I HAVE A CONFESSION
I never thought I’d say it but I like espresso martinis. Wait, that’s not true. I love them. Until a few weeks ago, I steered clear of them. I had always lumped them in with tartinis and cosmopolitans and other such cocktails synonymous with Sex & The City. In my mind they were clichéd and dated and consumed only by women of a certain age. Well I guess I’ve reached that age! Because recently I had my first one and it was terrifyingly delicious.
One of the perks of being married to a drinks writer is that you often have to taste things. Have to. It’s research. And as the book he is presently writing is about home cocktails, we had to make some. Had to. Did you know that when you shake the ingredients for an espresso martini then pour it into a glass, there is a foamy cream on top just like on a regular espresso? It’s magical. Perhaps not quite as magical as Spain, but nearly.
THE RAIN IN SPAIN
Right after Easter Monday, my family hopped on a plane and travelled to where sherry rendezvouses with shellfish. There in the Andalusian province of Cadiz, in the seaside city of Sanlucar de Barrameda, we sunned ourselves like lizards and swilled sherry like Shakespeare. At least Henry and I did–once again for work. Helena just ate ice cream like it was her job.
Spring flowers were in full effect everywhere you looked. Red hibiscus bushes lined the streets while the heavenly scents of orange blossoms and jasmine commingled and lingered in the air. It was divine. The balmy weather guaranteed you could smell the fragrant flowers before you saw them. In the gardens at Palacio de Orleans-Borbón, Helena ran loops through the shady lilacs and miles along the citrus scented walls.
One evening, we watched the sunset from the top of the Guadalquivir Hotel. Over the course of an hour, we listened to birdsong while the sky turned from blue to pink to peach. We sipped cold drinks as the waiters brought us bar snacks with fruit jellies para la nina on the same plate. Then we ambled back through the old town to our favourite bodega where the jamon iberico was plentiful and perfectly sliced and a copita of sherry cost only €1.20.
HOME AGAIN HOME AGAIN JIGGITY JIG
Exiting the plane at Heathrow was a rude awakening. The queues at border patrol were unbelievably long just as they were for the loos in the baggage claim area. Outside the weather was wet and cold. Of course, I was in sandals and there was traffic the whole drive home. In the kitchen there was nothing to eat and in the garden all the spring flowers lay sad and sodden on the earth.
Monday couldn’t come fast enough. By which I mean, my Freddie’s delivery. Like a good cup of tea, Freddie’s flowers always set me right. Last week’s white roses, double daffodils, and strong gold tulips bright as the Spanish sun definitely cheered me. After arranging them, I felt inspired to see even more spring flowers. So I walked to Greenwich Park where the cherry blossoms were showing off. Ditto the wildflowers and the squirrels. And you know what? I felt happy to be back in London even if the sherry is more expensive.
Featured photo by Jenny Smith