How sad I was to see the televised pictures of the forest fires on the beautiful islands of Tenerife and La Gomera. Especially so because we enjoyed a wonderful holiday there not so many months ago.
La Gomera has been particularly hard hit, with around 5000 people evacuated from the Valle Gran Rey (The Valley of the Kings.) Fire has devastated areas of the Garonjay National Park which was created a World Heritage Site
by UNESCO in 1986 and a whole nature reserve, described as being of "incalculable ecological value", has been destroyed. The driest summer for seventy years is being blamed - though there have been some reports that the fires were started deliberately.
It's hard to conceive of anyone being so wantonly destructive.
I'm sure that the heartfelt and generous public response to the tsunami in Thailand which wreaked so much damage and cost so many lives
was in part down to the fact that so many people have visited Thailand on holiday and know and love it because of the happy memories they treasure. And that's why the news from the Canaries hit home for me.
If you visit the Canary Islands in the future, take a trip to La Gomera - which styles itself "the quiet island with the green soul." When it recovers from this disaster, it will need its tourists and visitors even more.
Just to whet your appetite, on La Gomera you can hear a strange whistling language called El Silbo. And if you think it's only practised by wizened old men and women in national costume to please the tourists, well,
how wrong can you be. When the island's government realised that the ancient language was dying out, they introduced it into all the island's schools. So it's the youngsters you will hear communicating in this fascinating traditional way.