BULLETS ricocheting through the trees at the back of my sister’s house in Spain, certainly wakes you up with a start.

The shooters, or tirador, I think they are called, were dressed like Mexican bandits on an old Hollywood film. I don’t know what they were. English tourists perhaps who had voted to leave the EU?

The scrubland, behind my sister’s house is grazed by fighting bulls. They are the genuine stuff. Not your “little white bull” from the old song.

I am on the annual take your granddaughter on holiday to Spain, trip. But for the first time ever, John has come with me. He is not a happy chappy. “This heat is ridiculous” being a polite translation of his views.

He is quite taken with the bulls, but they do not make up for the burning heat. All the fields around look absolutely scorched and I understand from the news back home that a ship carrying 10 per cent of all predicted barley exports from England is sailing to Spain.

The cargo will help farmers struggling with drought conditions as they need the grain for animal feed. Cattle around here do look very sorry for themselves with little shade in any of the fields. Our cattle can hunch up under trees or seek the shade of a hedge in England. They don’t know how lucky they are.

Seeking respite from the heat reminds me of an incident a friend, who lives in Italy, has just told me. “We rarely go out in the heat of the day,” she said. “It is best to wait until the evening when it has cooled off slightly and then we can go in our pool to cool off.”

Their villa is fairly isolated, at the top of a hill and only approached by a dedicated single track road. Therefore they can safely assume that any pool frolics they may seek to indulge in are for their own private consumption.

That is until last week, when devoid of swimming cossies, rubber rings, flippers, snorkels or any swimming accoutrements, they heard the unmistakable sound of police sirens rapidly approaching their villa.

With quite a distance to cover before they could reach the safety of their house, panic set in.

My friend Boo did make it to a cupboard, while Gordon, nattily attired in a handy tea towel, tried to greet the carabinieri, with some semblance of dignity. They insisted on a full search of the house as, they claimed, there had been a report of a break-in.

Luckily, they did not discover the “ladro” or thief, in the cupboard. Cossies at the poolside from now on.