I’ve heard of a Spanish Festoon – it’s a splendidly colourful butterfly. Unfortunately, I’ve never actually managed to see a Spanish Festoon so sighting one remains an ambition. I haven’t ever heard of a Spanish Monsoon but we seem to be in the grips of one. Unlike the Spanish Festoon, I wish I hadn’t actually experienced the Spanish Monsoon. The rain that had begun yesterday at lunchtime had continued unabated overnight, drumming on the roof of our borrowed house and disturbing one of the dogs to such an extent that it insisted on sleeping in our bedroom. The rain persisted with varying degrees of ferocity throughout this morning, saturating the countryside and dampening our spirits.
On a brighter note, two of our friends from Taunton, Barry and Irene, had been staying a little way south of us at a camp site in La Manga over Christmas and New Year and were beginning their journey back north today. Not wishing to miss such a fine opportunity to catch up with them, we had invited them to break their journey and join us for a paella party followed by bed and breakfast to sleep it off. Since their experiences of the camp sites in this neighbourhood were less than exciting, our accommodation for the night may also be a welcome change for them. Barry and Irene’s arrival at midday today was met by the rain which still stubbornly refused to cease.
Finally, after suitable reunions, a relaxing lunch and more than 24 hours of continuous precipitation, our Spanish monsoon finally seemed to relent, get fed up with the Jalon valley and wander off somewhere else. Free at last. Braving deep puddles in the tracks through the vineyards, we broke out of our rain-enforced prison and walked into Jalon to give Barry and Irene a guided tour. Of course, being a Sunday, Jalon was effectively shut but they’d get to see something of what has been our home town for the last month.
We chose to avoid the worst of the puddles on the homeward journey by sticking to the road and coming back through Lliber, pausing in a local bar for a coffee before returning to get the paella underway. Irene seemed particularly keen to watch how it was made, as if the way I do it should be held up as a shining example, indeed. An appreciative audience always helps make the effort worthwhile though it does tend to increase the pressure not to screw up. Fortunately, they seemed to enjoy eating it as well as watching its preparation.
Good company, reasonable food an sufficient vino made a very pleasant end to what had been an otherwise depressingly saturated day.