Short Cuts

Giles Tremlett

‘We don’t talk about politics here,’ Silvia told me when I visited the village of Espinavessa this summer. ‘We know where everybody stands, so there’s no point.’ We were sitting in the garden of the farmhouse she rents with five friends as a weekend refuge from Barcelona. She didn’t mean the politics of left and right. Her group of weekenders – now in their fifties and sixties – were all on the left. They came of age during the days of Spain’s transition to democracy in the 1970s and 1980s, when politics was a source of constant excitement. It was the issue of independence for Catalonia that they weren’t discussing. So what did they talk about? Mostly food, Silvia said, and visits to the doctor.

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