Monday, 21 September 2009
Keith Floyd - better late than never
'Low tide at Cancale and the beach stretches far to the Britanny horizon. The sun has resigned, washed out by the early evening grey. A niggling wind is blowing, rippling the water in the little oyster basins that clutter the beach like a system of crude sewage tanks. Concrete tanks that trap the receding tides are filled with sacks of oysters. Stumps, clustered with mussels, stand like rotten gibbets way down to the muddy sea.
These are the opening words to that seminal (to me at least) cookery book Floyd on Fish. Much has been written about the flamboyant TV chef Keith Floyd since he died in Bridport, Dorset, a week ago. I heard about it in Greece and was desperate to blog about it but my internet connection wasn't working. Now that it is, it almost feels too late to add my four pennyworth. But I'm going to anyway. Have to.
I met him a few times decades ago when he was filming in Bridport, cooking scallops at The George or when he was visiting old friends. He was debonair, funny and a little bit fanciable too.
Floyd made me passionate about fish, fresh ingredients and good food, something that in the 1980s was almost a thing of the past. When I split up with Number One Son's father 14 years ago, one of the things I regretted not taking with me were my Floyd books. So I hunted them all down again on Amazon.
Where Delia taught me the basics, it was Floyd who provided the pizzazz. He was never one for presentation over content. He plonked things together intuitively. His recipes rocked, really they did. It was great food - and great television. With his smoky posh voice, bow tie and quips to the long-suffering cameraman, Clive, Floyd created must-see television. He was also a great writer. I hope his latest autobiography, which is about to be published, is a great success.
And now he has gone. With all the fags, wine and the women and tumultuous overspends, I am surprised he lasted this long. But I was so sad when I heard the news. Really sad. And my ace cook, Mr Grigg, shed a tear too, for the loss of a kindred (apart from the fags) spirit.
I am desperately sorry for Floyd's girlfriend who was going to be wife number five. She is a jolly soul, a spirited, warm human being. They'd known each other for 40 years and fell in love after the death of her writer husband, who was my mentor. She describes Floyd as pain to live with at times. But she had found happiness, love and companionship. And now, two years on, she is coping with loss again, but this time surrounded by the media.
Floydy - you'll not be forgotten. Better late than never.
That's about it
Love Maddie x
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