The morning of Friday 8th March started pretty much the same as any other early spring morning, cold and damp. But for a few hardy members of our illustrious Club that was all about to change, we were heading off on our annual jolly. After the wetness of last year’s trip to Dublin, we opted for warmer climes. We were heading to sunny Espana.
Catching flights from the majority of the major London airports, we all liaised in Barcelona and headed to Reus. Our travels went like clockwork, allowing us the time to have a pleasant meal with a couple of obligatory beers in the sun before we made our way to the hotel to get ready for the meeting at the town’s casino. Our hosts, General Prim Lodge No. 1, could not have made us feel more welcome. After a short and sweet meeting, we sat down for a fine festive board and then retired to the smoking room for some cigars. Wrapping things up at around midnight, we had the rest of the night ahead of us. I shan’t bore you by listing the numerous bars we went to and of the escapades we got up to, but you can always tell it was a good night when you’re heading back, the sun is starting to rise and the street cleaners are out.
By noon the next day, we were all cleaned up and fresh-faced for the next adventure. On our agenda was the Calcotada festival celebrated by our hosts. For those not in the know, a Calcot is like an overgrown spring onion which is barbecued until blackened. One then must peel the onion and dip it into Romesco sauce and dangle into the gullet.
If that’s not unusual enough, the wine had to drunk from a vessel that I can only describe as a medicinal glass watering can. Officially, they’re known as Porron, or Porró in Catalan. The whole experience was messy and delightfully bonkers. We loved every second of it. (Fortunately, bibs were provided otherwise we’d have looked a state.)
Standing in the sunny courtyard afterwards, we took comfort from the hearty food and drink, and the knowledge that it was raining in England! As night fell, we made our way into downtown Reus again where those with the hardiest constitution made it to 7 am (not me). Sunday, our final day was spent mostly at the seaside in Barcelona where our local friends/brothers had recommended a restaurant for a decent paella. Having gorged on that, we said our farewells at the airport and spent the flight home looking forward to our next event.