Tag Archives: weather

Mist after rain

This morning the mist was so thick we couldn’t see beyond the terrace. It was as if we were standing on the edge of a cliff, a bit like the film Gorillas in the Mist except we have neither Dian Fossey/Sigourney Weaver nor gorillas here. But it is a reminder that we are 500m above sea level. Today the temperature is predicted to be 13° while on the coast at Marbella it is 18°. Up here, with the gorillas, sound was deadened, nothing moved, no birds sang, even the ants were not marching across the terrace. mist after rain1 19-3-13 (2)mist after rain4 19-3-13 (2)mist after rain2 19-3-13 (2)5 to remember
como – as if
el borde – the edge
un precipio – a cliff
una película – a film
un gorila – a gorilla

How quickly the sky changes

On this day last year we had the mother of all storms here. Soon, the sky cleared and there was no evidence in the sky of the tormenta. Nature’s way, I guess, of moving on. The wind chases the grey clouds away… so the sun and blue sky start to dry the sodden ground. after the storm has gone1 1-4-13after the storm has gone2 1-4-13sky after storm1 19-3-13 (2)sky after storm2 19-3-13 (2)to remember
el año pasado – last year
rápido/a – quickly
las pruebas – the evidence
pronto – soon
una tormenta – a storm

The river in spate

The noise of the pounding water is the signal that a waterfall lays ahead. When the river is in spate like this, anything that falls in the water is swept away quickly and battered against the rocks.

5 to remember
el ruido – noise
la piedra – rock
rápido/a – quickly
el torrente – spate
estar crecido – to be in full spate [river]

After the Christmas rains

Yesterday was the first day of sun after the Christmas rains. Blue sky, childlike fluffy white clouds, birds singing, our molino whirring like a train [great, it’s filling up our batteries]. We ventured out in our wellies to explore the extent of the wetness. Our first destination, as always after rain, is the bridge at the bottom of the valley.

The water was flowing fast beneath the bridge, and there was a thin layer of sand underfoot suggesting that the river had at some point flooded over the top. bridge - fast flowing water2 4-1-14bridge - fast flowing water1 4-1-14The water was sludgy, full of leaf debris, muddy brown. debris in river 4-1-14dirty river 4-1-14dirty water 4-1-14Further up the valley, the Thyme Track was a little sticky underfoot. Sticky for the wild boar as well as us: lots of hoof prints to follow! horse corner 4-1-14The holm oaks look a little worse for wear, losing more of their leaves than normal at this time of year [they are not deciduous, instead shedding a few leaves all year round]. Some are orange and yellow-toned [below], I think more because of the autumn drought. This rain should help remedy that. dried-out holm oaks 4-1-14That was the morning. Two hours later, the heavens opened again and the wind howled.

5 to remember
ayer – yesterday
ingenuo – childlike
esponjoso/a – fluffy
el tren – the train
el runrún – whir [of machine]

Vulnerability

Life in our valley sometimes seems like we are wrapped in a cocoon, safe from the outside world. We had a rude awakening four years ago when the benign weather turned angry. It was the biggest storm we had seen here, have seen here, and it taught us to prepare for flood.

The river changed character.mad water in feb 16-2-10picnic field flooded 17-20-10So much rain fell late December 2009/early January 2010 that the river, which runs through the bottom of our valley, swelled to previously unseen proportions. The track which links our house to the main road, two miles away, passes our house and continues downhill to the valley floor. It crosses the river via a low concrete bridge and peters out at the gate to our two neighbours’ distant properties. debris1 17-2-10debris2 17-2-10The only people who pass this way are olive farmers tending their groves, and our neighbours on their occasional holidays. The river washed away the concrete bridge. In February the water was still flowing over the crossing at a higher than usual level [below]. Only tractors could pass. The water was 2ft deep.broken bridge in feb 17-2-10The power of the water changed the course of the river, rounding out curves, cutting new routes with a force that was frightening. It broke concrete and hurled 2m long drainage pipes onto the riverbank as if they were pieces of Lego. Upriver, the waterfall thundered and roared… there was something fascinating about the waterfall which drew us often to stand and admire nature at its wildest.waterfall in feb after storm 16-2-10A meeting was hastily convened between the neighbours, the local farmers who needed access to the valley, the village builder and the alcalde, the mayor. There was much discussion, nothing was achieved except an agreement that nothing could practically be done until the flood waters receded and the land dried out. We simply had to wait for the amount of water to reduce, which meant the rain had to stop falling on the hills around us. It continued to rain and what we had only known as a large stream continued to be a raging torrent, pulling with it the trees and shrubs which lined the riverbank. It was dank and brown, filthy, churned up with mud and debris from the hills, farmer’s fields and olive groves for miles around.twigs & the flood in feb 16-2-10Money would be found from the council budget, we were assured as access to properties was a priority. Money was not the reason of the delay. Spain’s economic crisis was already building.footbridge - juan cardenas' only way in 17-2-10Access to our house was unaffected as it sits high up the hillside, but the holiday farms of our two neighbours were inaccessible except via a dangerous, flimsy wooden footbridge [above]. For months, both families were unable to visit their homes. Everyone waited for the land to dry.

By April, the level was receding. The waterfall [below] looked reassuringly normal, the water was clearer.the waterfall in april 14-4-10It was possible to ford the river at the old bridge [below] in a 4×4 and, carefully, by car.the broken bridge in April 14-4-10By May, nature was healing itself. Shrubs came into leaf, the ugliness covered by green [below]. For once we were thankful for weeds. New growth covered the red gashes in the riverbank where soil had collapsed and been borne away on the water to a lower stretch of countryside where the river meandered calmer and quieter than in our secret valley.the river recovers in may 15-5-10By July [below] the river had slowed, algae moved in.water low at bridge in july 17-7-10The bridge was rebuilt in August 2010.

5 to remember
el capullo – cocoon
seguro/a – safe
una sorpresa muy desagradable – rude awakening
benigno/a – benign
enojado/a – angry

The first fire

Last night we lit the fire for the first time this autumn. the fire1 17-11-13the fire2 17-11-13We’d seen the weather forecast: a cold front moving south from the Arctic, so we knew colder air was on the way. So we filled the log basket and laid the fire. I’d forgotten how instant the heat is from our wonderful log burner. log basket filled 17-11-13fire from above 17-11-13And the orange glow of the flames was reflected in the sky outside with yet another wonderful sunset. We sat outside and watched the sky catch fire, but as soon as the sun was gone we noticed the chill in the air. sunset1 7-10-13 (2)sunset2 7-10-13 (2)I don’t mind the change of seasons when they creep up on me like this, when the sun is still warm on my skin at mid-day but the house is toasty in the evening. close-up of flames 17-11-13

5 to remember
anoche – last night
por la primera vez – for the first time
el otoño – autumn
el pronóstico del tiempo
– the weather forecast
el Ártico – the Arctic

After the storm has gone

The sky today has gone through so many iterations, at midday it was as dark as dusk, at 5pm the sun has broken through the dense dark storm clouds and we can turn off the electric lights in the house. Today’s storm has brought thunder and lighting, wailing wind, and the sound of constant dripping as the drains from the balconies overflow onto the terrace. after the storm has gone2 5 19-3-13 (2) The steely grey clouds whizz across the sky now, here and then out of sight. White puffy cotton wool clouds give the sky the look of a small child’s painting.  At the northern end of the valley, the sky is brilliant azul as if there has been no rain. In the west, the blue is breaking through the pale grey cover. In the east and north, the sky is still dark grey and menacing. The weather forecast promises the sky will clear overnight and tomorrow there will be sun.

5 to remember
el gemido del viento – the wailing wind
la luz – the electric
el balcón – the balcony
las tuberías del desagüe – the drains
el norte – the north

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
After the storm has gone: #Spain in April #nature via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-a5

Sky after storm

There’s just been the loudest thunderstorm here we’ve ever experienced. The rain drummed down, the light as dark as at dusk, and its 11am. sky after storm1 19-3-13 (2)For a brief interlude of 10 minutes, the rain slackens off and mist lifts a little in the valley. Weak sunlight comes from between the clouds and everything seems sharper, the green of the new leaves is more vibrant, the black tree trunks are Blackest Black, and the silver of the poplars looks metallic. sky after storm3 19-3-13 (2)Then the rain comes down again. Minutes later the wind has cleared the sky and it is azure blue again. sky after storm2 19-3-13 (2)5 to remember
una tormenta – a storm
el rayo – a streak of lightning
el relámpago – a bolt of lightning
verde – green
vibrante – vibrant

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Sky after storm: an azure blue sky after a crashing thunderstorm in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-9g