Gorf Jam 2021…

Last weekend was the Gorf Jam. An annual event since we lost Tosh. Some of the graffiti artists from around the Westcountry, some friends and family gather together to paint a wonderful tribute, usually a variation of his tag, GORF which is FROG backwards. This year was the tenth anniversary of Tosh’s death and they painted on a legal site.

This year was the first time I had actually attended the event. There are a couple of reasons why: for many years we were still living in Italy and it wasn’t practical to get over to the UK, usually it’s in January, as close to the anniversary of his death as possible (bit cold for me) and lastly I wasn’t sure I could really handle meeting up with his friends and contemporaries, watching them do the very thing that Tosh loved — I thought I would find it all too emotional.

Well, this year, The Man and I made it! It was emotional there’s no doubt about that. It was a lovely sunny day last Saturday so I couldn’t make the cold weather an excuse. Finally, we now live in Dorset so not far to travel.

What surprised us both, The Man and me, was the incredible talent of all the painters. We arrived around 11.30am and they had been there since 10 and incidentally didn’t finish until after 4pm! Each piece of graffiti was still in its early stages of creation when we got there. We watched them work. They had some ideas written on small pieces of paper, or on their phones, which they carefully transposed onto the wall of the tunnel — We were at St Werburgh’s tunnel in Bristol. This year there were four main painters plus Tosh’s brothers, sister and nieces and a few friends too, who all enjoyed a little paint. I declined to have a go…not sure why and now, of course, I wish I had daubed something alongside the others.

The artists prepared the wall first by painting over anything already there with enormous amounts of emulsion paint, giving them a ‘blank canvas’ if you like, from which to start. Gradually the images built up with the most amazing skill. Each layer bringing more depth and more texture. I’m no expert at explaining art but the whole process was impressive.

The Man could not get over how one guy painted straight lines with a roller and not a plumb line or any other kind of guide for him to follow. Another artist could fashion a pretty perfect circle. I’m not going to write any more about it, but will post as many pictures as I can. With thanks to all the painters, Halo, Instaminto, Tomo and Ronny Oner — and I’m so in awe of your work. ❤️

The Tunnel

Work in Progress

Brothers and friends getting in on the action…

The finished pieces…

 

Eating Out Is Not All It’s Cooked Up To Be…

Pasta....

Pasta….

I expect many of you will disagree with this post but having had a summer of too many restaurant meals I have been giving some thought to this area of our lives.

I love food, there is no doubt about that and we have a huge number of places to choose from to eat here in Italy and on the whole it’s not too expensive. What it is though is mostly variations on a theme. Antipasti, (cold meats, cheese, olives etc.,) Primo (pasta dishes) Secondo (meat or fish) Contorni (sides, salads, veg, potatoes etc.,) and dolci (desserts). The meals are humungous and it takes about three hours to get through them. We, that is The Man and I have come to the conclusion that if we eat out in Italy we want to do it at lunchtime so that by the time we go to bed the food has had time to be partly digested. If we eat out in the evening then invariably we can’t sleep and suffer from indigestion. I know we’re getting on a bit but that’s not necessarily the problem.

Apart from the lack of variety in the Italian restaurants there are very few if any other types of restaurant other than Italian in this area. Fine if you’re on holiday but when you live here? We need a little more choice and I did find something different in October…

I’m not a lover of burgers and American food but we had visitors who I took for a walk along the seashore at Grottamare one lunchtime. Neither of my guests wanted to eat seafood and most of the restaurants by the sea serve predominantly fish. I remembered I’d see something about an American Food place opening in San Benedetto only a few kilometres down the road. A quick phone call (thank you India) and off we went. It was brilliant. What a change it made to eat something different. I feared it would be quasi American with pasta definitely showing somewhere on the menu but no, Caesar Salad, burgers (real), pancakes, maple syrup, (yum) American Cheesecake, it was like being in New York and I was frantically texting my daughter in Brooklyn, I don’t think she could understand why I was so excited.

The White Bakery

The White Bakery

I really enjoyed my lunch and felt it was worth every cent…

Recently, last week in fact, we went to the UK. The choice was huge, Italian, English, French, Thai, Indian, Moroccon, Mexican and that was just in Lyme Regis! (joke). I suffered from indigestion nearly everyday, a full stomach, a few pounds heavier and an empty wallet by the end of the trip.

In Bristol we had; a disappointing curry (3/10), fish and chips, very good (9/10) it was in the top 100 fish&chip shops in the UK. One lunch was taken at the Waterfront, watery soup, salty mussels and not so good fish pie (4/10)

In Bournemouth a fish restaurant we went to was very good (8/10) but quite pricey and afterwards we decided they were trying to be too fussy and less fancy would have been preferable. A bit of indigestion kicked in around 11pm. We did have a fantastic breakfast though in our hotel, a Full English (10/10) from which we are deprived here and although I cook it at home, the bacon is not right, the sausages just not the same and baked beans are about 2.50 euro a tin!

Not only do I love food, I love cooking and have come to the conclusion that eating at home is actually much better than eating out at a restaurant. Years ago, eating out or getting a takeaway (only pizza takeaway here) was a special treat and now it has become the norm for many people. At home I can conjure up most things, I bring over spices from the UK so that we can have Thai curries, I make shepherd’s pie, roast dinners (with all the trimmings and lashings of gravy), soups and fish dishes. I also cook pasta. The Man loves my cooking, it doesn’t cost us much and we don’t get indigestion!

I’m not dissing all restaurants and I’m not saying I never want to go to any again. I love meeting up with friends and going out. But, I have to say that it’s mostly better if you meet up at someone’s house and take a dish or two. Sharing is caring. Also you get to speak to everyone that way. When you are at a big table and go out to dinner you can only really converse with your immediate neighbours. I think a romantic dinner in a restaurant is a great thing to do on a special occasion, except on Valentine’s night when they hike the prices up everywhere.

My favourite restaurants locally.

I Piceni (romantic dinner) Fab desserts.

Dessert I Piceni

Dessert I Piceni

Mamma Rosa’s (family and friends) Nutella pizza anyone?

Parco Galeano (family and friends) good homemade bread gets thumbs up.

Re Squarchio (family and friends, or romantic for two) quality cooking

Ristorante Roma (a must for Sunday lunch…although you won’t get roast dinner!) Definitely a family favourite! (their site seems to be down at the moment so I’ll add a link later)

Best meal out this year was back in April in Taverna Del Lupo in Gubbio where we had the tastiest and most beautifully cooked lamb we’ve eaten since being in Italy. Oh and of course the wine is good and soooo much cheaper here.

Taverna Del Lupo Gubbio

Taverna Del Lupo Gubbio

Off to Thailand in December, I cannot wait to sample the food. Maybe I’ll change my mind about eating out?