Archive for November, 2016
Dire Straits Experience Roll Out The Hits

Some songs are timeless, The Dire Straits Experience proved the point again at the Magma Centre in Playa de Las Americas. It was an experience I was keen to repeat after seeing their pulsating performance last year in Tenerife and they were on top form again.

With original members Chris White on sax and flute, and Chris Witten on drums they have a strong connection to those heady days when the original band strode the world. From the opening songs Telegraph Road, and Walk Of Life they showed their class with their mastery of their instruments, all delivered with a swagger. The white headband of Mark Knopfler is long gone but in Terence Reis they have a worthy replacement, his voice caressed and teased out the lyrics while his fingers evoked the unique sound of Dire Straits from a succession of guitars.

The Magma Centre allowed plenty of room for the more enthusiastic fans to take to their feet and give in to the string of hits, I almost expected the concrete suroundings to start swaying as the tunes seeped into their soul. Your Latest Trick was one of the lesser known tracks that made a big impact and Romeo And Juliet opened up a vault of emotional memories from the 4,000 revellers. Tunnel Of Love has always been a favourite of mine and it was belted out with pomp and precision. The Man´s Too Strong gave Chris White a chance to show his skills on the flute but his command of the saxaphone was equally impressive.

Let´s not forget the other band members who added their own ingredients to the mix, Richard Cottle and Paddy Milner on piano and keyboards underscored the dominance of the guitars and complemented each other at either side of the stage. Tim Walters on guitar chipped in on the vocals, and Michael Feet on bass guitar and vocals ensured the lyrics tweaked the ears and memories of their audience. It was clear to see the band were having a great time, they looked comfortable in each others company and delivered the songs as if they were freshly penned, I tried not to think that some of the tunes dated back almost 40 years.

There were a few changes to the running order from last year, Expresso Love was a welcome addition as were Two Young Lovers, and On Every Street. There was never long to wait for a classic to ignite the atmosphere, Lady Writer was followed by Brothers In Arms with barely a moment for the band to catch their breath, it certainly kept the backstage crew busy, the parade of guitars was like a modern day stonehenge waiting to be worshipped by the audience.

Sultans Of Swing was the big breakthrough hit for the original band and it still held its head up proudly among the more recent releases, it surfaced later in the concert and had plenty of willing bodies responding to its infectious rythmn. It would have made a fitting end on its own but after a prolonged wave of applause the band played on with Money For Nothing being greeted like a long lost friend. It was difficult tio top that so they chose a different tempo and ended with the moody and magnificent Going Home. As they signed off The Dire Straits Experience promised to return soon – that was music to many ears.

Nooks Crannies Birds Billy´s And Nanny´s In Ifonche

So there I was, surrounded by wild goats, miles from home, and with a thorn the size of an Esther Rantzen tooth pick stuck in my big toe. Well maybe things weren´that bad, the goats on the mountains of Ifonche looked friendly and were more put off by me, I had home, or at least my Arona start point, in sight, and as for the annoying prick, he pulled the pathetically small thorn out of his toe and carried on walking with no problem.

It was great to rediscover a walk I had neglected for too long, the 1.25 euro Bono ticket bus fare was a bargain and the weather was sunny and very warm as I headed out from church plaza in Arona old town. Following the signs for a regular trek of mine, Roque del Conde, the first mini barranco (ravine) brought me up to a sign pointing the opposite way from the table top mountain and I began skirting the edge of Barranco Grande. Recent rain had left a little give in the ground but the trail was stilla bit erratic to follow, a couple of old partly fallen houses provided a good aim point ahead.

As the barranco deepened so did the amazing shapes and patterns fashioned by nature over the centuries. Taking a water break sat on a rock I could hear melodic bird song and see squadrons of pigeons riding the air currents below. Another smaller barranco to my other side started converging so although there was a choice of paths I was being funnelled into the correct direction. Up in the distance the pine forest around Vilaflor was another indicator that I was on track. The old concrete water channels were empty and I soon came across the modern iron pipes that now do their work. A white and green house on the ridge ahead told me I was getting near the peak of my walk and soon the orange tinged path passed breeze block huts and a couple of tastefully renovated old houses.
A familiar soft clucking noise drew me to a gravel covered area surrounded by small ferns and I spotted a Barbary Partridge, I´ve seen a few in the Arona area and at Masca. This posh collared bird is one of my favourites and it gladdens me to see it looking so well. A few steps further in a clearing was the El Refugio, a delightful restaurant with a decorative garden and informal terrace. I was glad of a cold drink but stopped short of a meal as I hadn´t even started my sarnies and although the chicken sounded nice I kept thinking of my little plump friend a short distance away. This Ifonche hostelry has parking and rent out rooms for rural tourism, check the website for more details.

It must have been nearly 10 years since I last walked this route and my memory was sketchy but just past the restaurant was a sign down through a terraced bowl formerly fed by a dried up spring. A light bulb went on in my brain as memories flooded back of an Arona council guided walk down and back out the other side up to another old shell of a house, now I knew exactly where I was going. Beyond that other house was an old threshing circle looking out over a sheer drop, it´s used these days as a take off point for paragliders. To the right was Ladera de la Montaña Los Brezos, a high tapered peak with a precarious pathway to the top, I reckon a good hour plus up and down – maybe another time. To the left was Roque Imoque with a path spiralling down with a wooden bannister to begin the first tight corner.

That was my cue to head homeward, admiring the unfolding sea views as I descended. As the path curled down I could see the rear side of Roque del Conde, the lower slopes terraced for crop growing, they waste nothing no mater how tough the challenge. The tell tale jingle of bells alerted me to the goats roaming around ahead of me, once I realised they weren´t going to mistake me for a small crunchy snack I felt a lot easier. The path ahead was becoming much clearer and I could see familiar signs. Just a quick down and up through Barranco Grande and I was heading into the Arona plaza again. The 6.4 kms each way walk took me a casual 4 hours and left me glowing not just from the sun but also from a fabulous infusion of sights and sounds

Late Winner As CD Marino Shine In Derby

Big games, six pointers, local derby´s, the sort of games you look to when gauging how good a team is. For CD Marino in 2nd spot, that meant Ibarra at home and they emerged with flying colours, promotion play off credentials presented and marked with a big thumbs up. It wasn´t just the 2-1 win but the style in which they achieved it, coming from behind, surviving the injury loss of top player Mendy, and grabbing a last minute winner.
Ibarra score plenty of goals so it was no surprise to see Matias try his luck in the first minute, Fran Delgado blocked his attempt, the start of a strong game for the right back. Sandro veered too wide with his early effort, a corner being his only reward. Marino settled calmly into their game and were creative in midfield and always willing to spread the ball wide. Fran Alonso produced a couple of good moments but the end product didn´t test the away keeper.

Matias put a header wide and it was fairly even as Saavedra chased down the left to feed Alonso, he got round the defence before the keeper pounced on the ball. Manzi could have given Matias an easy finish if he had squared the ball in front of goal instead of going alone and when Sandro had a pop Cicovic showed a safe pair of hands. Ibarra were shading the play and a smart break found Pablo who found the space beyond Cicovic.
Mendy got a foot to a shot from Manzi and was a little lucky to see it deflect wide of the post. This was one of Ibarra´s best spells, Manzi was face to face with Cicovic but the home keeper stood his ground and won the stand off. The in form keeper followed up by smothering a ball from Sandro. Marino picked their moment and moved forward again, some neat passing between Facu and Kevin Castro opened up the Ibarra defence for Facu to finish off the stylish goal. Mendy got a nasty knock just into the second half and had to go off, this was a crucial moment but as Amed replaced him the defence shuffled around with versatile Kevin Castro adding right back to his CV and Saavedra slotting into the centre of defence.

Fran Delgado, now at left back overlapped on the wing and got behind the defence giving Ibarra plenty to worry about. When the visitors did find a way forward, Cicovic was in supreme form especially when they tried to test him one on one close to the goal. Saul replaced Adan who had few clear chances, and he gave the Ibarra defence some new problems. Facu riffled a fierce shot in that was blocked and Lolo cleared the bar with his chance. Time was running out, Manzi ran himself into a dead end waiting for support and the action switched to the other end. Marino bombarded the away defence and it paid off as Saul struck a hard shot deep into the net. It was a hard earned win but well deserved and another big boost as Marino returned to second place, three points behind Las Palmas B with a game in hand.

A Galaxy Of Sport And Science In Tenerife

Where’s my red spandex suit? I felt a bit like The Flash this week trying to run ahead of everything that was happening, but that’s how I like things. Sleepy little Playa San Juan was having an out of body experience when I called by on Saturday morning as the Tenerife International Water Ski Racing tournament was getting underway. The small harbour adjoining the gently shelving beach had a bizarre mix of huge throbbing speed boats, small training yachts, and paint peeling old fishing boats.

Could the mix get anymore bizarre? It sure could, police whistles shrieked, sirens wailed, and a string of rally cars came bombing along the coast road and up through the tight main road. The Subida de Isora contestants were just limbering up for the afternoons uphill charges, a nice little bonus for me in the quest to fill my allotted pages of the Canarian Weekly. I was impressed that people in the sea front cafes hardly missed a slurp of their coffees as the action unfolded around them.

The lure of CD Tenerife at home to Rayo Vallecano meant I could only sample these splendid contests before catching a magic carpet, well Titsa bus to be precise, back to Los Cristianos and a link up with the Armada Sur. My blog match report has slipped down behind life’s sofa with so much going on but needless to say I was well chuffed with the 3-2 win and awarded myself the appropriate reward measured out in Dorada beer. Sunday brought more football, this time a noon kick off at CD Marino in a local derby with Las Zocas. Prowling the touchline with my box brownie (that’s an ancient camera, not a new bondage doll) I was sent almost dizzy by the 5-1 home win.

My big midweek mission was a long anticipated coach trip to tour the Tenerife Observatory perched just below the peak of Mount Teide. Volcano Teide made it possible for me, the observatory report is in the latest Canarian Weekly but as I hadn’t made the journey to the Teide national park for several years, it was good to remind myself how amazing the 2,000 metre plus world is. Rising through the pine forests above Chio, the first stop was at Llano de Ucanca, an old dried lake bed surrounded by towering rocks sculpted by nature. Speaking as someone who can just about turn on his computer without blowing up the national grid, I marveled at the audio guide downloads on the information boards. On a more rural note, one of the walking trails was chained off due to wild sheep, I think on that rough terrain they wear little hiking booties.

There was another short stop at the Teleferico cable car station which takes visitors to viewing areas nearer the peak of Teide. The queues were long but the views make it worthwhile, it’s definitely something I need to do again as it’s been about ten years since my last ride up. Just a week before Teide was glistening with a dusting  of snow but it had soon melted  away, on this day it was clear, and the air was lightly chilled as the sun kept the temperature at a comfortable level. Come the turn of the year when inevitably some heavier snow settles I intend to make the pilgrimage on one of the specially buses to catch people playing in the snow, making snowmen and sledging through the strange white visitor. For now it was onto the observatory and an enlightening tour of the telescopes and science projects. It was nice to think that the beach would be waiting for me on my return offering warmth

Five Star Blitz From Red Hot CD Marino

Never accuse CD Marino of being shy, they were straining at the leash for goals this week, a 5-1 home derby win over Las Zocas was richly deserved for showing attacking flair and that killer instinct that was missing in the last two home draws.

It was a sign of the home dominance that Marko Cicovic was a spectator until Ibra gave him a little tester of a shot after 20 minutes. The reds from just up the road were pinned down in the first half by long deep balls down the wings for Fran Alonso and Amed to run onto. It was a change of tactics that worked well, the back up goalie David looked unsure and his jitters spread to the defence. Kevin Castro strode around picking his moments to turn on the pace and run at the Las Zocas defenders.

Amed and Kevin Castro were so close to exposing the goalie after a neat bit of passing, Las Zocas had a few moments, Esau and Ibra worked hard to create any openings but the finishing let them down. Former home player Jonathan Sesma sat injured in the stand and must have been itching to try to unlock his old team mates. The game didn’t lack passion, plenty of hard tackles and fierce tussles for loose balls but ref Marta let the game flow as much as possible.

It seemed like Marino would have to wait until the second half to open the scoring but a sustained attack at the end of the first half saw the ball trapped in a sea of legs in the Las Zocas penalty area, it came loose and Amed pounced on it and powered it into the back of the net. The break didn’t cool Marino’s enthusiasm, they came back out looking to add to their advantage. Kevin Castro used his close control to round a defender on the goal line and popped the ball back to Amed for an easy finish, 2-0 had a much better ring to it. Amed was cursing his finishing when the chance of a hat trick eluded him but it was clear this game would be graced by more goals.

How demoralizing for Las Zocas to see Adan come off the bench for Fau Valiente, if there were goals to be had, the big striker would want his share. With an hour gone Amed jumped for a high cross but it dropped just behind him where Mendy powered an unstoppable header past the goalie. To their credit Las Zocas didn’t give up, they pushed forward looking for a way back, Esau made Coly clear his shot from the line. Amed was subbed by Josemi, the applause as he departed was well deserved for a disciplined performance in a slightly different role from usual.

Las Zocas tried their own change and it had some effect, Bene Aro got into a good position to receive a through ball and put his shot beyond the reach of Cicovic as he dived. That could have been a springboard to a Las Zocas charge, Marino reacted well, they tightened up at the back and went in search of more goals at the other end. It was almost slow motion as Adan eased past the rooted red defenders and picked his spot in the goal. As the game moved towards its finish Adan struck again after beating his lone marker, even in injury time he was so close to a third but the 5-1 score line threw down a big marker in the battle for promotion. There’s a three point gap now between Marino and joint leaders Las Palmas Atletico and Marino mean business.