Galway City Tribune - Opinion Piece
How did my belly burn the baked beans?September 20, 2012 - 8:55am
The Snapper and I had not been away for two and a half years, during which time we’d lived through many stressful life events. We really needed a break, so I ignored the fact that we couldn’t afford it, surfed d’internet and booked us a lovely little self-catering housheen called ‘O Serro’, a mile up a hillside outside the Portuguese village of Santo Estevao.
At this point I need to point out that I find little so irritating as scribblers waxing lyrical about their time away in hot climes, while you’re sitting at your kitchen table in the West of Ireland, sheltering from the wind and rain, sipping your tea as you try to figure out how to pay the leccy bill. The only reason I feel free to write about my rare holidays is that I am never one of those columnists who goes ‘away’.
You know the type - ‘So and So is away’, ‘Blah de Blah will be back next week’. They are, to my mind, a bunch of slackers. If I have a colyoom to write, I will send in copy week-in week-out, whatever terrible or wonderful events might be taking place in my life.
Despite holidays generally being considered testing for relationships, the Snapper and I enjoyed a perfectly uneventful and exceedingly relaxing time. She read a big thick book each day as I stared out into space, regarding the view of olive trees and the nature of the Universe.
Then we went out to dinner in inexpensive local restaurants, drank too much wine, and the next day did the same again. I swam in the pool at 5pm each day, by which time I had it all to myself, and a couple of times we went into the town of Tavira, the jewel of the as yet unspoilt East Algarve.
It was a fantastic holiday, yet almost completely void of scribbleworthy events. But there was that strange business with my belly and the burning of the baked beans.
In our little holiday kitchen there was a set of black hi-tec smooth glass electric hobs, with little red lights for controls, a locking device and a Masters Degree from Harvard University. It required only the slightest of fingertip touches to activate the hobs.
Being ‘orribly Ingerlish, I enjoy a fry wherever I am, so I was scrambling up the eggs on one hob, turning the rashers in the pan on the other, while the beans were just heating up slowly on the back hob - except no, they weren’t - they were bubbling away like mad bad beans intent on baking themselves into a vile glutinous goo.
Looking down at the super-sensitive control button, I saw that somehow the temperature of the back hob had gone from a lowly ‘3’ to a high ‘9’, so I quickly turned it down, only to find a few seconds later that it was somehow back up again.
Did the hob have a mind of its own?
Was it built by Germans to confound this dumb English mind?
Was it some kind of safety device that tried to stop tourists eating bad things that might kill them prematurely?
No, because if it was that, the beans would survive while the super-fatty Portuguese bacon would have been zapped to oblivion. Waving a finger an inch above the button I watched the numbers riding up from 3 to 4, 5, 6. Aha! The controls were designed so that you didn’t even have to get a mucky paw-print upon them.
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.