Had an interesting week, last week. Walking beside the volcanic stream which destroyed Garachico in 1706, trying not to squash the inhabitants of the Mariposario (butterfly) Gardens in Icod de los Vinos, photographing Pat Cash and Björn Borg at the Abama Hotel in Playa San Juan prior to the Tenerife Senior Cup tennis tournament, watching Man Utd make things difficult for themselves in the race for the premiership. It was a typical week here in that it was completely untypical. Mostly ups; however, there always has to be something which causes us grief.

This time it came courtesy of the Guardia Civil. Almost immediately after leaving the TF5 motorway (more of a dual carriageway) we were waved over by the boys in green at the San Pedro Mirador.

At first I thought they’d made a mistake and didn’t mean us as, for a couple of minutes, the officer didn’t even look in our direction. We were almost about to drive off, but then he sauntered over to the car and asked to see our papers.

I don’t know about you, but the very idea of being questioned by a policeman has me behaving as though I’m in Oceans 11/12/13… etc. Actually that’s rubbish; they’re all pretty cool in those movies, and I was being quite the opposite.

As he looked through our papers, of which I carry an encyclopaedic amount – just in case, he asked for a document which it hasn’t been necessary to possess for about three years.

“You don’t need to have that now,” Andy told him.
Yes you do,” he replied.
“No you don’t,” Andy insisted. “Not since 2004, it’s European legislation.”

One of the problems that we sometimes encounter here is that European legislation is often ignored or, to be more accurate not known, even amongst those who really should be aware of changes in legislation. It can be hellishly frustrating and if you threaten, “Right that’s it, I’m taking you to Brussels, they think you’re offering a free holiday.”

The policeman didn’t reply to Andy this time, instead he continued to look at our paperwork.
“You’ve got a lot of papers here,” he’d clearly become bored with looking through them and handed them back.
“You were speeding,” he wrote something on a piece of paper and handed it to Andy. “It’s not significant, just sign this and pay the fine at the bank within a month.”
He hit us with an on-the-spot fine of €100 for doing 94kph when the speed limit was 80kph.

Andy didn’t think that she’d been driving that fast, so I asked the policeman if I could see the evidence.
“If you go to Santa Cruz, you can ask to see the photographs, but wait a few days first.”
Luckily my Spanish is still on a bit of a satellite delay, so by the time I’d translated what he said, thought of a reply, translated that into Spanish, my:
“Is that to give you time to Photoshop the picture,” was said to his retreating back.

We’re still contemplating going to Santa Cruz to see the evidence, especially as we had to pass the same way the following day and noticed that within a space of a few hundred yards the speed limit goes from 120kph to 90kph to 70kph and then back up to 80kph. It is pure loco, almost impossible to adhere to and potentially dangerous, but then this is Tenerife. Logic doesn’t always figure highly.


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