On the promenade, one of the town hall workers has a small engine on his back which powers a blower, technology´s answer to the broom. It strikes me that he is simply transferring dust and rubbish from one spot to another, when I spot a vehicle with two brushes in front of it. The brushes rotate in opposite directions, sweeping all they encounter beneath the vehicle´s belly, where its prey is inhaled by a vacuum.
Horchata as I remember is a sweet drink with a nutty taste which they used to sell in milk bars and the like when I lived in Spain nearly 50 years ago. When I tried it again recently I found it unpallatable, but at that time it had, I suppose, lost the attraction of novelty. It comes to mind to day when I see the word Orxata, which I take to be the Catalan word for horchata. What strikes me as intereting is that it is chalked on a blackboard in an American style chain called Dunkin´Coffee. Where the entire menu and sales idea is trans -Atlantic or perhaps mid-Atlantic; and here, you have a local Spanish traditional drink and a Catalan word fighting through a franchise like a persistent plant, despite the attention of gardeners, forcing up between paving stones.
As I stand amid sparkling waves, up to my shoulders in the sea, I see, against the blue sky, an ochre yellow butterly fluttering on a more or less intentional course parallel with the beach.
I try to imagine if there are any traditional English dishes attempting to fight their way out of menus corralled by burgers and hot-dogs (actually the latter are much rarer these days). Fish and chips continues to flourish, mainly because the American approach sought to turn the fish into a mini-unit load (Aha, a phrase uninvoked for many a moon) whereas Brits prefer the rococo irregularity of batter-frying. In a nearby layby - I rather like that assonance - Jessica was offering an English Breakfast from her little caravan. The constituents would no doubt be available in an American diner but not under that name. The jury seems to be out on mushy peas - the phrase was surely never formulated by a marketing department and there's probably a class dividing line between those establishments that offer it and those that don't. When I order it I'm overtaken by a strange atavism, a form of proletarian wickedness. I cannot believe there is even a micro-gram of nutrition in mushy peas and yet I continue to eat them.
Having thought a lot about mushy over the years, I have come to the conclusion that it is the texture (which absorbs fat and fishiness in equal quantities) which attacts. And the dull green colour, like the English countryside on a wet day.
This comment discussion makes me think of the friterie belge, a jaunty bright red box trailer thing that parks up by the roadside on the route to the coast near here in the season, and presumably dispenses what must be a superior product from the lowlands. I always regret that it is never the moment when we are passing to sample these delights.
The colour of peas. I rather deplore the olive green of petits pois (and haricots verts) here, but French friends tell me that they consider our preference for large very bright green peas, to which bicarbonate of soda may have been added to preserve that hue, very odd indeed.
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