Les Templiers was a great find. Granted, it was a little embarrassing when I sat down to join Maria and discovered that I still had the door handle in my hand. It seems that while I was busy congratulating myself on knowing the difference between pousser (to push) and tirer (to pull) I had pulled so enthusiastically that I had separated the handle from its moorings. Ooops. But the spirit in which the assembled customers and staff greeted my gaff made it quite clear we’d come to the right place.
Les Templiers is a brasserie/hotel/restaurant which in its day has been enjoyed by many of France’s finest painters. Come summer (please!) it will, no doubt, be full of tourists from all over but tonight myself and Maria get to share the art-covered walls with a mixture of regulars and French tourists. The food is good – tapas style. Fish, particularly anchovies, feature heavily in Catalan menus and this is no exception.
We are already enjoying the atmosphere and aperitifs when a rustle of interest alerts us to the arrival of an unusual-looking dish at the table next to us. While I execute the odd discrete sideward glance to see what it consists of, others have no hesitation about showing their interest and before long a circle of about 5 people has gathered around the young man’s table. The dish in question looks like a plate-sized cake covered in slivvers of red pepper and topped off with a round of cheese. There is much pointing, gesticulation and laughter as the onlookers speculate as to the ingredients and the young man is urged to eat a bit so he can share with the group. Good naturedly, he does so and the group disperses to let him get on with his meal.
Phillipe, the barman, is another source of great interest. It appears that he specialises in Irish coffees and takes great pride in the art of cream-floating. So, the whole place comes to a halt as he gently, and very slowly, pours the cream over the back of the spoon. Each succesful ‘Phillipe’ (so titled by his boss, Bernard) is greeted with laughter and cheers. If the cream sinks, there are groans as the whole bar shares the pain. It’s better than telly.
It’s still cold, although the thaw is now well underway. Yesterday I took the car for a battery-charging run to Port Vendres, which is almost an extension to Collioure and sports its very own Lidl. Lots of pretty boats, as you’d expect in a port, but not quite the charm of Collioure. A great big industrial-looking fisheries building spoils the view a little but at least it’s evidence that there are some employment opportunities in the area.
Speaking of employment, I really need to start structuring my days properly from tomorrow. Mornings are for writing, afternoons for exploring and evenings for more writing. That’s the plan. And I’m telling myself that it will be much easier now that it’s getting warmer. Thus far, I seem to have started writing a play – we’ll see how that develops. I’m so adept at changing my mind it will probably turn into an alphabet book for infants at some stage. Which reminds me – happy mothers day!