The rain in Spain...
… falls mainly on the plain according to Professor Higgins in Pygmalion, but does it?
The high tablelands in the centre of Spain, the Iberian massif, actually receive only around 15 inches or 380 millimetres of rain a year. The mountains of Cantabria and the coast at San Sebastián near the Pyrenees get a whole 68 inches or 1800 millimetres dumped on them, and Galicia? The capital of the region, at Santiago, gets a hefty 75 inches or almost 1900 millimetres whilst in the centre, where we are, there is a mere 32 inches or 800 millimetres on average. And the wettest part of Spain? Is actually in the sierras between Cádiz and Málaga with over 2000 millimetres a year. Now that’s a surprise!
Statistics apart, this winter has felt like one continuous deluge and the entire year’s precipitation being offloaded on us in two months.
I think I’m partly feeling the inability to get away for even a week’s sunshine somewhere and I must remember that we at least don’t have the snow under which much of northern Europe and Britain seems to have lain for much of the year. Looking back on my diaries, the last time we had such a soggy beginning to the year, in 2015, we had temperatures of 36°C in June and a rather dry summer. No doubt if that happens again I will be complaining in this blog about the amount of watering I need to do come July… watch this space!
For the moment, the garden is happy with the damp weather.
The daffodils and snowdrops are out and the hellebores (Christmas roses) are looking magnificently regal in their dark purple colours. The winter honeysuckle is attracting the early honey bees and bumblebees which seem to find me a nuisance when I am sitting in their flight path at tea break. More than once I’ve had to duck to avoid a mid-air collision as they single-mindedly head for the nectar. I love that bush. Lonicera fragrantissima was, back in England, a small bush which occasionally flowered for me in January. Here in Galicia it puts growth spurts of up to two feet a year and in mild years even keeps some leaves but it is the sweet smelling midwinter blooms which really make this plant stand out. Growing next to the terrace it provides us with a lovely scent as we sup our morning cuppa.
Our other attraction during tea break is our delightfully cheeky one-legged robin.
He first appeared at the beginning of the year, hopping around the cat’s food bowl and stealing his leftovers. He is perfectly safe from our big tomcat, Clarence, who would no more eat something raw and still feathered than would I. Quite early on we noticed Hoppity (obviously) was favouring one leg, seemingly keeping the other one tucked in. I eventually realised that the foot was bent at an upward angle and useless. A few days later, the foot seemed to be annoying him as he hopped about, pecking at the offending limb. This week the foot seems to have gone entirely leaving a neat peg-leg in its place. Hoppity seems much happier with this arrangement and hops about the cat’s bowl quite contentedly. When I come out in the morning he is there on the balustrade waiting patiently for his breakfast. When I feed the cat he sits, not a foot away, waiting for Clarence to eat before hopping down to pinch the bits of juicy cat food he has left. Clarence seems to view him as an intriguing pet. I’m just waiting for the day Hoppity lands on Clarence’s head while he is still eating. That would be a lovely picture… if it’s not raining at the time!