Thursday, 29 November 2007

The best laid plans.....

I did not get to cook last night after all. The lady (Cecilia) came in towards the end of my shift (which was quite busy all through) and we spent some while discussing my ideas about how to produce mock sauerkraut. I've promised to let her sample the finished dish which will incorporate some of her recommendations but I have to say that she favours me buying a jar of ready prepared; which I would do only I have a half cabbage that is otherwise going to go to waste. The rest of the evening was spent, at the bar, mulling over life with Hilde (the lady with whom I 'share' a particular bar stool, remember?)

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

If you don't ask......

I've spent a few hours today helping Ann & Bill move stuff from one box-room to another (here they are called Trasteros) and while doing so I came across a rather forlorn looking and very bored Kenwood Chef machine. After discreet enquiry I was allowed to bring it home. It is now in pristine condition and tonight is going to be put through its paces. The meal that I was given the other night was, as I guessed, based on Sauerkraut (this time I've spelt it correctly) and I rather enjoyed it so tonight, with my new 'Chef', I'm going to shred some cabbage and try to emulate that meal without having to wait for the cabbage to ferment. What I was given was the French version, Choucroute. Whether mine will be anything like it I don't know but at least it'll be one my day's "five".

Re: Ann

The surgery has been successful. An infection and abscess were found. During the 90min procedure the abscess was removed and the remaining infection is to be treated with antibiotics. She has been receiving family visitors since recovery last night.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Re: Ann

The medical procedures have not worked so earlier this evening Ann was to undergo surgery to deal with the blocked intestine. As I write (2230) I have no further news.

Re: Ann & David - Update

Ann has been re-admitted to hospital. David called the Doctor to her after she woke up vomiting. She has a blocked intestine which they are trying to sort medically and if they can't then they will consider operating but there are concerns about that because of the Enlarged Heart condition.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Better Late than Never

The bar is doing very well at the moment, quite a few folk are over from
Ireland/Norway/England and using the bar in the afternoon. I've also had to work an evening or two just lately and they've been good too. So it looks like "quiet November" is not being so quiet after all. But I was late opening yesterday. For the 1st time the local public transport let me down..........

Saturday evening I received "tomorrow you must get the 220 bus from Fuengirola to Calahonda (etc etc)". Calahonda?? OK. That journey was quite stressing considering that I did not know the route at all and was worried that I would go sailing past the bus-stop where she would be waiting for me. But I didn't. A couple of txts back and forth, once on the bus, gave me enough information to know where to get off. She met me and then we had a 10minute walk, uphill, to her apartment. She's moved. Nice place up on the hill with good views all round. The only trouble is that, door to door, it's about a 90min journey by train and bus. But at least you can cool off in the garden pool below afterwards.

Lunch was good. Between the two of them Lary and Katy produced a Greek Salad starter with Smoked Salmon on Toast. Then Roast Chicken with Chorizo and Potato followed by a Fruit Bowl. I had to be given some Sunglasses because, despite the rainy forecast, it was a beautiful day with wall-to-wall sunshine and at the table (we ate Al Fresco, on the terrace) the glare was too much. I'd better give "La Paparazzi" due acknowledgement before I go much further!! I managed to catch her 'Red-Handed'. Between us all there were at least, I suppose, 60+ photos taken, mostly by Katy using her own, and my, camera (which, unfortunately, has produced very blurred images). The one she's holding here is new, bought by her Aunt as a gift and a sight more clever than mine...I think it even tells the time. She's now a fully qualified Lawyer in Civil Law (and studying to go higher in the profession) but I really think that she's in the wrong job!! I've made her promise to send the photos she took here to me via email once she gets back home to Omsk.

We planned on leaving at 1530 but the bus didn't come as scheduled so, whilst waiting at the bus-stop, more fun was had with the cameras. This time I happened to use my Mobile Phone Cam and got some sharper images of Katy 'posing' her Aunt every which way. Eventually a bus arrived to take us back to Fuengirola where a direct connection was made with the bus back to Torre. They then left me at Benalmadena to go down to the Marina to see friends while I continued on to work, arriving half-an-hour late as I mentioned at the beginning of all this.

The bar got quite busy fairly early on with the new arrivals this week. It turned out to be a good session; made all the better by the appearance of the lady who gave me the Roast Beef the other day with another meal for me. This time German sausage, saurkraut, bacon or Ham and potato. And she said that she is going to bring something in today as well. I had it for my dinner last night as I've promised to return the containers today, well, take them back to the bar ready for collection. The cabbage was quite interesting....a few whole cloves were spicing it; different. If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach she could easily succeed. But then she's happily married and moving to Mexico in a few weeks.

Ann and Bill have invited Larisa and me to lunch sometime this week (and Katy if she is still here). They have a Leg of Lamb that needs polishing off before they go away for Christmas. So, right now, I'm waiting for Larisa to call me back about that. My text earlier caught her busy and she replied that she will call back later (I think that they are sorting Katy's flight back to Russia in the next few days).

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Another Grey Day

More rain to come they say today. It is certainly looking decidedly grey outside and the temperature has just started to climb away from the overnight low of 9C/47F. Currently it's a chilly 13C/55F so I'm going shopping shortly to get some wine to take over to Lary's tomorrow (and a box of choccies!!) before the heavens open.

I had that Roast Beef last night. It had been cooked a little on the rare side so after I'd carved and reheated a few slices in some freshly made Onion Gravy it was just right for pink. I also made a yorkshire to go with it and guess worked!! Rose to a good 3inches above the pan. One idea (a one-man, no waste, yorkshire batter mix) that'll find its way into My Kitchen.

Only trouble is that I have to work through tonight. Favio is otherwise engaged and won't be coming in so any plans to work on the website etc are shelved again.

Hmmm...I think I'd better get to the shops pronto, the rain is imminent by the look of the sky and there has already been a very light shower judging by the wet on the terrace tiles. At least the washing is in.

Nope, the shops can wait, it's raining. I've just had a nosey through the weather pages at the Website and the sferics page (lightning strikes) is showing some very close activity so I'm now expecting a thunderstorm today as well.

The legacy surrounding the Red Lion Party Cam continues....yesterday at the bar Richard came in to deliver the Cornish Pasties I'd ordered from him (he bakes meat pies etc at home and sells them to local hostelries and individuals) and the Red Lion partyCam webpage cropped up in conversation with others at the bar. Richard then told me that some people were disappointed that there wasn't a recorded playback of the WebCam because they were not able to login at the time it was live. That was (is) logistically more-or-less impossible although with hindsight I suppose that an image could have been grabbed every few minutes and then they could have been turned into a slideshow for posterity. It's something that I never considered, the partyCam was always conceived as a one-off "live" event and in that context was a huge success. His comments though raise again in my mind the idea of a "tribute" page that I mooted a couple of weeks ago.

I'm going to have to get wet, I cannot go to Lary's tomorrow without a bottle of wine; it wouldn't be right. Actually, thinking about it, if I use the lift and stay close in to walls I should stay dry (under shop canopies etc). Where's me wellies an' sou'wester?..........

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Busy, busy, busy!

This age of technology is all very well but people, my friends, are in the habit of contacting me by txt or email just as I am about to go to work! Latest culprit is Larisa; an invitation to lunch at her place on Sunday at 12. Get to work I thought then txt back the acceptance etc at my leisure. Wrong! What leisure? I've just had the busiest session in the bar so far!! Never got the chance to get the mobile out and txt her back, well, not until 2120hrs...4+hrs later over a wind-down drink the other side of the bar. And talking about technology, folk on the other side of the Atlantic knew the place had been busy today before the till reading was even taken!! Incredible. Yesterday the early shift performed better than the late and today it wouldn't surprise me if the same thing happened again. We'll see. I'm not going to lose sleep over it but it's nice to know that in 4hrs I can do better than the 5 or 6 on the late shift. That will probably change when Beryl gets back though...she's better looking than me!! (or Favio).

I must be looking skinny or something because today I was given the back-end of a Roast Beef joint to finish off by one of my customers (which is now in the fridge waiting it's turn in the consumption queue) and yesterday the same person gave me 2 pairs of (brand new) socks because "they are the wrong size".

All-in-all life is grand.

I'm going to bed but I won't sleep too soon; I'll be pondering Sunday Lunch a la Rusa. Long time since we've done that together, actually the Christmas before last if my memory serves me right.

BTW we had the rain....lots of it. There's over 3inches in my laundry basket which I'd accidently left out. Yesterday at 5am it was so hard that I think the whole town woke up to the noise of the deluge.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007


The rain has arrived (there's a slight sprinkle falling as I write) so I'm going to get my skates on and get to the shops before the heavy stuff gets here.

Ann & David have been told by the Doctor that she is a lot better since he last saw her 4 weeks or so ago. Her medication has been slightly changed in an effort to decrease the side effect causing her not to sleep. Hopefully, with this good news she'll become less anxious and stop worrying so much about her situation. Difficult I know, I was 'there' myself last January for a few weeks. He wants to see her again early next month to check on progress etc etc.

It is doing its best to rain so I think that the forecast is right and that we are due for a proper soaking later. That 5 euro tip has just gone towards a trolley load of shopping which, if I think about it, has been totally covered by tips alone and I've still got some left in my wallet. Altogether a pleasant bonus.

Last night was another pleasurable experience even to the point of having a kiss blown my way with the comment "un caballero" - a gentleman, which made me feel 10 feet tall. I'm really hoping that Favio's cold drags on a bit and that I can work through the evening for a little longer, maybe even give him a night off or two in the future although Beryl's holiday is fast coming to an end.

I haven't had Liver & Bacon/Onion since the Red Lion shut (it was on the menu) so I've bought some today for a treat. Trouble is that I desperately need to defrost my little freezer but everytime I go shopping more stuff gets shoved into it...the liver is packed as two slices for instance, meaning 1 has to be stored for another rainy day. Talking of which, it is really getting grey outside now, I'm going to have to switch lights on I think, nearly 2 inches of rain is forecast to fall through till the morning.

I've got some prawns thawing for today's dinner. Somewhere I've seen a recipe for Pasta with Prawns, now where was that......................?

Monday, 19 November 2007

Emergency Cover

Favio was developing a cold on Saturday; so much so that he followed my suggestion and took a hot toddy. Didn't do much good though because yesterday at 1900hrs he rang me to say that he wasn't going to come to the bar, leaving me to go through the evening until (as it turned out) 0130 this morning. A good session, I thoroughly enjoyed myself even to the point of earning a 5 euro tip!! My early stint was quiet but the "late shift" was good; the exact opposite to Saturday when my session was good but the late one wasn't. You never can tell in this business.

Ana-Mary dropped in on Saturday by the way and, talking with Barry and Tina, said that she expected to see me in a Father Christmas hat later next month. All tongue-in-cheek of course but between the lines it seems that my little job is secure for a while longer yet. Whilst she has told me that she has "nothing to do with the bar" obviously at home Favio must discuss things with her and a comment from her about the future like that is good to hear.

We are expecting some very wet weather in the next 36hrs although at the moment it is quite nice from where I sit looking out of the window. It's getting chillier, so much so that I bought a little Fan Heater on Saturday to replace my old one which broke down last spring (luckily just as its use was no longer required). And the electric blanket has been put on the bed!!

Ann has her follow-on appointment with her consultant later today. I'll post any news that I get from David.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Just my Lot

Coca-Cola delivered today and I was asked to go to the bar (at midday) to receive it and make sure the empties were removed. I got there at 20 minutes to only to find that the delivery was already in and the empties were where they were left waiting and ready..........

I had my photo taken this evening whilst standing in the doorway watching the world go by. A lady decided to stop on the other side of the (narrow) road and blatantly take it. Not so much as a by-your-leave or thankyou was forthcoming, but I got an instant of fame, turning my best side to camera while pretending that I wasn't aware of what was going on. I've noticed her before through the door and tonight she came by again, stopped as if she was contemplating coming in for a drink, but then moved on at the behest of the rest of the party she is always with. I have no idea what nationality she is and she can't know mine which is probably why she didn't say "please may I". Probably thinks I am Spanish (working in what appears to be a Spanish Bar an'all) and that I wouldn't understand.

I've taken my main computer in for repair as it has developed a problem, so some parts of the website are not working tonight. Mainly it's just the apartment cams because I've managed to transfer other server functions either to the host or to this machine that I'm working on now. I've had a phone-call from the shop to tell me that it is ready so hopefully normal service will be resumed by lunchtime tomorrow. Which is when I will publish my "Spanish Onion Soup" in My Kitchen. I've been playing with this idea for a while now and this is IT!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

On the Grapevine

Fred & Pauline "found" me again last night. They are friends that I made in the Garden Bar and they came across me working in the Happy Days Bar back in June. Lo & behold I noticed someone pointing at me through the door last night whilst wearing a big Cheshire Cat grin. David was in as was Bill and Ann and Fred and Pauline know them as well (through me and the GB) so a nice time was had making old aquaintences. The GB is shut again they told me. "Oh, that's good to hear" said I, "I was planning to go over again to see the new folk. Larisa and I were over there a couple of months ago". "Yes, we heard on the Jungle Drums that you and Lary were in town" said Fred. "Everybody is disappointed that you didn't announce your visit so that we could all meet up, there is such a thing as a phone you know. Larisa is a lovely girl and it's a long time since we've seen her". Maybe I'll have to organise a reunion over there in Montemar with my friends from the GB.

Just remembered that my soup cauldron is empty so I'm going shopping to get stuff to refill it.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Pescado y Vino

Just a quick note because it's a busy day for me today. I've been up to the bank for some change, then back down to the bar to receive a beer order and tonight I've been asked to work through until 11pm which means that I can't go to Tom & Mercedes 2year anniversary 'do' at Marias Bar. Sod's Law.

Lunch on Sunday was great. Swordfish for her and Sea Bass for me + a decent bottle of wine. As it turns out Katrina is coming for a week or two arriving tomorrow. Lary goes into Hospital on the 20th (next week) so I think Katy has been summoned for some support. No doubt we'll all get together again either before or after the operation (if I can make it thro' the paparazzi throng!!). Larisa still hasn't quite got over the Flu....still had a hoarse throat to some extent causing a cough or two while talking,which I'm getting good at at last :-) We had some giggles together.

I have had a cracking last few days in the bar, breaking my record (set on my opening night) with a higher take on Saturday. Things are looking good. And I'm being trusted with those extra duties/hours I said might come my way, and that is significant because Favio is a very cautious person.

Ann is making some progress; David said yesterday that she had been out for a short walk.

I forgotten to mention that Lary is still working towards getting me a job in that shop in the Eroski Centre. While at lunch she asked if I was still interested in it and made a point of explaining that it was full-time at 7Euros an hour. My reply was positive enough to cause her to make a phone-call there and then. Time will tell.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

A Nice Day

I'm up. Yes it's quite late but my social life in the bar dragged on a bit last night not that I'm complaining. Oh no! Anyway, on to more pressing things, the morning cuppa is in hand, the weather is , well, dull to say the least but no rain is forecast so I think I'll wear that outfit (the white one) and risk not packing an umbrella. I actually rewashed that shirt and trousers yesterday afternoon to make sure that they are fresh etc etc. Just got to iron them now. I HATE ironing. I'm not sure which is more exciting...the fact that I'm seeing my best friend after, what, nearly 4 weeks or so or the fact that we are going somewhere different for our date (for me at least). No breakfast. Stay hungry. Enjoy the day. There now, that's a plan!! And the sun has just appeared with a smile on its face, must've heard me moaning just now. Day's gonna be a good'un, and will be even better if the ironing does itself. Fat chance.

Crossing the Bridge

I received a message earlier tonight sayng that, if I wanted, we can meet in Arroyo de la Miel at the train station at 1340hrs. A new venue for us. I suspect that Jesus and his wife have introduced her to a restaurant in that area that has impressed her (because his apartment is nearby in Benalmadena). I'm easy, Arroyo is far less than halfway to Fuengirola and therefore much better for me to get back to get ready for work and Lary being Lary, the restaurant she wants to take me to will be worth the effort of getting there. And I'll bet that the 1340hrs time is her arrival at Arroyo, not mine, and I am expected to be there waiting. Which, of course, I will be.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Lunch is On

I'm meeting Lary at 2 o'clock tomorrow for Lunch. Don't know where yet because many places are closed now but I'll (we'll) cross that bridge when the time comes.

I had a relatively good session in the bar yesterday and left Favio with an empty one blaring music like it's going out of fashion. Why he does that I just don't know but, fingers crossed, he's stopped interfering with my volume levels when he arrives. Perhaps Swedish Ana has had a 'word' with him like she said she would last Sunday.

Friday, 9 November 2007

What a life

Coming home late in the evening from an 'exciting' shift at work and then having to cook and eat is not conducive to a good nights sleep. So here I am up, it's just 6am and I don't think that I've slept a wink tonight after eating Chicken Curry at 11pm (that I actually prepared earlier). 3 good days on the trot and another to come I hope tonight. As I thought, extra duties are coming my way due to Beryl's absence...I've been asked to do a stockcheck today which means that I'll have to go in an hour or so earlier and Favio doesn't seem too concerned about going to the bank for change - preferring the easier option of sending me scuttling round the neighbours after he takes over at 9ish (it's been a little later of late actually) begging change from them. That doesn't impress them too much and it doesn't impress me much either so later I'm going to the bank, taking some of MY money out (in suitable change) and carrying it as a float in the bar over the weekend. BTW, my social life is second to none. Trouble is they are all married or spoken for. Esa es la vida as they say.....but maybe tomorrow.....

Which reminds me...I'm going to give Lary a call later to see if she's well enough to do lunch with me tomorrow or Sunday. The job, enjoyable as it is, is really in the way there; my 9pm finish doesn't leave enough time to get over to Fuengirola for an evening out bearing in mind that the last train back is 11-30pm.

Those official looking people did not come back so we are of the opinion now that they were nothing more than common or garden Company Reps. And that theory is strengthened with the afterthought that they didn't actually ask for him by name. Official officials would know it and use it during introductions we think. So, stand down on that one for the time-being.

And you know what? It's nice to come home with more money in my wallet than I went out with. Good days means good tips which can often more than cover the cost of the daily milk and bread.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Food for Thought

There was a news item a couple of days ago regarding the current high level of food wastage, citing "Bags of Salad" as the most common throwaway. That's as maybe but it has brought to mind two instances here in my own Kitchen of waste not, want not.

A) Rummaging through the fridge recently I came across a vacuum-packed pack of Smoked Mackeral and noted that it was one month out-of-date. I was about to consign it to the rubbish bin when I thought "hold on a minute, smoking is a centuries-old method of longterm food preservation and vacuum packing is a modern technology and this pack combines both, it has still got to be good". And it was. Those two Mackeral fillets and some salad made a delicious meal, keeping me from starvation rather than trying to kill me!!

B) Just yesterday I found a box of dried Marrowfat peas at the back of the cupboard - TWO YEARS out-of-date. Drying is probably older than smoking and if it worked for Neandertal Man then it must be working for me. Two pints of Pea Soup have been rustled up and stashed in the fridge and 2 bowls on I'm not being food poisoned.

The article went on to mention that the Government Department concerned with wastage was trying to dream up initiatives to bring back the thrifty attitudes so prevalent during the war when, if every part of your ration allowance was not used you would go hungry. Well, here's my twopennyworth. Abolish use-by dates and cut down on pre-packed portions. I'm a single person and pre-packed produce is just about always too much for me to use before it goes "off" (especially here in the Mediterranean heat).

Larisa's bout of Flu is clearing up. I had a message on Sunday to say that she was a little better and was I still working. I sent back that I'd just finished work (it was 21:30) and was going home to cook and eat. Perhaps this weekend we'll see each other if she's up and about.

I had a good session in the bar yesterday, but it was overshadowed by two 'officious looking' people coming in at about 5-30pm and on finding out that I wasn't the Owner asked about when they could see him. They were told "about 9pm". I waited for awhile after I had finished but they didn't return. Problem being that Favio is breaking the terms of his Licence and they may have been Town Hall personnel out to check etc etc. Worrying.

My idea about putting up a page on the website remembering the Red Lion may have to be shelved because contributions are not forthcoming. Perhaps I'll try a request page on the site itself rather than rely on the (single) posting here on the blog.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

A second month

There was a "staff meeting" tonight between me, Beryl (as interpreter) and Favio to discuss his plans for November. Normally November is the quietest month of the year businesswise and Favio, each year, seriously considers closing for the month but, historically, never has. This year the same. He is going to remain open AND with the new 5 - 9 shift remaining in situ despite his rueful comments that the shift is not covering its costs! AND, despite even that, on Monday he is going to apply to the court to get his Licencia de Apetura extended from 9pm - 2pm to 5pm - 2pm. Unluckyly for me I have never been in the business before and therefore do not understand the game he is playing! I have been paid my 1st Months salary and things are only going to get better. I think that, for a variety of reasons too numerous to discuss here, the new opening times for El Bar de Ana are here for good. On the downside though, because at the moment his opening at 5pm is illegal, he has asked me not to dress 'professionally' with waistcoat etc. just in case there is an impromptu inspection by the authorities (which can happen). I understand the dilemma; it would be hard to persuade officials that I have just jumped behind the bar as a friend while he has popped out on an errand, dressed as a Camerero. I know my dress is appreciated by my clientele and just as soon as he gets his licence sorted I expect to be allowed to dress properly for the job again. Things are looking good for the future. Beryl is on holiday for the whole of November and I expect that some of the 'bar management' functions may come my way in addition to a few extra hours late into the evening/morning.