I bought this McDonald's back when I was in Lanzarote. I have just stumbled on the images in my Photosandbox./imagebank

I like the idea of trying different fast food around the world to demonstrate to myself how bland choices are when faced with the ever dominating global brands which affect our lifestyle and diet in particular. 

Don't get me wrong, my taste buds drool at the thought of a Big Mac as much as the next man. 

What I mean is when thinking about the mixed grills available for small change on the island in the back streets of Teguise, for example, the prospect of eating an overpriced bun which tastes the same as if it were bought in Croydon or Orpington, is amazing in spite of the massive logistical nightmare required to achieve such a feat, but also dreadfully boring because of the very same.

   300410 082

What makes eating a McDonald's in various countries abroad interesting is the relativly minor differences one can observe.  I recall in Athens, Greece, the bun was different.  Obviously it must have gone through various market trials and the buns they used there were more spongy and kept their picture perfect shape.  In the UK, the McDonald's buns are typically very flat and unflattering.

300410 083

In Lanzarote, the bun was nothing special.  What was extraordinary to what is available in the UK, is that I was able to buy a beer to go with my Big Mac meal.  This was pretty cool.

300410 084


Sorry for the delay in writing.

Since arriving back on the rock I have been up to my eyes in diving, sun and generally going out and about meeting new people.  What a tough life…I hear you cry.  And you would be right.

One of the little gems which my pal SJ introduced me to is a little cafe in Teguise.  I am pretty sure I wrote about it before.

Essentially it is just off of the Lion Square.

June 2010 040

This is the outside just after the Sunday market has closed.  Stall holders, artists, bohemians and the like meet and socialise inside and outside 'Las Palmera'.  I recommend it to you.  But only if when you go in, you tell the guys there that I sent you. 

June 2010 008

This is the door.

June 2010 009

This is the bar.

June 2010 038

The guy in the hat is a really good bloke.  The whole place is filled with music, food, drink and spanish chat.  It is a really vibrant place.

June 2010 037

It's only small but you can fit a lot in.

June 2010 024

These are the Sunday afternoon musicians. 

June 2010 027

Counting money.


June 2010 019 

This is the kitchen.  It is really basic but produces amazing grilled meat.   If there is a reason not to be a vegetarian, this place is it.   So I can't become a veggie just yet!

June 2010 020

Better view of the grill.





As I drove down from Famara toward the salt works, I passed mile after mile of small semi-circular windbreaks built from volcanic rock.  The windbreaks surround one side of a dell dug from the pecan. 

020510 465

The dells and windbreaks are to protect individual grape vines.

020510 466

The uniformed rows stretch from the road in all directions and in most cases continue up the sides of the old sleeping volcanos.

020510 471
The grapes produce a selection of wines which in my experience taste ok and do the job at a reasonable price.

020510 468

The shapes are interesting to look at and I am told this method is distinct to the islands in this part of the world.

020510 473

I can't help reflecting on how long each basin and windbreak must have taken to create initially and then would love to know how many centuries have passed with this method being adopted. 

Answers on a postcard please.

The other day I went to friends for dinner. They live about
25 minutes drive from Faversham in a place close to the middle of nowhere
occupying an old water mill.  The setting
is idyllic and their family beautiful, with three generations sitting around the
table eating wholesome food (including an apple and blackberry pie that tasted
like my grandmother used to make it).

The family share a strong faith bond as Jehovah
Witnesses (JW).  Although prayer was said
before dinner, at no time was I, as a non-Witness coerced or evangelised

Sure, reference was made to faith and religion in regard to
conversation we had, but only insofar as when I made explicit reference to me
not knowing something or when discussing issues of relevance to the common
place conversations that take place over lots of tables up and down the country
whether about current affairs, the economy, or global politics or modern

For my part, I feel privileged to have been invited into
this family’s home as a non-Witness and been so wholeheartedly welcomed and
included in spite of any contamination my non-believing status might otherwise
imply to some parts of the Witness community.

I suppose I have laboured this point because I really do
want to stress that in ignorance and based on prejudice, I have heard things
about JW’s which might make one initially steer clear. 
The actions of this family have made me question any shadow of prejudices existing in my mind and
confront my ignorance head-on.   They are good
people in spite of or because of their faith. 
If it is because of their faith, then they are ambassadors for it.   Ultimately what matters to me is that they
are just good and my life is richer for knowing them.

Anyhow back to the point of this article.


I am not sure about you but our family used to play a lot of
Monopoly when I was a child.  We used to
play to our own rules and games used to go on for weeks as a result.  I used to cheat and when very young cry if I
was not enabled to poses Mayfair and Park Lane from the word go.

In fact in the most recent game I played with my sister and
little nephew last year much consternation was achieved when (without knowing the rules
regarding jail), I sold my nephew a get out of jail free card for £350.  Later in the same game, I was sent to jail
and after reading the rules, I paid £50 to come out.

Again, back to the point.

As I arrived at my friend’s house a game of Monopoly was in
hand.  It was too late for me to play in
my own name, so I partnered with one of the players.

The man of the house sat in the armchair, not playing but
engaged in the game nonetheless.  He effectively
acted as referee and knew the rules of monopoly backwards.  The game observed the rules unwaveringly
until, in the end, there was only one winner.

On reflection, playing the game to the rules means a more
dynamic game.  It was fast and tough.  I want to play the swift way from here on.

From now on as a result of the visit I will endeavour to
play to the rules, as far as Monopoly is concerned.

Ever since I lost my love last year, eating has become a serious issue.  I have to really kick myself in order to be motivated to prepare a meal.  I used to weigh 15 stone (95.25 Kg), now I am about 12½ stones (79.3Kg).  I have tried to explain to people that the weight loss is me working to a target and although some of this weight loss is good, on reflection, it is really easy to see how one can just, and without conscious thought taking place, not bother eating for days at a time.  Maybe that is worthy of another thought at another time.

Knowing that other people are coming to eat is a good way of motivating me to cook and eat.  So, I have tried to regularly get people round, creating the absolute necessity to eat and whilst I am at it, further attempt to combat introspective feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Anyhow, a few weeks ago I had a few friends round for a ‘Stew fest’.  Stew is a great meal for the winter and I had been given my grandmothers recipe from my sister.    I had ‘practiced’ once before and as it turned out, although it caught on the bottom of the pan, it was not bad grub.

It got quite late and my friends H&B had to leave.  J&L were staying over (two brothers and both old friends of mine), and I brought out the cheese.

Seconds later there was a ‘rat, tat, tat’ on the window.  It sounded like a ‘friendly knock and so I assumed that H&B had forgotten something.

As I flung open the door, there standing in the snow was a man.  Tall and thin, his voice visible in the freezing night air, he asked if I knew where there was a B&B locally.  I directed him to the Railway Hotel which invariably has rooms available and also gave him directions to a small B&B around the corner.  He then asked if I might spare him a cup of tea.  It felt unchristian to turn him away on a cold night and so I invited him in to sit at our table, whilst I made him a cup of tea.

I will refrain from giving his actual name and instead refer to him as ‘RazorShell’.

Standing at about 6’ with straight blond hair hanging to his jaw-line Razor said that he had worked in advertising, he spoke about writing and bands he is in the process of forming.  He spoke about companies he is part of.

His speech and mannerisms put him somewhere between Bill Nighy and Ronny Woods.  Wearing dozens of bangles on his wrists and with his fingernails painted black, Razor is the real thing.  His problem is he’s just not rich or famous.

Now back to the story, after eating cheese, drinking tea and generally being entertaining, it got to the point where I needed to get some sleep and J&L had already crashed.  I made it clear to Razor that he had to leave, and he did.

Over the next couple of weeks, sporadically Razor would turn up, banging on the door and asking if he could have a cuppa.  In each case, I said yes and invited him in.  The third time he turned up, as I opened the door, I noticed he was wearing my green hat with a feather in the band.  I asked for it back and explaining its sentimental value (last present from lost love and feather from last farming world outing with her little boy), when he handed it over, I returned it to the hat stand I received a few years ago for Christmas.

The last time I saw Razor was on Saturday 13th in the morning.  He came round and I again offered him a tea and chat.  He was just as entertaining as ever and as he was about to leave, he asked if I could lend him my guitar.  I asked him how long he needed it for and he said he would have it back an hour later; he just wanted to do some busking.  I agreed.

Flamboyantly Razor said his goodbye’s and left.  About two hours later, I looked toward the door recognizing that my guitar had not been returned.  My trust had been broken. 

Then I noticed something else. 

My green hat with the eagle feather in it's band was missing. 

By some slight of hand, Razor had stolen it, standing in full view of me as I showed him out of my front door, this dude had stolen my hat!

He has not returned since and I fear I will never see my hat again.