Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
1 percent hardener and 50 percent oyster-piss
Last night, some sad person drove a black Ferrari round and round the streets of Bath, gunning the engine unnecessarily, and quite putting me off the composition of my enlightening blog post, so that I had to resort to visual content alone to get my point over. Needless to say, the driver had no companion.
Yesterday, I followed the instructions of the man in the Shape-Shifting Shop to the letter, and only added what I thought to be one percent of hardener to the crystal-clear, polyester resin that I flooded into the top of the Breccia marble column plinth to the right of the photo above, then sat back and waited the half an hour he said it would take to go hard enough to cut back and re-polish.
Two hours later, it was just as liquid as when I first poured it, and I began to panic a little. I spent the next hour trying to decide on a tactic to either get the stuff to go off a little quicker, or remove it altogether using about 500 feet of paper towels and half a gallon of acetone. (See Chania? I told you marble was tricky stuff to fill).
In the end, I decided to keep my nerve and retire for the night, giving it ample opportunity to do what it says on the tin and go hard of it's own volition. I will creep into the workshop today and slowly put my head round the door so as not to frighten it. Wish me luck.
Last night's dinner:
A half a dozen fresh oysters and about two hundred Morcambe Bay shrimps (or 'Nord See Krabben', as my German dentist friend calls them) on brown toast with butter, washed down with a white Muscadet, followed by one of the best arses I have seen in yonks (see previous post).
My little pocket knife is used every single day for a multitude of purposes (some of which you would not want me to describe if I am opening oysters for you), but - as I have recently discovered - is almost purpose built for opening reluctant oysters. I believe that more people would eat fresh oysters if only they had the right tool for getting them open.
The trick to opening oysters:
First and foremost, you need a short, thick-bladed little knife with a very pointy end, and it must either be a fixed blade or have a good lock on it. You will definitely lose a finger or two if you use an un-locked, folding knife. Place the oyster on a wooden board with it's back down and cover two thirds of it with the palm of your other hand, very firmly. Cowards or inexperienced people may want to cover that hand with a cloth or leather glove.
Take the oyster by surprise - do not give it enough time to use it's hydraulics to close the lid even firmer than it is already - they know when they are under attack. Insert the pointed end of the knife into the hinge of the shell at the correct angle, and gently but firmly push it inwards with tiny twisting movements until you break the seal. The oyster will give a little sigh of submission when it knows all is lost, and the shell will part suddenly, which is when most people stab themselves through the left hand and never eat oysters again. Oh and - by the way - take care not to lose too much of the seawater inside the shell - that is one of the best bits, and composed of about 50 percent oyster-piss. Chew your oyster. To swallow them without chewing is a waste of taste, and besides, I like to finish them off before digesting them.