An Ex-pat Monthly Experience of Moving to Gandia, Spain - Part 13

7th March 2023
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The Coming of Spring .......


So, dear reader, we seem, finally, to be arriving at that wonderful time of the year that we refer to as spring. The weather forecast intimates that the colder nights are drawing to a close and the thermometer is on the wax, as they say; whoever ‘they’ are! Suffice it to say that the sun is now powerful enough to melt the icicles that have accumulated overnight …. Oh, alright I exaggerate somewhat, but, trust me, (here he goes – Ed) when you’ve been here in Spain for more than a year, you really do become acclimatised. Ten degrees feels like zero! I kid you not! The ’leccy blanket takes a hammering at anything under double figures I can assure you. Right now, with a clear sky, from eleven in the morning until about five in the afternoon it is downright pleasant. The thermometer says it’s ten degrees, but the infra-red of the sun makes it feel double that when there’s no wind. Come five past five and it feels like minus ten! Spain enjoys a mild and warm climate, but you can still experience all 4 seasons, depending on what region you settle in, and in general 320 days of wall-to-wall sunshine per year which is delightful!

With a glorious sun above in a cloudless blue sky, I decided to give the steps leading down into the pool a scrub. The grout does tend to ochre-up during the off season. Here, on our urbanisation we call it ochring. Elsewhere they call it going brown! Nice, our urbanisation. Anywhohow, under the kitchen sink I went for the ubiquitous scrubber tool and on my hands and knees I knelt on the ledge above the steps and plunged my hand into the glass clear water. Being ex-military, I have a reasonable grasp of the vernacular and indeed can hold my own in a general cursing situation, but I ran out of expletives before I had scrubbed the top step and had to remove my arm from the freezing grasp of the liquid nitrogen posing as pool water before completing the second step. Running into the villa and sticking my arm under warm water did stave off the imminent freeze of every red corpuscle in my arm and hand I grant you, but take a lesson from me, don’t stick any part of the human anatomy in your pool before Easter at earliest. It will bite you! Our son did actually jump in at Christmas and I’m still trying to decide whether he deserves the George medal or committing to an asylum for the insane.

All around our beautiful surroundings, the orange pickers are busy filling plastic crates, and the co-operative businesses are flat out sorting, packing and transporting these neon citrus fruits around the planet. Almost every road has stacks of these multicoloured crates leaning precariously around the verges, close to pull offs for the trucks or gates in the fences for the pickers. Locally we have had several new Supermarkets built by one of Spain’s largest commercial outlets. Just looking at the highly coloured produce in them, makes you want to buy. And before you ask, yes there are still many markets in the area, though the produce part of the markets seems to have reduced considerably over the past decade or so. That being said, you can still get really nice vegetables and eggs at a reasonable price, and its good fun just being there talking to the stall holders in your very best Spanglish!

Yes, everything is beginning to burst into life all around us. The terraced valleys just minutes away are looking ready to burst into flower at any moment and indeed many almond trees are already covered in their delicate pink blossom. Around the garden, the flowers on the terrace are starting to show their heads and the fruit trees that Mrs Woman planted a year ago now are covered in tiny buds, showing that they are ready to start growing again. The mandarin tree is showing lots of little globular shapes which we think must be the start of blossom and the lemon tree has new growth in a purple and red hue. Spike, our very first transplant as a small cactus of around twenty-five centimetres up on the top terrace is now a whopping fifty plus centimetres high and branching at the top. It’s all happening!

And just to crown it all, tomorrow we are jumping in the car and driving off to Sevilla to meet our daughter and boyfriend who are flying in on Monday for a few days. Why? Because we can. Living here we can get to the whole of Spain, not to mention, the rest of Europe without hindrance. No, we’re not taking Wolfie this time (What!!! – Ed) because we will be staying close to the city centre and Wolfie is not a city dog. No, he is being cared for by a good friend of ours who will be ‘house sitting’ and looking after everything while we’re away. (With additional sweeties, I feel appropriate – Ed) Actually you can fly to Sevilla here for just eighty-seven euros! But distance travel here is so easy and comfortable by road, with the complete lack of potholes and broken surfaces and the well cared for and smart rest stops every fifteen miles or so along major routes and motorways.

So, you ask, that is all wonderful, but you said that it’s cold when the sun goes down, so what do you do then?  Simples!  Like most villas, we have a lovely big open fireplace and stock up with logs from the local ‘Lena’ supplier. So, it’s on with the Onesies, tea for madam, coffee and a small medicinal snifter for oneself, bikkies for both and engross ourselves, currently, in a well known American sitcom. Then there is the occasional meal out in the evening at one of several nice restaurants in the area, the charity dinner and quiz night once a month, visit friends in nearby Barx, entertain friends from slightly less nearby Xativa. There is rarely a dull moment as we enter spring.

And with every year, there is something new. In our case, I have got involved in playing a part in a new band. Yes, at the grand old age of seventy I am rehearsing with other similar aged rebels for an upcoming concert supporting the local drama clubs new offering, in which three of our spouses are actively involved. But that’s a whole other story.

So, until then, maybe we’ll be seeing you here this year? You’ll be sure of a warm welcome. Leave it a couple of months and you’ll be able to apply ‘warm’ to a lot of things! But for now, spring is springing! How does the old saying go? The spring is sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the birdies is. Well actually in the trees on the hill behind us, including a couple of hawks that have been cruising around of late.

See ya!

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