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Spanish Secrets: Climate Change

"The air was still, as it is for most of the year. Not a breath of wind, and yet my face was tightening as I walked towards the gate. It felt as if the frosty air was piercing my skin like a thousand needles...'' Craig Briggs's column will make you wish you were there to share in a brisk, bright Galician morning.

On Wednesday morning I awoke to a piercing electronic beep. Unusually for Melanie and I, we'd set the alarm clock the previous night. This once essential routine is now reserved for very special events.

With the snooze button depressed it was back to my blissful slumber. The following five minutes seemed to pass a brief moment. Then without warning the silence was once again shattered by the shrilling call to rise.

Our alarm clock travelled with us from England. It's a fascinating machine which keeps perfect Greenwich Mean Time. A radio signal, allegedly from Wigan, Lancashire, is the source of its accuracy.

Here in Spain we're always an hour ahead of Greenwich. Normally when I roll over in a morning and check the time, I conveniently forget this fact. Reading the time as 8.30, when it is in fact 9.30, doesn't make me feel so guilty about sleeping in.

This morning however, was one of those rare exceptions. Multiple snooze pushing was strictly forbidden. After a shave, quick shower and the essential caffeine fix. I'd just enough time to take our dog Jazz up the lane before we left.

I opened the door and Jazz darted out ahead of me. From the warmth of our centrally heated home, I slowly and reluctantly followed.

The air was still, as it is for most of the year. Not a breath of wind, and yet my face was tightening as I walked towards the gate. It felt as if the frosty air was piercing my skin like a thousand needles.

The sun hadn't yet risen, but a cloudless sky brought a light atmosphere. To the east the mountains were silhouetted against a watery-pink sky, which faded into pale blue increasing in depth and intensity as my eyes rose. To the west the waning moon shone bright and clear contrasted against a deep blue backdrop.

It was a quick walk for the dog , thenstraight back to the warmth of the house.

"It's a cold one this morning" I informed Melanie

Before we left, and for the first time in almost three years, I had to scrape ice off the windscreen. The outside temperature recorded in the car, was -12 degrees, and by the time we'd travelled the 500 metres into the village, it had dropped to -13 degrees!

Yorkshire, England doesn't have a reputation for being the warmest place on the planet. Even taking into account the constant wind-chill factor, which exists in this northerly English county, I can't remember such low temperatures.

One of our reasons for moving to Spain was a change to a warmer climate.

Within an hour we weren't to be disappointed. The sun finally popped its head above the distant mountains and the temperature started to rise. Slowly at first, but by lunchtime it was above 10 degrees, and warm enough in the sun to sit outside and eat our lunch.

The breathtaking beauty of the early morning was almost worth enduring the biting temperature.

Almost.

email address
craigandmel@msn.com



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