This year November has definitely been different. When we arrived last year the sun was shining and temperatures were around 20C.
This year, so far, we have had storms, torrential rain and gale force winds. The storms were loud but not problematic. The rain has flooded the roads for days on end and the waste ground has returned to marshland. Walking Freddy has been interesting to say the least! The natural area where dogs are allowed to do their business has been taken over by seagulls where they now swim on the mini lakes caused by the excess water. I guess it beats bobbing around on the sea!
I have always looked at the mountains behind us and wondered whether the winds would cascade over the top and gather speed as they rolled down toward our houses. Well they do, but even worse are the winds that blow horizontally from north to south. With the sea on one side of them and the mountains on the other they create a wind tunnel. Poor Freddy was blown off his feet this morning. I tried telling him it was too windy but he didn’t understand – he certainly changed his mind and we headed, rather quickly, for the warmth and shelter of our home.
When we purchased our house we were given the choice of a mid terrace or an end terrace and although we were used to living in a semi (which the end terrace would have matched) we chose the mid terrace. When we looked at the properties in February the mid just seemed to have a different more homely feel about it. I am glad we did. Our new neighbours and friends moved into the end terrace and now they are discovering what we intuitively realised. It gets cold when you don’t have a neighbour either side of you!
Cozily tucked between two other houses we only have a front and rear aspect that is open to the elements. The houses beside us act like a duvet in bed, they keep us warm and protected. Our neighbours have the wind and rain buffeting them on three sides and they are having problems keeping the house warm. Of course central heating does not exist and the electric heaters and radiators are all you have to keep you warm. Luckily the winter does not last long but it will be interesting to see how much the cost of keeping warm in the winter and cool in the summer will total over the course of a whole year.
I have watched the arguments recently for and against the winter payments made from the UK to ex pat pensioners and notice that it almost seems to be a jealous outrage. Why should you get the payment? Well it does get cold here and in the summer you have to keep cool. But you chose to go and live there so you shouldn’t get it? Well I and others have worked and paid into the system all our lives (I continue to do so for I still pay it while working from home). So although I am powerless to do anything about it as the wind blows strongly outside and the rain floods our roads I know that the final cost will be as much – or even more – than living in the UK.