March 19, 2008

But this is England

It was a very English day this morning: a little cold, a little rain, the raindrops making thin lines on the windscreen like robins' footsteps in the snow. Not really rain at all, more a touch of moisture carried by the wind. That slight dampness, that is England: it's a dampness that I miss, particularly when I feel the hot wind in the morning, a dry wind, something that I never felt in England, where the wind always serves to alleviate the heat rather than intensify it. I do not think I have seen dew here and mist is practically unknown - fog, I've seen, and driven through, thick between Huesca and the village last December, as bad as anything I've seen in England. But even when you see patches of fog thinning out up in the mountains it never seems like mist. The dampness, the feeling of dampness, is not there.

The hot wind should soon start to blow, but not yet: we have been having el cierzo, the Mistral of Aragón, blowing cigarette ends along the edge of the plaza and into the shop doorway, tearing at our notices announcing cuentacuentos. Cold, but dry, too cold to be anything else, blowing into my cheekbones, wrapping me in my football scarf and making me hurry home. But this morning, it was less cold, and a little damp, not too much, just right like a sandwich and a cup of tea.


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