For the last two weeks I’ve been working in Toledo, Spain, and staying in my favourite hotel on Calle Reyes Catolicos. Just now the weather is sunny and balm, but Xmas is fast approaching and the time has come to remember friends. What better place than the shops around my hotel in which to load up on presents that are difficult to find in North America, such as, for example, fine, handcrafted leather goods at reasonable prices.
My shopper’s guide is Mamen, the manager of La Natural who provides me with tips about where to buy stuff ranging from umbrellas to handbags and from shawls to fine leather jackets, through exquisite wines and beautiful belts (I’m carefully staying away from swords, mantillas, embroidered fans and damasquineria - they’re passé.)
I was hoping to meet my friends Keith and Claire Norman here on their way back home from France to the States, but we ran out of time.
The Normans and I have been friends for years. In fact it was I who introduced Keith to Claire thirty-five years ago (on a blind date, no less) and their marriage is still going strong. Not bad for a 21st Century performance!
The Normans were instrumental in helping me get Havana Harvest published by backing me editorially and financially and by providing moral support and much-appreciated, wise advice.