THE MUSIC MAKER
Scrambled eggs, cornflakes, uncomfortable silences and creaky stairs. That's about the sum total of my childhood recollections of bed and breakfast establishments in the UK in the 1970s. Unless you count a very odd man in Kent who owned one of these bizarre places and insisted on treating all guests to to an evening 'musical' performance, playing the drums with headphones on - presumably to block out the din - in his front parlour or whatever it was they called that superfluous room down south. Daily forty-five-minute drum solo with your holiday, anyone? Mmmm, yes please.
Anyway, in a fug of nostalgia, I've been carried back to those heady days recently, largely as a result of my culinary limitations, which have come to light in brutal fashion as a direct result of this pesky lockdown business.
It turns out that I was wasting my time for years devouring bowls of gazpachuelo and boquerones and chicken wings and all the other delights available in local Malaga bars for far less cost and bother than preparing them at home would entail. What I should have been doing was practising for this important moment in history, when a man is forced to look himself in the mirror and ask the vital questions - e.g. "What the hell am I going to cook?"
Unfortunately, a lack of foresight - and indeed, will - on my part means that my fate now depends largely, and somewhat precariously, on scrambled eggs and cornflakes. Hence the seventies B & B throwback thing. How on earth people can claim they enjoy cooking will remain a mystery to me for all eternity.
"It's relaxing," they protest in rather too loud a voice as you look on, incredulously, at the pile of barely used utensils and plates piling up in the sink and at the preparation surface, or whatever they call it, increasingly resembling the wreck of the Hesperus. Relaxing, indeed.
I do have fruit, which save for peeling, requires a limited skill set. And tins of meatballs and Asturian fabada and some other cans of things that I didn't bother reading the label of, before tossing them perfunctorily into my egg-and-cornflake-crammed basket in the supermarket.
It might have been my imagination, but I'm sure the checkout girl offered me a glance of pity from behind her homemade mask as I paid for my purchases at the till.
She needn't worry, though - simply not having a bloke knocking seven bells out of a cheap drum kit each evening, makes every day a very good day indeed.