The vital questions my mother asks before each visit to Madrid are,
“What’s the weather like?” and “what clothes will I pack?”
Now after four and a half years of Madrid living, I’ve come to understand one preferred statement of the locals,
“This (weather) is not normal in Madrid!”
(Esto no es normal en Madrid!)
So, if I’m to believe them, balmy afternoons and evenings stretching in to November is not normal and yet that’s exactly what we had the year Ana Maeve was christened in 2014 and saw me rush out on the very morning of that event to exchange her wool dress and coat for a satin summer dress and pump shoes! Curiously I’ve experienced this, what we would call an Indian Summer back in Ireland, the first year we came here too in 2012 so if it’s not normal at two out of the four years of being here, I’m at odds to know what is.
This year when I got the call from my mother at the end of September, it was still hitting 25 degrees on the street thermometers. But I knew it was liable to change. So my usual advice, except in the summer, is to bring layers and lots of them, long and short-sleeved tops, light cardigans and jackets and a light accessorizing scarf.
She packed as I suggested and her wardrobe worked for a while and then the temperatures took a sudden nose-dive into the single figures and we were looking out at grey skies and rain. We even had to turn on the heating. I sounded like the locals with my saying, “this is not normal for Madrid!”. I could be in Ireland (and at least living in a house with a garden, which is on the top of my wish-list).
So a cold apartment brings on the necessity for one lovely weekend activity: rotation of the wardrobes. It’s a tricky business and practically impossible to get the timing right. With four distinct seasons, it seems to be an endless year-long quarterly cycle but I’ve learned that in transition times, to just put up with having choc-a-bloc cupboards and wardrobes, providing a choice of suitable clothes and footwear for the temperamental weather changes that occur in Indian summer/early Autumn and again in tapering Winter/beginning of Spring.
There was one change this year I wasn’t ready for though and that was a cold head. My brother warned me about it but until you experience it, you just don’t know what he’s talking about. But he’s right. Hair really does insulate your head and now that I’ve none (still), I’m really feeling the cold. Brrrr!
So, a throw-back to nighties and sleeping cap days, I took a trip to Decathlon and bought those very versatile “bragas”, which are literally just rectangular pieces of fine material sewn with a seam to make a cylinder to pop over you head and play around with to make some form of a warm, but not sweltering head covering for night. It literally translates as “knickers”.
So here I am blogging with my head knickers on, feeling cosy and rosy and slowly getting ready for the winter ahead. If there’s one thing I’ll really appreciate next year, it will be my hair again. Long, thick warm locks, which I look forward to brushing and grooming to my heart’s content. Night, night!