I HAD heard of Andalucia’s second spring but not paid much attention, semiconsciously filing it away in the mental drawer where curiosities such as the Gulf Stream’s effect on Ullapool are stored. A more methodical person might label this drawer “Questionable phenomena to be taken with a pinch of sea salt” . . .
There might be a sound scientific basis to some of these things, but ever since my father whisked our family to the north-west of Scotland during the 1960s, in a primrose yellow Anglia Estate, I have come across numerous examples of tourist destinations between Cape Wrath and Cornwall attributing their temperate microclimates – and therefore their suitability as holiday hotspots – to the effects of the Gulf Stream.
Andalucia’s second spring sounded like a similar marvel – a sort of burning bush and garden of Eden rolled into one, so into the drawer it went. And there it would have stayed.
But . . .
The second spring has suddenly sprung. I am mightily impressed – as well as a tiny bit abashed at my haste to dismiss it so readily.
When we arrived in Andalucia in July, the earth was a vast, semi-parched deadness. Now, following a couple of boisterous thunderstorms and a cooling of temperatures, brown grasses are suddenly a rich Irish green and birds are singing. I need to ring someone in Ullapool to ask if coconuts are being washed up on the tideline.
The second spring is strangely entrancing because it is accompanied by autumn colours and ripening fruits. The grass might be green but the leaves of certain trees are turning gold and brown. Plump olives are mutating through shades of red and black. Oranges are changing from green to, well, orange.
And that’s the phenomenon of Andalucia’s second spring. It actually exists. Perhaps it’s caused by the Gulf Stream.