To my shame, I’ve never been one who has spent much time in the kitchen. The thought of cooking up nice soups or of baking my own bread has always been an attractive one but the reality has always been that speedy, convenience takes over when other priorities come to the fore. I’ll put some toast in the toaster and boil a kettle if I must.
In the past, I’ve grudgingly nodded as friends have talked about the joy of the kitchen in terms comparable to the joy of sex. I’ve secretly thought that their exuberance is a tad misplaced and that Jona Lewie was probably onto a good thing when he associated kitchens with parties.
Now, I’m not saying that lockdown has changed me – old habits die hard – but I am conscious of a shift in my thinking. I’m not in the soda bread territory quite yet but I am scouring recipe books to find new and exciting things to do with a lentil. Whisper it quietly but I enjoy cranking my music up to loud and seeing what I can concoct. A newfound interest in kitchen pottering does not however mean that I’m putting myself forward to do your Christmas dinner.
Evidence would suggest that we’re all getting more familiar with our kitchens over lockdown. Che certainly has. The video for his single, Mystery Team, finds the David Bowie enthusiast taking on different guises and poses. We can’t help to be stirred as he batters his way through this steaming-hot tune for our delight.
There are nods to Bowie. I’m pretty sure that some of the lyrical references within obliquely draw attention to Bowie’s initial efforts in 1966 and his dalliances with Tin Machine in the late 80’s yet this is also a track that stands on its own. It’s exuberant rock ‘n’ roll and lo-fi self-made garage (via the kitchen) whipped into one. You’ll have read the recipe before but will feel no contempt for the familiarity that breeds.
Che has cooked up a kitchen treat here. I could pun all day on this but I’m probably better off just posting the song and boiling the kettle for my morning coffee. Over to you.
I’ve been in Spain for a week now having left Leicester with my carload of ‘stuff’ back in March.
By now I should be settled into the villa that will become home for the next year. But the previous tenant is dragging her feet and despite paying no rent to Sarah is showing few signs of urgency in terms of vacating. It’s all a tad frustrating. The lawyers might well need to get involved. Without Sarah’s permission, the current tenant (who we’ll call mad-dog woman for ease of reference) has been using the property as a dog rehabilitation home. The fixed kennels that have been installed on the land don’t appear to be coming down. This could be a long and drawn-out process.
We’ve tried to use the time productively by touring around the vast and varied Muebles that operate in these parts. Warehouses by the side of roads almost look closed when you drive up to them (and some are – we set off an alarm in one when we innocently wandered in). But enter inside these sprawling caves and you’ll find all manner of home furnishings. We figure that the furniture currently in the property might need replacing when mad-dog woman and her troop of fifty dogs finally decide to leave. Not that anything can be bought as yet.
We’ve also used the time to visit some of the lovely attractions around these parts. On the drive down from Bilbao we stopped overnight in Zaragoza. I wish we’d got the lift to the top of the Basilica on a day when my legs weren’t still feeling the ferry-wobbles. The view from up there of this fantastic city was surely impressive but such was my feeling of retrospective sea-sickness I clung to the lift shaft and barely looked down.
The day trip on ‘Dave’s Coaches’ to Cartagena was also impressive. “Is this a history-like place?”, asked one punter to another, blissfully unaware of what they were about to see. In truth, although I’d read about the place in tourist and history books, nothing can really prepare you for being there. As you walk out of the Teatro Romano museum into the open-air space of the theatre itself, it’s hard not to be overcome by the sheer scope and size. I delivered my best Shakespeare soliloquy from the stage of the theatre, demonstratively flinging my arms in OTT fashion as I pondered the meaning of life. Sarah bought me back to earth by pointing out that this arena pre-dated the Bard by a mere millennium and a half.
Accidentally stumbling upon the burial of the sardine fiesta in Murcia last Saturday was another highlight. We caught the train from our temporary hostel in Crevillente keen to see the swish elegance of the casino and to experience the highly-rated tapas. We had no idea that we’d enter a city full of noise, vivacity and carnival troupes handing out toys and trinkets to wide-eyed children. As we shuffled down the main promenades full of Spanish cheer and beer, I couldn’t help thinking that the decision to spend a year adventuring in this country is a wise one.
Sarah heads back to England tomorrow and then I’ll be very much alone. I’ve met lots of people willing to help in evicting mad-dog woman but it would appear that patience is the right tactic for now. She’ll go when she’s ready to and then I can concentrate on getting the villa into some semblance of order. Nothing seems to happen with haste here and it’s best to go with that flow. I’ve enrolled on an intensive Spanish language course in Alicante for the next two weeks. I’ll be sharing accommodation with other students, something that I last did 25 years ago. It’s been so long since I’ve attempted to learn a new language it’s likely that my brain will explode. In my spare time, I plan to listen to new music and blog about what I’ll find. I’m also going to see if I can get myself accredited for ‘We Are Murcia’, an exciting festival that’s soon to take place in the city.
Until next time, here’s a tune I heard whilst sat in the town hall in Catral yesterday. It took on new meaning amongst the inefficiencies and frustrations.