Dinners and some such + advice.
Have you missed me? Sorry, I’ve been busy. Lots of work and we were invited to dinner at the Grey Villa last night. We’d spent the day cleaning because tomorrow someone is coming to see the house, so I was exhausted. I almost considered throwing myself in bed and not going- but, dutifully, I got dressed and arrived punctually. The starer was salmon tartare. It was superb. I don’t understand why most people don’t serve more of these classic dishes. Classics are classics because they’re good. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Don’t be tempted to recreate the strawberry soup with a Roquefort sorbet you saw them serving at El Bulli on tv. Chefs spend their lives training. It’s very unlikely those of us who haven’t spent our lives training can magically improvise the complex techniques of molecular gastronomy. Make a note of that rule and apply it to everything. The next time you’re temped to paint a mural on your wall, ask yourself: Would I pull out my own wisdom tooth, or should that be left to a specialist? And as we’re there… buy good things. If you have good things you don’t need to waste any time faffing around. We went to a dinner once where the table was extraordinarily over-decorated in artsy-craftsy junk. I hate artsy-craftsy junk. It looked like a Chinese plastic factory had exploded at the address in question. Plastic under-plates, plastic napkin rings, plastic baubles, plastic plants. It probably took the host many hours to achieve the look, but trust me, it’s not a look worth achieving. Also, buy a damned silver candlestick instead of sticking a candle into a piece of fruit. If your table centrepiece looks like a candle is raping a watermelon, something’s gone terribly wrong!
I should get back to cleaning soon. Activity clears the mind. My mind is slightly nebulous today. That happens every time someone comes to see the house (or perhaps I’m still drunk from last night). I suppose it’s the complexity of the intersection of the move to France juxtaposed on a goodbye to Spain. Any visit can turn into an actual sale and an actual sale means an actual move. We’re ready to go, and yet there’ll probably be a certain sadness to it- but that’s the nature of change, isn’t it? Next winter we might be living in the freezing cold. I might not be complaining about the Sotogrande community fees, instead, I’ll be complaining about French taxes- either way I’m sure I’ll still be complaining. I think I won’t miss too much of Spain, but I will miss some of the people. Fifteen years in a country is such a long time. The longest I’ve ever spent consecutively anywhere. I moved to the Costa del Sol when I was 21 and in March I’ll be 36. That’s my whole adult life. Most of it with the same partner, same house, same everything.
I was told last night that this blog was very Me, Me Me. I thought it was funny. Is that not the nature of a blog? Recording our experiences as we live them from our personal perspectives? A public diary. Our intimate views of the world. How could a blog be anything else but a (biased) first person account? I try to be fair (on occasion), but ultimately, what you’ll get is coloured by the shadows I see from where I stand. That’s what makes the experience interesting. We already know what our own views are, what our own lives are like. Peeking into other people’s is the process by which we’re entertained and hopefully open our minds. It’s why we read, why we watch movies, why we communicate.
Another funny thing was said. That another person should be listed amongst Mike’s ‘partners’ on his wikipedia listing. The absurd part is that the person in question was never Mike’s partner. They were only ever friends. Friends who shared a house. It’s funny how myths take hold. Particularly myths regarding gay men. Two gay men share a house for a while and there’s an automatic presumption that that means they’re a couple- even though the house is divided in a way where each has their own bedroom, own living room, own kitchen… I wasn’t annoyed, but it reminded me of the mess things were in the beginning. Rumours, gossip, stories. In quiet conservative suburbs people don’t have much to do. Suddenly a middle aged British actor is having a relationship with a much younger man. People’s heads were ready to explode. Each creating their own private narratives in their minds, all of which had very little to do with reality. I wasn’t a homewrecker and Mike wasn’t deranged by lust, and neither of us spent all our time drugged out of our minds- but I suppose it made dinner parties more interesting if people went with the entirely fictional and tawdry version of things.