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Visit La Palma and spend time and money

DEAR readers,
A very Happy New Year to you all. I hope this finds you well, solvent and happy, your liver as undamaged as possible after the prolonged festivities, with any New Year resolutions you made still going strong.
I managed to stop smoking for eight hours on January 1 but was asleep so, although a promising start, it doesn’t count. No problem. While the year’s by no means over, the festive season finally is, so I can stop again. Ever the optimist.
Trouble is, it’s convenient to smoke, especially now restaurants and bars are no-smoking zones and people’s houses too, very sensibly. Whenever tedium with your company strikes, caused by Covid vaccine and other conspiracy theories; daily minutae; boasting (hate it); hate-mongering or any form of idiocy or ignorance, a desire to pop outside for a smoke overwhelms me.
Freedom’s easily won with a… “Will you excuse me, just nipping out to smoke.” Off you go with a wry smile and helpless shrug of the shoulders.
In the Canaries, blessed with good weather, you can comfortably prolong your absence. Further north, prudent provision of warm clothing close to hand is vital. Shivering outside’s not nearly as bad as dubious social discourse, but it is unpleasant.
For those who use smoking to escape, there’s a possible solution which I’ll be testing tonight: give up secretly. Tell nobody and who’s to know what you’re doing when you escape? Sit on the sea wall, bench, wherever and be seen to fiddle around with something, remembering to bend towards, then spark up, your lighter.
So much better for your health. This solution’s also good for smokers who equate work breaks with smoking. Coat on and down you go to shiver in doorways with the naughty crew, the smokers, without smoking.
People also smoke when stressed, presumably because nicotine can stimulate vigilance, information processing, memory and dopamine production.
Living with a volcano, for example, is extraordinarily stressful. I noticed lots of smokers on La Palma, a bit like watching an old film. Investigation revealed the volcano to often be the cause. Both new and ex-smokers, mostly men, confirmed this.
The end of La Palma’s volcano was the best ever Christmas and Reyes present the islanders could have had. At Christmas,10 days after the volcano went quiet, the 85-day-old eruption was officially declared over, although a state of emergency still exists there.
You can bet giving up smoking’s way down the list of priorities for the 7,000 + islanders evacuated from their homes, who are slowly being allowed back if the houses still exist. Many families have lost absolutely everything. Lava removal’s underway, incredibly, to clear roads. Ash clearing’s a mammoth task. There’s SO much to do to repair the damage and restore normality to the affected area.
It’s a beautiful island, mostly untouched by the volcano on the west coast, which is anyway fascinating to visit. Go there please, and spend some time and money. You won’t be disappointed.
Barbara Belt – [email protected]EWN January 2022.
Barbara Belt’s opinions are her own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.

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Barbara Belt

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