Showing posts from July, 2013

Fire season

Belén Plains after the fire Forensic examination suggests that it was a cigarette-end, tossed by the passenger of a car heading in the direction of Trujillo, that started it all. Then a combination of factors took hold. The long wet s pring had bequeathed us a tremendous display of flowers, which gradually became hidden by tall grasses. The rank, lush vegetation dried in the course of the summer heat and drought. By June the plains were parched and yellow, as they are every year. By July, the vegetation was tinderbox dry and this year the amount of flammable material was more than usual. To this, add the weather. Days and days of hot and dry conditions and on the afternoon in question a moderate westerly breeze. It was the wind which would have helped the cigarette butt to ignite the  mat of dry grasses in the immediate vicinity, the wind which fanned the flames and the wind which then drove the fire eastwards, from the roadside verge across the grasslands towards the plains of Be

Sun and shade

We are in the middle of the first heatwave of the summer. As I write it is 4pm and in the shade of our porch it  is 36 degrees Celsius. The hottest time of the day is between 6 and 7 pm, so I expect it will hit 38 and then remain above 30 degrees until nightfall and the forecast is for another week of this weather, at least. Thanks to our relative altitude here (about 630 metres above sea level) and north-facing aspect, we are a comfortable two or three degrees "cooler" here than nearby Trujillo. Even so, the best place to be at this time of day is indoors, where the old thick mud-and-stone-built walls of our house create the perfect conditions for escaping the heat to read, write, rest or take a siesta. The day is long enough for one to feel that outdoor activities, for a few hours at least, can be put to one side. I love the pace of summer in Spain, a sensible slowness takes over every living thing. Here in rural Extremadura, outdoor work is now pushed to the first