Tuesday, 7 August 2007

The scent of barbecued pine

Actually, isn't as nice as you expect it to be when it's related to the biggest fire in Tenerife's recent history that affected an area equivalent to 13,882 soccer pitches (over 28,000 of the American type.)

Yes, you worked out that I like measurements I can "get my head round", like cups and handfuls in cooking rather than anonymous numbers.

Anyway, having been one of the thousands who were evacuated last week, is one "excuse" why I haven't posted. Nothing has calmed down yet since getting home. Yesterday and this morning we were without electricity for 14 hours, internet connections have been erratic and, I'm constantly in demand to give local information, do translations, etc., which have taken priority.

I haven't even done my August food shopping yet and it's already the 7th: the milk ran out last Friday, but I've no doubt that black coffee is slimming, even if I detest it. Now I'm down to one remaining pre-cooked frozen meal I had prepared last month, which means it cannot be put off much longer.

But it occurs to me, I aught to be able to come up with some wonderful tip about how to cope alone in an emergency, like when you are evacuated from your home at 5 a.m. with nothing much more than what you stand up in and, not knowing what, if anything, you will still have when you go back.

#1. When there is nobody to help you, panicking is not an option!

Your needs and the things you would want to save will likely be different from mine. Over the years, I've found that my mind focuses when it gets put under pressure. Yours may not. You may save yourself some anguish later by placing needed items somewhere together where they can be grabbed easily, or at least making a list of those items and their locations.

What I chose to take was one change of clothes, a backup of my computer (I hadn't actually done this successfully, but I THOUGHT I had), four cats, a dog and all my important documents, including insurance policies.

In future, I will have these handy, all in once place and I now know how important it is to know the phone numbers of places that will take pets, transport that will carry them and friends who will put up "refugees".

For the rest of August, I think the menu will be salad. Just in case!

In truth, I don't know when I shall be able to get back to something that might vaguely resemble a normal schedule here and I really need to take some time off this month too, but rest assured this blog is not abandoned.

Monday, 6 August 2007

We wuz refugees

Our human is still very busy, which is why she hasn't been able to post any cat pictures lately, Mico, has just fainted and the girls have run off to hide, so it's left to me, Balu, to write a blog post as usual.
So I'll tell you about when we became 'fugees last week. It wus scary!

We cats, as you know, are always up at 5 a.m., but the girls really did run and hide when a man came banging at the door at taht time of the morning last Tuesday, which is not usual, to tell us that we had to leave because there was a big fire in the mountains and we were being evacuated.

The other saint of animalsThe sky was vivid red with flames, the smoke was getting thick and our dog, Holly, wouldn't even go up the road for a walk, because she knew it was dangerous out there. The people next door just let their dog free and left, but our mum refused to leave until she knew that we would all be OK. She wasn't about to let us go, so she got transport organized and took us all (four cats and the dog) off to a 5 star hotel - er, for a night at that unmentionable place: THE VET. As you can see, it's a very nice place for anyone to stay, but we thought we must have done something wrong.

Going there, we were all singing in the back of the bus as we usually do.

Coming home afterwards from a night in their "prison cells", we didn't sing, because we thought we'd better be very quiet indeed, lest we get locked up and thrown in the slammer again! We're still keeping out of mum's way.

She thinks we're sulking. Oh, Mico didn't really faint. It's just that it was over 40 degrees centigrade in a heatwave, something that killed 55,000 animals (50,000 laying hens and chickens and 5,000 bunnies) on these islands even before the fire. Nobody knows how many dogs and cats, as well as sheep, goats and wild animals were killed by the fire yet. People in nearby valleys have lost their homes and everything they owned. Mum says we were very fortunate.

By the way, mum said we aren't allowed to beg, but it did cost her a lot of money to make sure we were looked after and it's money she couldn't afford, so if any of you have any spare pennies, this is where you can drop them.


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