I have to say thank you to all the people who listened to my attempts to speak Spanish with such patience and good humour while I as in Bilbao. As always, while I was away I jotted down a diary of what we did. It wasn't intended for publication, only to jog my memory, but the friend I was with said ominously that she would like to see it. I'm not sure about that, but maybe it wouldn't hurt to put an extract on here, so be warned. What follows is the written equivalent of being invited to a slide-show (remember those?) of someone's holiday snaps.

The air was so heavy when we left this morning that it was like breathing rain, and the mountaintops were invisible. There seemed little point in going on the funicular if the view was going to be hidden, so we walked along the river to check-out the tram stop instead. We thought we'd then head into Casco Viejo and get the few bits of shopping we wanted. 
First, we saw that there was a big flower market, so we detoured to take a look. The blooms were vivid and flawless–huge roses, spicy carnations, shocking pink and orange Bizzy Lizzies, lilies, geraniums.... Perhaps not the widest variety of flowers, but all were immaculate. 
Virtually no sooner had we left the market than we heard music. It wasn't coming from the bandstand, but from outside the Ariaga Theatre. There was a performance of dancers and musicians from around the globe as part of the Portugalete World Folklore Festival. Chairs had been set out in the plaza, and not only were these full, but the steps and the area behind them and the bridge were packed too–hundreds of people of all ages and nationalities with smiles on their faces. We almost missed the first dancers and don't know where they came from, but the next ones were from Sri Lanka, then, I think, from Serbia and lastly, Tahiti. We didn't want it to end, but we had stood there for an hour. So much pleasure for free, and if the weather had been sunny, we'd have missed it. What we had thought was bad luck, turned out to be good.

There you have it. It was a week of happy accidents, and I've decided to pass on my good fortune by making Discord's Apprentice FREE for the last few days of the Smashwords Summer-Winter sale. simply go to https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ksdearsley and use the coupon number.