For breakfast this morning I sat behind the wheel of my trusty van in the rain clutching a cardboard coffee cup and feeling a slow trickle of dirty water drip-drip-dripping into my sock. As I wiped the condensation from the windae I took in the depressing view around me. The tipping of rain drenched hats, sporadic as they glance in respect of the long since buried dead of their own. Nearby, at Langfaulds, still the flowers placed almost daily about the faither's grave. The significance of lapsed souls is not lost upon the priest as it was on those who stared fae sheltered doorways with betting slips still to hand as the procession wound its way through Hardgate towards the Milngavie Road. A twinge, a certain sadness, I felt not for the unknown deceased now prone in the black and glass carriage as it passes us by in all its mournful glory. I feel for the loss of a young generation who may never make it away fae these inner dwellings, the concrete schemes and the pish reeking stairwells of Clydebank in general. It is getting ever closer for my time to leave.
Here, behind the scenes, I am making preparation for my own journey. No, not imminent death you morbid bunch of reprobates, that's a long way off yet I hope. Besides, the money (the legal stash as well as my alleged 80s 'acquired' Security van proceeds) are long since written into my will, of which your names are no scribed for fear of my early termination by unknown hands. Oh aye, it happens, believe me. Many an oul fella has been laid to rest while his closest family are already on route to an exotic location to mourn by the side of the Mediterranean with a pina colada and a dusky wee beauty to wipe away the crocodile tears of loss. I often sit at the bar beside the little singing fella as he mentally measures me up for a pine box and takes a crafty swatch at the linings in my wallet.
Well see me? I'm staying one step ahead.
For years I have grafted in deep dirty holes and filthy cellars, building houses and homes for those in England and beyond who have had the advantage of wealth and means to retreat to a weekend abode of which they can frequent when the rat race becomes too much to take. Now it is my turn to sit back, relax with a long cool drink and perhaps tinker with my new sun deck on my latest acquired property.
Majorca has long since been a sanctuary of the mind to many a weary traveller looking for a certain two week period of relaxation and sunshine away fae the drab reality of life. The hardest part is always leaving it behind and returning to civilisation, taking up the shovel, standing behind the mixer and flinging cement and concrete to earn a crust. Well, for me, no more. This time my stay will be extended. No more vacation blues as you arrive at the airport only to see the latest incoming wearing exactly the same smile that you wore only a short fortnight before.
Yes, I shall miss my beloved Glesca a smidgen while I soak up the sun and dip my big toe or two into the Med. The freedom of air to my shorts will liven me up no end as I dream up witty lines to send to my wee gorgeous daisyfae. I shall look at the white band of skin on my wrist and grin as I realise that time is of no importance when you are away on your hols. Oh aye, I'll be back, just no within a fortnight, so don't wait up. Here's a little taster of what I shall be preparing for masel while I am away. I would no want you wicked mob to starve, eh?
Prueba de Chorizo
1kg fresh, loose chorizo meat
1 large Spanish onion, finely diced
3 large potatoes, or equivalent number of smaller
4-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Olive oil, salt, black pepper, sweet pimenton, fresh parsley
Scrub the tatties well, as it is always best to cook them without peeling them. Once they’re perfectly clean on the outside, cut them into cubes of about 1-2cm and dry. In a heavy based pan, heat enough olive oil to cover the potatoes. If you have a frier, that would work even better. Obviously you can substitute the olive oil for any other type of frying oil, but it has to be said that the olive oil will give a better taste. Rather than using the highest quality extra virgin stuff, you can use a cheaper, lighter variety, either virgin, or just olive oil, as it’s technically referred to in Spain. If you can’t find either of these, you can mix the extra virgin stuff with a lighter oil of your choice, vegetable works well.
Once the oil is hot, add the diced potatoes and turn the heat down to a simmer. For the love of all things holy you don’t want to boil the potatoes in the oil, like you do when making a tortilla, but you don’t just want to sear them on the outside either – something in between works well.
While the spuds get going, pour a large slug of white wine and guzzle, add the loose chorizo meat to another saucepan and add just enough water to cover. Cook the meat in the water until it changes from a predominantly red colour to a brownish-grey. At this point, most of the water will have boiled off, but if there is any left, just discard. To the meat, add the chopped onion, garlic and a few good glugs of olive oil and fry the whole lot on a medium heat until you get a deep brown colour. Refill your glass, this recipe prepared in a hot kitchen will require a minimum of 3 bottles of wine consumed by the chef and his wife. At this point, the potatoes should be more or less done. Remove the heat, drain the oil and add them to the meat mixture. Add a handful of chopped parsley, a pinch of pimentón, a few teaspoons of fresh cream, a few generous turns of black pepper and salt to taste. Fry for a minute or so more and you’re done.
Enjoy, I shall bring you each back a sombrero and a wee stuffed burro for your sideboard.