Trying to keep our Fridays sacred and go away on our own to visit new places, we took a drive to the nearby little town of El Vendrell the day before Scott was due to come out on holiday. This place is about half-an-hour away in the car and, although we’d driven through it several times on our way to Roc de Gaieta and so on, we’d never actually parked up and had a look around. So, once we’d found a parking place, we set off to explore the town. as is nearly always the case, we headed for the church in the main square and then strolled around the surrounding streets. We were rewarded with a very pleasant afternoon and the usual one or two surprises. The painted walls in one of the streets were a delight, recalling a famous 7-storey human tower by the Castellers of the town. Impressive!

Nice drawing

Nice drawing

Do I come over as an insensitive, unfeeling oaf? That’s a rhetorical question of course! So when Lady Burton slips into one of our little cosy chats of an evening that she would like to have a couple of nights away from Vilanova Park during Holy Week when she’s not working, well, what can I say? I could have offered to find her a wee job just for that week, but a long stay in a Spanish hospital waiting for swellings to go down persuaded me otherwise. OK, dearest light of my life, I will take you on holiday. “Where?” she asked. After a night’s sleep to process an idea circulating haphazardly in what I call my brain, I announced I was going to take her to places beginning with the letter B.

I love the sport! Keep as much of everything as a surprise if you can and you are sure to provoke a reaction. I got what I wished for. Mary started reeling off long lists of places she knew began with “B”. Barcelona was of course top of the list and she had actually suggested we have a couple of nights in a hotel in the Catalonian capital already. But George wouldn’t be the infuriating tease he is if that’s as far as his imagination could go. Oh no! And it wasn’t Brussels either, which, given the events that were to happen there shortly after we left, was a godsend. Nor was it Birmingham (why ever would we go there?) I booked the first 2 hotels but still said nothing.

On the Thursday morning, I took Scott back to the airport for his return flight to Edinburgh. Tragically Mary couldn’t come with us as she had rearranged a lesson with Jordi Calvo, the C.E.O. at Prysmian for 9 o’clock. However I was back in time to pick her up and drive her back to the campsite, before preparing for my weekly game of golf with my 3 pals. Maybe it was the boost of having spent time with Scott, or maybe it was the thought of all that money Mary was earning, but I played out of my skin for the first 9 holes, 8 of which Dick and I won, and the match was over 8&7 at the twelfth hole. I had gone out in 28 strokes, a remarkable score which I surely will never repeat, and my very average 36 on the back 9 gave me a total of 64, six better than I had ever shot before.

Not bad, eh?

Not bad, eh?

The next day, the one before we were due to leave on holiday, I held off until about 3 in the afternoon, then finally told Mary where we were going. Bilbao!! She jumped up and down like a wee girl who’s just won her Primary 4 egg-and-spoon race! She knew immediately of course that a visit to Bilbao would naturally involve going to the world-famous Guggenheim Art Gallery which had turned the Basque town on its head in recent years, making it suddenly one of the “must see” cities of Spain. I also knew that there were strong comparisons being drawn between Bilbao and our home town of Dundee, due to the new V & A Museum currently being built there alongside the Discovery.

Needless to say, the rest of that Friday was a flurry of scarves, perfume, hair-doing, nail-painting, knickers-packing, handbag-searching ……… and that was just me! Mary was packed and ready to go on holiday by midnight and I wasn’t far behind, with only a trip to Simply to fill up with diesel to distract us from heading north on Saturday morning. The weather forecast wasn’t the best I’d ever read, I have to say, so Lady Burton was warned to include plenty warm clothes in her wee suitcase. We were genuinely excited when we got up on Saturday morning. We were going on holiday! Woo-Hoo!

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