When I got back from dinner in Irún on Wednesday night my genial host collared me for a rather one-sided conversation on the merits of learning English. Specifically, on the correct pronunciation of the words table, walk and rain. I did my very best to be civil – or as civil as anyone can be when assailed by a malodorous mixture of oral garlic and armpit odour. But I eventually tore myself away amidst copious smiles, slept well and, in the morning, left as quickly as I could so as to avoid experiencing the additional layer of nocturnal noisomeness.
Walking into the centre of Irún, I passed a Chinese 'bazaar' and was surprised to find the smell coming out of the entrance was exacty the same as that of the Chinese shops in Pontevedra. Mothballs?
A conversation with my lovely neighbour, Ester, as we drive into and out of town, to pick up her teenage daughter, prior to going back down to town to attend the dinner at the English Speaking Society. We're on our way back from town and are on the roundabout at the bottom of the hill, looking to go straight on:-
Ester: You have to be really careful here because some cars go straight across the front of you without stopping. In fact, my friend was hit here by someone recently.
Me: But, Ester, you're not signalling that you're going straight on, up the hill. In fact, you haven't signalled once since we left home.
Ester: That's true. Come to think of it, I never signal. I must have picked up the habit here in Galicia as I always used to signal in Madrid.
Me: I imagine so.
Something a little unusual occurred yesterday afternoon. A praying mantis alighted on the leg of our host, Steve. Unsure whether it was male or female, we waited on the arrival of a would-be partner, and the post-coital consequences. But this was not to be, as the insect tired of our field research and flew off.
Finally . . . It doesn't get much better than this - Four laughter-sodden days with (very) old friends in a magnificent house in Provence. With superb food and great wines thrown in. Leaving me with strong urge to recommend to any young folk reading this that they invest heavily in the creation and maintenance of a few good friendships that will later be worth more than gold. Lecture over.