Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: Changes

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Granny you see has altered things slightly. But she is still Granny p. And the rockpool is still a rockpool. Full of snails at the moment, takeaway dinners for the black crab. They do not care for this designation. If Granny fails to block up the hole in the tank top, Beloved finds snails all over the kitchen when he comes down in the morning. (He always comes down first.)

And this, the lead story in El Pais - the best Spanish newspaper, its equivalent of the Guardian - on Sunday: about a newly uncovered Al Quaeda cell whose aim is to 'liberate' the Andalucian cities of Ceuta and Medilla. Bin Laden himself, of course, has muttered about bringing 'Andalus' back into the Muslim fold, but this is the first time that Granny is aware that anyone has seriously set about addressing the problem. And what a problem. Even more than the rest of Spain, the entire culture, economy, agriculture, society, social life, gastronomy of Andalucia - when it's not at the bullfight that is, or getting drunk at some fiesta - is based on the pig; on these rather - very - sweet black animals routing round for acorns under the cork oaks. And very delicious they are too; especially to an Andalucian. Granny was in a Sierra Morena tapas bar once where the long list of available dishes chalked up consisted entirely of different parts of the said beast. The belief that every Spaniard in such large swathe of land can be 'liberated' into a culture in which pork - and the pig - is taboo is even more far-fetched than the hopes of Sharia law in our own dear British land of pubs and clubs; so far-fetched, so utterly impractical, it's almost sweet. Such faith, such impractical beliefs are often rather sweet, even if the methods used to impose them are anything but. You might as well believe in Father Christmas really, or fairies - hullo Tinkerbell, don't go away - as believe in pigless Spain, as in people all loving each other or in Iraqi Sunnis and Shias forgetting their mutual loathing and shaking hands as Saddam Hussein of all people begged them to do today. (The unlikelihood of such latter aspirations is a shame; but there you go.) You might as well tell the black crab to forget about liking snails.

And no Granny is not anti-Islam, not in its better manifestations. The Kingdom of Granada under its Islamic rulers was one of the most civilised there's ever been; you only have to visit Granada to know. But that's not the point. Granada was a long time ago and now is now and the pig? - well the pig is the PIG. Sooner imagine Islam here - where they like pigs too. But where they are not such a cultural icon. If there's any cultural icon on Granny's island it's the rabbit; or even that much less taboo animal the goat. Though probably not.

(Talking of goats, it turns out that Granny now has a dairy for cheese-making in what she mistakenly alluded to in Mr Handsome from Blackburn's hearing as his 'shed.' 'My workshop you mean,' he said indignantly. Goats then are still in the offing. Fortunately - another change - Beloved is rather otherwise occupied these days; which may delay things - she hopes will delay things - still further. More on that next time.)

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