A few weeks ago I went to La Palma and met up with my writing friend Sheila Crosby. She gave us a fantastic personal tour of the highlights of the Island including the observatory where she works, the volcanic crater, fantastic vertigo inducing scenery, the 'youths' at the very top of the Island, the local crows Sheila has partly tamed, the busy capital where historic balconies are home to amazing floral displays, horizontal water mines ...
It was my first visit to La Palma, but in a way Sheila had already taken me on a tour of the Island in her lovely book, The Seer's Stone. In it I read how the geography was formed from volcanic eruptions, about some of its political history and was introduced to a few of the people, plants and creatures who've made La Palma their home.
Oh and Mr Pock-Pock a rather sweet alien, Carmelo a talking crow and a thief stopping, cheese toasting dragon.
I really enjoyed reading Sheila's stories and I loved seeing a few of the places they were set.
The aliens and dragons have long since left La Palma, but Carmelo is still there and I met him! His beak looks terrifying, but he took food from my hand very gently.
Do you like our carefully synchronised mad red hair looks?
Having seen the island I fully understand why Sheila wanted to write about it.
And having been given a fascinating glimpse into the observatory, I see why she wanted to write about that too, in A Breathtaking Window on the Universe.
Sheila writes Sci-fi as well. Again, I suspect La Palma and the observatory were contributing factors. There are some strange looking, and sounding, things up there!