Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Past Its Prime

Carmi at Writteninc. has asked us to photograph examples of anything ‘past its prime’ for his Thematic Photographic challenge this week. Leaving aside the obvious, I’ve chosen these shots, taken over two or three visits, to different locations around the island of Lanzarote, where I live.


This ruined farmhouse in Guatiza, is definitely past its prime. We were there again yesterday, surveying the ruined rooms and wondering about the people who used to live there. It’s in a lovely setting, with views of the sea and surrounded by what was once agricultural land. And therein is the problem; with the advent of tourism came the demise of agriculture and fishing on the island. It still goes on of course, but not in the numbers it once did. The result is that all over the island we can find abandoned buidings, where the occupants have moved into more lucrative occupations. Their old jobs would have been backbreakingly hard, on an island that sees only five days average rainfall a year, and all water is desalinated sea water. Who could blame them for following the lure of the bright lights in hotels and restaurants?


The law says that buildings may not be demolished, but shoud be allowed to crumble away gracefully. I’m quite pleased that they do, as these old edifices provide a kind of sculpture in the landscape, which changes slowly over time as pieces fall away. Carmi says, “There is a certain degree of poetry associated with things that may once have been pristine, but no longer are."


A little further down the coast at Agujeros, near the old salt pans, we find these lock-ups which is where the salt was stored and shipped from this tiny harbour. These days families come down at weekends and use the places like beach huts, chatting, barbecuing and swimming.


And for a building that really stands out like a sore thumb, here’s one at Punto Mujeres, where someone has let his neighbours down by not painting the outside of his house.


In a back street of the capital, Arrecife, a stone’s throw away from bustling avenues and chic shops, were these two, once grand, doorways. I really would like to have known what went on behind that door!

“Midnight, one more night without sleepin’
Watchin’, till the morning comes creepin’
Green door, what’s that secret you’re keepin’?"

From Green Door, sung by Shakin’ Stevens, and to be clear it was the song I was referring to, not that film!

16 comments:

  1. I think it's great that these old buildings are allowed to crumble over time. A landscape should bear the marks of the past, and those marks should not be exclusive to the existence of the great and the good. People who worked the land, shaped the land, and their efforts deserve appreciation.

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  2. I find the picture of the Green Doors captivating and beautiful. Well in their prime, I say. Just like you!

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  3. What a fantastic "past its prime" post! Again I have to mention how lucky you are for such a lovely Island as Lanzarote to live! It's so beautiful, especially the stone buildings that are crumbling, and they are so worth keeping so you can roam about the ruins and wonder just what happened there. It's a great law that they can't demolish them ever! I wonder does someone actually live in Punto Mujeres was it? Maybe he doesn't want to impress people on the outside but they live very well on the inside! Thanks for another stroll around Lanzarote!

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  4. Very cool pictures! Thanks for the tour. It's always fun to explore places like this.

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  5. Wow. These are really cool. I'd love to wander around these sites. What stories these old buildings could tell!

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  6. Great ruins, looks like it once was a 5 star place to go.

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  7. There's is something about decaying buildings that just makes me want to photograph them. Love your photos.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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  8. I must admit, I too am considered a crumbling ruin by some people...and I am surely past my prime...

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  9. Thanks for posting these. I can see why people have willingly embraced tourism - life must have been so hard with such a limited supply of fresh water. Tourism's a mixed blessing, of course, but at least it has been managed better in Lanzarote than some of the other Canary islands.

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  10. Great post. Loved the green doors. I can see that a law to let buildings crumble in the UK would be a disaster.

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  11. Great post and beautiful pictures. This is my kind of place - I would love to visit these old buildings. I really enjoyed reading your commentary, too.

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  12. I didn't know about the law against demolition, very interesting. Does this still apply if a building is dangerous I wonder? In a built up area after a fire for example? Surely not. Great photos.

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  13. Oh, Nell, these are beautiful pictures! I love seeing the area where you live; it is much different from here. Do you guys have many trees? Thanks so much for the tour.

    Kathy M.

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  14. A wonderful post- I feel kind of sorry for the neighbors who have to look at that one section that isn't painted. I would love to venture around your island and see all these ruins.

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  15. Oh I recognise some of these - and great as the photographs are, I can vouch for the fact that the originals are much more atmospheric.

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  16. Intriguing selection of pictures. I was struck by the fact that old buildings aren't allowed to be demolished but just have to crumble. Is that old historic buildings or all old buildings?

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