November is my least favourite month on Tenerife. It has been since our first November on the island ten years ago when it seemed to rain for nearly the whole month.
Whether it did, or my memory is playing tricks, I’m not sure but since then I’ve always considered November one of the ‘dodgy’ months. The other is February. We tell people ‘if you’re booking a week’s holiday, you’re taking a risk if you do it in November’. With February, the other potentially ‘dodgy’ month, we say ‘at least there’s carnival if the weather is poor’ – assuming that the week coincides with carnival on Tenerife of course.
Two weeks ago I was wearing tee shirt, shorts and sandals. Now I’m in long sleeves, long trousers and socks; not with sandals in case there are any style police looking in.
My hair has gone funny. In November it sprouts outwards like an unruly bush as though it’s trying to keep my head warm. Years ago it would have been flowing locks that Andy enjoyed running her hands through, now it’s a case of “you look like Quentin Crisp, time for a haircut.”
November. All change. Goodbye summer.
The seasons change in November. The hot weather waves goodbye amidst more cloud, cooler temperatures and rain. Rain if the weather is behaving as it should. No rain if it isn’t.
And yet each year, when the first rain falls, there are shocked cries of ‘it’s raining, we haven’t seen rain for months.’
It’s as though November continually takes people by surprise.
Twelve months later: ‘OMG, it’s raining, where did that come from?’
The rain isn’t the reason November is my least favourite month. I like rain. Rain is good. Canarios like rain – one puts up a sign saying ‘we dance in the rain‘. Most people in places on the planet where it’s hot and dry most of the time love the rain. It brings life; it’s essential.
I can understand Northern European holidaymakers not wanting rain. As long as it behaves itself and only comes in short sharp bursts and sticks to early morning and late night, as it does most of the time, it doesn’t need to get in the way. In fact it can be mesmerising.
We love to listen to the patter of raindrops on the tiles after a rainless summer. They’re comforting. Even before we moved to Tenerife we travelled to countries that were lush and beautiful thanks to the rain. We’d stand on hotel balconies in humid temperatures listening to vociferous thunderstorms whilst a deluge fell from the sky. Warm rain when the sun is coming out again soon isn’t the same as grey, dreich days that drag on all winter.
I understand holidaymakers not being keen on rain. I don’t understand anyone who lives on Tenerife viewing it the same way. However, some react to it like a foul fart at a party. Saying that, I’ve never met a Canario who did.
It’s the change in temperature that I’m not so keen on. In real terms these go from summer hot to winter warm. Winter warm is still sunbathing temperatures. But when you live on Tenerife, you notice the change. It’s less obvious in the sunshine but you feel it in the shade.
Our house has thick walls. In summer, when the sun is high and hitting the roof full on, those walls keep the house cool-ish. In winter, when the sun is low and only glancing off the roof, the house is too cool – hence long sleeves and socks.
Working inside most days, we actually go outside to warm up.
At lunch time salads have changed to warming soups and for dinner, pastas morphed into chorizo, lentil and chickpea stews. All over the north of Tenerife, braziers roast chestnuts – a November tradition, even though the person roasting the castañas is wearing a tee shirt.
Some Canarios love the change. It gives then an excuse to dress in boots, snazzy tights and long woolly jumpers. One recently bemoaned the fact that the seasons didn’t change enough, envying cool, wet winters in Britain where people could wear all manner of sexy, stylish winter wear.
I moan about the change of seasons on Tenerife because it goes from hot… to what exactly?
As I type, the sun is shining and it’s at least 23C outside of my front door.
November is my least favourite month on Tenerife, yet it’s the month that Northern Europeans arrive in their tens of thousands to enjoy temperatures that are soaring compared to those where they live.
The truth is that those of us who live here are completely spoilt by the weather.