Going Against the Grain

It’s fair to say that, doing the street food thing, we’ve met the BEST people ever.  Passionate, wonderful, odd – and mainly skint – people.

Not long after we started, we had a random message on Twitter.  A photo of some whisky with the tasting notes that said it would go well with souvlaki.  Er, ok, I thought. Whatevs.

And then this man turned up with a little bottle.  At Bury St Edmunds Market.  I was a little surprised.  I didn’t let it show though.  I’m a pro, doncha know?  I poured it into a mug and, serving up a souvlaki to our visitor, we decided to see if it was true.  It was.  Bizarrely.  Whisky and souvlaki.  Who knew?  (A 19-year-old Highland Park bourbon cask matured whisky, since you ask.)

That mug of whisky was passed between me, the Greek God, Whisky Man, our teetotal vegan market neighbour and the Greek God’s 16-year-old son.  It’s funny how people appear when there’s free secret booze in a mug!

18 months later, Whisky Man still pitches up, sometimes clutching fabulous goodies to try.  I’m ashamed to say  I’m never going to be a whisky afficionado (though I love the idea that, as a writer, I’ll be slurping until all hours, Tom Waits style, spilling words onto the page as it courses through my veins).  But he’s a top bloke. And he knows about gin too.  Oh yes.

There are such good people in our new life: finding awesome gin, making their own cider, feeding us 80% butter croissants.  Hoisin duck pies.  Hot, sticky, Asian coconut buns.  Punjabi samosas & pakora.  Our lives and waistbands are bulging but we have the best time.  And, as Cider Making Man said last week… “I’ve waited all my life to be in a position to be this skint.  Fun though, isn’t it?”  Hell yeah.

Sticks and Stones…

Man, I feel old.  I hurt everywhere – the kitchen, the dining room, the garden…

Last month, we were walking ten miles a day in howling icy gales, making our foodie  five-year plan and laughing that we were more driven and oomphy than most 30-year-olds.  Then, on yet another windswept yomp, the beastly dog twizzled me round at high speed and I fell on my twisted knee.  I’m too old for unexpected twizzling; I need a little advance notice.  So.  Torn cartilage.  Knee bigger than my head.  Bruises forming as I lay on the Felixstowe footpath, crying, with gravel in my hair.

“No need to fuss,” I told the Greek God as he hauled me up.  “Let’s go to the pub.”

Never let it be said I’m not a brave soldier.  But two weeks on and it’s fair to say I’m a bit down in the dumps.  My career options as a downhill skier or knee model have hit the skids.  There are no treats to eat and I can’t even drive to the shop because the clutch is too ouchy.

I could sleep for a million years.  But there are books to read.  Lovely, lovely words that always perk me up.  In the absence of being able to shop for/cook food, I’m reading about it instead.  Far less fattening.  I’m loving Ruby Tandoh’s ‘Eat Up’ – not quite what I expected but I’d go so far as saying her writing has a touch of the Nigel Slater about it.  She seems a good egg; I’d invite her round for a natter.  So long as eating up doesn’t involve standing up.  Did I mention I’ve got a sore knee?  No?  Oh…