Thursday, November 22, 2007


Five things about me, alcohol and bars.

When I was still at school, I used to go a lot of birthday parties at the Mexican Bar in Roslin (of Da Vinci Code fame). There was absolutely nothing Mexican about it. At that time my drink of choice was Martini and lemonade, or sometimes lager and blackcurrant. I can still taste the cloying sweetness that would build up in my mouth over the evening.

I was sick into a wastepaper basket in a friend's bedroom after one of those parties.

The only alcoholic drink I would ever refuse is a French apéritif called Suze. It is bitter and revolting.

A couple of weeks ago in Spain, we discovered the joys of vino de verano (summer wine). We did that "we'll have a jug of what those authentic looking Spanish people at the next table are having" thing in a restaurant and discovered that "summer wine" is much more refreshing than sangria.

The only alcoholic drink I have ever been unable to finish was one of those massive margaritas they serve you in the USA. We were in Durango, Colorado and it came in a glass the size of a punch bowl with two straws - more like an oversize sorbet than liquid alcohol. The best margarita I have ever had was served in New Mexico in a village that sold "holy chili" because the dirt in the church had magical properties. (America is a country of great contrasts, I tell you).

P and I once spent a long weekend in Istanbul. It was freezing cold and we repaired to the bar of the Pera Palace Hotel earlier and earlier every evening. We wallowed in the opulent, threadbare furnishings and warmed our insides with technicolour cocktails.

I borrowed this meme from Yogamum and I'm tagging you all. Yes, all of you.

Consider Yourselves Genii

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Monday, November 19, 2007

The disappearing car

It's been pouring with rain here for two days. Yesterday, I took the children to school in the car for the first time in months. On the way out of the nursery school, I got involved in a chat with two other mothers who work at the university about the current student sit-in; which buildings are blockaded; how long the strike might last, bla bla bla. Then I came home for my customary second cup of coffee.

I got ready my class which (unfortunately) was taking place in an unaffected building, and left the house at 10H30 leaving plenty of time to get to the campus. Which is just as well because when I got out onto the street I discovered that the car had disappeared.

It took me a couple of minutes to realise that through sheer force of habit I had walked home, leaving the car parked on the pavement outside the school for two hours.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Unalike in that respect

My Mum came over for a short stay this week. While she was here, I read her out a bit of an article by Katharine Whitehorn on being a "domestic slut." It had originally been published in the Observer in 1963.
Have you ever taken anything back out of the dirty-clothes basket because it had become,relatively, the cleaner thing? How many things are there, at this moment, in the wrong room – cups in the study, boots in the kitchen – and how many on the floor of the wrong room?

She also asks if you could confidently strip down to presentable underwear in a changing room at short notice, and argues that a slut isn't something you become, it's something you are born to.

I thought it was hilarious. My Mum looked at me in bewildered incomprehension.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Postcard from Salobreña #3

1. Tapas #2, 2. Tapas #1
We're going to miss the tapas they bring you with every drink here in Salobreña. Our favourites are the ones above from a chiringuito (beach bar) called Las Flores - something different every evening, but always perfect and savoured as we watch the sun set over the Mediterranean. Tomorrow, it's back to auld claes and porridge.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Postcard from Salobreña #2

Old door
The road east from Almuneçar crosses the Rio Verde and slowly makes its way upwards past slopes dotted with almond and chirimoya (or custard apple) trees until, 13 km later, a spectacular vista opens up to reveal Salobreña, a white town tumbling down a hill topped by the shell of its Moorish castle and surrounded by fields of sugar-cane. (The Rough Guide to Andalucia)

What's not to like? (Although we haven't quite figured out how to eat the chirimoyas yet.)


Being confined indoors most of the day, just the four of us, is reminding me of the days when my children were wee and most of our weekends ...