Flying flower pots confound police

Undaunted by high winds, I (Mary) decide the sunny day is perfect for washing the bedspread. It’s a rather blustery day in Barcelona. I hang the bedspread, using an excessive amount of clothespins because I remember the one time a sheet blew off the roof clothesline. The sheet had to be retrieved from the next door building roof by Ilaurio, our building “presidente.” He’s a kind jubilado (retired man) who lives on the second floor with his wife, Montse.

Upon returning from my brief grocery shopping trip, I turn the corner to see broken pots, dirts, and plants all over the sidewalk and street in front of our building. The wind has blown them down from somewhere. Panicked that they could be our broken pots, I look up to our balcony, but can’t really see anything except the plant that wraps itself around the balcony rails. Ilaurio sweeps the dirt away from our building’s entry way. I ask “nuestras plantas?” (our plants?). No he says, and points to the first floor balcony, which is the known as the second floor in the U.S. Ilaurio says ominously: “el señor.” The guy who put his plants in the wrong place, endangering the people of our neighborhood.

Inside the lobby, Ilaurio’s wife Montse is on her cell phone making a very important call.  She smiles at me and waves her finger in a circle around her ear, the universal sign for “crazy”. But who is crazy? The wind, the person she’s calling, Ilaurio? All of the above?

I have groceries to put away and a bedspread, which is hopefully still attached to the line,  to retrieve. I hurry up the stairs.

The bedspread is wind-whipped, but still on the line, and dry!

Here’s are some gripping photos to show the wind.


Starting to sway in the wind.


Wind gently twists the bedspread.


Wind gusts and blows bedspread to horizontal.

I take the “wind-fresh” scented bedspread down one flight of stairs to our apartment, except the police are in the hall! They are banging on our neighbor’s door. I tell them I speak only a little Spanish, and one switches to English. He asks if I face the street, yes. If I have plants, yes but they are not moving, but I will bring them inside anyway. Can you see the neighbor’s plants from your balcony, yes. So I invite the police to come in and see the neighbor’s balcony. They talk to each other in rapid-fire Spanish. Our neighbor has many plants, but the plants are not moving even in the gusty conditions.

This is serious police business.

I suggest that the police talk to el presidente Ilaurio and they say they talked to his wife.

And I’m wondering if someone will receive a ticket or court summons for unsecured plants that fly off the building and  actually injure a pedestrian.

I bring our Christmas cactus inside, note that it’s about to bloom!


Christmas cactus inside, plants outside have tied themselves to the rail.

I settle down to write, but I’m distracted by Montse’s voice outside, and the sound of police radios. The situation has escalated. Now the police car is blocking the street, the police are looking up at all the balconies on the street–most of which have plants.


Plants across the street safely behind the balcony rail, not hanging from it.

There’s a work truck behind the police car with ladders on it. One policeman ties police tape to trees flanking our building’s front door. The other policeman and the truck driver take the ladder from on top of the truck and place  the ladder  against the building.

I go inside to find the camera so I can document the police action.


Police car and tree with police tape.

While I get the camera, someone climbs the ladder, and brings down the plant and pot that dangled precariously from the first floor balcony.  He dumps it in the street.  (Ilaurio has already cleaned up the mess from the previous flying pots.) The worker removes the ladder from the side of the building.


Helpful worker, policeman,  plant carnage on sidewalk, and offending balcony on right side of picture.


Policeman examines plant carnage.


Other policeman removes police tape.

After everyone has left the scene, I take this photo from our building’s front door.


Plant carnage and Schnauzer for scale.

I talk to Lisa and tell her the windy tale of Gracia. She says that at least two major streets in Barcelona are closed, possibly due to fallen branches or trees.

Lisa and I recently discussed how this blog focuses on our trips and not our day-to-day life. So I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse of daily life in Barcelona.

© 2014 by Lisa Howells and Mary Reynolds. All rights reserved.


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