Sad news in La Palma

March 31, 2011

Mike Watson just pointed me to some sad news from La Palma – legendary taxi driver Lionel has died.

Anybody who has observed on the Isaac Newton Group, or any other La Palma telescope, will remember Lionel. He was always the guy who drove you up the mountain to the Residencia, and sometimes other places too. He drove alarmingly fast but with perfect efficiency and was a friendly guy who loved feeling a part of La Palma’s famous observatory. La Palma is so achingly beautiful, its almost a mystical experience travelling up the mountain. The addition of large centrifugal force round those beatiful bends just made it all the more memorable. A trip down with Kieron Leech once took several times as long as normal, as Kieron had to get out to be sick once every three or four bends. Lionel smiled at me and shrugged.

Any other stories welcome.