One of the few things I miss about being in the UK is the way the seasons change. Admittedly, in the Peak District, the seasons seemed to change out of kilter with some other places: the winter could hang on and on – but eventually the spring would arrive. The vivid green of the new leaves on trees in spring, the (intermittent) blue skies and sunshine in summer, the autumn leaves and then the crisp, snowy winter days. They could all have their charm.
Here in the Mizala valley the changes are more subtle. There aren’t many trees – and many of them are olive trees which keep their leaves year round. It’s very dry and sunny and winter days can be as warm as UK summers.
This year has been rather different though. The storms of last December were followed by the first snow in the valley that we had ever seen. We found out later that it was the first snow here since 1939!
The sun soon returned and with it came the almond blossom and the most fabulous array of spring flowers. My photography isn’t good enough to do it justice, but olive and almond groves are now covered in a lilac carpet and tiny yellow and white flowers are everywhere you tread.
Living next to the desert means that we have to be very careful with our use of water. We get very little rainfall here – usually.
However, in December 2016 we had rather a lot…
Roads were washed away and bits of the landscape were completely transformed. The dry river bed became a roaring torrent and vegetation was swept away. Terraces collapsed and huge holes appeared seemingly out of the blue.
We live in a very dry part of the world. We are right next door to the only desert in Europe. We are on the mains here for water, but you wouldn’t know it most of the time. On the rare occasions when we do get water via the mains, the pressure isn’t enough to get up to the tanks at the back of the house, so we have to pump it up from a small tank at the front.
For a while we had the “bucket of hope” (see the blog post Mark’s philosophy) positioned under a stand pipe, but now we have got used to ordering a tanker when the supplies get low.
Sometimes the water pressure gets turned up – and then we get lots of lovely water, but it’s difficult to predict when this will happen. Sometimes, if the pressure is turned up too high, there are leaks in the pipe – and then the water supply will stop altogether.
We did discover why we were unlikely to get any water after one particular leak. Although someone had been out to “fix” it, the solution wasn’t likely to allow much water through to us.
The fix was simply to bend the pipe over and tie it up with some string…
The very windy weather has brought down lots of branches so I have been collecting kindling for the fire. I also picked lots of last year’s crop of almonds that were still clinging to our trees. They still seem edible, though dried out. They burn very well though and look quite beautiful in the fire: like rich jewels.
I glanced across the valley from the terrace yesterday morning and did a double-take. I couldn’t work out what the large white fluffy shapes were – they hadn’t been there the day before. Giant sheep? Surely not. Continue reading Giant sheep?→
On the BBC weather site you can choose more than one weather forecast to sit side by side on the computer screen. It’s made me smile today: I degree here and 16 degrees in Almeria. Continue reading The weather forecast→
I’m writing this on a very stormy night in the Peak District with the rain lashing at the window and the wind howling round the house. Apparently the weather is lovely in Almeria. Continue reading Off to Spain very soon→