Well, yesterday was positively autumnal: cloud, greyish skies, a felling of rain (that never arrived) in the air and temps in the low twenties. A not unwelcome change, and a reminder that we are in the Sierra Nevada, with the village tucked into the high hills of Andalucia.
Despite the high temps and blazing everyday sun of the past few months, the snow remains lodged in pockets on the side of the highest Spanish mainland peak, Mulhacen, some miles off above Granada:
Not a great shot but pretty normal for me, and an illustration of the point, taken from down towards the coast
The locals, many of whom have a bit of campo/country land in the hills around the village, are drying their Peppers now, generally hanging them outside to sun-dry. It always makes the houses seem very colourful and gay at this time of the year. These are the type used for the production of that Spanish favourite, Pimenton:
I cropped some of our Chilli plants a few days ago, and now have a significant number of fresh chillis in the freezer for future use. There's still two plants to clear and they are all still growing strongly up on the roof terrace (If anyone knows how long these might be nurtured along, indoors or outdoors, do let me know):
I'm really quite pleased with these - none of them died or suffered under my dubious care!
J arrived on Friday with yet another - hopefully the last - rental car from Malaga airport; her next trip out, after a week here, will be in early October when she comes over by ferry from Portsmouth to Santander with the Kangoo. It will be handy having a car here again, though oddly enough I seldom have a great or pressing need for one. It's too hilly for sensible - ie enjoyably pleasant - cycling around here. And our bikes are still up in Sweden anyway!
We are thinking about the need to return to Sweden and pack up and empty the house but the thought of the enormous journey South to Andalucia is daunting, to say the least. And expensive! 3500 kilometers with fuel, ferry costs from Sweden to Denmark, and tolls on the French and Spanish motorway system all come to an eye-watering amount. And that's before factoring in van hire or removal costs themselves!
It's a chore that we really must undertake before the worst of winter sets in, which could be any time from here on in. Generally, however, the area is clear of threatening snowfall until early December, although we have had it blanket everything in November. Driving is tricky once the freeze and snow take hold, especially without proper studded/winter tyres etc on the vehicles! We have a spare set of wheels with studded tyres up in the garage in Sweden but they are of course for our now defunct Honda CRV!
In addition, once the snow has fallen and lies for a few days, it is very difficult to drive up to the house itself - an essential when moving stuff around. Interestingly, for the Scots among us, the Swedish word for moving is 'flyttning' (Vb Flytta) - so it seems pretty clear (to me at any rate) that the old 'flitting' probably comes from the Norse, Viking invasion period.
Your options are limited when the house track/frontage is like this for almost 6 months!
I looked online at temps/weather in the region a few days ago and it was suggesting a minimum temp of 0 with a daily high of about 11 degrees. So winter is clearly creeping in up there. Our neighbour and friend, Monica, said they were still busy working outdoors on the farm, taking in hay/silage for winter cattle feed although with the hunting season now upon them, Håkan will no doubt be off in search of Älg (Moose) in his hunting grounds/forest. So poor old Monica will be labouring on her own for a bit, I expect. She is used to it but we know it irritates her, though the amount of good quality meat to be had from a kill is splendid. Indeed, we think it one of the best meats available and used always to buy a side or whatever from the local hunters when they had a surplus. It's not gamey like venison, but is a very lean, red beef-like meat. Absolutely wonderful for currying - even better than lamb, in our opinion.
The Swedish estate agent tells us there is quite a bit of interest in our house with his website recording over 1500 hits on it since we put it on the market. At present there are two lots of potential prospective buyers but, like everywhere else, the credit crunch is making it difficult to raise finance even up there, he says. A confirmed buyer would force our hand in going back up, packing and moving the rest of our gear down here to Spain - if nothing else! For now, we'll just keep our fingers crossed.