Skip to main content

Geezers but no geysers

My sister was in Reykjavik a few years ago. She tells me that a traditional Icelandic delicacy is rotten shark meat cured by burying it in a hole for a couple of months. We didn't quite follow in her footsteps but we went to Iceland yesterday. There was no rotten shark, no thermal pools, no Northern Lights and no glaciers. Instead there were lots of Britons and all those British foods we crave like balti mix, chilli con carne, chow mein and goulash.

Iceland, the shop, is another little island of Britishness in the midst of Spain. Apparently there are ten stores in Spain run as a franchise by Overseas supermarkets. Three of them are near to us here in Cartagena but the closest is the store at San Javier. Walking in there is like walking into the Iceland in Huntingdon. English is the language and even the products that are readily available in Spain come as their UK equivalents - Diet Coke not Coca Cola Light, Walkers crisps not Lays  - even the meat is imported.

It's my birthday on Monday and the routine at work is to take along some goodies. I could just load up with Spanish pastries as most of my colleagues do but I think I have a responsibility to fly the flag. A couple of years ago, for instance, I made bread and butter pudding.

I thought Quality Street, the chocolates and toffees, would be good. Very British and no baking. When I was a boy Quality Street were made in the Rowntree's factory just opposite the railway station in Halifax. I went there on two school trips. I remember trying to eat my way through as much of their product as I could. Not only British then but Yorkshire. Alright, I know they're Swiss nowadays but we don't need to be a stickler for detail do we?

Iceland didn't have Quality Street but they did have Cadbury's Heroes. Not quite as much history as QS and now, thanks to Kraft,  maybe more American than British but we've already decided against too much detail haven't we? Mint imperials, Love Hearts, blackcurrant and licorice toffee, fudge and (to show that I'm no Little Englander) Scottish shortbread completed ny haul for Monday.

Once we'd started we couldn't stop and the flat is now heaving with multipack tea bags, pork pies, instant porrage oats, brown sauce, Branston and various curry pastes.


  1. What did your work colleagues make of the feast??

  2. The best reviews were for the shortbread though the unspoken favourites, going on the number eaten, were the chocolate Heroes. Strangely, just today, one of my colleagues asked me what the purple coloured sweets had been (licorice and blackcurrant) because they were going to go to San Javier to buy some. A resounding success I'd say


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Looking for a flat

Finding a house to rent in Spain is usually a pretty straightforward process. When I say house I really mean flat because, although it's not impossible to find houses in the middle of a town or city, by far the most usual style of dwelling for urban Spaniards is the flat.
I need to qualify this a bit further. It's easy to find a place if you are willing to pay an estate agent. The other options involve walking around random streets looking for to rent signs with your mobile phone to hand. We've only ever done it a couple of times and it has not produced good results.
The internet has made it a slightly less fraught process to find an individual renter and the place that Maggie rented in Ciudad Rodrigo came that way. Even then it takes ages to sift through the various websites usually to find that nobody answers your email or phone call except for the estate agents.
The estate agent method is the most straightforward but also the most costly. The standard charging process…

Where am I?

When I wrote the last post on this blog - Looking for a flat - I should really have written it on the Life in Culebrón blog because that's where I am at the moment.

In fact, apart from working in Cartagena it looks as though my links with the place are about to be cut. I am in the process of signing up for a flat in La Unión and the logic of naming the blogs must mean that the active ones are the places where I have a kettle. La Unión and El Culebrón.

There is a tab at the top of the page to navigate there or this is the link

Casting off

School term is over in Spain. It's summer. Nearly everyone from Cartagena is at the beach. The town is quiet and we are done, at least till the new academic year when I'll be back to do a bit more English teaching.

We've cleared everything from the flat. We've carted our belongings up the road to Culebrón. We've handed over the keys of the flat. So goodbye to town life for a while and goodbye to Cartagena till I get back there in hot and sticky September.

In the meanwhile you can follow our adventures (sic) at Life in Culebrón