Ireland day 0119. Tuesday 25 January 2022- Más-español
There’s not a lot to report today, so I will keep in brief.
The morning was spent trying (without any success) to sort out a problem with my (and Val’s) bank card. The best the Bank could offer was that it was something they had never seen before, that it was “probably” a technical problem, and that “someone” would phone me back “at some point”. Well clearly that point wasn’t today, as I’m still waiting.
The next task was, however, altogether more enjoyable. Val – heroically I should add – managed to source some excellent Seville oranges when she was over in the UK and brought a kilo of them back with her. I’m not sure how Brexit rules affect the shipment of Sevilles across the Irish Sea but since they came from the EU and were going back into it – and because Ireland doesn’t have a huge indigenous citrus farming industry – we took the view that the risk was low.
But now that I have the fabled fruits after going on about them for so long, I actually have to process them into something edible – which means of course marmalade making. You soon discover when you read through Delia Smith’s website that the oranges are only the start. You also need a whole raft of odd ingredients and assorted paraphernalia – none of which of course are provided in a rented flat. So Val and I dispersed into Malahide this afternoon to search for essential but elusive items, the most important of which were a measuring jug, a fruit squeezer and candles.
(You might ask why you need candles to make jam and the answer is that you only want them for the wax, which you melt and pour over the setting marmalade in the jam jar to provide an airtight seal which keeps bugs from infecting it. It turned out to be harder than I expected to get hold of simple plain candles – the vast majority you get nowadays are perfumed and unless you want your carefully crafted conserve to taste like soap, they are best avoided).
In other news, my Spanish classes re-started after the Christmas break this evening so, not wanting to be the dunce of the class, I spent a couple of hours reading up last term’s notes and trying to remember the difference between estar and ser. Then feeling as confident as I could be, and given that the evenings are distinctly lighter now, Val and I went out for a brief stroll round the Chalfont estate and down to the harbour. It was a wonderful peaceful evening, and tranquil down by the lagoon. Then as we walked through the marina, the setting sun turned the sky a fiery pink – the most spectacular sunset we have seen since we came over here to Ireland.
That just left the Spanish class, so after a quick cup of tea, I strode off down to the college at Portmarnock. I am pleased to report that it wasn’t a totally humiliating experience – though that was due at least in part to the act that some new people joined the class who knew virtually no Spanish at all. So even I could hardly fail to do better.
Anyway, now that I have the ingredients and the equipment, there are no barriers other than time to getting start on the marmalade. Jam-making is quite a full-on experience – or at least it is when I do it – so I need to be sure I’m not going to get distracted by annoyances like bank card problems and Spanish revision. Let’s see how I get on over the next couple of days. Watch this space.
Today’s photos (click to enlarge)