CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Thursday, 2 March 2006

We don’t have winter here!

As I sit, wrapped in four layers of clothing in my unheated (and leaking everywhere) house that was built only for hot weather (only three months of the year here in north Tenerife), this had such a ring of familiarity:

"Either every year for the past few generations has been miraculously colder than the last, or the locals are suffering from some serious short-term memory loss which has resulted in complete ignorance when it comes to indoor heating."

Personally, I go for total denial.

But I can't even pretend to understand why.

There is no doubt that the climate has changed here in recent years, but if it gets cold in Tenerife - and surprisingly it does and always has - then it must have always done so in Cádiz.

There are some old houses in high areas in Tenerife that have fireplaces. This one does, actually, but it was blocked up long ago and the cooker has been placed in the alcove.

New houses don't have chimneys, other than the ones rising up from outdoor barbeques, but it definitely gets cold.

My mother comes here every Christmas with heavyweight, warm clothes she would never need in her centrally heated house in England. In fact, she leaves them here. I think I have more of her clothes in my cupboards than my own now. The thick fleecy track pants I am wearing are hers!

When she was wearing these trousers with my chunky boots, an oversized T-Shirt and in a moment of warmth, slipped her fleece jacket off the shoulders, she only lacked a baseball cap to be a perfect picture of the only 81 year old "rapper" in the known world. The spoil-sport wouldn't let me take a photo!

Because of the cold, tiled floors, we bought her a poof to take her feet off the floor and when she sits to watch TV or knit in the evenings, she wraps up in a microfiber blanket. I've got it round me now while I sit at the computer. Now I'm the one doing a perfect impression of a "little old lady".

Today has been awful, again, weather wise in Tenerife.

Earlier in the afternoon, just as I was taking madam dog out for her ablutions, wrapped in my newly acquired waterproof with the hood that a lifeboat man would be proud of, hiking boots, et al, I met one of my neighbours coming up the hill.

The roar of the waterfall coming down our apology for a road and the normally dry barranco under the bridge at the end of my drive was so loud, I could hear it from the house.

The road was running a great torrent of muddy water.

But, what do you do? The neighbour had to get past it somehow, because it is the only way to her house across the valley. We wrapped her normal suede shoes in carrier bags and I went with her up the road to ensure she didn't slip. My boots may be non-slip, but at ankle high, they were useless when wading knee deep in fast running water. Picture it, with my track pants rolled up like a holiday-maker on a British beach!

So, I now have a perfectly useless, totally soaked pair of boots, sitting on top of the dehumidifier (that I keep going 24/7/365). I'm freezing, but with scant hot water, can't get a bath to warm me up and wouldn't like to get out into the cold air. Welcome to sub-tropical paradise!

Pamela is a former accountant, recovering journalist and international cat herder, disabled and chronically sick with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Fibromyalgia and Cervical spondylosis, fluent in three languages; English, Spanish and Rubbish. Mostly writes in the latter. She likes Genealogy, Model Railways and Cats.

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