Tag Archives: Sierra de Cadiz

Like Night and Day

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There are clouds on the horizon – fact, not metaphor. Elsewhere, January has always been an easy month to stay inside and work through. Here though, every other day this year the skies have been royal blue from horizon to horizon and temperatures hover in the low 20s during the day. The working month is now also the month for hiking along pine needle-muffled trails in the mountain forests above me and for lying with a book in the long, herby grass by the henhouse. A few days ago I pushed a kayak into the water and paddled slowly across a mirror-flat lake, only the bells of goats on the banks breaking the silence. Few people use the coast; there are dots suspended from sails above it, and dots in the dunes where you can lie hot hunkered watching the waves unfurling.

That’s day. Night and day are as different as chalk and cheese. Late afternoon the heating goes off; the sun stays up, out and bright but the temperature drops to 4 degrees. The nights then take it from there. Maybe no-one in Philadelphia or Irkutsk would sympathise but when high summer flips to midwinter and catches me hiking in shorts I feel it. 

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October Wild Swimming


There is a reservoir that looks like a loch. It’s about 30 kilometres around and aside from two jetties and the dam, there is nothing to suggest it’s manmade. When I swim from the shore I can feel the tops of drowned trees with my feet – that’s a clue, and when the water level drops very low old walls emerge at the far end where there used to be a bakery and flour mill. This is an Indian summer or quince summer as it’s known here and I’m still swimming in the lake and still the only person swimming in the lake. There are times when I am floating on my back out in the middle when I wonder why is that? Is it because of the crocodile-headed fish that the villagers say hunts in the depths? I hope so because I’m fairly confident it does not exist, though just occasionally when something splashes behind me I do wonder.


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