Generalife Gardens, Alhambra, Granada, Andalusia, Spain.
When the children were small we rented a house in the Spanish countryside and explored the surrounding area. We visited the hillside palace of Alhambra on a hot summer's day. Gardeners had sprayed the conifers with water to cool the atmosphere and the perfume was wonderful.
Sensible people were having their siesta.
I had wanted to see this palace and gardens for many years, it is a place that has influenced architecture, literature and music; one of my favourite records as a teenager was Manuel de Falla's, 'Nights in the Garden of Spain.'
It did not disappoint.
The Moorish poets described the Alhambra Palace as 'a pearl set in emeralds', the image based on the pale stonework of the palace being surrounded by dense woodland. The trees were English elms, brought to Spain by the Duke of Wellington in 1812.
There was the cooling presence of water everywhere, with large and small pools, rills and fountains.
They all proved irresistible to my younger daughter. She loves to pootle about in water.
Just like her mother!
We bought a guide book which informed us that in the early evenings the Moors would fish for swallows in the upward currents of air by the palace walls. Although they will in reality have used nets, Himself preferred the idea of some very skilful fishing with a rod and line!
'Fishing for Swallows' bas-relief wood carving by Peter Murphy.