The Rain in Spain
When you move to Spain you come with the idea of cloudless dreamy sunny days. Dipping your toes into the idyllic warm sea and leisurely bar and market wandering, with the odd Tapas thrown in. With exotic evenings lazy in the excessive summer heat, sipping wine and listening to the cicadas. And to be fair, that is the case for most of the year. But then there’s the winter months. No matter where you live, the coast, or up in the mountains, you can’t get away from the bitter cold and rain. And the rain, when it comes, comes down hard and wreaks havoc in its wake. When you watch certain Estate Agents on TV series’ they fail to tell you of the god-awful weather we can experience here in Spain, so I’m here to shine some sunlight on the realism of living here all year round
What they fail to tell you about living in Spain - the rain in Spain!
- When it rains, it rains....and rains. OMG does it rain!!! When that rain flows down off the mountains it finds all the dry riverbeds (Ramblas), and runs a torrent of water over roads, cutting entire villages off. If, like us, there’s a rambla at the end of your drive, you can be cut off from your neighbours. When the water subsides, you are often left with deep ruts in the road, leaving it impassable for a few more days.
- You’ve absolutely no way of drying clothes. For weeks on end, you try, but fail. You end up with awful smelly clothes that even the dog doesn’t want to snuggle up to! However, this year, after 2 weeks of constant rain (with more to come) my husband bought a tumble dryer. Do yourself a favour. Buy a tumble dryer. You’ll thank me! He’s racked up some major brownie points, as well as having sweet smelling jumpers again.
- Houses out here are built for the summer. With their tiled floors, walls, and lack of insulation, they are beautiful cool havens in the height of summer. In the winter months they're bloody freezing caves when you can easily unplug your fridge and save yourself some money.
- I dare even Bear Grylls to come and light an open fire in a Spanish home mid-winter. Stored logs are wet through, and the ones you buy to replace the ones you can’t use, are equally as damp. But you keep purchasing them, living in hope that the latest batch are the perfect logs. They never are! The pine cones and kindling collected during the month leading up to winter are long gone and you've run out of newspaper and magazines, so you use the filter fibres from the new overused tumble dryer! When you finally do succeed and sing “I’m a Firestarter”, it takes a good hour to heat the one room, so you set yourself up on the sofa for the night, despite good intentions of getting more work done. I bet we aren’t the only ones huddled in our sleeping bags, with numerous layers of clothing, in a desperate attempt to warm up. I bet we aren’t the only ones to have exhausted Netflix!
- “But there’s gas fires” I hear you say. OK. Let’s quickly gloss over when finding gas bottles are as rare as rocking horse doodoo, and you’ve no option than to go without a fire, the cooker and hot showers. When they burn, they produce an excessive amount of steam and flood the cold homes with humidity. This cools down on the walls and floors and windows, leaving as much water inside the house as there is on the outside on the rainiest of days. Causing a real problem. You’re cold. You’re freezing. There’s NO WAY that fire is getting turned off. So, the situation gets worse and results in EVERYTHING getting damp. Your clothes in the wardrobe, your bedding, the boxes in the kitchen cupboards, the books on your bookshelf. There’s no getting away from the dampness. Even in your sleep. In the past, we’ve woken to droplets of water coming off the ceiling and dripping on to us in bed.
- “A nice bath to warm up?” If you have one in your Spanish house, that’s rare. If like ours, its metal, then beware. The boiler may say the water is 50 degrees, and feels like it as you step in. Your bum will freeze once it touches the floor of the bath, it’s a shock, I can tell you! Showers are a quick affair in winter. It’s amazing how rapidly you can get dressed after a shower, you’re practically dressed before your last leg leaves the water flow.
- The houses over here remind me of the Lego houses I used to build as a kid, full of flaws! We’ve rented two now and each one has had puddles of water coming in from under the doors and conservatory windows, at the slightest sniff of rain. After three weeks of constant downpours, mopping up water and replacing sodden towels becomes a daily routine, multiple times a day. Even the dog thinks he's got new drink bowls! It’s a real test to your sense of humour as you skid for the umpteenth time across a wet patch and pull a muscle trying to stop yourself falling head first on to the hard tiled floors. We’ve heard lots of stories of leaking roofs; we have been fortunate there. And, of course, you can’t dry those towels off and reuse them. So, best stock up. Set aside a spare room, it will however resemble the stockroom for TowelCompany.co.uk
- Every year since we’ve lived out here, we’ve experienced ‘red rain’ which has left a light sprinkling of Sahara sand over everything. After a quick hose down or jet wash, all is well in the world, and the topic of conversation in the bar reverts to the price of beer in the UK. But during March 2022 things were different. We had two or three days of excessive sand in the air that turned the air orange then a deep red. It was eerie and described as apocalyptic. The sand fell and covered everything in a thick layer of orangeness. The air turned blue indoors because the poor air quality meant that I couldn’t go outside to walk the dog or train for a sponsored walk. Then the rain came, and instead of washing it away as we all had hoped, it mixed with the sand and turned into a sticky red mud. Our dog had days of fun making pretty paw print art. A week in, and we are now experiencing more sand but mixed with the rain, so anything we did manage to clean, is all covered again. Just why would anyone paint their house white over here?!
Move to Spain They Said
I know that this list is at risk of sounding exaggerated. I would like to say it is, but it’s not. I’m currently sitting at my computer wrapped in a duvet, with water round my ankles, a farting dog who doesn’t want to go outside in the rain, that's thrashing against the window so hard that I can’t think. But I’m grateful. Like I am with many things in my life. You take the rough with the smooth. And because this is Spain, in a few weeks, the weather will finally change, and I can’t wait. I will clean the windows, weed the garden from the monster weeds that have relished this season, clean all the outside furniture and cushions and return to sitting in a clean garden, drinking non-alcoholic cocktails, listening to cicadas, the sounds of a perfect Spanish evening.
Watch out for my next blog .......“OMG, it’s too hot!” LOL
Please feel free to share YOUR stories below in the comments...