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Posts Tagged ‘seasons’

One of the delights of living in the north of Tenerife is that, although we’re now into our fifth month of proper summer (glossing swiftly over September’s propensity to cloud over in the afternoons at the moment) and looking forward to another six weeks or so of it, we do still have seasons.

With November comes the rain, usually tremendous monsoon showers which swell the summer’s parched earth. Then the nights grow cooler signalling time to put the quilt back on the bed. By late December or early January we’re ready for the winter’s first fire, when the logs are brought in to sit by the wood burning stove, the kindling is laid and the ritual first flames fill the living room with their flickering glow.

Of course, having a wood burning stove means you have to have wood, and lots of it. Stoves are hungry and can eat their way through a wood pile in no time. Last winter was the longest and coolest we’ve experienced since moving here and left our wood supply seriously depleted. So when a couple of weeks ago our neighbour gave us 18 small pine logs, the remains of trees that had been pruned to death last year, it was very good news indeed.
The logs were gratefully received and ‘temporarily’ dumped onto the back terrace where they made a great deal of mess of sawdust, pine resin and dirt.

Our new rustic feature...

Our new rustic feature...

A couple of days later we offered to host a meeting of our friends and colleagues John (Sorted Sites), Julie (Tenerife Tattle) and Colin (Colin Kirby). The weather was extremely hot and the shady terrace was the perfect venue so something had to be done – fast.
Laying the logs diagonally in front of the kindling store at the bottom of the path was the ingenious solution. We created an instant rustic feature that hid the messy kindling pile and provided a rather elegant staircase for Whiskas to use at the same time. Purr-fect (ouch).

Whiskas new staircase

...and Whiskas' new staircase

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As a visitor to Tenerife, you’re likely to discern only minor differences between your January and your June holiday. In January the backless dress you’ve been saving for your last Saturday night when the tan would be optimum may have to stay in the suitcase, or you may decide to wear it anyway and go for that ‘I may be frozen but hey, check out the tan’ look, but other than that, the long sunshine hours and the flowering bougainvillea will be pretty much constant.

jasmine cascades over the terrace wallBut in the garden, spring arrives with an assault on the nostrils when the jasmine and wild freesias come into flower filling the air with their transient scent which drifts through the windows and causes me to almost hyperventilate in my attempts to greedily drink it all in while it lasts.
As well as being perfumed, the air has notched its temperature up a few degrees heralding the abandonment of socks and the return of sandals. For feet which have been cosseted for the past 2 months that can only mean one thing; some sun and a varnish make-over.
So when yesterday dawned glorious with a monotone sapphire sky and temperatures in the high 20s, I headed to that litmus test of spring’s arrival – Puerto’s main beach of Playa Jardín.

As I suspected, on arrival at the beach, the tell tale signs were evident. The rows of sunbeds which decorate the rear of the beach are normally almost fully occupied by the dark brown, oversized bellies and non-too-pert, naked breasts of the retired British and German ‘swallows’ who over winter in Tenerife and for whom tanning is a way of life. Yesterday, hardly any of the sunbeds were occupied, the swallows having flown north for Easter and the summer.

Instead, one or two Spanish mainlanders were sitting below their brightly coloured umbrellas on the water’s edge where they wouldn’t have far to walk if the urge for a dip came upon them. Most of the middle ground was occupied by young, good looking Canarios for whom the warmer air had tempted them to cast their clouts and allow the sun to turn their perfect bodies a shade more golden. It’ll be another month and another five degrees or so before their parents venture onto the sand; for them, the prospect of a day on the beach in winter is about as tempting as a January dip at Scarborough.

The spring tides, which last week had been gathering pace filling the ocean with white caps and smashing against the harbour wall, had taken the day off and were gently lapping the shore as if they were the Med. The lifeguard changed the flag from yellow to red but nobody took any notice, including the waves, and after a while the lifeguard lay down on the sand with his head propped on one arm, ready to spring into…well, a snooze.
As the sun rose higher the sand became hotter prompting the inevitable spate of the phenomenon known as ‘Daniel Craig to Lee Evans in the space of sea to towel’ to occur up and down the beach.

I lay back listening to the strains of ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ coming from an ice cream van in the distance which had at first evoked a sense of nostalgia and a mild curiosity as to what exactly the line “stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni” meant, but had begun to feel like the onset of insanity as it played over and over and over again.

In the land of eternal spring, how do you know when the seasons change? It’s in the sights, sounds and smells.

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