Tag Archives: winter in Andalucia

Frost on Weeds

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Following my last post on bright sunny days interrupted by cold nights in which temperatures plunge to 5 degrees, it’s now properly wintry. Some days look nice through the window, but they are actually not. The wind, hurtling along the gorge and sending the TV aerial into a spin (the one channel is unreachable), has ice in it. Above the farm the peaks of the Sierra de Grazalema are covered in snow, as are the mountains beyond Ronda.

Or so I’ve been told. I’m staying inside, within arm’s length of a fire, wearing so many layers I can barely bend my arms, and a blanket sarong which makes walking difficult. I type in silk gloves.

Night time temperatures are now well below freezing. Until about 11am, there’s ice in the wheelbarrow, slithers of ice on the inside of the windows, and a thick coating of frost on the olives and weeds. Most strange of all, the world appears muted and misty. It’s a fact that wherever humans live, winter seems to take us by surprise.

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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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