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Favours and obligations 
Greetings from Spain...
Back in Spain.
My phone is on ‘roaming’, sharing a slither of 4G to my laptop. The wood burner, the only source of heat in the vila, is stacked high with logs from the garden. It gently warms the room while bringing a bottle of local wine up to an enjoyable temperature.
My job this week is to catalogue the contents of this Spanish villa and ready it to be loaded into a truck while this place is prepared for sale. I’m also doing some trench digging, amateur (let’s call it rustic) plastering and electrical faultfinding.
A previous plan was to assist a family member in renovating this place, but life and financial restraints mean it would be easier they sell it to someone who has the time and resources to restore it to it’s former glory.
It has been sunny here in Spain. Today the temperature made seventeen degrees. The nights are something else though. Close to freezing and no central heating, the fire is being used more for survival than comfort. Time to check if the very palatable three euro wine is ready to drink.
I watched ‘The Man Who Wanted To See It All’ on Netflix. Recommended by @Buddhamagnet
Heinz Stücke left Germany in 1962 with a bike, a tent and a passion to see the world. All of it. Which he did. And some. He didn’t return for 51 years.
The story is incredible and can only really be done justice in a well thought out movie or TV series. This documentary was interesting to watch but left me with more questions than it answered. A missed opportunity. The OCD and family trauma is hinted at but there is little time to explore any of this or even the ground he covered. This is a 51 year long story. Too much to cram into an hour and a half. Still worth a watch though. And I bet the books out there are worth a read. Check the Wiki page for a little more info. The man is an inspiration. A one of a kind explorer who I fear will take many of his amazing stories to the grave.
There is a little more on Freeganism down the bottom of this dispatch but to get you up to speed on the ‘buy nothing, find everything’ mentality, check out this video featuring Gerard Daechsel, a Canadian who last bought something in the 60’s and who’s only outgoings are his bus pass and monthly rent.
Is it time to hire a person entrusted with secrets?
Happened Here is an interesting podcast of short stories. Some better than others but all are short enough to see through.
Everything you might have, or have not wanted to know about Strep-A
As the fridge here has packed up anything we need to eat is either fresh, in vegetable form or in tins. I’m mostly veggie this ween but have stocked up on tinned fish just in case.
Sometimes I’ll crave tinned fish and buy most, if not all that are on offer on a single shelf. I don’t think my diet is lacking in protein or omega-3 fatty acids, but this could be a reason. It might also be that there is an emotional connection.
If I look at this selection below it reminds me when i’d take my earnings made from busking for a day and load up my pack with whatever recognisable food stuff that might be held within an easy to open can.
Firstly, when backpacking tinned fish is convenient. A quick and easy option that can be eaten as is or added to a baguette. Although it can be high in sodium, it’s a decent source of protein and omega-3.
The long shelf life is definitely a plus but if you are thinking of stocking up on tinned fish for your emergency rations, pick the tins that are not lined with bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that can leach into food and potentially cause health problems. Although with short term survival in mind, the long term cumulative effects of ingesting BPA is probably not going to be a concern.
When camping, backpacking or hoboing back in the day it might just be eaten on some bread. At home I might just dump the contents of a tin on a salad. Other times it will go on toast under a layer of melted cheese.
If you are feeling really adventurous or fancy you might want to try making Tinned Fish cakes.
1 can of tinned fish (salmon or tuna works well, but experiment)
1 large potato, peeled and grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons of flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
Oil for frying
Drain the fish and flake it with a fork.
In a large bowl, mix together the fish, onion, grated potato, flour, egg, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Shape the mixture into small cakes, about 2.5cm thick.
Heat some oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
Carefully place the fish cakes in the pan and fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
Drain the fish cakes on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Serve the fish cakes warm with some lemon wedges, tartar sauce, or any other dipping sauce of your choice.
This is a popular recipe that is simple to make and tastes pretty good. You could also add the fresh taste of dill or parsley to the mixture. Also, you could bake them if frying is not your thing. I’ll happily eat these with a salad on the side for a snack and add roasted veg for a meal.
For peace of mind check the tinned fish is as ethically sourced as is possible for an animal based food stuff. Enjoy!
I read in Ben’s Substack entitled’ The Barracks’ that in order to reduce food waste Germany is decriminalising ‘containering’ aka ‘bin-diving’.
Back in my travelling years if ever the work was thin on the ground I could happily survive on what the markets might leave behind, or the bakeries would give away at the end of the day. Although I knew dumpster diving was a thing I was never sure how sanitary it might be until I was treated to a feast in Toulouse. Friends I had met in a squat showed me the places where they foraged for supermarket cast offs. Some which were double bagged and still in date. We feasted on a stew made with numerous found vegetables and followed it with more cake I was comfortable eating.
All this washed down with sticky cans of beer discarded as one can in a trey had at some point exploded. Years later I made this video when I found out about the Freeganism movement. Sorry for the terrible audio quality and weird edit. It was made 15 years ago.
I bought this T-shirtover 30 years ago. If you ever saw someone wearing one in Rock City in the Early 90’s it was almost certainly me. I’m pleased to say it still fits.
It’s not as old as the 1984 Built To Destroy World tour original but it’s not far off. I was well into The Michael Schenker Group aka MSG back in the early 90’s. Micheal is the only original member of the band since 1979. I prefer his early stuff with the Scorpions and UFO. I have about 13 Albums with him in the Scorpions UFO and maybe 4 of the 20 he released as MSG. I ignored the later stuff as it sounded a bit cheesy compared to the psych or heavy rock from the early years. Out of the 15 or so rock T-shirts I have had over the years, this is the only one I’d save in a fire.
Here in the garden of the villa, keeping an eye on the place when no one is here, we have Reed and Livany. Off grid digital nomads who after selling their house and seeing the price of camper vans, saved a fortune by going for a caravan instead.
This freed up the funds needed to get themselves a serious portable power station and folding solar panels.
They went for a few devices from EcoFlow. The Delta Pro, the River 2 and the 400W panels. This is the Bentley of portable power systems and they have more than enough contingency. Looking at the app during a work day, Reed’s office is using 52 watts of power while the panels are generating 253W in the winter sun.
I’m trying to get Reed and Livany to get on to Substack and share some of their tales from the road. If I manage i’ll let you know.
I must thank the paying subscribers that pay $5/month to get all the content I share into this feed. If you’re able, please upgrade to become a paid supporter of my work. It’s the price of a fancy coffee a month and should we bump into each other you know i’d be more than happy to buy you a coffee back.
If you prefer SupportAsYouGo you can do that via PayPal plus I’ve also enabled crypto tipping in my Twitter profile (mobile only I think). If you do tip i’ll give the same value in full membership. Either way… Thank you for reading.
Essayist is a writing app for academics.
Substack have given users their version of the our community map you lovely people have been dropping a pins on for a while now. On the substack version I can see that there are subscribers from 33 US states and 66 countries reading this.
Cyber criminals are starting to use Chat GPT.
Some tips on how to defeat a military robot.
The battery that never gets flat
Ireland’s data protection watchdog fines WhatsApp 5.5 million euros.
Two rescue beavers team up to turn a mud puddle into a pond
Thanks for reading. Happy Friday. I hope you are well. Comment if you like. I’ll be grafting over the weekend but, back in England next week. Take care of yourselves and those around you.
“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It's not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.” ~ Muhammad Ali
Pop a cork,
See you out there.