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Life across the grassy knoll

Cooking paella is to many an art form, whilst to others it’s a way of life and the search for its perfection is their sole raison d’etra.

So, how is it then that my neighbour at Alchemy – an ex derivatives trader, hotel and restaurant owner and now Mallorca’s premier landscape garden designer – created on Sunday unquestionably the greatest example of this exalted dish – and he’s English!

Mark's paella

He has become in recent months, my very own Capability Brown but in the process has consigned me to live in a perpetual miasma of dust and dirt as JCB drivers mold, comb and caress the dusty field that is home, to ones own Mediterranean version of Chatsworth.

Taking pity on our plight – think dust storm in the John Mills classic film “Ice Cold in Alex”, the whole of the visiting Heeley clan were invited to the other side of the grassy knoll (an old Taliot temple – but that’s another story) to watch, marvel and consume his and his partner Toni’s gourmet creation.

A cornucopia of lobster, langoustine, shrimp, clam, chicken thighs, squid etc etc (courtesy of Phaidon’s excellent book “108 paella recipes”) the great Feran Adria himself couldn’t have done better.

The Heeley clan

With more than a drop of pink Verve Cliquot – not to mention the excellent Macia Batle Blanc de Blanc – it was a joy to be free of the perpetual polvo (Spanish for dust to you none polyglots).  Picture us beneath his new pergola – in bamboo dappled sunlight – and it reminds us why we embarked on this mammoth enterprise in the first place.

Dolce vita – or should it be dulce vida – is possible – on the other side of the grassy knoll at least.

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