The Good News And The Bad News
September has arrived and with it, cooler weather. There is a precision here that I have noticed in previous years and which I am at a loss to explain. For the past six weeks or thereabouts we have had daily maximum temperatures ranging between 32 and 37 degrees, and overnight lows of around 23 to 25 degrees. And so it continued through last week. But yesterday was the first day of September and our maximum was 27 degrees; overnight it fell to 17 degrees and today’s high is 24 degrees. My online weather forecast tells me that this is the pattern for the next 14 days. How does the weather know the date so accurately? A stupid question, I know, but it does it year in, year out. It can’t be just coincidence - can it? Whatever the reason and whatever the mechanism, this is the good news. Our electricity costs will be less as we shan’t need the aircon and the fans. It is pleasant to go out and about again during the day, and soon we’ll be able to take up serious walking again. That is on a personal level. On a wider consideration, we should hopefully have seen the last of the horrendous fires like the one I wrote about last time; the countryside is still tinder-dry, but it’s unliklely that we will see a repeat of “the three 30s”. I only learned yesterday of this rule of thumb that brings the emergency services to full alertness: If you have temperatures of 30 degrees or above, and you have wind speeds of 30 kmh or above and you have humidity of less than 30%, then you have all the necessary ingredients for major wildfires to break out. I’ve titled this post ‘The Good News And The Bad News”. The bad news, too, is a consequence of the arrival of September, though this hopefully is a one-off situation. To combat the current economic crisis (or if you are on the paying out end, to exacerbate it!), the Spanish government announced changes to IVA rates (VAT) with effect from 1st September. The 8% rate is increased to 10%, the 18% rate is increased to 21% and the 4% rate, imposed on items judged necessities, is abolished, being replaced by either the 10% or the 21% rate. So up go all the prices yet again, and in addition to permitted increases in gas and electricity prices which are effectively backdated to allow the utility companies to make up the ground lost when these prices were frozen in the autumn of last year. So actually, not using the aircon and the fans means we won’t pay as much more as we might have done. Moreover, public sector employees, who last year saw their pay cut by around 5%, now have to work an extra two and a half hours a week with no extra pay to accompany it.