Hello, Happy New Year - and New Decade. I´m taking over from Brenda as chief blogger here on andalucia.com. Like Brenda, I am married to a Spaniard and have children, although I´m a relative newcomer compared to her, so you´ll have to let me off any cultural faux pas or other embarrassing shows of ignorance. In fact, please tell me what you think, good, bad or anywhere in between – I want to hear from you. After all, what´s a blog without feedback from its readers? Unlike the lion´s share of British and other expats based here in Andalucia, I don´t live on the coast, so my blog may be less coast-centric than previously. That´s not to say I don´t like going to the beach – I do, it was one of the reasons I decided to move to this area – but I live inland, in the countryside, so my view may be different. Anyway, as we start a new year – are they the ´´teenies´´? The ´´twenties´´? so much easier in nice, straightforward, say-it-as-it-is Spanish, isn´t it? – the normally reliable Andalucian sun seems to have done a runner. Most of us have been deluged with endless hours of rain over the Christmas break, with two weeks solid of downpours, causing road closures, collapsed houses and other disasters in the region. Hopefully you weren´t too inconvenienced by it – practically, if not psychologically. I am dependent on the sun for my mental well being, and a few cloudy days can leave me grouchy and desperate for my ´´Lorenzo´´, as they sometimes call the sun here in Spain. I am a firm believer in SAD. Some friends visiting from Rome for New Year were dumbfounded – and visibly disappointed - by the downpours, gales and grey skies they experienced while staying here (bright sunshine back home). Apparently – I´m sucker for statistics – it was Andalucia´s wettest December in 60 years. The positive side of all this is that our reservoirs are back up to a decent level, from being dangerously low. I don´t know about you, but I believe that global warming is a real and serious threat, so droughts scare the living daylights me. So, good news: Andalucia´s reservoirs are now at 60 per cent, compared to 35 this time last year. Cadiz hit the jackpot, with a staggering 362 litres per square metre, providing enough water for the next four years, while other regions should be good for at least the next year. Phew! I try my best not to use too much water, but with two small children and a husband with a mucky job, my washing machine is rarely out of use (on the eco setting, naturally). That´s it for now – may the Reyes Magos bring you lots of lovely goodies (though my kids have had the most fun so far playing in a large cardboard box), and here´s hoping the Cabalgatas don´t get washed away – forecast doesn´t look great. Fingers crossed.