By Peter Kerr

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To one side of the building, a play area for the younger children of the restaurant’s clients has been constructed in a little corral where pigs used to root in the dirt. Well, exasperated parents might remark, at least there’s been no significant change there! Typically, you enter Sa Masía through a central archway that leads to the inner courtyard, which is where we’d dined alfresco with our friends on that balmy summer evening. And totally beguiling wouldn’t be too extravagant a description of the setting.

That nit-picking customs man couldn’t have touched a more sensitive nerve, therefore, than he had when threatening to have Jock’s precious show haggis ‘deported or destroyed’ – and at Jock’s expense too! What’s more, Jock pointed out to me as we entered the customs area at the airport, no bugger had ever objected to a tinned haggis being brought into Spain, so why deny entry to a real one? 37 A BASKETFUL OF SNOWFLAKES I told myself that officialdom probably had a perfectly plausible reason for that – namely that one variety of haggis ‘meat’ was enclosed in a hermetically-sealed container, whereas the other wasn’t.

I overheard the leader of the pack enquire of her companions in a broad Cockney twang as Jock advanced out of earshot. ‘Search me, Samamfa,’ one of her chums shrugged. ‘All that Spanish lingo’s fuckin’ Greek to me. ’ So, not for the first time, Jock had got away with making his spoof-Gallic salutations without even a mild rebuke in return, never mind a poke in the eye. Whether it was all down to pure luck or to an uncanny gift for differentiating between nationalities simply by their appearance, I don’t know, but whatever the basis for his bizarre (and risky) behaviour, Jock got a buzz out of it – and it showed.

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