Tuesday, 24 January 2012


I recently discovered that Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper is called 'The Last Dinner' or La Ultima Cena' in Spanish or at least that's how students will translate it, there not being another word for dinner. The Last Supper/Dinner could also translate as 'buffet libre' or 'self service Spanish style', the sensation you get whenever you find yourself in one, a Spanish buffet libre I mean. The feeling that this will be your last meal as you fight your way through the hordes of Spaniards desperate to eat. A Spanish self service restaurant is where I found myself yesterday in an obscure part of Zaragoza in a joint called Wok Dynasty, a kind of eat all you can/all you can eat Chinese restaurant. I made the fatal mistake of leaving the heaving queue to get a clean plate as the one in my hand looked dodgy, and even though I warned the woman behind me that I would be back as soon as I took one step to grab a clean one her daughter still managed to jump in my grave and grab the sea food I'd had my eye on. Telling myself to keep calm and adopt the Zen like attitude of the Oriental folk cooking the food in front of us I could still feel myself ripple slightly as a small hungry looking fellow appeared at my hip and dived in with his tongs. I had to admire his enthusiasm for cramming his plate with as many crustaceans as he could. I told myself there would be plenty to go round and heartburn would not be on the menu when another woman lunged for my modest plate of salmon and shellfish. There was a bit of a tussle but I stood my ground and returned to Henderson intact and able to warn him of what could happen out there in the buffet libre zone.

The reason we were there was due to the thrill that in the same shopping centre as the Wok Dynasty we could go to the cinema and watch films in the original version. This novel idea has been tried in Huesca but not enough people want it so we took a bus down to Zaragoza which takes about an hour and then a pleasant thirty minute walk to what most people take for granted, being able to listen to Meryl Streep play Margaret Thatcher in English and not dubbed in Spanish. I thought Streep did her best but I was left with the feeling that Thatcher's senility is a punishment for something. Punishment for being Prime Minister instead of being just a devoted wife and mother or perhaps for all the negative things people remember her, and it is all the more apparent when she is shown washing up her tea cup in the sink, the very thing she says she doesn't want to end up doing, as if it all adds up to nothing. I am no fan of Thatcher's but the hatred towards her is quite extraordinary and often seems more acute than hatred towards Hitler, people vowing to dance on her grave or celebrate with champagne when she dies. I am not sure but I think a documentary should be in the offing as there must be more to her life than just being a hated figure and ending up mad for it.There was so much more that could have been mentioned but in the end it is a Hollywood version and I await the documentary.

Briefly, returning to eateries and drinkeries, I did see an advert in Huesca calling for 'Vermoutmania', which added that you could 'drink all the vermouth you desire' for three Euros fifty. In Britain I don't think the word desire would be used and I am sure it is always the word 'can'. Perhaps 'desire' would be something misunderstood and ought to be replaced with 'all that you need right now' in the UK. Also, judging from the guts and numerous idas y vueltas to the buffet libre yesterday I think obesity has finally arrived here, so while they are willing to embrace the verb 'can' I will stick to the verb 'desire'. 

Sunday, 8 January 2012


Inspired by Woody Guthrie's New Year's resolutions I have compiled some of my own. I don't need to give up smoking or drink less or take up sport. Just a gentle nudge every now and then will do.

1. Ring aunts more often.
2. Sit up straight.
3. Keep my side of the bed tidy.
4. Learn to fly ( planes, kites, anything..)
5. Write more snail mail.
6. Try to go to bed at one o'clock in the morning, not two o'clock.
7. Avoid bullshit merchants.
8. Sharpen teeth.
9. Feed vultures in the Sierra Guara.
10. Tell 'Gruesome Twosome' they are upsetting me or let it lie.
11. Spend more brown coloured coins at check out, they always need them.
12. Keep quiet on aches and pains.
13. Rehearse aches and pains.
14. Less flannel.
15. Get to the point.
16. Stop thinking I have to comment on everything.
17. Slowly introduce louder clothes.
18. Grow humility.
19. Read James Joyce or forget it.
20. Write husband's resolutions ( with humour not devastation).