Sandstorm from the Sahara hits Spain


For the past couple of days, we have been experiencing a weather phenomenon, known in Spain as a Calima.  This is a sand and dust-laden wind, originating in the Sahara desert in North Africa.

A Calima wind generally raises temperatures but lowers visibility due to the fine yellowish-brown air-borne dust.  You could be forgiven for thinking this was fog or industrial pollution and, indeed, a strong Calima may cause respiratory problems in humans.

Sand storm over Spain via Nasa

This amazing photo by British astronaut, Tim Peake, from the International Space Station shows the huge sandstorm currently engulfing the Iberian peninsula.

The University of Athens forecast of the extent of the Calima

The University of Athens forecast of the extent of the Calima

But it’s not all bad news.

The particles contain vital nutrients and minerals which are good for fertilising both the land and the sea.

Sand settled on the car

This weather phenomenon normally occurs around this time of year and lasts a few days leaving lots of cleaning up to do.

The good news is that the situation should improve by Thursday of this week, as a cold front introduces clearer air.


Have YOU ever experienced an unusual weather phenomenon?


CBBH Photo Challenge: AFTER THE RAIN

All the time I was searching out my choice of photographs for this month’s CBBH Challenge, a song kept running through my head:

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favourite things

….and the more I thought about it,  the more I realised it’s true – I do love to see raindrops on flowers after the rain.

But extremes of weather often make the TV news,  and the UK in particular has been battered by storms and flooding over the past months, so your interpretation of AFTER THE RAIN might be very different from mine – and that’s where the fun begins.

For the CBBH Photo Challenge during March I want you to post images of your experience, AFTER THE RAIN.

Raindrops on a pepper tree

This is the graceful False Pepper tree (Latin Name: Schinus molle) in my garden, with its clusters of pink peppercorns.   I’ve think I’ve read somewhere that the peppercorns are edible in moderation, but I’ve never been brave enough to try them.

Besides, they look great, just where they are …. especially after the rain, when the raindrops clinging to them are of similar size.

Raindrops on purple flower

I’m a huge fan of the colour purple, so this plant is a favourite, too, but until this morning I didn’t know what it was called.  Thanks to the power of the internet, and my lovely readers, Trish and Maggie I can now tell you that this is Hardenbergia comptoniana, a native of Australia.  This vigorous climbing plant has scrambled along a rocky ledge and entwined itself in one of the almond trees on the bank above the house.  Thanks for putting me out of my misery, ladies 🙂

I love the elegant arching purple flowers, which are even more beautiful after the rain.

Raindrops on lemon

My final photo for this month’s challenge is of the raindrops clinging to one of the fruits on the lemon tree.  I never fail to be delighted at being able to nip outside, at almost any time of year, and pluck a fragrant lemon from the tree.

So now it’s YOUR turn.

Don’t forget that the CBBH Photo Challenge is a little different from some other challenges, in two ways.  First, it’s only once a month – giving you lots of time to consider your entry before the end of the calendar month.  Second, and most important, this is a BLOG HOP (after all, it is the CBBH – Conejo Blanco Blog Hop, conejo blanco means white rabbit in Spanish), so DON’T FORGET that in your post you need to add links to two blogs that you have visited and commented on during the past month.  That way, when we visit each other, we can HOP OVER to your links, connect with others and share a little blog love around!

Conejo Blanco BLOG HOP Photo Challenge

My Featured Blog Links for this month:

*** Hola Yessica follows the adventures of Jessica who grew up in California, but now lives in beautiful Barcelona.  If you’re looking to discover the very best of what the Catalan capital has to offer, then Jessica’s your girl!  Her new video series, “My Barcelona” includes insights as to why football really is a religious experience in Barcelona and explores the fabulous street art around the city.

*** The best way to appreciate the culture of any area is through its food and its wine.  And nowhere is that truer than in Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen.  Annie shares the delights of living in Vejer de la Frontera in southern Spain, and offers  Spanish recipes and cooking tips.  You’ll love her easy chocolate and almond cake or, if you are looking for a delicious Moroccan dish, then try Annie’s Chickpea, Orange and Mint salad.   Mmmmm …. delicious!

Please HOP over and say HELLO to both of my featured links, and tell them Marianne sent you!

So that´s the CBBH Photo Challenge for March, folks.

Remember, all you have to do is post your entry by the end of the month, tag your entry ‘CBBH Photo Challenge’,  link back to this blog and, most importantlydon´t forget to add links to any two blogs that you´ve commented on during the past month, so that we can all HOP OVER and have a look.  Make sure you FOLLOW THIS BLOG so you don´t miss next month’s exciting challenge!

For more information on how the CBBH Photo Challenge works click here.

I hope everyone taking part enjoys the exposure the CBBH Photo Challenge offers to featured blogs and, who knows, you may end up finding a new favourite!  I´m looking forward to seeing your interpretations.

[CBBH logo Image credit: (cc) Mostly Dans]

Hark! Orange Trumpets herald the warm winter weather

PYROSTEGIA VENUSTA (Orange trumpet vine)Just look at this Orange Trumpet Creeper – sometimes known as the Flame Vine  (Botanic name: Pyrostegia Venusta; pyro = flame, stege = covering, venusta = pleasing).  

This particular magnificent flowering vine with it’s brilliant orange flowers can be found draped across Calle Carabeo in Nerja.    The Orange Trumpet Creeper is a vigorous evergreen climber which grows well in a warm climate, needing shelter from cold winds or frost.

As I wandered around Nerja in the warm sunshine, I discovered several examples of this spectacular plant.  You can see them in the gallery below.

I see these beautiful blooms every year, though for some reason haven’t stopped to take photos and really enjoy their beauty, before.  My new challenge: One Trip EVERY Month gave me the perfect opportunity to get out and about with my camera.

One trip EVERY month

Tell me where you are going this month that you’ve never got around to visiting before.

You might also enjoy: 

Balcón de Europa, Nerja

AVE: Taking the Fast Track from Málaga to Madrid

How to get three-times the benefit from your log fire

Contrary to popular belief – YES, it does get cold here in sunny Spain in winter!

Don’t get me wrong – even in the depths of February we usually have sunny days with blue skies, but as soon as the sun begins to drop behind the nearest hillside, it’s time to change into jeans and thick socks ready for the cold evenings and nights.  By European standards, the temperature doesn’t drop very low (around 6 Celsius) – after all, that’s one of the main reasons we moved here from England’s perishing winters, but it surely feels cold.

Houses around here are built to keep out the warmth of the sun during the long, hot summer months rather than for keeping warm in winter.  Village houses are built close together (causing shade), and with small windows.  More modern houses, like ours. might have patio doors and larger windows, with insulation in the walls – but we still have tiled floors rather than carpeted ones and inadequate heating (by UK standards).

Top path on our land

Fortunately, on our land we have 47 almond trees, which come in handy when pruning time comes around during the autumn months.  Branches here and there are  selected for firewood – after which I send my hubby out with the saw.

Here cometh the first benefit!

Stacking the almond logs

On another day, the branches need chopping into smaller logs to fit in the fireplace, before being stacked in a dry place.

Thus comes the second benefit of the log fire – and still without a match being lit.   (Well, my hubby certainly always leaves me in no doubt how warm he gets whilst sawing, chopping and stacking!)

Stacked logs

Later follows the third, warming benefit ….. and the bit I like best – the log fire!

Roaring log fire

See how much better warming value we get, rather than telephoning a local supplier for yet another load of logs to be delivered.


Do you have a log fire and do you get such good value from yours?


Other posts you might enjoy:

The Green, Green Vegetables of Home

East of Málaga: The Weather in Winter

Chickpea and chorizo soup with smoky paprika bread