Thursday, 14 September 2017

End of season adjustments ...

By now the Sant Feliu summer season is over and most of the tourists have packed up and gone home. Only the locals and a few stragglers remain. The atmosphere in town has changed. During the height of the summer season there's an element of hedonism in the sweep and fall of the day. The repeated kerching! of the holiday trade echoes loudly around the centre of town. Hoteliers, waiters and shop owners walk around with a pronounced sense of purpose.

Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Catalunya
Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Catalunya

But that has largely subsided now. Things have gone back to a quieter normality. We've had the Diada, the 11th September celebrations of Catalunya's National Day. It's a strange date to chose for such a celebration: it's the anniversary of the day on which Barcelona fell during the War of the Spanish Succession. To my way of thinking it was a day on which the Catalan Nation bagged a heavy defeat. Fatally they'd backed the wrong side, the Hapsburg contender, rather than the Bourbon candidate, Philip V, who ultimately triumphed.

Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Catalunya
Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Catalunya

After the busy summer the locals can now take time to go foraging in the mountains for setas, the wild mushrooms that are rightly regarded as a seasonal delicacy. On crisp autumn mornings they head off in droves to gather them. They're also looking forward to the calçotada, when everyone eats calçots, fire-grilled spring onions served with red wine and a fine Romesco sauce (made from nuts and red peppers). Messy, but very moreish and delish!

Now the days dawn cooler with more grey skies and the occasional shower of rain. More and more of the second homers pack up, draw down their persiana window shutters for the last time and head back to the city.

If you venture out at midday you can still find summer. The seasons haven't quite flipped. Autumn owns the mornings and nights, but in between times with the warm radiator of the sea holding off the chill, and the sun high in the sky, summer can still lay claim to a few hours.

Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Catalunya
Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Catalunya

And if you head down to a secluded cove during the heat of a golden afternoon you can still convince yourself that August hasn't been and gone.

S'Agaro, Catalunya

For my part I'm always impressed by the cactus harvest at this time of the year.  I've never eaten their barbed fruit. I'm too wary of all those prickles, and too spoilt with other wonderful things to try. But people - other people - do eat them.

Would you like to see my before and after harvest photos?

This magnificent Prickly Pear cactus was photographed on a fine May morning when we had the whole long, languid summer to look forward to. Its jewel-red flowers glowed like embers in the fire.

Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Catalunya
Prickly Pear Cactus, Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Catalunya

And here's the after shot. The blossoms have swollen into lush, red cactus figs, higo chumbo. Maybe one day I'll pluck up the courage and turn up with a pair of oven-gloves to pick one of them. They're supposed to be sweet and succulent and delicious.

Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Catalunya
Prickly Pear Cactus, Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Catalunya

Meanwhile I've slunk off back to London. A new school term, and lots of projects over here that can't be postponed any longer have summoned me back. Those long, lazy days of August are reduced to photographs and memories. The central heating has been switched on as the nights draw in, and I'm back to city living <sigh>.

All the best for now,

Bonny x

1 comment:

  1. I want to visit that secluded cove. I've never eaten Cactus before either but Hispanic people seem to love it.