Today it is cold, grey and raining as it should be at this time of the year, but once again we are having a very dry winter so a day like today is unusual. More common recently has been the wind. Indeed for almost a week we had strong winds frequently gusting up to gale force, although thankfully that seems to have passed. Further north, however, the weather is bitterly cold and there have been heavy snowfalls, not something which people would generally associate with Spain. Spain is a mountainous country. Madrid, the highest capital city in Europe is 2,100ft above sea level, and Granda which is only an hour and a half from her, lies at 2,400ft. This offsets the effects of the Mediterranean and so snow and ice is quite common during the winter. Indeed, Granada nestles at the foot of the Sierra Nevada which is a popular skiing destination, and contains the highest peak on the Peninsula, Mulhacen, t 11,000ft. We will probably see snow on the highest peaks behind us when the cloud clears again Even so, last weekend the village was out in force, dressed in pretty flimsy fancy dress to parade through the streets to celebrate Carnival. The procession was led by a group of samba dancers dressed more appropriately for a Rio carnival than a winter one.. Our elder daughter and a friend came over for a long weekend which managed to begin just after Carnival finished and end yesterday, just before the rain came. The weather during their stay was favourable for a couple of walks in the surrounding countryside during the course of which they encountered the dread processionally caterpillar. Fortunately they had been warned to look out for them and treat them with respect; the caterpillars do enormous damage to pine trees, but also defend themselves if threatened by firing off a cloud of the hairs which cover their bodies and which contain a severe irritant to the skin.

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