Finding the nicest places to eat
With family, friends
and a small brown dog.
Finding the nicest places to eat
With family, friends
and a small brown dog.
I may have written this before but there are few things that can’t be brightened up by a little brown dog. Recently two much loved local dogs have died; I’ll miss seeing them about, though nowhere near as much as their people will and it’s made me specially glad to have B around.
Part of the joy of walking with a dog is the pleasure they seem to get from their surroundings. B meanders from side to side, on “zombie pawtrol” as it’s known by her Twitter pals. I think she mostly “sees” through her nose but mine is a little further from the sniffs so I decided to look in the more conventional way.
It was a grey, drizzly morning which may accentuate the smells, it can bring sparkle to things you might overlook.
There was an advertising campaign last year or so with the strapline “Be more dog”. I can’t remember what the product was but it’s not a bad way to be.
Autumn leaves fall, all things pass; sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I fret. But sometimes I can find my inner dog.
I’ve walked at some pivotal points my life. When I first moved to Edinburgh my Saturday afternoons were often spent walking, exploring the pages of my street map. Yes I was really living the wild student life. I noticed that the houses preening from the hillside beyond Morningside road reminded me of home. Even though those ones were large detacheds in Fairmilehead rather than small terraces clinging on the valley. I plodded about the town, plotting my routes in coloured inks, searching in vain for Haymarket Ice Rink; that book was out of date several years before I found it. It paid off though, I got to know my adopted city beyond the student and tourist hubs.
It’s Edinburgh Jim, but not as you know it
Walking. Displacement activity, filling up the day before the 5pm Finals posting or later walking the night away through a break up and I just had to be away from the house.
Walking can be sociable, even when I’m on my own, my (almost) daily walk takes me past friends and gives me a chance to catch up on news. And walking with DogS never fails to make me smile.
We have a local walking group too where people and dogs can socialise and explore.
Even if sometimes our feet get so wet there’s no point avoiding the puddles! (The walk which went with the snowy photo). Walking helps me think, plan, calm down when I need to.
Three different types of walks and walkers have their left footprints recently.
The first, walking as art Alexander and Susan Maris’ The Well at the World’s End a journey from Schiehallion to Iona passed fairly close by, the second and third pilgrimages but of different kinds came even closer. Charles Compton walking around the British mainland coastline* raising money for The Mental Health Foundation arrived in the morning and then after lunch (and my own much shorter walk) the third group, actual pilgrims walked and waded nearby.
So today, I’ve done my 10,000 steps and been standing a while so I’m giving my stripily suntanned feet a rest.
*including islands linked by bridges or non tidal causeways
We sneaked away from the Easter snows and enjoyed a few days in the city of Cartagena. The one in Spain, though I’d like to visit the Colombian one too. What a fascinating place, inhabited for nearly three thousand years, layers peel away, almost literally in some cases* to display its history.
Now MrS is the historian so I may get this wrong but New Carthage** has been Punic, Phoenician, Roman, Moorish and now Spanish. There are lots of museums where you can discover all this history or you can simply wander around the streets.
We did quite a bit of both…..
Here’s the Roman theatre where I practised my voice projection
And he could, those Romans knew a thing or two about acoustics. Lots of money has been spent, and well spent, on interpreting Cartagena’s rich history. I found the Roman
remains the easiest to understand of any I’ve visited. All around the city you can come across vestiges of the past, Roman roads peeking through a square, villas hidden under a modern street, temples, baths and workshops. Many reused over the centuries and then emerging again, the theatre once lay under the Cathedral, which was itself destroyed during the Civil War.
It’s not just land based history, there are museums of the sea, one the fascinating Museum of Underwater Archeology explores the objects lost overboard or otherwise to the sea over the centuries. And you can also visit the one of the first submarines at The Naval Museum although that’s one we had to leave for another visit.
We spent most of our time wandering around the city, it’s very walkable, but did take a morning out on the Feve train to Los Nietos on the Mar Menor. I’d thought of having a swim or perhaps lunch beside this inland sea, Europe’s largest.
But. It was closed. Well not completely, the yacht club, a restaurant and one other bar was open, but the resort had a desolate air with houses shut up for the season and perhaps permanently? People must visit, the marina was full of boats, many of them very smart motor cruisers; the beach was clean and being cleaned, we saw a couple of women settling down for some sun there, and there were others like us enjoying a stroll along the promenade. But where was everyone else? Over on the La Manga strip perhaps? I don’t know, but we decided to head back to Cartagena for lunch.
Ah lunch…..We stayed at The NH hotel Cartagena it was comfortable, very central and we had a terrace with a view of the Port. But we stayed on a room only basis so there was none of that filling up on breakfast to see you through the day. Instead we ate breakfast at cafes***
……….and had a stop for lunch in the early afternoon; useful as shops etc tended to close over lunch time. Lunch became progressively longer and more elaborate as the week went on…
Culminating in a three hour lunch at La Marquesita on Friday before leaving for the airport. Excellent food and great people watching too.
That lunch was superb but our best meal was dinner at Magoga. The Blue Cheesecake being one of my top three puds EVER.
The dish on the right? Pork and smoked sardine, sounds odd, looks a bit brown? Tasted amazing.
Four days and we didn’t see everything, though we did our best to eat everything!
Until next time
*many historic 19th and early 20th century facades have been preserved, shored up, behind them empty lots waiting to be rebuilt or perhaps to reveal their pasts.
**those Carthaginians weren’t very imaginative when it came to names.
***actually that coffee in a glass, Cafe Asiatico, a Carthagenian speciality, was an afternoon treat, though we saw it consumed at breakfast.
We also visited Muram Cartagena’s museum of modern art in a beautiful modernist mansion the Palacio Aguirre.
Wondering about that spaceship like yacht? Sailing Yacht A
I arrived home after my walk today to a missed call on my mobile and the message light blinking from the landline. Looking up the number I recognised it belonged to MrS’s cousin. Oh that’s nice I thought, she must be coming to visit her friend and wants to drop in on her way.
And so we listened to the message.
I can’t really take it in. Whilst she was (so hard to write) in her seventies, retired, a grandmother she was by no means old. And not ill. She was always full of life, walking travelling, keeping up with family and friends. Both her parents lived into their nineties.
Now she’s gone.
It’ll be worse for MrS; the cousins are the senior generation of his family. A chain of births stretching from the ’40s to the ’60s. And now a link is gone.
We’ll talk about it later no doubt. Remember.
But for now there is just shock.
I’ve sent more time than I’ve liked these past weeks complaining to a Major Retailer about their bad service. It’s left me feeling generally discontented and anxious. I don’t want anyone to come to any harm following my complaints, I just wanted those at the top to know how they were failing their customers. Anyway to offset that I thought I should in my own small way recognise good and great service. So here for what it’s worth are “The Marinas”
My local deli * , we visit every week for cheese and other speciality items. But they really excelled themselves recently when I was outside and spotted a particularly seasonal item which only they stock. Problem? I had Bramble with me so couldn’t go in. But my gesticulations, pointing first to the items and then to Bramble, and MrS’s supplies were guaranteed. My items were brought outside and swapped for payment and we shall not be marmalade-less this year.
A small retailer with an online presence Lowie . I was introduced to them by a friend when I admired her frock. I’ve since ordered items which suited, and others which didn’t. Returns were handled efficiently and by an actual person. Great service. Thanks.
Online (mostly) retailer and designer Masato Jones I’ve never ordered a bespoke item but I’ve bought from them a number of times, packages arrive promptly, beautifully packed and with a lovely little drawing from Masato. Oh, and they regularly support homeless charities with their sales.
Big Beasts Space NK and FitFlop which deliver on time and in the case of the latter deal with returns very efficiently. I once had to call Space NK customer services and they were very and immediately helpful.
You may deduce from all this that I do a lot of online shopping. This is true of certain things but we buy all of our meat and eggs** from local suppliers, use our local store*** for sundries (and posting back those returns!)
And finally a call out to the many unsung heroines/heroes of the NHS like my big sister the GlamourPuss aka @KayMoggie , Medical Laboratory Scientists, who work the same long hours as all those ward staff you’ve heard of, but rarely get mentioned. Whenever you have a test done at your GP, clinic or hospital one of these will receive it, process it and get the result back asap. Thank you all.
And finally because this is all a bit too wordy, some pretty pictures.
(and a couple of me)
Until next time
*** Balvicar Stores
We have lots more great local food producers. More on them another time.
OOPS! Update! Forgot to mention The Furniture Workshop, Oban. Did a wonderful job re-upholstering and generally rejuvenating some of our furniture and came to our rescue lending us a sofa when we were let down.
Well the ones I’ve been to anyway.
Last Christmas (2016) we flew off to Lanzarote to escape our renovation works at home. There we discovered the delights of mojo, wrinkly potatoes and its unique volcanic landscape.
This year (2017) we spent Christmas and New Year at home, having fun with lots of family and friends.
So after all the festivities we were ready for some sunshine, sightseeing, relaxation and perhaps the odd night out…….
We were based in Garachico, in the gorgeous Hotel San Roque
There was plenty of good food and drink
But we managed a few little strolls.
Some traditions are familiar
But presents come with The Kings on January 5th.
It was strange seeing these seasonal favourites growing outside
And it wasn’t all sunshine
But it always came back
We saw lots but there’s still more to explore.
And other islands too
Until next time
Tote bag in wine glass photo by Cara Morris at CaraPrintsThings
We ate at : Ardeola
Canada de Garachico Espacio Gastronomico
all in Garachico, and the
in Puerto de la Cruz. We also enjoyed meals at our hotel, high up in Teno mountains and indulged in cake and ice cream in La Laguna.
Today I took my dog to the beach. Now that is not an unusual thing, but today I tried to do just that. No ‘phone, no photos, no posting. Just me’n’B, walking, watching , listening. Enjoying her pleasure at simply being there.
My dog smiles. Disclaimer, this is blatant anthropomorphism on my part. She’s a terrier, her mouth is just made like that and anyway she expresses delight from her other end. But her smiley face lifts my spirits.
So back to the beach and maybe at first little MissB is looking for something else too, but I’ve brought no balls so it’s just running and sniffing and maybe digging up some treasure. The tide is low today giving us a lot more beach than last time. More sand, more seaweed, more stones; so many different types of stone; slate, granite, quartz, smooth, crusted, hairy. The smooth ones are great for bowling along the sand, B in hot pursuit.
The splash and sift of the sea on the sand, children’s voices, the thunder of paws – for a small dog she can make quite a din. It’s a week day, a work day, the children are here on a trip from school, learning to climb the cliffs. Last time the sun shone, it was a holiday, I filled a big shopper full of rubbish as I walked. I’d found the shopper tucked into the rocks. A couple of tourists joined in, horrified by the mess. There’s a different couple today, taking pictures, enjoying the almost pristine beach, but all that plastic didn’t just end up in my bag. It’ll visit some other shore.
Just for a moment, banish that thought. Just for a moment, be in the moment.
Having fun, with my dog, on the beach.
PS. Towards the end, I cracked. I took some photos.
PPS. And here’s B smiling
Until next time….
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