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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Busy doing nothing ....

I've been spending some time just gazing at my garden and the neighbour's garden of late. I think summer may be on the way.

Time for a beer perhaps. Or maybe a strawberry grown by my neighbour.

My thoughts are currently about a re-visit to Germany in August to see my friends in a production of Boeing Boeing.

And ignoring the football... I even went up to the local airport to take a few pictures of myself to wish my friends Good Luck.

Meanwhile I sit on the stairs looking out on the garden with a cold beer. The little yellow poppies look cheery.

Hope you are all having a good day.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Nearly slept for a whole day...

Work was so busy and short staffed last week that come my two days off I have nearly slept (off and on) for a whole day! Phew! Snooze-ville!!!! I did manage to drag myself out last night to help with the coffees at the Lace Market Theatre.

Today was a bit more normal and I did some clothes washing and cleaning and a spot of tidying up my garden plot. The lavender plants are looking good since the tree came down next door some months ago. More sunlight to their delicate fronds. Whilst I was gardening I left two corn on the cob on the stove to cook and enjoyed these later with some butter and a beer.

I also cooked a half price English leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic and garden mint ( both rosemary and mint from my actual garden) and some new potatoes and enjoyed a couple of relaxing beers this evening. It appears that Engalund may be playing football so I may well bugger off into town out of the way of the pub next door rowdies.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Picking up ideas from foreign magazines

On my recent travels I picked up a couple of foreign magazines, one German (Neue Post) and one French (Elle a table). I got them because I like to browse their pages and I find it is a good way of picking up bits of language and quite an encouragement in that way. The German magazine is full of articles about various big chinned European royal families and their offspring and angst ridden articles about health and a big crossword I haven't a cat in hell's chance of completing. It also has a couple of pages of recipes and creative cookery advice by the magazine's cookery Expertin, Kreske Schmidt. "Haben Sie Fragen?" she asks. "Ja Kreske, are you free for a date tonight?" She has very white teeth, as do all the people in the magazine even the cartoon Granny. Omas Rat ist der beste. That doesn't mean that granny has a very nice rat. It means that granny advice is the best. It is probably written by Ulrike who has just turned twenty.

I found I could read quite a lot about cooking Frikadellen (pork and beef meatballs) and the short sentence way that the instructions were given meant that I would be encouraged to find out what 'abgiessen, abshrecken, anrichten' and other intriguing words mean with very little effort.

So, over to the sexy French food mag. Full of lots of glossy pictures of food. Quelle Suprise!!!

Every page was full of mouth watering imagery. On the cover (above) it says 'Super simple et super bon'. That sounds great in French but anglify it (is that a word?) and you get 'Dead easy and dead good'. Mon Dieu! Super un-cool. The magazine stylist even managed to make a pretend rabbit photographing fresh green beans for an advert look stylish!

Each page looked so fab I felt almost inclined to lick it. Delicious Mediterranean tarts full of unctuous tomatoes and herbs and cheeses to die for and recettes for all summer occasions. Ooh la la!

Encouraged by this I made a Cornish sardines dish the other day. I gutted and prepared the sardines and arranged them in a large dish with coriander, fresh tomatoes, chorizo slices, leeks and three tins of chopped tomatoes. I put this in a middle heat oven for three quarters of an hour and in a seperate dish cooked some small belly pork slices marinated in piri piri for the same time. Then I added them altogther to make a spicy fish and belly pork stew. Super bon!!

to the finished dish I added two sliced boiled eggs

Monday, 4 June 2012

Some thoughts on Franco/Germanic culture and languages

My thoughts for today
I’ve been thinking today about lots of things, including love and life (just signed up on and and mainly about my love for life outside of England.How I long to be living on the continent but lack the wherewithal.

Yes, England can be grand, namely the quirky humour, the nicer element of society including the mad eccentrics Britain is famous for and the food culture and the immediacy of the English language of which I am very familiar (natürlich) and its subtle and poetic nuances and a whole host of familiar aspects recognisable to me as an Englishman. Plus , our fascinating history too, drawn from all over the world. En effet, the UK has a great deal to offer and be proud of.

Yet, I am constantly drawn to the largely unfamiliar French and German languages and cultures and find them more fascinating and, their cultures in some ways,  preferable to the English/British culture (if that’s the word) I experience daily. I speak of loud boorish drunken folk and the chavs and well dodgy blokes in town that I meet (from a distance) daily, as I pass through Nottingham on the way home. These two mainstream continental cultures appear to me as being much more sophisticated, civilised, refined, happier and more inclusive than in the UK. I may be right or I may well be blinkered in my ‘almost everything French and German is fab’ comprehension. On a very basic level they seem to have a stronger connection to the food they eat and celebrate it more - for example the bread. Even the bread  bags gladden the eye.

I expect that the ‘foreign’ aspect of their languages adds a certain charm in my perspective and maybe even a degree of naivety on my part of the day to day existence of ordinary French and German folk adds to that ‘charm’.

Today the day has been pleasant and sunny and I have been cooking something Spanish – a stew with belly pork, tomatoes and beans and chorizo sausages and the racket from the nearby pubs has been strangely absent. Long may it be so.

Next door’s cats have been round and my little garden space is shining in the evening summer sun. And yet I still crave to be sur le continent.