Lunch with a Dutch Girl..

Wow, the Pet Shop Boys are still performing; the Pandemonium tour is in full swing. With just one truck, Neil and Chris have got the equipment down to nine tons – ‘We’ll have to lose some of the crew; you’re a heavy lot,’ they say. This I glean from the tour programme.

What I admire most about them – call it the sublime to the ridiculous if you like – is the importance they place on mealtimes. One o’clock is lunch.

My lunch today is with Donja, the sort of Dutch girl you could buy a farm and settle down with. Living in Central Amsterdam – a hefty cycle ride from the Ajax Stadium – she is convalescing from a snowboard accident. ‘I broke my back,’ she says matter-of-factly. ‘And my left arm.’

A week or so later, her right arm appeared bluer than it ought to; something was wrong. Movement was dexterous, if a little painful, but she forced those rogues at the hospital to take an X-ray. ‘Sorry,’ they said, ‘but that arm is broken, too.’

A corset!

For someone fresh out of a corset – not as saucy as it sounds; it’s more like a harness, really – she’s in remarkably fine fettle, buzzing round the flat like an able-bodied person. Perfectly capable, in fact, of preparing my lunch.

‘You should be able to cook at your age,’ she says, barely visible behind a square foot of Turkish bread. ‘Why don’t you do a course?’ Well, because the whole exercise seems such a bore, that’s why. When I’m hungry, I want to eat immediately, not fool about chopping things.

Food and Wine

I’ve just realised, with an embarrassed shudder, that I’ve stalled for more than a decade now, surviving when at home on a food-for-wine program. This entails being pampered by Shiraz-guzzling beauties most of the time, but heating up a stir-fry myself at an absolute push. I’m not proud of it.

‘I admit it’s less pathetic than a girl not being able to cook, though,’ says Donja, making me feel marginally less useless. She spits a cherry stone onto the garden soil. It feels a bit like a Sunday.

Back at the AC/DC stadium, French Fred is photographing his shoes..