The Creative Hub, The Storey Meeting House Lane Lancaster, LA1 1TH

Black Sea Blog #5 – Pete Brooks

31st January 2015 by Morven Macbeth

Yesterday turned into a bit of a marathon.

The PC arrived but we couldn’t get it to work, so as a result there was a lot of sitting around and a lot of technicians talking loudly. We left the theatre about midnight which meant even in our favourite late night drinking den, The Munich, the menu was limited to Georgian cheese (more or less tasteless, slightly sour and with a great texture), salad and frankfurters. This morning the weather was beautiful, so secure in the knowledge that rehearsals would be unlikely to begin until the tech issues were either resolved or a contingency plan put into operation, I decided to forego the lift to the theatre and walk in. First I had to do some hand washing. Those of you that know me will know that I only have 12 items of clothing, and they are all pretty identical, the stains are more or less the only distinguishing features on the t-shirts, and these are important in that they provide visible proof that I am not in fact just wearing the same t-shirt all week.

There is something slightly depressing about hand washing your underpants with shower gel in a sink without a plug in a hotel in an ex soviet republic. Maybe its good research for the Cold War set Harry Kellerman show we keep talking about.

The walk to the theatre on the other hand was extremely pleasant. Its a beautiful day today and the 4-5 kilometre walk is all along the sea front, at first through the town where there are a couple of attractive seafront cafes, then past the port; big ships, a real hardcore industrial port, with a couple of beautiful mid century tugs/pilot boats but nothing you’d call picturesque. Then the real object of my excursion; Batumi fishmarket, small but busy and with a mixture of the familiar; anchovies, sprats and garfish but also what I suspect is some kind of Black Sea thornback ray. There’s a fish restaurant next door, The Black Sea, which we are going to try at some point. The food here is generally excellent and not at all expensive. We particularly like the ubiquitous walnut sauce which is called bazhe although recipes in English seem to call it Satsivi (which we think is actually chicken cooked in the sauce). Bazhe is rather like Tachina but with the Tahini replaced with ground walnuts. So I’d guess its made with garlic, salt, lemon juice/water, chopped parsley and ground walnuts. The recipes online all have additional spices but I can’t detect them in the versions we’ve had here. It can be as thick as hummus or as thin as salad dressing.

We hear from our colleagues in Oldham that The Mist in the Mirror went well, well done to all concerned. Here rehearsals are restarting so I’ll sign off until tomorrow.

Pete

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