Two years ago today, walking out of Merida, I received a call from my “Barcelona angels”, wishing me a happy St George’s Day. I didn’t realise then how relevant San Jordi was to me.Today, in Barcelona, they will celebrate him again.Saint George or Sant Jordi in Catalan, is patron of Catalonia, and also of writers and scribblers and poets. Love gets a look-in, too!In Barcelona, the main events today will take place in Las Ramblas, where hundreds of flower stalls selling roses and makeshift bookstalls will be set up for the occasion. Lovers exchange gifts: men give their novias roses, and women give their novios a book. By the end of the day, some four million roses and 400,000 books will be purchased, registering half of the total yearly book sales of Catalonia on this day alone!Also, the 23rd April honours the almost-simultaneous deaths of two giants of literature: Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare, on April 23, 1616.

I think of my Barcelona angels now, and all my kind Spanish friends, as they face the economic crisis and its difficulties. I hope they can afford a book and a rose.

And wherever they are, I hope they – and you too! – have a wagging-tailed bird to cheer them and show the way, as this prankster did for me on the 23rd April, two years ago…


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