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Alan Camrose Posts

Havana Good Time – Part Dos

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose


It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix. You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, reflections on the sea and Cuban cats…


Last time, I looked at Hemingway’s house in Havana and his deep connection with the area over a long period.

Hemingway was inspired to write “The Old Man And The Sea” in that house, a short but perfectly formed masterpiece of the relentlessness of Nature, the triumph of carrying on, the acceptance of what has to be – and be reconciled with – and the critical importance of striving. Particularly heroic striving against insurmountable obstacles. The sweet taste of triumph: an enormous catch wrestled from the Deep. Followed by the realisation that the old man was on a small boat a long way from home. With sharks in close attendance.

The nearby town of Cojima, with its sweeping bay and crumbling fort, must have felt part of him as he wrote, the panoramic far horizon filled with different shades of blue would have offered the promise of adventure and fulfillment, but nonetheless a vista absolutely not to be taken for granted.

The book cries out the old fisherman’s love for the power of Nature and his love for the fish that he hunts, all part of the ongoing Circle of Life.

An aspect of that Circle was, for Hemingway, the allure of cats. He was a self-confessed ailurophile, owning over fifty of them during his time at the house. At the same time, not serially, a wave just as impossible to resist as the sea itself. Especially at feeding time.
He is “credited” with making six-toed cats – polydactyl cats – an important part of the feline population of Cuba. Six toes – one more with which to shred furniture. Hemingway would have hated the notorious times of the Special Period in Cuban history following the collapse of the Soviet Union when, amongst other signs of desperation, the population resorted to consuming cats for sustenance.

That is no longer needed, although the humans will need to trust in the feline population not keeping a group memory of those dark times and bearing a grudge. Not something to presume: cats play a long game. I’m reluctant to raise the subject with my cat.

There are no feline residents these days at Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s beloved Havana home. Purported descendants of Hemingway’s cats live at his other house and museum in Key West. Finca Vigia seems strangely empty without any.

Hemingway referred to his cats as “purr factories”, once saying that “one cat leads to another”. Happily he was too early to be referring to the Special Period.

All of this made me think about Hemingway, his relationship with Nature, reflected in his writing, the lean and mean – some might say cadaverous – quality of his writing, particularly of “The Old Man And The Sea”, and my mind wandered to his famous bet.

It’s his remarkable wager that I shall talk about in Part Tres.

Maybe just another Daiquiri, or six…

Cheers, Papa!

Alan

Alan Camrose

Alan Camrose with beard

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Havana Good Time – Part One

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose


It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix. You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, a trip down memory lane, Cuban-style in a classic automobile…


We were in Cuba for a holiday almost exactly a year ago, before COVID took a grip on all of us.

Seems like years ago.

Havana in particular was awash with gorgeous classic American automobiles (not just cars: automobiles – they deserve to be called more than mere cars). Those automobiles are a Cuban calling card.

They had been sadly under-used, even before the outbreak of the virus, relying on a trickle of tourists rather than the flood which would descend from US cruise ships in better times. Times long gone, then re-instated, then once more long-gone with the bite of the further crushing US sanctions biting into the population, then COVID-19.

The time of cruise ships is surely gone forever, regardless of the political climate, a sobering thought for the Cuban population awaiting those better times.

We went on Ernest Hemingway’s trail in Cuba, keeping a low profile in our bright orange Buick (one of many that we hailed) in the sunshine. The trail was littered with bright shards of Hemingway’s life. Cuba was the place where he seemed most obviously at home until forced to leave by a sharp clash of revolutionary and reactionary politics. I thought I’d share with you some of that journey and what came out of it.

Finca Vigia – Hemingway’s home in Cuba for twenty years – is nowadays a place of pilgrimage and will no doubt endure. Bus-loads of tourists descended on the spectacular “Lookout Farm” (the blunt English translation from the as usual more romantic Spanish) while we were visiting. The tower that gave it this name is designed to accommodate hordes of tourists gingerly clambering up the one person wide rickety steps accommodating – or trying to accommodate – simultaneous up and down traffic. That is something to bear in mind when once again you get the chance to visit this place.

When I was already a long way up, I found that it would be a really short way down without civilised stair etiquette.

We were tourists, too, just in a smaller bus. Not that much smaller, come to think of it, given the Buick’s voluptuous curves and not-at-all dainty footprint.

The property is a place where, without the gold dust of the Hemingway connection, most people would draw level with the entrance to the winding drive, mutter ‘I wonder what’s up there’, then drive past. They would move on to the next attractive example of faded glory, inevitably mixed with pockets of quiet desperation. It’s a remarkable testament to the power of icons, infusing gravitas into bricks and mortar.The inside of the house is not open to visitors. Everyone must take their turn and crane their neck through the open windows. The house is mercilessly exposed to visitors by those open windows. That gives a strange feeling of space and connection, no tomb-like atmosphere.

Visitors are forced to perform contortions, not least to avoid an ear or a corner of someone’s parasol in their snapshots. All to catch glimpses of things like the nine thousand or so books stuffed into the building, untouched from Hemingway’s day except to be worshipped by the army of staff individually and relentlessly hand-cleaning each book. It would be a firing offence to smear a sticky finger from a stolen bite of a pastelito over one of the treasured tomes. Probably more than just firing.

Stretching the scene into a touch of the absurd, possibly even slightly grotesque, for a peso or two one of the guardians is happy to sneak your camera deeper into the house to take close-ups of the bathroom and elsewhere with the promise of transformation from the mundane to the magical. I politely refused the proffered virtual tour of Hemingway’s bathroom.

How all of that comes together with the Old Man and the Sea, will be in Part Two…

Cheers.

Alan

Alan Camrose

Alan Camrose with beard


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2021 – New Year, New Book

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose


It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix. You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, news about my new book…


I have not posted for a month. I have taken the time away not just because of the Christmas and New Year holidays, or That Bastard Virus, or the blues of January. I have just finished the first draft of my new book, and am very excited about it. The working title is “Building Memories”. It’s a supernatural thriller.

A young woman hunts a killer harking back to the Great War and finds they share a hidden parallel world.

I’m in final editing mode and I will then work out what to do next with it.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share the first few lines with you, the lines that introduce Becky Slade, the main character, and her private investigations agency:

CHAPTER ONE

Winter in Balham, South London, swathed in glamour; Becky Slade wondered whether she should have put on her best ripped jeans for the victory feast.

Golden trumpets tuned up for the start of her victory parade. Strip-lights in the walkways of the block of flats shone down on her like torches as they flickered into life to light her way. Finishing touches were made to her laurel crown in the fading late-November afternoon.

Case closed.

The sharp tang of cat wafted up to her from the cat box containing her captured fugitive, the latest success for Slade & Co Private Investigations. A yowl of rage from the Thing that seemed like it had eight legs instead of the regulation four, with a wicked barb at each end. Even its whiskers had sharp points.

Becky had needed this win. Funds were short this month, regardless. No stranger to a touch of danger about her finances towards the end of each month, this would be a bit close to the wire even by her standards. When Mrs B – the cat’s owner – later thrust some money in her direction, that would at least allow Becky to fend off her creditors for a while longer without resorting to the Mother Option.

She did not want to go beanie hat in hand to her mother; she had avoided it so far. Too much chance of there being I told you so; why don’t you get a real job, sweetheart? dropped like depth charges into the conversation. And Mother was the good cop member of the parental taskforce…

Building Memories, by Alan Camrose

Any comments would be gratefully received.

I do hope that you enjoy it and want to see more in due course.

Cheers,

Alan

Alan Camrose

Alan Camrose with beard

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Christmas movies to sleigh you – Update

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose


It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix. You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, we are feeding our Christmas spirit with Christmas movies…


In the first Lockdown, we watched through all the Marvel MCU movies in order (we weren’t nerdy enough to slot the TV episodes in order too). For the festive season, we have decided to work through a – fairly random – pile of Christmas films, and I thought I’d take you with me on that sleigh ride.

So far, and ranked in order (upwards) – I will update as we go along – latest updates in bold below:

#9 – The Christmas Chronicles

A jolly tale with Kurt Russell. Bad but jolly. Having seen the trailer for Christmas Chronicles 2 it could have been worse, we might have seen that. To be fair, there are some excellent moments, including Santa Kurt banged up in a jail cell with musical prisoners and a cool sax. May just edge into the watchable with that…

Better movies to come, methinks…

#8 – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

A product of its time – Chevy Chase is a combination of winning and really annoying. It’s the first time that I have seen the movie the whole way through, I’ve tried three or four times before and not made it past 22 minutes. Not hilarious, but a few genuinely funny scenes, and the nagging question as to why everything’s alright for Christmas once the compensation arrangements have been finalised…

A child of its time.

#7 – Gremlins

A very Mogwai Christmas to you!

Accompanied by hot dogs, nothing made in a blender with all due respect to one of the Bad Gremlins. A sharp, nasty and cute Spielberg presentation masterpiece with annoyingly catchy music and a brilliant view of how much fun Snow White can be. Some nice digs at consumerist Christmas, and Gizmo is so much cuter than Baby Yoda. Fab!

It reminded me of a couple of things: craving food after Midnight, shunning water, avoiding the light. Turning into Sources of Evil. But I wrote in my previous post about the kids coming home for the holidays, so no need to repeat myself.

#6 – Die Hard 2: Die Harder

Let it snow on the soundtrack, lots of snow and heavily armed terrorists – a sure-fire Christmas hit. Notwithstanding those credentials, it still feels it has sneaked onto this list, much more of a Summer popcorn-busting movie. A sneaky twist that’s not that surprising and a lot of very well choreographed action scenes. The Family scoffs at anything beyond the original, but there is fun to be had here and hasn’t aged too badly

Yippee-ki-yay…!

#5 – Nativity!

Shameless manipulation and Martin Freeman doing his Everyman schtick. Love it! Had the Offspring cringing nicely, and we knew we’d struck gold when one demanded never to have that sort of movie inflicted on him ever gain. Yesssssssss! Hollywood is shown to have a golden heart, so this movie needs to be put at the far, far away fantasy end of the spectrum…

#4 – Frozen

A true classic. Not totally Christmas-themed, but enough snow and reindeer action to squeeze in. Beautiful animation, a kick-ass soundtrack, including That Song, what more can you ask for in a holiday film. A neat subversion of the usual fairy tale tropes to boot. Not too much saccharine, and any that sets off a Mush Alert, just Let It Go…

#3 – Arthur Christmas

Saw this last night eating hot dogs on hot dog platters, and some ace Christmas bark (melted and re-formed white and milk chocolate with random stuff stuck in it).

Christmas bark, anyone?

First time I’ve seen it and it’s a hoot. Stellar cast, great animation – Aardman, without a naughty penguin or cheese in sight. A cartoon with a warm mix of Mission: Impossible and Santa Claus: the Movie.

#2 – Love Actually

Perfect casting, sharp writing, believable characters. Class act.

#1 – Elf

In my top three fave Christmas movies – along with Die Hard and White Christmas. Buddy Elf is the role that Will Ferrell was born to play. Very funny, not sickly but perfectly judged, and James Caan and Mary Steenburgen add extra class to the proceedings. Well, class.

Gets me every time, as my gleeful Offspring pointed out to me at the end…Big Softies of the World unite.

Take Elf for a spin…

Make sure you don’t sit on a Throne of Lies this Christmas!

Have as happy a festive season as possible…

Cheers,

Alan

Alan Camrose

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Driving home for Christmas (from uni)

In a year where Dancer and Prancer have been temporarily subbed by Tracker and Tracer, it has been good to welcome home the Offspring back from their unis in time for Christmas.

Offspring 2 made her way back in the Mini in a flurry of tyre pressure and dead battery warnings to make the journey just that little bit more exciting. Followed by me driving back a shortish distance round the M25 with her to her digs to pick up the stuff that she’d:

  • forgotten
  • changed her mind about its usefulness until next year
  • changed her mind about how cute it would be to have it at home base
  • decided to torment me about trying to fit in the car (making me pleased she doesn’t ski)
  • all of the above

Less Driving Home for Christmas, more 2000 Miles.

Offspring 1, based in the Midlands, was given one shot: popping back to his uni for spare earphones is not going to happen…

His pad was like the door in the Advent Calendar that it’s best to leave closed. My reflexes as Bin Czar (see previous) allowed me to dodge the fifteen sacks of rubbish that the four guys had managed to skillfully accumulate over the weeks, transforming from trash into art.

Student kitchen

More rank than a military parade. The bin men have sensibly disguised themselves as posties on bin days.

Offspring 2, not to be outdone on extremes, regaled us with the resurrected chicken, the one that had been left for weeks in the fridge by one of them at their lair. Offspring 2 claimed innocence, so she can be let off this time, including from the rampage of the revenant. The same fate will not befall the Christmas lunch turkey. That was an unexpected blip in the fascist stormtrooper work details set down by the housemates aiming for the tidiest and most wholesome student digs in history.

Very low bar, and I remember limbo dancing under that standard when I was at uni.

Age provides perspective and in my case self-knowledge.

The great thing about university accommodation is that the door can be shut on it from a parent’s point of view with a flick of the rose-tinted spectacles- a point of view eagerly adopted…Now it’s the why are there six open tubs of butter in the fridge conversation and that the smoked salmon has been taken out to make room for the cider. The bonus Santa sacks of washing lovingly saved up to be brought home at the end of term brought a tear to the eye.

Christmas will iron out all of those things out and create a smooth and seamless festive period, as seamless as those bags of rubbish. Great to have them home.

Cheers,

Alan

Alan Camrose

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The Game’s Afoot, Santa…

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose


It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix. You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, we are trying to find a game to play for one to three households…


This is a more or less COVID-free blogpost in the hope that we will have a predominantly COVID-free 2021. My thoughts are with anyone affected and thanks to all key workers of all types.

Christmas is nearly here, the stupid jumpers, the funny (in your dreams) hats, all that stuff. And the games.

One of the great pleasures is sitting around a table, on the floor, wherever, and breaking out a game for all the family. Assuming of course that agreement can be reached as to what to play. Winner chooses. Of what?

The Household, brimming with Christmas spirit, has a number to choose from, they appear to multiply in the cupboard. What sort will hit the spot, preferably none with a running total to avoid anyone asking for a recount, that never seems to work so well.

Highly cerebral and scary – Funny Bunny – pic below – invented by those twisted fiends at Ravensburger who are probably poachers with fluffy red-brown tails. It involves a tense and lethal journey around a treacherous meadow. A meadow that eats bunnies. It culminates in a break-neck lollop to the top of the hill to crown King Thumper. Not for the faint-hearted. Mind you, it pairs well with strong alcoholic drinks.

Unleash your inner evil rabbit

Cerebral – Scrabble. This is the variant requiring a minimum of six-letter words to be put down, no swapping, and absolutely nothing in Swahili or Klingon.

Sheer luck – Anyone for Chess? That does look fun based on our Queen’s Gambit experience where it appears to be a drinking game. We have never got on with the four player version with the extra colours, or is that Ludo?

Queen takes paw

Villain bent on world domination – One of those hidden traitor games where someone – assuming they can keep their cheating, lying face straight. Often that baby-faced Grandmama lurking in the corner like a viper…No offence…

Monopoly – In a class of its own for internecine skulduggery (see Scrabble – above). My mother-in-law used to demand all of the pink ones before the game started as a pre-conditon for playing. A bit like a Wonka Golden Ticket. Brutal. Suffice to say we never everplay this game with Offspring Number One, he has inherited her ways of evil that overwhelm our feeble resistance.

Other family games – Mother’s general aversion to games apart from Funny Bunny limits the debate somewhat. We shall work on her this Christmas, she will crack and victory shall be ours, MWAHAHAHAHAHA. That is, opening the box.

Reducing the world to a coloured game board where the rules are clear and outcomes – within bounds – predictable sounds like the best game in town this Festive Season…

Cheers!

And a Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Alan

Alan Camrose

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Trekking: The knees canna’ take it Cap’n…!

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose


It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix. You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, Nepal, Trekking, Leeches and a Soviet-era attack helicopter: what could possibly go wrong?


Wow

I took Jasper Retriever for a walk in the dark and lashing rain on Saturday. It made me think about walking generally and in particular my trek in the Himalayas in the mid-90s.

I have been lucky enough to visit Nepal a couple of times, but my first time was amazing, it stays with me as a time of freedom, an important feeling in our current trying times.

We flew into Kathmandu, bustling, crowded, long before Doctor Strange went there. It was different rather than strange, people scrambling to make a living in packed streets. Like this:

B&Q, Kathmandu

Then walk around a corner and experience an oasis of peace and quiet:

Peace

Then back to the mayhem, which included the unexpected transport arrangements.

A helicopter ride out to Pokhara in the Annapurna basin. Taking a helicopter may sound glamorous, using the word ‘ride’ may make it sound like fun. It was neither of those things. The antique Soviet-era beast had benches on which we were invited to hunker down, or as it’s known grip tightly. Seat belts? I don’t think so. Reading for the journey amounted to trying to decipher the Cyrillic to figure out where the machine-guns had been mounted, and no need to worry our heads with escape-path lighting, and luckily neither of us needed hot towels or a movie – mind you, Rambo III would have put us right in the mood.

The unusual in-flight service amounted to a couple of handfuls of candy floss. Not candy floss, though. I was invited to stuff the cotton wool into my ears while the screaming rotor blades cleaved our ears.

We landed and got ready for the trek around the Annapurna range, not as far as the Everest Base Camp, but far enough up to feel that I was walking on the tops of the world. Far enough to gain a fantastic view of Machhapuchhare .

The mountain dominates the area when Everest is out of the picture, its other name is much easier to pronounce: the Fish-Tail. Our goal was to make it around the horseshoe shaped trek and bank as much cold, clean air as we could gather – quite a lot of it was needed though for the up and down assault course of the trek.

Not that we did it the hard way, I must confess. A team of ex-Gurkhas- twelve of them – looked after the two of us, including the lovely man in charge of transporting the toilet tent and his colleague who had live – temporarily live – chickens in a wooden cage for dinner one evening. They forced us to carry a water bottle, so we didn’t shirk.

The toilet tent – watch out for those pesky leeches…

The Gurkhas were something else. I have probably never been fitter than the build-up to the trek and the actual trek, and I found it tough. Very tough. But they, with 40 or 50 pound packs romped up those hills as if they were on a stroll across the village green to the local pub.

One thing they warned us about were the leeches, I have a vivid recollection even now of one getting through the tent’s deflector shields and determinedly inching across a metal dinner plate on the hunt for blood. It was leech season when we went, so we knew the Leech Apocalypse was coming. Continuous kit checking was not something to take shortcuts on, otherwise it was party time and the drinks were on us.

Yum, yum

The feeling of escape and freedom, no mobiles, no tech, nothing, was one that I will never forget. Pushing myself around the next bend, up the next hill, skittering down a steep path, is something that I treasure. And in particular the encouraging words of our guide, ‘It is just around the next bend up that small hilly bit,’ then 40 minutes later, ‘It is just around the next bend up that small hilly bit.’ Got me every time.

Now it’s time to haul on my coat and shoes and take the boy out for another walk, maybe across Epsom Downs today to strive for that fleeting sense of freedom that I had in Nepal, something to draw on now.

Cheers,

Alan

Alan Camrose

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Premium Bond

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose


It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix. You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, an affectionate look at a true movie superstar, who will be sadly missed.


I don’t need to tell you who is pictured above.

This week I have taken my time to figure out my response to the news of Sean Connery’s death.

Another lost building block of life, alongside Bowie and Freddie and many others.

I grew up with Sean Connery as James Bond. It’s along the same lines as who was your Who (somewhere between Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee for me – I can never decide between the frills and the jelly babies), and Blue Peter presenters (Valerie Singleton and John Noakes were the ones for me, although Shep and Bleep & Booster were my immediate choices).

It’s about anchoring memories and Connery in his tux and cruel mouth was the one for me. He nailed the character. Sadly for him, George Lazenby doesn’t really count, although he wasn’t in my view as bad as many say. Roger Moore was the next closest in time, but he always had a little too much pantomime about him for me. (Oh no he doesn’t. OH YES HE DOES.)

So, the above paragraph ages me like a guided missile has been fired at the calendar.

Connery has been a waypoint in my life.

By coincidence, I was halfway through Ian Fleming’s From Russia With Love when I heard the news of his death. Funnily enough, when I’m reading the Flemings, SC is the image that my mind projects into the reading, no hint of camp raised eyebrow. The killer for Roger Moore’s cred for me when I was younger was that my mum loved him to bits and regarded him as the one true Bond, so game over…

The book is slightly batty but is nonetheless a strangely gripping tale of spies and lovers in exotic locations, in keeping with the rest of the books and the movies. You know the drill, evolving over the years not necessarily in real time to fit in a bit more with modern sensitivities du jour.

Connery fitted his profile perfectly.

Look at his later works, including the outrageously fun The Rock and playing Indiana’s dad, his comic timing and magnetic star power are there for all to see, and in more up to date roles. Hell, I even liked him in Outland, (High Noon in space) and – at a stretch – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but frankly only when he was on camera. And Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the one with his spectacular film-stealing cameo.

There are many others worthy of note, including of course The Name of the Rose.

At the edges, I have only managed to get through around 30-40% of Zardoz (weird sci-fi), but over the course of Lockdown 2 I will give it another try and stick with it. And I will gracefully and swiftly pass over Never Say Never Again which, for the purist, should probably have been called Never Again, And I Meant It, but we all have to earn a living, right? The same with The Avengers, which was a disappointment for me: I never saw Connery as the Scarlet Witch.

I want to end this post with a salute to him, for all the movie highlights, thrills and spectacle that he wove. I’m off to pick up From Russia With Love again and get lost in Red Grant’s fight with the one true Bond.

Cheers!

Alan

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The sauce of all happiness

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose


It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix. You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, a joyful look at when Father’s home cooking collides with Italian artistry. It should stir your soul, if not the ingredients…


I will make a tomato sauce when I get back from my few days away.

Not quite the way the Italians do it, I don’t have racks of great-grandparents lying around glaring at vats of bubbling liquid and drinking Chianti. I’m in Surrey, resisting the temptation to put Waitrose Essential Tomato Sauce into my next order. There needs to be some middle ground here, Dammi una pausa

This will be a step up from my legendary Spaghetti Bolognese, the one that I made for the kids’ tea about three or so years ago, for which they have never forgotten, never forgiven. The one which had no spaghetti in it (so would please the Mayor of Bologna, if nothing else – arguably it made my attempt more authentic). I had left it too long to cook the pasta – sadly neither made by my fair hand or fresh from the supermarket – I improvised and served my epic sauce over a sea of Trump-coloured cheese puffs shaped suspiciously like scorpions. It was like an Indian Jones romp on a plate.

The Offspring spotted the bits of celery in the sauce, planted in a vain attempt to add some goodness to counterbalance the scorpions. Carnage. Mother was told, I was shopped, humiliated forever. Thank God that they put lashings of tomato ketchup over it – I’m surprised they noticed anything untoward, although the scorpion tails did rise up quite high out of the steaming sauce. It reminded me of something…

That was probably the low point in my cooking career – adventure – odyssey. A close run thing with, when I was a student, the tinned macaroni cheese served at room temperature using the tin as a one-container serving solution.

I remain a fan of the ancient culinary art of Splodge, though. I’m unrepentant. My skills have been honed a little by Lockdown, the fine art of the tray bake. That’s the posh name for Splodge.

I have learned to keep sauces simple. My latest was venison chunks slow-cooked in red wine and dark chocolate, covering all essential nutritional areas. Awesome. Served with a bold red wine, then the consistency, artistry, taste becomes less of a big deal…

Home-made tomato sauce will go further and elevate that to a Zen state which I will inflict on the Household, aka my victims.

Random tomatoes, salt and a little sugar, all boiled up in the tomatoes’ own juice. What could go wrong?

I’ll let you know. Splodge culinary magic – if all else fails, we can spray tomato ketchup over it and shut our eyes.

Voila! Oops.

Click here for the link to the Italian sauce video that sparked my interest. I hope you will find it as therapeutic as I did…

Cheers,

Alan

Alan Camrose

The perfect combination
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Om truths

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose


It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix. You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, sometimes the answer is right in front of your muzzle…


Since Lockdown began, we have been trying to alight upon a satisfactory form of exercise and stress reduction measures to cope with what is currently a barking mad world.

Gin has naturally been a key part of our core strategy, making sure that the bottle screw top is firmly fastened to provide the need for maximum torque from your core to open it; and full enough that lifting the bottle counts as a curl. Not too much tonic although it has the advantage of warding off malaria, if that helps. Lemon slices as part of your five-a-day. Overall, the perfect health package.

We have tried and rejected several other activities. They have included the awkward – sitting with a large cup of coffee and a biscuit watching the introduction to Brienne of Tarth’s “Ultimate Slaying” Yoga video on YouTube. Thirty days of increasingly heroic and stupid poses and then Winter Comes. We wouldn’t have got on with the chain mail. Too scratchy.

Spar therapy

Even conventional yoga videos – the equivalent of 3-D Twister – are fine if you can keep pace with them. Brutal if you don’t, but they do provide a memory test of what you should have been doing three minutes ago before getting stuck. Finding the Pause button from underneath a Destroyer of the Universe pose can break the spell. Perhaps Finding the Pause Button should be a new pose in itself using your sofa as a yoga mat.

Miranda Hart’s Maracattack was a – fleeting – possibility. A DVD that provides the thrill of an epic quest around the house to find a machine that still takes discs, a video that advocates maniacal waving of maracas broadly in tune with flailing screen prompts. Surprisingly therapeutic if your windows are not overlooked by next door, but I’ll stick to cocktail shakers, I think.

Massage – a splendid way to relax but the social distancing rules make it tricky.

How about meditation? For example, concentrating hard to figure out how the new handball rule makes any sort of sense. Not a path that leads to peace or clear thinking.

FIFA 19 for toned thumbs? Extreme Mah Jong using real bricks?

No. While helpful, none of these quite fits the bill.

After a long period of exhaustive research and testing, we have appreciated that the answer is right in front of us:

In case you’re wondering, it’s just a toy hedgehog that he’s gripping.

Jasper, making it easier for us not to be barking mad at all.

Sofa to K-9 walks every day.

Cheers,

Alan

Alan Camrose

Alan Camrose with beard
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