Friday, 28 November 2008


Tonight, as I write, the rain is back with a vengeance but that cannot take away the fact that tonight has also been, probably, the best I have ever spent. A photo is worth a thousand words they say....well, I have to tell you that that is not true; I need more than a thousand words to recount this evening's events but I do have a few photos to augment the saga. Bill's menu was built around a "Standing Rib Roast" (and, yes, American is probably more difficult to learn than Chinese) and a bottle of Port. Awesome it was too. No mint sauce but I can excuse that in all honesty, the horseradish was a damn good substitute!! Aaron and Shellie had arrived safe & sound 17mins early yesterday lunchtime and whilst the first planned sortie with Larisa into town in the evening did not happen (with her) here is a shot or two of all of us enjoying Bill & Ann's hospitality, and as she and I don't often "get together" there is one that puts that to rights!! Because she couldn't get to Torre yesterday I worried that she might not be able to come tonight and told Ann that there may be one guest missing. But at 2 o'clock she called to say that she would be in Torre by 1440 and where should we meet. I was hellishly busy doing a couple of starters for the meal and Aaron was due here at 3pm so I told her to come straight here, which she did, and, running late due to my cookery efforts, we eventually got to the party at 3-30 or so where, after a surprised "oh! She's here after all!" from Ann, an extra place setting was quickly laid. Over the aperitifs Lary quietly explained why she had had to disappoint me last night and her worry about that touched me somewhat but nothing stopped her rolling sleeves up in Ann's kitchen to help me finish my dishes. Erm, help? Not a bit of it; I was shooed firmly out the way while she dressed my 16 steamed asparagus spears in smoked salmon and laid them out on two platters. Bill's Roast was expertly cooked and carved, satisfying everbody's needs from my well done (jokingly labeled "cremated" by all and sundry) to the medium rare of others' choice. A trip along to the bar for an after-dinner get together followed by 179 steps up to the station with her brought a fabulous evening to an end...........

........It's Saturday and Aaron, Shellie and I have spent the day in Málaga doing the sights etc. and tomorrow we go to Calahonda. Larisa had invited Ann & Bill as well, in keeping with her habit of always returning an invitation just as soon as she possibly can. Unfortunately they have other commitments but I know that she will not forget their hospitality towards her and will not rest until the compliment has been returned. Walking around the city today really took its toll on my poor legs and I opted to "leave them to it" this evening, returning home for a rest and a homemade Chicken Pie. Tomorrow we have to travel by buses all the way because there is not a train station handy to their hotel and it's my turn to walk the paseo to them (they are 30mins away on foot) rather than them come here as they have done so far. I'm going to lug my paellera over as well, as I don't like the one that Viktor has bought, because I believe that we are going to have a paella and that raises one issue: Aaron is not keen on seafood or fish and I haven't told her that.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Typical !

It's Wednesday and it is raining and judging by the grey skies above it is set to rain for a while yet. We've even had thunder as well today so it's drawbridge up, heater on and stay indoors. Whilst Wednesday is normally my day off, today, of course, I am on my holidays which is no doubt why it is chucking it down and the forecast is bad throughout the weekend while Aaron is here. I sent an SMS earlier this morning advising him to bring wet-weather gear and a jumper or two because it is also cold.

There has been a damp patch forming on the outside wall next to my front door and yesterday Cristina called me to tell me that someone would be coming this morning to investigate and, hopefully, fix it. Awakened by loud knocking on the door at 1030am today I opened it to her and her odd-job man who duly set about with cold-chisel and 'ammer. A leaking pipe joint within the wall was eventually found and replaced leaving me with an untidy, untiled wall in my kitchen which has to stay that way for 2 or 3 days while it dries out. Just my luck....Aarons coming, Larisa may well want to stay tomorrow night and I've got bare brick and cement in the kitchen area. The photo doesn't show the attendant mess on the floor or in the doorway which, when the job was over Cristina meticulously cleared up for me. Now all that is left to do is mop over to remove any last vestige of brickdust off the floor. But first I will have to clean the stairs outside the apartment otherwise I'll be treading in more which, with wet shoes from the rain, will be otherwise be a muddy mess.

Monday, 24 November 2008


Yep! My holiday started yesterday morning at about 3am in great style with 6 crumpets going down the hatch courtesy of a "care package" from Bill & Ann bought during one of their recent trips to the shops. Yesterday evening I spent back in the bar in answer to a "please Derek" plea by Teresa, staying until about 1am I think. Tonight......home alone and resting.

Out and about earlier I took a couple of shots of the Paseo Maritimo (the Prom) to show a) the mess at the bottom of Calle Peligro due to sewer pipe trenches having been dug etc., and b) the revamped paseo itself, slowly being improved all the way along The Front; well, certainly from La Roca north towards Málaga. Calle Peligro is shut to cars and a good few of the businesses in the locality have closed as well while the works are done. Others, desperate to maintain their trade levels, have resorted to strategically placed ads as the picture shows. Walking in the area is dodgy as well, I've have seen one broken nose sustained after a trip over a raised board-edge like that in the same photo (an incident to which the Police were summoned and now I have noted that the offending bridge over the trench has been properly leveled).

Saw me coming didn't it. The weather that is. All set to get wet over the next few days including heavy stuff on Sunday...just right for a holiday in Torremolinos and I've waited 15 months for the privilige!

Let's hope that things don't get too bad for Aaron's sake. Bad weather added to the miserable exchange rate won't make for a good time but things are falling into place this end in preparation for him and Shellie....dinner in Torre Centro with Larisa Thursday evening, then all of us at Ann & Bills' thanksgiving celebration on Friday (postponed, due the forecast rain, by a day) and then on Saturday or Sunday a tapa lunch in La Cariheula with Teresa, who, if she doesn't get to meet them will give me so much stick....she wasn't too happy about not having met you. Anyway, there you have it and I think that I have met his brief of "some good eateries".

Talking of Larisa (which I wasn't but am now), she led me right royal dance yesterday by SMS, feigning misunderstanding and confusion while I was trying to explain what I wanted to happen during Aaron's visit. Over 2 hours we were at it until she finally admitted that "hoy quiero bromear", today I want to joke. Eventually though I got what I wanted......"Vale, hasta jueves a las 1900", just in time to cook my meal and then get down to the bar for 6pm to be on hand for Teresa's first solo night of my holiday cover as I mentioned earlier. Una bromista she may be but inadvertantly she brought my spanish on a little more, chucking many words at me that I didn't know and had to look up.

Yesterday Ann sent me a couple of pictures taken at the dinner party she held some months back and, despite me hating my own image, I've posted one below for you to see (you'll recognize her terrace now of course). David is missing so I think he's on the button. But, then, so is Ann so maybe she is. Or was she getting the port? I can't remember.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Back in the Swing

Last time I wrote I said that I was planning a Dinner for Two which immediately prompted me to say to myself "what the heck, do it now, send an invitation for tomorrow" and I did. Teresa and I had swapped days off so that she could extend her weeks holiday by a day which meant that tomorrow was actually last Monday which I thought would catch Lary by surprise and, with other things planned, she'd have to decline. Silly me. She arrived just after 5pm and after a gander round the new pad she rolled her sleeves up and began peeling prawns and chopping hard-boiled eggs for me. My menu was dictated by the most awesome luck....Teresa, prior to starting her holiday, cleared her fridge etc. and passed on to me some some Smoked Salmon and some Steaks. In addition, David has a "thing" about Use-by-Dates and gave me some vol-au-vont cases amongst other stuff he wanted to clear from his store-cupboard. So, with a minimal shop I was able to to produce Vol-au-vonts and Asparragus wrapped in Salmon as starters followed by two steaks with all the trimmings accompanied by two bottles of very decent Red Wine. A typsy trip along to the bar for a bevvy or two preceded going "home" to Calahonda......train to Fuengirola first where we were just in time to miss the last 220.
"Give me 15€"
"Just give me 15€ and keep quiet!"
Pleading poverty with her last 15€ Lary managed to get us home in the luxury of, what should have been, a 20-25€ taxi ride.

Once we were boarded on the train Lary had produced one of my Sundae Dishes and a bottle of Sambuca (which I'd bought for the bar many moons ago when we ran out but Favio never paid me for it so I kept it for myself). The Sambuca I had told her she could have because I don't drink it and the dish she consequently "nicked" from my cupboard behind my back! So, there we were, sharing a Sundae Dish of Sambuca until the Security Guard came along and with a wagging finger said "Tch Tch, you mustn't drink on the train" whereupon, feeling like two naughty little kids, we giggled together and hid the dish whenever he passed by again (which turned out to be quite frequently!!) At nearly 61 life can be real fun at times!

I've been on my own in the bar since Wednesday but Teresa comes back this Thursday and I start my 2 weeks holiday on Sunday. First real break in 15 months and I can't wait. Aaron and Shellie, his new friend, arrive on the 27th of course which is Thanksgiving Day in America and the 4 of us have been invited to Bill & Anns' for their celebration dinner in the evening. Bill is a dab hand in a kitchen so I'm looking forward to his meal very much. Aaron has been told (by email last night) to pack party frocks at the top of their cases in readiness for a relatively quick turnround once they get to their hotel. And judging by his reply Shellie has begun to suffer the "I've got nothing to wear" syndrome! Women!! Actually I'm looking forward to meeting her for the first time (which is the reason for their visit here) very much and Bill & Anns' dinner is a very opportune moment "to break all the ice" so to speak. Unfortunately though they are only going to get 1.18€ for each pound they bring which is a shame.

Back in the Swing? You bet! A chicken is roasting while last week's is being turned into a hearty Lentil & Veg soup ready for later before I go to work.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Bucks Fizzing

I'm finally re-installed in my own apartment, still putting things away etc. and getting organized after Ann & Bills' return from their holiday. I've taken some "stick" since you left because, apart from David (and Larisa of course), nobody met you while you were here so next time you come we will have to put that very much to rights. As for my new apartment; I'm really beginning to enjoy it. Although smaller than my old one (I think Bijou is an appropriate word) it's nicely refurbished and lot easier to keep clean. Cristina has been a star keeping a beady eye on me while I settle in and she is now busy refurbishing my old one for her own use. Handy that: having my Landlady living on site; takes but a minute to sort problems out.

I'm making plans to throw a dinner party for two soon and to that end two friends (of the bar and hence mine) are here from Helsinki for a few weeks and last night I discovered that they (the Finnish) have a close affinity to the Russian cuisine, sending me home with some awesome ideas for a menu! Right now I'm cooking a piece of "secreto de cerdo"; marinaded in my tomato chutney and then drizzled with a little chili sauce it is going to be served with my take on Larisa's onion and mushroom saute (I've added diced pepper and some bacon I found in the fridge curling at the edges), roast potatoes and Asparragus. I'm early with my meal because I want to go and stock-take the bar later because Teresa and I have swapped days off this week - tomorrow now being mine and I want a "clear" day to myself. Favio told me to alter the hours to 6 'til 2 at the beginning of the month, which I did but we still are going through until 3, 3-30, 4am (with no extra pay!!!) and the extra hour or more is making me quite tired.

Bill & Ann have been patiently bringing in, by the carrier bagful, stuff that I left behind but, luckily, I'd remembered to remove the Cava we never used for a sangria, and added to some of that tropical drink you liked and today I've been drinking (while cooking) quite the nicest Bucks Fizz ever invented. Bill commented about me leaving the petrol tank somewhere near empty but that's all sorted now and somewhat eclipsed by his news that on her return to America, Erica married!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

All Change Again

Since you went home (to all that snow) we have had nothing but torrential rain, so much that on Friday I was paddling in 6inches of water in the flooded towncentre shopping for the Halloween party in the bar on Saturday. That went quite well despite the horrendous weather and I heard many a punter commenting on the effort that had gone into decorating the bar etc. (my photo shows one of two pumpkin lamps painstakenly made by one of the customers) and my food offerings were very much appreciated, especially the mini pizzas I make:

Cheddar cheese
Chili Sauce
Dried Oregano
Ritz Crackers

Mix some finely chopped salami with some grated cheddar and a very good sprinkle of Oregano, moistening well with as much chilli sauce as you dare. Plonk a teaspoonful or so in the centre of a ritz cracker then microwave on full-power until the cheese just melts. I'm told that they are yummy but I never get to try one for myself; done a dozen at a time, in a ring round the edge of a plate, they disappear immediately that I serve them.

Larisa agreed to come and help me prep all the food (for the party) here in the apartment but that plan went wrong because her House Alarm was upset by all the water and she received a phone-call from the security company into which the alarm is linked telling her that there was a fault, which forced her to change plans and return to the apartment and I wasn't able to take her because a beer delivery was due and I didn't know when. Worrying that the party might well be a washout I then postponed the plan to prep beforehand anyway and decided to play it by ear during the evening, producing stuff as folk came in. It worked, nothing was left and nothing was wasted. As it happened the beer never arrived (another story) so I could have taken her back to Calahonda after all but time marched on and it just eventually ran out leaving no time for her to return. But, we'd had an afternoon together in Puerto Banus on my day off browsing warm coats etc. that she needs to get ready for a return to Russia in the not too distant future. And that was because I'd invited her out to dinner to thank her for her hospitality while you were here but even that went by the board, we ended up back in her kitchen doing our own thing after a quick shop for stuff to eat.

I'm beginning to move myself back to my own apartment now because Ann & Bill are back on Wednesday coming and I'll be sleeping in my own bed from Tuesday onwards, complete with my electric blanket, it's very cold of a night-time at the moment! Things will be getting back to normal soon I hope and I can return to my normal routine, I'm missing my Roast Chickens!!!