It was one of those really inspired ideas. Spicy potato wedges cooked on the grill. So to save time on cooking I par boiled the wedges thinking they would cook a lot quicker. Unfortunately I par boiled them for a tad too long and they turned to mush. With guests arriving soon and not enough time to do fresh I came up with a cunning plan. I drained the wedges and set to mashing them adding a touch of bottled smoke, salt, pepper, mixed herbs and a good slug of bourbon. The bourbon and the smoke was a great success and it was the first time any of my guests had had mashed potato at a barbecue cooked on the barbie. Net time I may form the mash into cakes and crisp them up on the griddle before I serve them.
It has been some time has it not? I am sure I have written those words on more than one occasion. No matter I digress. Some time ago Bean counter and I decided that it was unlikely in the extreme that we would be going away on holiday this year due to the current financial climate. But, it would be a good idea if we had a series of long weekends away. One long weekend rolled onto a weekend at work and then another weekend away. It has meant I have spent more time recovering than actually getting down and writing. The last couple of months have seen us go away to Shell Island, take a trip to Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park, go and stay at the Drivers place and have my brother visit for a week. Current plans are to go and see Joe Bonamassa and then go and see Pete Frampton. Oh and I have a couple of bike rallies planned in the meantime and the Driver is coming to stay at mine next weekend. This has been on top of friends stopping by and me sparking up the barbie at every available opportunity. I have more photographs than I know what to do with to post in the gallery and the time is going by so fast I can hardly catch my breath.
To my friends in foreign parts, the European economy is going down the pan fast with Greece having received yet another bail out of billions of Euros and the news today that Cyprus, Spain and Italy are all likely to be downgraded by the agencies that decide how much interest that country will pay on the bonds it sells to raise income. The more likely it is that a country will default or become unable to meet its commitments to pay back the bonds the higher the interest it has to pay. This is a bit like going to the bank to borrow money and because you are broke, why would you need a loan if you already had the money, and the bank tells it will not lend you any. However if you are rich enough to not need a loan then the banks will throw the stuff at you. In other words if a country is rolling in cash then the interest it pays to borrow money is almost zero.
What has this to do with any of us? Well if a country defaults on its debts then the next time you go to your own bank it may just say, sorry we have not got your cash we lent it to someone and they can’t pay us back so you can’t have what we owe you. The experts are divided as to whether or not this is the death knell of the Euro as a currency. The one thing that even the most hard bitten Europhiles are reluctantly accepting is that is a good job we as a nation did not join the Euro. But even so petrol is now over £6.40 a gallon (we thought it was scandal when it reached £5), gas and electricity prices have risen extortionately with the price of each commodity going up by over 30% collectively in the last few months and food prices have risen so much they are changing the way we are shopping. It has meant fewer people being able to obtain mortgages, people not being able to sell houses because no one can buy and fewer people going abroad for a holiday, hence the long weekends.
However it has not all been doom and gloom at Château Gastanbury and I have made the most out whatever time I have had with a few funny stories to tell along the way including the saga of the tents, the pink gin palace, the ongoing war on trees and of course the barbies. Til next time when hopefully all will be revealed.