So how does the Spanish winter compare with good old Blighty?
The sun shines most days – lovely blue sky and some real warmth in the sun when you’re outside – we’re averaging about 15 degrees most days.
But that’s not to say it doesn’t get cold! In the morning and evening at the moment the real feel temperature is between 0 and about 6 degrees. It does quickly rise up to 10 or 12 degrees by 9-10 am, but the house is cold!
Most houses here don’t have any insulation, so any heat you generate escapes straight outside! This is perfect in the summer, as the house stays lovely and cool, but it feels strange in winter for it to be warmer outside than in the house!
We have our little wood burner, which we use in the evening, but we don’t tend to light it in the morning. We have put some silver insulating material in the fireplace behind the fire to stop as much warmth escaping as possible, and we have a fan on order to sit on top of the stove and push the warm air into the room.
We can’t burn coal here, just wood, and we’re going through a lot of it! There was loads of wood all around the land when we moved in, from years of pruning, but we’ve gone through all of that now. We spent New Year’s Day in the local forest collecting firewood, and oh, the joy of finding a tree that had been blown over! The only thing was that it was wedged between two other trees on the side of a very steep hill, so getting it down was a bit of a laugh! We will have to buy in some firewood to see us through, but there’s something immensely satisfying about going out and getting it for free from the forest! (You can’t go and chop down trees, just gather fallen wood by the way!).
Now I’ve always felt the cold, so I am having to learn how to keep warm without the modern luxury of central heating:
1) Just toughen up a bit!
2) There’s no wrong weather, just wrong clothes. Thankfully we do have plenty of warm clothes, and a range of thermals from when we went to Sweden a few years back – so we layer up!
3) Get moving; do stuff! It’s the sitting around at breakfast time that I feel the cold. The worst time for me is when I’m teaching – five hours at the computer without being able to move around to keep warm. Tactical use of blankets and hot water bottles come into play here! I often go and sit outside when I’m finished to let the sun warm my bones!
4) One of the best ways to get warm is chopping firewood! By the time you’ve got your firewood you’re lovely and warm (but that doesn’t stop me putting the fire on!).
I’m not going to lie, it can be a bit tough when you’ve had central heating all your life to suddenly live like this, but once you get outside and enjoy the sunshine it makes it all worthwhile! And it’s certainly warmer than the UK …