|The trumpet flower plant, a week ago, before the rains.|
© Johannes Bjorner 2013
Not that it has rained continuously throughout the four days, but it has rained every single one of them, and the feeling and experience of rain has permeated the days. It started late Wednesday, as we were in the midst of our third and final game of petanca, nearing 7:00 in the evening. The wind was strong and the clouds were darkening. It rained that night, but nevertheless I got up the next morning and put in a load of laundry, because I had managed to stain both my white pirate pants and my favorite white pullover (100% cotton, made in Denmark but purchased years ago at Garnet Hill in Franconia, New Hampshire) with tomato sauce the night before when I was making dinner. By the time the washing machine was done, the clouds were spewing forth with water again.
Friday morning promptly at 5:00 I was awakened with a horrendous clap of thunder, pouring rain, and noisy winds, but it cleared enough by 10:30 that we were able to sit outdoors comfortably in Los Montesinos for the Fourth Friday coffee hour of the tiny American community that we go to each month. By afternoon we had had more rain, more sun, and then more rain, so that Friday afternoon petanca was cancelled. Saturday morning was also gray and wet. By now I had rescued the whitened laundry that I had hung on the outside line and which had experienced at least two extra rinses, and brought it inside to dry. Then, of course, it cleared again and we took advantage of the day to run out to Quesada to buy some birthday cards, wrapping paper, and have a cup of coffee at the Halfway House. It rained much of the afternoon, but I didn't feel bad about that, because I have a big writing project that I wanted to work on, and if you have to be inside on a weekend day, it might as well be raining. This morning I still had words to write, so I didn't object too much when I heard the rain on the rooftop, though it did mean that I wouldn't go to the outdoor market and purchase the week's supply of fruits, vegetables, and frutos secos. Very often, when the weather is gray in the morning, it clears up by 4:00 in the afternoon, so I just planned to work until the sun came out and then we could go out and enjoy what probably would be a brief respite from our cabin fever.
Sure enough, at 3:51 I noticed that the sun was pouring in my office window. It didn't take much longer before we were out the door--but where to? Stores and shopping malls are not open on Sundays, the outdoor market had long since closed, we did not want a late Sunday dinner in a restaurant. So we drove to Los Montesinos, ten minutes or so away, and found that the metal tables and chairs were sitting out front of El Tambalache bar just as you enter town. I thought it was still too cold to sit at a sidewalk table, so we went inside and enjoyed the ambiance of a neighborhood bar on Sunday afternoon. Five or six men were talking noisily at the bar among themselves and the two men who were standing outside at the pass-through window. A soccer game was on the TV, playing silently because separate audio was playing first English, then Spanish pop music. We ordered a vino tinto and tinto de verano (pushing the summer season a little, I thought) and also picked up a small bag of Lay's Artesanas potato chips, fried in 100% olive oil. Today's regional newspaper was lying on the bar, and as we drank we read the news, a nice savings because, although we often buy a newspaper, we never do on Sunday because it costs so much more that day. A front page story told us that 40 liters of hail had fallen per meter during a 15-minute period the day before in Alicante. Also we read that the waiting time for operations from the public health system has doubled in the last year, due to reductions in staff of medical personnel. The day's cartoon showed a man asking his doctor whether he would come out [alive, presumably] from his operation. The doctor responded tartly: You´ll be lucky to come into the operation!
We were back home in no more than an hour and it still hasn't started raining again yet, but the newspaper said that the "unsettled" weather would continue in the area until Tuesday. Not a good sign for us, as we leave at 7:00 in the morning to take some friends to the train station in Alicante on their way to embark on a cruise. They, at least, will manage to get out of the rain for awhile. Cruise ships have big indoors.