There is something irrefutably damaging to a mans dignity when he has to be pulled headfirst out of the deep damp midday sand as the receding tide trickles slowly back out to sea along with his pride. If the fall had been any harder or nearer to the waters edge I may well have required gills in my buttocks in order to be here this morning relating the tale. Amidst the mêlée of concerned onlookers, I was conscious of a pair of young female hands reaching for the clasp that hid not only my dignity, but also the tightening noose that realistically threatened my current air supply. It is not often that a certain part of me puckers at the touch of the warm gentle probing of a woman's delicate fingers. Like a perfectly prepared egg, I lay damaged, spilling, my inner most self-humiliation laid bare for all to see, the yolk soaking irrevocably into the wet and clinging sand. Like a grand 16th century warship covered by shell, I lay broken and unsalvageable at the waters edge, possibly never to fire my great gun of war ever again.
It is at times like these that a man, as he stumbles ever forward towards middle age, has to remember that his days as a happy-go-lucky hobbledehoy are at an end. The age old pendulum swings ever closer my way. No longer can I allow myself to dally in all night drinking sessions, unless of course I am visiting the in-laws over in jolly old Belfast and the drink to hand just happens to be corner-shop cocoa. Oh, how I have often prayed for a single biscuit dipped in cyanide during those long jejune weekends watching faded sideshows on Northern Ireland's underground drainage systems. It was not to be. So here I am, still in paradise, not lost, but only to find that my 'builders knee' continually thrums, along with a strange fungal infection from not wearing a verruca sock during my wife's swimming aerobics classes at the local lido. Why she couldn't stick to flower arranging is beyond me.
Luckily, throughout history, many scholared men have taken time out to write extremely labour intensive works of pure reading gold. Due to the fact that my rather truncated hobble has forced me to seek comfort in the stretched canvas of a hired beach chair, I have taken advantage of their literary genius with a good book or two whilst I heal. Of late, I have been pummelled, had my knees tapped so malevolently that I nearly offered the gentleman a full time career back in dear old Glasgow. Penetrated with all number of metallic Machiavellian objects so macabre that both my body, mind and arsehole may well be scarred for life. Had copious amounts of Celtic blood stolen from my battered, beleaguered veins, so much so that I teetered on the brink of necromancy in order to make ready for the after life. I began to suspect that somewhere, whole Nigerian villages were growing fat from the illicit sale of my precious blood in order to stave off various ailments brought on by rogue monitor lizard bites, the accidental ingestion of fossilised excrement and of course repetitive strain injury from writing many, many, many bogus begging letters. I have been consistently spiked by seemingly every myopic student nurse in the kingdom of Spain, for bodily fluids from every hanging or protruding infundibular about my person. From pee to poo, then back again it would seem. Only to find that my charts have mysteriously vanished, left on a train or in the smoking section of Starbucks by some poorly paid boeotian laboratory technician, busily conversing in iphone clatterfart, for the general public to entertain themselves with.
I am old school. I like to believe that I can heal myself through hard work, castor oil and a good long walk on the beach to purge the fact that pain is merely weakness leaving the body, to clear not only my fungal infection in the medicinal salty waters, but also my troubled head over the fact that I am convinced I am soon to expire. I remember as a boy my father returning early from his work with a bloodied bandage upon his head and both severed legs tucked under each broken arm. After polishing the shoes of his entire brood, setting a cold fire in the hearts of each room, peeling a bucket of grand oul spuds for the dinner that night, only then did he relent enough for others to seek help as to his injury. I was informed by the mother that I was to run along the snowy streets and fetch the blacksmith, who also doubled as a vet, from his warm place beside the open fire at a local bar to attend the father. Old habits die hard it would seem. Hence my wee stroll along the shoreline. It's been a real bugger trying to find a blacksmith out here though, that much I can tell you.
Yet, as I wait for the many multiple agonies of apoptosis to set about my weary beaten body, I take heed by the sight of so many other bedraggled human specimens who come to my island to play. I mean, come on. Have you stopped lately and taken note of your average German wearing the ubiquitous, inevitable garish thong? Parading about with little left to the imagination other than the white patch on their thigh where a well-oiled Luger pistol is usually strapped? Lank of hair, ox-jawed and synthetically muscled, still with their terrible siderodromophobia before them as they push past incandescent local peasants with half-folded pushchairs bigger than a small mortgage. Their men are no oil paintings either. There is no mistaking them as they kick sand in the face of every eastern European, fustigating with each other as they attempt, and fail, to play volleyball on the beach, trying hard to forget the strictly cabbage aroma that permeates the lime mortar that awaits them back home in some ruined castle hidden by a forest. Spittle drips from their lips as they hiss at the soigné of the French. A resistance instilled, as they march in three's towards the sausage buffet and potato salad feasts, chocolate gateau and lager breakfasts. "No more" I cry, A feeling of great tintinnabulation brings me to my senses. I shall not succumb to life just yet. I shall continue to halt this usurp of Germanian schadenfreude. "For Scotland and for glory", I cry. I will retake this magnificent holiday isle. I have much tarradiddle to write, books to read and comments to decry. My time is no longer nigh. Besides, my empress is picking me up at three and I am badly in need of a shave.
With a new found vigour, I gather up my fallen verruca sock and limp lissom-like back towards the car park. A feeling of ataraxia enfolds me and gives me wings upon which to walk. And then, once more, as swiftly as a smoking Messerschmitt straight out of the mist... I fall straight back down that same fecking hole...
Scottish Salmon with Rice Noodles
2 salmon fillets (delicately borrowed from the magnificent depths of Loch Duart)
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 (5cm) piece of ginger, chopped
4 tablespoons sake or white German wine
3 tablespoon sugar (preferably brown sugar)
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon groundnut oil (vegetable or olive oil is also fine)
1 knob of butter
For the noodles:
2 tablespoon of groundnut oil (vegetable or olive oil is also fine)
350g of rice noodles
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 (4cm) piece of ginger, chopped
1 medium sized onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
1 yellow pepper, sliced into strips
1 green pepper, sliced into strips (can you see a pattern forming here?)
4-5 pieces of closed cup mushroom, sliced
Soy sauce, to taste
First, combine garlic, ginger, white wine, sugar and the soy sauce in a bowl. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Marinate salmon fillets for one hour. Boil the rice noodles and simmer. Drain water.
In a pan, heat oil and sauté garlic and ginger. Add onions and cook until soft. Add all the peppers and mushrooms. Once the vegetables are cooked, add noodles and soy sauce. The amount of soy sauce depends on your taste. I wouldn't put too much in as I will use the salmon marinade as well.
In another pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Pan-fry salmon, starting with the skin first (if your salmon has skin). Add 1 knob of butter onto the pan. Once it's cooked, remove salmon from pan and cook the marinade. Wait until the marinade becomes thick. Place noodles on plate and put salmon either on top of the noodles or on the side. Pour or drizzle the sauce over the noodles and salmon. Accompany with a good German wine, something sweet, possibly a chilled Spätburgunder on ice.