Friday, 8 June 2012


When a newspaper columnist is on holiday a guest is often invited to stand in. No. Not Graham Norton or Ruby Wax, it's me David – known as Mr Sue.

Sue's always mentioning bits about Fuerteventura where we have out holiday home so I thought I'd tell you more. We bought the house about 8 years ago when we were both in demanding jobs. Sue's Mum lived with us and regular escapes gave all three of us a break. It was the days of charter flights and airline bucket shops filling seats. Sue would find a cheap flight departing in the next few days, – some were only £6.99 return – we'd clear our my diaries and we'd escape for a week or even a long weekend.

The great thing was that Sue's mum was happy to have the house to herself and we could just go at short notice. Now we have to organise house sitters, garden waterers and grass mowers to avoid nightmares on our return.

The days of £6.99 are long gone and for pre-planned visits we each had to pay about £150 return. At peak times we were paying £250. Nowadays with Ryanair we fix our visits around the cheapest flights and each pay about £60-£80 return. We take hand baggage only, carefully sized and weighed, use the latest credit card that Ryanair has done a fee-free deal with, and pay for reserved seats so we get extra legroom.

I search out baggage that fits the Ryanair sizing and is as light as possible. This time I may have overdone it. We, yes, OK, I bought a bright pink ultra lightweight bag so we could carry another kilo of contents. 

The problem is that it's got no rigidity so as you lift it up it gets taller and taller, the contents all drop to the bottom and it goes teardrop shape. It looks like a ship decanter.  It's quite difficult to get the bottom off the ground so it drags along. At the gate the attendant eyed it with suspicion but didn't ask us to put it in the gauge. I imagine that if we'd managed to get the handle about six feet off the ground we could have sort of poured it into the gauge.

Now. Fuerteventura? Four hours from Gatwick, 12 miles south of Lanzarote and 80 miles off the African coast. We're on the same latitude as Miami and Kuwait so we get piercing hot sun but there's a cool sea current from the north which brings strong, cooling winds. The weather can change in 10 minutes. Frankly, the forecasters can only guess. Today we expected strong winds, white cloud and some rain but we have a clear blue sky with a few small clouds slowly drifting. Yesterday the few clouds in an otherwise clear sky were moving very fast. From nowhere a huge black one blew in, everything went dark, a whole load of rain was dumped on us, the cloud moved on, the blue returned and we never saw another one!

My long term retirement planning assumed we'd get fed up with the island, sell up and travel the world. Here we are 5½ years retired, 40 odd visits later and we still love it here. Which is handy because the recession has made selling unlikely.

OK. That'll do for my first post. Sue's dozing by the pool so I'll go and wake her up to prepare lunch. It's not that I don't cook. I love cooking. But I was inspired by Fanny Cradock on TV, who used a clean pan at every stage. 
Sue says she loves my food but hates the mess so much that she'd rather do most of the cooking. I call that a win-win situation.

I'll leave you inspired with a couple of my favourite Fanny Cradock meals. It seems that the TV stations have edited these dishes out of the re-runs of her shows. I wonder why?

Adios amigos.


Jan/ said...

Ah, it's really nice to have a guest blogger from time to time, especially one with such fine wit as yours!

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

o.0 is that food even edible ;p

sue said...

Oh Dear,

I've been 'hacked' .. sorry about that ladies. I didn't know he'd made a post till after the event - but he's not joking about Fanny Cradock, she really is his hero(ine). She was one scary lady and I always felt sorry for Johhny her husband and whatever her timid assistant was called ... (Sarah)???

Yep, Jennifer the food was all edible and was considered very 'POSH' in the 60s/70s (obviously I've only seen the re-runs in more recent years) LOL

"JeanneG" said...

I liked his blog. nice to "hear
" from the mister.