Sunday, 23 June 2013

A salty little fish the...

Over the Saturday lunch table...
 I got to thinking...
about a sad tale with farcical overtones.
In the few weeks left to Simon,
all he wanted to do before he died was to go to

Yes, Gibraltar.
I drove us to Stansted, where waiting to board the
plane, the customs men showed an inordinate
interest in Simon's stick.  No worries that the man had
a scar on the side of his head in the shape of a
huge question mark.
This wonderful walking stick, they were convinced had a
dark heart of steel, in the form of a sword.
This was in 2000, so they didn't even have the spectre
of 11th September 2001 in their minds.

Not being able to land on Gib. we
were bused from Malaga along to the last
great bastion in Si's mind of the British Empire. 
We were booked into the famous Rock Hotel, where
Simon had always dreamed of staying.
After a bottle of champagne in our room,
God knows what we were celebrating?
We went down for dinner.
I chose my all time favourite Caesar salad, where
with a great flourish with silver domed (doomed more like) trolley
 in attendance, a fresh egg was made into the base mayonnaise
for the caesar dressing.
And a very tasty starter it was too.
Well that is until later that night.
Cast iron tum Lin, who has eaten at all the most
salubrious of street stalls around the world, was stricken
to the very core.  It seemed to me then, it would be touch and go
as to who would get to the pearly gates first, Simon or me?
Into a cab I was bundled, with Simon all the way, chuntering on about
the last thing he thought would happen, is for me to be
carted off to the doctors.
Dry-heaved I didn't deign to reply!

Salmonella food poisoning,
was diagnosed; the result of the 'fresh' egg
used to make the mayonnaise.

Dying seemed an attractive option.

I was bundled back into the cab,
leaving Simon exploring in his
tottery brain tumour way.
I worried all the time he was gone,
too weak to accompany him.

Back at the hotel,
Simon said
"Linda, at least have a glass of bubbles with me
before I go down to dinner?"
Me refusing my favourite tipple...
He quaffed the bottle and set off alone,
leaving me prone on the bed.
Much later, he returned,
with tales of a gin and tonic aperitif, 
a bottle of red wine, a three course meal, 
with a large brandy to finish!
By which time the maitre d had a gentle word in Simon's ear
suggesting he escort him back to our room.
All done with the sort of decorum
you might expect from a top hotel
in one of the outposts of the British Empire!

As we boarded the plane to come home 
Simon insisted on standing at the top of the 
steps until the very last minute...

"In order for me to see my beloved Gibraltar
for the very last time!"

All these memories came back to me via
the pounding of salty little anchovies, the trickle of olive oil,
the addition of parmesan and balsamic vinegar.
The cutting and frying of croutons, scattered on 
hearts of cos lettuce.

He died weeks later.

Chin chin Simon!



  1. I'll bet there were a few salty little tears in that dressing too - I wallow in memories. Must be my age!

  2. No salty tears Nilly , happy memories mostly... overlaid with sadness. Of all of the things that have happened in my life, I've tried to see the positive... haven't always succeeded mind!

    A good wallow cools the blood what!


  3. It is those small things that remind us of the people we have lost and I expect will remind others of us when we go too. Memories are our constant companion though, as you know LL :)

    1. I've never thought of your take on it Carol. Memories are our constant companions... no shame there; turn it to the positive, if you can that is; not everyone can though. Me I'm blessed with being a cheerful soul, some might say a daft tart!


  4. A beautifully observed post

  5. You have made me cry with such a poignant story Lin, a wonderful memory.....Jayne x

    1. Sorry I made you cry Jayne. Life is an amazing journey, enjoy every second. At least that's what I've always tried to do, not always easy though!


    2. I don't mind a cry Lin just the pausing at the plane door got me. You have a fantastic zest for life have to share a glass of vino with you one of these days!!!!!!!!