Around and about with Tony Goodman

Realising the warm sticky weather seemed to have settled in we decided to install a small air-conditioning unit. Nothing could have been easier. We asked the neighbours for recommendations, as always someone had a friend in the business.

Quote and permission agreed and received in 48 hours. Two young lads turned up a week later. Three hours from the first hole drilled to the final sweep as they cleaned the worksite. The most interesting thing was the neighbour apologised for it taking longer than normal, due to it being August.

Fire twirling jugglers, spring loaded striped stilt walkers, sharp suited aliens, people doing strange things with balloons. Steampunk inspired contraptions rolling along the Quai Vauban. Perpignan’s Jeudis seem to get better every week.

Cafés and bars full, restaurants with queues. Music everywhere. This year could very well be the best yet. The stars must have aligned in our favour as we found a front row table on the first floor balcony of Café Arago. Perfect for viewing the surreal and just plain silly as we enjoyed a well earned steak and a bottle of Cazes Canon du Maréchal Rouge. Light, nice hint of pepper. Bookings are essential but worth the effort.

Collioure is a special place, perhaps the first place we feel in love with. If it did not exist, Hollywood would have invented it for a renaissance era block buster or perhaps a Shakespeare inspired rom-com.

On the weekend we attended a house party of very good friends who are perched on the hills behind the town. Small in number we found ourselves chatting quietly in the garden in the twilight.

Dining on Asian inspired cuisine as the lights of the town and boats out to sea flickered on. A small glass of local Banyuls wines for non drivers. Old style blues such as Leadbelly’s “House of the rising Sun”, Blind Willie McTell’s “Good Little Thing” gently playing in the background. Simple basic pleasures, our P-O coast at its best.

Catalan boat in Colioure

Green Tomato Relish

If the tomatoes never ripen but drop just as they get a bit of colour, try this.

500 grams of firm green tomatoes. Chop into chunks then into a stainless steel pot with brown sugar, white vinegar, a few sultanas and salt. Simmer, stir gently until it gets a bit of colour and thickens then add a finely sliced shallot and a few finely sliced pieces of red or green chillies.

Into jars which have been sterilised in the oven. Seal and set aside for around a week to let the flavour develop. Store in the fridge.

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