Archive for September, 2010
Arona, Where PR Means Piles of Rubbish

First impressions are vital, especially if you are a holiday resort so it was particularly bad that today, International Day of Tourism, saw the streets of Arona at their worst with rubbish cascading from groaning bins and bags and boxes piled high. Arona covers the busy destinations of Los Cristianos and part of Playa de Las Americas and lives largely on visitor income. Since Friday the 300 refuse collectors and cleaners have been on strike as they hold out for 900,000 euros of outstanding overtime payments dating back to June.

Since I moved to Tenerife my appreciation of the refuse collectors has being heightened by their efficiency, and brought into stark contrast by the crazy rotating collection service in England that sees some types of rubbish picked up one week and a differfent sort the next. A few weeks ago I had my first hands on experience of this and was staggered at the bewildering array of different coloured boxes that have to be put out at the right time to avoid a public flogging.

Originally settling on the west coast the occaisional deluge of winter rain would sweep down the hill into Los Gigantes bringing a muddy deposit in its wake. I was always amazed at the dedicated early morning response from the cleaners who would be there digging in with shovels and brooms as the late lamented mayor Pancracio Socas made a point of being there with an encouraging pat on the back and a thank you. Then there was the nightly, yes nightly, rounds by the bin men who would remove pretty well anything that was put out for them.

That same service has always been on show here in the south and I have frequently remarked in this blog about how quickly the cleaners mop up after fiestas, concerts and parades. Every year the Sunday afternoon Los Cristianos parade is followed up the road by the cleaners for instant removal of the debris left by this colourful event and the huge crowds it attracts. As a keen swimmer I also notice the quick clean up of the beaches and promanade, even after the night of San Juan when barbecues, fires and parties are held all over the sand. These sort of set piece events mean that overtime is a fact of life for the refuse services on this island.

I believe these extra hours are normally paid every three months, certainly the current outstanding balance is for payments due in June and September but the workers were offered their money in late November, an improvement on the original offer of January 2011. As it stands the strike looks set to run into Wednesdays national General Strike that has been called across Spain, so it could be Thursday before the rubbish is moved, and it is very hot here, that’s why nightly collections are so important. The daft thing is once this dispute is settled the cleaners will need to work more overtime to clear the backlog – and so the dance begins again. What a load of rubbish.

Caretaker Can’t Clear The Cobwebs For CD Tenerife

Here’s an idea for the next coach of CD Tenerife, skewer the back four on a long pole and operate them from the side of the pitch like in bar football, it seems the only way to keep our defence in some sort of order. Last night’s 2-0 defeat at Xerez was full of the same old problems of poor marking and slack passing, plus all the players looked devoid of any confidence on the ball.

Caretaker caoch Alfredo Merino made changes bringing Kome (pic)Â and Mikel into midfield to hopefully add some steel and Natalio played a wider role on the right. There was an early penalty scare after a clumsy challenge by Sicilia in the box but the Xerez player made a meal of his fall and that probably put doubts in the refs mind and he ignored their pleas. Sergio Aragoneses mopped up a free kick cleanly but just 21 minutes in a right side cross from Redondo found Jose Mari who had a free header to make it 1-0.

Nino ran for goal when a lay off to Natalio might have been a better option, and he was floored by Mendoza just outside the area but the free kick was wasted. The second goal soon followed Cordero easily shrugged off three defenders and placed his shot past Sergio’s outstretched hand. There were few chances for CDT, a late effort was headed off the line but at the busier end another defensive lapse saw Xerez break through on the left, thankfully Sergio saved and the ball went over the bar. The Tenerife keeper came to the rescue again after a clash of heads saw the ball break free to a Xerez attacker just before the break.

The second half was worse, Tenerife hardly mustered a shot, Sergio ran out of his area to charge a Xerez player and picked up a yellow card and Omar and Iriome came on for Hidalgo and Natalio. The Tenerife players heads were so down it would have taken a lorry load of viagra to perk them up, the body language on the bench showed the depth of the current lack of confidence in the squad. Xerez were so cocky they tried a 40 yard chip late on that just cleared the goal, Mikel Alonso blocked a shot in front of goal and Nino picked up a yellow, his teams fifth of the night, as his exasperation showed.

The new permanent coach will have a huge job to do, CD Tenerife are in free fall, Cartegena at home next Sunday is going to be another tension packed game.

Los Cristianos Awaits You With A Free Weekend At Arona Gran Hotel

Biased me? too right I am, I chose to live in Los Cristianos and love the beachfront so im very happy to offer you the chance to win a weekends half board accomodation at Arona Gran Hotel. I could have used the headline “come and be my near neighbour for a weekend” but I don’t want to put you all off.

Those nice people at Spring Hotels have cosied up to us at Tenerife Magazine to offer this great prize, what can I say, it’s four star, with a large swimming pool terrace that looks out to the Atlantic over Los Tarejales beach, packed with top facilities for food, drink and entertainment and has a nice relaxed friendly attitude.

Ok that’s the official blurb done, let me tell you what that area means to me and maybe it will give you a few ideas. It’s a short brisk walk along the sea promenade into the heart of Los Cristianos with some interesting small bars, lively but not throbbing like Amy Winehouses head on a Sunday morning – well any morning really. Los Tarajales beach is pretty basic for sunbathing and swimming, walk about 10 minutes along to the bigger sandy crescents, but it’s the harbour side so you get to see the huge ferries coming and going from the other Canary Islands, they always fascinate me and pop up in many visitors holiday snap collection.

Sunday mornings the big local market takes place a short shuffle along from the Arona Gran Hotel, it’s always popular and a nice way to build up an appetite for the day. If your a bit of a fidget like me and like to go walking, those big steep cliffs to the east will soon beckon you. Montaña Guaza is a wonderful medium difficulty walk, there are well marked steps up the side and a couple of choices of route but either way the views across Los Cristianos and beyond are well worth the effort.

Before I get too carried away I better tell you how to win this prize break. just click like on the Tenerife Magazine page and join our Facebook fans in the draw for Monday 4th October. The prize is for two adults on a half board basis, it doesn’t include transport and cannot be exchanged for cash and is subject to availability. You have 12 months to take the prize from the draw date and need to confirm acceptance of the prize otherwise we will draw it again. See you soon.

Long Tunnel, Little Light For CD Tenerife

Coach Arconada’s short reign as coach of CD Tenerife ended with a dismal 2-0 home defeat to Celta Vigo. The cries of Fuera (out) and Oltra, Oltra, Oltra, surprisingly released at the end of last season, made it clear that he had lost not only the dressing room but also the terraces. The club now have to work out how to pay him off and find a replacement.
The players have to take their share of blame, they again showed little purpose or heart as Celta romped to an easy victory. Nino and Bertran were passed fit but centre back Prieto was again missing injured, Natalio started, playing just behind Nino but Tenerife struggled to create any chances up front. Celta couldn’t believe their luck when Sicilia and Melli made a hash of clearing an attack after 12 minutes,and Sicilia was called for a foul in the box. Trashorras, a former Pio, stepped up and stroked the penalty home. The 14,370 crowd was getting restless and there was worse to come, De Lucas crossed the ball into the area and Catala had plenty of time to stoop and head the ball low past Sergio Aragoneses.

Into the second half and there was still no pattern to Tenerife’s play, too often they gave the ball away and Nino was again foraging for himself up front. Substitute Kome (above) had a great opportunity to pull one back with a 67th minute penalty after Lago had handled but his spot kick flicked off the crossbar and over. The calls for Arconada’s head grew louder and many streamed out early, Natalio had a chance at the end but fired too high and the feeling of despair could be felt all around the ground.

This week could be quite an eventful one at the club as they work out how to pay off Arconada and who can take over to get the season back on track.

Familiar Tune For CD Tenerife’s Third League Defeat

It was 50 years to the day since the official club hymn Tenerife Adelante was first performed but there was nothing to sing about after a late 1-0 defeat at Rayo Vallecano in Madrid. Played quite well, could have won but the defence keep taking their Tenerife holidays, this time parting for another sloppy goal conceeded. There seems to be something missing from the new team, the drive, heart and team spirit that served us so well just isn’t in evidence and stories of dressing room arguments seem to reflect dissent in the ranks.

Coach Arcanada promised a more defensive line up but got an early blow when captain and right back Marc Bertran pulled out pre match with a leg muscle injury, Juanlu Hens dropped back but looked ill at ease and was run ragged all afternoon, Nino forced an early corner but Sicilia couldn’t find the net from the cross in to the box. Sergio made a nervous save and Nino made a half hearted appeal for a penalty after being bundled over in the box. Sergio came to the rescue after 23 minutes with a great save from an Armenteros free kick. Melli was doing well to hold a sometimes jittery Tenerife defence together.

Rayo had the ball in the net at the half hour point but the chip past Sergio was clearly offside. CDT held out well until the break and after the restart the home side seemed to be getting frustrated. Omar and Iriome were willing workers down the wings and Nino hussled away up front as always but the midfield lacked bite and lost possesion too often. Julio Alvarez (above) had another quiet game, he needs to start showing why the club were so pleased to capture him. Rayo started to produce more chances but luckily for Tenerife they kept hoofing them high over the goal. Iriome and Nino had decent chances but a draw was looking a good bet. Alas with just 4 minutes left the Tenerife defence was caught out, opening up like a yawning chasm to allow Juli to stroll in and score. To make the day worse, Las Palmas won 4-1 at home with their shoestring team to move into third spot while Tenerife are just third from bottom.

And The Gnomes Shall Inherit The Earth

Alone in my parents Oxford house as I gradually emptied it of a lifetime of memories I could have been forgiven for imagining things in the night. The sadness surrounding my dads death and my mothers enforced move to a care home seemed to hang in the air, and then there were “the others” in the house.

My dad loved gnomes and had a large collection of them, they stared out from cupboards as I opened them and a whole army slumbered in the shed. The most surprising of the pack was in the kitchen, arriving at 7am on a sleep starved Sunday morning I was wary of what I would find, walking into the kitchen a loud shrill wolf whistle nearly converted me from blonde to grey in an instant. The red hooded fiend was one of those movement sensitive types, not quite the greeting I wanted.

Although the two weeks rank among the most emotionally raw of my life I did manage to sprinkle in a few lighter moments between the constant grinding fight through the legal and paperwork jungle. A trip up to London on Bank Holiday Monday was a sunny treat, especially meeting up with the lovely Cathy. The Baker Street area is an old favoured haunt from the days of the Wembley ice hockey weekends, and my early arrival allowed me to revive a few memories. Turning a corner I was greeted by the iconic GPO Tower, as a small boy I went up the tower several times but alas they no longer open this great viewpoint to the public. A few old familiar pubs reminded me of past sessions and a rack of the new “Boris Bikes” seemed to be popular with many of the parking slots empty as commuters used the cheap hire bicycles that can be picked up and left at many points across London.

Oxford was much the same as ever, roadworks in High Street and reckless student cyclists on the pavements and footpaths. The first week was warm and sunny but the clouds swept in and heavy rain storms peppered the two day annual St Giles Fair in the city centre. I walked through in the day and was scared just looking at some of the cloud scraping rides, the helter skelter, a towering centrepiece in my youth was looked down on by many bigger and spectacular rides. Oh for the simple joys of the dodgems and the jets and weird sideshows like “Lady In a Bottle” , the rotor was another missing favourite, a spinning cylinder would make screaming youngsters stick to the walls as the floor was lowered away, I once saw someone be sick on it, a very amusing sight to a young boy.

I dreaded my dads funeral but got through it and at least the rains held off. It still didn’t seem real, I spoke to the female vicar a few days before to give her some background info at the vicarage next to the old Littlemore church, two lovely historic buildings of character being slowly squeezed in by new housing developments. I noticed on my earlier travels that even my old junior school had now been wiped away in favour of a residential home, another slice of my past gone. The legal paper trail was a nightmare, you can’t actually talk to big utility companies like BT and Thames Water, it’s just a maze of phone options and website templates with very narrow choices. One of the worst was Age UK, my Dad used some of their financial services when they were just Age Concern, now they are a beaurocratic splodge of far flung offices and sub divisions that don’t know how to return phone calls, remind me never to get old.

Tenerife has never looked so lovely as when I arrived back at 3 am from my four hour delayed flight, I need some sun, I need some Dorada and I need to rally my memories and cherish them. It looks like another Oxford visit will follow very soon to chase the slow grinding machine of legal red tape and to make sure whats left of my family are ok. Maybe if I get time I can liberate the gnomes and send them out into the community, I have some daft ideas of places to plant them to cause maximum mischief, my Dad would have approved of that with a smile and a chuckle.