Saturday, September 15, 2007

It Starts Here ...

This is a blog about our Life on The Reef ... Ten-er-Reef that is. The British ex pats here like to use the term to indicate a certain nonchalant familiarity with the place, but we are windsurfers and so it's a particularly apt title for our new life here on this dusty, volcanic rock stuck out in the Atlantic ocean somewhere off the coast of Africa.

Mind you, I'm hoping that I don't spend too much time on the (actual) reef ... sailing the waves on it, yes ... but not too much staggering around on the sharp bits, getting sea urchins stuck in my feet - been there, done that, and got the scars.

Basil having his first lesson with his Spanish teacher

As you can read from my profile, we (that's me, my photographer wife, and Basil the small (but thinks he's much bigger) pooch have re-located from the shingly beaches and rolling green countryside of the south coast of England (Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex to be precise) to the tropical paradise (some of the time anyway) that is Tenerife - one of the Spanish owned Canary islands.

me and Nikki outside the church in Grendilla

When I say 're-locate', I should also add 'downshift'. Our house in Shoreham had shot up in value over the past few years (along with much of the UK) and when we compared it to the house prices in Tenerife, we realised that we could sell up and join the growing hordes of ex pat Brits who have been inspired by the various "Living the Dream" / "Place in the Sun" type property programmes that have invaded British TV. The idea being to live a lot more cheaply, in a smaller house, with fewer possessions etc but basically windsurf all year round, free up some time to pursue our own projects, and enjoy life a bit more.

For a while I'd been describing my occupation as "currently researching for a new role as a freelance beach bum" ... I've actually made my living for the past 25 years or so as a composer of music for TV and Radio (having spent eleven of those years as a staff composer at the BBC's renown Radiophonic Workshop). A few years ago I also started working as a tutor for an on-line course for people wanting to get into the media music biz ( and since the work is carried out via the internet, it meant that we could, in theory, be located anywhere in the world with an internet connection (however nb this requirement is not to be taken for granted, as you'll read later !).

Nikki and I are both very keen windsurfers and we've been going to this lovely little Spanish fishing town / surfing resort on Tenerife called El Medano since the early 90's - getting to know the town, watching it grow, and occasionally fantasising about how it would be to live there.

market in the main square in El Medano with Mt Teide in the background

Then my Dad died and left us enough money to pay off our mortgage ... and it just seemed like the right time to give it a go.

So we pushed the downshift button and activated the rather scary process of uprooting ourselves and moving house and country.

and that's where it starts ...


writer said...

Hi Richard and Nikki
Welcome to the Rock. Nice blog, I'll follow it with interest. Will meet for a beer soon.
Joe Cawley
Author of More Ketchup than Salsa: Confessions of a Tenerife Barman

cazten said...

Richard and Nikki, hope you have a great life here on the reef, if you want another "musician/composer" to talk to give me a buzz at my gmail addy! Good luck with your lives here, sure you'll adapt and love it - sooner rather than later - I hope x