Worker or Shirker?

I was raised on the ‘protestant work ethic’, even though my dad was a Catholic.  To be fair, he championed work and play in equal measure.  A union man and a sportsman – at one time professional – he certainly worked and played hard himself.  It wasn’t a bad philosophy, as far as upbringing goes, but my dad was, and still is, ultra-competitive.

I don’t think of myself as being competitive.  I certainly don’t have a ‘killer instinct’ that wants to win at any price, but I can be a bit hyper, always trying to do too much.  I don’t do boredom as there’s always way too much to do.  I can be impatient, and rarely settle to one thing.  I was never going to excel at one particular skill.  I was, and still am, always too keen to move onto the next thing, whatever that may be . That transferred into my work life too.

Although routine and repetition is a necessary part of any job, and indeed, an inescapable part of life, I have never accepted that you have to do things you hate, especially where work is concerned.  That was not in my dad’s philosophy.  Doing things you didn’t like built character.  In some respects I’m sure he was right.

When I was a baby I was taken weekly to the hospital for injections to calm me down.  I don’t know what was in the injections or why the medical fraternity deemed it necessary to calm an infant down.  Apparently I didn’t sleep much, or well.  My parents didn’t enquire as to the ‘why’s and wherefore’s’ they simply accepted that doctors knew best and let them get on with it.  I suspect I might have been labelled with ADHD if it were now.  I’m not claiming I have ADHD, or more likely ADD, but I’m still no closer to settling.

Perhaps all of this is why patience, and putting up with nonsense, is not my strong suit.  Until it comes to people.  When I gave up my ‘career’ job at 40, and re-trained as an advocacy worker, I discovered that passion and purpose can keep me motivated, whatever labels or temperament I may, or may not, possess.

If I’m doing something I’m passionate about – writing, reading, cooking, photography, working to give people a voice – I can pass the time without stopping for food or ever looking at the clock.  It’s a full-speed-tilt-boogie approach with nothing held back or moderated.  It lacks staying power, however. I tire. I always want to be onto the next thing.

It’s not that I don’t give things my all.  I do.  I really go for it.  I try to give my best, to get things right.  And sometimes I simply try to get things done because I know my interest is waning and I loathe adding something else to my list of unfinished tasks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a quitter, and I’ve never shunned a days’ work in my life. I’ve worked in Boots, in a hairdressers, a factory, for a tour operator, in a library and various other employment settings.  One organisation for 10 years (my record) but the compelling factor has been change, moving on.  I was never going to get my gold watch at 65.  And maybe that’s not such a bad thing.  For all my poor qualities and inadequacies, being unable to stick to one thing has given me skills and experiences I would otherwise have missed.

People learn differently, experience the world differently.  There should be enough room for everyone to find their place, and feel valued, whatever and however they choose to be employed. Because someone doesn’t stick at one thing doesn’t make them a shirker.

 

Feel free to discuss!

 

Picture ‘Scots fisher Folk’ drawn with pen and pencil Samuel G Green DD
from the British Library’s Mechanical Curator Collection.

My New Normal

 

The question was simple, casual:

“Would you like to join us for a drink at the bar?”

I’d been to one of my regular jaunts into the Highland capital for a literary meeting, and the kindly folk were being, well, kindly.

The answer however, was not simple.  The answer was complex.  It was at that moment I realised how far from normal my life has become.

I didn’t give the complicated answer, of course not.  Who wants to know that I can’t drink alcohol, or caffeine, or in fact anything at all after 7pm; that I have to be in bed before 10pm to stand any chance of getting anywhere near enough rest; that the effort involved in getting a train into town and walking to the meeting saps my energy and renders me good for nothing for at least 24 hours, and often longer; that my poor long-suffering fiancé has to drive into town to pick me up – an hour each way – because it’s too much for me to get a train back home?

So I smiled.  Declined politely.  Wondered if they thought I was rude, or weird. Or both.  They didn’t need the in-depth explanation.  It’s neither warranted nor helpful. It doesn’t make either of us feel better.

But sometimes I’d like to explain. Sometimes I’d like to clarify – that my constant leaving of the room is to go to the loo.  I’m not sneaking out for a fag or a drink; I’m not being rude and I’m not bored.  My bladder disorder means that I am unable to retain urine in my bladder without being in extreme pain.

I’d also like to point out, that however offensive it might be, my sweating is not something I can help.  The pain causes the sweating.  It’s autonomic.  I don’t like it any more than you do.

I might also stress that my lack of sociability is down to exhaustion.  I can’t volunteer to do things because I would not be reliable.  I can never guarantee from one day to the next what my energy levels are like; when I’ll have a good day or a bad day. And my good day might be a very bad by your standards.

So, I will continue to smile and answer the question simply.  For your benefit.  For my benefit.  I will continue to live my nowhere- near- normal, normal-for-me life. And when I see people who look sad or troubled, or in pain; when I see people giving the simple answer – although you can see the complication in their eyes – I will not judge.  I will wonder what trials and tribulations they are going through.  I will signal my solidarity to fellow sufferers of invisible chronic illness, who look so very normal but whose lives are anything but.

 

 

Photo by Debbie Mathews.  Installation by Sophie Cave, Kelvingrove Museum Glasgow.

My Cheating Heart -The Third in my Mini Blog Series on ‘Buying Nothing New’

I’m about to make a confession, although not that I’ve taken up Country Music!  When I decided in January that I wasn’t going to buy anything new this year, I didn’t kid myself it would be easy.  I did however believe that I would manage without too much trouble, after all I’m not a shopaholic, I mean I don’t even live close to any shops. It turns out my view was naïve to say the least.

Take birthdays.  I hadn’t thought about them.  Whilst I might be happy not to have a new gift for my birthday, my family and friends might not feel the same.  Is it fair to make them abide by my ‘nothing new’ rules?  Generally I make things for my parents; they’re at an age where they don’t want anything new and always tell my sister and I not to bother with presents.  We do of course, but usually something comestible: cake, sweets, chocolates, or meals out.  What about cards though?  I’m happy to make cards, and most people are happy to receive a handmade creation.  Most people, except my dad, who sees them as a sign of ‘cheapness’.  My partners mother was a bit like that too when she was alive, as if spending time making something didn’t show you cared as much as buying a mass-produced card-confection.  Perhaps they’re not the only ones.

As you know if you’ve been following me, I’ve already excluded the wedding, and now it seems my heart, or my brain, is trying to bargain more exclusions. I’m planning to start swimming again after an absence for health reasons.  My costume is wearing thin and decency demands I get a replacement.  Making one is not within my skill set, so my only option is to buy one.  The idea of buying a second hand one didn’t do much for me, but the idea of breaking my ‘vow’ seemed a lot worse.  So, eventually I packed up my pride and bought a second hand costume. I mean we all have washing machines right?  I was pleasantly surprised.

So, anyway, you can see my tricksy heart is looking for ways to circumvent my good intentions. I’m onwards into month 4.  Any suggestions gratefully received.

 

Outdoor Girl

 

Watership Down 58 miles from London
Findhorn 600 miles from London

I was born and raised in the suburbs of London.  It was Surrey then and is South West London now, less than a dozen miles from the city centre.  We lived on a busy main road in Park Villas, salubriously titled in honour of the local authority recreation ground which our long skinny garden backed on to, and which we called ‘the rec’.

As kids we spent hours in the rec, playing in the playground, kicking a ball about, playing mini golf or messing about with a racket and variously annoying the park keeper. If we weren’t in the rec, we were in the garden, playing with the animals, in the Wendy house, on the swing, or when we were older, doing a bit of pretend gardening.

Most of my childhood memories are outdoors: we’d cycled to Richmond Park as a family, and when I was older I cycled there with friends. We got 2 buses to the outdoor pool in Richmond in the summer, completely unsupervised. We played pitch and putt on summer evenings and went to the coast – Angmering-on-Sea, Littlehampton, Bournemouth – on summer weekends. We picked blackberries in the late summer and early autumn. We walked, cycled and swam in the open. Sitting indoors was reserved for winter and really wet days.  TV was an evening only activity, and restricted at that.

So, a city girl living in the far north of Scotland is more at home than you might think. I enjoy being close to nature and the seasons.  Living on a farm means time passes by the things that happen outside: ploughing, planting, lambing, hay-making, harvesting; passing the year through nature’s rhythms.

Life is less frenetic here.  It’s easier to take time to walk, to chat to people.  A lot of children walk to school, and get the opportunity to play outside, although I suspect far less than did a few decades ago.  Nowhere, however remote, is immune from the spread of technology in day-to-day life: the phones, games, pads, music, laptops and Macs.  The gadgets that keep kids, and adults too, locked indoors in bedrooms and lounges across the country.  Electro tech’ that’s deemed so vital, yet keeps a generation of children from accessing what really is vital – a connection to nature; enjoying the great outdoors.

We can’t go back in time to those halcyon days, which we remember as more idyllic than they probably were, but we can teach our children and grandchildren that there is joy to be found in fresh air and countryside by encouraging them to engage in outdoor activity from an early age. Being stuck indoors with a piece of tech should be the less interesting option.  I’m not demonising technology, simply suggesting that children need to reconnect to with the natural world.  We need a generation of caretakers for the earth, and sitting inside watching nature programmes is less likely to spawn one than being outside connecting with nature.

My life-long love of the natural world was kindled by being outdoors, by bringing all sorts of creatures home – rabbits, birds, tortoise, cats, fish, crabs – strays of all descriptions.  My tolerant parents encouraged me to be outside if I was moping about and that always energised me in ways I didn’t understand.  This still holds true today.  A brisk walk, a stroll along the beach, a short run, they all blow the metaphorical cobwebs away and re-charge us in inexplicable ways.

I’m lucky to have arguably the greatest outdoor destination in the country on my doorstep, but whether you’re in the city or another part of the country you’re never far from somewhere outdoors where you can rejuvenate your spirit.  Make being outside a part of your week and I promise you’ll feel better.

Personalised Plate Recording

 

I’ve always been able to remember car number plates.  Ever since I was a kid.  Our first family car, a yellow Mini: original A reg named Primrose.  The Ford Anglia, which was forever breaking down: 1965 ice blue C reg that always looked a dirty white colour.  The lime green Fiat 127: L reg and hideous, and it’s replacement, the black Fiat 127 with go faster stripes and twin exhaust (really) an S reg, and our first brand new car. And the list goes on.  My first car, of course, lodged firmly in the databanks, an Austin 1100 (F reg) and my second, a Mini Metro (X reg).  But I can remember all of them.  My Ex-husband’s car, a friend’s first car, and every single car I’ve ever owned. It’s a lot.

Given that I can’t remember where I put my most recent cup of tea, or what happened yesterday, it seems strange that my brain should have a data slot for car registration numbers.   I’m not a number person. After nearly 2 years I have no idea of my work mobile number, I don’t know my fiancé’s phone number and I struggle to remember the house number. So why this weird ability to recall car number plates that is no use to me – or anyone else?  I have no idea.  I wish I could wipe the databanks and replace them with something more useful, like remembering where I put my keys, or my phone, or what I was supposed to be doing instead of writing this blog…….

My Name is Alex and I’m Your Conductor Today!

train-seats

 

The young chirpy voice piped up a cheery ‘good morning’  on the packed train carrying a miserable load of  – now ‘ex’ – holidaymakers from Gatwick Airport to Clapham, and onwards to London and who knows where, home.

I looked up in surprise.  This was not the usual breed of grumpy ticket checker/issuer.  This was someone making the best of his job, possibly even enjoying it.  He was unusually verbose and clearly enjoyed interacting with the customers.

‘Good morning madam, may I see your ticket please?  Excellent.  Change at Clapham for Basingstoke, and have a pleasant day’

Amazingly, he was even offering to help anyone that might need it.

‘If you need assistance today ladies and gentlemen, I’m the handsome chap with the sandy hair and glasses.  You can come and find me in one of the carriages’

That elicited a few smiles, a few sniggers. To me, it was wondrous  to hear a cheerful voice in the grey London dawn.  Refreshing to see people smiling, perhaps against their natural inclination, at that hour of the day.

I suspect if we were all a little more engaged, a little less preoccupied with our own troubles; if we were to do our jobs with more enthusiasm, and smile a bit more, then the world would be a better place.  A smile is infectious.  You can hear it in someone’s voice.  It can turn a grey and miserable day into something a bit more positive, even if only for a while.

I wrote to the train company and asked them to thank Alex for cheering me up that morning.  I don’t know if they passed the message on, but I hope so. Good on you Alex!

Musings of a Former Vegetarian (without a current label)

 

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I decided, age 11, that I wasn’t eating meat.  Not no more.  Not no how.  My mother was horrified and thought I would die of malnourishment.  To be fair to her, she learned to cook a few staple dishes: her version of a veggie paella (with burnt tomatoes that tasted surprisingly good) and a cheese, potato and onion bake.  We also discovered pasta – a never seen before carb’ in our potato dominated house.

As you will note, I lived!  I soon found out about various aspects of nutrition, which sparked a life-long interest (and various certificates along the way) in diet, food and cooking.  The average supermarket didn’t have ‘veggie options’ in the early 70’s and meat-spurners were forced to buy weird things from wholefood shops that were packed in brown paper bags.  You had to be creative and engaged to survive without turning into a lentil-eating, sandal-wearing hippy.  As an up-coming teen, that was definitely not a cool vibe.  Rose Elliot, and later Sarah Brown, were my lifelines.  I cooked every recipe in those original books, discovering the amazing array of plant based foods, without the need for weird things from hushed wholefood emporiums.

I remained a vegetarian for over 30 years, fairly strictly.  I was never a vegan, I relied on eggs too much, but I’ve since dabbled with vegan cooking and enjoy the challenge from time to time, although not as a permanent lifestyle choice.  Being a vegetarian definitely made me more adventurous than my meat and two-veg mates, though it by no means guarantees a healthy lifestyle.  Over dependence on dairy can be a recipe for weight gain, and eating vegetarian versions of junk food – pizza, chips, convenience foods – will leave you equally lacking in vital nutrients and  as drowning in surplus calories as your carnivorous counterparts.

I didn’t make a conscious decision to stop being a vegetarian. I simply decided to add a little fish protein to my diet at a time when I was unwell and needed to make an extra effort to look after myself.  I’m not saying that you can’t be healthy and look after your nutritional needs on a plant based diet – I did it for over 3 decades.  What I am saying is that for me, eating sustainably sourced fish was something that I incorporated into my diet and found I enjoyed.

When I moved to the Highlands of Scotland I decided to try wild venison.  A healthy and sustainable option for meat protein.  (The deer need to be managed, to some extent, to keep numbers supportable in the environment, and make sure weak herd members don’t starve in harsh winters. ) So, I enjoy some locally caught and butchered wild venison occasionally.  And occasionally is the key word.  My diet is still largely based around vegetables meals, with one fish dish a week and a meat meal very rarely.

There is absolutely no doubt that in the UK we all need to reduce our meat consumption.  The current levels are not sustainable.  There are issues with the conditions of animals reared in other countries. There are issue with transportation of livestock. There is also some question as to the ultimate healthiness of a high meat protein diet. Above all there are environmental issues with excessive meat consumption, where land is given over to growing meat, when it would be better used for growing crops. However, it is also true that there are areas of the UK where crops cannot be grown.  Some areas of the highlands are prime examples.  The land is designated as ‘rough grazing’ and the fact is that you couldn’t grow crops on it if you wanted to.  In this instance, ruminating animals are the best way of turning poor grassland into a viable protein source.  If we all reduce our meat consumption and concentrated on buying better quality grass-fed UK animals, we could do a lot better by our farmers, who often struggle to turn a living, never mind a profit.  Farmers in the highlands, along with crofters, have always struggled with the poor land and the harsh environment, if they were supported with better networks and better prices, we could be self-sufficient in beef and lamb, without the need for imports.

Raising meat well takes time and effort.  The inputs are greater and it costs more, but it is a better option than antibiotic laced, GM fed imports.  I appreciate not everyone can afford the price of an organic chicken or a slow-growing grass-fed piece of beef, but if you only ate it once a month, once every few months, it would make it more likely.

Many people will disagree with my stance, and that’s fine.  I’m not preaching for people to stop being vegetarians, or to become vegetarians.  I’m encouraging you to be conscious about what you’re eating and the implications it has for your health and the health of the planet.

If everyone became vegetarian tomorrow, or next week, it would not save the world!  Many vegetarians eat soya, which has its own set of ethical issues.  The UK would not return to some mythical ‘green and pleasant’ land.  It is more likely to become a barren place of housing estates, out-of-town shopping centres and miles of tarmac.  In the highlands, where some of the grazing animals contribute to environmental schemes, the land would be overrun with non-native species and gorse, the deer would run riot, and new forestry would be under threat.  The natural world has a delicate balance and humanity has intervened for centuries, impacting it for both good and bad.  Without management, many highland species of plant and animal life would not survive.  Already threatened by habitat loss, they would struggle even more with herds of wild deer and sheep rampaging across the countryside.

Eating is both an ethical and political issue these days.  There is much to despise in modern farming, and there is also much to admire: there is good husbandry and bad; people who care about the environment, and people who don’t.  As consumers we need to encourage the good practices by demanding high welfare, slow growing, grass fed, non GM fed animals.  We need to be prepared to eat less meat and pay more for it.  We need to shun cheap imports that out-compete our home-grown meat on price, but not on quality.

So much of my life has been spent as a vegetarian that I still think of myself as such.  Most of my meals continue to be plant based, and when I do eat meat protein, it is always locally sourced, usually from someone I know personally.  We don’t all have the luxury of those choices, but we do all have the responsibility to think about what we eat and where it comes from.  My way of eating doesn’t have a label.  It’s individual, and so will yours be – flexitarian, pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, carnivore – it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s a thought-out position.  That will mean you’re doing what you can with the resources you have, to eat well – for you and the planet.

 

 

 

 

Food ethics, security and sustainability is a huge topic.  If you want to find out more, the food ethics council is a good place to start:

http://www.foodethicscouncil.org

A Greater Fear

alzheimersI fear Alzheimer’s more than cancer, or more accurately, any form of dementia: a disease that can rob me of my abilities and ultimately my mind itself – my life too in the end.

Writing is part of who I am.  I can’t imagine forgetting how to do it; forming words and sentences, expressing ideas.  Such an easy, natural and taken for granted skill, stolen away by synapses failing to connect; brain cells dying.

It might never happen. My octogenarian parents show no signs of it.  My mum was tested because she thought her memory was failing.  The morphine she’s on is the more likely culprit. She passed the tests. So no signs, no obvious risk markers, but the fear lurks: in my forgetfulness, my inability to recall where I’ve put things; the impossibility of retrieving the right word at the right time.  I know it’s tiredness, and stress from being tired, that robs me of my capacity to remember, to recall, but the fear lingers.  Pain is so much easier to contemplate.  I can live with pain.  I do live with pain. Even dying is easier to think about.  Easier than contemplating losing yourself and everything that makes you who you are, without even knowing it.

I think about writing about dementia.  I’ve worked with clients who have it.  My sister works in the field.  I have friends who have family members with it.  There’s a wealth of experience and information that could be explored.

But for now, I think this is all I can manage.  For now I‘m writing furiously for all I’m worth, ticking projects off against the day when who knows what, who knows when.

 

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We all experience memory loss, and the inability to recall names and words from time to time and for various reasons. If you are worried that you or a relative may have Dementia, contact your GP who will refer you/them to a specialist.

The Alzheimer’s Society can be found here:

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/

And Alzheimer Scotland here:

http://www.alzscot.org/

 

 

Oh Dear What Can the Matter Be? One Middle-Aged Lady is Stuck in the Lavatory

looI’m  not sure if the original version  of the ditty is 3 ladies got stuck in the lavatory or whether it was 7  – either way, I think I know why there were so many of them in there. As someone who has been stuck in the lavatory on at least 2 occasions, I have some experience.  My tale isn’t especially comic, but it does make for a mildly amusing post.

The first time was when I was at college.  It was the day of my final exams.  I took the sensible precautionary measure of going to the loo beforehand.  Unfortunately, it was at that precise moment that the door lock decided to fail and I couldn’t get out!  There were various attempts by friends to free me from the outside, but to no avail. My friends, understandably, didn’t want to wait about and get a late mark against them, but given that this wasn’t the era of mobile phones, they did agree to alert the caretaker.  I’d like to say I spent the time calmly revising, but I spent most of the time stood on the loo seat panicking about how I would get out and how late I was going to be for my exams. I considered various escape ploys, including getting through the tiny window and shimmying down the drainpipe to safety, but I didn’t rate my chances.

Thankfully the caretaker arrived swiftly.  I wasn’t standing on the toilet seat at that point, but he advised me to do so, and get back as far as I could.  In a space approximately 6 foot by 4 foot, that is not a long way back.  No harm came to me as he broke through the door to release me.  I daren’t tell him that the stress made me feel like I needed the loo again, and there was certainly no way I was going to risk it!

I’ve had a variety of near misses since then: stuck locks, difficult to shove bolts, stuck doors etc., but the second time I was locked in a toilet for real was last October, whilst on holiday in Lanzarotte.  I was on a coach trip of the island and we’d stopped at the aloe vera farm.  Not being sure how far we were from our next stop, I decided a visit to the loo might be a good option.  This particular convenience was situated about 150 metres away from the shop where the tour guide, staff and other visitors were congregated.  It was essentially a concrete hut at the end of a field.

Initially I was disconcerted that there appeared to be no bolt or visible lock, but it became clear that there was a Yale lock, with the key hung by the mirror, with directions for use.  The instructions weren’t especially complicated: ‘please use the key, not the handle to exit.  Turn key to the left.’, or some such wording. Suitably relieved, I tried to exit the building.  Try being the operative word.  The key turned to the left, but the door failed to open.  I tried it several times, with increasing concern.  I tried turning it to the right, nothing doing.  The key actually managed to turn 360 degrees without the door lock opening at all.  I tried pushing the door, turning the knob, in fact anything I could think of to secure my release.  When all of the options failed I tried panic.  It didn’t really help.  I smashed my knuckles banging on the door and was losing my voice shouting. It’s surprising how tiring panicking is in 26 degrees of heat.

I stopped banging the door and assessed the window option.  Why is it that toilet windows are always small and high and difficult to get to?  With one foot in the sink and a knee resting on the tiny ledge I decided it wasn’t a viable option, so I shouted from the opening instead.  Given it was facing a field of aloe vera and the mountains, it was a fairly futile attempt.

I did have a mobile phone on me this time, but who was I going to call?  I was on the trip alone and my sister was sunning herself on the resort beach.  I did call her mobile, but knew it would be futile as she doesn’t take her phone to the beach with her.  What’s the number for emergency services or directory enquiries in the Canary Islands?  I had no idea.  I was getting hot and thirsty by now.  I’d been in there for at least 30 minutes, although it seemed like a lot longer.  It was at this point of desperation that I noticed a large rock at the base of the sink, possibly for propping open the door.  I decided I could employ it as a battering tool to try and break the door down.  So, shouting and banging I tried once more to effect my escape.  It was at that point I heard the voices:  ‘We’re going to get you out’.  Boy was I relieved (no pun intended).

The shop staff had been informed I was missing by the tour guide.  Not that the tour guide had notice I was missing!  A passenger on the coach alerted the tour guide to the space where I should have been and she got the coach driver to come back for me.  It still took them a while to come and check the toilet, but eventually I was freed.  The news that the toilets were being replaced was of little consolation.  I was hot, emotional, and voiceless.  I survived the experience, obviously, and live to tell you this cautionary tale.  So, whenever you’re out an about try and make sure you take at least one friend to the loo with you .  It could save you a lot of pain. Literally.

Any (clean) long loo tales welcome!

 

A bit of Friday Excitement

 

wp_20170203_003I get excited whenever Friday comes around.  Not, as you might expect, because it’s the weekend.  I don’t dislike my week days and see each new day as an opportunity.  No, it’s because on a Friday I get to drink tea.  Loose leaf Assam Tippy Golden Pekoe to be precise, although it’s not the type of tea that’s important.  It’s simply that after a week of abstinence I get to drink something I love.  That’s the cause for the celebration.

When I had to give up caffeine and alcohol as a result of a bladder disorder, I was gutted.  How would I manage to live without these ‘necessities’?  Well, it turns out you can.  I can. Human beings have an amazing capacity to adapt to most things, with both positive and negative results.  As it turns out, I don’t miss alcohol at all (well, maybe the odd glass of red…) but I do miss tea.  A lot.  Given that caffeine is one of the substances that causes inflammation in my bladder (which lacks a proper lining) I’m not supposed to drink it at all, but I find that one small cup once a week is fine if I don’t already have a flare up.  So, Friday is the day.  I have an engagement with the teapot around 3pm and I do get very excited about it!

It occurs to me that we would all appreciate a lot of things a whole heap more if we weren’t swamped with them day in day out.  There’s an article in the news today about a shortage of Iceberg lettuce in the shops.  This made me laugh and despair in equal measure.  Salad belongs with summer, and if we ate more seasonally we’d appreciate our food, especially fruit and vegetables, a whole lot more.  That ripe strawberry, and many other food stuffs, become delicacies when eaten during their short periods of availability; think wild garlic, asparagus, artichokes, soft fruit.

Whilst you may conclude that my life must be lacking in excitement if I can get worked up about a cup of tea, I might equally speculate that we would value things more, not only food, if we weren’t able to get anything we wanted any hour of the day or night.  At some point in the not too distant future, that theory may well be tested.

In the meantime, happy Friday, and cheers!