Rain in Spain

Mallorca's first rain for more than four months lets rip as we drive through Alcudia, sending tourists and locals alike racing for cover. Shopkeepers chase after pink rubber rings and lilos turned loose by the sudden squalling wind and café owners rush to gather cloths from outside tables.

We'd seen the clouds building great turrets and castles of slate grey as we'd turned from our post lunch stroll along the harbour in Port de Pollença and lightning had begun to spear across the mountains as we left the town, in our coach, for the homeward journey.

The flashes are sight-numbing, halogen forks that etch themselves upon the retina, leaving green ghosts in our vision for seconds afterwards. The rain comes down tropical storm style, hammering the coach windows, flooding the torrents and turning the road from Alcudia to Can Picafort into a river. The dash from the coach at our hotel is a breathless, skittering run over slick paving slabs to the safety of the lobby.

We join our fellow guests in the hotel's covered terrace to drink sangria and watch the storm play out its course over the bay. The sea has turned from turquoise shot with navy and aqua, to the subtle grey-green sheen of one of the island's famous pearls and the sand has been beaten firm. The lifeguards have run up red flags, and sun-beds, so hard fought over this morning, lie deserted. Families who'd ventured further along the beach straggle back huddled under inadequate sun umbrellas and bags. A father carrying a sodden, towel-swathed daughter upon his shoulders hands her a sandcastle shaped bucket to hold - she, sensible child, puts it over her head.

Gradually the rain eases although thunder and lightning continue to rumble and crackle out in the bay. The sparrows are the first to reclaim the beach, small flocks of them flitting about amongst the sun-beds looking for edibles, or perching on the wall of the terrace hoping that people will come back out and start eating again. They are followed by those who've taken whatever shelter they could, trying to get back to wherever they came from, because it is evident that the weather is not finished with us yet. White crests start to flash further out on the sea and the lank, dripping fringes of the sea-grass umbrellas begin to shimmy in the increasing wind. The storm has teetered on the tip of Cap Formentor and is rolling back again.

© Samantha Newbury - 2009