Thursday, 23 July 2009

Just a (train)rider in the rain!

On Tuesday evening the weather started to change here and by Wednesday morning the sunshine we have had for quite a while now had turned to rain, sometimes quite torrential. The weather forecast promises better weather by Friday but for the moment the best we can hope for is rain with some sunny periods.

This has prompted the cartoonists into action in the paper. Battling against the July wind and rain, a man comments to his companion in sorrows that in the Arctic summers only last six weeks. This causes his friend to declare that they are very lucky in the Arctic. It doesn’t take much to spark the pessimism.

Of course, one of the problems is that here in Galicia it really KNOWS how to rain. However, we have a theory that although there may be more actual rainfall here than in the Northwest of England, it seems less to us because it falls over fewer days. Hence we seem to have more fine days, at least here in Vigo.

As in other parts of the world, rain affects people’s driving skills. Everyone wants to reach their destination in a hurry but the rain makes the surface slippery and then there are those
bolsas de agua, literally "bags of water", the standing water in the road. Consequently, the papers report 120 accidents in Galicia yesterday. They do seem to like giving us these grim statistics!!

Be that as it may, a lot of rain fell yesterday – twice the total predicted for the whole month in some places! Near Ourense, newspaper reports tell us, a hundred youngsters had to be evacuated from a summer camp because of flooding. I was taken back to my experience of Girl Guide camp next to Lake Coniston when I was twelve or thirteen. England’s Lake District is another of those areas like Galicia which is beautiful when the sun shines but can disappear under clouds for days at a time. On that occasion, back in my childhood, we were also flooded out and spent the last four nights of our stay sleeping in a barn, probably even better than under canvas!

Back to the present day, Wednesday morning saw us on the train to La Coruña in the aforementioned rain. The estuary had faded to silvery grey as the clouds had descended over the whole area. The rain managed to keep off as we walked across the plaza María Pita but we were well equipped with raincoats and umbrellas.

We met friends and friends of friends for lunch, making a group of almost a dozen at the pre-lunch drinks stage. We did that very Spanish thing of just putting more and more tables together to accommodate everyone. And, of course, equally Spanish, our drinks were accompanied by interested things to eat:
empanada, pulpo, zamburiñas.

As some of the men in our party had a bit of a competition to see who could get the fastest internet connection on laptop or net-book, battling for space on the table, a glass of wine was knocked over and I was
salpicada with red wine – a fetching new pattern sprinkled onto my dress – leading to a range of different pieces of advice on what to do: add salt, pour white wine over the red, take it straight to the dry-cleaners!!! As usual, everyone knows exactly what to do!!

Eventually, well fed as ever, we caught the bus back to the railway station. We made a small but not insignificant discovery: La Coruña, as well as being flatter and rather more picturesque than Vigo, also has slightly cheaper bus-fares! The rain was just beginning again but managed to hold off the worst of its efforts until we were home and dry again.

This morning we have had another torrential downpour but the sun has made its way out once more (for how long remains to be seen) and the temperature is going up. It may not be the wall-to-wall sun of the costas but it has already been a better summer than we had last year in the Northwest of England. Keep it up Galicia, say I!


  1. So what happened about the wine stained dress and also what is the difference in the price of the bus service?

  2. I think you should name and shame both the perpetrator and the guy who started it all . . . .

  3. Mike: the dress came clean. No fewer than THREE drycleaners laughed at the idea that it needed THEIR help! One offered advice: soap each stain, rub it well, then put it in the washing machine. Worked a treat.

    Colin: naming and shaming is a bit harsh. You both know who you are. I know where you live!