A love letter to man and to an Island,
Once upon a time in Mauritius, whilst staying in a very fancy hotel paid for via vouchers received as our wedding gift…
I was gently snoozing on my sunbed, the little flag for drinks fluttered in the warm breeze and Rocket came stumbling over carrying a couple of beers and looking very pleased with himself. I thought it was the general ‘joie de vivre’ of being on the idyllic island free from the stresses and strains of Robben Island (the organisation we used to work for). No! It was something else. He started with the really annoying phrase “Guess what?! You’ll never guess”. I struggle upright, he goes on “Guess who I’ve just seen?” I start thinking, he presses me, and I’m getting a bit irritated… I assume the worse “ Roy Litten” I say. Rocket looks blank, “who?” “that guy I had a run in with at work last week, really annoying” I say. Rocket is now getting annoyed “no not him for goodness sake” FRANK LAMPARD!
Now this was many years ago, but super Frank was already playing for Chelsea FC, and this being summer he was on a break – in fact, it was due to be the world cup and he had been ostentatiously left out of the squad, so he was on his hollibobs with his then partner.
I was exited but cautious. I thought about the shyness I’d feel if I bumped into him while queuing for the ‘eggs cooked by a lovely chef however you like’ in the mornings etc.
Anyway when I pulled myself together I realised that the likelihood of bumping into him again was slim so forgot about it.
Later that evening, in the bar before dinner….yes he was there being all lovely and chatting to everyone who wanted a piece of him and inviting us all to have a drink with him after dinner. How lovely – we didn’t go. Rocket has never forgiven me…I just feel embarrassed about people who hang round celebrities is all – I can’t help it. (Not that Rocket is one of those people at all – he hates them too, but he did fancy pint with super Frank).
Subsequently we spent some time up at the pool by the spa, because I get fed up with being covered in sand all the time and need to occasionally retreat to a ‘clean’ environment for swim. Yes, I can be a bit high maintenance….Back to the tale.
Frankie and his other half were there on that occasion and each and every time I went for a dip subsequently– no one else, just them…. I swam up and down in the pool studiously ignoring them with my head twisted in the opposite direction…but I love him so and now he is leaving us.
Later that week, we were having dinner in one of the restaurants at the resort and we told the waiter how much we had been enjoying the food. A few minutes later the chef appeared and started to chat. We were asking about what types of seafood were native to the waters (well we would wouldn’t we?) and he was very animated on the subject – we asked if they ever had crab? Oh yes he said, I will get some crab and cook a special meal for you.
We didn’t really think about it again but arriving back in our room from twisted head swimming several days later, a message was waiting for us and it invited us to go into the restaurant for our special supper.
Away we went, and when we arrived the chef himself came over and told us that he had sent out ‘the boys in boats’ for several days but they had come back ‘crabless’ he told us that he had been very firm and sent them back again. We felt awful but, now that they had the crab….
The chef had prepared the most delicious menu with crab as the star, there was crab dal soup to start, a whole claw salad and a curry. It was delightful, the whole experience of Mauritius was wonderful, the people, the island, the cuisine…stunning.
I was going to put a crab curry recipe of my own in here but I think it would be wrong to even aspire to that particular food memory so just know that a crab curry may appear another time….
We love you Super Frank, you will always be Blue to us.