Since moving to Romania I’ve had some experience with people begging.

I’ve been approached by beggars in Australia too. One guy asked me, “Can I have $3?”

He didn’t look unkempt or dirty. I asked him what he wanted it for. (I later found out why he was begging.)

Something to eat, he said.

I won’t give you any money, I said, but I’ll buy you something to eat. (Some people claim they want money for food, but when you offer to buy them something to eat, refuse and ask for the money. Even though a food outlet is close by.)

So we started walking to the nearest KFC, which is what he said he wanted. Immediately, he upped his request. “Can I have $5?”

I’m conscious of not having posted for quite some time: things to see, places to do, people to go.

So I thought I’d whip up a brief and far from comprehensive list of bad films I’ve seen, rated from more to less entertaining; more or less. It is a very approximate list: as I recollect the various qualities of each film, the more their ranking fluctuates.

The Room
Megashark vs Giant Octopus
51 (After Dark series)
The Revenge of Dr X
The Blood Waters of Dr Z
Cosmos: War of the Planets (more…)

I know every person and their pharmacist’s goldfish has written about cooking eggplant (a.k.a. aubergine). If we have to eat eggplant, it helps to make it as palatable as possible.

As any chef knows, fragrance, appearance and presentation all contribute to an appetising plate. Unfortunately, preparing eggplant doesn’t really help with sensory input. The traditional Romanian way of preparing an eggplant is to roast it over an open fire. This gives a smoky flavour that isn’t unpleasant but baking cooks it more evenly, gives it a milder flavour, a bronze hue to the skin, and makes it easer to remove the skin. Our oven doesn’t have temperatures listed – just numbers 1 to 5 – but we cook smaller eggplants for about 75 minutes hour, and larger ones for about 90 minutes on temperature level 4.

A cooked eggplant fresh out of the over should have a skin brittle and easily pierced with a sharp knife. Leave it a little while until they cool down a little. Using a sharp knife, slice the eggplant open lengthwise. Slice again along the line of the green it at the top. Open out the skin, until the innards are neatly displayed. You should see something that looks like cooked chicken – the white meat, none of the skin – with a few squid tentacles added. Use a spoon to scrape the meat away from the skin, top to base. Try to also get the brown inner peel as well. The meat should be soft and come away easily. Unless you can remove large sections of the meat in one scoop, you can’t avoid the idea you are dealing with pulped, slightly oxidised squid.

Anyone for day-old squidplant?

Anyone for day-old squidplant?

At this point, throw the skin away, and try to find a good recipe. Try mixing it with dill, garlic, tomato, a little bit of olive oil and, for want of a better word, enjoy.

but a whole way of life.


Some Christians assert that Christians shouldn’t dance because it could stimulate sexual urges. I reject this assertion – that Christians shouldn’t dance – for several reasons:

Some acts are wrong for Christians, like using pornography, which is intended to stimulate lust; but other acts, not wrong in themselves, could lead to sin, like comparing our lives to those of others could lead to ingratitude. If dancing can lead to lust, this doesn’t mean dancing is in itself wrong. Dancing can also lead to having fun, making friends, getting good exercise, and learning a skill.

On a wall in Constanta, a city in Romania, on the coast of the Black Sea.

ma gandesc

For those who weren’t there (and the photo isn’t great and it had been raining), it reads:
Mă gândesc la tine în multe feluri foarte des.

For those who don’t speak Romanian, it means:
I think of you in many ways very often.

When was the last time you opened the silver paper on the top of a bottle of booze only to be confronted with a cork that you can’t pop out, because it doesn’t have a muffintop? All you have to do is use a…. Oh, you don’t have a corkscrew.

No problem. Just push the cork inside the bottle – very gently.

As to how long the cork can stay in the plonk without affecting it, I don’t know. If you empty the wine bottle, I don’t think you’ll need to worry about it.