Archive for November, 2019
My First…

Pocket Calculator
After grappling with the bizarre and cumbersome slide rule, the pocket calculator was a joy to behold. The originals had big clunky keypads, and even the most basic models had functions that might as well have been a Martian code. Those who had them, would always ask those who hadn´t, to give them some figures to add or subtract before quickly stunning them with the correct answer. The obvious flaw in this operation was, the person without the calculator couldn´t check the accuracy, they just had to applaud the amazing speed and clear bold figures that appeared in the display screen
Meant as a helpful tool for school pupils, shoppers, and aspiring mad scientists, it soon found other uses. There were a few books produced to show how to play maths games which sometimes involved a pack of cards. Of course the neat trick to win friends and influence people was entering numbers and showing the calculator upside down as it miraculously displayed words like “hello” “shell oil” or the outrageous “boobs”.

What kind of witchcraft was this box? Just flip the front compartment open and slide your cassette within the guiding raised lines, snap it shut, and press the play button to instantly depress all within a 300 mile radius with an annoying tinny rattling as you sang an out of tune version of a pop song.
They had notoriously difficult volume adjustment slides with no half way between silent and ear wax blasting ferocity. Battery life got consumed at an alarming rate, especially if you used fast forward or rewind. Never mind you could be well prepared if you had a bag the size of Santa´s sack to take extra batteries, and a choice of other cassettes. Oh don´t forget that cassette cases didn´t click closed, they slipped open very easily, providing you with hours of amusement fishing around for the correct case for each free roaming cassette.
At least they looked cool,well sort of. The earphone halo would never push together with ease, they either slipped down your face or squeezed your brain into submission. When someone motioned to you to remove the headphones, they soon got all tangled, another chore to delay you inside your front door before you could stride down the street.

Compilation LP
Maybe the mildly erotic young lady on the LP cover could tempt you to buy the Top Of The Pops compilation. The downside was the cover versions of recent hits that sounded like the performances in the musical romp at the end of Crackerjack.
20 Fantastic Hits heralded a new age. What a great band “Original Artists” were, they sounded just like the real singers. Someone always jumps on the band wagon, soon 20 Dynamic Hits muscled in, and even Ronco joined the compilation club. We were further amazed that this company could also solve domestic problems with gadgets like a combined onion chopper and belly button fluff remover. I always had an image of the 20 bands and singers on each LP meeting up in a car park to share out the proceeds from giant bags of loose change. The advent of these collections tolled the bell on many budding music producers who had spent Sunday afternoons illegally recording the Top 40 radio run down whilst shouting shush at anyone in a 5 mile radius.

Cow horns, monkey hangers, or short, sharp, trendy steering controls, how I longed for them. My elderly aunt bought me my first bike and it was sensible, safe, and a dull bottle green colour. As my mates stood up and swagger peddled to get up the steep hill to school, I was rooted to my wide saddle, red in the face as I tried to force the pedals to move with a gear choice of stiff or steadfast refusal.
I didn´t know what a wheel looked like, the long mud guards covered the black, chunky tyres. Sometimes roque tufts of grass would jam in the metal and David Attenborough yearned to investigate the insect life forms wedged between the grip of my sturdy forks. Not for me the cheeky shrill ping of a bicycle bell, I had a horn with a deep baritone that sounded like a demented seal. Schoolboy swag like football cards and marbles didn´t frequent my saddlebag, the tyre repair kit took pride of place, complete with a small spanner and an instruction leaflet.
Despite all this, I loved my bike, after a couple of years it gained its own grudging admiration as a retro model. It didn´t get coveted by thieves like my friends steeds, and it wasn´t squeamish about powering through a small stream, or over chunky stones.

Mobile Phone
I gave her my heart, she gave me my first mobile. The size of a half pound slab of Cadburys finest, it wouldn´t fit any of my pockets, and cost a fortune to run. Popping in the pub on the way home, I always stood at the far end of the bar where there was no signal, to save an ear bashing. It was a bad omen about the relationship.
Jumping forward several years and a couple of oceans, I bought a chunky but smaller mobile that had a habit of working when it felt like it, at least it kept me linked to Blighty. Problems started when it wouldn´t charge when resting in its cradle. The salesman kept insisting I must have got it wet, my assurance that it always wore its cover and lived in my pocket made him tighten his get out clause. Any moisture would upset it he insisted as we sat in the shop just across from a large beach with sea spray filling the air.
I have never recovered from those setbacks, phones tolerate me at best. Funny, Captain Kirk and his mates never had signal problems with that powder compact they spoke into, and they never got constant PPI pitches or viagra offers. Beam me up Busby!

Take a bow the Kodak 110 Pocket Instamatic. What a piece of kit that was, it made me feel like Russian spy Ilyia Kuriakin, well he was the blonde one in UNCLE. Very angular, with no obvious lens, you could almost play it as a mouth organ. The dinky clip in double spool film cartridge had to be liberated from a box and a tight fitting sachet. In later years condom packets made me think of loading that first camera – except this time I was hoping that nothing would develop.
The four flash cube was a very odd thing, it ruined the whole look of the camera and almost exploded when it went off. The standard film had 12 shots, so three of the cubes in my pocket ruined the smooth look of my brushed denim Oxford bags. Future cameras paled in comparison, those awful flat disc cameras had no style and didn´t even have the nice plastic storage box of my instamatic friend.

Hard Earned Points Are Sweet For CD Marino

Getting to the top of the table is only half the battle. CD Marino are a prized scalp now for every opponent and sometimes they will have to grind out results if they want to win the big prize. A sixth minute penalty goal conceded showed that second from bottom AU Guimar hadn´t travelled down the Tenerife motorway just to be the supporting act. Discipline, hard work, and character were the ingredients that enabled the blues to reel in the points to remain three points clear of the chasing pack.

Samuel´s rash tackle on Esau was converted by Pablo and Guimar were fired up. Andy was popping up all across the front line, he fed the ball to Ethan, David made sure he gathered the shot. Marino took a breath and built from the back, Nami got into his stride and coasted past Pablo, his cross was met by incoming Zeben whose offside shot went straight at goalie Hernandez. Zeben had locked onto his target now, even a shot on the turn after being knocked to the ground, was only just wide. Alberto from the left stung Hernandez hands, he made it safe with the second grab. Kike and Nata were formidable in the centre of the Guimar defence but Juanito was struggling to cope with the pace of Nami who left him chasing shadows time and time again.

Zeben timed his bursts through the middle expertly, Guimar could sense him coming but couldn´t stop him. Diego showed he had his shooting boots on too, a rocket shot from deep only veered off the target at the last moment. Just after the half hour the breakthrough came. It was the Nami, Zeben combination again, the finish from Zeben gave Hernandez no chance. Jaime tried to follow up to take the lead, he was through on the right before a Kike challenge denied him a shot. Half time was fast approaching when home captain Saavedra ran onto a though ball and buried it with a powerful header. The blues looked mightily relieved to go off with their noses in front.


Credit to Guimar, they came back out with positive intentions, a Kike free kick kept David alert in goal and the arrival of sub Jesua added to the physical side of their game. Marino pressed forward, Zeben saw his shot heading for goal before Hernandez made a fine one handed save. Jesua was strong in the air, it took a well timed headed clearance from Nikki to to prevent him getting a clear aim. Nami tried to catch Hernandez unaware with a low drive, the keeper got his body behind it for a safe block. It was still a wide open game and two penalty claims added to the drama. Roy was a constant threat to Guimar, as he ran through a cluster of defenders, Pablo closed in and made a lunging tackle in the box. The ref waved away the Marino penalty claims. At the other end the Guimar defenders were supporting the attack, Juanito came in on the left and went down tackled by Nikki. The Guimar bench rose in protest but the ref still wasn’t tempted to give another spot kick.

It was a nervous finish to the game, Jaime tried to chip Hernandez and just cleared the bar, and when Nami had a clear sight of goal for Marino, his strike was wild and high. The final minutes ticked away and the final whistle was a welcome sound for Marino.

Problems Piling Up For CD Tenerife

No win in six games, no goals scored in four of those last six games. Home form is woeful, more like an allotment shed than a fortress. The good news is the defence has tightened up and combined well to blunt 4th place Huesca for a 0-0 home draw. CD Tenerife played reasonably in the first half but despite making 10 summer signings, the squad hasn´t got enough depth, especially in the firing line. A sending off for left back Mazan will stretch things further, and every injury or booking must send spasms of despair through coach Aritz Lopez Garai.

Missing midfield kingpin Aitor Sanz, suspended, and live wire left sided forward Alex Bermejo, injured, ripped the heart out of the home side. Dani Gomez started as the central striker, he showed his pace, cutting in from the right and beating the Huesca defender, but his finish into the side netting showed his lack of maturity. Local youth product, Cristo Gonzalez was back in town via Real Madrid B and a summer transfer to Udinese in Serie A, he joined former Leicester City player Okazaki, and Mikel Rico in a three pronged Huesca attack. Luis Perez marked Cristo´s card, robbing him of the ball in his first surge, and saw off another ex home player, Juan Carlos Real a few minutes later.

Malbasic had a home try at goal, he found goalie Fernandez waiting with a helping hand to flick the ball away. A soft header from Sipcic at a corner did little more than tickle the keepers gloves. Huesca looked the more dangerous team, Alberto was back to something like his best form in the midfield holding role, his cool interception on Rico drew an appreciative response from the 9,686 crowd. The best chance of the first half belonged to full back Miguelon for the away side, his long curling strike just cleared the join of the post and bar.

Tenerife fans were hoping for a concerted assault on Huesca after the break but it didn´t come. Ortola was down quickly to save on the floor when the visitors threatened, the ball rebounded out to Okazaki whose hard drive was blocked by the Tenerife centre backs, Sipcic and Munoz. Nahuel was having a quiet game, he managed to make an encouraging opening for Gomez but the ball raced ahead of the young striker. The Tenerife squad has a shortage of home grown talent so it was pleasing to see Adeje 21 year old Javi Alonso take over Alberto´s role after 70 minutes. Hopes of a grandstand finish were crushed when Mazan fouled Miguelon, the ref brandished a second yellow card and he was off. American defender Shaq Moore got a run out for Gomez, that signalled an acceptance to hunker down for the draw. Just into November and frustrated supporters sights are already on the January transfer window as the team stagnates in 17th position.

La Laguna And Santa Cruz Looking Hot In November

Brolly shaped Christmas lights, and roast chestnut stalls bore witness to the fast fading year, but a whopping 31 degrees of bright sun greeted me as I arrived in La Laguna. Normally it’s a good few degrees below the Tenerife capital of Santa Cruz, where I had swapped my Titsa public service bus from Los Cristianos for the smooth glide of the tram.

After a few months of neglecting my travels, it was good to see the UNESCO Heritage Site city bustling with people. The Palacio Nava looked resplendent with its balconies, balustrades, and columned tower. The Plaza del Adelantado opposite was a leafy oasis, scrubbed clean in recent years and a popular meeting place. A wide circular walk around the city centre brought me into the Plaza de la Concepcion and the church tower with its distinctive bell chimes. All life was converging in the pedestrianised streets below, a few unusual vehicles lurked on the edges, as their owners took coffee and snacks in the thriving cafes and bars.




Ending up back at the La Trinidad tram terminus, I was lured down track by the wonderful murals painted on the buildings, and was lucky enough to catch one being created. He was quiet happy to be kept in shot, a Policia Local copper walked past us and just smiled. La Laguna was the temporary home of famous painter Oscar Dominguez , and the University has a large fine arts faculty. I followed the road down to the roundabout, where Padre Anchieta’s statue stands vigil on a grassy island. Planes were coming in low from the coast for Tenerife North (Los Rodeos) airport. It´s quite a traffic hub there, The modern Titsa bus station stands opposite, and down below, the tram line stop is handy for the University.

My only real interaction with the University campus came around 10 years ago when seeing Echo & The Bunnymen playing part way down a free line up for an outside concert. It was time to update my education, so I wandered through the grounds of the modern part of the campus, an inspiring mix of ancient and modern. The large attached garden boasted a statue of a very learned looking founding father. The tram is a wonderful, cheap way to link Santa Cruz with La Laguna in just over 30 minutes, and the views as your carriages snake their way upwards, or now on my return, downwards, adds to the journey.

The harp like herald of the tram announcements signalled my return to the Santa Cruz terminus, just outside the bus station, and opposite the Auditorium. The hook nose always beckons me across, a walk around the perimeter concourse is always a 360 degree education for the view out to sea, the port, and inward to the capital city as it rises into the mountains. The cafe bar open to the ocean side has made it a popular stop off for many visitors, and the ticket office has now expanded into selling merchandise featuring the distinctive hook nosed building.

One of my main calls in Santa Cruz was to see the completed look of the long delayed opening up of the port approach into Plaza de España. This final stage has taken 16 months, 3.5 million euros, and covers 18,400 square metres from the Cabildo HQ on the south side, to the ferry port, basically the area that the coast road now runs under. There is a cycle lane, exercise area, large circular pergolas, benches, and flower beds. It looks loads better for the thousands of cruise ship visitors that arrive weekly, and is a restful place to contemplate Tenerife´s relationship with the ocean and the lands beyond. There was a nice scattering of admirers taking the late afternoon air, stretching their muscles, and even a few young couples having a romantic canoodle.

A few more calls had slipped from my list, but there would be other opportunities, and there´s always something new to see. It was good to be wandering again, I could feel my old bounce coming back. Hopefully my final stop, CD Tenerife v SD Huesca, wouldn´t puncture the mood.