After the drive from Santander, the evening carousels in Miguel's stylish new bar, and then getting lost for an hour at midnight, today we had a rest-day. We texted the landlord to say the hot water no va, and said we'd get the cash for him for the rent rather than trying the rather unreliable bank IBAN system again.
The local supermarket is smallish - crammed even - but it is a TEMPLE of cuisine… The tinned fish department is a wonder and the fresh fish counter holds a rhapsody of species… the octopus and squid alone taking up a couple of square yards of the catch, gleaming fresh and full of variety. It puts our miserly culture to shame… not so much in the slaughter of innocent creatures but in the joyous celebration of the bounty of the earth.
We did very little - walked down to the beach, had a glass of water in a café (and each of us served with a trio of free morsels - deep-fried squid, a little portion of melting tortilla, and a small chunk of freshly baked bread. All that cost €2.40).
Lunch was in another popular looking resto - the clientele mostly in the retired age-bracket - the menu vocal rather than written. My paella was quite different from yesterday's - this time, only saffron used to colour it, and no fish in it at all - just little chunks of melting meats.
(By the way, I slept very little at all last night, very tired but utterly unable to go to sleep. My stomach was slightly tender and I decided it must have been the food colouring in the delicious fishy paella at LLastre which did it. I finally drifted off about 5am, having read three times, played Mahjong three times, and wandered round in the dark trying not to wake Andrew up).
It goes against the grain leaving anything on my plate because of growing up with rationed food, and of course I am a greedy girl too - but I did not finish anything like all my lunch. It was delicious but I was too full. I regretted this because the sardines in particular were amazing - sardinas shureff-something I think he said - salted to a dry stiffness and then deep fried… utterly delicious, crisp and tangy.
This afternoon we took a siesta - the shower now works because the landlord brought in an electrician who flipped one tiny little switch inside a complex fuse-board. The bliss of the water was only modified by the very small area allotted for the shower…. It would be better if the whole thing was a wetroom, but this is a block designed by builders, full of irritating and quite unnecessary snags - the loo paper holders set so far back you have to do yoga to get a bit of bogroll, the opening of a window making it impossible to walk past a bed, not enough electric sockets - or, rather, setting them in unreachable places, etc etc etc.
On the other hand, the parquet floor is fantastically shiny, and the doors, though not very wide, are made of the most beautifully figured hardwood.
I had an email today from America suggesting I might be interested in a domain name which is about to come back onto the market - foodie.com Indeed I would but I think there will be a bidding war and I will not go for it. My own monicker is ffoodie.info or something like that - can't remember.
The point is that here, everyone fully understands the opportunity offered by food… it is respected, cherished, uplifted, celebrated, displayed, discussed, talked about. It is not a matter of money or class or education. Everyone takes part in the process. The Spanish are living in a Golden Age of food and wine, and they know it. How miserable and scruffy and industrialised our food experiences are by comparison in Britain, for the most part. Fewer and fewer people cook, or know how to cook. New homes are sold with barely functioning kitchens. Masses of people get their culinary kicks from watching Bake-off, and that's it. Children don't know where their food comes from, don't recognise (will not even try) most of the vegetables available to them. They are stuffed with rubbish, on the speedway to an early ugly death. Oh woe!
It is not only the food I love about Galicia and Spain (as you know, it is also the architecture, the landscape, the history, the friendly people, the archaeology…..)… but my god the food is amazing.
Tonight we will go back to Pontedeume to Miguel's new bar/cafeteria/restaurant called La Bodeguita, 19 Avenida de Coruna, and eat a small salady supper and then listen to the guys singing and playing…. The concert starts at 10pm. These are the magicians who serenaded me last year on my birthday, on the other side of the river, one misty soft evening, almost exactly a year ago.
Tomorrow evening, Lucie and our friend Dave Snelling are coming out to stay with us. I am looking forward to showing them the sights…..