(see preceding posts for chaps 1 and 2)
The small boy performed a very good impression of a jet engine, at least in terms of volume, as he piloted his fighter. Approaching the enemy, which consisted of a young female motorcyclist and a small dog, he added the sound of rapid gunfire. This caused the girl to scream and the dog to start yapping at the heels of the intrepid pilot. And this, in turn, prompted the mother to drag the protesting airman from his craft, which bounced back and forth on its heavy spring as peace and quiet returned to the park.
xxxA mother losing patience sounds the same in any language, thought Epifanea, sighing with relief and turning her attention back to the barely-started book. In truth the cute but irritating child had provided a welcome distraction. As did the message from home.
What’s a gallantry?
xxxHe tried again.
Oh shit. A gallimaufry
My phone doesn’t know it either.
Have you not mastered google?
Other search engines are available lol
I prefer to ask you, o font of all knowledge
Well I know it’s fount not font to start with
OK my bad. At least google spares me
the sarcastic put-downs
Gallimaufry. A mishmash.
Just throwing a load of stuff in a pan and stir-frying.
When inspiration flags.
xxxAnd beer for a change. Back home they had both learned to love craft beers from small brewers with big price tags and the pleasingly bitter tang of strangely-named hops. But in the continental heat the standard, light and more subtly flavoured lagers were a crisp, clean and refreshing way to wash down a meal at the end of the day.
xxxShe gathered up her things and took her glass back to the bar.
xxx“Thank you. You need not have bothered,” said the handsome young barman, with a smile.
xxxWell, that’s probably what he said, thought Eppy, whose grasp of the language was less than rudimentary. From the tone of his comments and the smile he made them through, he might well have been making an improper suggestion. But she preferred to think better of people.
xxxAt the exit from the park she stopped for a while to gaze out over the ocean. The evening sun sparkled on the rippling waves. But then she noticed the barman, who, she fancied, was interpreting her pause as some kind of invitation, leaving his post and moving towards her. To avoid confusion and possible hassle, she turned away from the rolling deep, crossed the promenade and walked briskly along the narrow street that led to her flat. She could look at the sea more peacefully from the rooftop.
xxxShe rubbed the fresh coriander leaves between thumb and fingers, and breathed the scent in deeply. She chopped the leaves and stalks and put them in a bowl. The pork steak from the carniceria, which obviously meant butcher, looked really good. Nice and thick with just the right amount of fat. Best of all, it was from a local, acorn-fed pig. Solemnly saying, ‘Gracias, señor pig’, she cut it into bite-sized cubes.
xxxThe mushroom and the small green pepper got chopped up similarly, as did the bunch of spring onions. A clove of garlic was crushed and chopped. One of the dried Chinese mushrooms she had in her bags had been soaking in warm water for the last half hour; she took it out, squeezed it and cut it into thin strips.
Later. Just started frying
xxxShe opened the beer and took a swig from the bottle before selecting some Chinesey spices from her travelling supply. Szechuan peppers, a little five spice powder, chilli oil …
xxxNow I’ve started frying, she thought, pouring a little groundnut oil into the deep pan. No Chinese wok in an Andalucian B&B. No rice cookers either. I don’t suppose there are many paelleras in Kowloon either. The rice went in a saucepan with loads of boiling salted water, just like it did at home. Less arsenic gets eaten that way, he liked to tell her.
xxxShe fried the pork over a high flame, crisping up the fatty rind. Then she lowered the heat and added the onions, pepper and garlic.
xxx“Eye of newt and toe of frog.” She cackled the line from the Scottish play as she sprinkled the spices into her cauldron in meticulously judged random quantities. After a few minutes stirring, punctuated by swigs from the beer bottle, she added the mushrooms, onions and coriander.
xxxA sorry-looking lime lay wrinkling with age in the fruit bowl. She chopped it in half with a blow of her cleaver and squeezed the juice of one piece over the pan, which it hit with a pleasing sizzle.
xxxAnd that, said John, is that.
xxxShe spooned half the drained rice into the large bowl, took a drink from the bottle, shovelled most of the stir-fry over the rice in the bowl and dropped the rest onto the rice in the saucepan.
I made too much
xxxShe sent a photo of the bowl.
xxxThen she sent a picture of the saucepan.
I’ll eat your share cold for breakfast
You’re disgusting, woman.
So that’s a gallimuffy?
Gallimaufry. It is now.
Don’t know what else to call it.
Pork and peppers?
Boring. Call me in 20
xxxEppy took the food to the table, put the bottle to her lips and realised it was nearly empty.
xxxPlenty more where that came from.
xxxAnother bottle was retrieved from the fridge and opened. She sat to eat.
xxxAfter that she’d be ready to talk to home. She was missing him, of course she was, especially the feel of his body lying beside hers in bed. She missed him almost as much as she would shortly be telling him she did.
xxx¡Salud! she said to herself.