Monday, 6 August 2007

We wuz refugees

The scent of barbecued pine isn't as nice as you expect 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) - I like measurements I can "get my head round".

Having been among 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, or do translations.

A man had come banging at the door at 5 am last Tuesday, to tell us that we had to leave because there was a big fire in the mountains and we were being evacuated.

There was no way of knowing what, if anything, of our possessions would remain when we got back and it was only through luck, because the wind changed, that the fire didn't come in the direction of our house, but it had become dangerous to remain here from the risk of smoke inhalation. 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), myself, four cats, a dog and all my important documents, including insurance policies.

The other saint of animalsThe sky was vivid red with flames, the smoke was getting thick and my dog, Holly, wouldn't even go up the road for a walk. She must have known it was dangerous out there. The people next door just let their dog free and left, but I refused to leave until I knew that we would all be OK. I 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 the cats thought they must have done something wrong.

Going there, they were all singing in the back of the bus as they always do. Coming home afterwards from a night in their "prison cells", they didn't sing. Probably thought they'd better be very quiet, lest they get thrown in the slammer again!

The over 40C heatwave 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. People in nearby valleys have lost their homes and everything they owned. We were very fortunate.

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