My super-smart former colleague and pal Mick and the lovely Mags – they spend their days wandering Britain’s waterways on a narrow boat, Rose of Arden – took three months out on the Costa Brava. I joined them for a brief spell, just before going to Vietnam. Almonds blossomed. Valencias danced an immaculate tango in orange and green. Mountain skies shifted between dazzling blue, ominous grey and booding cobalt. Egrets flew low over rolling breakers crashing on wide empty beaches.