I love sunny days.
I like the feel of sunshine on my skin. I like warm summer days.
Today has been sunny; lots of sunshine - but I have hugged shadows as I walked out briefly this morning to buy bread. The canopy and the persianas have been well and truly pulled down. The recently purchased fan has been whirring all day.
And the hardest, the most difficult thing for me to do, after years of living the summer in England - having the windows firmly closed against the sun's searching rays.
At home, when the temperatures rose, all that was needed was to open doors and windows and let a little air current cool things down inside - freshen the hot and heavy indoors air by stirring it up a little. Here - absolutely to the contrary to all the fibres of my upbringing - we have to keep the windows closed as the air outside is much hotter than the air inside. 38 degrees hot to be precise.
It pains me - I have an inner struggle everytime I pass a window. I want to throw them open and cool things down but it doesn't work like that here. I know it's the same for other ex-pats out here - we've discussed the overwhelming temptation to keep doors open - only they can't resist. They open their doors and windows and set local tongues wagging, heads shaking and create much tutting and sighing amongst concerned neighbours.
Cesar keeps me on the straight and narrow.
And our house stays relatively cool.
|Pools of chilly, crystalline water|
The place was stunning; large pools of the clearest, coldest water, bubbling up directly from the mountain source behind it. Lots of trees for shade and places to just sit and 'chill' - it wasn't exactly chilly but once I'd dipped my feet for a few seconds, the 'coolth' began to spread up my body - I could feel the effect of cooled blood. And a few seconds longer and the extreme coldness of the water began to bite, really bite!
Not that this prevented both Romy and Ruy (told you they were brave!) who both went in without much hesitation and eventually came out quite pink with cold.
|I tell you - it was really, really cold!|
|Ruy's first tentative entry - we eventually had to insist he got out!|
As the night started to fall, bats began swooping low over the water and most folk packed up and went home, apart from the group of friends playing guitar and an old couple who were filling up bottle after bottle of water - it tastes delicious, they told us - and they were taking it as it came into the pools, not where we'd been dunking our feet, so perhaps it was.
After rubbing a bit of warmth back into the younger ones and persuading them not to go back in again - that we would come back another day, we ate paraguayos - which is a flat peach-like fruit that's unique to the Spanish mainland, Andalucia in particular - and the kids played 'pooh sticks' and climbed the trees.
|Watching and waiting.|
Then we had to wait a bit longer for Ruy's shoe to float across the pool towards us after Romy had knocked it in by accident at the other side. It took quite a while but it eventually it drifted near enough for us to pull it out and make our way home.
By which time, the temperature here in Alcala had dropped to a manageable 28 degrees and with this, a cooler breeze.
And we could open all the windows - and with an effect that was worth waiting til 10.30 in the evening for - that pleasant 'fresh air' feeling.