Around 13 years ago, over breakfast at the Malabar House Hotel in Cochin I was introduced to one of the most extraordinary, fascinating and yet unassuming men it has ever been my privilege to meet, Anderson Bakewell. He had just spent three years living like a local in Mandvi, Gujarat, building a 120ft sailing dhow, traditionally, without power tools, they way they had been built for centuries. SY Sanjeeda was her name and she was extraordinarily beautiful. Anderson and I ended up working together and he sent me all over the Indian Ocean from Mauritius to the Comoros, Seychelles securing her passage. I was also once held on her whilst she was impounded off the coast of Sri Lanka for 48 hrs, but that’s another story.
Anderson ended up selling Sanjeeda, but not without another project up his sleeve. This
time to set up a whisky distillery on The Isle of Harris. Now whisky takes a while to produce and so in the meantime, he has started producing gin not in vast quantities and it is little known, only available at Harvey Nick’s or online, but, it is one which has already won some awards.
Now more than 30 years ago, I met Edward Worsley and for much of that time, he has had a dream to retire to Portugal, to a place with an orange grove. Now, such is the thing that dreams are made of, he and Tom Swann now have that orange grove, though the restoration project that came with it means that they are far from retired. In two weeks time, or thereabouts, they will be opening their restaurant and bar A Nossa Tasca Na Nora.
I therefore felt the need to bob across the water, pay them a visit, stick my nose in, and generally bloody interfere. Whilst on my inspection of their new venture I was astounded and somewhat delighted to see a bottle of Anderson’s gin behind the bar, in this little village in the hills in the middle of not very much, apart from the fragrant orange trees, in Portugal.
I love the fascinating people I am fortunate to meet in this world, I am inspired by colleagues and friends who have the temerity to follow their dreams and am increasingly fascinated by the strange, interconnecting circles of life.
Right, have to go and don some rubber gloves. I have just been reminded that a restaurant this one to opening doesn’t clean itself. Sigh, I guess there really is no such thing as a free lunch!
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