I’m writing this on 27th October, and today the forecast is for 29 degrees centigrade. I say this not to make you envious, or to sound smug (well a bit, obviously!), but to show that it is actually true what I often say to UK friends about the weather here: on any day of the year you could – could – be eating lunch, even dinner, outside.
Jonathan’s blog, written in Oct 2014, with Cass’s comments in lady-like pink, and Jonathan’s rebuttals in manly blue.
Yes, the weather was a factor in our move here, and if that makes us shallow, well so be it (oh damp and cold people)! I positively wallow in my shallowness. *Cares not a jot* But it’s not always quite so clement. Mountain living has its own extremes – of weather, and other natural phenomena…
I think I may have mentioned the wind in previous blogs, but here, and for the first time in our lives, it is a proper consideration. Generally it blows in the winter, rather than the summer, and from the west (inland), but when it does blow, it trumps everything else nature hurls at us. It has blown a river of rain under our front door, and flung our garden furniture around (and into the pool), it has smashed big flower pots, it snaps plants and bushes for a pastime, and it puts a vibration through the gazebo-type structure on our sun roof that rattles your fillings, and sounds like a helicopter landing. When you come back inside you feel like you’ve stepped off the deck of a ship. Can you IMAGINE what it does to my hair? Inexplicable!
Getting our dogs to go out in the wind is hilarious, by the way. They creep out suspiciously on the sheltered side of the house, but then they reach the corner where the wind is howling, for one second their ears fill like condor wings, before they scuttle back, through our legs, like greased piglets. Er, mixed metaphors? Er, get knotted?
The wind also played a major part in the most dramatic event since we’ve been living here – the fire. Or rather, ‘The Fire’. It was started, apparently, by three local youths idiots chucking fireworks, one of which landed in some dry grass. There are a couple of seasons for fireworks, the Fallas, in Spring, and the Fiestas, in Autumn (more of both in separate blog entries), but the thing they both have in common is a spectacular and death-defying disregard for health and safety. I’m utterly in favour of this in theory, but not, of course, when it’s inconvenient, or dangerous, or near me! Here, they are happy to hold fireworks, chuck fireworks, retrieve fireworks that seem to have fizzled out… It’s terrifying. We were sitting outside Alfredo’s Café one random Saturday afternoon and a local football match was on the TV inside. A roar went up (I’m assuming a goal was scored) and a man in his 40’s ie. old enough to know better ran outside and chucked a handful of lit bangers into the street, making a deafening racket and frightening the daylights out of (me) a small child sitting on her Granny’s lap. Marvellously, the Granny went to war on the man and he ended grovelling his apologies. But I do wonder, does he always have a pocketful of bangers?? Or maybe only when Valencia are playing in a cup tie.
Anyway, the combination of high-spirited (probably pissed *chunter, chunter…*) teenagers, fireworks, dry grass, and a high wind, meant the result was inevitable. The fire raged – yes, properly RAGED – for about twenty-four hours; many of the houses in the village were evacuated; no one slept; and all attention was focused on whatever was in the fire’s path, and whether the wind would change direction. Three helicopters and two small planes bombed it with water throughout the day, though they had to stop at night as it’s impossible to reload in the dark.
After a heart-thumping day and night we weren’t afraid for ourselves, you understand, but for the women and children *small voice* I was a little afraid for myself, the fire was finally extinguished with no property damaged and no one hurt. But I think the photos show that that doesn’t tell the full story.
At the other end of the mountain weather spectrum is the so-called Gota Fría, or Cold Droplet – I’m guessing this is local irony. It is a type of winter storm, specific to the Valencia region, that involves strong winds and over a foot of rain (that’s 30cms, children) in anywhere between a few hours and a couple of days I’ve been told that people have drowned in underground car parks, the rain comes down that fast. It’s got something to do with an icy little chunk of the jet stream getting pinched off and meeting the warm air of Spain, but I’m not what you’d call a fully qualified meteorologist – in other words I really don’t know what I’m talking about (“not for the first time”, before SHE types it. I am wounded No, you are busted).
Anyway, I think we’ve already experienced one – when the darkest cloud I have ever seen engulfed us, both directly overhead and all around, sheeting water and hurling lightening (that exploded our washing machine, by the way!) – but locals say that it wasn’t a real one, and that when a real one comes, we’ll know about it. But that’s the sort of thing locals always say.
Isn’t it..? *gulps*