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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

More winds

One reason the southern island could be a man's one is that not only its winds but its landscape are relentless; old hills - it's the oldest of all the Canary islands - burnt orange and yellow all summer and autumn before the rains come; and in fact not much different in winter and spring. While there've been none of the controls on building styles as here; the coast is a mess - in one place Disneyland gone wild; even in the hills there's a proliferation of different styles, if without the high rise; the land is less well kept up, the older buildings decay, it's like the back end of US redneck - if without the trailer homes.

Are men less affected by this than women? Who knows. I don't. Anyone?

Here because of the ongoing volcanic activity over the millennia, the views shift and change all the time; the lower end of the island is desert reminding Granny of New Mexico except that it's edged by sea. To the north it's flat lava rising to hills. In the centre -and here - patchworks of fields and terracing. Elsewhere sandy stretches flanked by darker cliffs and hills. Between here and the south the amazing moon landscapes of the volcanic park. Most - of the housing is white, and though the controls have lapsed over the last ten years - developer greed rules OK - and many of the newer houses are diddy pastiche versions - much less appropriate to the climate incidentally - of the older ones, nevertheless there is reasonably consistancy. Driving around Granny is constantly overwhelmed, thrilled by the sheer beauty of it - the sweep of land - the shifting of cloud and sun across it; at the moment the proliferations of flowers and grasses by the roadside - and always, expected or unexpected - the sudden glimpses, or far reaching distances of the sea. To the extent that if he is with her, Beloved will not let her drive. 'You're always looking at everything but the road,' he says. Not quite true; Granny has driven the length and breadth of her mindly king(queen) dom without mishap many times. But never mind.

Winds: conventionally East is hot winds all the year around except in winter when it is cold; but always dry and burning. South is warm but pleasanter. Southwest is also warmer but brings rain and gales. West brings showers, but not necessarily; it's less cold than north and also pushes the cloud cover over to the other side of the hills, meaning that this side - unusually - is the sunniest part. North - north-east is chilly. NNE is the prevailing wind - which is why walls/windbreaks round plants and fields are always to the north east. It is also the direction of the trade winds which blow relentlessly - or did blow - from late April through to early September, keeping cloud cover over this part of the island fairly constant at least till mid-late June.

Well that's how it used to be. Things are changing - global warming? Last year the trade winds were quite erratic - this year we'll see. The calima sometimes comes from the south-east, rain has come from there too, and, weirdly from the east .. the Saraha! The southwest has brought warm fine weather. The only thing that doesn't change is that the winds from the north are the chilliest.

A good day today. Islands are invisible though. Calima on its way? Who knows.

4 Old comments:

Anonymous Bob said...

I love the description of the island but not of the buildings.

3:36 pm  
Blogger Deirdre said...

And I love this: "You're always looking at everything but the road."

Well, why would you look at the road when you've got all that other stuff going on out the window? :)

6:18 pm  
Blogger anan said...

Thank you, Grannyp, for your apt fingerings of the wind; i loved it.
My mom lives next to the same variety of architectural styles, over on her little island... her neighbours have re-created a huge Enchanted Castle, for example, all in pink and complete with dwarves.
To each their own, i suppose.

9:44 am  
Blogger granny p said...

Ah the houses, Bob...ours is wonderful - most of the old ones are. Maybe I'll write some more about this..

'Quite Deirdre. But tell that to my family...

'Apt fingerings of the wind - love it...

12:07 pm  

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