Monday, 31 December 2007

New Year Torre Style

New Years Eve, pretty chilly through the morning but now, at 2 o'clock, a mild 16C/60F. Today at 7pm I'm due at Tina & Barrys' for an Indian Takeaway. 7pm for aperitifs followed by the delivery at 8pm of a takeaway from a local Indian restaurant. Beryl & Randy are also invited and we've had great fun choosing our wants from the extensive menu the restaurant provided. The plan beyond the meal is to celebrate the New Year at the bar which Beryl is going to open at 11pm or so. As for me ..I have the day off, yippee, although if it gets busy tonight I have agreed to help out if needed. Which puts me in a dilemma of course, to drink or not to drink, running a bar is like shouldn't be done "under the influence". But there are at least 9 hours to go so I'm having a glass of Red Wine or two while I cook a lunch of Fried Eggs, Pork Sausage and Bubble & Squeak. Cecilia called in to the bar on Boxing Day and gave me a little tub of Duck Fat (or Grease as she called it) having, I presume, reclaimed it after her Xmas Day Roast. Bubble & Squeak should traditionally be made with Lard but Duck Fat is worth a try and that is what is going to happen here in my kitchen, using up the Xmas Sprouts that are just beginning to go yellow on the outside leaves and Potatoes that have not yet sprouted. One man and his plan again, using up rather than throwing away and the Scottish Butcher in Fuengirola Market makes awesome Pork Sausages which for me here in Spain are not everyday normalities but more of a Christmas/New Year treat. I actually wanted his Pork & Herb but he'd sold out on Xmas Eve when I went shopping. Talking of using up, yesterday I knocked up a good few litres of Vegetable Soup using the Xmas veg still left (saving behind a few sprouts for today's planned meal) and even included the last of the Turkey Soup for added flavour instead of a Chicken Stock Cube. It's the old, old story of course: on Christmas Day you really look forward to the first bowl of Turkey Soup but by New Year's Eve you've "had enough". The Marx Brothers had the right idea.

Last night Tina & Barry "surfaced" in the bar after disappearing since the last (for me) meal at theirs. We were all getting worried, I'd even suggested that Christopher Columbus was wrong and that they had fallen of the edge of the world, but no, they had family visiting from Italy over Christmas and their celebration was kept quite private. Tina sat next to me last night in the bar and told me in no uncertain terms to wear my waistcoat today. "Never mind what's been said, you get dressed up in that waistcoat again, you hear!!" Of course, today it doesn't matter, I'm not on duty, so I can wear what I want and if I have to help, well, we are within the normal hours of opening anyway. No problem. I am going to wear it, but I can't remember the colour shirt that Hilde recommended. Yes I can, but I haven't got one. Ooops, there could be "trouble" tonight if she turns up for a New Year drink at the bar.

Never must I forget that there is more to life than Torremolinos. There is also Omsk where a certain young lady will be celebrating the New Year AND her Birthday 5 hours ahead of us here in Spain. So, before I leave the apartment tonight my priority is to send an email which I know she will be looking for at, or just after, her midnight mark. When I say that I mean that she will check the timestamp, she will not be able to actually access the internet until she can get to a public access point in the morning because I know that she doesn't have immediate access at home. Check the timestamp?? Oh yes, last time she went home I went to America and the timestamp gave all away, remember?, she'll check, believe me, she'll check!!

1635 I've just had an SMS from Austen, he's on his way home, probably at the Dominican Republic's airport right now so he'll be in the air come midnight. "Happy New Years" are exchanged. Aaron is working but I'll send a txt anyway, he just might receive it on time if he is not too busy dealing with misdemeanors on the roads of Manchester.

1730 and the message to Larisa is drafted and waiting for me to press the send button. Midnight that side of Moscow is 7pm here so I'll send it just as I leave the apartment for the evening's celebrations.

And finally....The Indian meal with Tina, Barry, Beryl & Randy was good, and, despite being a takeaway, was up to the standard I've come to expect from that particular restaurant (the newest in Town and, arguably, the best) then along to the Bar at about 2245 to open up where we found that the mop was required to clear up an "old" touch of the floods in the loos. I popped across the road into The Ship to see the folk in there where I found quite a 'do' warming up but after one vodka I slipped back to Ana's to see the New Year in. Only trouble was that, despite a customer cracking open 2 bottles of Cava and sharing them round, there was not much, if any, of a party atmosphere developing so.....back to The Ship where I found Lisa cajoling, conducting and choreographing the assembled throng and generally setting a fun mood ready for 1am (or the English New Year). The radio provided the chimes, and with the crowd providing the cheer 2008 swept in on a tide of alcohol as usual. All good fun. Aaron sent a txt at 0330 to say that he was in "the office" with his first 'nick' of the year (a driver under the influence). I sent back that I was going to walk home, which I did and was in bed by 4am I think.

Friday, 28 December 2007

A tale of One Christmas (cont'd)

Sorry 'bout keep having to do continuances but I run out of time these days when writing due to the fact that it takes a long time and I have to break to go to work and when I get home I have to eat etc. rather than get on with things here. What I have been doing is leaving a more follows----> tag at the bottom as I work on the post through the day (when necessary) and I'm going to continue doing that until the post is totally complete in future which means that, over more than a day, despite no additional post (such as this one) there may be more at the bottom of the latest, and will be, until the more follows---> is removed.

Christmas Dinner cont'd
I'd left the prep of the starter deliberately so that she could get involved if she should ask to be allowed to help, which she did. And that was followed by helping me set the table etc. I'd thought that I would leave taking photos out of it but now I wish that I had because the table looked nice with a Christmassy tablecloth, a pair of red candles and other bits and bobs. Talking about photos I remembered later that I hadn't stopped the apartment cams and checked to see if she was in any of the shots at 1530 when they would have taken their last snaps of the day. She was. Sat at the table, and also you can see the bag containing the little gift of perfumes that I'd bought. The meal was good. Nothing was spoilt, everything turned out as intended so my worries about burning stuff turned out to be groundless. Lary had never seen bread sauce before and (believe it or not) wasn't too sure about what to do with the gravy, preferring to drink a cupful of it rather than pour it over her meal. That said, she helped herself to more meat and veg which, for me, was a silent accolade. Then we shared one mince pie and cream because we were both quite well "stuffed".

As I write (28th) she has returned to Russia, having left here yesterday. Her date for the operation she needs keeps being deferred, latest being not til February. So she has decided to get it done back home where she can pay to be fast-tracked through the procedures. She has an appointment on the 3rd Jan to get things organised and said that she would be back within a month. In the meantime we have email with which to keep in contact and she has promised to bring back "something Russian" for me. My face must have been a picture as she was telling me, because she kept repeating "you do understand, I'm going to Russia on 27th, but I'll be back within a month". In actual fact that may be exactly what's going on in the snap.

Austen was up early on Christmas Day because I received a txt all the way from The Dominican Republic at 12-34pm which for him would have been 06-30am or 07-30am and I spoke to Aaron on Boxing Day as I promised him I would - he has had Christmas off but has to work the New Year so I'm not expecting a midnight "happy new year" txt from him and I don't know whether Austen is back or not. So it looks like the New Year might be unusually quiet for me what with Lary being in Russia as well (it's also her Birthday don't forget). I have the day off, and am invited to Tina & Barry's along with Beryl & Randy for a celebratory meal (Indian Takeaway) before retiring to Ana's for the midnight mark. And that's it for now.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

A Tale of One Christmas

Christmas Eve's photos have been processed so I can give you an idea of that meal with Hilde and her friends. My little Digital Camera is not very good in the dim light, the flash range is very limited so these have had to be artificially brightened somewhat which rather alters the colour balance. Anyway, the first three are views of the restaurant setting, our table is to the right in the top image where my whiteshirted arm can just be seen poking out from behind the standing figure. The middle photo is our table, I was seated to the right of the Lady in the white jacket and Hilde has her back to camera, sporting a ponytail. Next, a view of the table setting. The folk are all Dutch friends of Hilde so I was unable to understand much of the conversation although both Hilde and the Lady with the glasses spent much time translating for me. I'm not quite sure why it happened but at the end of the meal we joined forces with another table (out of camera in all the shots) and I rounded the evening off talking to an English Woman who's name now escapes me. Finally, to give credit where credit is due, there is a picture of the kitchen and staff. The meal was excellent, Hilde's friend Yvonne, the restaurant's owner (in the black top) excelled as chef and the other ladies made sure the evening went as smoothly as humanly possible. As I've already mentioned, after calling into Ana's Bar and then The Ship (to wish Lisa a Happy Christmas), I got home at just on 2am quite the happy chappy.

While I'm in the mood to upload photos I'll do a couple more for you so that faces can go with names so to speak. First one of (L)Ana-Mary, (C)Favio and (R)Beryl, none of whom require any introduction, they are usually mentioned in all the posts (letters) I write these days. And finally, Hilde, also fairly frequently mentioned here lately. From Rotterdam I believe. Likes a good laugh does Hilde, usually at my expense!! But I get my own back now and again.

Christmas Dinner
While waiting for 1 o'clock to arrive I busied myself prepping the Turkey, the veg and doing a thousand and one other jobs that I found in order to make the time pass. Lary arrived half-an-hour late due to missing the train or there not being one and having to catch a bus. I was watching the steps on the webcam and gave her a quiet "hello" from the terrace to acknowledge her arrival. A little earlier (at 10 to 1) I'd received a txt from Aaron telling me that he had just tried to ring but couldn't get through. I sent back that I would call him on Boxing day as I was waiting for Lary and couldn't talk anyway.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Christmas Eve

My favourite day. I'm going to leave this post open and add to it as I go through the day, so scroll down on your visits to make sure that you miss nothing! Why my favourite? The anticipation, the preparation and, OK, just a little celebration ahead of the big day all go to make it feel entirely different to any other. I've got the radio on playing some seasonly appropriate music, a couple of candles are burning, the fire is on and my tea is tasting good. Things are very cosy thankyou. I'm planning to catch the 0930 Parsnip Special to Fuengirola where I'm also going to try and find a suitable little gift for Lary. I had an email from Pam yesterday, Austen is in The Dominican Republic and Aaron is probably nickin' drunk drivers!! I'm looking forward to some contact with those two tomorrow although Austen may have difficulty. And of course, you. Nice to hear that the card(s) arrived in time. Also, it's nearly a whole year since I stopped smoking. A double celebration so let's get on with it......

That's it, the shopping is all done, even down to the matches needed to light the brandy to flambe the Christmas Pud. If I've forgotten anything it'll have to stay forgot! Kettle's boiling...a well earned cuppa. And while I'm drinking that I'll have a think about my menu :-

Prawn Cocktail
Langostinos & Mussels dressed in cocktail sauce served on a layered bed of Romano lettuce and fresh crabmeat and then topped with "caviar" and fresh mango.
Roasted Turkey with Sage & Onion Stuffing Balls.
Served on a Rosti Pancake with Bread Sauce and Cranberry preserve and accompanied by Bacon wrapped Chipolatas, Roast Potatoes, Honey Glazed Carrots, Roast Parsnips, Cauliflower and Asparragus
Christmas Pudding
Flambed in Brandy and served with Cream

Hmmmm....I might need to be up early!! Sounds good though. Had I known that things were going to pan out the way that they have for tomorrow I wouldn't have arranged the meal out tonight because I really don't think that I can afford the time, but, too late now.

1830 and it is time to go out. I'm popping in to see (English) Erica first in the bar that she is working in then it's on to meet up with Hilde and the rest for a Dutch Dinner. Still a lot to do here so it'll be a late night for me no doubt (including the "finish" in Ana's later) but I've scrubbed-up well as usual so I'm not going to waste the effort. See you later....

0155 I'm back indoors after a nice night out. For the others whom I was with the night continues but I have a meal to prepare tomorrow and I cannot afford to spend time celebrating tonight when, for me, tomorrow is so much more important. The dinner tonight was fabulous and Hilde has been given my full permission to congratulate the restaurant staff on their effort and a job well done on my behalf. But right now I have other things on my mind, including taking things out of the freezer to defrost etc etc ready for (what is probably) the most important meal of my life. Sounds dramatic? You bet. And I'll probably be back with a fresh post in 3 or 4 hours, this one is now closed, I'm going to bed.

Mad Panic

Larisa didn't decline. She said yes. Oh lordy. I've never cooked a full-blown Turkey Dinner for anybody else so it's bound to go wrong, Sods Law dictates such things. Shops early tomorrow for fresh Veg and stuff to finish off my menu then check through the apartment, all the while chewing fingernails. Favio and Ana-Mary gave me a Hamper yesterday (I've not long got it home and opened it to see what's inside) and I think that the bottles contained therein might yield a "calmer downer" that I could do with right now. Only joking of course. No I'm not. Why does she do this to me, put me in a 2 'n 8 so to speak? Luckily I've got a day off tomorrow (which is actually today now) so I think that I can get everything sorted by the time I go to the Dutch Restaurant for dinner.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

It's not True

The rain in Spain does not fall mainly on the plain! For 39 hours now we have been inundated with water almost continuously and...oops....there's the first flash & bang.....exactly as forecast much has been extremely heavy. Which is why I'm up, the noise is enough to stop me from sleeping. And now we have thunder. Good 'ere innit! Costa del Agua. The neighbour is up and about as well by the sound of it so I'm not the only light sleeper round here. Another flash and...yes....not too far away judging by the time interval to the bang. Funnily enough the website weather reports are only showing Mist and that's because the 'METAR' from Station LEMG (Malaga Aeropuerto) seems to be defying convention - showing both Mist and Heavy Rain as the weather phenomenon, although mist and rain do not normally go together. Strange. Maybe there's a new boy on the job who can't tell exactly why he can't see very far so he's hedging his bets. There is also a software issue here as well because the available information is not being properly decoded. The first 'weather phenomenon' element in the METAR is "BR" (Mist) followed by "+RA" (Heavy Rain) but only the first is being read by the decoder.

I'm back up again after a bad nights sleep due to the noise of the rain and I have just sent a txt inviting Larisa to Christmas Dinner with me here at the apartment. She's probably already organised and will decline, we'll see. I also sent her one on Friday asking about seeing her over this weekend and she called me back by voice! Needless to say the comms totally failed due to my inability to understand what she was saying.

Yesterday I broke the record again in the bar. A busy session. And today I'm expecting to have to host a singsong so it could be another good one. Favio must be pleased with the way things are going because as I tried to leave last night (having returned after dinner for a nightcap) Ana-Mary told me to wait, "Favio has something to give to you". A box of bottles by the sound of it but I couldn't bring them home because it was chucking it down at the time so I left them there under the watchful eye of Beryl. It was also nice to meet someone from the UK who reads this blog and came in to meet me in person.

The supermarket got the Turkey joint packs in on Thursday, better late than never I suppose, and I now have mine. I have to do shopping for veg tomorrow (in Fuengirola where I can get a parsnip) then I'm all set. It's a normal day in the bar on Christmas Day so I have to be there at 5pm which means that my Dinner has to be cooked and eaten a little earlier than I would really like but never mind, I have tomorrow off. Beryl is going to open at 11pm or thereabouts which is why I have been able to book a meal in the evening at the restaurant run by Hilde's friend. "Meet me at 7-15 by the lift" she said last night over the bar, to which someone else responded that it is shut between 6 and 7....they think. "OK, I'll make my own way up the steps to make sure that I am not late" I answered. I hope the rain lets up.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Get Derek!!

Well, I was planning to go and get some mince today to stuff a pepper with but stuff that, it's raining, it's cold and it's just downright miserable outside so I'll stuff myself later with something else that doesn't involve going shopping. Talking about stuffing, Tina & Barry's meal yesterday was the stuff of 5 star restaurants. Incredibly delicious. I'm not going to give an account of it blow by blow but the starter, a prawn cocktail, deserves special mention and a copy of their creation will be produced here in My Kitchen quite soon. I did wear the jacket that Juan gave me plus matching trousers, shirt and tie and turned up at the their door to "gould luv us ducky, we're all dressed up, got somewhere to go have we?" I thought that I looked the "bee knees". In fact, I was so pleased with my appearance that I went straight on to work after rather than change into something else at the apartment on the way by.

Mistake. I should have known better. David and Ann called in on the way back from the shops and David just loves a tease. Later, after they had left I was standing in the doorway rocking on my heels when Juan himself drove up and with a squeal of brakes skidded to a stop just past me. A quick flick into reverse and through the electrically opening window as he backed up came "muy guapo, ohh la la!" I gave him a twirl there and then after which, and with a satisfied smile, he went on his way "to watch football, see you later maybe."

Life was suddenly quiet again. Barry came by and dropped off the Loaf Tin I'd asked him to get for me on one of his shopping trips (he goes to shops where they sell that kind of thing, I don't). 8 euros changed hands and I now have the technology to make my own bread. And why not, my new chef's assistant came with a dough hook and I want to put it to good use. Then a group of noisy Geordies called in. "Sorry about all the swearing guv". "There are no ladies present so I'm not unduly bothered " I replied, which they accepted, and after 1 round left, heading back to their hotel and, probably for some, the mother of all headaches.

All quiet again so I put a Queen disc in the player and began listening to Freddie Mercury. "You are all on your alone Derek!" "Yes Hilde, will it be your usual?" "Yes, I take just one then I go home, I have been to Benalmadena with my girlfriend, to a Japanese restaurant, I just get back and I am tired." Now, I've got a tie on and I can't hide that fact and I'm getting worried that she's going to tease about that because I suddenly remembered her telling me some months ago "DON'T wear a tie!! No!!" But she preferred to talk about her meal and gave me a colour brochure from the restaurant to back up her description of what she ate. When I tried to give it back to her she said "no, it is for you". As it happens I do want to try Japanese food sometime and now have a picture of what suchi and suchimi look like. I offered her another wine 'on me' which she didn't refuse..."oh all right, I stay for just one more then I go home!" Yes Hilde.

The reason why I'm working is of course because Beryl et al have gone to dinner with Ana-Mary and Favio. Having finished the meal Favio taxied everybody back to the bar and in they came. Sober. Sober? "Too much food, no time to drink, give me a vodka, quick" said Randy (Beryl's American Husband). "Muy elegante, muy elegante" beamed Ana-Mary in my direction. Why thankyou said I in return. Then this american accent came back over the bar "yeah, but shame about the tie" Here we go. Get Derek. Again. "What's wrong with the tie?" "Too, er, thin, and anyway, where's the funeral?" "It's brown not black, I'm colour cordinated" I countered, laying the tie over my arm and the jacket sleeve to press home my point. "Well, it's still too thin". And on the banter went over the first drink that was Favio treat, who with a faint nod towards Hilde's glass had silently told me to top hers up as well. "No, please, I go home now". Too late. She did eventually grasp an opportunity to leave, vacating her stool that was then very shortly reoccupied by Lisa. Lisa works in a bar along the road and usually closes before Ana's Bar does, sometimes calling in for a wind-down snifter on her way home. She adores cats and the local moggies adore her, very often following her as she goes on her ways and, tonight, she'd had to put up with the noisy Geordies before I did and was glad to have a moment or two of relaxation at the bar I think.

"Ana-Mary has told me that you have an admirer" announced Beryl. Oh! Was I the topic of conversation over the canapes? But, and before I could comment, back came that American accent again, "yeah, and she's insane!!" More banter followed during which it began to become clear that I was not going to be told who this insane admirer was. Lisa was taken into the confidence. But not me. I began to guess (in my own mind) and actually got it right because Ana-Mary eventually relented and gave me a rock-solid clue or two. I've met the Lady once. She is not insane, she's actually a Lawyer but does lead a stressful life coping with an elderly and infirm Mother I believe.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Lunch Party

Today I'm invited to Tina & Barry's along with Ann & Bill for lunch. 1-15 for 1-30 is my instruction. So shortly I've got to iron some clothes and I think that I'll give that Jacket Juan gave me an airing. Tina & Barry dropped into the bar yesterday and dropped some hints about the menu today but it is still more-or-less a surprise. I have said that I'll take along a bottle of Malaga Virgen for Aperitifs so first I've got to go to the corner shop to get one.

Yesterday Cecilia came in after a short absence. I'd thought that her disappearance was due to the fact that she'd gone to Mexico to join her Husband who has been posted there by his firm. But I was wrong. Anyway on her way back to her apartment last evening she called in and gave me a load of Plum Tomatoes and Red Peppers that she'd bought on her travels. Tomato Chutney seems like a good idea and stuffed peppers is also on the agenda now but, first, Tina's soiree and then a full session in the bar until closing because Beryl & Randy are going to Dinner tonight with Ana-Mary and Favio leaving me in charge. I'm quite looking forward to the day (which is cold, grey and threatening to be quite wet).

Saturday, 15 December 2007

An Early Goal!

Re: Ann She brought David into the bar to see me yesterday just after I'd opened. He's improving rapidly, his drinking arm has lost it's cramp and his face is showing signs of a smile now and then. Ann was, of course, her usual radiant self, wrapped up well in a heavy overcoat to keep the chill out, bemoaning the fact that she's lost a few ounces and is trying to find them again. She stayed for 45mins or so until she perceived that David was showing signs of tiredness and then gently helped him out, down the step at the door, and away home.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Cut & Dried

That's the Christmas Cards away. Hopefully I'm in time although word is that the last day for posting was the 12th. A little blustery outside today with plenty of grey clouds around and some extensive rainfall evident on the Eastern horizon which, on the easterly wind, could be coming our way. I've just got back from Leena's Hair Salon in the nearby hotel having had my hair cut (and a free blow-dry while walking back home). So now I'm all set for the Christmas and New Year Festive season which kicks off here on Sunday as far as I'm concerned with a (late) lunch with Tina & Barry. Tina has invited several people and been kind enough to schedule everything to accomodate my need to get to work at 5pm. Beryl and her husband are invited by Favio and Ana-Mary for Dinner in the evening so I have agreed to work through until close on Sunday. A busy day all-in-all.

One of the regulars (Juan) in the bar gave me a rather expensive Jacket the other day. Having bought and worn it just 2 or 3 times he decided that it wasn't "him" and looked for a new home for it. Me. Now I just need to elicit some help in finding a matching pair of trousers so a certain young lady will be press-ganged just as soon as the opportunity arises. Maybe the combo can then become my "new Party Frock" for the meal on Christmas Eve (the menu of which, incidently, I have not been able to clarify because Hilde did not have the info in her handbag last night when I spoke to her).

Re: Ann
David tells that she is steadily improving each and every day and I am pleased to hear that she has set herself a 'goal' gain enough strength to accompany him one day next week to the bar followed by a meal in one of the local eateries. Life is getting back to normal, slowly but surely.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Yorkshire Tea & Crumpet

"Can we bring you anything back from Gibraltar?" asked Ann S a week or so ago "because we are going there for a day or two soon". My shopping list was Yorkshire Tea and Beef Suet. They (her and Bill) came into the bar earlier this evening sporting a carrier bag. "For you" said she. "15Euros" said he. Deal done I poked a nose in - Yorkshire Tea, no Suet but, and wait for it......., crumpets!! "Couldn't get Beef Suet, they only had the veggie one". OK, the puds are on hold, dumplings I am doing suet-less now anyway but I could die for a bit of crumpet. I reckon that Ann's got a seventh sense or maybe she reads this blog or maybe I natter about things in the bar. Who cares. I got 6 crumpets. Well, I did have, they are all gone now. Some greedy bugger ate the lot earlier and is now suffering indigestion bigstyle. But I now know that my homemade ones are very close to the mark; just got to get the right number of holes in each one. I must get back on that quest having also proved tonight that the Marmite idea works very well. Oh yes.

Quick trip back down to the bar after dinner for indigestion medication. ???. "I got something for you Derek". Eh? What is this, Christmas? Oh, hello Hilde. "You want know what to eat? My friend has made menus, you should choose and me tell". Isn't Dutch so much like English!? There's a little story to this actually. Yesterday, before I went back to the bar after dinner, Beryl had said to Hilde that Derek wants to know what the menu is. "I don't tell him, it's a surprise" said she. When I walked in she repeated that..."I don't tell you what you eat, Derek, it's a surprise" My vacant expression caught Beryl's attention and she explained what had come to pass in the previous hour or so. I can't remember the rest of the banter that passed but Hilde enjoys a good giggle and that she had for sure. But now she has my choice of Prawns in Whisky sauce, Steak Fillet Roses in another kind of sauce and Salmon Fillet in yet another kind of sauce (I wrote it down for her but not for me. Tomorrow I'll clarify it all here.) But it all sounds very nice, Chef has me sorted at least and I'm happier about how my 40 euros is to be spent. It's a champagne reception by the way.

As for my Vodka, sorry, medication - it was taken in solitude after Hilde left. Favio will play Spanish music,'s Tuesday you see, Beryl's night off. My shift went very nicely, thankyou.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Complete Closure

Tina & Barry had a wee little celebration yesterday in the bar; they closed the sale of the Red Lion earlier in the day after delays amounting to 5 weeks or so while Bureaurcracy untangled the red tape it had got all twisted. So, that's it, the Red Lion is no more, dead and buried, gone forever. Mine ex hosts are now bumping into people who did not know and have come to Torre expecting a Christmas Dinner, a New Year Bash etc etc in their favourite venue only to find that there is nothing. I'm sure that Tina was telling me yesterday over the bar that some have vowed never to return because Torremolinos is "not the same anymore". Some legacy.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Here's more.....

Pipe Nightmares
I think that Favio is at his wit's end. Obviously digging the floor up is, at the end of the day, all things considered, going to cost an awful lot of money. Probably a necessary evil but just right now not one he seems prepared to face up to. Next move is, I believe, to employ a camera, poke it down the pipe from one of the toilet pedestal terminals in order to find out just what is going on. At least doing that might mean that the hole can be dug in the right place and kept to a manageable (costwise) size. In the meantime though, yesterday, Ana-Mary (Favio's wife) found herself mopping out while she was finishing decorating the tree and I noticed Favio himself doing it again somewhile later during the family get-together they held in the bar last evening. Of course due to my cold I can't smell it! Welcome relief. But enough about pipes. Talking to Ana-Mary while she was with me last night (decorating the tree) she was kind enough to comment that my Spanish is coming along very well. Which can, in no small way, be attributed to my lack of the Russian language and Larisa's lack of English and that brings me on to my favourite subject..........

Never say No
My cancellation last Friday was not taken lying down. Oh no. Part of the "Get well ditty" I received was a recipe for a Salt & Bicarb gargle and a mention of "Crema Antiseptika." Then Saturday morning, 11am, my convalescent snoozing in bed was disturbed with "Hello how are you? Well I hope" to which I replied "Sore throat is better but now I have a Cold and still staying in bed. I'll call you when I'm better" That should do it - peace and quiet for a few days. Nope. Saturday evening, 8-30pm, while at work, I got "If tomorrow you are well you can come to my place to eat". I gave in - "OK, what time?" And got immediately back "1200, 1300, when you want. Call me when you are on the way and I'll meet you at the bustop" She had a cold just the other week remember? I left her alone until she called, having recovered, remember? But she knows that I am not at death's door because she knows I am still going to work every evening 'cos I told her, so she's got me by the short 'n curlies, no excuses.

You no Listen?
This last weekend, actually starting last Thursday, has been a major National Holiday with shops closed left, right and centre. But luckily, yesterday, Sunday, the Supermarkets opened for a few hours to catch up on lost trade so I was able to buy a bottle of plonk to take with me. "Marquesa de something-or-other" it was. A half-decent dry white.

Here we are in early December hurtling towards Christmas at umpteen thousand miles-an-hour through space only to find me txting from Fuengirola that I'm catching the 1145am 220 in 25C in the shade!!! There must be some truth in this Global Warming mullarkey. Some while later, still clutching said bottle and with streaming eyes and running nose (yes I know, but life ain't always just about roses) I met her as arranged, only to be greeted with "Mr Derek!! I said only if you are well!" 'Scuse me? I've been trying to tell you that I am not well for the last two days! "Did you make the gargle?" A diplomatic "yes" left my lips. Then I asked about the crema. "Ah. In Russia we can get a cream which you apply to the top of the throat with a suitable thingy but I don't think that you can get it here." Remind me not to ever go to Russia with a sore throat. I do NOT fancy a thingy stuck down my throat with a splodge of Antiseptic cream on the end. Give me a Zube any day. Continuing to natter (in Spanish of course), on we went up the hill. I'm sure that it was steeper this time and in the heat I began to leave much of my cold in little wet patches at my feet. But eventually we got to the top, indoors and then, out on the terrace in the (almost) searing heat, I was allowed to collapse onto a garden lounger.

No, sólo descansas!
I remember giving her something to do in my Kitchen that day I had her, Katy and David over for a Dinner Party and then having to watch her promptly "take-over" the whole caboodle. I actually enjoy the togetherness while squabbling over the potato peeler but my offer of help was met with "no, you just rest!" "Can I have some wine then?" "Yes, the corkscrew is in the drawer". "Do you have any ice? This wine is red hot" and out I went, back to the lounger. When I opened my eyes again a short while later (to a very soft and very Russian accented "pliz" - she was saying "por favor" in English) the terrace table was laid and ready and I hadn't heard a sound. Not one.

Seafood soup? No. Lentil Soup, Lentejas. Followed by Russian style Ravioli (with a salad). Knowing full well that I adore Lentejas just as much as I'm addicted to Seafood Soup she still asked "do you like Lentils". And she won't have forgotten that together we bought Ravioli for me in the Russian Grocers in Málaga once.

I wasn 't late for work, and conversation with Ana-Mary was easier. Practice (even with a Spanish speaking Russian) makes perfect. But I'm still not brave enough to use the phone properly. Body language and comprehension go hand-in-hand still. I never ask her to slow down either. Many foriegners here (including me) speak their Spanish quite slowly but Lary doesn't. She fires it off like a natural. Full of mistakes of course, because it's not her native tongue, but nevertheless full of confidence and nowadays I rarely misunderstand her. For me, talking to her is proving to be exceptionally good practise. I have never forgotten that day, a couple of years ago now, sat in Restaurante Lanjáron Neuvo when she said "talk to me" and my ensuing blank expression prompted her to pick up her Russian newspaper and start reading. I have never given her that excuse again. That was one salutory lesson, very cleverly exercised.

I've been given Katy's email address so that I can chase up those photos that she promised to send me and hasn't, yet.

Saturday, 8 December 2007


The clamour has been deafening so I carry on (it's only gossip about me, by me, anyway).

Re: Ann The Doctor, on his rounds this morning, asked her if she'd like to go home. She was very quickly on the phone to David who organised her collection from the ward and she is now back at the apartment. Home.

Where was I? Oh yes, planning lunch with Lary. I cancelled. I sent her a txt at 8am yesterday (after a sleepness night) saying that I had a sore throat and was going to spend the day in bed until it would be time for work. Which I did. She sent back a "get better soon" ditty. Very nice. At work Beryl took pity and fetched me some lozenges to take. I had them all. 6 of them. All within the space of an hour or so. I'd also overdosed on Vits C and D through the day in an effort to minimise collateral damage due to the effluent problem (the stink) in the toilets. It's how I react to strong smells, I get a sore throat then a cold. Even a lady's (strong) perfume can trigger the reaction in me if I allow exposure for long enough. Anyway yesterday a lorry came; one of those things bristleing with pushers and pullers, suckers and blowers, brushes and dusters and a bloody great big tank to gulp the sludge into. Salvation. Er, no. They told Favio that "you gotta break, mate, in yer pipe. You need t'dig 'ole and put some band-aid rahnd it. Not our job, nuvver lorry, diff'rent union."

----there's more------->

Final Post

It appears that much of what I say here is perceived as gossip. So, this blog is now closed. My letters to my Mum will now go back to being private. Shame. Byebye

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Angels do Exist.

I lost custom today; turned one away while up to my neck in effluvium and then shut the doors for 45 mins while mopping up which, incidently, is beginning to give me a sore throat. Three incidences today, one of which was particularly bad...the stench was awful. Mind you the tree was decorated tonight. I must look up the meaning of Priority in the Oxford English. Never mind, tomorrow Lary is coming into town and hopefully we will meet for a few hours which will take my mind off the prospect of having to go to work and back to the mop. Actually it's a damn good job that I'm there in the early evening otherwise the "old" opening at 9pm would be fraught with problems. How's that song go? "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life", she'll never know just how important the possibility of seeing her is just at this moment, her message at 2130 was manna from heaven.

Re: Ann I overheard David telling folk in the bar today that Ann might well be coming home at the end of next week. She is improving day by day.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

What a Smashing Time Lately

I smashed all previous records today, not only in the "take" but also in tips. I've actually made a profit on the day, even after a trip to the shops to buy a trolley load of goodies!!! And it all could have been better perhaps except that the toilets blocked up and most punters decided to leave rather than sit there with crossed legs. Understandable, but a shame; maybe Favio might now do something about the drainage system. He was pleased with November's figures and the way that things are already, December stands a good chance of being excellent businesswise, except for the toilet situation........

Re: ANN I didn't see David today but Ann S did and she tells me that Ann is in her own room, sitting in the bedside armchair every moment that she can, enjoying hospital life as best she can. David now has unlimited visiting etc etc. Won't be too long before she is home methinks.

Talking of Ann S....she had something to celebrate last week and before I could say "what the..." I found myself embroiled in a hectic dance session to a piece of music that she liked the beat of. It's a long time since I've done anything akin to a Ballroom Jive but I don't think that the snap taken by Elsa-Britt and Ole-Erik shows me disgracing myself. Maybe all the practise in the local discos with Larisa these last 3 years or so has held me in good stead for such a sudden, impromptu fling. But who can resist an invitation along the lines of "come 'ere you an' dance wiv me". I couldn't. And luckily I was off duty. Ann & Bill also invited me to lunch on Tuesday, for Steak and Kidney Pud. Oh boy, was I glad that a dinner date with Lary had fallen through (now tentatively rescheduled for the weekend sometime). With fresh Sprouts, brocolli, carrots and Roasties to die for it was a meal par excellance. Shame I had to go to work after and couldn't just sit down with a Port and some Stilton to finish off in style. But good job that I did go to work because I've now got a Christmas Meal booked for Christmas Eve, via Hilde, at a Dutch restaurant run by a friend of hers. A bit of Social Networking going on and jolly good too. As it won't be Turkey (that's not the Dutch way) I still plan to cook my own Turkey Dinner on Xmas Day just as I have done for the last 2 years.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Re: Ann

Last night David was telling me that Ann is continuing to improve, that she has got her appetite back and, hopefully, will be transferred from IC to the ward today.