As our adventure in L’Estartit enters into early November the recent winter time change has meant it’s dark by about 6pm. As long term residents we know the score, begrudgingly accepting this annual change.
It always feel like a major step change, a cut down version from balmy long summer days. There’s the reassuring compensation that sunny days can still hit 20C by about lunchtime, enabling outdoor pastimes.
In our Girona apartment it was always a running joke that we didn’t turn on the central heating until November. A red line not to be crossed.
Cooler days and nights have meant digging out warmer clothing, a gentle but firm reminder of seasonal change. Jumpers, scarves and hats that haven’t seen the light of day for several months are resurrected.
We’ve replaced urban living for big skies and XXL wind, boy does it blow up here. Not all the time mind you, and if I’m honest friends had mentioned it before in passing. Night time requires lowering the persianes as howling gusts of wind rattle them, reminding me of the film ‘The Shining’. I’ve heard Catalans mention that the Tramuntana winds here do affect some people’s psyche.
We’re surrounded by a sea of boarded up holiday apartment blocks. A few show signs of year-long residency, as window and balcony shutters stay up. Visually there are a few parked cars, and a passing car is evidence that we’re not completely alone.
At long last we get to try the heating options here. Remember these places are mainly summer residences and heat insulation is largely an afterthought. Bedrooms have an electric wall-mounted radiator, and the living room’s AC unit pumps out toasty levels of hot air.
The missing link is the bathroom with its stone floor tiles and large window. We’ll just have to wait and see what can be done. The other bugbear is the limited amount of kitchen worktop space, and dim lighting. We’re reaching the minimum requirements for the formation of a to-do-list.
The daily morning walk to the beach with our two dogs continues regardless of the weather. One visibly loves it, tumbling in the sand, while the other gives the impression of do I really need to be here. Occasionally we stumble across a dead fish or seagull, why do they always want to rub their faces in such dead detritus.
As I walk along the windswept pristine shoreline I can’t help picking up rubbish, mostly the odd tin can and bits of plastic. On one outing some kids saw what I was doing and added to my bounty, well done to them.
Thursday is Estartit’s market day which stretches out along a handful of streets a few blocks back from its seafront. I’ve been twice and there’s little to get excited about, a lot of clothes, bric-a-brac and bags, with a sprinkling of fruit and vegetable stalls opposite the church. I spot red chillies so grab a few, plus some red peppers and a dozen figs, all for less than 2€.
I keep hearing a lot of French spoken so it’s no surprise that I come across a French bakery in town. El Pa de l’Anna is small with an adjoining workspace where two bakers were hard at work. I managed to buy two small tarts, one chocolate, one lemon, two croissants and two small filled baguettes, one with chorizo, one with blue cheese and walnuts.
I walked out a mere 10€ lighter but was pleased with my choices, let’s hope they don’t close for winter.
I have to remind myself that this is a small town with equally small expectations given the time of year. Its ‘life and soul’ has retrenched until at least the spring, or a little later.
My next foolish quest is to find somewhere that offers an all day English breakfast.