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The rain in Spain… and other Spanish truisms

There is a common vernacular, made famous no doubt by the mellifluous tones of Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, that the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain. I beg to disagree. The rain in Spain in fact falls on the coast, over the mountains, outside in the garden and sometimes (because the houses here really aren’t built for the rain), inside. This past weekend,

Rain flowing down the roads in Marbella yesterday

staying on the Costa del “Sol” has been like living under a power shower as the skies bucketed down in a continuous barrage of water. The Spanish tourism industry claim that the Costa del Sol enjoys an average of 300 days of sunshine per year but I doubt that average reflects current trends. Every time I come out to Spain other than in July or August, it rains, torrentially. The houses, with cool interiors and flat roofs are built for the sun, and feel damp and miserable when it’s wet outside. The road drainage is similarly built to cope with occasional showers. Yesterday my mother and I were stranded in a café as rivers of rainwater gushed down the streets, turning the roads into rivers, leaving all those who had not thought to bring wellington boots on holiday (?!) unable to cross. There is a similarly common vernacular in Spain, that all the English flood into Spain to escape “rainy” England. The tables are surely turning, no doubt as global warming takes hold, and in 20 years don’t be surprised to find a barrage of Spanish owned second homes on Britain’s south coast, as the Spanish flee the newly named “Costa del Lluvia” in search of sun!

Why do Spanish women always gather in groups of three?

I have long observed that Spanish women always gather in groups of threes. Why is that? They perambulate along the paseo in threes, they go shopping in threes, they meet in cafes in threes. I never see them in groups of four, or even the standard two, and obviously the idiom “two’s company, three’s a crowd” does not apply over here. And it’s not just amongst the elderly Spanish who sit in threes gossiping on park benches. I’ve seen school girls in groups of threes and young mothers in groups of threes. What is going on? Comments are welcome!

Finally I wanted to conclude my blog entry of Spanish mutterings by welcoming in a new government into Spain following yesterday’s elections, hoping that this government will be able to reverse the tide of economic woes which has beset Spain in a bad way. The dire economic situation over here is obvious all around. Countless shops in Marbella town centre are displaying “liquidacion total” signs and many others have been sitting empty for some time. Only the bigger shops are surviving and many of those have fallen foul of reduced spending and moved to safer out-of-town shopping malls. Unemployment in the country is horrific – 21.5% of the nation’s workforce are out of work, and 44.3% of the 16-25s are unemployed. This is an art blog, and does not pretend to understand the intricacies of the economic situation. But I know that recovery for Spain, like the rest of the World will be protracted, and difficult. The hope however is that with the new government in place, things will start to move forward, rather than sliding further downhill… along with the terrible weather.

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