A Truth That Should Be Universally Acknowledged

 

anti-trump_demonstration

Photo: Anthony Albright

A few weeks ago I completed something that has been on my list for a long time — reading all of Jane Austen’s novels. I’ve written previously about the trouble I had in getting through Mansfield Park, but on the fifth attempt I managed to finish it and surprised myself by liking it best of all. For those who are similarly list-minded, then Emma came in at number two.

Having done that, I decided to round off my treat by having an indulgent morning out, Continue reading

Parkus Interruptus

reading

I’ve been feeling out of sorts recently. Nothing too awful but just a bit overwhelmed and exhausted. And one of the most bothersome symptoms has been ferocious belching. I looked this up on the internet and found a list of 198 potential causes. The one that immediately caught my eye was Asiatic porpoise poisoning.

That wasn’t much help, but fortunately I had other resources to draw on. I decided to do a detox. This has worked several times in the past when I’ve felt low and as well as cutting out caffeine, wheat, dairy and sugar I thought I’d try a few supplements. An internet article suggested a cocktail of vitamins and minerals, and also spirulina. I’d never come across this substance before but discovered that it’s dried blue-green algae and is rich in protein. It’s said to be terribly good for you. My fatigue was so bad that I didn’t have the energy to question it – I just went out and bought everything that was recommended.

vitamins

I started the diet on Friday morning and within a few hours I had a caffeine withdrawal headache which just goes to show how much coffee I usually drink. By Sunday I was starting to feel better and my daughter, Emma, came to visit. After lunch, I disappeared into the kitchen to make some peppermint tea and decided to tackle the algae. I stared at the contents of the packet, which were intensely indigo and as fine as talcum powder. Since I’d mislaid my glasses there was no hope of deciphering the instructions so I plunged in with a teaspoon and took a mouthful. That was a very big mistake. Continue reading

The Clock Struck One

clock

In the last post, Riding on Branch Lines, I said that unexpected things often happen when I’m immersed in a ‘treat’. My fish project has been no exception. This treat has involved cooking ten different fish and was prompted by my lack of confidence with seafood. I’ve always been put off by the bones, strange appearance, and fierce warnings about overcooking.

In Fish Mondays, I described how I had problems in sourcing the ingredients at the beginning but that once I discovered the seafood section at my local Asda, this got easier. Last week was the penultimate fish and we had sea bass. However, this week, for the final flourish, things got a bit tricky. I’d exhausted all the unfamiliar species at the supermarket counter and had to look further afield. I decided that my best bet was the Wednesday market fish stall in the nearby town of Winchester. This was also a good opportunity to visit the specialist clock shop in the town centre and get some advice about my large oak mantel clock which is incapable of keeping the correct time.

I arrived early at the market with my clock in a plastic carrier bag and Continue reading

Fish Mondays

fish

I’m in a funny state of mind at the moment. Much of my time is spent thinking about the films of Billy Wilder, the novels of Jane Austen, and fish. This is both absorbing and frustrating. However, the ins and outs of Hollywood masterpieces and Regency love triangles will have to wait for future posts. For now, I’m going to focus on the fishy situation.

I’m trying to cook ten different varieties of fish and to end up with a recipe for each that I feel has been a complete success. The essential test is whether I would be happy to serve it to friends. This all sounds quite straightforward but I’m having to negotiate some unexpected hurdles along the way to seafood bliss. Continue reading