Book-loving in Catalonia

No, I’m not dead, in case you were wondering, and I haven’t been resting either, in the Thespian sense or otherwise. As we say here in Italy, when struck by wistful longing, magari (to the latter, obviously: I mean, not death, of which I’ve had already had more than enough these past few months). To be honest, it’s been a period of unrelenting distress and confusion and now we’re getting the builders in for three weeks just to finish us off completely. I say three weeks. I must be mad.

Which means that I’m looking forward even more to spending a few days in northern Spain this summer in the company of people who write books and people who love them, and possibly write them too. I’ve been invited by an organisation called 7 Day Wonder to take part in their book-lovers’ holiday near Girona, from 3 to 10 September. The other authors will be Ann Cleeves, Claire Dudman and Adam Nevill, so it’s a pretty varied and exciting line-up. Plus, I’ve been told, the food is fantastic, so you’d be crazy not to sign up this very minute.

Girona, too, is a wonderful place to visit. We went there years before Ryanair started pretending it was a suburb of Barcelona, and loved the high sunlit square in front of the cathedral, the balconies dripping spider plants, the river weirdly packed with fish and some rather interesting chicken rissoley things we ate in a bar. We were travelling with a very complete guidebook, which even told us where the town’s red-light district used to be. But we still weren’t prepared for the sight of a middle-aged woman in a doorway, black beret tipped teasingly to one side, slit skirt and lightly swinging handbag, looking for all the world like a provincial Marlene Dietrich.
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