Thursday, September 14, 2006

Fish, chips and the koi done good

I'M in the wrong job. I know, you're all thinking I should be Marco Pierre White's new sous chef or the straight guy to Ainsley Harriot's funny man, but that's not it. I feel my future now lies in fish and chips.
Why? Because Bram, Becks and I were having a conversation about the subject yesterday. More specifically fish and chip shops.
It all came about when we were discussing the upcoming Manchester United v Celtic game and the area surrounding United's ground. I just happened to point out that I'd been passed Lou Macari's fish and chip shop outside the Theatre of Dreams and it had netted him a fortune over the years. "Best investment I ever made", said the former Scotland and United striker and, with the money he's had to spend over the years, that's a pretty ringing endorsement.
Bram then went into some diatribe about how he and his brother always play golf with the prize of a fish supper to the winner. They stop off at a shop near Gilwern which is "one of the best around".
It reminded me of a couple I met in Barbados a couple of years ago. Ironically, we were going off on a sea fishing expedition for the day. Eight hours on a boat, a great deal of sea sickness and one fish caught between 12 of us. Hardly a bargain at £15 a head.
Anyway, this bloke started telling me about his holiday home in the Dominican Republic, his regular trips to the Caribbean and how he had sent his daughter out to a luxury five-star hotel in Paris with her boyfriend for her 18th birthday. Multi-millionaire businessman, I thought. Into playing the stock market or made his money by coming up with some earth-shattering invention like the I-pod or the blog.
"No, Butt," he said. "I own the fish and chip stall on the sea front at Port Talbot. You want to come and try it some time. I'll give you a bag of chips for free!"

The Prince of Darkness had an altogether murkier tale about fish. He lives as a country squire (in some old dracula-style castle, I guess) near Cwmbran. You can see it when the moon's full - all those bats whizzing around the Belfry.
Behind the Prince's house is a market garden. And the market garden is very proud of its extremely expensive Koi carp. The Prince owns cats. I think you know what's coming...
One day the Prince opens the back door to find a beautiful Koi struggling for breath on the back doorstep. He gently carries it to the sink and immerses it in water, but he knows it isn't long for this world.
With the other hand he is reaching for the oil and butter, and heating the frying pan on the grill...

The Prince and Brammy both live near Celtic Manor, the home of the Ryder Cup in 2010. And it has come to their attention that someone has been going around offering people £20,000 to move out of their houses for a few days and rent them to rich American golf enthusiasts.
What they would make of Brammy's bijou squat, with its lawnmover rested lovingly on the spare room bed and the door almost impossible to open for the junk mail piled up behind it, I've no idea. He thinks Tiger Woods might be interested.
Then again, Tiger might get better bed and breakfast at the Prince's. Imagine the scene...
"Hey, these Welsh folks are great. Someone's left me a fresh Koi Carp on the step..."

Raced home to watch the footie last night - no time for cooking. Just heated up the remaining gravy from the night before with a bit of lamb and some leftover spuds. Didn't half fancy some fish and chips though ...

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