Imagine my delight, a couple of weeks ago, when I asked Z what she would like cooking for her Valentines Day meal and she responded "Tapas". We have an affinity with Spanish food. Spain, actually Catalonia (really it's Barcelona) has been part of our life for years.
Our first trip abroad together was to Barcelona. It was on that trip that I proposed on bended knee and Z said yes. At the time I was keeping a small and under used journal. Making notes on life and jotting down the odd musing. That day I wrote the following:
How do you say...
This is the first holiday I've had where my lack of language has been frustrating. All other trips to Spain have been with Spanish speakers or with family (Dad did the talking). Should we have gone to France or Germany Z's knowledge would have rendered me speechless but secure in the knowledge that we would have got what we wanted.
This time our 'pigeon Spanish' has not caused problems but extended uncomfortable silences between ourselves and various staff whose English is worse than mine.
My own personal bug-bear has been "can I have the bill please?" I can only presume my Scottish genes prevent me from offering to splash the cash however, now day 4, I'm getting the hang of "la cuenta, por favour" all though I still need to check every time.
The only other phrase I struggled with was "Will you marry me?". I know this is easy to say and write but when you want the moment to be perfect the simple sentence can be v. difficult to spit out. Fortunately the response was correct.
Since that day we have been back to Barcelona so often that the city now feels like an old pair of slippers, instantly comfortable and welcoming. This is why tapas for Valentines Day is so apt.
Patatas Bravas, Pulpo and Gambas con Chorizo* were the stars of our meal, served with salad and bread. We also had a cheeky bottle of Freixenet. We actually prefer cava to champagne, but that's just us and possibly our affinity with Spain.
*Roast potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce, octopus in olive oil and prawns fried with chorizo.