I think the prickly tree is a Robinia Pseudoacacia. I have two and they send up prickly suckers all over the place. They are quite attractive and have white flowers a bit like laburnum. The French dip the flowers in batter and deep fry them.
Geoff, I hadn't imagined you had an OH, first time I've seen you mention her. Is the son going to Spain too?
Going to England on Sunday, but sad, for a funeral. The cat has gone and stabbed her eye with something so she'll have to go to the kennels with the dog - needs drops 4 times a day. She usually stays at home as she's a half wild stray, and a neighbour feeds her. Another expense after Christmas, vet and kennels.
Going off to make a pork casserole.