Will has returned home for a few days which leaves me free to listen to Part-Time Lover by Stevie Wonder as much as I like, spend ages deciding on an outfit for the day and eat ice cream for dinner. Hooray! One of the downsides, however, is that my attempts at frugal food shopping will be a shambles.
Will is a savvy shopper, I am not. I think it’s because he generally loves cooking more than I do and he is far more patient when it comes to buying ingredients. We get a lot of our food from La Boqueria, the famous food market on Las Ramblas where you’ll see everything from sheeps' heads to goose barnacles to herbs to spices to er … potatoes. I enjoy its hustle and bustle to a certain extent but if I’m there too long, I turn into a bored kid who’s been dragged to Allied Carpets on a Bank Holiday Monday.
I recently went there to buy some tomatoes and Will gave me a pep-talk beforehand:
“Walk around the market first, smell the tomatoes and compare prices before you buy anything,” Will advised. I nodded sagely. But I don’t want to!, screamed my inner brat. I just want to buy the first tomatoes I see and be done with it!
It’s because of this laziness that I once parted with 16 Euro for some fish that should have been half the price, and it’s why I return home with strawberries that I could have got for 1.49 a kilo but why do that when you can pay 4 Euro for the same amount? By the time Will returns, I expect he’ll find me weeping down the phone to the bank, pleading for loan in order to pay for some expensive mushrooms.
Some cauliflowers, decorating a roundabout
As Christina will tell you, I am a skilled healer. The World Health Organisation refuses to acknowledge my work or the work of my subordinates, Nurse Hotty-Botty and Dr Cuddles, but my powers are beyond doubt. I mention this because Christina has been ill this week. I diagnosed her as being properly ill, rather than what we specialists call ‘girl ill’; confined to her sickbed, feverish and drowsy, Christina’s only hope lay in my special healing magic. She is now much better, and it’s all thanks to me. Let me tell you how.
Medicine is simpler than you think. They* like to dress it up with fancy words and white coats, but there are actually only three medicines: the Lemsip, or a variant thereof, the cuddle (see above), and thirdly – probably the single most important development in medical history – the hot water bottle. For almost every ailment, a hot water bottle applied in some way will do the trick. In the case of Patient C (Christina), I prescribed two to three hotty-botties a day, to be taken with a Lemsip, some pyjamas and a few old episodes of Seinfeld. Worked like a charm, despite the fact that I have no idea if what I bought was Lemsip. It could have been a hot, lemony mug of toilet cleaner for all I know, but my healing touch obviously made it good.
As a result of Christina’s being covered in germs – and thanks to her congested nasal passageways, snoring at shouting volume – I have spent three nights on the camp-bed this week. It has been fun, like camping out in my own home. I may extend the concept by putting up a tent, and possibly starting a small fire in the middle of the floor on which to toast marshmallows. I could even go on an adventure holiday around the flat, hiking from room to room before setting up camp.
*yeah, you know,Them.
A street in Poble Nou