Sketches of Spain 2:Windows

With cigarettes taxed at 86% in the UK, many smokers opt for rolling tobacco , which with papers works out cheaper than propriety brands. That is not the case in Spain and hence cigarettes with pukka tips are smoked and then discarded onto the pavements etc. This, though in the main,  seems the main form of littering. Abundant litter bins and recycled receptacles  keep the debris off the streets .

The Spanish, who are generally small and stocky seemed to regard me as somewhat of a freak  being 1.95 M. in height and wearing a sun-hat; instead of the obligatory base-ball version - A dead tourist give-away. At least I didn't succumb to sun-glasses, which I think the men especially frowned upon.

Basically, we Brits, with  our traffic laws are a law -abiding lot. Not so the Spanish, who routinely , seem to park wherever there is a space including street corners; double yellow lines and pedestrian crossings. Furthermore,  some seem not enamoured with seat-belts and probably only wear them out of town on main highways.

Now here's the thing:  there is a preponderance of scooters in towns, a sensible way of getting around; but I reckon  over 90% of the riders choose not to wear gloves. I tried to look up hand injuries in Spain, but even reliable Google let me down on that request.

What I do know is that hand injuries from such machines may result in 1- not being able to ride for some time; 2- possible assistance going to the toilet and 3- no use of IT equipment. Surely reasons enough to wear those mitts!

I used to think that siestas were taken by Mexicans worn out from drinking tequila at lunch-time.
Now, having been to Spain I found that siesta time is for real.  Accordingly when mid-day arrives the shops and schools  close and people  retreat to their homes for R and  R. As I mentioned last week, that was particularly noticeable on the beach in Gandia, where sunbeds were vacated and swimming largely stopped as the locals went homeward bound.

Therefore,  when the comparative cool of the evening arrives everybody comes out to play, One of my fondest memories of the holiday was having a yoghurt ' smoothie ' from an ice-cream parlour at eleven 'o' clock at night , in company with many Spanish families with their young children. The photograph at the top of this piece gives an indication of the light at this time. Everybody, with the exception of me seemed unbearably lively and I realised I was in a different country with new rules.

Valencia is a beautiful and elegant city.  The fine plazas and tall stone buildings proudly give testament to the passing centuries of city life.

Enjoying a coffee  in a street cafe, I looked upwards and saw my first orange growing above me.

Valencia is rightly famous for its food market and chiefly the fish market, with a wonderful display of freshly caught fish of all types. Here are two examples:

Note the live eels in the bottom picture.

Next week I shall conclude my  Spanish reflections. I leave you with this street picture of Valencia.


Stanway House, in Gloucestershire was full of literary figures, arriving as house guests in the 1920s and early '30s. They included L.P. Hartley, A.P Herbertt; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and J.M. Barrie, the creator of " Peter Pan. "
It was Barrie who wrote about the house's Oriel window.
he writes thus :
 "The great bow window is said by travelled persons to stand alone among windows, for it is twenty-eight feet in height and more than half as wide. All who come to look at it count its little lozens, as we call the panes, which are to the number of two hundred and sixteen, "

Taken from " A literary Tour of Gloucestershire and Bristol " by David Carroll ( thanks K.)  Pub. 1994.

The book goes on to say that this window can be seen from the nearby St Peter's Churchyard. That being the case D. and I drove out today  (26 /09 )to  Stanway to check this out and what an impressive window it is. Judge for yourselves.


And that,  as the newspaper said to the battered cod about 'wraps it up' for this week.

Cheerio for now,



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