Thursday, 18 June 2009

"aak"

I'm blogging from a charming and eccentric B+B in Cagliari, capital of Sardinia. Surrounded by model cars, with a marvellous terrazo overlooking the Port where I sit with my espresso and ruminate on life's challenges. I'm having a short break - 4 weeks on from the Op. As the great Liz Atkins of NCVO said to me " the best medicine: getting sizzled and sozzled".

And what is the Bubb recipe for the perfect holiday? It can be summed up in the formula, "ambiance, alcohol and Kultur"( aak ). So a typical day begins with a lazy and late breakfast, a Cappuccino and croissant in preparation for a serious bout of Kultur (the German word is so much more expressive of the concept). So a Palazzo or Art Gallery and Basilica provides a good lead into Lunch.

Now Lunch must never be hurried. A minimum of two hours should be devoted to gourmet delight. A time to sample a bottle of local wine. In Sardinia, the white Vermentino is excellent. I try always to find a lunch spot with a view. Ambiance is important. So yesterday the restaurant atop the Castello with commanding views of the city spread out below was the perfect place to enjoy the local pasta, "Culurgiones". It's a speciality of Sardinia and to be recommended.

Then obviously its siesta; that wonderful tradition of the Mediterranean. One awakes in time for a light spot of Kultur, perhaps a visit to a local Church for the Angelus or a viewing of a saintly relic. Then one is prepared for the main event; Dinner. A meal never to be taken lightly. Some prefer to wander and discover a pleasant spot but I believe research and preparation is all. Detail here is important. Our first night was at "Monica e Ahmed", a highly recommended fish restaurant where the fish antipasti was one of the best I have tasted. Last night we sought out the finest Pizzeria.

Dinner should also be preceded by a leisurely Prosecco taken in some quiet spot; at a bar in a shady square by an ancient church where the crumbling facade speaks of centuries of piety and devotion.

Cagliari is an interesting city, though not perhaps the finest Italy has to offer. It has its usual share of churches , basilicas and the splendid Cathedral but the problem with the Mediterranean Catholics is that they could never leave alone the glories of the Gothic and so an orgy of excess in the 17th and 18th centuries covered the magnificence and austerity of the Gothic with Baroque extravaganza. And I am not even talking about the Rococo which can only truly be appreciated after two bottles of champagne where the absence of a straight line and the multiple angels in fru fru become vaguely charming. So a perfectly brilliant 13th century Cathedral gets an unpleasant makeover and a glorious pulpit crafted in 1158 and given to the Sards from Pisa Cathedral gets split in two and the splendid lions that mark the base are removed and put under the wedding cake high altar. I'm afraid I'm with Ruskin on his view that Gothic is the high point of Western civilisation.

And so to expenses. What a brilliant comment on Blog from the magnificent Roy Norris. His pithy denunciation of the recent nonsense, " media inspired irrelevancy" concocted by " self-appointed, self interested journalists in search of the next pay cheque " is entirely refreshing. And right. Rock on Roy. But even as we speak I quake at the thought of the next media exclusive; the umbrella body league table of paper clip usage. Is mine bigger than Stuart's? The world awaits.

2 comments:

Robin Bogg said...

What is the National Blog Archive? How do I get a piece of that action?

Stephen Bubb said...

Well Robin , you need to have a blog of national significance covering issues of great moment , and be fairly literate too . So i guess you ought to be there!