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Thursday, September 20, 2007

All changes

Funny island this; doesn't know where its charm is and does its best to obliterate it. Where Granny lives - rurally - this is done by creeping suburbanisation. Nice traditional dry stone walls along the roads won't do; they get replaced by nasty neat cemented-in ones. White lines and directions get painted all over the rural roads. Street lamps line everywhere and make looking up at the stars at night - wonderful when there's a power-cut - much less so: Granny thinks wistfully of an air-rifle and shooting the bloody things out. More seriously the advancing blaze of lights won't be doing anything to avert global warming. The Canarian provinces are already the worst of all Spanish polluters. Don't they learn anything?

Granny is not sure what locals make of all this. Given their utter poverty and back-of-beyond ruralness less than 50 years back, maybe it makes them feel better. They can't be blamed for that perhaps. Sigh. What they are not happy about - she knows this for sure - is the way the Dolores pilgrimage has been mucked about. The actual fiesta falls on 15th September; on a Saturday this year. Perfect for the pilgrimage, thought Granny - that was why she made the mistake of saying in a previous blog post that it was taking place last Saturday. All the locals thought it was perfect too. Unfortunately the church didn't. The church had to have its full range of masses, including a full episcopal mass at 7pm. A rowdy pilgrimage in the middle of that just wouldn't do. It didn't. They postponed the pilgrimage till this coming Saturday. Not that everybody knew this - a few pilgrims turned up anyway: so did Granny, who had a hot walk to no avail.(And no she wasn't a pilgrim; she doesn't go in for local dress, it's just that it's ten minutes away by foot, so easier to walk to.) On top of that, the equally rowdy funfair that used to operate in the middle of it all - a huge Mr Incredible topping the octopus ride waving at Dolores in her black and silver robe as she was wheeled out of the church - has been much more decorously tucked away round the back. The locals aren't pleased about that either, nor, Granny suspects, are the fair operators. She knows that the exhibitors at the craft fair, now finished, usually dependent on sales to the hordes of people who turn up for the pilgrimage, weren't happy at the delay, nor were the stallholders at the Sunday produce market, driven out for two weeks instead of one. And nobody was impressed by the rock concert put on to appease everyone, following the episcopal mass. It was REALLY BAD, Nieves, Granny's friend and cleaner said. She and Granny alike will go up to see the procession on Saturday, anyway, no doubt most of the pilgrims will turn up too. But it's a pity, just the same. And Granny's off to England on Sunday, so will miss the closing fireworks; she's fed up about that, even if Beloved isn't - he doesn't like fireworks the way she does and is quite happy to be allowed to give them a miss.

One more change: there's a sudden eruption of Chinese restaurants on the island, most of them permanently empty. The Chinese government, it appears, are investing in island real estate; the restaurants just an excuse, nobody is bothered by their lack of custom. They haven't picked a good time to invest here; according to the local paper Lanzarote is going into the red. But that's a matter for them - (and the estate agents, of course: luckier them.)

Granny and Beloved have water again, by the way. Thank goodness for that.

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