Autumn is a gorgeous season here in the Vinalopo. Mornings start cold and misty; sometimes the town and the line of the river are swathed in mist and you can only just see the castle and at other times the mist comes right up to the wall behind the pool and the mountain behind us is completely covered. When I let the dogs out at 6.15, they hurtle along the marble drive and then hurtle back before sniffing industriously around the gravel drive. The mist seems to make whatever smells are around more deliciously pungent than normal. The sun rises steadily over the mountains to the east leaving us in a bowl of shade for half an hour until it is high enough to light up the whole valley.
As the sun burns the mist away dew sparkles on the grasses and plants in the fields, the castle and the mountains emerge and by 9.00 when I leave for work the sky is bright blue, the air is crisp but the warmth of the sun is can gradually be felt.
This year the autumn colours are particularly beautiful although more subtle than the riot of reds and golds I love so much in England that, when the sun is shining, in my view cannot be beaten. The leaves on our grape vine are turning a soft crimson and beige and are this year, staying on the vine. Down in the valley different varieties of grape vine turn burgundy, purple and brown and the few trees that aren’t evergreen pines of varying shades of green or the silvery green of the olive groves are holding onto their yellowing foliage. It is a patchwork quilt of muted colours made fabulous by the sunshine.
The mornings, especially if you are in the shade are quite chilly and I need a jacket and long trousers first thing. The Spanish of course are mostly wrapped up in anoraks and scarves “que hace frio” but Steve resolutely dresses in shorts and T-shirt adding a token sweatshirt in the morning unless he is going into the fields to prune the almonds when long sleeves and trousers are necessary to protect him from the scratchy branches. Come midday the sun is hot and in the UK people would be stripping off and sunbathing. In fact we can spot a Brit a mile off as they are the ones wearing shorts and sandals in town whilst the Spanish are as previously mentioned wearing coats and scarves. The differences in temperature are amazing – in the sun it is hot enough to feel uncomfortable in a jumper but in the shade it can be significantly cooler. Yesterday, I got so hot whilst out with the dogs that I had to take my shirt off and walk in my vest top wishing I had shorts on rather than the jeans that had been so comforting first thing.
As the sun sets, the temperature drops rapidly and sitting on the terrace is no longer an option, for me at least. Time to retreat indoors to the warmth of the house where we have just started putting the heating on in the evenings. The work we had done last year to increase the size of the radiators has made a huge difference making the house much more comfortable. We are revamping the woodburner in the sitting room, replacing the cracked glass and painting the outside. I have been meaning to do it for some time but the threat of cold weather has brought focus and a new piece of glass has been ordered, the surface rubbed free of rust and special paint purchased. I really hope to get it done this weekend.
The weather is due to change next week with cooler temperatures and the possibility of rain. I’m not complaining.