No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds!
November! – Thomas Hood
When we bought our house in el campo, in the middle of olive groves with a view over the mountains, we had imagined beautiful days with unbroken sunshine. And there certainly are weeks, and sometimes months, when that is the case. But this November was a bit different. And we hadn’t quite factored in that we could experience longer spells of cold and rainy weather. Not such a bad thing, because we need the rain, for the farmers, for the lake nearby, and also for our well, as it’s our only source of water!
We’re kind of addicted to weather forecasts, and almost every day starts with looking at the different weather apps. El Tiempo is a great Spanish site, with up-to-date information on local weather, and also across Spain and further afield. If we don’t like what El Tiempo says, we move over to BBC weather. And if that’s not to our liking, we’ve found that the Dutch weather forecast (weeronline.nl) for our area is almost invariably more positive and upbeat. So especially when things are looking grey and dreary, the Dutch forecast can lift our spirits.
And over the years we’ve learned that actually none of them are very accurate. As an example, today’s forecast was full sun all day, 12 degrees. I think they got the temperature right, but looking out of the window right now, there’s no sun in sight. Sometimes it’s better to simply ignore the forecast, and take each day as it comes.
The really good thing about living here in Spain is that if the weather is very poor, we often just need to drive for a little while to be greeted by brilliant sunshine and milder temperatures. There’s usually a big difference between coastal and in-land temperatures. In the winter, the weather on the coast is often much milder than in the mountains, and it can also be wetter. During the summer months, we get very high temperatures in el campo – sometimes higher than 40 degrees – whereas on the coast it’s often cooler. But it’s not just the difference between coast and in-land. There have been times when we’ve been basking in warm sunshine by our house, when others, no more than 20kms away, experience cloud, thick fog and rain.
The best months to come and visit are in the spring and in the autumn. And it’s not taken people long to realise this…. We’ve got visitors planned from March to May next year, and we’ve welcomed a string of visitors this last autumn too.
But actually, the winter and summer months have their own magic. Winters are particularly good for those who don’t like the heat, but love a bit of warm sunshine on a winter’s day. We’ve been out walking in glorious sunshine and 16 degrees in January and February – just about t-shirt weather. And in the summer it’s hot – always. And there’s nothing like getting up early on a hot summer’s day enjoying the early morning (relative) cool, then having a long siesta in the hammock in the afternoon. Followed by a leisurely dinner outside under the stars until the early hours.
And it’s getting hotter and drier in the summers. A big talking point with all our neighbours is the status of the local lake. If it gets really low, people become very worried, and the main topic of discussion is the lack of rain and the water level. There’s certainly awareness and concern about longer-term climate change and how this might affect our local community of olive farmers.
We’ve seen some very wild weather here, almost regardless of the season. Beautiful, though a little scary if you’re walking or driving when the storm hits. The dry river beds turn into fast-flowing rivers within an hour, and we’ve encountered mud slides from the hills that can be treacherous to drive on.
The great thing about living in Spain is that the bad weather normally doesn’t stay long. Within a few hours of the storm, it’s all in the past, and the sun’s shining again, the roads have dried up, and it’s back to normality. And we’ve seen some outstanding rainbows!
Today, I’ve just lit our pellet burner, as I don’t think we’re going to get the sunshine that the weather forecast has promised. But wait… look at that… the sun has suddenly come out, and not a cloud in the sky. Weather can change quickly here. I’m going outside to warm up and enjoy!