Things happen for a reason – sometimes it’s good, sometimes not.
Take yesterday. We’d just had the most wonderful weekend with my sister and her boyfriend who were staying in Playa de la Arena. They’d come across to Puerto de la Cruz on Saturday and the weather had been glorious. Sunday was the same. In fact the weather only deteriorated when we headed through the crater towards the south coast where it was quite moody and overcast. Ironic to think we were leaving the sun and the heat in the north.
Andy and I returned to Puerto on Monday morning where it was still clear blues skies… and then the world ended.
The first signs were that the sky darkened.
“Hmmm, I think we’re in for a bit of rain,” Andy made what must be the understatement of the year so far.
An hour later and it was full blown monsoon and the thunderous skies were booming. The deluge was spectacular.
At that point Whiskas decided that our house was his favourite after all and appeared at the window like a drowned rat. It might seem harsh, but setting a precedent with that cat is a dangerous business, so he was refused entry to the ‘ark’. There are plenty of places where he can stay dry.
All afternoon we watched the rain come down in sheets unaware of the devastation it was causing outside.
At around seven Andy decided to make some soup and tabouleh for lunch for the next couple of days, but a couple of phone calls from the UK delayed her. Funnily enough, both started with ‘It’s horrible here, windy and raining…’ - Guess what?
So it was later than planned when we started preparing Mediterranean chickpea stew for dinner. It’s a one pot wonder and I’d barely added all the ingredients to the pan when the gas jet went off.
Now we operate a two canister system for this very reason. However, it ain’t much use when both bottles are empty. Andy had been telling me that we needed to replace the gas for days, so she was a bit tight lipped as we threw on our coats and headed out into the rainy night.
As we passed the golf course gate, Glen, who works at the course, was huddled in the darkness. He’d been waiting for his wife for two hours and had been having trouble getting through on the phone.
We offered to give him a lift, but he assured us that his wife was due any moment.
Apart from a few rivers of boulders on the main road to Puerto, there didn’t seem to be much of a problem. We collected the gas and headed back home. As we were returning through the banana road we noticed a sodden looking figure wrapped in refuse bags; it was Glen.
It turned out his wife couldn’t leave their house in Los Realejos, boulders were blocking the road and he was resigned to having to walk home in the shocking weather. Los Realejos is quite a few kilometres away on the opposite side of town. We could hardly let the poor man walk, so we told him to jump in and headed back into town, this time towards the motorway… and it was at that point we realised that the rains had cause much more havoc than we realised.
There were flashing lights everywhere as police and firemen tried to make some sense out of the chaos. The motorway was gridlocked and the approach roads the same. Luckily we had opted for a back road to Los Realejos and although the roads were a mess we managed to avoid the queues. In the dreadful conditions it still took us an hour to get Glen within a couple of hundred yards of his house and then get back home via the centre of Puerto where traffic was quieter.
Amazingly we crossed the barranco (ravine) where later we saw on TV a rushing torrent of water washing away cars. Funnily a couple of years ago one of us commented ‘I wonder if there’s ever any water in there’ – now we know the answer. At the time we crossed it, about 20.45, we didn’t even notice that there was any water in it. I think all of the action had taken place by then.
We ended up finally sitting down to dinner at about 22.00 having done our good deed for the day.
Had Andy not decided to make soup and tabouleh before we cooked dinner (she doesn’t usually prepare lunches at that time), or our friends phone from the UK and had I not left replacing the gas until it was too late, we wouldn’t have ever left the house last night and Glen would probably have had to walk home in the awful weather. It was one of those little series of events which worked out well for him.
We were especially glad that they did – it was his birthday and having to brave monsoon conditions is no sort of birthday present for anyone.