A Busy Day Tomorrow

On the 28th February 1980, a referendum was held in which the people of Andalucía confirmed their wish to form an autonomous community under the new constitution being prepared as a result of the death of Franco and the restitution of the monarchy under Juán Carlos I. That event is celebrated annually as El Día de Andalucía, a public holiday.
Democracy is a precious and at times delicate flower in Spain and so tomorrow at 11am, we will gather at the flagpole in Parque de Andalucía (Andalusia Park). There will be a speech from the mayor, the Andalucían flag will raised and the Hymn to Andalucía will be sung accompanied by the village band. The band will then lead everyone through the streets of the village to La Plaza de las Tres Culturas (Three Cultures Square) where there will be an artisan market with stalls by local crafts people and local food producers.
As if recognising the significance of all this, the weather has responded in kind. When we set off for England ten days ago we left behind temperatures of 11 to 13 degrees; we have returned to 17 to 19 degrees. Winter is not yet over, but it feels as though we have turned the corner.


A Short Trip To England

Last Wednesday we flew over to England on a short but enormously important visit. My godson, Dan, the younger son of my youngest brother married his fiancée, Laura in a civil ceremony at a beautiful barn near Winchester. We stayed with our elder daughter and her two girls on Wednesday and Thursday, and then on Friday drove to a hotel about five miles from the wedding venue. Other family members stayed there too, so eleven of us sat down together, including Dan, for a family dinner. I was asked to choose a red wine. The prices horrified me, to be honest, but there at the lower end of the price range was a Tempranillo, Garnacha blend from the Cariñena region of Spain, a type of wine that I have a lot of time for. It seems to have been a popular choice because by the end of the meal I had downed quite a lot more than was wise.
Our two daughters and our granddaughters travelled down on Saturday morning and the marriage of Dan and Laura at one o'clock was a wonderful start to a great day of celebration, marred only a little by the icy wind when all the guests gathered on the lawn at 11.30 to wave off the new Mr and Mrs Hurdley, all of us waving sparklers, which to be honest gave off virtually no heat at all. I would have preferred to wave a patio heater. Anyway, we're now back home where it's noticeably warmer


Wrap Up Warm

There are two ‘difficult’ months in Frigiliana, February and August. These are the months when we hit our temperature extremes. In August, as I already commented in previous posts, the temperature climbs into at least the mid-thirties and possibly even higher. In February the problem is cold, often combined with high winds adding a wind chill factor. This year we are experiencing more cold than usual. An Atlantic anticyclone is pushing the air from Central Europe across Western Europe and through into the Iberian Peninsula. In the north of Spain conditions are horrendous. More than two hundred people had to be rescued from their cars by the Civil Guard and the army’s emergency units. Roads are closed due to deep snow, overturned trucks and abandoned cars. Brits landing in Santander a couple of days ago to head down to our region to enjoy some winter sun, have instead had to sleep on floors in hotel lounges and local sports halls until the weather improves, though it is forecast to get even worse through today and tomorrow. Doubtless they won’t have packed for such conditions and must be feeling utterly miserable right now. Where we are it’s nowhere nearly as bad as that, but we have snow on the mountain tops. Our daily maximum temperatures are around ten degrees, though the wind makes it feel much colder, and the over night last night was zero degrees. The effect of the cold is exacerbated for us by the fact that Spanish houses and apartments might better be considered brick tents when it comes to thermal insulation. We have no loft insulation, for instance, because we have no loft. The other side of our ceilings you have the roof terrace; in between only concrete. So February is a month to be endured rather than enjoyed. More so than August. In August, when the heat of the day starts to dissipate around nine o’clock in the evening, people can go out and socialise out of doors. In February you stay indoors in the evenings as it’s too cold to go out and about, and even if you did go out, you’d likely meet no one. Except tonight. A group of us get together every six weeks or so and meet for a meal in a local restaurant, usually a couple of dozen people, so it’s all organised ahead of time and we get a limited choice, set menu at a keen price. Tonight is one of those group meals, so it will be wrap up warm and head off through the village to La Bodeguilla, for a typical Spanish meal washed down with good Spanish wine, and an evening among friends.