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Example text

I’ve also heard it described as a family sanctuary, in which, at the end of a day of toil in the fields, the post-supper silence would be broken only by the ticking of the clock and the crackling of the fire – and, no doubt, the occasional snore. Characteristically, the bell-shaped chimney breast was painted white, offsetting the smoke-darkened wood of the mantleshelf, on which an array of terracotta jugs, greixonera cooking dishes and copper utensils were lined up as they would have been when still in daily use.

The age of chivalry had taken yet another step backwards, as Jock strode purposefully forwards and (prudently) out into the street. Jock’s annual Burns Suppers had already earned a reputation among expats and natives alike as being one of the highlights 35 A BASKETFUL OF SNOWFLAKES of the Mallorcan social calendar – though firmly ensconced at the unpretentious end of it. Their popularity had grown on the success of that very precept having been adopted from the outset. Over the years that Jock had organised these events, the practice of paying formal tribute to the memory of Scotland’s national bard, Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns, was never allowed to weigh down the essentially happy-go-lucky atmosphere of the occasion.

It’s a way of talking he automatically slipped into if he felt his audience might be impressed more by a worldlywise sophisticate than by a street-wise wheeler-dealer. Very often, however, the dividing line between the two turned out to be narrow in the extreme, although I’m sure Jock didn’t see it that way. Casually leaning an elbow on the counter, he pulled a lopsided smirk, then said to the girl, ‘Hey, honey, you’re lookin’ real good. ’ He glanced at me. ’ Taken aback, I shook my head – hesitantly.

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