In most well stocked larders in the early 20th century an inquisitive child might discover a little bottle of crimson essence labelled carmine or cochineal. The cook used it to colour the icing on birthday cakes or for flavouring. It was also used as a natural dye for colouring sweets, medicines and cosmetics because it […]

     British residents who were lucky enough to have lived in what was still an enchanting Orotava Valley on the Atlantic island of Tenerife in the early 20th century knew him affectionately as Jimmy Pills. He was one of only a handful of doctors attending to a local population of just a few thousand. […]

     There is little doubt that the Canary Islands owe much of their thriving tourism industry to British travellers, scientists, artists and photographers of the 19th century. Their interesting articles, beautiful watercolours, pioneering photography and illustrated booklets published back in the United Kingdom became the islands’ original promotional instruments. Front cover of Madeira and […]

     The Orotava Valley, on the island of Tenerife, awakened to a sunny day late in February 1963. It was a relief after such heavy rains and Mount Teide sparkled invitingly high above, showing off its finest costume. Business carried on as usual in the gentle and picturesque town of Puerto de la Cruz. […]

     It has often been said that the Canary Islands have become one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations thanks largely to illustrious British scientists, writers and artists of the 19th century. One of these was Ernest Abraham Hart. He paid a visit to the island of Tenerife in 1886, when it was still generously blessed only by natural […]

          In fact Don Alfredo was an Englishman born in the coastal town of Lowestoft, in the English county of Suffolk, in 1793.   The harbour at Lowestoft             He is one of quite number of adventurers from the British Isles who travelled to the Canary Islands in the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries […]

     The first member of his family to settle in Ireland was a Colonel Wilde. He was the son of a Dutch painter whose work can be found today in the Hague Art Gallery. The colonel was awarded lands in Ireland after fighting with the troops of William III. One of his sons, Ralph, married Margaret O’Flyn. She was […]

          This brief account will be the last of my flitting references to those honourable pirates, corsairs, valiant admirals, call them what you may, who touched the Canary Islands with their blades, cannonballs or hearts between the middle of the 15th and early 19th centuries. There is enough evidence of their activities to fill a thousand pages but […]

       It was  May, 2013 and retired Royal Navy commander Alan Cockburn stepped out of the bar into the cool Spanish patio after ordering a sundowner. He was staying with his wife at the beautiful parador overlooking the port and town of San Sebastián on the Canary Island of La Gomera. It had been recommended […]

An old, abandoned ruin on the hillside in El Rosario overlooks the coastline between Santa Cruz and Candelaria on the island of Tenerife. It could be any old building left behind, as so many were in the years when tourism captured the imagination and attracted farmers and country folk to the coastline resorts. But this one isn’t […]