It’s all been a bit hectic, if I’m honest.
The day before we left for Spain I managed to do some office-based work in the am, attend the bloody gym at lunch, get a haircut in Clerkenwell, go on to Oxford street (in order to procure some American-styled Jeans) in the afternoon which left me with over an hour to hang out in a horrific coffee shop before meeting IC at a gallery in West London for a private view in the early evening, if you please… It was quite a posh affair, lots of micro foods and champagne, and, I have to say, the waiting staff were very accommodating. By the time we left a couple of hours later the missus and I were a little bit fucking tipsy don’t you know.
On lunchtime Friday after a fine sleep I met IC at Borough in order to arrive at London Bridge at a prescribed time for the purposes of train travel to Gatwick, travel that would see us board an Easy Jet flight bound for Barcelona, but first IC had to have her bags checked at security for carrying a miniscule tube of some emollient or suchlike, before we hit the bar for food and perhaps a glass of wine, for the nerves of course.
The plane was packed but the journey under an hour and a half so it was acceptable; we arrived at 8pm local time and took a train to Sitges where we were met by Claire and her two year old daughter Lindy, who was sat at the back of the car looking puzzled. First stop was a bar, but not in the usual sense. In addition to booze this place sold side-plates of food, a vast variety of meats, cheeses, pickles, traditional tapas concoctions, all of similar size and all attached to bread by a cocktail stick. It’s a simple concept, you eat what you want, keep the sticks, and they’ll determine how much you ate and therefore how much you pay. Of course, this marvellous system relies on honesty, a few discarded sticks on the street outside and on the floor indicated that not everyone was perhaps being straightforward, but still, do you think this system would work in these emerald isles?
After stuffing my face and a few glasses of Cava we took the short trip to the flat and we were ready to settle into our holiday. Claire is pregnant and her partner, Carl, works nights as a chef in nearby restaurant, so to some extent we were restricted with activity on account of Lindy. This wasn’t an issue though, we were happy to sit around drinking wine, eating, playing with the Lindy and watching kids movies -I saw Rio which I’d never have done under my own steam and I’m glad I did too, excellent stuff. Carl came home after midnight, he and I stayed up for a bit smoking and chatting. He’s a smashing bloke with a very colourful past and makes for excellent company and his grass was fantastic.
The flat was situated in a quiet residential street with a panoramic view of the Mediterranean framed by mountains to the East and West, when we woke in the morning the air was warm, the sky perfectly blue and it seemed frankly rude to not pop by the beach, but a specific one. Sitges is well known for its large gay community which has a reputation for being somewhat uninhibited. Carl informed me that certain beaches in the area, in addition to offering cotton-soft sand, crystal clear water and million mile views, often feature naked men indulging in acts of a sexual nature, to wit, sucking, fucking and spunking up, without so much as a by your leave.
As it was low season the designated beach was relatively un-crowded so we were free to pitch where we wanted, sort of equidistant between water and a bar and hang, so to speak. Carl and I played with Lindy in the sea and then decided to go for a swim. The water wasn’t Mexico-warm but it was more than bearable, the waves were a little pedantic I’m happy to report and it was all a jolly good wheeze. By the time I clawed my sorry ass back onto the beach I was knackered and a bit annoyed that this would be it for me ‘n sea this year. Bollocks.
After a few hours gallivanting we went for a late lunch at a nearby eatery, the meal was to celebrate our recent nuptials, which was bloody nice I must say. The meal kicked off with wine, naturally, and a small tree from which hung a variety of ten or so chorizo sausages recalling the partially torn bodies in Goya’s Disasters of war, if you’ll fucking please. I have to say I went to town on these bastards, by the time my main dish of roast lamb arrived I was already stuffed and, believe me, this was not a good idea.
The plate that was popped under nose contained, I’d say, about a quarter of a lamb. There was enough for four people, easily. I inwardly groaned until I saw Carl’s plate, a t-bone steak the size of a healthy cat, it’d been my second option and suddenly the heap of flesh and bone on my plate seemed more approachable-ish. The sea bass and roasted vegetable medley that had been chosen by IC and Claire were themselves of a robust size, but in comparison to the meat, minuscule.
It was delicious, of course, and I was inspired to eat until on the brink of consciousness. It was fortunate that I had to work my round a number of bones as I was able to hid parts of the dish that if consumed would’ve seen me in hospital. It wasn’t helpful that Carl was insisting I help him with his behemoth steak which was red raw in the middle. It was very good though, how on earth I survived lunch without CPR will remain as one of life’s mysteries.
After lunch Lindy wanted to go outside and play on the swings and slide, the restaurant had them just out the back so the place was full of families cheerily munching away, though perhaps not on our scale. I helped Lindy on and off the slide when it was her turn, some kid of about five decided to jump the queue and shoved Lindy away from the steps as she was about to ascend, so I told him to piss off. His mum wasn’t very impressed, especially when Lindy made friends with the little shit’s sister and decided to hang around Carl and I as we puffed away on our tabs.
We returned to the table which had been furnished with four bottles of lethal liquor, we were told it was on the house and encouraged to help ourselves (turns out Carl knows the manager, which is handy) so we did. Believe it or not I was actually rather restrained, simply because I had no space left in my stomach.
We left at 4 and went back to the flat; unbelievably Carl went off to work while the rest of us took a siesta. We were up by 7 but still feeling odd because of lunch, it was decided we’d spend Saturday night in lazily playing with Lindy and watching Elmo -rock and roll. It was a nice night, I drunk a few litres of water with a tentative glass of Tempranillo and by the time Carl came back I was feeling as if I could fart without the liquid consequences.
On Sunday morning we went back to the beach and sat outside a cafe by the promenade. There was some sort of zombie festival (yes, really) taking place so the place was peppered with stalls selling lots of horror-based gaff. I came very close to spending 25 Euros on a realistic-looking severed head (inverted, dangling tongue, dripping bloody etc) but really couldn’t justify why. I wished I had I hasten to add, just on the odd chance of getting stopped at customs.
We walked by the sea in the sunshine before saying our goodbye’s. It was time to go to Barcelona.
More of this crap next week, I seemed to have mislaid Gerry’s chart too, bear with me…