We’ve had a cold spell! Europe got colder, the snow finally covered the Alps and so Ibiza correspondingly cooled a little too. We valiantly accepted a few days of winter (by winter I mean spring in most people’s book). Then over-night, as we wake up and drag ourselves out of bed, the morning pre-school clatter while it’s still pitch black outside and then we start our drive and see that the first almond blossom has arrived.
Before I go on, I have to take this moment to say that anyone reading my blurbs might think I am obsessed with the weather. Of course I am. I’m British, living in Ibiza, I am a fully fledged weather-seeking junkie. However it might be interesting to note that it is not solely the British who are obsessed with the weather. I once heard an anthropologist explain that the British talk about the weather because they are socially awkward and bad at small talk. Maybe so, Mrs Anthropologist, but let me tell you the Spanish are also obsessed with the weather. It’s very simple, in Ibiza it is either too hot or too cold. The people are never happy. I go into my bank in San Jose and I am always greeted with an analysis of the weather (too hot, too cold, too windy, too still). My au pair gives me a weather update and forecast as her daily greeting. Here in Ibiza we don’t only discuss and moan about temperature we dissect the levels of humidity. There is also the complexity of the night temperature and how sleep is or is not affected, when to air con and when to not. It is an altogether wider and deeper weather small talk obsession.
Back to the blossom: knowing it’s January, someone from outside could be duped into believing it was morning frost covering the trees and not the miraculous first sign of spring’s arrival. Nearly every green space in Ibiza houses some almond trees and for two magical weeks in February the blossom awakes and the landscape turns a pinky, creamy, white; a colour so neutral yet so rich that I struggle to name it. I am certain there is a Farrow and Ball paint named after it, if there isn’t, there should be. As fast as it comes, it goes again, the subtle line between winter’s end and the slow build towards the madness of the summer season once more. This year those beautifully little colour-name defying flowers arrived in January, ending our ten day winter.
Ibiza drips with natural produce. From the almond trees to olive trees, grape vines to orange trees, fig trees and pomegranates. But we send our almonds off the island to be cracked, we have only the tiniest artisan olive oil and wine industries and whilst our big ugly oranges have the ideal firm texture and the perfect just the sweet side of tangy taste, Valencia has that market sewn up, likewise Turkey for figs. Everything we could produce, we simply import from other places. I ain’t no economist but this doesn’t make much sense to me.
So my romantic analysis is that this bounty is exclusively for us residents, we can catch the figs and the oranges before they fall off trees into the street and savour an Ibicencan wine like it was fermented to local order. All of this we keep for ourselves, while we open our hearts and minds, our houses and our roads to the rest of the world for their summer holidays.
I’ve digressed again… Last Saturday night there was double magic as the full moon held hands with the newly emerged blossom. That creamy-peachy-hue turned to sparkle under the lunar floodlights and a group of people, led by the Ibiza Walking Association, met to experience it. Me, I didn’t quite make it. It’s back to the old winter coat dilemma, mine wasn’t quite thick enough so I sent OH off to the meeting point in Sant Agusti; he insists I come next year. He advises to just wear layers. We’ll see. But there’s still time to hop on a plane and catch the blossom for a couple more of weeks. As well as the moonlit blossom one, the Ibiza Walking Association plan twice weekly long and short walks all year round, including a monthly one for charity. Like all groupings in Ibiza, they attract all kinds of weird and wonderful and are the perfect way to get to know the true beauty of the island.
And because everyone is a chameleon, one of the lovely young tour leaders, Gemma, is also an amazing face painter, so the off-spring recognise her from parties and get excited every time they see her and for those of you with a naughtier dress sense, she can also paint you just about anywhere you like, for that special club night out.