There is a street of old houses in Sitges, where there are intriguing doors with old locks and hinges and windows with rusting rejas (those bars on ground floor windows behind which unmarried girls used to sit when being wooed by prospective suitors). It is hard to resist photographing the detail and a pleasure now to see the results.
When we were here in June, the sky round the roofs of the old town swarmed with swifts. Now they have flown south across the Mediterranean. In their place, just for one day, come swallows, unlike the swifts, silent, they swoop and flutter past the balcony and over the swimming pool. But they are only with us for a day. On the following day they have departed also.
The owner of the Costa Dorada, our favourite restaurant, sits outside every day at a table by the entrance. There is a sense of tranquil continuity about the place, which is reflected in the good food and happy, courteous staff. He is 78. He has run the restaurant for 40 years and the chef, who is married to his daughter, has been in his job for more than 20 years. At this time of year, the old man arrives with an armful of exotic flowers from his garden. He is very proud of them and often arranges them in vases, distributed on the tables outside the restaurant, himself. Sometimes, after returning to his seat, he finds that he is not satisfied with his handiwork, and gets up to rearrange a vase or exchange it with one on another table. One plant, which attracts our attention has a strange cup-like structure like a white shell, reminiscent of the "boxes", which cricketers wear to protect their genitals. Inside, the single stamen of the flower adds a note of verisimilitude to this comparison. "It comes from Africa", he says. At my request, he writes down its name in my notebook: Filodendrum Costilla de Adan Mano de Tigre. So far, I have been unable to find a reference to it or to a more English version of its name.