John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Tuesday 2 April 2013

[Monday 1 April 2013]

I’d set the alarm clock to ca.6.45am, but woke up ca.6.40am, woke Janet up, and switched the alarm off. It was still dark; it didn’t get light till ca.7.30am. There was no hot water for washing and showering. I had to be content with sponging myself at the sink. The result, though, was that the dressing on the right heel wasn’t compromised, and I left it in place. We went for breakfast ca.8am. Had corn flakes today. Tried the “German sausage; it was no better than the “English”. We were at the entrance for the scheduled “9.04am”. We were kept waiting outside the coach that was there, which was then driven off, for it had to be changed for some reason. I was OK; I just sat on my tripod stool.

09:04:04 Waiting to depart for the Fire Mountains

09:04:14 Waiting to depart for the Fire Mountains

Eventually, a substitute coach arrived. We sat on the right on the second row. Our guide was a jocular fellow with a wry sense of humour, whose accent I couldn’t place; he didn’t sound Spanish. He introduced himself as “Abraham” and our driver as “Guillermo”. At one of the other two stops, he asked us to move to the seat behind the one we were in — less desirable because it was between windows, not by one — so that a family could sit together and not be split up. A young boy who got on at one of the stops walked with a stiff-legged limp, and I noticed later that the stiff leg was in fact an artificial one.

09:15:18 Picking up others

Abraham told us that there were no cows on Lanzarote and never had been, after we passed a standard EU warning road-sign with the image of a cow on it. We did see goats grazing, much as one might see sheep in England.

09:46:28 Views on the way

09:48:02 Views on the way

09:53:06 Views on the way

09:53:16 Views on the way

We passed very many semi-circular walls each half-enclosing a young vine, and indeed our first stop was the bodega “La Geria” for a taste of the local white wine. We were offered “sweet” or “dry”; I chose dry. The impression I got was that it wasn’t much different from any other dry white wine; maybe if I’d chosen the sweet, I’d have got a more “Muscat” impression — for that was the type of grape used, I think.

10:05:22 First stop…

10:05:08 First stop…

10:01:30 …for a taste of locally produced wine

The floor was of black volcanic clinker, moistened.

10:02:32 …for a taste of locally produced wine

10:06:24 Vines protected by semi-circular walls

10:07:40 Vines protected by semi-circular walls

10:13:44 An old wine-press

As well as semi-circular walls, another way of protecting the vines — presumably from the strong Lanzarote winds — that we saw after we resumed our journey was by planting them at the bottom of shallow conical pits. I couldn’t get a photo of these, though.

10:30:00 Vast lava plain, seen after we resumed our journey

10:35:14 Views on the way

10:36:12 Views on the way

10:36:32 Views on the way

10:38:50 Devil figure marking the entrance to Timanfaya National Park

10:38:50 Detail from 10:38:50



Our next stop was at the Timanfaya National Park visitor centre, where there were conducted what Abraham told the children of our party were three “experiments”.

“09:41” — unadjusted to Daylight Saving time? Entry tickets

10:56:26 Demonstrating how hot the ash is just below the surface

10:56:26 Detail from 10:56:26: Abraham, our guide

10:56:26 Detail from 10:56:26: the park employee with his shovel…

10:57:06 …handing out ash that’s too hot to hold comfortably

10:58:52 A piece of scrub forked into this hole…

10:59:12 …quickly starts smoking…

10:59:18 …and bursts into flame.


11:03:08 Bucket of water tipped down the hole turns into a geyser.

11:03:46 …and again!

11:06:52 Naturally heated barbecue

11:07:24 Naturally heated barbecue

11:09:24 View from the Timanfaya National Park visitor centre

11:09:40 The ocean breaking on the distant shore

Back in the coach for a tour of the National Park, along narrow roads only just wide enough for our coach to negotiate, with occasional sheer drops on our side.

11:23:30 A tour through Timanfaya National Park

11:24:02 A tour through Timanfaya National Park

11:30:52 A tour through Timanfaya National Park

11:34:08 A tour through Timanfaya National Park

11:37:30 A tour through Timanfaya National Park

11:38:02 A tour through Timanfaya National Park

11:41:52 A tour through Timanfaya National Park

11:45:44 A tour through Timanfaya National Park

11:46:26 A tour through Timanfaya National Park

11:48:08 A tour through Timanfaya National Park

11:49:24 A tour through Timanfaya National Park

11:54:24 A tour through Timanfaya National Park

11:55:00 A tour through Timanfaya National Park

We stopped at “El Golfo”. There was some feature, or vantage point, that Abraham suggested, but it was up a stony hill, and I didn’t think my feet were up to it. We went to a lower vantage point and watched the waves breaking in a narrow cove and elsewhere.

12:24:20 Waves breaking at El Golfo

12:25:10 Waves breaking at El Golfo

12:26:04 Waves breaking at El Golfo

12:26:58 Waves breaking at El Golfo

12:26:58 Detail from 12:26:58

12:26:58 Another detail from 12:26:58

Then we went in the shop/bar/restaurant that was there, and went through to the far side overlooking the ocean. We sat in a covered area, but nearby it was open to the sky, with umbrella-tables. The photos below must have been taken from that far side, because the reflection of one of the umbrellas can be seen in the first one.

12:34:06 Waves breaking at El Golfo

12:34:26 El Golfo

Janet had a Diet Coke and I had a bottle of Canary Islands-brewed beer and a plate of spaghetti Bolognese, which came with a chunk of bread to mop up the sauce.

12:37:24 Sampling Canary Islands cerveza…

12:38:30 …in the restaurant at El Golfo

The quality of the light changed, and I decided to take a photo. As I was getting up, though, I leaned on the arm of the chair, which was lightweight and slipped from under me, and I fell on the floor. I must have bumped my left elbow, the one that was badly ulcerated but latterly has been covered with scar-tissue, because it felt sore afterwards. A kind man from our party rushed to help me, but I was able to get up unaided. I took the photo, then finished my dinner.

12:46:30 View from the window

12:46:30 Detail of 12:46:30

13:11:26 Restaurante Siroco €9.00

Janet bought a pair of local stud-earrings, peridot set in silver, for €29.60. Next stop was “Los Hervideros”, where the lava entered the sea and solidified, and where the waves break inside caves, which can be seen through pot-holes from balconies above that have been constructed for visitors.

13:19:24 We made a stop here.

13:15:38 Wave breaking in a pot-hole


13:16:44 Looking down one of the pot-holes




13:19:44 Detail of 13:19:44

13:19:44 Another detail of 13:19:44

There are two roads back, running parallel to each other: the old road, along which we went, which Abraham described as “crinkle-cut” because it undulated over the surface contours (similarly to the one in “10:40:40”); and the adjacent, EU-funded, road, built on a levelled bed. Along the way, Abraham pointed out salt-beds where salt is evaporated out of the sea-water (Las Salinas de Janubio). I snapped the first photo out of the window, as the coach was moving at its normal pace; and I think it’s no worse than the second one, taken when Abraham had the driver slow down for such a photo opportunity.

13:35:04 View from the coach — extracting salt from sea-water

13:35:48 View from the coach — extracting salt from sea-water

Our room hadn’t been prepared, so we went into the Reception area for the Wi-Fi. I couldn’t get in at first, so I went to Reception and was given a slip with a user name and password on it.

The connection was very slow indeed. When I tried to check the Asda credit card account, it reported a server error. Managed to get off e-mails to Chris and to the members of the midweek group.

From: Джон Эдвард Купер
To: Chris Woodhead
Date: 2 April 2013 14:26
Subject: Re: First Gmail

Hi Chris,
Greetings from Playa Blanca, Lanzarote! This beats zero or just-above-zero temperatures.
Will reply more fully on return.

2013-04-01_14-03-52.JPG 324K

From: e-mail john.e.cooper
To: Mark Wooffindin
Cc: [all the other members]
Date: 2 April 2013 14:34
Subject: Re: First Gmail

Shan't be with you on Wednesday,... Was going to add "Sorry!" but I'm not, really. Temperatures here in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote, are in the mid to upper twenties. Better than the freezing and near freezing ones we left behind. Hopefully, see y'all the week following.

14:41:46 Reception area: Timanfaya Palace Hotel

Not sure when, but sometime today, on the Reception floor, we were passing the Thomson desk. The very pretty Liz was there with a bright and cheery smile, and she asked us about our day. I hope our amused relating of Abraham’s idiosyncratic sense of humour didn’t feed back as a report of inappropriate behaviour.> Back in the room, I set the Fuji FinePix software to transfer only photos that hadn’t been transferred before, and transferred the balance of yesterday’s and all of today’s pictures (15:38–15:40). Edited the ones from yesterday (15:44–15:49) and added them to the PowerPoint presentation (15:59). Edited 40-odd of the photos from today (16:12–17:55), making additional cropped and “enlarged” versions of some. By “enlarged” I mean the same size as the uncropped ones; all the photos are reduced to 1280 x 960 pixels from their original size. We went for dinner, ca.6.15pm. This evening had a Chinese theme. There were glasses of some sweet liqueur on the table at the restaurant door. I thought “lychee” but it could have been anything. Back in the room, Janet must have input a wrong code by mistake, for she couldn’t get into the safe, and had to ring for someone to come and open it for us. Resumed editing today’s photos, some 20-odd (19:47–20:24). What to do with the four movie clips? I wanted a static image from each of them to paste in this document and in the PowerPoint presentation, but didn’t think I had any programs on the “little feller” that would allow screen-captures to be made. However, I discovered that I could get images of 800 x 600 pixels’ size by opening the files with Windows Movie Maker (21:12–21:20). Finally, made all the images into a PowerPoint presentation (to 23:23). Janet had gone to bed well before this. Think I continued with some diary-update before turning in myself.

[Wednesday 3 April 2013]

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