I've become a Friend of the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, the county town of West Sussex. So now I can pop in whenever I want, for nothing.
This is an important provincial art gallery rather on the the lines of the Tate St Ives, at least for size, general style, facilities, and function within the local community. But instead of being a modernistic white concrete-and-glass creation in a Cornish fishing town overlooking a beach, it's partly inside a large distinguished Georgian redbrick town house (that's Pallant House) built in 1712, the major feature in a very Georgian part of this very Georgian city, with creaking floorboards and all. The main parts of the Gallery (constructed in the 2000s) are however to the side and rear of the House, forming a state of the art (no pun intended) super-modern art gallery par excellence. The complex includes the rear courtyard behind the House, wherein lies the Field & Fork restaurant that I got wind of on my last visit a couple of weeks ago. I gave it a try. Here are the elements of my lunch:
The delicious fresh bread was of two kinds, one of them flavoured with fennel and something else that I couldn't quite make out, and the soft butter had an orgasmic saltiness that tingled the tongue. I was in the mood for a velvety red wine, so chose a glass of merlot.
For my main course, I selected maple-glazed pork belly with smoked eel on nests of shaved carrot, sesame seeds and other things, all in a ginger jus. The long thin object was a strip of pork crackling, but only one millimetre thick; it was like a delicate wafer, and although crisp could not possibly break your teeth. Yummy. Mind, you, being crackling, it was tricky not to send it flying off stage left when cutting it up! (I'll be incorporating advice on this and other skills in my forthcoming book, Hot Hints for Hot New Women)
Then for dessert it was a spiced poached pear with vanilla cream and a meringue biscuit, washed down by a strong black Americano.
The total cost was £21.75. OK, a bit expensive for a lunch, but really this was fine dining on the cheap, and half the cost of lunching at Rick Stein's in Padstow (although that was an experience I'd like to enjoy again). As for calories, I reckon that I consumed not more than 600 kcal for the lot. And I walked some of that off in the shopping that followed! It was 'necessary' shopping for my post-op home experience. I thought laterally, considered what I'd need if a pregnant mum-to-be, and got various items from Mothercare such as sheets to protect the bed from vaginal leakage - just right for dilation I'd say! It was rather nice feeling mumsy.
Life's not all fancy lunches. Next day - last night - I had a frugal evening meal consisting of a halibut steak, one small potato and sugar snap peas:
Just 339 kcal for this! Oh, let me polish my halo...
PS - I rather like the phrase 'New Woman' for the post-op transsexual state. It's non-medical, emphasises the feminine nature of the transformed creature, and sounds full of hope for the future. A bit like the 'New Woman' of the early 20th century, who aspired to equality, voting rights and a good time. And I hope that pre-op women approve of it it too. And natal women also.
From the humorous magazine Punch of 1905. Click on the illustration to see it in detail. I think the Latin tag means something like 'Live first; only then philosophise'.
By the way, I fibbed: there's actually no book in the making! But on the other hand, when sitting around at home during the next few months, slowly going ga-ga with inactivity, why don't I fire up the laptop and set to with my very best distilled thoughts?