This was a weekend of travel. Of packing up and leaving my temporary home in Valencia and catching a coach to Barcelona (there was some kind of disruption on the rail network which I was keen to avoid).
I was a little anxious about Barcelona. Every day for a fortnight, I’d watched the evening news on TV with my hostess. Every day for a fortnight the situation in Catalonia had been top of the agenda, for a good twenty minutes or so. There were pictures of massed placards, of disaffected locals chuntering volubly into microphones, of city fountains running in Catalonia’s colour of yellow.
I arrived in a city where everyone was enjoying a normal sunny Saturday, Spanish style. There were flags and posters certainly, but mainly concentrated in various hotspots. Catalonia’s been keen on nationalist flags for years in any case. What was (not) going on? ‘You’ve been watching Telecinco?’ howled Emily and Miquel, leaving me in little doubt that this less-than-even-handed commercial channel is the Daily Mail of the Spanish airwaves.
I don’t feel qualified to comment on what’s going on in Catalonia. But it does seem an awful lot like Brexit. Nobody is going to be happy whatever happens. Families and friends are divided. Hatred is legitimised. It’s a mess.
Still, I was there just to catch up with Emily and Miquel before flying home. To join the crowds of locals enjoying the warm autumn weather, calling in for a drink at a bar every now and then, before later, much later, having a convivial meal in a thoroughly convivial restaurant.
On Sunday, a bit more of the same, with Miquel’s family this time, before flying back to a windy Leeds, where the temperature was a mere 23 degrees colder than it had been in Valencia in the middle of the week.
And this week? I’m doing as little as possible. Exhaustion has set in.