With the summer officially over, my life should be getting back to something like the routine established last year with yoga classes, reading groups and occasional social outings. I’ve signed myself up for a range of activities and I’m ready to go.
So yesterday evening I decided I should try to brave the weather and get myself to the first meeting of the Club de Lectura Francés, French book club at the library. The rain was still falling but there are plenty of buses from our end of town to the centre so it should not have been a problem. Or so it seemed!
By the time I reached the bus stop I was pretty wet but I’m a hardy north of England type and can cope with such stuff. It soon became apparent, however, that no buses were coming our way. The bus shelter was full of local secondary school kids trying to get home and calling mamá or papá on their mobiles. I earwigged one of their conversations and it became clear that to get a bus to the centre I needed to walk through to a parallel street which meant getting even wetter. I gave up and went home, changed my clothes and put my sopping shoes to dry.
I later heard Mayor Abel Caballero on television saying that the city was coping well with the copious amounts of water falling on it. Then it turned out that it was earlier in the day that he said that, commenting on the weekend’s downpour before Monday’s little contribution came along.
Today’s papers were full of reports of the rainstorms. Roads were turned into rivers, making crossing the street a whole new experience. Cars were at a standstill and pedestrians just accepted that buses were not running.
The timing of the rainstorm could not have been much better. School children were trying to get home from the Apostol Santiago school near our flats. The traffic was backed up and school buses could not get in. The “humanización” work going on to improve pedestrianisation of streets in the area did not help as traffic was restricted to one lane. Parents tried to respond to mobile calls from their offspring and just added to the traffic jams. And there was water everywhere! More has fallen in these first few days of October than in July, August and September together. It’s official; I read it in the newspaper!
It was much the same in other more central parts of Vigo where cars were stranded in flooded streets and for part of the evening they had a power cut as well!! Just as well I didn’t get to the library!
I remember a time when there were train derailments in England because of “leaves on the line”. Well it appears that the same thing applies to rain in Vigo. One of the reasons given for the problems was that many of the drains were blocked with fallen leaves!!! The water just could not get away. Another contributing factor was that the really heavy rainfall (82 litres per square metre) coincided with the high tide. Consequently the river Lagares backed up and overflowed and the firemen trying to pump water out of flooded basement had nowhere to put the water they were pumping out. And they had at least 300 emergency calls because of flooding. Chaos all round!!
Compared with yesterday, today has been positively balmy. I managed to walk to my yoga class this morning without getting more than a little damp. By the time I strolled out to lunch with friends I was able to put my raincoat and umbrella in my bag. The sun even came out for a while and the temperatures went up again.
The clouds are back again though. Maybe it IS time we started building an ark!