In Practice, Production on May 8, 2014 at 7:47 am
Trundling toward Seville with a bootful of booty – a creamy blue cheese from Galicia, a jar of blue cheese cream from Asturias, a jar of apple jam, a jar of orange jelly, a jar of strawberry jam, a jar of quince and orange paste, a jar of quince and lemon paste, a jar of chilli chutney and a small bottle of nispero liqueur, the maker of which didn’t so much recommend to us as warn us about. Two bottles of hand-picked olives in deep brine and three bottles of Extremaduran wine, a fridge magnet, two porcelain beer mugs and, wrapped up carefully in a straw hat, the most delicate cargo of all: six eggs from the finca we’ve just left and the chickens we’ve just waved goodbye to. Now all we have to do is get them home, just over four hundred kilometres away.
The project does not have an auspicious beginning; after just a few minutes we drive through a small town so sleepy and rural that even the main street is cobbled. Mis huevos, I complain as the car rattles through. We stop afterwards, outside a mammoth industrial complex of some kind that caught my eye on the way here yesterday – four huge silos and more at the other end next to a concrete dome the size of a small moon. At least half a kilometre in length, the plant consists of enormous pipes and ramps, a thousand stairwells, chutes and chimneys in all sizes and the constant noise of process. More
In Presentation, Production on August 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm
We leave Cáceres at midday, having climbed up the cathedral’s bell tower and down into an old aljibe, or water cistern, left here by the Arabs and drive over some hard, hard country, Extremadura explaining its name to us as we pass through it. One wonders whether anything here is ever green – at any time of year – but certainly not now in high summer.
They say Ireland is like a wet sponge clinging to a rock. I say they – it was probably me. Well, this is like a baked crust. The ground is strewn with sizeable boulders and partitioned by dry stone walls. The kind of skies you only see in big country – multiple categories of cloud wisp into the distances.
I can’t resist – I put some flamenco on, reminded here of my earliest notion of Spain, born not of my first visit but long before that, of a painting my father owned that depicted a señorita standing next to a table in some makeshift tavern, her stance that of a bailaora, the hem of her dress caked in mud and dust. The impression I had was of a people who lived without finery but not without style, and for all the talk of Spain’s homogenization, for all the “we’re all Europeans now” chatter – as if being the same was a good thing – I think I can still see it. More
In Production on August 19, 2012 at 10:25 am
Any notion of whizzing along the highways in our convertible – K’s hair horizontal in the breeze along with my cravat, me pouring us both a plastic cup of Bollinger and throwing my head back to laugh at the sky – is put paid to immediately.
Firstly, we don’t own a convertible. Secondly, we’ve hardly driven a hundred metres and are not yet outside Tarifa‘s limits when we find ourselves in a traffic jam. The road to the beaches further along the little town’s coast is packed with Algecirans, their folding chairs and screaming children. I’m not getting a terribly “road trip” vibe from the whole thing. If this were the opening scene of a road trip movie, for example, it would be shit.
Thirdly, I don’t wear cravats – though this is something I will certainly reconsider if K ever gets us that convertible.
When we finally reach the intersection she decides to head for Algeciras to the right instead of Cadiz to the left. We get a reasonably clear lane and from Algeciras there’s another motorway up to Jerez and from there to Seville. It’s an inspired decision as although it puts a few kilometres on us we save a lot of time by avoiding the sludgy beach traffic. K is pleased and spends much of the drive to Jerez congratulating herself. More