Five go with us into the winter – part one

Many people who know Mallorca for its long hot dry summers are surprised to hear that the island can be rather damp and chilly during the winter. Where we live in the countryside, we often wake up to a sea mist in the valley, which cloaks everything in a heavy dew. It does look truly spectacular some mornings, but there is the downside of the resulting dampness.

A misty morning in the valley

A misty morning in the valley

How we laughed (in an ironic fashion), when we read one of the first Christmas cards we received after moving here: “Bet you’ll be having Christmas dinner in your shorts!”.  At the time, we had no electricity and only a butane heater to keep us warm (and increasingly damp).

Winter wonder island

With the benefit of time and experience, we have learnt to enjoy the positive aspects of winter here. Whatever the weather – and it can be very bright and sunny in winter – the island is still naturally beautiful, and there’s no better time to do some serious walking in Mallorca.

But getting through the worst of the weather is made far easier with the help of our five winter essentials – the first of which is:

The generator  

When The Boss said he was buying a Lombardini, I don’t think I was listening properly. I thought he’d said a Lamborghini – and that maybe he’d won the lottery.

Said Lombardini – a beefy red number – is the diesel generator that acts as a back-up to our solar energy system, when there’s not enough sun to fuel it, or our energy requirements demand extra support. For much of the year, it’s little used. In winter, it’s an essential piece of kit.

The generator is cleverly rigged up so that it starts automatically when the battery levels fall below a certain point, then runs for about one hour before switching itself off. There’s also a system that prevents it starting automatically before 9am and stops it at 10pm. We chose these times so as not to disturb others living in the valley – although they all have generators too, so are probably oblivious to the distant low rumbling noise that is a facet of rural life in places like Mallorca.

A switch in time

We can also switch it on and off manually, using a switch within the house – even though the generator itself is housed in a small outbuilding halfway down our field. That’s particularly useful during the times when we want to use electric heaters in the early morning or in the evenings, when there’s no sun on the solar panels – and we don’t fancy going outside in the cold!

Although a Lamborghini would be a lot more exciting, when it comes to functionality, the Lombardini has to be the machine for me. And, unlike the flashy Italian sports car, it only uses one litre of diesel an hour . . .

5 thoughts on “Five go with us into the winter – part one

  1. It would be interesting to know the setup of you electric system. Type of batterys, inverter and solar panels.

  2. Your assumption of a Lamborghini is not so far fetched. You are likely to see a lot of them in the Mallorcan countryside. Lamborghini started off as a tractor manufacturer in the 1940s and the sports car came in the 1960s. The tractor business is now a separate company together with SAME and Deutz-Fahr. Laborghini tractors are quite common on Mallorca.
    Anders (motto “Every man needs a tractor”)

    • I think The Boss would like a tractor too, but we have no garage or decent covered space in which to keep it. Interesting stuff about Lamborghini – quite a transition from tractor to sleek sporty car! Would personally prefer the car to the tractor -easier to park (well, I am a woman!) :-))

      • A tractor is actually easier to park as you can use the individual brakes on the back wheels to steer it into a small parking spot! The ride is however more bumpy as there is no suspension apart from the tractor seat.

      • And where would I put my handbag?! :-)) Seriously, a tractor would be very useful for our large back field, but after a new roof and new gates, the coffers are now depleted!

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