Saturday, 26 May 2012

A First Crème Catalan after a 25-year wait.

In late November 1982 I was busking in Covent Garden, London with my then partner Dave and we started to get cold.

‘Let’s go to Spain for the winter’, one of us suggested.

“I’ll get the van” the other replied.

I think we took Tina with us.

She was cute, probably still is.

We stopped somewhere in southern France for a night or two, but it was frosty so we continued south.

Just before Christmas we reached Figueres and decided to spend a few days by the sea.

We turned left, followed a small road, which became a track, which became a field and we parked on an isolated hill that looked directly down into the Mediterranean.

It was perfect.

There was no one around, just one house across the creek opposite us, and only gulls making any noise.

Tina stretched her tight rope between the front bumper and a bush and Dave started juggling.

I wandered down to the sea and looked for shells.

We stayed for a week.

On the fourth day we ran out of food so I set off across the field, along the track back past the only house towards the road that led into town.

‘That’s a strange house’, I thought. ‘Someone must like eggs’.

In the town I bought some bread, some oranges, some oats and apricot jam – I love apricot jam in Spain but never eat it elsewhere.

And a postcard.

They had a postcard of the house with the eggs.


‘Did you see the eggs?’ I asked Tina.


We went and looked at the eggs.

‘Did I tell you you are cute?’

‘Don’t get cute’.

You wouldn’t be able to do this today – park in the field that is, you could probably tell Tina that she is cute.

Cuteness lingers.

Unspoilt headlands with famous eggs in residence turn into heavily marketed tourist sites with expensive car parks, that don’t tolerate slightly hippy jugglers in vans.

Down the road though some things remain the same.

Barcelona is still there, la Placa Del Pi where we spent the winter too - but there isn’t any room to throw your show there anymore, they have filled the square with market stalls.

And I remember that along the alley that leads into the square there used to be a little café packed with students drinking coffee and eating Crème Catalan.

It used to be packed.

Although I never went in, it was clearly THE place to be. I was as ignorant about Crème Catalan as I was about surrealist painters.

This WAS 30 years ago, I’ve learnt a few things since.

I wonder if it’s still there?

It is!

It has been there since 1947!

Sweetness lingers too.

There are no student’s though.

Just tourists.


Anonymous said...

what lovley memories
i really felt i was there
p.s.creme catalan is the best!!!
catalonia is the best
those days of just getting up and going with talent to show and make food money.
those really were special times
can over 50s still do it?

popps said...

why not?
ok, they are more selective but if they put there mind to it they can do ANYTHING.
they just get distracted by creme catalan!
isn't it cool the way it cracks under your spoon?
I wonder if you listened to the song...