyone knew where their bikes were stationed with cycling kit neatly laid out alongside for a lightning strip down to dry basics and a new layer of lycra and helmets.

Triathlons are booming world wide but few countries can match the beauty and rugged resistance of the roads leading up into the hills and villages on the 96 km second stage. I boarded the press bus and we shadowed the cyclists as they climbed through Guia de Isora and then pulled ahead for a stop at Bar Las Estrellas at km 34, one of the top up points for the hot peddlers. Teams of volunteers handed out bananas (Canarian of course) water, isotonic drinks, and energy bars and mopped up the empty water bottles that just missed the bins as they slowed their pace a fraction.

Then the muscles and sinews got stretched a little further as we followed the climb through Chio and across the edge of Teide national park to Retamar at 2,200 metres high. It was a cloudless day and the volcanic landscape looked magnificent, talking to competitors later it was clear that even in their heightened state of race focus they appreciated the wonders that spread around them. Sadly on the downward stretch, back marker Carmen Hernandez Paez lost control of her bike on a corner between Las Lajas and Vilaflor and fell knocking her head on a wall. Although she was rushed to hospital she died later, a very sad accident on an otherwise smooth day. I was impressed by the level of stewarding by the volunteers, police, and Civil Protection, each junction, village, and crossroads we passed was well manned for the entire route.


Heading down through Arona, I thought we might get back to the coast way ahead of any riders but within minutes of arriving at the transition point Kevin Thornton came whizzing into the enclosure, dismounted, changed clothes, and was off for the 21 km run, three circuits of the promenade between Las Vistas and Playa el Bobo. It was early afternoon and even the keenest sun worshippers were opting for the shade or the sea but these athletes are a tough bunch and pushed themselves for the final stage. Back at the transition point the countdown had begun with Kevin Thornton strengthening his lead and burning off the kms on the way to the finishing arch. As the leading group turned into the final stretch, others were still evolving from bikers to runners and continued chasing their personal goals as a crescendo of cheers greeted the winner.

It was a tremendous achievement from Kevin Thornton, shaving nearly ten minutes off last years inaugural time. I managed a few words with the winner, he hardly seemed out of breath. Recovering from collarbone and achilles injuries he had only booked his place a couple of days before after a Seville comeback event was cancelled. It wasn’t a bad way to celebrate a first ever visit to Tenerife, the water bottle he clutched was soon emptied but he looked good for a lap of honour. As a spectacle it was a fabulous day, big respect to everyone who took part and those who made it all possible. As a promotion for Tenerife it had everything, a Canadian magazine journalist was among those lapping up the action, our island is perfect for such high octane events, I can hardly wait for next year.

Yoga For Life Makes Waves In Los Cristianos

Anyone taking a Saturday evening stroll along the promenade at Las Vistas beach was left in no doubt that the supporters of this years Walk For life campaign are fighting back against breast cancer.

It’s the tenth year of the Carrera Por La Vida and they have really set their bar high with ten big events to raise money and awareness of the continuing fight. You can’t fault them for organization, the rallying call was answered by in large numbers with many opting for a pink influence in their clothing. Blimey they even managed to get a backdrop of pink flowers to underline their point.

I arrived just before the main event started and Will Appleby was laying down some soothing sax tunes to relax the gathering crowd. The fund raisers were on the case selling raffle tickets, shirts and other souvenirs and even the high summer like temperatures had subsided a little with a bit of cloud offering some shade. Yoga instructor Aldo Ananda Singh eased everyone into the session with some gentle breathing and chanting before adding movement and rhythm to the mix.


The sedate chug of the inter island ferry and the calm swish of the waves made good background music and it was good to see that the remains of the days sun worshippers joined in. Everyone was soon at full stretch with several men joining in, breast cancer has decimated many families and it’s important that everyone recognizes the importance of the fight. There was no short changing the instructors, the sun might have been winding down after a busy day but the yoga kept going for well over an hour. The end of session glass of cava each, donated by Wimpen Leisure, was the perfect salute to a good evenings work by all.


There is no time for resting on the achievements of the last nine years, the next two events are the Golf For Life at Los Palos course near Las Galletas on 12 October, and Dance For Life on 16 October brings the action back to Los Cristianos, this time at the Plaza del Pescadora. You can find more information at www.carreraporlavida.com

CD Tenerife Chew Up Las Palmas And Spit Out The Feathers

All the suffering of recent weeks performances was brushed aside as CD Tenerife re-discovered their pride, character, and team spirit to beat Las Palmas 2-1 at home after going a goal behind. It will go down as one of the great derby performances, the odds against a home win were stacked as high as Mount Teide. No one personified the proud, beating heart of the team more than goalie Roberto, the Icod born stopper stepped up to reclaim his gloves after an injury to Jacobo and his emotions were raw after his father died in the week. He shed a few tears after topping a brilliant game with a stunning injury time full length dive.

There’s always fun and games when the pios come to Tenerife, despite a scorching sunny morning, a car load of their fans experienced a full moon from our coach on the way into Santa Cruz. The pre game drinking session was interspersed with the burning of two stuffed pios, a little petrol and a few bangers helped them on their way, not sure what the police helicopter made of the plumes of smoke. The Heliodoro was decked out with fantastic tifo displays from the Frente Blanquiazul at our end, and the Zoneros behind the other goal, it was up to the team to match the mood.

Las Palmas sat top of the table, playing flowing football with plenty of goals but from the start the Tenerife midfield closed them down with Vitolo and Aitor Sanz on top form. Cristo and Guarrotxena both went close in the opening ten minutes with the pios looking very average but a defensive slip up let them open the scoring. Araujo out jumped Albizua to win the ball and slipped it to Aleman, his pass found Momo with space to score.

Tenerife were the better team and stuck to their guns, Guarrotxena forced a finger tip save from Lizoain as they kept the pios on the back foot. The leveler came from a Guarrotxena corner, as Tenerife attacked the ball, Araujo got in the way and diverted the ball into his own net. Pressure was the key, combined with relentless team work Tenerife strangled the visitors supply lines and set the pace. On the half hour Aridane put the ball in the net with a well measured header but the ref did well to spot it was offside. Suso was always ready to test the Gran Canarian defence and Aridane was an absolute menace to the back tracking pios.

There was a good buzz to the half time chat among the home fans and it got even better within minutes of the restart. Moyano carried the ball upfield, laid it off to Suso and he unlocked the back door before setting up Cristo to rifle in a quality goal. The pio fans faces turned a sickly yellow to match their banners, once again they had bottled their big moment. Tenerife looked comfortable, Roberto was commanding and the team never sat back on the lead. Ricardo replaced Guarrotxena, Maxi took over from Cristo, and Uli came on as Aridane departed to grateful applause.

Suso was tormenting the pios and was denied a goal by a high take from Lizoain. The stadium was rocking and the clock was ticking down. Four minutes of injury time was added to test the nerves, Las Palmas had a last ditch effort, first Roberto made a good block at the post and then in the final seconds he leapt across his goalmouth to touch away a certain goal. As the whistle went, the Tenerife players embraced and cheered Roberto, they knew how much he had poured into the game. Sometimes it takes an unexpected misfortune to pull players together, all through the game and in that emotional climax they were a team again.


The only let down was the crowd of 17,064, it should have been a 23,000 full house. Next Sunday it’s Leganes away, a lowly and very beatable team, it’s still early enough to make a big climb up the table, the belief is back and last seasons best form came after beating the pios.

 

Tenerife At The Centre Of The Sonic Universe

Long long ago when concept albums ruled and gatefold record sleeves were pretty much obligatory, stadium rock giants like Yes and Queen roamed the earth. Last night at the Magma Artes & Congesos in Playa de Las Americas there was a Jurassic Park moment as the Starmus Festival rounded off a brilliant week with Rick Wakeman and Brian May together in the Sonic Universe concert.


The hall was packed with some of the finest minds in science, astronauts like Charlie Duke of the Apollo 16 mission, and special guest Prof Stephen Hawking, one of the star speakers during the week. Starmus brought together many diverse threads related to astronomy and science, earlier in the week they gave a premiere to sci fi movie 51 Degrees. I spotted one of the films stars, Dolly Ann Osterloh complete with her own special co star peaking out from her bag.

Rick Wakeman has always been a showman and took to the stage in one of his trademark capes as he took his place behind his banks of keyboards. With such a back catalogue to choose from, Rick started with a dip into his solo LPs The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And  His Knights Of The Round Table,  and another historical work The Six Wives Of Henry VIII. In between the soaring music he referred to his own busy marital life, he’s had four wives including page three stunner Nina Carter. The great man surrounded himself with talented musicians that he has worked with through the years, Ashley Holt led the way with the vocals and guitarist Dave Coleman put in some dazzling solo breaks.


Fitting nicely into the science theme was a selection from another solo project Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. The concrete bunker style of the Magma was the perfect setting for such grand designs and things moved up a couple of notches when Brian May joined Rick on stage for a few numbers. Shrouded in the swirling smoke and sweeping lights at the back of the group was Rick’s son Adam playing more keyboards. Now an accomplished rocker himself, Adam had broken off from touring with Black Sabbath complete with Ozzy Osbourne – I bet that’s a lively tour. The proud father made sure his son got his time in the spotlight before borrowing his shoulder slung keyboard for a trip out into the audience.

Security parted the barriers and Rick Wakeman swept out into the hall playing the mobile keyboard on his way. One very surprised young lady was plucked from the crowd and taken onto the stage to play a few notes – what a moment for her. There was plenty more musical magic to come, Rick has been touring again in recent years with Yes and he picked one of their space themed tunes, Starship Trooper for the climax of the show with Brian May returning for a prolonged blast. The PHD has re-ignited the former Queen stars passion for astrophysics but he is still one of the rock worlds greatest guitar players.

It was a tremendous two hour concert, great nostalgia for old gits like me and plenty of new converts will be raiding the downloads to discover the past triumphs of Rick Wakeman, a frequent visitor to Tenerife since 1985. As the cheers rang out as the musicians took their final bow, Starmus supremo Garik Israelian was purring louder than any royal. It’s going to be an even tougher act to follow but the next Starmus Festival can’t come soon enough.

Rock Stars And Astronauts Gravitate To Starmus Tenerife

It started with short booming taps on the microphone as a hint that Professor Brian May was about to take the stage to deliver his lecture. Garik Israelian, the driving force behind the Stramus Festival is not just a professor but also a self confessed rock fan so he increased the tempo and it was quickly recognized and picked up as the opening beat of “We Will Rock You? That crossover between science, music, and art is what inspired 7,000 people to sign up for this years event, quite a quantum leap from the 60 at the inaugural Starmus back in 2011.

It was clear from the opening registration day at Abama Golf & Spa Resort (above) that the organizers had created a monster, but I could see it was one they were nurturing and directing well. This year saw a big increase in former cosmonauts on the VIP list as well as Nobel winning scientists from astronomy and related fields. Delegates and enthusiasts were drawn to Tenerife from all over the globe, a young lady checking in ahead of me had come from Bulgaria.


Before the serious science kicked in, I took the opportunity for a nose around the luxury resort, it certainly is flash, boarding the resort train I had a full tour down to the beach past the mirador and the views across to Playa San Juan. Locals still use the beach (they cannot be sealed off as private) but they have a long trek on foot and cannot use the sun beds and train. I bet later all the brightest minds in science would also be tempted to ride the train like a kid in a theme park.


In the main hall Garik Israelian (above) welcomed all and there was a media scrum to get photos of the big names, with Brian May the big prize closely followed by Professor Stephen Hawking, a real coup for the festival. It was an unusual mix of people as many tour t-shirts showed long standing allegiances to Queen and their famous guitarist. Brian May was well on his way to a PHD in Astrophysics before rock fame distracted him, years later he completed his thesis thanks to lengthy research at Tenerife and La Palma observatories.


The second day saw the action switch to the Magma Artes & Congresos centre just below Siam Park, but for once the big crowds were heading into the architectural icon. Brian Mays speech was “A Brief History Of Stereoscopy In Astronomy” and was delivered via the latest 3D giant screen with state of the art glasses for all us in the crowd. The glasses had plenty to focus on, not just Brian’s latest large multi coloured shirt, but also over an hour of amazing stereo produced photos of comets, asteroids, planets and volcanoes. The professor’s commentary explained the development of 3D imagery and its practical uses in measuring space sized distances and creating eye popping photos of new horizons. The Rosetta probe is currently orbiting a far flung asteroid and we were shown the newly downloaded images provided by stereo viewing techniques.


Our host didn’t quite have the same nimble command of the hi tech projector as he does of a guitar but his delivery was down to earth and easy to follow for those like me with just a loose grasp of science. It went down well with the experts like Richard Dawkins and Robert Wilson (above) sat just in front of me and the finish was greeted with a tidal wave of applause. There’s plenty more ground to cover as the delegates take in a star party up on Mount Teide and visit the observatories in Tenerife and La Palma. Then there is also the big Sonic Universe concert when former Yes keyboard player Rick Wakeman joins Brian for a musical blast. It’s all astronauts and rock stars in Tenerife these days.

CD Marino Rue Missed Chances But Stay Top

Flared tempers, gift goals, and missed sitters, all wrapped up with good creative football. That’s what unfolded as CD Marino drew 1-1 at home to Mensajero, there was even a meltdown by the referee that left the La Palma team fuming.


I knew it was going to be an interesting afternoon when the swifts that swoop around the ground dive bombed me as I clicked away at pitch side. Both teams had plenty of quality so it settled into a tight contest with the reds shading the opening 10 minutes but it was Pibe of Marino who had the first decent sight of goal. The forward got into a good position in front of the net but screwed his shot over the bar. Mensajero launched a counter attack with Iray picking his way down the left before shooting wide. Pibe was cursing his luck again after finding room on the right but his shot twanged a post. Aridani joined in the shooting practice pushing forward from the left back slot to fire another wide effort. In between those near misses Aridani came to the rescue to snuff out a Mensajero raid.


Visiting goalie Kyliam was in a generous mood after 21 minutes, he made a soft pass out that was intercepted by Pibe who teed the ball up for Nestor Trujillo to grab a home lead. At the other end Alberto looked solid with confident takes from two free kicks either side of an acrobatic tip over. Aaron Darias made one of his timely runs from right back, nipping between two red defenders to put a cross over that Pibe was only able to put over the bar. Mensajero matched Marino in creativity and looked odds on to score just before half time but once in the goal area they were looking to create a penalty instead of shooting.

The second half opened with another fine stop from Alberto, this one low down at the foot of the post. Amado replaced Sesma just before Javi Machena had a goal bound strike stopped by Kyliam’s knee. Alberto stood firm again charging out of his goal twice in quick succession to thwart Mensajero – he looked unbeatable. There was a sustained period of pressure from the visitors with just over 10 minutes left and the unthinkable happened. Alberto dived to stop a cross cum shot from Fede but missed the ball and Iray was on hand to level the scores.

A strong reaction was needed from Marino but they couldn’t produce it and Mensajero’s play became desperate as they searched for a winner. The visiting bench was at fever pitch and coach Manuel Cid took his frustration out on the dug out, the ref could have just booked him but over reacted and sent him off. The ref had lost it, he dispatched Eslave for the home side with a second booking and also sent the substituted Jaime from the Mensajero bench to the changing room for doubting his word. There was one final flash point as Alberto raced out to claim an attackers ball, he beat his man and rolled some way outside his area. Furious Mensajero players and the bench claimed it was a foul and screamed for a penalty and a sending off but the ref didn’t want to know and soon after blew for time. It was a frantic end to a fluid game between two well matched sides.

 

Parks And Cars On A Duck Day Afternoon

A hunting we will go, well that was my intention as I headed for Santa Cruz and La Laguna with ducks on my menu. The capital was the first stop, there was a buzz of activity to mark the Plenilunio, a rare alignment of the planets, something to do with getting the moon in Uranus – painful. Maybe I should seek a more scientific explanation from Prof Stephen Hawking at next weeks Starmus Festival.


Down at Plaza de España I was expecting a flotilla of yellow plastic ducks to raise money for Cruz Roja (Red Cross) and their campaign to help hospitalized children. The ducks were a little shy so I jumped on a tram to my other target, La Laguna, the Fiestas del Cristo were approaching the final week and Plaza del Cristo and the church entrance were decked out in bunting and a giant stage and large sand pit (for Canarian Wrestling) dominated the plaza itself. Parque de La Constitucion was my target and hopefully some live, recently evicted ducks. When the Cathedral was finally restored earlier in the year, the ancient duck pond outside was cleared for a new water feature (still not completed) and the army of ducks that had lived there since before orange sauce was invented, were removed to a temporary home amid much consternation. To silence the quacks of protest 100,000 euros has been spent on a new duck pond and house in Parque de La Constitucion but I found it has no water yet, let alone any joyful feathered friends.


So a wasted afternoon? No such thing in my book, I had spotted another interesting looking park nearby so popped into El Parque La Vega and what a beautiful place it is. Built around a large central café, it has a stream ambling its way between a spread of trees and waterfalls. Chunky orange fish darted around waiting for breadcrumbs from visitors and the banks were lined with turtles basking in the sun. There were plenty of sports courts and play areas, rest zones, and even a little roller skating zone. This and the other parks in La Laguna open from 7am to 10 pm daily and are well worth a look.


Taking a wide arc back to the centre of town I found myself on the long, leafy Avenida Universidad (La Laguna is home to a modern and thriving University) and spotted a castle complete with turrets set back from the road, It seemed a bit out of place and the gates were chained locked but a sign on the front named it as Castle Lan. A bit of later research showed it to be a centre for computer game fans but most of the information I found said it was now closed. I hope to find out more and see if the castle is just a modern folly as the too clean façade seems to indicate.


Time to tram it back to Santa Cruz and see what was splashing at Plaza de España. The good news was the ducks were on patrol, it wasn’t quite what I had been expecting but was still entertaining. I thought the 4,000 ducks would all be let loose on the water at once but a small protected corner was filled with a few hundred at a time and people were being charged one euro a time to scoop a duck up in a net to keep, the young children were loving it. I had a go but gave my squeaky duck to the nice lady helper, the yellow colour would clash with my football beliefs – if only they had some blue ducks. I was quite amused to see they had a security guard on duty, not sure what sort of problems they were anticipating, those ducks can get a bit stroppy at feeding time.


All around the other Plenilunio events were springing to attention, a couple of bands warmed up on the stage in Plaza del Candelaria and there were loads of smaller stages spread around the city. In Parque Garcia Sanabria the start and finish arches were being put in place for the evening fun run and outside the streets were being cleared of illegally parked cars by an army of gruas.

Cutting through La Noria on my way back to the bus station I ran into a display of classic cars gleaming in the evening sun. I’ve seen quite a few of these before and will no doubt see them and many more at the Boulevard Motor Show at the Recinto Ferial in a few weeks, I will have the full low down on that very soon. The silver lady in the photo was perched on a Packard Eight and the winged creature is on a Chevrolet.

The live music, food stalls, running, and other promotions were set to run late into the night. For me though a couple more routine stops edged me closer to my return bus to Los Cristianos, well it’s going to be a busy week and I have a lot more places to dip my beak.

 

Spanish Ladies Open Votes Yes For Golf Costa Adeje

How appropriate that 128 of the best ladies golfers from around the globe teed off at Golf Costa Adeje on the day women were finally admitted to The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in Scotland. Not that the ladies professional game has been kicking its heels waiting for such a sign, the sport is always marching forward and this years Spanish Ladies Open is set to add more new converts.


I’m not a golfer myself but the annual ladies contest in Tenerife, in various forms, always figures on my sporting radar. Cloud was rolling over the Costa Adeje course when I arrived on the first day but the readouts were still showing 26 degrees, no wonder each days play was set for an 8am start. I already knew there was a prize pot of 350,000 euros this year, picking up a copy of last years order of merit, the earnings list was more than healthy with the lowest of the 104 players picking up just under 10,000 euros and the leader Suzann Pettersen of Norway raking in 315, 867.72 (don’t forget that 72 cents).

On the course I recognized quite a few of the players from previous years, Lee Anne Pace (top white) was back to defend her title, 26 countries are involved this year with a good spread of Brits. Trish Johnson and Melissa Reid are both previous tournament winners in Tenerife but a new name Charley Hull was making the early running. As the cloud parted and cranked up the heat, La Gomera stood proud across the Atlantic with a cloudy halo framing it nicely. There weren’t that many spectators despite entry and parking being free, most will come on Saturday and Sunday after the cut reduces the field to 60 contenders.


I noticed a few of the ladies didn’t have caddies and were dragging their own trolleys, a few semi regular caddies had told me they had cut the fees this year but let’s just call it character building for those doubling as players and carriers. The higher ranked players get other advantages like sponsored outfits, ladies golf fashion is a competitive business now and the new designs were getting lots of publicity from the TV cameras following every shot. My eyes were certainly drawn to more than the technical style on show.


I don’t want to show any bias but it would be good to see another Brit winner, maybe one of the Scottish ladies could crown a momentous week north of the border. In a year when Brazil failed to win their home football crown I can’t help but hope that Victoria Lovelady flies their flag high – well that is a cracking name. If you want to keep an eye on scores as they develop go to www.spanishladiesopen.com and pop down to see another world class event set against our world class scenery.