Sunday 17th of May

I’ve been a bit sloppy with my blog recently due to a mixture of laziness and being very tired after work ! I haven’t done much to talk about other than going to the football, last night’s match finished UD Las Palmas 0 Alicante 1, it was another dreadful match and Alicante should have won by 3 or 4 goals, the Las Palmas players look as if they wish the season had ended so they could go on holiday ! The booing at the end and waving of hankerchiefs towards the directors box told a thousand stories of how the fans are feeling. On a brighter note we appear to be having a very early summer as the temperature is soaring here in the south, everywhere I go I keep hearing the same story about the lack of tourists due to the recession back in the UK, having said that the figures show that 60,000 people were at the end of gay pride parade so there were a few people about last week. My friends in the “bars” around the yumbo have been getting back to normal after the week long festival and they’re glad to have made a bit of cash to see them through to the summer. I would be very wary of advising anyone to move here at the moment due to the lack of jobs, unless you have a wad of cash please think very carefully before coming here as you may end up losing everything if you don’t get a job pretty quickly. Sorry to finish on a downer but it is really bad at the moment if you don’t speak Spanish and have to rely on tourism, speak again soon folks.

Saturday 18th of April

Not long arrived home from the UD Las Palmas vs. SD Eibar match, Las Palmas won 1-0 in an absolutely atrocious match, if i’d paid to see it I would’ve been so upset I wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight…lol. It was exactly what you would expect from two teams fighting to avoid relegation, scrappy, misplaced pass after misplaced pass, seriously if I wasn’t commentating on it I would’ve fallen asleep. The only decent parts of the game were ten minutes before the interval which is when Las Palmas scored their goal and then hit the bar a minute or so later, Eibar came out in the 2nd half and for ten minutes looked like equalising but thankfully didn’t. There was 9 yellow cards and 1 red which makes it seem exciting but they were mostly for silly tackles with no malice whatsoever. There was a fairly decent crowd of over 11,000 but you wouldn’t have known they had won by the lack of noise at the end, maybe they were asleep. I wish I could speak Spanish so that I could ask the Las Palmas keeper (who is by far the best player in the squad) why he feels the need to kick the ball the full length of the pitch to the opposition keeper 4 or 5 times every game, he made 2 excellent saves during the 10 minute spell that Eibar were on top so we should thank him really.

It’s been over a week since my last entry and during that time I spent the day with my sister and brother-in-law who were in Las Palmas for a few hours as part of a Canary islands cruise, it was the 1st time i’d seen her since moving here so we had a lovely day catching up. We had a lovely lunch on the promenade at Playa de Las Canteras and sat and people watched for a while (still not quite got my head around why people walk about with ski sticks !) I had better go now as i’ve been working hard over the past couple of weeks, bye for now.

My first blog entry

Hi everybody and welcome to my blog. A little bit about me, my wife and I moved here in October 2006 to escape the weather/politics etc. of the UK ! it took a while to settle in and get a job which, when it came was tremendous, I was one of the original members of staff at “Vegas legends”. I worked as one of the kitchen assistants and after a couple of changes of head chef I was actually given a new more responsible role and a pay rise. Instead of cutting vegetables and washing dishes I was promoted to marinading and cooking the steaks and pork medallions and shown how to use the oven so that I could actually cook the food as well as doing the veg. and potatoes and so on. You can only imagine the pain for myself and the other 50 members of staff when we got told we were closing on New Year’s Eve last year, I really thought I had a job for life.

That’s when I found out how tough life on this island can be. When you have a job you tend not to worry too much about things, but being unemployed during the winter (Scandi season) and not being fluent is Spanish, brings you down to earth with a bump! Luckily, as I had a contract I was entitled to dole money (paro) and I also have a cracking little part-time job doing football commentary in English at UD Las Palmas home games. This and the fact that my landlord dropped my rent a couple of hundred euros when I told him I might have to move somewhere cheaper, enabled me to keep my head above water (don’t believe everything you hear about Canarian landlords).

Anyway I digress, during my 1st 2 years here I travelled extensively by bus (so much so that if I was fluent in Spanish I could probably drive for them) so consider myself a bit of an expert now. Any questions about buses, routes, times, fares etc. I’ll be happy to answer. Likewise with UD Las Palmas, throughout my short commentary career i’ve become a bit of an expert too, for those of you who may not know they are a 2nd division side (equivalent to the championship). Unfortunately at the moment they are fighting at the wrong end of the table and are 5 points above the relegation zone with 11 games to play. If you like a slick passing game, you would enjoy watching them (which incidentally only costs 15 euros), but their problem is an inability to find the net at the end of it all. Between going to the home games and watching most of the the away games on telly, I can honestly say they’ve only been outplayed about 3 times this season so it’s very frustrating seeing them where they are just now.

When Richard suggested I write a blog, i’d just had another day out jobhunting and getting nowhere so jumped at the chance of something to keep me “up”. Ironically between agreeing to do this and actually getting round to it, i’ve found a full-time job, so to all of you out there looking for work, don’t give up, there are jobs to be had, you just need to be in the right place at the right time.

I will try to write something interesting every week including a short match report if anyone’s interested. If you’re actually interested in going to watch a match and don’t mind sitting on your own (i’m in the press box), I’ll be happy to take you there and bring you back if you’re in the Playa del Ingles area, just drop me a line and we can make arrangements.

Sore fingers now, until next time BYE

Hallo weeners.

Following Richard’s splinter blog and Lord of the Rings-length newsletter I feel a little redundant this week.

The recent weather conditions have also brought feelings of apathy but the upside is I’m not turning up to classes sweating like Gary Glitter in a sweet shop. The life of a TEFL teacher is not as glamouress as some of you may believe. I drive around the city in a car that cost less than my laptop,arriving at companies to do conversation classes that make getting blood out of a stone seem an attractive proposition. In between I attempt to chat up the receptionists while they smirk at my broken Spanish. I did get a phone number last week.(His name is Paco and he runs a gym in Maspalomas).

Still, this weekend is promising to be eventful. Authentic Irish pub Sheehan’s will be the place to be on friday night for the Halloween party. There’s also plenty of music to whet your appetite for WOMAD. German band surfer Hans Albert is playing at Mojo on thursday at 11.00 with Try Danger and then again at La Guarida on Saturday at 5.00 with the Sweet Joe Blues band. Add on the Harlem Globetrotters on Saturday night and you have a diary so full that Paco’ll have to take a rain check.

Going down’s more fun.

The first ever event proved to be an unqualified success on saturday.

Richard,the modern extreme sports freak (family life and soya milk),did a fantastic job in organising the mountain bike trip. With stunning scenery and spectacular crashes the only thing missing was a doping scandal, although I doubt the drugs on offer in Playa del Ingles are performance enhancing.

It didn´t pass without incident. Kelly took a tumble and found getting her new outfit dirty more painful than tearing her own skin off. Kristin kept us all entertained at rest stops with blood curdling stories of horrific injuries. I was told I had a ‘wife beaters’s tan at the end,but bore little resemblence to either Gazza or OJ Simpson.

The entertainment did not quite reach the same level of enjoyment as the trip it’s self. The sight of a bingo caller in the hotel bar finishing his routine by a performing a rap to his audience – half a dozen Irish pensioners – made the saddle rash seem comfortable in comparison.

The previous weekend saw great performances by Fran,Annabel and Allan in the running events. They were well supported by Teresa who turned up to watch a full 5 hours after the race had finished. Barry was there from the start and the girls threw him their keys to look after as they went past. They’re still waiting for them to be returned.

Stiffs Competition

Having  surived a normal week of tropical storms, temper tantrums and tequlia, the next week promises to be equally eventful.

The Vegueta Romeria is usually enjoyable but, be warned, getting home isn´t as straightforward as it should be. Last year while attempting to walk home, I and a group of friends inadvertently ended up in the red light district.  Having turned down more offers in the space of a few minutes than during the rest of my lifetime my half-hearted attempts to hail a taxi eventually proved successful.

The day after there´ll be little soldarity in the womens 6km Solidarity race along Las Canteras. Training partners Hoyle and Harkin go head to head after a war of words this week. Ultimately it’ll  come down to whose hangover is less severe.  The race stars at 9.30.  Meanwhile in the half marathon Alan Bogle is much fancied to win, particularly by himself. He´s in action at 9.00. Maybe you´ll see him on your way home.

The World Surfing Championchip Qualifiers also come into town next week. So if you happen to spot a plethora of peroxide blonde 16 year old Americans strutting around like they own the place, don´t be alarmed. One of them probably will one day.

It´s free beer tonight in the British club. All you have to do is to pretend to be a teacher. Shouldn¨t be too difficult. Most of us do it everyday. 


I´ll get me goat.

I’ve already fallen behind on my blog but it`a been a traumatic few weeks.

Firstly I had to spend 2 weeks in the country with 16 soldiers,5 goats,3 ostriches,a donkey called Francisco and an Australian called Alan. Luckily we all had seperate rooms.

After surviving this I and other members of the foreign community had unwanted front row seats while a couple  performed what is generally referred to as an explicit sex act, on Las Canteras. The guilty girl`s explanation to the police that she was merely applying several layers of suncream,very quickly, just didn´t wash. 

Finally on Monday my flatmate flew into a violent rage after an unsatisfactory haircut, threatening  all kinds of retribution against a hapless local hairdresser.  You can take the boy out of the streets of Londonderry but…

So normality has now returned and there is plenty to look forward to this week.  Local band the Immigrants play in the Underground on Thursday and then again in La Guarrida at 6.00 on Satuday. This is always a pleasant early evening venue. Guerilla, the new film about Che Guevara is among the films out in the cinema and probably worth watching given this recent events in Cuba.

Remember to sign up for the bike trip. It´s a good day out but I can´t promise a repeat of last years pre-planned spectacular crash.

Finally I´m sure a big crowd of us will be gathering on the beach on friday night to celebrate one of the more popular members of the foreign community`s birthdays. This is always a goodnight if your in the vicinity.  

September blues.

I´m not sure if Richard had gone for availablity rather than quality for the choice of his blogger but I´m happy to contribute to this great new site.

It´s that time of year when most people have returned on a Thomson flight in a blur of Burberry and St Tropez, after enjoying various adventures in different parts of the world. This year has been no exception. Various members of the foreign communty have travelled far and wide-Canada, Australia, Asia,the fleshpots of Eastern Europe and Bedford. Suntans may not have faded as quickly as Spanish skills or the ability to get up before 1.00 pm and maintain personal hygiene. Others are simply trying to regain their grasp on reality after an overdose of Lost and 24 DVDs.

But next week when we drag ourselves in to work with all the enthusiasm of a Canarian civil servant, stress levels, particularly in the English schools can be particulary high. But Lessons can be learned from this summer’s Olympics and one can only hope to react to pressure similarly to Usain Bolt

There is plenty to beat the September blues over the next week. On thursday night local band Atocateja play their mixture of jazz,blues and rock live in the Underground.while the Teror Romeria is on Sunday. Regular buses run to and from San Telmo. UD Las Palmas play their first home game next weekend. Hopes are high this time around after a strong finish last season. On the the other hand, as for the rest of us,reality beckons.