This is the quietest time of the year here in Frigiliana, and indeed in the whole area. The autumn half-term visitors have gone, many of the 'second home' residents have headed back to the UK or wherever to prepare for Christmas with their families, and of course, the people who will spend Christmas here won't arrive for another three or four weeks.
As a result of all this, those businesses that rely on the tourist and hospitality trade are really struggling, especially as the economic downturn hit their high-season business. Two of our village restaurants have taken the opportunity to close for major refits ready for next year, and two others have simply closed until the end of January.
For those of us foreigners who live here permanently, however,life continues to be pretty good. Temperatures obviously are lower now, but even so we still have afternoon highs of 21 or 22 degrees, and the nights are not yet cold. Also, the November rains have not materialised. I have Accuweather on my iPod, and it frequently indicates rain due in ten days time or so. However, before we get there the rain disappears off the forecast or gets moved back, so it always seems to be ten days away. Great if you're holidaying, but we rely on the rain that comes now and then around February to refill all the reservoirs which have been depleted across the summer. Apart from the odd day now and then, we have not had any real rain since May.


November Contrast

Just back from a week in England. We went over to celebrate our youngest daughter's 40th birthday, which we thoroughly enjoyed. It was also an opportunity to see our granddaughters who are noticeably more grown up (though still only 6 and 3) each time we see them.
The contrast between here and the UK was quite dramatic. At 9 am on the day we left for England, the temperature at Malaga Airport was 21 degrees. At 1.15 at Gatwick it was 12 degrees! We had a week of grey, cold and often wet weather. Then when we flew back, we landed at Malaga in the early evening to 24 degrees. And the weather has continued in that vein every day. I subscribe to Accuweather for online forecasts, and that suggests that although we will see increasing cloud over the next couple of weeks, there should be no rain and daytime maximum temperatures should not fall below 18 degrees.So no sign of winter yet.


All Saints' Day

November 1st is an important day in the Spanish calendar. It is Todos Los Santos or All Saints' Day. Throughout the day, people head for the village cemetery armed with flowers and candles to decorate the graves of loved ones. Then, as night falls, people return to the cemetery as family groups, spending time around the various family graves, exchanging fond memories of those they have lost down the years, and sharing the time with other families. Everything takes place by the light of the candles on the graves. Although the air is full of chatter and laughter, there is an overriding air of reverence. In days gone by the whole village would have passed the entire night in this way in the cemetery, but it is more usual nowadays to drop in for and hour or so, and then return home.
The continuance of this observance is greatly helped by the fact that Spaniards generally stay close to the place of their birth throughout their lives; those who do go away to work, returning at regular intervals. Added to this is the fact that cremation is still relatively uncommon in Spain, although it is gaining in popularity.
I lost my youngest brother earlier this year. He was cremated and his ashes scattered in France. It was brought home to me last night how important it is to have a specific place where you can feel a continuing contact with a lost loved one.


Freak Weather Condition

For most of yesterday a bank of low cloud lay over Nerja, what in my part of the UK would have been called a sea fret, whilst we continued to bask in hot sun. There's nothing particularly unusual in that, but then as sunset approached, the cloud suddenly started to build and roll inland until it was filling the valley between us and the coast. This is something I haven't seen before, as we are some 6km inland, and the village lies at rather more than 300m. It looked absolutely beautiful, as I hope you agree.