Sunday, 27 July 2008

What´s new?

A meaningless title for today´s offering.

My tireless and industrious wife points out that I have not extruded one for too long (a blog, that is).

Trouble is, there is so much to do each day here, what with making chicken runs, finding the hen´s eggs (latest place an old wine box) reading books - Moby Dick (the whale, not the man, it turns out), a biog of Evelyn Waugh, Stone Roses by Llamazares: newspapers, (El Pais) magazines, Nat Geographic, New Yorker, Casa y Campo (Design the Lavatory of your Dreams´); filling up the bird bath (an old frying pan), watering the plants including the new fig tree; making up my own recipes for cold soups that have mint in them; walking the dogs, as well as washing, brushing, scratching, de-ticking, de-fleaing, stroking and shouting angrily at them.
Scant time left for bloggish reflection.

And, on top of all that, I find that we can now get uninterrupted live video stream from the world´s race tracks such as Saratoga and Newmarket. This could be ruinous as well as time-consuming, although I seem to have lost the urge to bet.

Another major consumer of time in rural Spain is shopping.
As house cook, I am often dispatched with the granny-style shopping trolley and a fistful of euros, ´ get what looks good.´
It is, for me, a step back in time to the nineteen forties, when, as a lad of eight or so, I would go ´down to the shops,´ for my old Gran. Here, now - like then, it involves going into several different shops - butcher, fishmonger, grocer, baker - and probably standing in line in each.
In the butchers and the fishmongers, there are benches so you can sit in line and wait your turn. This is a good idea, as every order can be a lengthy affair. For one thing, if , for example, you want minced meat - carne picada - you will be shown the unminced pieces for approval first, before they are put through the mincer. Then if, say, a kilo is ordered, it is usual to ask the butcher to divide it into maybe four portions. No problem. If you want liver, come back Friday, as the animals are killed Thursday.
In the fish boutique, the chosen trout or bream will be gutted and cleaned in front of you. All this takes time, especially when the lady in front, who is ordering several very odd looking fishes in very small quantities, is also telling the fish lady - and everyone else in earshot -about her brother and his problems with his teenage son in Burgos.
The ironmonger can be the limit, even for me. Waiting in line, while there is an endless and lively discussion involving four men, about the wisdom of purchasing two washers, which cost 10 cents apiece, may be an authentic part of life as she is lived in Sahagun, but it´s a bit too authentic for me.

So, if I am going to blog more regularly, I will have to get up earlier.


Alasdair said...

Just testing to see if I can get past the Google gatekeepers to send you greetings.

if I can I'll send you Greetings.

Alasdair Buchan

Alasdair said...