The week in Barcelona turned into two weeks in Barcelona. Most of it, especially the first week, were spent with Gabi Delillo's family in Sabadell, where Gabi was fighting for her life in intensive care. I'm happy to say that after several days on life support, she is now recovering well. Here's hoping she continues to make rapid progress, and will be able to come back to Europe fit and well sometime soon. And I have nothing but respect for the doctors and nurses at Parc Taulí hospital.
Inevitably, the day I arrived, Barceloneta was kicking off. The kind of twice-a-year conditions that keep Catalan surfers happy but hungry. And there was no one in the water! Maybe they were all at El Masnou. Or maybe rumours of the death of surfing in Barcelona have not been over-exaggerated after all.
The photo doesn't do justice to the great waves that were breaking opposite Hospital del Mar - not a beach that is surfed often. Or even ever. But it wasn't the time for surfing.
By the time I returned to Barceloneta ten days later, there was the hint of groundswell that suggested there were waves to be had in Sitges or Montgat. But again it wasn't the time. Instead here's a picture of Nuria up in the mountains. OK, it's not quite surfing, but it's the next best thing. Sorry, the second next best thing.
So now I'm back in Britain, picking up the trail in Bournemouth, at Boscombe Pier.
OK, technically in Boscombe, not Bournemouth at all.
The swell is easterly, so the new artificial reef isn't working, which is a shame. Though the charming RNLI life-guards tell me that it's more of a body-board wave. I.e. it's fast and ugly. Perhaps just as well it's not South-Westerly. I don't want to break a board.
Last night was chilly - just above zero, I suspect. But today, the sunshine makes it positively spring-like. Shame about the bitter wind. But at least there's a chance of drying out my wetsuit between surfs. There's nothing as clammy as a wet wetsuit. And nothing less enticing before a surf session.
The waves were very reasonable. Shame I'm so out of condition. But I caught one fabulous left-hander that walled up nicely at about shoulder-height, and peeled off towards the beach. And the other guy in the water - whose name I didn't catch - had the good manners to realise he'd dropped in on me, and kicked out**. One of the best waves I've had for months. Since Yorkshire in early December, if we're going to be precise. And great to surf it all the way to the end - an occurrence that isn't as common as it should be!
**(If there are any none-surfers still following this most infrequent of blogs, the above sentence means he started surfing the wave ahead of me when I had priority, realised his lapse of etiquette, and promptly removed himself from my path, so the wall of the wave didn't collapse before I reached it. Very decent of him, and he should be applauded for it. Many surfers would shrug and surf on.)