24.1.05

Vai ficar um bocadinho fresco...


Yet another late one, and if you care enough to examine the EXIF, you will see that I actually took it tomorrow, and not today. There is a very simple reason for this: no time and no ready access to internet. In other words: I spent the whole day, from 10am to 7.30pm in the National Library reading about Sidonio Pais. By the time I got out it was dark and I was tired. And by the time I got back to the flat, it was all I could do to catch up on Sunday's image. So, still a day behind and cheating to catch up... what will you do with me? To the tale, however. Apparently it is going to get cold here (by normal Portuguese standards, that is: it will remain positively balmy to those, like me, who are accustomed to more brass monkey weather). I must say that I have noticed the chill in the morning air, and am keen to add that I find it a pleasant change from the normal Lisbon January weather: which is either warm and humid or warm and positively wet. I remember my first Lisbon winter, way back in 1995. During the last week of November, the council workmen were putting up the Christmas decorations wearing little more than shorts and sweat; a couple of days later it started to rain, and didn't stop until March, when it got hot again. Winter 1996 was much the same. I came over for three weeks in January 2003, and arrived during a very cold snap - it was actually warmer in Dundee than in Lisbon. The first week I was over was bitterly cold (remember the houses are designed for summer - no central heating, no carpets, no double glazing), and all of the shops had run out of heaters, warm clothes and blankets. It got so bad that the electricity company couldn't keep up with demand, and, consequently, there were power outages all over Lisbon. The second week could not have been more different: this time the cold was replaced by wet as the heavens opened and deposited all the water in creation on Lisbon. The city came to a standstill as the Terreiro do Paco flooded. At least one building in the Alfama collapsed as its foundations gave way to the liquified soil it stood on. The entire facade of the building collapsed on top of a parked car, while the building's occupants watched television in their remodelled living-room. The weather madness continued in week three, when the rain gave way to the sun. By Burns' Night (25 Jan), the mercury had topped 27ºC. By the end of the month, the record books had been rewritten, with it being the coldest, wettest and hottest January in Lisbon since records began. And I was there to experience it.

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