Holiday or endurance trial?

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Nefarious
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Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by Nefarious » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:07 am

Why do I do it to myself?

As some of you know, I do a week every year as chef for a big group (20-30) of friends (mostly extended family of my best mate from school). I know some might suggest 6-8 hours a day in a kitchen is a funny holiday, but I can't stand beaches/pools/generally sitting idle, so its what I enjoy (mostly ;) ).
For the past 4 years we've been at this awesome chateau in France, but new holiday rental legislation there has put the kibosh on that so this year, we shifted venue to a ranch in rural Spain. I got back late last night and I'm fucking broken.

7 days of 35-40C heat and no air-con (for those who haven't met me, I'm the colour of uncooked cod don't cope with heat terribly well). You can imagine what it's like in an unventilated kitchen with all the burners/ovens etc going at full chat. Even at night, I don't think the temperature dropped below high 20s.
Then there's the mosquitoes.
I think word got out across the mozzy community of northern Spain that fresh meat was in town, and they ALL turned up for the party. At 48 hours in, I stopped counting at 114 bites. And these were some special toxic motherfuckers. Comparatively, mine weren't too bad - garden pea sized. Other folks had ones like ping-pong balls. And the little bastards seemed totally wise to any attempts to stop them - they dodged the blue lights, were immune to the sprays and seemed to treat repellent like a lure.

So, the consequence of volcanic heat, intolerable itching and paranoia over where the next bite is coming from meant sleep was totally impossible. I think I *just* made it into double figures of hours for the whole week (and some of those were snatched hours in the hire car with the air-con on). It doesn't do wonders for the mental heath, and industrial-level alcohol abuse to try and help the situation was largely counter-productive.

You can imagine the collective impact on group interaction and the general dynamic - if the more literary among you think "House of Bernarda Alba", you're not far off.

And then there was the cooking itself (and I know I can only hope for sympathy from other cooks on this one). To say the kitchen was unfit for purpose would be understatement in the extreme. Virtually no utensils, a selection of knifes that might as well have been spatulas for all the cutting they were capable of, and the most bizarre collection of unsuitably sized pots and dishes you could imagine. The oven would burn anything in the top or bottom third. The electric (grrr) hob had three rings, all of which were woefully underspecced for even domestic pots. I had a giant gas-powered paella-pan burner, which was effective, but needed constant attention not to turn the whole place into a raging inferno. The main fridge couldn't cope with the heat, meaning constant juggling and frequent runs for ice from the outside freezer (braving the mosquito gauntlet run). The one tiny window could only offer psychological improvement to the heatstoke-inducing temperatures and came with the penalty of plagues of flies. I won't even get into the frustration of lack of availability of even basic ingredients (although, I'll at least admit that the tomatoes were very very good).

To cap it all off, I arrived home to find my own house and two of my rental flats had been flooded with sewage during last weeks storms, meaning a night-time marathon with the wellies and marigolds after 12 hours of enduring the very special combination of Ryanair and Scotrail. Proper cleanup/repair work starts tomorrow.

Same week next year? ;)
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough"

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Jobbo
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by Jobbo » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:20 am

Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday!
I’m pleased you got back by train ok though. The M74 was nearly closed by flooding on our way up and the west coast mainline was actually closed.

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mik
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by mik » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:33 am

That was like an excerpt from a book of short stories :lol:

And problems with trains n planes? Should just have taken (one of your) hovercraft. 8-)

So what legislation change in France that forces you to change?

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Carlos
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by Carlos » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:56 am

That's doesn't sound like fun ☹️

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Nefarious
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by Nefarious » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:06 pm

mik wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:33 am
So what legislation change in France that forces you to change?
Apparently lots of new local legislation has been brought in to try and curb AirBnBing.

Specifically in the case of the Chateau, there's a new rule that basically says that anywhere that hosts more than 14 people has to follow full modern health and safety, as if it were a new hotel - fire escapes, fire doors, alarms etc etc. I can't imagine what the bill would be (not to mention all the lovely historic stuff that would have to be ripped out), but the owners have said a flat no.
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough"

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dinny_g
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by dinny_g » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:32 pm

Nightmare Nef...

I always bring a small crate of Kitchen Stuff when self catering in the UK and at least my knives (Checked Baggage of course ) when self catering abroad.

I’ve had from Michelin Equipped to Tesco’s Value Range with bits missing Equipped and everything in between

Chopping boards seem to be an Issue in UK places. Glass counter top protectors are NOT chopping boards

Don’t take the chance any more...
JLv3.0 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:26 pm
I say this rarely Dave, but listen to Dinny because he's right.

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Rich B
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by Rich B » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:54 pm

There doesn’t seem to be any variation on this story that doesn’t sound like hell to me!

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Mito Man
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by Mito Man » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:26 pm

To be fair it doesn't sound like a legislation problem as much as the host picking a very inadequate new villa!
How about not having a sig at all?

speedingfine
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by speedingfine » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:57 pm

Beautifully written :mrgreen:

A mass exodus took place when I visited a beach in Ibiza a few years back, literally people running to their cars, mopeds everywhere etc, I had no idea what was going on so kept walking to beach. Dusk brings mosquitoes it turns out. Ouch.

Do air conditioned kitchens exist? Maybe there's an AirBnB somewhere in Europe that has one, everyone chips extra in to make sure it has one for you!

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240PP
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by 240PP » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:58 pm

Feel your pain, bitten to fuck in Italy this week. It’s tricky trying to scratch one ankle with the other foot whilst driving and wearing flip flops :D

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Carlos
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by Carlos » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:02 pm

Just as an opportunity to vent.

I'm on a caravan holiday in Devon with my wife and 2 kids, something we've done 20+ times in recent years and always enjoyed. As long as we've had a pool/beach and bar it's worked out 😎

This time we've had torrential rain and 50mph wind for 3 days so far and my menopausal wife and pubescent daughter have made it unbearable.

Todays arguments are why my daughter needs to shave her legs twice in one day and my wife is not speaking to me due her to not liking a neighbour's choice of music.

I genuinely don't know what the fuck is going on ☹️

Lol I've just heard my wife telling my daughter ' dad's been a right knob today' 😂
Last edited by Carlos on Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Mito Man
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by Mito Man » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:08 pm

Twice. In. One. Day. :shock:
How about not having a sig at all?

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McSwede
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by McSwede » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:39 pm

Carlos wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:02 pm
Just as an opportunity to vent.

I'm on a caravan holiday in Devon with my wife and 2 kids, something we've done 20+ times in recent years and always enjoyed. As long as we've had a pool/beach and bar it's worked out 😎

This time we've had torrential rain and 50mph wind for 3 days so far and my menopausal wife and pubescent daughter have made it unbearable.

Todays arguments are why my daughter needs to shave her legs twice in one day and my wife is not speaking to me due her to not liking a neighbour's choice of music.

I genuinely don't know what the fuck is going on ☹️

Lol I've just heard my wife telling my daughter ' dad's been a right knob today' 😂
#becausewomen

End.

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mik
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by mik » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:45 pm

dinny_g wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:32 pm
I always bring a small crate of Kitchen Stuff when self catering in the UK and at least my knives (Checked Baggage of course ) when self catering abroad.
Hang on, hang on. Foh realz? :shock:

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McSwede
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by McSwede » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:50 pm

mik wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:45 pm
dinny_g wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:32 pm
I always bring a small crate of Kitchen Stuff when self catering in the UK and at least my knives (Checked Baggage of course ) when self catering abroad.
Hang on, hang on. Foh realz? :shock:
Knives are always an issue. Always blunt so taking your own is a great idea

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Mito Man
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by Mito Man » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:55 pm

Holiday for me means eating out all day every day. Self catering can FRO :lol:
How about not having a sig at all?

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John
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by John » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:01 pm

We take our holiday home with us :D

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dinny_g
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by dinny_g » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:49 pm

mik wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:45 pm
dinny_g wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:32 pm
I always bring a small crate of Kitchen Stuff when self catering in the UK and at least my knives (Checked Baggage of course ) when self catering abroad.
Hang on, hang on. Foh realz? :shock:
Yep - Cooking with local ingredients is always part of my holiday experience - I’m just not a good enough a cook to do food justice without the right Kit. Which is my own kit

I’m always amazed at how my chef mate can make amazing meals with next to nothing, can ‘hold’ food for as long as needed on shit opens/hobs without ruining it..
JLv3.0 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:26 pm
I say this rarely Dave, but listen to Dinny because he's right.

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mik
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by mik » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:25 am

<doffs cap>

I think this is pretty weird.

But also rather cool.

Let’s go with the latter 8-)

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Nefarious
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Re: Holiday or endurance trial?

Post by Nefarious » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:34 am

dinny_g wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:32 pm
Nightmare Nef...

I always bring a small crate of Kitchen Stuff when self catering in the UK and at least my knives (Checked Baggage of course ) when self catering abroad.

I’ve had from Michelin Equipped to Tesco’s Value Range with bits missing Equipped and everything in between

Chopping boards seem to be an Issue in UK places. Glass counter top protectors are NOT chopping boards

Don’t take the chance any more...
That's usually my plan too (and one of the reasons I've driven to the French place in the TVR, rather than flying). Not quite a crate, but 2 knives, a bamix and half a dozen herb/spice pots that I know will be hard to get hold of.
However, flight timing and my stinginess meant that this time we fly with Ryanair, so a) I knew weight was limited and b) I didn't want to fall foul of some crazy unpublished rule that results in a £50 fine (i.e. pretty much anything with those shitehawks)
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough"

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