I visited my old family friends Monica and Peter, who, after a lifetime spent as British expats in the Middle East, had settled in a small hilltop village in Andalucía.


I joked to friends I was off to Euro-Arabia; and indeed, the land was as harsh and its fruit as sweet as in Oman, or the mountains of Ras al-Khaimah, or any of the other places in the Middle East which Monica and Peter had spent time in and loved dearly.


As Monica, Peter and I took a long walk one day, circumnavigating the village and re-entering it, we passed a mural set in a small park. The mural showed the village, its landmarks carefully grouped together. Monica and Peter’s house, by virtue of being renovated from a section of the old convent, was a part of the picture.


I was struck by the frankness with which the village appeared to dream only of itself. Exploring the village on subsequent days, I found this mural was one of many to be found there, all showing a similar view of the white village perched precariously on brown waves of land.


As I travelled on from the village, exploring the rest of Andalucía, I began to pay attention to its dream-life as well as its reality.

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