It wasn't that smutty

"Well it wasn't that smutty," says PB.

You know those moments when you start off a conversation in your head, and - after a while - you finish it out loud? When it makes sense to you and you only? Well that was one of those moments.

We were on our way to the beach in Malaga with Two Shandies, who was now doubled up in laughter at PB's non-sensicle comment.

I hadn't heard her properly. "What wasn't slutty?"

Now PB was doubled up in laughter.

It was a while before she regained her composure enough to answer me. "I said it wasn't that smutty. The hen weekend. I thought it was supposed to be all talk of sex and penises and stuff like that," she says.

I forget this is PBs first experience of a hen weekend. My second. I guess the stereotype of strippers and the bride being made to do something rude with whipped cream just doesn't ring true. Thank god.

There were no L plates or fairy wings, though there was a stripper of sorts. Well, some dodgy guy who offered to strip when he found out there was a hen party in the bar. Thankfully he only got as far as his shirt. Though he did take the poor bride in his arms and carry her to the upstairs part of the bar.

"But there was plenty of talk about sex," I say. "Although it all came from Two Shandies."

Shandies is seeing a new bloke, who looks just like Kevin Spacey. She's not that sure about him, but has at least got some brilliant stories to tell.

Which she did, on the Friday night, when we had arrived, and were having dinner with the majority of the other hens in a lovely restaurant called Rucula.

The bride, Jess, heard us cackling with laughter from where she was sitting, at the other end of the table. it's a wonderful thing, Shandies' laugh. Hearing it just sets you off yourself. It's impossible to resist.

Jess came over, to investigate, her flashing pink penis earrings swaying as she went.

It would have been rude not to compliment her on such wonderful accessories.

"Yes, i've got cocks in my ears," she said.

Two Shandies interrupted her: "Well, I had a cock in my mouth the other day…."

(Cue more shrieking laughter).

And something happened to me that has never happened before. He turned to me and said…

(We were all on the edge of our seats)

"Do you want to take a picture?"

How strange. She hadn't really known how to respond to that. So when he saw her looking puzzled he thought he would clarify things.

"I don't mean of my face," he explained.

The other great gem he came out with was telling her: "You look really beautiful from behind.

Shandies said she fell on the floor and almost split her sides laughing. "He might as well have told me I look great with a paper bag on my head," she said.

I'm sure he didn't mean it like that… But it does make for one hell of a story.

We re-lived all of that as we made our way down to Malaga's grayish beach. Not the prettiest thing in the world, but it had sand at least. And today, it had sun. We'd been blessed with freakishly warm weather all weekend.

"Spot the Brits on holiday," said PB as we walked past a group of pasty white lads and their suitcases, laid out on the bare sand, trying to roast themselves silly. "Bet they turn a nice shade of pink.

But we were Brits on holiday technically, though we liked to think that no-one would guess it as easily.

On Jess' recommendation we hit the third chiringito restaurant thingy on the beach and tried the local specialty - aspecto de sardines. Afterwards we moved down the beach to sniff out some rebujitos - another local speciality. Something like a white wine sangria - vino de mazanilla con sprite. Delicious. I had two.

Somewhere along the line the conversation took a sinister turn - when Shandies and PB would return to England. Sometimes I take it for granted that they'll just be here forever, and it scares me to think they won't. For me, I don't have to worry about if I'm doing the right thing staying here. I forget that it might not be a case of forever for everyone.

but I looked at my friends sipping their rebujitos in the sunlight and there was this sense that this was one of those magic snapshots in time. One of those epic moments that would come back - like a dream - at the strangest moments of the day. As familiar as the first sun of summer warming your face.

They won't be going home any time soon, I thought.

Then I had a nice long sip of my drink.


A different world

The actors looked different when they weren't on stage. Some of the magic had gone. They were smaller, and if you looked closely you could see blemishes and wrinkles.

What a surprise to find out they were human after all.

Watching them interact in the bar was like gatecrashing a private birthday party. So familiar were they, you almost felt you shouldn't be there. Eyes on eyes, gazing. Tucking each other's hair behind the ears mid sentence. Earnest touches to the face. It was all so intimate. They were a different breed of people.

And in the middle of it all the bloke and me, and of course Alicia, the one we had come to see. But with her the magic was still there, it always seemed to be.

On stage she was altogether the same and different. Speaking with the same voice, but with subtle nuances and shifts that made her into another person.

Seeing her there brought tears to my eyes. My cuñada, my sister-in-law. Who lives in a different world.

Some of the words jumped off the stage and bit me.

"¿Por que? Si creéis en Dios, y yo creo, ¿por qué tenéis miedo a la muerte? Y si creéis en la muerte, ¿por qué esa crueldad, ese despego al terrible dolor de vuestros semejantes?"

"Why? If you believe in God, why do you fear death? And if you believe in death, why this cruelty, this drawing away from the terrible pain of your fellow human beings?"

Nothing less than a slap in the face.

In the bar she showed us pictures on her phone. Her playing Federico Lorca's piano in the house he used to live in. Told us stories of how he had the keys to the Alhambra, and would do his writing there, or hang out with friends, getting inspired.

She introduced us to the niece of a famous flamenco singer whose auntie died of a drug overdose. The girl - who less than an hour ago was a different being up on the stage - asked me if I could follow the play, being British, and all. Her concerned frown turned to delight when I pulled out a copy of the original text and told her I've been studying it.

"That is so British," laughed Alicia. "I love that you did that."

I laughed too. Some habits are hard to shake. And I will always have my very British idiosyncrasies. But I felt a million miles from Britain.

Today I sat with the hot sun on my face and drank wine. Climbed the steep hill up to the Alhambra, the place where Lorca himself used to go for inspiration. Drunk on wonderment I strolled the grounds with the bloke, devouring it all with my eyes. Thinking back to what it would have been like in ancient times, when kings and queens held court here.

At the top of the towers that look out over the picture-perfect landscape of Granada, we stood and watched the sun begin to sink in the sky, covering everything with white light.

It was one of those moments when you realize that you are just one tiny speck of dust on the vast map of life.

But it doesn't scare you. Not this time anyway.