Fifty Shades of White

I was thinking today, as I watched ( from my sunbed ), my husband re-paint yet another white wall , how often they need doing ,and also the things that are very different here. I am talking about trivial domestic-y sort of things that if you live in Spain you get used to , but to start with can fill you with horror.

Yes, we have the glorious hot sun shining down on our startlingly white walls, sea breezes wafting through the doors and windows, that we have thrown open all day, but it comes at a price. I am not moaning ,as I wouldn`t have it any other way, I adore this climate, but it is interesting how we adjust to different routines. Something that we are all doing at present .

White paint, white wood, white plastic, and white fabric does not always remain white here!

The sun doesnt bleach white white, if you get my meaning. It can turn it grey, cream or a grubby yellow. Aaagghh. So basically, you have to keep everything out of the sun, which you cannot do of course . And I am a BIG fan of white. Even the edges of my sheets turn grey around the gills from the dust ( more of that later), blowing through the open windows. This is no doubt why the Spanish people keep their windows firmly closed and their shutters down, but I couldn`t do that. To me life is all about light and fresh air and sun. And of course bright colours fade. I have already written about the turquoise wall on the terrace that looked as though the sun had literally sucked the colour out of it, but again bedding and clothes fade like mad. The photo below shows one side of our blue and white bedspread from faded to almost white. So I have given in, and ordered a plain white one now…

If I am drying clothes on the roof terrace, I tend to turn them inside out to avoid patchy coloured T-shirts. I once, in error, laid out a new bright blue kaftan on the table under the pergola to dry in the sun, forgetting that the roof of the pergola was made from bamboo canes that the light dappled through, and yes, you`ve guessed it-the result was a very stripey, faded,unwearable item of clothing. My fault.

When it rains here , boy does it rain, and many houses do not have guttering-something we had put on our house immediately -hooray. So when the heavens open, and it`s often akin to a Caribbean type downfall ( liquid sunshine as they call it there !), the rain water runs down the road in torrents. Couple this with dry, parched land, and you can see why we get floods. We also get wet feet, (flip flops rule here), and often have to stay where we happen to be when the rain starts, ie a cafe or a shop, as its impossible to go outside. And then, it goes as quickly as it arrives. The roads and pavements almost steaming as they dry in the heat. The worst rain comes from Africa-yes this really is a thing. It is red rain, full of red dust, and leaves great red streaks on all that white. Around the pool, on the terraces, on our white dining table, and it`s a real so and so to get off. We have been known to paint over it ha ha!

So the sun affects so much, rubbish is collected every night, we do not have dustbins, we walk to the village basura several times a day instead .The heat brings insect life inside, even in our new-ish , very white, very clean, marble floored casa. One crumb on a work top or floor, is enough to encourage an army of ants appearing from nowhere. No food can be left out, even for a few minutes. I have become a screaming harridan about hygiene in the kitchen .Do not keep pistachios! And I mean not even in a sealed container. Last October we had pantry moths. No I hadn`t heard about them either. I googled and googled, and eventually identified the tiny grubs crawling along the kitchen ceiling and the flying , fluttering little buggers that inhabited a food cupboard, at the back of which lurked a kilner jar full of pistachios veritably crawling with these moths. The Spanish do know about them though, as I found a whole shelf in Mercadona dedicated to them.So now my cupboards are well-equipped with every deterrent, and I am very careful about how long I keep any dry goods such as nuts, flour, sugar etc. The things you learn eh!

My advice is to buy the biggest fridge you can.We are about to upgrade ours, (excitement reigns!), not because we need tons of food , it`s just that everything has to be kept cool. And of course one can never have enough ice. Supermarkets ( and the bar here) sell bags of it, which is very useful.

The heat melted and warped a hairbrush that I had in a chest of drawers on the landing, and a friend had a hairdryer that similiarly melted in the sun. Wow. The hot sun causes the water in the pool to evaporate , so it needs re-filling, and when it rains heavily we have to let water out! The battle of the weather.

But, as a jolly, colourful , sign post says a few miles along the coast road,

` Le mejor clima de Europa` and I agree.


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