Murder in the Neighbourhood

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On the evening of Friday 5th March 2013 at around 0930 pm, I heard the ear-piercing screams of a lady coming from one of the houses at the lower level of the estate.  The urgency and continuing screams attracted the attention of other neighbours and realizing that something was seriously wrong –  my son and I went round to investigate the matter.

Within minutes, we reached the location and found an almost unconscious mature lady lying on her back in the metal grilled gateway of her house surrounded by concerned neighbours.  I recognized one of them who told me that he had entered the house after hearing the screams and saw a man sitting on a chair with hands tied, possibly stabbed and there was a lot of blood.  He warned me not to go in.

The woman regained consciousness and was understandably hysterical.  Unfortunately, I do not speak Spanish so was unable to understand what she was saying.  It was, however, a frightening disturbing situation and the neighbours did everything they could to comfort her by providing water, blanket and trying to get her to sit on a chair.

The Police arrived about 15 minutes later and since there was nothing we could do to help, my son and I returned home .  We saw an ambulance drive past and realizing that it had missed the turning, waved our arms to attract the driver’s attention as it did a u-turn down the road.

Under the circumstances, going to bed was the last thing we wanted to do;  so my son and I went across the road to the Bar Cafe – we could not quite believe what had happened.  We were, however, relieved that there was a good film showing at the time; thank goodness for Michael Caine although in the Spanish language, there is no match to his distinguishable accent.

The next day, my neighbour sent me the newspaper article of the reported incident.

http://www.laprovincia.es/sucesos/2013/04/06/asesinan-casa-vecino-tenerife-robarle-caja-fuerte/524097.html

Febles Vicente Gonzalez, 60, was found murdered in a robbery yesterday in the municipality of Santa Ursula, Tenerife at his home in El Lagar Street which is in the neighbourhood of Cuesta de La Villa.  The thieves tortured and murdered him, then broke into the safe and stole its contents.

Febles Vicente Gonzalez was found dead about 2130 hours by his wife. His wife discovered the body after returning to the home. She told police that she found her husband’s body with his hands tied behind his back with cable ties and a rope around his neck as if he had been hanged.

At the crime scene, the Guardia Civil Police confirmed that the man had suffered a violent death.  The victim had been tied up and hanged.  Officers ruled out suicide and began to look for evidence. On inspection of the crime scene, there were indications that the motive could have been robbery and found that the safe had been blown up and emptied. The first indication suggests that the assault involved several people who knew the victim.

Are Some A-Level Subjects Better Than Others

education_iconWhen I attended the Wulfrun College of Further Education in Wolverhampton, I took what was then called the ‘Advanced Ordinary’ Level.  I’m wondering whether it was a con because hardly anyone I know have ever heard of it.  But it did actually exist in the 1970s!

So now I turn my focus to ‘A’ Levels which is something we can all identify with!

Located on the small island of Tenerife – it is rather hard to understand the significance of  ‘A’ Levels when competing internationally with other students.  Yes, there is a big world out there and considerable thought has to be given to the actual university.

Many Year 11 students will be making important decisions about what ‘A’ Levels to choose.  And of course, some might decide to take “easier” subjects rather than the “harder” subjects!  But should the focus be on what subjects will steer you to your career choice?

According to the Nick Morrison article in The Telegraph 7.00 am GMT 23 March 2013 – if a subject does not interest you – then you are less likely to achieve top grades.

This is an example of the current London School of Economics (LSE)  list of non-preferred A-level subjects:

  • Accounting
  • Art and Design
  • Business Studies
  • Communication Studies
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama/Theatre Studies
  • Home Economics
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Law
  • Media Studies
  • Music Technology
  • Sport Studies
  • Travel and Tourism

As opposed to the Trinity College, Cambridge:  A Levels suitable only as fourth subjects:

  • Accounting
  • Applied Science
  • Citizenship
  • Communication Studies
  • Critical Thinking
  • Dance
  • Environmental Science
  • General Studies
  • Health and Social Care
  • Home Economics
  • ICT
  • Leisure Studies
  • Music Technology
  • Performance Studies
  • Performing Arts
  • Perspectives on Science
  • Photography
  • Physical Education
  • Science
  • Sciece for Public Understanding
  • Sports Studies
  • Travel and Tourism
  • World Development

The subject choice will be complicated!  Read the whole article at the below link:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/9948905/Are-some-A-level-subjects-better-than-others.html

Scotland and the Slave Trade

Slave trade - If any Slave resist their Master

On Saturday 1st December 2012, which was a very rainy day, I made my way literally down the hill to  my neighbour Hilda’s house for a barbecue !  We were not at all put off by the “cats and dogs” spectacle since it was about 19C, wet but pleasant which was very unlike the British weather.

We sat in the garden area, on the terrace, at a table bedecked with huge pint sized glasses of alcohol.  I admittedly could not manage to drink such quantities  because I’m more of a “martini and lemon person” but it was, however, a most welcome sign of a forthcoming fun-fuelled evening.

The hosts Graham was of Scotland heritage and my friend Hilda of Norwegian nationality.  My friend Maureen was also there sitting at the table and is Scottish.  The conversation was in full swing and I mentioned that my surname is Campbell which probably derives from the times of slavery.  Perhaps, not a good move to mention that but it is a most significant part of who I am and it is a fact that I know some people would rather wish never existed.  The subject was not discussed in depth but I am sure might have warranted so at another time and another place!

A week later, on Saturday 1st December,  I did some research, like I normally do and came across Jackie Kay’s Guardian article of Saturday 24th March 2007 on Scotland’s Role in the Slave Trade which makes very uncomfortable but interesting reading.

Jackie Kay on Scotland’s Role in the Slave Trade

I found it most relevant to the above conversation scenario since both my friends Maureen or Graham came from Scotland and one of them was born in Glasgow; if I remember correctly.  I had no idea that Glasgow profited from the slave trade just as much as Liverpool, Bristol and London.  Now that’s history!

Gym Ball for Strengthening

The last time I wrote about my running experience was about a week ago and I’ve been out three times since then.  I managed to keep going for 5 km – the going was tough but the odd drizzle of rain every now and then was  a welcomed cool-down.

The one thing that has been needling me for quite a while now (and I haven’t mentioned it before) is the pain in my right hip; although it wasn’t so bad today,  I suspect that the weekend break gave it time to heal until the next bodily onslaught.

Anyway, whilst browsing through sports equipment at the local store in Santa Ursula, I came across the Rucanor exercise gym ball with diameter 90 cm including tube and plug.  Hopefully, that will do the trick since it claims that you can “use it to strengthen muscles and bones of the hips, legs, hands, arms and shoulders and to develop overall body balance and coordination.”

I will certainly give it a go since I need all the help I can get – one question though – have you got a pump?

Today Was A Good Day

At 0805 am, my friend Marion collected the kids and they were off to school as usual.  I had arranged to meet her later at the Atlantis Bar just across the road for 0900 am, so I had enough time to fit in my run.

Arriving at 0824 am, I managed the first two laps comfortably within my stride. It was 19C and just the right temperature for running – I felt good as the cool breeze blew gently by.  The sun came out halfway through the run and although I felt a little uncomfortable – 30 minutes later, I was glad it was over.

Now I need to improve my stamina so that my legs can pound the track even longer.  Perhaps not a tall order after all.

Yes, true to say – today was a good day!

The Going Was Tough

I needed the music to keep me going and repeated this track 3 times on my iPod although I didn’t feel or look supa sexy!

The morning started unexpectedly.  The kids and I waited until 08:10 am for my  friend Marion who had not arrived to take them to school as was the norm.  Panic stations began to set in and I rang her up.   Little Tim was ill and she had left a message on my mobile at 0630.  I jumped into the car and bombed down the motorway to Puerto de la Cruz and then Los Realejos.  What a start to the day!

It was already 10:00 am, temperature 20C and I decided to drive down to the track.  Running was difficult today due to the warm climes but  admittedly I prefer a little rain to cool me down!  During the first lap, I felt a painful twinge in the hip area of my body but tried to ignore it and pounded on.  I tried not to look up whilst running since I find it off-putting to see just how far I still have to go.

The going was extremely slow but I kept on at it and tried to imagine what I looked like from the back whilst overtaking the walkers on the track.  I must have looked a sight for sore eyes and embodied someone in absolute desperation to complete the lap and another lap.  Do it again girl.  And I did.

I was absolutely thrilled to have completed 5 laps in 30 minutes!

Get Out There Rain or Shine

Got the kids off to school at 0800 am and I hesitated to get into the car and drive to the outdoor sports track.  Why was that?   It was raining cats and dogs again, but it wasn’t cold at all, quite pleasant really only 17C today.

I decided not to let this call of nature keep me indoors, after all,  I’ve coped with rain, sun and not to mention snow in the British Army participating in cross country championships that the other servicewoman weren’t too keen on doing –  – no big deal – are you kidding Jenny?  My superiors talked me into doing it.

Get out there girl!

Anyway, today was a good day for me – although I didn’t know it at the time.  I ran not four laps as was the norm but five laps!  That’s something to get excited about – almost 5 km.

It’s amazing what goes through your mind when puffing and panting – with the funky iPod music pounding in my ears – a six footer guy jogged fast me – he made it look oh so easy.  I, in turn, compared my thighs to his – thighs half the size than mine.  Sugar, Jenny, run another lap and shake it off!

I felt exhausted after 3 laps, but moved into gear during the fourth lap then realised that I could just about manage another lap.  Exhilarating!  What a feeling – you know the Flashdance track?

Finished off with step-ups to the “Don’t Talk” track – I couldn’t talk – I was shattered.

I’ll be out again . . .

Pounding the Track

I started thinking about the running track yesterday (Sunday 11th November) or was it the day before?  One thing’s for sure and constantly on my mind, I know that it’s the cheapest way of getting fit instead of going into the fitness studio – just look out of the window and what do you see? All that open space, so this morning I was out on the track at 08:27.

The first lap is always worse for me – admittedly not much fun but rather laboured as usual.  By the time I got to the second lap, I thought I might manage an extra lap rather than the normal four!  For a split second or possibly longer, I felt a spring in my legs.  But quicker than I had imagined, my legs gave in and I couldn’t pound the track any longer.  I checked my Nike sports watch and it was 08:49 am so almost 4 km and twenty-two minutes later – I stopped.   But I shall be out on the track again this week.

Out on the Track

The kids left for school this morning at 0800 am and I jumped in the car at 0810 am to head for the running track!

What a sight for sore eyes!  Can you believe that I was the only person on the track?  What a feeling.  The first lap was laboured, but I managed to focus my thoughts on regulating my breathing and literally heard my legs plodding the track like an elephant as I pushed through the pain spurred on by a Peven Everett music track on my iPod.

I kept repeating the lyrics in my head – you got me in your eye,  got me  in your eye, got me in your eye – do it  again, do it again, do it again – come on girl, come on girl, come on girl!  That (including a lot of sweat and rain) got me around the 4 laps and I felt thoroughly exhilarated afterwards –  job well done!

Rain Rain Go Away

I didn’t sleep too well last night (6/7 November) because it rained and rained cats and dogs.  There are no drainpipes on our external walls, so the rain pours along the tiles washing the debris down which then splats (is there such a word?) onto the patio and terrace tiles.  When that happens – it is loud, I mean really loud!

So I woke up at 05.30 (because I’m a light sleeper) with the intention of going for a run and got into my running kit – red jogging bottoms, black sleeveless top and fluorescent yellow waterproof jacket.  Went out to the car and did a u-turn because of the traffic jam.  When it rains here in Santa Ursula, bolsters roll down the hills onto the roads, traffic move at snail pace and people start honking their horns.  So I went back into the house.

At 13.38 pm, it is still pelting down – looks like someone pouring water out of a huge gigantic mega-kettle.  I am still wearing my running kit and waiting for the moment to dash out – but it doesn’t look good!