Suddenly everyone seems to have or be about to have a birthday. Yesterday, in the little supermarket round the corner, one of the owners announces that it is her birhday. Embrazos all round even with strangers such as ourselves. Today I read that Marja-Leena´s daughter has been celebrating her birthday on the 19th. My grandaughter, too, has a birthday on September 19 which this year, her sixteenth, her Mother celebrates by taking her to Paris for the weekend.
We first encounter the elderly gentleman on the ramp leading to the beach. "Look," says Heidi to me indicating a stream of vintage cars, with a special licence to parade on the pedestrianised seafront. "There´s an MGB" Heidi says. "You see them all the time in England," the gentleman barks, with distinctive military intonations, "but I suppose they´re rare enough in Spain." He wears a bushy military moustache and has a pink face. We decide to call him the brigadier. Later the same day, we watch him and his wife wade out to sea, take a dip, and stand around beyond the breakers, without making much attempt to swim. She must, like him, be in her seventies, with a figure one might describe as mature rather than plump, and a pretty face, a former English rose. Later still, as the sun goes down, they have the beach more or less to themselves and stand by the sea their arms round each other´s waist. They stand close together and gradually enter into a long gentle embrace.
This morning from the balcony I hear a clatter and see a man dump on the pavement a collapsed inflatable tent. He kneels down beside it and, squeezing out the remains of the air, rolls it up and folds it until it fits into its cylindrical pack. He is wearing shorts, trainers and a loose jacket. He is clean-shaven with untidy but not long or noticibly unkempt hair. He wears a wrist watch. He is in his forties. He goes down to the beach and returns with a rucksack, to which is attached a rolled sleeping bag. He straps the tent to the rucksack, removes his jacket, secures that to the rucksack, and slings the lot onto this shoulders. Down the seafront he goes, a free spirit.