A Mid-Summernights Bream. 5th August 2016


I woke up feeling a bit rotten this morning, thick head and a dodgy tummy, and I think I know why.

Yesterday was quite a lazy day with no trips to Estate agent’s planned.

Our intention was to spend the day on the beach then go out for a bit of a pub crawl and some food late evening.

The day started with us setting out in search of breakfast and we found ourselves at a Dutch place (why i don’t know) where we had a Dutch version of a continental breakfast, (which was very similar to the meal we prepared for ourselves the night before because we were too lazy to go out and eat).

I digress.

To keep costs down we purchased a second hand beach umbrella from a second hand shop and some rush mats to put the towels on, thus saving 10 Euros a day the cost of renting a sun bed.

With our new accessories we set up camp on the beach about mid morning.

It soon became obvious that one parasol wasn’t enough to stop two lily white Brit’s from frying in the 36º heat and we eventually admitted defeat heading back to the apartment just after lunch.

We planned to come back down onto the beach early evening and have a couple of hours when it’s cooler and, as it happens, when the surf calms down enough for us to get in without being knocked over.

Jaki spent the afternoon reading (which is amazing as she never reads a book) and I watched a film on i tunes.

A late swim was interrupted by the family from hell who decamped en-mass to the pool with the sole intention of annoying me.

So we got ourselves ready earlier than planned and went out for a drink.

Some of you may know that I don’t drink as much or as often as I used to so I’m more susceptible to the effects of alcohol than I was. Well, thats my excuse.

We went over to Tito’s Beach Bar where we secured a table right next to the dog drinking bowl (bit of a mistake I know) and ordered a couple of G&T’s. Nice big glasses with plenty of Gin, piles of ice and a whopping 6.50 Euros each.

Tito’s was our favourite bar in the past. There was a guy with dreadlocks (Pete would call him a ‘Crusty’ ) who used to sit outside making jewellery from things he found on the beach. Im still wearing one of his necklaces today.

However, it seems to have lost a bit of its magic these days. Maybe my memory is just making it seem more exotic than it really was or maybe it was because the three of us had such happy times here?

Anyway, the service was a bit slow.

So, having polished of our second G&T’s we walked a short distance along the promenade and dropped into the next beach bar which was called, cleverly.

The Beach Bar.

Bill at Beach Bar

This was altogether nicer. The view of the beach wasn’t obstructed by foliage and the breeze was welcome.

The menu had a variety of Belgian Beers and whilst I made use of the loo’s Jaki ordered me a Kwak beer which when it arrived was 8.5% proof. It also came in a funny test tube like glass that had to be placed in a wooden stand as the base was completely spherical so it wont stand up on its own. A bit like me by this stage.


The bar was completely devoid of customers by the time we left which is amazing given how nice a venue it is. In the UK a place like this on the docks would be utterly rammed.

We’d been discussing food for a while and we’d settled on going back to the Steak House we’d used earlier in the week and having the ‘all you can eat’ option as by now the Dutch Breakfast had worn off.

But as we crossed the road there was a restaurant right in front of us that looked attractive and had lots of people eating there.

Jaki has this theory that you should always go to a place that’s full and avoid anywhere that’s empty. She looked at the menu and declared ‘we were going in’. I should have realised this was a mistake as she didn’t have her glasses on at the time.

El Sitio, Vinos Tapas Y Restaurante, Paseo del Mediterraneo.

We were seated on the terrace and I immediately became aware of the aroma.

It was definitely Drains.

Too late now though, we were in there for the long haul.

The menu wasn’t very extensive but it was reasonable and we couldn’t decide whether to have the slow roast leg of lamb for two or the Fillet of Sea Bream.

Now, I’m not a big fish eater, I’m really funny about the bones. That stems from Pizza.

Let me explain.

Year’s ago I was on duty at Temple Back Fire Station and for some reason we had Pizza for lunch.

Unfortunately there were Anchovies on the Pizza and I got a bit of Anchovy stuck in my throat.

I was taken off to A&E where things got rather embarrassing.

Here I was in full Fire Fighter costume, sat in ‘out patients’ like an extra from Casualty. (Which was filmed in Bristol at the time and has since moved to cardif ). People were looking at me and imagining horrific burns or heroic injuries received in the line of duty.

How disappointed they were when they discovered I’d swallowed an Anchovy!

I spent several hours with different shaped tweezer’s thrust down my gullet in an attempt to hook the little blighter and get him out. At the end of which I had the mother of all sore throats and PTSD about fish.

So, I have a morbid fear of fish bones. I also gag at the smell of fish cooking but that’s another story.

Now when I used to work for the Fire Brigades Union and traveled down to Cornwall on a regular basis I always bought Black Sea Bream from the same guy who would fillet them for me. It was beautiful.

Which is why, on this occasion I agreed to have Fillet of Sea Bream rather than Lamb.

When it arrived it became obvious that my interpretation (and that of the Cornish Fishing Industry) of ‘Fillet’ and that of the Chefs varied greatly.

His version was apparently to cut a fish in half down the middle leaving a selection of bones on each side. Given the lighting was designed to look attractive, even romantic it definitely wasn’t suitable for dissecting the anatomy of a Fish with a view to removing even the finest bone. I was clearly in trouble.

Every mouthful found me spitting out bones like a gatling gun. In the end I had a tantrum and refused to eat anymore which prompted Jaki to take charge. She started slicing bits of flesh off her fish and feeding it to me like a child. She almost did the ‘Billy Cho Choo going into a tunnel’routine that we used to encourage Georgia to eat when she was little.

It wasn’t like there was anything else on the plate, a desert spoon of mashed potato and a long green pepper ( at least this was filleted correctly as all the seeds had been removed) were all that accompanied the pile of detritus that was the remains of my meal.

What this did though was allow the alcohol (we had a bottle of rather unremarkable Rose’ with the Fish) to have free-reign on my internal organ’s without the hindrance of food.

What I don’t understand is why when your obviously drunk your bodies immediate reaction is to demand even more alcohol?

Which is why we ended up in a Moroccan restaurant drinking Spanish Brandy rather than at home with a glass of Alka seltzer.

The only good thing about the evening was that we climbed the hill to our apartment without a single stop. Up until then we had only made it to the first drain pipe without stopping for breath. The next time we made it to the third drain pipe and so on.

But last night we went all the way to the top without stopping.

Which is why I feel so horrible this morning, I think I’ve got altitude sickness.


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