August 2009

This is it! The last day of summer holidays for so many people across the country. Even those who took their month in July will probably feel a bit of dismay because August is a month when little serious work usually takes place – since half the country is still on holiday! But now, things are different. It’s back to work and back to life. It’s time to pay the bills, face the charges made during the summer holidays, get the house organised, stock the pantry and get ready to send the kids back to school. It’s time for “post holiday blues”.
Last week we looked at the hot, dry “terral” wind that blows to the coast from inland Spain. But what about those days when nothing seems to move, when the sky is just a bit overcast and you can feel an almost invisible haze in the air – and it’s hot. There’s a name for that type of summer weather in Spanish. It’s called “bochorno” and the closest translation I can find is “sultry”. When the weather turns “bochorno” and the air is heavy and hot, there’s really nothing to do but go inside and turn up the air conditioner if you’re blessed with one. If not, best to lay low.
It’s time for another Spanish lesson, this time in the weather department. Have you learned the word “terral”? It comes from the Spanish word for “earth”, which is “tierra”. It refers to that hot, dry wind that blows off the inland plains out to see from time to time. In the summer time, “terral” is a real scorcher and brings with it the highest temperatures of the season. You’ll know we are in the middle of a “terral” when you go to bed at night and it’s so hot you can’t sleep.
I can’t help it. Safety is such an important topic I’ve got to post just a bit more information for those of you who enjoy spending summer holidays at our lovely local beaches. Here we are along the calm, passive Mediterranean. What a delight, with warm currents bringing perfect temperatures for swimming, and long stretches of sandy beach feeling so good under our bare feet. Have you seen those red flags they raise at certain points along the shore? It’s hard to believe that there could really be danger off such placid shores.
Andalucia is a sunny, beautiful paradise, a land of endless holiday. This is known as a “safe” tourist destination and, by all practical estimations, it surely is. However, there is one danger that is so often underestimated – and that is found in many easily accessible swimming pools that are open this time of year. Last summer I was shocked to see a child who couldn’t have been more than three years old alone at the edge of a swimming pool in a nearby villa. It was very early and it appeared the rest of the family (visiting on holiday) was still asleep.