Thursday, 7 January 2010


The lillies in the kitchen smell of jasmine, strangely, and every time I get a waft I am taken back to San Pedro de Alcantara in February 2001. It was a hard time back then and life was a minefield to be tiptoed through, so during the February half term we scooped the children up and flew off to San Pedro. Afterwards they told us that the best bit was the lemonade and peanuts on the aeroplane. They had never flown before and aged 7, 4 and 3 didn't grasp the magic of sunlight and warm wind on bare skin in winter. And perhaps they forgot about the terrapin we found on the beach called Terry. And maybe they didn't smell the jasmine.

We stayed in one of those desperate all inclusive compounds, where the red wine is sweet and fizzy and the white wine is just sweet and the coffee seems to lack a vital ingredient. Actually, the entertainment in the evenings lacked something too. I think we only went once, out of curiosity. I remember that the week cost £1,200 for the five of us and neither of us complained about any of it. We were just grateful to be somewhere different. Light in the darkness.

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