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'I just wanted to be sure of you.' And happy holidays.


from 'Winnie the Pooh' by AA Milne

We need that, don't we? Feeling sure of someone? A surety that allows us to trust them, feel safe. Or just feeling sure that even breached by many years the next time you meet your conversation will be a continuation: renewed, an easiness settling around you.

I have friends like that. Ones I might go months without seeing. Others who live in different countries that I might not see for years and years. You probably do too.

Hungry Writing Prompt
Write about someone you are sure of.

These little almond and chocolate beauties arrived in the post today from our friends in St Pere de Riudebitlles, a village north west of Barcelona.

Catanies, a Catalan speciality from Vilafranca del Penedes
We haven't seen Engracia and Enric, and their sons Darwin and Gerard, for over 12 years. But between 1994 and 1995, when we were living in Barcelona, we spent most of our days with them. Tony made huge sheets of paper on the terrace of their house, as part of his Masters in European Fine Art, using paper pulp from the factory they ran and still run today. 

Enric had handed Tony the keys to their house the first day they met when Tony turned up at the factory to ask if he could buy some pulp for his work. Enric refused any payment and said, 'You can work here.'

Engracia fed us. She made stacks of tortillas - plain, garlic and parsley, and potato. At Christmas she gave us gambas cooked in sherry and a leg of lamb slow roasted on a bed of sweet onions. When they were in season she prepared calcots, a green onion that resembles a long baby leek, grilling them on the outdoor barbecue and serving them to us with a romesco dipping sauce made from ground almonds. On Sunday mornings I walked to the Polleria with her to buy spit roasted chickens and potatoes that had cooked in the fat dripping from the crisping birds. 

When we left to come home in June 1995 we said goodbye to them in the courtyard of the paper factory, little Gerard pointing at me and laughing, 'Why is she crying?', while his parents hushed him and blinked back their own tears.

I don't care if all this sounds sentimental. Because I want to remember and record that special relationship between me and Tony and Enric and Engracia. It was unspoken and unexamined. But somehow we felt sure of each other. And it remains like that. That's a gift that cannot be measured. One to always treasure. 

Wishing you all, new and old friends, those close to me and in far-flung places, happy holidays filled with laughter and a new year that nurtures you with peace and love. 


And chocolates. Of course.


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