Went the week well?


Skip this if you wish!

What a time I’ve had!  With the pancreatitis choosing to return and not go away (yet), internet problems, a busy Tuesday to handle and the odd fall (one painful), the past days have provided an interesting mix!

Health plus the locking down of most routes in and around the town thanks to two events – one being the laudable but not suited to small towns “Sky Ride” – where hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people get out on their bicycles hoping to appear on Sky TV – guaranteed that we were unable to visit our daughter on Sunday.  Monday was lost in a mix of trying to make sure Tuesday’s book  launch would happen while battling through a foggy mind.  Tuesday arrived – so long anticipated and with an enormous amount of work put into it – and Jenny let me sleep beyond the normal 6 or 7 o’clock!  An immediate loss of at least an hour of doing all those last minute jobs – like actually publishing the ebook and activating various suspended links!  Somehow, with a migraine looming, all got done.  An hour or two later, the migraine hit, but the job was done and I could cope with it.

Wednesday morning was frustrating in the extreme.  It was spent with access to the internet being episodic – never exceeding 30 minutes.  It seemed to steady down, around noon.  Then, at 1pm, it just shut down and refused to be reactivated!  We had absolutely no internet until about 6 on Thursday morning.  Thankfully, nothing dire happened and no urgent queries had arrived while I was offline.  Unfortunately, as the health issues maintained, and even tightened, their grip on me, I’m afraid that I hit that major nuisance: lethargy.  With a brain operating at something like one eighth speed, there’s little hope of productiveness.

Yesterday was still damaged by the lethargy and today is offering little hope of a change.

Movies

For two evenings, Jenny and I have watched movies.  Now, Jenny adores animated movies, which aren’t a particular favourite of mine.  I’m going to list the movies we watched together, with our personal ratings:

  1. Tinkerbell and the Secret of the Wings (Animation)  Me: 4/5  Jenny: 5/5
  2. Brave (Animation)  Me: 3.5/5  Jenny: 5/5
  3. Rise of the Guardians (Animation)  Me: 5/5  Jenny: 5/5
  4. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Live action, starring Nicholas Cage)  Me: 5/5  Jenny: 5/5

Before you start laughing wildly, I will say this: nobody was more surprised than I was when I gave the Tinkerbell movie such a high rating!  In truth, it had a very good, well worked out storyline.  My rating for Brave is based on a sense of something being missing, though I can’t identify whatRise of the Guardians is truly excellent, full of great humour, unusual depictions of some very well known characters, excitement, some very special magics, and… well, the list goes on!  And as for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice!  The casting is sheer perfection, the story has everything it should. and the realisation of the magics and other aspects required by the story perfectly executed.  Altogether, time well spent.

Nil Sleep Saturday Becomes Nightmare Week


Yes, that’s right.  I didn’t sleep at all between Friday and Sunday, last weekend.  To be fair to those following my blogs, I need to say that normal service is far from what we have right now!

The simple fact is that some events have conspired to make it impossible to focus on anything particularly well.  It’s family affairs with poor Jenny dashing about all over the place, on top of having had to return to work today after two weeks vacation.  I’m afraid that I’m thinking more about Jenny and the state of things with other family members, including the health of one who was rushed into hospital very early this morning.  So writing meaningful blog posts or doing any of the numerous other things I routinely do have been pushed aside for now.  Obviously, I’m hoping this is short term, but Life has no guarantees – beyond its infallible ability to kick you when you least expect it!

So, there you have it.  Fingers crossed.

(In the words of a song from Jesus Christ Superstar: Can we start again please?)

Recipe Books for Veggies


This is going to be a cross-over post!  It’s about books but the subject is generalised, so I’ve put it here.

I just spent several minutes writing a review of a very disappointing book that I thought was about food and cooking it.  You know the kind of book – I think they’re called recipe books.  This one was nothing but an exercise in yet more lecturing on what I should be eating – never mind what I want to eat!  Here we find a surfeit of information thrust at us, about Organic food and GM food and a bunch of other books that might, I guess, actually contain some recipes (each volume needing to be purchased to supplement this free tome).  Okay, so there’s then a fairly in-depth analysis of 81 foodstuffs – oh, sorry, that should be Superfoods!  Yes, indeed. In-depth.  But hold on a minute!  I don’t actually want any such detail.  All I want is a reasonable notion of what’s good with what and what’s not.  This smacks of sitting with your meal set before you, with each item on your plate carrying a little flag stuck into it with full nutritional information on it!  To be blunt:  I don’t care!  Seriously.  I’ve been Veggie for over 40 years.  That’s more years than some of these people have lived for.

Now let me address the question of actual Veggie recipe books.  They are simply stuffed full of every possible concoction that excludes meat, though hang on a minute!  Some are clearly not Veggie because they contain fish, poultry, seafood and various other dead animals.  Now, when I became a Veggie, it was to stop eating dead animals.  But some of these books are ‘Fad Veggie’ offerings.  They aren’t Veggie at all, they’re books that contain recipes which exclude certain foodstuffs.  That’s all.

Do you know what I’d really like to see?  A Veggie recipe book that’s genuinely Veggie and caters for all tastes.  For every recipe containing some ‘sophisticated’ foodstuff, there should be a good, plain recipe with basic staples.  Down through the decades, I’ve been told to expand my choices by embracing food items that have become very popular with Veggies and Vegans.  To be fair, I’ve tried some of them.  After being made to feel absolutely wretched as a result, I’m informed that they are ‘an acquired taste’.  So, I should persist with eating something I detest until I get used to the taste?  Why?  Some have absolutely vile textures, some it’s the taste.  Why would I abandon the foodstuffs I like for these?  And why can’t I ask for recipes that use good old things like potatoes, cheese, baked beans, canned tomatoes, canned peas, and so on?  Why must I accept sweet potatoes and aubergines (apparently the two Veggie staple ingredients) and a host of vegetables and fruits I can’t even pronounce the names of?  Why do I have to have exotic meals?  And why-oh-why does virtually every other recipe have to include some kind of pasta?  Potatoes are a great staple carbohydrate-based food.  They’re also very adaptable.  Even rice is a great staple.  Then there are pies and puddings.  If I wanted principally Italian cuisine, surely I’d look for it?  (Yes, I know other nations had pasta variants, such as some kinds of Oriental noodles.)  I can’t help but feel that writers of recipe books are just interested in repeating the same recipes, maybe adding a customising dash of something.  Where’s the tradition, or the invention?  What was wrong with that big, steaming pudding crammed with goodness that our forebears enjoyed with great relish?

Here, I deviate just a little.  Our food is being constantly adjusted to make it ‘healthy’.  Things are taken out, others are added, to stop us poisoning our bodies.  This is good, that’s bad.  Until tomorrow when that’s reversed.  Food like bread and canned items last for far less time, and are less pleasant to eat.  Why?  Because the very things that acted to keep them good to eat have been removed!  For instance, salt is removed at every opportunity – and we wonder when people suffer cramp –  so special, expensive drinks are made to help – drinks full of magical ‘electrolytes’, i.e. salts and sugar.  And sugar, which is converted by our bodies into glucose, is something that must, at all costs, be avoided – except that’s most powerfully enforced against children, despite the fact that the brain (a rather useful part of the body) needs glucose to stay healthy and effective!  So what do we do?  Why, we seek a ‘brain food’ and decide on things like fish oils, especially Omega 3.  Of course, it makes everything smell and taste of fish, but that’s a small price to pay, surely?  Assuming, of course, that it feeds the brain in exactly the same way as glucose does.  Given the wealth of information the experts have gathered on food, and the vast number of dangers associated with eating, it’s amazing that the Human Race even exists!  It is truly staggering that we didn’t eat ourselves into extinction.

=0=

Imagine it, if you will:  “We can prove, statistically, that the humble olive was the indisputable cause of the downfall of the ancient Etruscans, who had made it a vital part of their diet.   What?  Well, yes, others have done the same, but there are doubtless unknown factors involved which negate the toxic properties of the olive.  No, we don’t accept the research by XYZ Inc.  Their research is definitely suspect, being based on purely chemical tests without any reference to strict statistical analyses.  Sample sizes?  Oh, yes, well our average sample size is some 1500 sets of Etruscan remains.  Pardon?  Of course we didn’t survey living Etruscans!  There are none.  That’s the whole point.  Well, yes, we did hear that the Government are backing the olive producers and suggesting that our research is questionable.  However, a strict statistical analysis of members of the Government reveals that they have a vested interest in the olive industry, with numerous relatives working directly or indirectly for that industry……” [18 months later…]  “The recent acquisition of FStatView by XYZ Inc has opened previously sealed files to public scrutiny.  It is now known that the ‘Olive Issue’ report, which has seen olive production reduced to just a few dozen plantations worldwide, was fatally flawed and that certain funding grants from General RapeSeed Pty reveal a bias against the olive, especially the oil produced from it.  It is the view of analysts within XYZ Inc that it will require enormous investment in land and planting to begin to put right what XYZ asserted from the beginning – that the olive is both desirable as a food item and actually necessary for the health of all citizens.  Many thousands of ancient plantations were lost in the aftermath of governmental decrees against the growing of olives.  Now, we would like to call your attention to our most recent research findings, demonstrating that rice is one of the greatest threats to public health ever known…”

Eating? That’s A Joke!


Summer, Summer, Wherefore Art Thou Summer?

I know I have a habit of falling asleep at odd times, mainly through either medications taken or excessive pain levels, but did I miss something?  I thought this was June?  You know, that very nice month that blazes into Summer.  Instead, the skies have been grey for ages, the maximum temperature each day is a bad joke, and there’s strong winds and/or rain many days.  I’m pretty sure that’s not what the script for the seasons of the year says.  or have we got a new script writer?  Perhaps it’s in the hands of the writers of a certain BBC soap opera notorious for depressing its actors even faster than it does its viewers!  I demand a return to the correct seasonal weather, with immediate effect.  If this doesn’t happen (Government espionage systems take note) we’ll have to place the blame on the Government and have a revolution!

Seeking Inspiration: Recipes?

There comes a time in everybody’s life when endless repetitions of the same basic meals becomes just a little tedious.  Now, I’m talking as somebody who eats because it’s kind of necessary to continued living.  There are very few foods that make me enthusiastic about eating.  Most of those are desserts, especially certain fruit based ones.  At the moment, I’ve even reached a point where I’m struggling to be interested in sandwiches, let alone full meals!  I just can’t think of anything appetising, and that leads to more waste.  I mean, i have a small appetite at best, so there’s usually something left.  When I’m as I am right now, the leftovers quantity can more than double.  Considering that I’m still trying to regain weight lost, this is not a happy situation.

Now, let me detail the stumbling blocks to creating meals for me.  I am an extremely ‘picky’ eater.  I’m a vegetarian – who doesn’t like the majority of vegetables!  Quorn™ is pure poison to me, especially if eaten in any significant quantity.  Tofu is an unbearably obnoxious chewy, glutinous lump that takes on flavouring less fast than a lump of rock!  I can take good quality TVP (textured vegetable protein), as long as it hasn’t been turned into something like chilli or other highly spiced food.  Garlic and olive oil will lay me out for at least a week, in agony!  I can tolerate only the minute traces of garlic found in things like brown table sauce.  I can take eggs, cheese, dairy in general.  Note that when I say that I’m a vegetarian that means I don’t eat red meat, white meat, poultry, game, fish, seafood, or the extracts and by-products of these.  Oh yes, and I can eat small amounts of nuts but things like ‘nutloaf’ are inviting disaster.  I have an acute sense of taste, so things need to genuinely taste good.  So-called ‘acquired tastes’ are out!  They’re just unpleasantly flavoured things that you can get used to sufficiently to tolerate the flavour.

What do I eat?  Cheese & onion dishes, like quiche, ‘rolls’, ‘pasties’ and similar.  Egg dishes – fried egg, cheese omelette (never plan!) and cheesy scrambled egg (again, never plain!) – very rarely poached or boiled egg.  Lots of different potato dishes, including adding potato to the recipes for things like cheese & onion ‘roll’ and ‘pasties’, cheese & potato pie (preferably baked), and such.  Chips (’fries’ over there in the USA) and sauté potatoes.  Mashed, boiled or (infrequently) baked potato.  Fried smashed-up boiled/mashed potato- sometimes with additions.  Baked beans (especially refried so they go really sticky) and peas (garden or marrowfat but not ‘mushy’).  Fried chopped tinned tomatoes (especially with brown table sauce added – fairly liberally).  On odd occasions, tinned spaghetti in tomato sauce (hoops but straight might do).  Golden vegetable rice, but not other forms of rice (milk rice pudding as an extreme rarity, for dessert).  Macaroni cheese (or macaroni pudding for dessert, made with evaporated milk).

The vast majority of vegetarian ‘ready meals’ and pre-made products are, to me, vile.  I never touch them unless forced to do so.  For example, I’d rather have homemade Veggie sausages made using the proprietary sausage mixes than the pre-made sausages that become iron on the outside, have inedible ends and are often either too spicy or just taste foul.  In fact, I like fairly ‘plain’ food, English food!  I don’t take well to exotic dishes, including things like curry or stir-fry.

Over the years, I’ve created a few recipes for myself, but some of those were based on a time when I had a larger appetite and our kids were still at home and happy to have the same things, from time to time.  While Jenny may enjoy some Veggie dishes, that’s not often enough to make the larger quantity recipes worthwhile.  Unfortunately, by the nature of how some of the constituents involved, making scaled down versions is virtually impossible.  So I’ve been trying to concoct some new recipes.  The problem is: I’m rapidly running out of ideas for things I can feel confident about liking…

Challenging, or what?

Meandering Through Saturday


Discovery

There will still be bad days, even with the new meds.  Had one Thursday, and today’s none too good.  Still, I’ll be fairly content if I get back to more good days than bad.

Well, Puzzle Me!

Yep, I’m doing puzzles again.  Crosswords, preferably cryptic, are a favourite.  I also like ‘killer Sudoku’ but can’t find any so I’m rattling through ordinary ones instead.  At least it’s a bit of mental exercise.

Double Disco’ Day

Today’s another double disco’ day for Jenny.  One this afternoon and another tonight. So, I saw her up until noon and probably won’t see her again until the early hours.  Bad timing with how I feel, but there’s no way I could ask her to stay home!  Between working full time and caring for me the rest of the time, she needs time off.

Requested Artwork!

You probably recall the mention of Reuben and his artistic talent.  Well, I’ve given him some food for thought.  I’m going to need a cover for my new novelette/novella.  I’ve given him the details and am now hoping that he can do the necessary.  I think it’s challenging, but then I don’t have anywhere near his talent at art!

I also suggested that he and his friends might like to have a go at making a video trailer for my books.  He’s not too optimistic on that one.  I just thought it might be fun for them.  We’ll see how it goes…

Paperback Perils

The first paperback copies of one of my novelettes hit a bit of a snag.  The printer made a mess of things by not cropping the covers square.  Not the fault of skoobebooks, though.  Keith there has done a great job, and still is!  Poor chap was mortified.

The other novelette that’s been being processed has now reached almost final stage.  With FeedARead, however, I can’t release the book for sale, even on their own site, until I’ve seen a proof printed copy.  The problem?  I’ve had to buy a copy!  Not amused!  Considering FeedARead are ‘Arts Council Funded’, it’s costing me more!

Needless to say, all future paperbacks will be put with skoobebooks!  At least I get a free courtesy copy from them, and genuine, one-to-one help and advice.  With FeedARead, all I get is pro forma emails that can’t be replied to!

Handicrafts

The other day, I considered doing some cross-stitch.  I’ve got a big project that needs to be completed.  Naturally, shortly after thinking about it, I discovered that it would be very unwise to do it!  I developed some very nasty little white, itchy lumps on two fingers.  I could just imagine what threads would do to them.  Project back on hold.  Most frustrating!

Follower Numbers Growing!

Since restarting this blog, and changing its mission, the number of its followers has increased rather dramatically!  I would like to think that it’s because folk have been enjoying my posts on Imagineer-ing, but there’s no way I can really make any assumptions.  Still, it’s a nice thought.  If you’re a new Follower – thanks!  If you’re not – thanks again – and I’m amazed you hung around for so long, when I wasn’t posting!  I’d love to hear from you, whichever you are: do you only read this one of my blogs or do you read Imagineer-ing too?

Family and Health


Health

It’s looking like I have a huge “Thank you!” to say to my doctor!  The new meds are doing a fantastic job, so far.  Not only have my pain levels come under better control (for as long as the dosage lasts – today’s my first day on full dosage), I’m even sleeping better.  As a lifelong insomniac, that is a huge thing!  Three nights, now, with at least six hours solid, undisturbed sleep.  It’s bliss.  More, it’s increased my energy levels so when any ‘breakthrough’ pain occurs, I’m better able to handle it.

Family

I was delighted to see, on Facebook, that our younger son, Reuben, has been drawing again!  He’s a fantastically gifted artist, but seldom actually Reuben's Owl Sketchdoes anything, which is very frustrating.  He’s particularly good with pen or pencil.   Just take a look at the owl he has drawn.  He drew this as a “20 minute doodle”.  Some doodle!  I wish I had such talent.

I would love to be able to persuade Reuben to illustrate some of my stories.  Unfortunately (for me), he’s incredibly busy, with work, his table games club and a young family.  Seems unfair to have given rise to such a talented son and not to be able to profit from it LOL!

Seriously, I’m very proud of all three of our kids.  None of them have found adult life easy, as is all too common for our children, but they are all battlers.  Our eldest, Damien, is an excellent writer, if only he’d actually exercise the talent more.  Reuben, the middle child, is clearly a talented artist, but again doesn’t do enough of it.  And Emma, our youngest, is a wonderful singer and very able musician, but again seldom demonstrates her talent, other than in the privacy of family life.  Admittedly, they all have young families and Life challenges, which aren’t exactly helpful to the exercise of talent.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, Jenny’s not left out in the talent stakes!  She is a wonderfully gifted crafter, whose creativity has been creeping out into the light of day more and more.  Despite her protestations, born of a severe lack of self-confidence, she is truly creative.  She demonstrates time and again that she has the ability to come up with new ideas and creations.  I’ve done my utmost to encourage and reassure her, but I fear that she thinks I’m just being the dutiful husband and heaping praise without regard for honesty.  Really, she should know me better than that!

Well, I think that’s enough for now.  Until the next post…