• personal

    36 Questions: The First Question

    They say 36 questions can bring you closer to any stranger. I don’t consider you – the person reading this – to be a stranger. Whether you lurk or comment, are new to the blog or have been reading a while, you’re not a stranger. You’re like… a pen pal. I’m the awful, self-obsessed pen pal who never asks you how you are (how are you, by the way?) and you’re the lovely person patient enough to read my thoughts. Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to take time out every so often to get through these questions one by one. You know, so we can get… intimate… *wink…

  • so that happened

    Pity the Madrileño Vegetariano

    I landed in Madrid a week before Scrubs was due to arrive. My grandfather – my Yayo – was excited to meet him, but hid it (badly) beneath his usual gruff stoicism. He made sure the bedsheets were ironed and the pillows were plumped and the blankets were in the press (“por si acaso” he said, as if anybody in Madrid during the summer has ever been in need of a blanket). He dotted his long thoughtful silences with the punctuation of seemingly random questions about this new man in my life. The first time I broached The Subject, he was sitting in his armchair by the window, his chin…

  • Thoughts on...

    The Ever-More-Reluctant Omnivore

    So, I am not a vegetarian. I enjoy food immensely. All kinds of food, with few exceptions. I am not a picky eater. In fact, I’m fairly adventurous when it comes to trying unidentifiable foods. Of course, there are a few foods that are just completely unnacceptable; foods that I find so repulsive, the facial expression I unwittingly make after tasting them makes me look like I’m turning my face inside out. Liquorice/aniseed/fennel Almond paste/marzipan Then there are foods that I don’t find quite so objectionable taste-wise, but the texture just makes me shudder from the top of my head right down to my toes, like quince paste or cabello…

  • Uncategorized

    Careening Around Cairo, Egypt

    I was lucky enough to visit Egypt just before things got politically messy. Scrubs and I arrived in Cairo in 2010 on the last day of Eid. The festive mood was infectious, and even after a long journey it was impossible not to feel cheered by the sight of shiny banners and twinkling, colourful lights strung from building to building. Tinny music and the sound of laughter streamed from open windows as we dragged our bags through the streets of the city. We arrived at the front door of our hostel, Hola Cairo, feeling tired but excited. The large, heavy wooden door swung open with a loud creak and we were immediately…

  • Uncategorized

    The Sugar Rush is Real

    Yesterday was Pancake Tuesday. I’m not sure how widespread Pancake Tuesday is, but if it’s not a global holiday then it should be. If anything can unite us in this time of division and disharmony, it’s pancakes. I mean, talk about a food of the people. They can be adapted to suit everyone! If you don’t like the fluffy, thick American pancakes, you can go for paper-thin French crêpes. If you don’t like them sweet (YOU MONSTER), you can have them savoury. Seriously, pancakes are multi-purpose. Who needs a penknife in their back pocket? Pack a pancake instead. I ate a lot of pancakes yesterday. I had pancakes for breakfast.…