LATE afternoon. And after two days of heavy Andalucian rain, which shorted out our electricity supply, the clouds break and Sierra de Lújar emerges from grey. I stand on the roof and feel the warmth of sunshine. For the briefest of moments I am in Scotland . . .
How many days have I spent sheltering beneath canvas while clouds cloak mountains to their ankles and rain pours in despairing streams? From Nithsdale to Cape Wrath and Barra to Aberdeen, the ritual of waiting for a break in the weather is always the same: rain drumming on a flysheet; runnels of condensation; another cup of tea; occasional glances into the impenetrable clouds; three more chapters of a thumbed paperback; brief nap; rain drumming on a flysheet.
But when that break inevitably arrives, it stirs the senses and brings fresh hope. A slowing of drums to a gentle pit-patter; an outbreak of birdsong; retreating greyness; patches of blue in ragged skies; glimpses of new snow on high ground; fresh colours and sunshine sparkling on wet grasses; a smell of warmth and trees and wildness; that good-to-be-alive feeling that bursts in the stomach.
Just like Scotland – only a bit more to the south. And no electricity.