Monday, 19 May 2008

Supper # 16 - Bishop Auckland, Durham

I rumble along in the usual slow manner - fumbling with maps and hands-free sets, cameras and snacks (the green raisins are still going strong and have now molded themselves into the shape of the dashboard). Up to Bishop Auckland for a vegan feast. I'm really excited about this and have even scoured the area looking for a special soy thing to make a vegan choc pud. No joy means a rethink...

THE SET-UP: Michael and James live in the attic of an ancient old block of flats that look out on the market place. They're really into India. And Jackie Collins - and Kylie. They come and find me and guide Jimmy through the narrowest of alleyways. It's touch and go and I'm relieved when Jimmy is safely plugged in and we're all upstairs sharing a bottle of wine. In no time at all James has fled the flat in search of more wine and Michael is pounding away on some chiapati dough in the kitchen.

I love watching guys make bread, it's proper. And I'm fascinated by all the Indian kit Michael has in his kitchen. There's a huge carrier bag of chillis drying over the radiator, endless jars of pulses and grains, machetes, big wooden muddlers, enormous pots and pans and pictures of Hanumon. Michael tells me about his project where he decided to morph into the monkey god as an artistic experiment. Within moments we're onto the subject of the bout of elephantitis he picked up in the jungle. It's a one in 60 million thing - one person in Britain that could be, per year, dragging round great swollen nads and praying it doesn't extend to the legs as well. I say yes to seeing pics of him as monkey man but am denied visuals of the disease.

WHO CAME: Michael, James and myself.

WHAT WE ATE: Beautifully prepared thalis - we each have a silver, high-lipped tray with a bowl of green pea masala, pineapple and coconut daal, chiapatis and really pungent, heavy duty green mango pickle. And we eat it Indian style. I've never been to India so I flail around the tray, nudging food up against the side, hoping I'll catch up with something in the end. Michael and James deftly gather up their food in nimble fingers. The urge to use my left hand is very strong - like trying not to lick your lips eating a doughnut - but it's fun and surely aids one's dexterity? I LOVE the food. I love picking at lots of different things and, if the truth be told, I'd happily eat every meal with my hands if I thought I could get away with it.

DINNER TABLE TOPICS: India and how they've seen it change in such a short space of time. How TVs and bikes are what people desire and how whole beaches have become Goanised in just a few short years. We talk about them not having a telly and how good it is for their relationship - that they cook together instead. Michael is so excited at having me there and I'm touched. He says it's great having someone dip in for the evening carrying new stories from new places. Talk turns to Oliver Tobias in The Stud and I tell them the story of meeting him when I was a kid and nearly getting a slap for mentioning that movie. (I mean, for God's sake - if you're game enough to appear in The Stud, surely you're game enough to discuss the thing years later?)

THE PUD: The soy thing didn't happen so I fed them dark chocolate sorbet. Neither of them really eat sweet things but devoured this greedily.

More red wine is drunk, and more and more. James passes out and has to be put to bed. I'm sipping gently as I have to go on the radio the next day and need to remember what to say. Michael wants to listen to Madonna and make videos - we make a really bad vid then decide we'd better get to our ZZZZZzzzzzs.

MY BED FOR THE NIGHT: Watched over by Kylie, how could sleep fail me?


Anonymous said...

I was just thinking about your tour. I believe it is rather a mission. You'll leave a sweet and special taste on people's taste buds and new open thoughts on their minds.

I wish you all the best and sunny weather!

Beso from Hamburg, Germany.


David Hall said...

If only you knew what was to come Petra - travel instructions to my house from me - officially the worst instructor in the world!