Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Dia Descanso

It's Wednesday, officially, and my day off, one of which I haven't had since last week! Tonight in the bar it was very, very quiet due to all my regulars going to a Birthday Party up in Town at Maria's Bar. Some of the revellers called in, on their ways' home, dressed in best "Party Frocks" and with hair let down etc., etc. and very nice too, making my evening to see somebody and also helping to top the till up. It seems that I missed a good night but, unfortunately, it was my night for working through.

I'm not going to stop long here because I have to get to bed (it's just 3am and I'm not long in from work) but while I drink my tea I thought I'd send a few lines. Erica's Dad has organised what we know as a Tapa Run tomorrow (actually today of course). A kind of glorified Pub Crawl where a tapa is taken at each stop as well as a beverage and traditionally finishing with Champagne Cocktails I believe. I've been invited before (they are not that frequent by the way, the last was about a year ago) but have never managed to join in until now and that is because it is deliberately scheduled for today, my day off whereby I have no excuse! Then later in the afternoon/evening I've asked David to come and help me finish off the remaining seafood from that which he bought Monday and has passed on to me. Paella is on the cards, this time with some Rabbit. I can't remember the last time I had Rabbit. And that means I need to shop so I won't be taking too many cocktails beforehand on the Run which starts at 12-30 - 9 hours from now. I must get to bed!!

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Three is not a Crowd

Some while ago in my musings to you I mentioned about the social side of life - be it in my own bar or working in someone elses like I do now - and getting a social life back having started to work back in September. Last night after work David and I were late leaving the bar due to the fact that someone he knew turned up and they spent some time "catching up" together. Sitting alone at the bar, waiting for David, I was joined by a lady who recently moved here from Ireland and has been feeling a little homesick and somewhat lonely and during the course of our conversation I dared to invite her to David's and the impending dinner. She accepted. I eventually got to his kitchen around about 10-30pm or so and dished up on his terrace somewhere near midnight because the conversation between the 3 of us slowed me up but what the heck, we were enjoying each others company over a few glasses of the White Wine that should have gone in the sauce!! Despite all that the cook excelled himself, turning out an absolutely perfect dish of which there was eventually none left due to everyone going back for "seconds" and even "thirds". All-in-all a nice social evening, David had some company, I was doing what I like to do - cook with a purpose ie for others and our ladyfriend forgot about her homesickness for a little while.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Sowing Seeds

First, your question on the phone about comments. They remain private unless I choose to publish them to the blog....if you scroll down a couple of posts you'll see that one has "2 comments" printed underneath it. I've allowed the publication of one comment to me and my reply so, click on that "2 comments" link and you'll see how it works but, like you said, if you have a lot to say then email is better and remains private while giving me an easier way to reply.

A busy day today. You'll remember that Mondays always were Lesson day with David and last week he started giving lessons again so later on I have mine, followed by work followed by a return to David's to cook again. We've decided to try and copy a Spaghetti Marinara that he had once in a restaurant. He says that it was so good that he has never forgotten it. OK, but, I've made him go shopping for the major flavours...he keeps telling me that he has forgotten how to shop so I'm making him re-learn the hard way, by doing it; I've been out and bought the other stuff needed hoping that he'll get at least some Prawns. Actually I don't know why I used the word Marinara because it's not. It's Pasta with Seafood. A Marinara is a tomato based, meatless sauce given to Italian Sailors in days gone by, hence "Marin"ara, but even Pukka 5 star restaurants misuse the term so I'm not going to worry too much about sticking with it. This week's Chicken is in the oven, this time stuffed with a Homemade Sage & Onion stuffing. The other week while shopping in Fuengirola for the Haggis meal I came across some potted herbs so I bought one or two to keep Lisa's Tomatoes company out on the terrrace. One is a nice bushy Sage plant which, earlier this morning, lost a dozen leaves to my deft fingers only to be mashed with some grated onion, blood, sweat, tears and breadcrumbs and shoved up an orifice at one end of the bird. Been in now about 45mins and beginning to smell good. I'm not worried about using the stuffing as a side to any dishes though, I only want the flavour in the meat, so it was quite a loose mixture, not bound in any way, which will find it's way, eventually, into the stockpot still inside the carcass.

Talking about potted plants, yesterday evening Anna (Swedish Anna) came into the bar and announced that "I have something for you" to me. A polythene bag appeared containing some seeds. 2 types. A cotton plant and a Gourd that, once peeled and dried, can be used in the bath as a sponge. Anybody got some bath seeds?? I would love to grow one of them!! Anyway, very unusual, very different and she hopes that they'll germinate for me despite being 2 years old. Another customer in the bar immediately flashed her eyelids and before I'd put the seeds in my bag she'd acquired a few from me. Actually she offered to start the lot in her greenhouse and bring them back as seedlings but I said that part of the fun was starting from scratch, waiting for the shoots and then nurturing them so thanks, but no thanks.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Las Almejas

Today is the XIV Dia Internacional de Los Residentes Extranjeros or International Foriegn Residents Day which is celebrated in the main square in town and basically consists of stalls manned by Foreign Association Members selling, or giving away, food samples of their National cuisine. I hear that the Irish have on offer Hotdogs!! Anyway David's asked me to meet him up in town at 12 to have a nosy round the stalls which doesn't leave me much time right now to write here. Cecilia txt'd me last night and it seems that we are eating together later this evening so the weekend is looking good so far but more on everything later, I really do have to go right now.

OK, nothing much to see in the square and the Irish really were selling Hotdogs. Last Wednesday evening I cooked a chilli con Carne at David's after which we went out to El Bajondillo because he hadn't been in there for a year or more. On the way we bumped into Cecilia on her way back from shopping and I press-ganged her into coming out with us. During the course of the evening she suggested that I might like to go to Málaga (I presume) to visit the Picasso Museum and we consequently exchanged phone numbers in order to arrange that at a future date. The evening went well, to the point that when we were trying to leave the Manager pulled her to one side in the foyer and had the night's Musical Troupe perform a personal serenade for her. Watching her face from where I was standing (with the camera) it was obvious that she found it all a little embarrassing. David took his leave at the door and went home and we both finished up in Ana's until closing time. I can't remember all the subsequent conversational topics, yet yesterday I received a text from her to tell me that she "had got the Almejas" (clams) and that could we do whatever with them today. Now, I don't think that I was on the Brandy, in fact I know that I wasn't, but it seems that an arrangement has been made of which I actually have no knowledge. I'm just hoping that I'm not supposed to buy anything else to go with said clams because I haven't.

I'm just off to work and to be on the safe side I've bought a bottle of Port (her favourite) and tied a red rose to it just in case I end up with Egg on my face instead of Clams in my belly!!

I needn't have worried. A huge pot of Clams steamed in their own juices with some white wine, garlic and parsley turned up at the Bar at 7-30pm which was then served (after I'd been sent out for a fresh, crusty Baguette) in Tapa portions to those present who wanted some and a txt at 5-45am let me know that she liked the rose!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

RE: Gert

Tomorrow (Friday) at 3pm there is the get-together in Maria's Bar (Tom & Mercedes) in memory of our Swedish friend Gert while his family hold a Church Service in Sweden at exactly the same time.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Finally for Juan.......

Further to the previous post I went along to work today and, because Juan's cottage is next door, took time out to go and photograph the candle and flowers. Unfortunately the candle was out and the flowers well wilted so I aborted the idea. On arrival back here at home I have found 2 photos sent to me by Else-Britt of the very scene that I wanted to photograph. I don't want to say anymore right now, just reflect on my memories of my friend in front of this candle and Lily....

Goodnight my Friend and thankyou for having been.

Impromptu Shrines.

I took this photo yesterday evening in the bar just to show the lovely presentation that Else-Britt made of Helen's Eulogy and where Favio has displayed it, under the photo of Juan in his younger days. A candle has been burning in the doorway to his cottage since the news of his death broke, and a White Rose and another White flower have been (separately) anonymously placed beside that candle.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Glutton for Punishment

Tonight after work David has asked me to cook at his, which is what I am going to do. Last week while shopping for the Haggis extravaganza I bought 2 nice 'n thick Pork Chops and left them in his freezer for a rainy day. Well, guess what, today it is rainy so Chops is on the menu! David is not too keen on Potato, much preferring rice as a staple so the pork chops are going to be curried with Sag Aloo and Onion Bhajis accompanying. Sounds good but a lot of work, some of which I shall do this afternoon, in the day's gloom, in order that we don't have to wait too long tonight for stuff to reach the table. I might even try to do a Nan Bread but then again I might not, I hate working with flour. No, forget that, here's an even better idea...I'm going to use some of the Soft Tunnbrod that Else-Britt gave me instead. Of course, all this is assuming that he remembers to do his bit and defrost the chops, so I've got some Fish Fingers and a tin of Mushy Peas on standby just in case.

What a Day

As it turns out I have had a hard time coming to terms with the loss of Juan. Opening the bar at 5pm, no problem, receiving the mourners at 5-45pm, no problem, going for a meal at Ann & Bill's invitation after work (a separate, pre-planned, issue entirely which included David) no problem, returning to a rowdy, busy Bar de Ana 2 hours later, a problem. I perceived disrespect, no, wrong word, ignorance, but then many of the clients were holidaymakers and would have had no idea, fair comment, but not all were and that's what I found difficult to come to terms with. Amelio and Randy saw my dilemma and came to my side while I cried, but if ignoring the day's earlier drama is the norm for the rest of the local society then I want no more, my grief goes deeper than that. I read a Eulogy (privately) written by Helen which encapsulated everybody's thoughts about the man perfectly, but life still carries on as if nothing has happened. Of course it does, that IS life. Rosemary, Colin, Gerry, Mandy, Gert, Ann, and now Juan.....when will it all end? And I know that that is a very short list, Ole-Erik tells me that we have lost 15 in the last few years. Maybe David is right, but, for christ's sake, don't tell him I just said that.

It is piddling down with rain.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Business as Usual

I have to work as normal today so I cannot go to Juan's Funeral in Benalmádena at 5pm. A few folk here have found the fact that Favio has not chosen to keep the bar closed until after the service as a mark of respect for one of his stalwart regulars (which would then allow me to attend) as somewhat insensitive to put it mildly. But then maybe it's the Spanish way. I know that Ana-Mary doesn't understand the tradition, in the UK, of a wake after a funeral because she quizzed me, on the way home to open the bar, about "how can you drink and be happy" after the service for Ann. Anyway, not to be outdone, I will be wearing black throughout my shift and hopefully a few of the mourners will return to the bar after to join me for a little while. It's raining again which means that I am having to dry my washing indoors in front of a fire but hopefully all will be well by the time I have to get changed!!

Thanks to Helen in Florida I'm able to post a picture here. To him I was, jokingly, known as "Eengleesh" and we had many a comic moment in the bar together in the short time that I had to get to know him. Everybody loved him. Everybody misses him.

Friday, 18 April 2008

El Bajondillo Grieves Again

Juan died this morning, Friday 18th April at 6am. The cancer had got into his bones. Tomorrow, Saturday 19th, at 5pm he is to be cremated at the International Cemetary in Benalmádena Pueblo. I have nothing more to add.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

My take on Escabeche

David returned yesterday from laying Ann to rest in Ireland, arriving in the evening to be met by friends of his who had travelled ahead. They came to the bar to take a pre-dinner drink and David commented to me during the general conversation that "if you don't mind, perhaps you can come to mine once or twice over the next couple of weeks and cook for the both of us". I'm looking forward to that.

Ana-Mary and Favio visited Juan in hospital yesterday. The Chemotherapy he is undergoing is taking its toll and word is that his cancer has spread, or is spreading.

Talking of cooking for David.........a friend of mine also came in yesterday and, half jokingly, said "I'll get some girls together, we´ll have a girly night in at yours and you can cook!" Trouble is I think she's serious, she's hinted at me cooking for her before. But not squid. It was a discussion about whole baby Squid on a plate that prompted the above. Maybe towards the weekend I'll know more on that front, or maybe not, as I said she's done this before and nothing has come of it. We'll see.

The re-potted Petunias are recovering well and yesterday I bought a 50litre bag of compost to use as a Growbag for the tomatoes. Mind you the cost was a far cry from that which I use to pay in the UK. I remember getting growbags for 99p, here this bag of stuff cost 10€. Ouch. But the the local towncentre shop where I bought it doesn't stock "proper" growbags.

OK, I've got a recipe together based on Cecilia´s Ceviche (ignoring my original idea to use the Grapefruit skin as a dish, not a good one!) and I've followed in the tradition of the classic Peruvian Dish but modified it slightly to reflect the dish's title's root in the Spanish Language and as I've produced it here in Spain,
a) I'm going to list the ingredients in Spanish.
b) Give the English equivalents and
c) I'm going to call it:
Escabeche de Andalucia

INGREDIENTS (makes a largish portion for 1)
50g Migas de Bacalao Tradicional (desalado).
1 doz Gambas Arronado cocido.
1 Pomero.
1/2 de 1 Cebollita Tierna.
1 grande partió del ajo.
1 pequeña chile roja.
Pimienta verde.
Jengibre fresco.
Pimenton picante ahumado.
Vinagre de Jerez.
Perejil fresco.
Cilantro fresco.

50g Cod fillet, unsalted
1 doz Shrimps, cooked and peeled
1 Grapefruit
Half a smallish onion
1 large clove of Garlic
1 Small Red Chilli Pepper
2 tablespons finely diced Green Pepper
Fresh Ginger
Hot Paprika (smoked if you have it).
Sherry Vinegar
Fresh Parsley
Fresh Coriander

Finely slice, paper thin, the cod and onion and place in a bowl. Add the minced garlic, finely chopped red pepper (see note), green pepper, the peeled and cooked Shrimp and a few strips of very finely julienned Ginger. Drizzle over a tablespoon of Sherry Vinegar then add the (broken-up) flesh and juice of a Grapefruit with a pinch of the Hot Paprika, some chopped Parsley and some chopped Coriander. Toss over to coat and marinate in the fridge for 6 hours, turning over a couple of times. Serve garnished with chives on some Lettuce leaves with Sweetcorn on the side.

The small red chillis that I managed to buy are quite hot so be careful to adjust (to taste) the amount that you use possibly opting to leave out the seeds, which I didn't. Phew!!

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Cherry Delights

Lisa has given me some Tomato plants along with some Petunias and Lobelias. She tells me that the tomatoes are a Cherry variety and I have 4 to "bring on" on my terrace. I can't do much today because it is Sunday and the shops are shut but I have already repotted the Petunias this morning and am now waiting for them to get their heads back up after that shock. What I am really looking forward to though is being able to make some of my Green Tomato Chutney again that I used to do with my Greenhouse "Moneymaker" crop each year. Roll on August. In the picture there is one in the LH pot and 3 in the RH pot but 2 of those are quite small still and I don't think that I'm going to disturb them just yet so after carefully removing the bigger one to a growbag I'll leave those two to get stronger for a week or two. And I mustn't forget that Lisa wants the pots back.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

The Cat's out of the Bag

"Do you think that the fish last night was raw?" asked Beryl not long after she had taken over. Sitting not a metre away from Randy, who'd been with me for about an hour already, and me not having mentioned a thing about the fish to him despite him asking me if "the girls" had been in (to thank) I quietly replied "yes, it was", hoping that Randy wasn't listening to me and his wife. I'm still alive. He settled back down on his stool after having to agree that he ate just as much as I did and even commented at the time that "the best bit is mopping the juice with the bread". But it was a close shave, Randy and Raw Fish are not the perfect partners.

Helen emailed me yesterday all the way from Florida to say that the dish is known as a Ceviche. I've followed on from her research to discover that that word may have its root in the Spanish "escabeche" which means 'pickle' or 'marinade' and that it is, originally, a Peruvian method of using seafood. To say that the fish is raw is quite wrong. It's not. The citric acid in the fruit (which can be any citrus type) "cooks" the fish in the time it takes to prep, plate and present at the table and certainly the marination need be no longer than 3 hours. I spoke to Cecilia last night about her recipe and, as usual, you can do what you want, use what you have etc etc. so I'm going to design a dish presented in the grapefruit skin as a starter (having gleaned ideas from Wikipedia whose article is a darn good read for those interested) using Cecilia's Cod & Grapefruit theme. Classically a Ceviche is simply white fish meat, freshly squeezed Lime Juice, Sliced Onion, Salt and a little diced fresh Chilli Pepper,.

Lisa popped her head through the door yesterday evening to tell me that if she doesn't have to struggle with a brolly today she'll drop off a few plants this evening on her way by the bar. Well, things are looking good, the weather is set fair and I'm doing my sun dance on the terrace just to make sure.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Best to Keep Quiet!!

That dish that Cecilia rustled up last night has so intrigued me that I've been out and bought the ingredients for myself because I can't wait to ask her for the recipe, I want to try it for myself. What I have come to realize though is the fact that the Cod was uncooked and somehow I don't think that Randy's American mind will quite come to terms with the idea that he was really enjoying raw fish last night.

I'm Humbled

It's late, I should be in bed but I'd rather sit here bashing the keys for a minute or two. Cecilia returned from attending her sister's wedding (in Luxembourg) yesterday. This evening she came to the bar quite early and settled down, engaging me in conversation about her trip and how she had enjoyed herself etc. As usual she was accompanied by her young daughter who, eventually, went to sleep in her arms somewhile after Beryl and I had changed over. At my suggestion I carried the youngster back to their apartment whereupon Cecilia proceeded to knock up a tapa for Randy and me to share at the bar later. Cod, Grapefruit, Onion and Olive Oil. It was absolutely awesome. She just threw it together in front of my eyes, gave me a quick taster whereupon I said "it needs a little pepper" (which she actioned) then chucked it in a tupperware container along with a few plastic forks and half of a baguette, and, with the word "enjoy", sent me on my way. Back at the bar a little later Beryl said that she thought that Randy wouldn't like it but she was wrong, he ate half of what was there and I ate the rest. Cod and Grapefruit?? This lady knows a thing or two about flavours and I'm hoping that she might be able to teach me a similar appreciation. Who'd a'thought it - Cod n Grapefruit. Delicioso, believe me. With her permission I'll publish her recipe here on, hopefully soon.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Tea Smoked Salmon with Fennel

So here's what I did for last night's meal:

First a couple of potatoes were put to cook for eventual mashing. Then a piece of alifoil with 2 teaspoons of tea, 1 teaspoon of whole cloves and a crushed cinnamon stick on it was placed into my Wok and put on a lowish heat. The top photo shows the idea. Whilst the spices were heating the Salmon Fillet was placed in the Bamboo Steamer and placed over the spices. Once smoke was being generated the steamer was lidded and the Salmon smoked for about 12 minutes. The photo below shows the setup waiting for the smoke to start.

Whilst the Fish was smoking a sauce was started using some creme fraiche, a good dash of Lemon Juice, the "dill" (which can just be seen to the left of the Wok in a bowl) and a couple of tablespoons of the prawn stock, all mixed together and left to gently reduce a little under a half-beedy eye. Then half the prepped Fennel (there's only me don't forget so the other has been put away in the fridge for another day) was suatéed with a couple of chopped cloves of garlic for a few minutes until softening. Once that was done they were left to keep warm in the pan whilst the smoked salmon was quickly finished off in a hot "griddle" pan with some olive oil. Whilst the Salmon was resting the potatoes were mashed with a good dollop of horseradish sauce then all was served on a warmed plate, the salmon, dressed with some "Dill" sauce, on a bed of Horseradish Mash accompanied by Fennel and, on the side, a glass of Rose Wine.

My Landlady poked her head round my open front-door (I'd left it ajar deliberately for her just in case her time of arrival was inconvenient for to open it) just as I was removing the fish from my homemade smoker. I think she was quite bemused with all the smoky aroma and me in a pinny etc. And I could still smell the smokiness this mornng despite having run the extractor fan over my cooker at the time.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

I'm Smoking Again

No, I don't mean that I have gone back to "the weed", far from it; I am not about to undo 16 months of abstinence for anything. It's my day off so I have decided to treat myself to a visit to a nice restaurant for a Cheffy meal. There is quite a good one not far from where I sit called "My Front Room" and on the menu is a delicious dish of Smoked Salmon with Fennel and the twist is that I get to do the whole thing for myself including smoking a nice fresh Salmon fillet, with Tea!! Lapsang Suchong to be precise. But first the shopping (in the pouring rain so I think I'll lash out 50cents for the lift up to town)................

..............1546 and I'm back from my forage round the shops. I haven't managed to find any Lapsang Suchong despite walking for miles around town and discovering that my shoes leak. Never mind , experiments with tea and some spices etc from my collection are about to take place. OK, Black Tea, Cinnamon Stick and whole cloves smells good as a smoke so let's see what happens for real. I'm going to use my Wok, some Alifoil and my Bamboo Steamer & lid. A lidded Wok with a trivet could also work.

1915hrs -- I bought a few Prawns with which to make a starter AND a stock for use with a sauce for the Salmon. Trouble is that my train of thought has been interrupted by my Landlady deciding to come and collect the rent, I've inadvertently used the 5Euro note needed to complete the transaction so she has disappeared to get some change and not returned yet (an hour since). I've made and eaten my prawn starter and the prawn heads and peelings are cooking along with a splash of water and some sherry. But what do I do now? Wait for her or possibly ruin a nice Salmon steak? I'll wait until 8. In the meantime, Fennel. What a flavour! I've peeled and prepared mine to saute with some garlic and the trimmings (except that I've reserved the leaves as a Dill substitute in my forthcoming sauce) have gone into my stockpot, which it has transformed! I'm impressed. The stockpot by the way is this week's Chicken Carcass plus the roasted Onion and Carrot that the bird sat on whilst roasting and all the jelly/juices from the roasting tray augmented with a couple of Indian Oxos.

2000hrs -- and while I've been waiting I've strained and begun to reduce my little drop of seafood stock. Anyway, here go's, let's cook and eat.

Centre Stage

Well, there he is, with about 15 minutes to go, slap bang in middle shot with the black shorts on the Avenue Roch heading for an official finishing time of 5:50:08, a real time of 5:35:39 (being 28186th over the line) and for his effort he raised about 700UKP or 875€.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

At Long Last

I now have a postbox. On the wall. Outside, where the postman can't miss it and I've begun to receive Junk Mail already, which is a start!!

The weather has taken a turn for the worse, as predicted, although the forecast Heavy Rain hasn't materialised yet, but there is still plenty of time, it's only just after midday here. A steady gentle rain is falling giving my babies out on the terrace well received refreshments, and that has been the case most of the day so far. While I'm mentioning my babies I can say that I have been promised some more, Antirrhinums (gee that's a word to spell!) and cherry tomatoes to mention the two that I can remember being told about. I believe that they are youngsters ready for potting on and needing a new home. Can't wait. Trouble is that this inclement weather is stopping me sorting the terrace out ready for them.

As usual though, I'm in the kitchen. This time all in a pickle with an empty jar and some Red Cabbage.

PICKLED RED CABBAGE Makes enough to fill a 1 Pint (20flozs)jar.
Malt Vinegar is sufficient on its own to pickle Red Cabbage in the traditional way so all spicing in this recipe is optional!!

1/4 Red Cabbage
350mls Malt Vinegar
15mls (1 Tablespoon) Balsamic Vinegar
15mls Red Wine Vinegar
1 Bay Leaf
1 teaspoon Black Peppercorns
1 teaspoon Juniper Berries
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
3 pods small dried Red Chillies
6 Cloves
1/2 stick Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Sugar

Remove the outer leaves and any vestige of central stalk then finely slice the Red Cabbage. Place in a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt. Place over a suitable receptacle and allow to sit for a couple of hours at least to remove excess water. Then thoroughly rinse and pat dry. Meanwhile place all the dry spices, vinegars and sugar into a saucepan bring just up to a boil, remove from the heat and allow to infuse while waiting for the cabbage. Pack the cabbage into a clean, sterilised jar and cover with the strained, cooled vinegar. Ready the next day but keep in the fridge and consume pretty quickly otherwise the cabbage will go soft.

Try serving with a Lancashire Hotpot or your own favourite stew!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Marathon Man

Austen ran the Paris Marathon in 5hrs 30mins which, by default, becomes his personal best of course because it was the first marathon that he has participated in. His message to me after he crossed the finish line was that he has to do another and I believe that that is because he didn't do it in the 4-30 or less that he had hoped. A personal goal perhaps. People are telling me that running in these events is addictive so maybe he is getting the bug because his thoughts are already focusing on prepping for the Amsterdam event in October.

On a more sombre note Gert's Sons arrived on Thursday to collect their Fathers effects and his Ashes. Then it transpired that he had been quietly cremated a few days before without any fuss because, it seems, they "never gave a thought" to the idea that his friends around town might like to say goodbye. There is to be a Service for Gert in Sweden on the 25th of this month so perhaps we here in Torre might mark that occasion in some little way.

It's quite warm this evening and very calm. The lull before the storm perhaps because wet and thundery weather is forecast from now until next weekend.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Austen and the Paris Marathon

Austen runs the Paris Marathon this Sunday and in case you haven't seen his Email you can donate to his chosen charity by clicking here : Macintyre Care and selecting his name from the dropdown list (or use the "Marathon" option if you can't find it). I've already done my bit and it's easy believe me. I found his email quite entertaining so I'm going to paste a little of it here:-

The time has come for me to ask for your generosity by asking you to put your hand in your pocket and sponsor me a wad of money to support me as I run the Paris Marathon in aid of Macintyre charity.

The marathon is this Sunday and it is reported to take in the sights and scenes of Paris. Whether I get to see Paris is a little dubious as I tend
to stare at the pavement concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other, 26 miles is a long way.

In the office today, somebody said how do I feel about the Marathon. It is
quite hard to put fine detail around that and of course I have questioned
whether I have done enough running. I haven’t lost as much weight as I
would have liked as I just couldn’t get to grips with a nutrition regime.
My downfall is chocolate. Pave Paris in Chocolate and I could run 26 miles
in a flash, pave it concrete and I reckon it will take me about 4 ½ hours –
but I will do it. What I can say is that the lead up to the marathon feels
like the nursery rhyme Solomon Grundy :-
* Eurostar on Friday
* Register on Saturday
* Run on Sunday
* Carried home on Monday
I will let you know the rest of the rhyme on my return.