Monday, 23 April 2012

The rain in Spain falls mainly on Galicia - April 18

Whatever Prof Higgins persuaded Eliza to recite, the rain in Spain does NOT stay mainly on the plain. Indeed and regrettably the evaporations of the Atlantic and the Bay of Biscay in particular do their precipitation mainly on Galicia. Or so it feels just now. This is not entirely unexpected as most reports do say that it rains on about 150 days each year in this north western corner of the peninsular. But three things persuaded me at least that we might be luckier than so far has proven the case. One, the area was in a drought before we arrived. Two, those 150 days are mostly supposed to be between September and February. And the tradition is that it rains on 150 days NOT that it rains almost continuously on those 150 days... Proof that the guide books could be well off the mark came from a Spanish lady in shop who happened to be brought up in Pimlico (!) - she apologised for the rain but said it was worse in JULY!
Umbrellas are a key ingredient in Galician life, obviously. They come in many shapes and sizes and spend much time being carried furled ready for the next shower. They do not seem to dry however. Thus it is that many are plastic, especially those used by small Spanish schoolgirls. These seem often to be those very deep clear plastic objects that permit forward vision. Carried by a six year old the bottom edge at the back can leave a wake as they walk.
Happily we brought our brollies, several folding and ione golf umbrella, the only asset of any value left to me by Worldcom as it happens. We did so on the basis of experience. Back in the 80s we holidayed for a week or two in Portugal but were so close to the Spanish border that we drove across to visit Seville. Wonderfulo drive over freshly stripped tarmac and exposed ironwork where the new A road was to go. Miles of it. But I digress. Arriving in bright sunshine in the Andalucian capital we parked beside the cathedral (oh yes we did!) and set off to explore. Out of said clear blue sky fell enormous drops of rain in vast numbers. Magically, along the road umbrella vendors appeared! So we made good our oversight. The rain of course stopped immediately. Maybe there is something in this Mary worship after all. And a few years later in early season we took a house above Cordoba with daughter Sarah and her family. It rained solidly for a week, such that we took to daily checking the water level in the large reservoir a few metres above our house...
So we know about Iberian rain.You don't get an Atlantic seaboard to the west for nothing. And up here in verdant Galicia the old saw is true - How did we think it got be so green?

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