The rain in Spain falls mainly – so far as I can gather – at the top end of the town. It then roars down towards the older part of the town as a raging torrent, foams its way along the narrow streets and hits the t-junction at the bottom of my road at a speed of about sixty kilometres an hour. There’s some serious turmoil as many thousands of litres of water try to battle it out at the t-junction. Spanish plumbing, especially in very old bits of old towns, consists of grids in the street that scoop water into the storm drains. Most houses have patios and terraces open to the elements, and they have grids too, and underground drains which are linked directly to the stormwater drains.
The other day we had a heavy storm rumbling in from the east and a thunderstorm charging in from the west and they met pretty much overhead. It was bucketing down, soak-you-to-the-skin-in-seconds rain with crashing thunder and crackling lightning and I was really rather enjoying it when suddenly, and without any warning, every drain in the house gurgled and erupted.
My downstairs bath and loo became brief fountains, the drains in the atrium and terrace burped up deliciously muddy storm water, and although I was lucky enough to have enough towels to jam into doorways to stop my downstairs apartment being flooded, other neighbours were complaining bitterly afterwards of being ankle-deep throughout their downstairs areas. I watched glumly from my towel barricade as my heavy-duty doormat floated sluggishly away and the smaller pot-plants in the atrium started shifting restlessly and still it rained. Poured.
Finally, after nearly two hours, the heavens closed again and the drains reversed themselves and started behaving normally, sucking away the flood from everywhere and leaving an attractive thin film of mud in its wake.
The Ayuntamiento (Council) had, so far as we could see, several options. Do nothing, and get lynched by several very angry householders. Put a big grid in the road at the intersection above us, and divert future floods along side streets where the water couldn’t pick up such speed. Fit every affected house with non-return valves. Or – their choice – dig up the entire road. No idea why, but it has been noisy.
By purest luck I didn’t have guests at the time -although nearly every guest I’ve had so far has been absolutely fab, it would take a saint to take that in their stride.
I do have guests at the moment but they’ve been wonderful about the roadworks, which started on their third day. They are a pair of Estonian blondes and the workmen stop work reverently the minute they step out of the house to go anywhere, and watch them wistfully out of sight.
Before them, and before the flood, I had an older Polish man and woman, friends who had taken the entire G suite, i.e. both bedrooms and the shared living room. The woman was very dramatic, and had a bracing personality. She said on her second day that the suite was lovely but I really shouldn’t advertise that it included a kitchen.
Um, I don’t. I’m in fact pretty clear on that.
She recovered quickly and said sternly ‘you don’t say it doesn’t have a kitchen.’ Guilty as charged but in my defence, there are over 30 photos on the listing, the ones of the living room do show quite clearly the fridge, kettle, table, no kitchen sink or oven … anyway her main beef was the lack of a sink, and as I had a cancellation after them, and therefore an empty week, it now does have a sink.
What else – oh yes, Nineteen Twenty My Plate Is Empty is now up and running. Right now it is on a pre-publication price as it only officially hits your Kindle on October 6th. Click on the name here, or the pic in the sidebar and you shall be whisked to the Amazon nearest to you. I am not making much fuss about it today but will be issuing a flurry of tweets tomorrow because I am hoping to get a tiny surge of purchases around 6 pm GMT – well, we’ll see. It is, goes without saying, an absolutely brilliant book and fiendishly difficult to solve, even though I have checked and double-checked that every clue is in place and in plain sight. It is also the last in this particular series and I shall miss my Lawns friends very much, I think.
So that, I think, is us up to date …