By Veronica

Quiet night in

We went to the market to shop for dinner in the morning, joining scores of other people with the same idea. Given our limited cooking facilities, we decided to go for something simple: a pot-roast. Just as well we did. I got it going fairly early to allow for long slow cooking: pork on a bed of onions, celery, carrots, and fennel with a glug of white wine and some rosemary from the garden. S prepared potatoes for frying later.

And then the power went off, just as it had a couple of days after we arrived. Guess too many people started cooking dinner at the same time. How fortunate that I'd bought S not one, but two head torches for Christmas (his old ones had both packed up). We'd also stocked up on tea lights and matches after last time. S ramped up the woodburner and I swiftly put the pot on top of it to find that yes, the tiled top does get hot enough to cook on if you keep the fire blazing.

Still no sign of the lights coming back on. We scaled back apero nibbles to junk out of packets and had the cava by candlelight. An hour  later we decided the fried potatoes weren't happening, so I added them to the pot roast, which was served up in the dark once they were done. Very nice it was too.

The lights finally came back on while we were eating it, so we had illumination for the dessert I prepared earlier, tarta de aguacate. I'd made up a recipe based on evaluation of the one we had at the Peñon, and googling recipes. It was a little bit gloopy, but it tasted good. More avocado, less cream next time I think. And maybe just a little gelatine to hold it together. Finally coffee with the yummy chocolates we bought from the posh Dutch chocolate shop on the square.

Being aware of the Spanish tradition of gathering at the town hall to eat twelve grapes on the strokes of midnight, we then set off with our grapes to the Plaza de la Constitución. The streets were eerily silent and deserted. We got there at about 11:45 to find a not very encouraging scene (see extra). The only people there were a handful of foreigners under the same illusion as we were, bottles of cava and bags of grapes at the ready. Then it turned out that the iconic clock we used to be able to hear from our little house in San Miguel was stopped at 4 o'clock, so it wasn't even chiming the hour. People were reduced to looking at their phones to check when it was midnight and then ate their grapes at their own pace.

So it was a bit of a damp squib. Everyone soon departed, and the long walk home was accompanied by the snap, crackle and pop of distant fireworks, which went on for a good half hour after midnight.

Happy New Year everyone!

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