How has it been in rainy, foggy old Great Britain lately? Cold… heating still on, even in summer? I remember the UK being described in a well known film as a land of terrible weather, worse food and Mary Bloody Poppins!
Apart from British food being unloved by Spaniards, I am still surprised they poke fun at our illustrious weather. Are they right? Don’t they realize we need the calories in all that fried food and Yorkshire pudding to cope with the cold?
When I moved to the Costa Blanca, I too was taken in by all those estate agents’ websites that tell you how the World Health Organization voted the Costa Blanca as the best climate to live in anywhere in the world…
Oh really!!! Hadn’t they heard of Spanish ‘flu? What about gota frias? You won’t actually hear that word until after you have bought your Spanish house.
Gota fria literally means cold drop, but actually it is the word for an extreme but not uncommon weather event that affects the Costas through autumn to spring. To fully visualize the idea, try to imagine someone emptying a bucket of water over your head, but the bucket is the size of a small planetary body and will take anything between a day and two weeks to empty. Older style Spanish homes generally have windows that are not impervious to this phenomenon and it will not be long before water starts to find its way into everything. It is not unusual for lives to be lost during a gota fria , as the normally dry rivers swell and then break their banks. The force of water can be so great that cars and trees can be swept away like match sticks.
I decided to get rid of all my warm sweaters and bulky winter wear on arriving in the world’s most perfect climate. I found that the climate was actually slightly less than perfect in the Winter. In fact, it could be argued that it can get bloody cold at night, as older style Spanish houses on the Costa are not designed to be lived in year round. Poor or virtually zero insulation being the main problem, but in our area penetrating damp air also. Within a short period of time, I was down at the market re-buying sweaters and woolly hats, the very things I had thrown away some time previous. My shoes and trousers acquired a green hue as mildew and mould thrived in the mushroom laboratories that pass for Spanish wardrobes.
Of course no estate agent is going to tell you that the absence of central heating is going to be a problem, or that if you are unlucky enough to have Spanish style under floor heating, that it will cost the gross national output of a small country to run.
Eventually, the Spanish winter does finally come to an end, winter winds and rain abate and soon you will have forgotten how you suffered. I suppose it is still an improvement of sorts, as my recollections of life in Yorkshire were that winter never ended.
Thanks to Guy Richie for the quote from Lock Stock and apologies of course to Julie Andrews who continues to blight my childhood memories.