Late February, Henri’s birthday trip to Sanlúcar in Andalucia. We first discovered the ancient city by accident when disappointed by Jerez. A cab to the coast, the old fail-safe. A place to fall in love. Here, magical inner courtyards echo the Moors: plants in pots, painted tiles, water, cooling shade. There is a small vegetable plot outside our window. I am shamed by its perfection. Six raised rows, generously spaced: one of brassica, the rest a crisp green lettuce and another redder leaf. There are bitter-orange trees and bulbous lemon, fragrant blossom. The outside courtyard is a mass of rosemary, abundant with bees, resplendent in purple bloom. Bananas line the wall with ruby flowers the size of rugby balls. Fat pots of arum lilies, 10ft cactus, fuchsia everywhere. A stork is nesting in the church tower. We start to notice them all over the place. Bundles of sticks on telegraph poles, the tops of tall buildings. They feel like luck as they circle. Sparrows dustbowl in the sand, swallows swoon. Chickens colonise backyards, busying among broad beans. The covered market is bursting with fruit, vegetable and fish stalls. Small peas, fat fingers of broad beans, tomatoes, all marked with their… Read full this story
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