Wednesday, 9 January 2019

A Record-Breaker?

As I've probably mentioned before, we have a rather nerdy habit of marking on the calendar every time it rains. Now, there's no doubt that this winter's proving to be the wettest for four or five years, and that's good. But right now it's threatening to break a few records, too.

Everybody knows that we have a few months every summer here when it doesn't rain at all. Usually, the first rains as the summer draws to a close come some time during late September, when we may get a storm. In most cases, this means a day or two of rain or showers, followed by business as usual, as in wall-to-wall sunshine again for a few weeks. Occasionally there can be quite a few storms during the last month of the tourist season, October, but of late it's been extraordinarily hot and dry during that month for several years on the trot.

Last year, the first end-of-summer rains came Sept. 27th. Then we had a shower on the 28th and 30th. The only rain we saw during the whole of October was on the 24th and 25th. It began to look like another drought year and even more serious problems with water shortages, which have plagued the island for a number of years now. November seemed to confirm this, staying very warm, with way above average temperatures up until the 17th, when the heavens finally opened. Between then and now, January 9th, we have had 30 days on which it's either rained or showered. That's about 80% up on the previous year for the same period. Folks, it's been wet.

I remember a friend telling us many years ago about how she was driven half-mad one winter before we moved here (in 2005), because it rained once for five days straight. She'd never seen the like of it, she told us. This past 16 days we've had either rain or a shower every single day. Oh, the sun's been out a few times and we've got a walk in, yes, but some time during every 24 hour period there's been precipitation. 

I remember once seeing some fascinating details about quite what the ark would have looked like, from the Biblical description. You know, the one Noah and his family built. For starters, it was not shaped like a boat. Rather, it was, in effect, a football stadium-sized chest. A giant shoe-box, if you like. After all, it didn't need to go anywhere, only simply to stay afloat. Anyway, I was wondering if you'd maybe help with getting the livestock organised, and I'll saw some timber...

To top all that, we've been getting a taste of Northern Europe's medicine temperature-wise this past few days too. The post before last mentioned about how cold it was up on the summit of Mount Attaviros on December 27th. You'd usually need to go up to that kind of altitude to really feel the cold on Rhodes during the winter months. Only occasionally do we get a cold snap that plunges the temperatures way down into single figures here at sea level, or not far above it. But this past couple of days it's been flippin' parky, I can tell you.

Yesterday we had to go into town to do some shopping, and the car temperature reading for outside was around 8 to 9ºC all day. At least it was sunny and bright, but temperatures like that are extremely rare for us during the daylight hours, thank goodness. Why, we even sat indoors for our filter coffee and bougatsa, in the café across the road from the Practiker Centre (where we spent some serious dosh afterwards).

On a positive note, I've also been banging on about a little seasonal stream that we used to cross, when walking in the olive groves and pine forests up in the hills behind the house, during the winter months. In the past it would begin flowing every winter some time in February, and continue into late April, even May. Sadly, though, it hasn't flowed at all for four winters straight, but we did that circuit the day before yesterday and, guess what, even earlier than usual...

A result!
The sun may have shone for an hour or two, but man was it chilly...

Last time I assumed an expression like that while out walking was walking in the spring in the West Country, near where I was brought up in the UK.
Oh, and if you remember the antler that the shepherd gave us, it's now proudly displayed on the front of the wood-store (which is taking a hammering at the moment). Mavkos the cat's not all that impressed with my artistic flair, though...

The cat is distinctly unimpressed with the fact that he keeps getting damp paws too.
Finally, whilst driving home from town yesterday, at around 3.00pm, I pulled over a couple of times to snap these distant shots of the impressive snowcapped Mount Attaviros. Incidentally, the authorities just today issued a travel warning about going up there, owing to the extreme cold and the likelihood of clouds coming up very quickly. A white-out is a possibility, meaning that one could quite easily plunge to one's death while trying to negotiate the three-mile climb/descent in such conditions.

OK, so an iPad isn't quite the best equipment for taking such shots, but if you click for a larger view of this and the two below, you still get some idea of the magnificence of that mountain when it's got its white cap on.

Just as a reminder: If you click for a larger view on the photos, you can then right-click that larger view to open the image in a new tab. If you then go to that image, you should get the magnifying glass curser, and then you can see it in a much more magnified view.

Ah well, I'd better go get some logs in. Don't want to leave it much longer. After all, it looks like rain.

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