Week 76: The river is back

I'm looking after a neighbour's dogs and cats. This one is always leaping with joy so I can only catch her mid-leap

I’m looking after a neighbour’s dogs and cats. This one is always leaping for joy so she’s difficult to photograph

She was pretty excited by the river, too, but also scared. She stayed in the shallow parts and whimpered if I waded too far

She was pretty excited by the river, but also scared. She stayed in the shallow parts and whimpered if I waded in too far

Much of October felt like a second spring. Showers were plentiful – such a relief, after all our anxieties about the aridity. Patches of bright green appeared on the hillsides. Tiny white snowdrop-like flowers emerged: Leucojum autumnale, the autumn Snowflake. Blue-winged Grasshoppers flew up from the riverbed and the paths around at approaching footfall; as good as invisible on the ground, it is only the flash of blue wing when they take flight that lets you know they are there. In our garden, it was possible to sit out in the warm sun and be surrounded by birdsong. At the front veranda, the sparrows flew in looking for the mud nest, as though ready for another brood. But the nest is gone. We took it down to get ready for painting the walls, and a smelly, wormy thing it was too.

But this is a spring in reverse, a spring heading for winter. On Sunday 1 November we woke up to thunder and heavy rain, and read of an extreme weather alert for the Algarve, especially between the hours of noon and 3 p.m.: up to 20mm of rain per hour, and gusts of wind at 80 kph. Here in our house at the end of the world the outlines of the hills dissolved and the sky vanished. The rain came down in torrents but we were safe and dry inside, and cosy with the fire lit. Flaviano and the nice round lady at our shop/letter-collection centre were very happy about the rain when Husband saw them two days later. People in local towns didn’t fare so well, especially the tourist developments on the coast, where streets ran with water and bars and shops and houses got flooded. The emergency services have been praised for their interventions. An Albufeira SOS page has been set up on Facebook: self-help for the families and businesses affected by the flooding. One visitor to the page lamented in Portuguese: It’s just sad that we are in Portugal but everything on this page is in English. I know nothing of Albufeira and its ilk; I’ve never been there. It is another side to the Algarve than the one we know. I am sorry for the people there, while I can’t help wondering what part the planners and developers played in creating the conditions for storm and heavy rain to turn into flood.

Monday saw more and more rain. It was intermittent, as though the sky takes a huge in-breath, then spews out rain until it needs to draw breath again. Husband had been out shopping. He was happy to arrive back in a dry spell. He got out of the car, picked up the shopping, then, in walking the few yards to the front veranda, got drenched. I opened the door to see him dripping wet, a surprised look on his face.

The river, having started as a trickle on Sunday, was in full flow by Monday. Its reappearance is a month earlier than last year.

The riverbed on Sunday after the storm - the river at this point is a trickle just behind me

The riverbed on Sunday straight after the storm – the river at this point is a trickle just behind me

The river on Monday: at last the fish from the pond get to go somewhere

The river on Monday: at last the fish from the pond get to go somewhere

The river on Tuesday, still flowing well

The river on Tuesday, still flowing well

Husband

Other news, besides his being caught in a sudden surprise downpour: he’s baking more bread than ever, and is also standing in as projectionist for Tavira’s Cine-Clube for a couple of weeks. In summer the club puts on the wonderful outdoor film festival I mentioned before (see Weeks 61 and 64), and the rest of the year maintains a weekly showing in the town’s cinema, a down-at-heel, atmospheric place, which could do with a few more visitors.

Cinema lobby

Cinema lobby

Two lots of antique projectors, and between them, hidden from sight at this angle, the modern, computer-driven version

Two lots of antique projectors, and between them, hidden from sight at this angle, the modern, computer-driven version

Bread

Bread

 

 

 

 

5 Comments

  1. Clare

    Please don’t change that cinema lobby!

    Reply
  2. Michelle

    The ‘jumping for joy’ dog photo is brilliant. Even the tail is a little blurry with extra movement.

    Reply
  3. Janet M

    I love the leaping dog pictures, there’s no joy like doggy joy.

    Interesting weather that you’re having, sounds like quite the change from London.

    And the bread looks delicious!

    Reply
  4. Gilly P

    I found this blog quite by chance and have thoroughly enjoyed reading it. My husband and I are shortly about to embark on our own ‘adventure’ of looking for a property to live in . This area is the one that we have decoded to concentrate on and the blog has given us a real feel for it and many useful pieces of information! Can’t wait for our next visit and please keep writing!

    Reply
  5. fatma

    Hello! I am playing catch up again. Been Up North in the hills. I am always shy of moving up here due to the inclement weather but once I am out in the natural rising green landscape, I don’t seem to mind…… Anyway, enough of me! It is true there is no joy like doggie joy _ pure unadulterated abandon! And how wonderful that your river is back in full flow. Something you can renew with a different kind of joy in every Autumn. Good to see that you both continue to integrate yourselves into the round of life there. We are waiting or Hurricane Abigail to hit our Northernmost shores!

    Reply

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