Thursday, 25 October 2018

Another sunny day in la Bourboule

I don't usually approve of graffiti, especially not on churches - but this is funny!

Had a little wander around before lunch ...

I wondered about this - a romantic gift to some lucky person?


Back of the hotel where I am staying

I went out to have lunch today, given the dearth of cabbage.  I had ONE roll with my soup, one flipping roll.  And have been blowing my nose ever since.

Back to cabbage!

Monday, 22 October 2018

Eating cabbage in la Bourboule

This is a sort of addendum to the previous post ....

Apparently I have caused a local supply crisis in la Bourboule.  The whole town has run out of white cabbage.  Today I tried to buy some Brussels Sprout, but was warned off them by the shopkeeper - other customers have been complaining.

They are also out of broccoli, not a stalk to be had.

I may need to leave the town centre and go to one of the various out of town shops.  Mind you, they may have been warned about me.  I can just imagine them hiding all their cruciferous vegetables - it's that crazy foreigner, don't leave your cauliflowers undefended!

Snif.  I am sitting on my bed, thinking longingly of the feasts of days past.  Crunchy, sweet, juicy, delicious cabbage!  I ate it without condiments or spices, just cut into large chunks.  I spent hour upon hour, like a ruminating cow, thoughtfully chewing cabbage leaves, carefully and thoroughly, like a disciple of Fletcher.

I desire no other food at all.  Faced with the dearth of cabbage I am thinking of going on another little fast, just three or four days.  What is the point of eating, after all, when I cannot eat cabbage?

On the table nearby sits a tin full of shortbread, which I have brought as a gift for someone.  In the past I would have had no compunction to raid the tin.  But not any more.  I look at the tin and wish it was full of cabbage.  Shortbread no longer strikes me as food.

The last few days I noticed that my acid reflux has disappeared.  And so have my stomach and intestinal issues.  I am able to smell a little more each day, it seems.  I can sleep at night and breathe through my nose.  So my polyps appear to be shrinking.

The question is, will I have to live exclusively on cabbage for the rest of my life to retain these benefits?

I wouldn't mind all that much, actually.

Ah delicious, scrumptious, delectable cabbage!

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Being Bone-idle in la Bourboule

Sorry there weren't any blog posts, or assorted witticisms, or even a few snap shots.  Basically I was resting.

I have been having problems with nasal polyps for some time now, and the last few years they got so bad I completely lost my sense of smell - I can sit next to a raw onion and smell nothing.  It kind of destroys your enjoyment in food.

Then for the last half year it got even worse, in that I could barely breathe through my nose whenever I laid down to sleep at night.  So basically I didn't sleep much!  If I hadn't been so used to getting little sleep during the menopause I wouldn't have survived the last few months....

Anyway, I decided something had to be done about this.

I had raised the matter with my doctors on various occasions, but didn't get much sympathy.  Operations are pretty useless, since the polyps almost always grow back.  And after every operation there is a bit of scar tissue, and after the forth operation there is so much scarring that no more operations are possible.  So operations don't seem a good solution.

Then there are steroids.  A months ago I had a lung infection - probably from breathing through my mouth - and was given super-heavy doses of oral steroids for five days.  And low and behold, I was able to smell a little - a sure sign of polyp shrinkage.  This only lasted for a week, though.  Evidence that taking steroids reduces polyps, and that the effect reverses when steroids are discontinued.  Since steroids have nasty side effects, they do not strike me as a good solution, either.

However, there remains the fasting cure.  There is no evidence that it works for polyps.  No one knows what causes polyps, but they are related to asthma and sinusitis, which I am prone to.  Both are partly the result of inflammation.  Inflammation is partly caused by certain foods.  Fasting reduces inflammation.

I figured there was a reasonable chance that fasting would also reduce polyps.  And decided that the time had come for a little self experimentation.

The nice thing with nasal polyps is that I can gauge their size by my ability to smell - so no fancy medical measurements are needed to monitor progress.  The more I can smell the smaller the polyps.

First I went on a sort of fasting-mimicking diet for ten days (I was working and didn't want to keel over).  It's a special diet where you eat so little that your body thinks you are actually fasting.  I had about 300 calories a day, no sugar or carbs, just fat and a bit of protein and a few vegetables.  My body was not fooled!  Result minimal - I could sometimes smell something for a second or two, especially after I blew my nose, but that was it.

So I decided to do the real thing, and decided to stop eating for seven days, with only a bit of MCT oil in coffee when I felt faint.  After five days I hit some sort of crisis.  I sneezed for hour upon hour, used up tissues by the landfill site, and felt very very miserable.  Also very very weak.  Reluctantly I broke my fast with some beef broth.

That was three days ago.  I then asked my body what it wanted to eat, and received a clear but weird reply:  raw white cabbage and head-cheese!

I bought a huge head of white cabbage and a large chunk of headcheese, and started to eat, expecting the worst.  After all those days of eating first minimally and then nothing at all, I was overloading my stomach with raw cabbage, by the pound?!?!  I sat on my bed, stomach distended with raw cabbage, and awaited the inevitable.

Miraculously my stomach did not protest - despite me having a history of heartburn etc.  Ditto with the rest of my gastric system.  It seems that my body was so happy to be given real food again that he wasn't going to make any difficulties!

I continued along this path all day yesterday as well, but also added fried green beans and some cheese to my repertoire.  The delicatessen had by now run out of headcheese, so I bought some other, sort of meatloaf thing, instead, and offered it to my stomach.

It was rejected, and I was forced to throw it out.  Luckily the deli restocked today.  Head cheese has a lot of gelatin, and is very anti-inflammatory, so maybe that is what my body is after.  Raw cabbage is also very healthy, full of minerals and vitamins, and it tastes very nice - sort of like sweet radishes!

All the while I continued to sneeze and snort and wipe my nose until it was red and sore, and my nights were spent in sleeplessness.

Until this morning.  I awoke after ten hours of sleep, and did not sneeze.  Watching myself suspiciously, I went to the bathroom to perform my ablutions - usually by now 20 tissues would have become utilised.  Nothing, except a little half-hearted snort.

As I write this evening has fallen, and my tissue consumption remains at a count of three.  I opened the fridge to cook my lunch, and was assailed by the strong fumes of an onion.

I am not allowing myself to be too hopeful yet, but I really do think I am making progress.

So now you know why I have not been posting.  I was / am rather exhausted from lack of food, and needed all my will power to stay away from said food.  And since you are bound to ask, no I didn't lose much weight.  All that cabbage!

Now you must excuse me, I am off to the shops to buy another cabbage!  Yup, I ate a raw cabbage the size of a football in three days flat.

Go figure.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

The Quince Harvest

I have been seriously busy!

But today I took out some time to get the Quince Harvest done.  Possibly because of the slashing back earlier this year of the ambitious foliage that overgrows my garden  I actually had quite a few fruit on my quince tree this year, for the first time ever.

Sadly, all the best quinces are just out of reach ...

But I still managed to get two baskets full of them.  Now quinces have a limited range of usages.  It is either jelly, or jam, or quince bread/cheese (a sort of thick fruit paste, popular in Portugal).  I have had some success with baking them like apples, or turning them into a compote, but really apples are better for that.  So the harvest is more than sufficient for my purposes.

Quinces are usually ripened after picking, by keeping in a cool room, and, to accommodate the larger than usual harvest, I invested in a few fruit crates - basically crates with a wooden frame and a wire-mesh on the bottom.  Lined with newspapers they make a very passable storage facility for apples and quinces and similar.  Currently mine are nestling on top of my wardrobe in the spare bedroom, full of ripening quinces.

Since quinces smell rather lovely, I trust my sister, who is coming to stay in my house, will not be too distracted by them.  The fact that the quinces need to be kept cool - about 15 Celsius - and the resulting necessarily low temperature of the spare bed room, could cause some strife, of course.  What is more important, the comfort of my guest or the well-being of my quinces?  Decisions decisions!

Anyway, I had a lot of fun harvesting today.  My regular ladder doesn't have much reach, but luckily a kindly neighbour donated a much taller ladder to the street (where I found and joyfully appropriated it), and this allowed me to gather another two dozen fruit that would otherwise had been out of reach.

Picking from the bathroom window likewise added to the yield.  My walking stick, kept precisely for this purpose, served as a grapple hook and enabled me to pull fruit-laden branches in my direction.  Lastly, a net on a stick, usually employed in fishing bits of flotsam out of the pond, extended my arm by about 4 feet and also aided the gathering effort.

All in all it was a very satisfying, wholesome experience.

The sun shone throughout - much better than last weekend, when the Triplets and I went sloe-picking, and it drizzled for the entire afternoon.  I processed those sloes today as well, after a spell in the freezer.  I had managed to stake my claim on almost two gallons of the communally picked fruit.  We had collected four and a half freezer bags worth, and I kept two and a half of them, fobbing the other two triplets off with a bag each.  I justified this shameless piece of rapacity by pointing out that (a) I had knowledge of the best sloe picking spots, which I shared with them, and (b) had supplied the necessary equipment (old milk churns - there is nothing better for picking sloes, you pick the sloes into the lid, and keep the churn dangling on your arm).  They were very gracious about it, bless them.

Always start with the right equipment!

Large plentiful quinces - on this branch, anyway!

Spot the walking stick

Nice tall ladder

Mysterious mushrooms have been shooting up all over the garden

Even Lazarus the Croc doesn't seem to want them

Harvesting through the bathroom window

Spot the fishing net

Safely stored on top of the wardrobe

Aren't they cute?

Afternoon butterfly on buddlia

Thursday, 13 September 2018

La Bourboulian Holiday - soon!!!

Soon I will finally return to la Bourboule.

Arranging my annual holiday can be tricky.  I have to find a time where things aren't too busy at work, where my hotel has a vacancy, and where I can find someone to house-sit.

Anyway, I am off on the 14th of October for two weeks.  Usually I go for three weeks, but that just wasn't possible this year.  And who know what will happen next year, what with Brexit and stuff.

I shall just have to enjoy myself as much as possible during this holiday, and afterwards make do with Paris for a while.  Poor downtrodden me!

I have a few blog posts to write up, about Paris and Greenwich and Hoarding for Brexit and all sorts of adventures - I have not been idle this last month!.  That is the problem with me and writing - I always prefer living!

Anyway, keep checking, I will start blogging again soon.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Celebrating International I Love Broccoli Day - Better Late Than never!

Just my luck to get sick in the evening of International I Love Broccoli Day!

The  day was full of evil portents. 

For lunch that day I went to an Italian restaurant with my group at work. Although we had booked weeks in advance, we were shunted into a dark tiny corner in the basement of the spacious eatery, despite most tables outside and upstairs being empty.  Apparently they were all reserved, but none of the tables had 'Reserved' signs.  When we emerged from the basement two hours later, dissatisfied and blinking like owls, these tables were, in the main, still empty.

Their business model seems to be based on the idea that people who pre-book are a captive clientele and don't need to receive special treatment or nice tables - those are reserved for customers who just drop by on a whim and need to be enticed with nicely located tables outside and on the main floor, lest they take their custom elsewhere.

Sitting in my tiny dark corner amidst my colleagues, I was not amused, and ordered the cheapest thing on the menu, no starter, no dessert, and only tab-water to drink.

Which was just as well, since the service was excruciatingly slow - a three course meal would have taken three hours, and we were on our lunch break.

Several of my colleagues, of a more long suffering and forgiving nature than me, had actually ordered more expensive dishes, and some of them were festooned with BROCCOLI!!!  It was under-cooked and must have been underwhelming, since one of my colleagues sent it back to the kitchen uneaten, despite my admonishments that this was well-nigh blasphemy, given what day it was.

Believe it or not, no one even knew that it was International I Love Broccoli Day!!!!

Later on the bus someone sat in my favourite seat, and on the way home the handle on my carrier bag broke, and I had to transport 1200 teabags home by cradling them in my arms (there will be a blog post some time soon why I need that many tea bags).

Despite all those set-backs, I ventured out of the house again no sooner than I had arrived, and went to the shops to buy whatever I could to produce some sort of International I Love Broccoli Day meal.

I produced meatballs in tomato sauce and four boiled vegetables - nothing special, but time was short.  For dessert I had Rote Gruetze - a sort of Summer Pudding made from various berries and thickened with gelatin.

That night I felt the first stirrings of a cold, and after struggling on through yesterday, today I succumbed.

So not much of an International I love Broccoli Day, but at least I tried!

Sunday, 29 July 2018


I have been reading up on narcissists recently.  Why?  Well, I have also been reading up on prostituted women, autogynephilia, and pornography.

I have always been interested in the weirdness that is the human species ....

Anyway, narcissists.

There is a chap out there who is a particularly ripe example, and who is moreover aware of what he is doing. Most narcissists are not, and therefore have no idea of the damage they are causing.  This particularly narcissist, who goes by the nom de plume of HG Tudor, was pressured by his friends & relations to undergo therapy, and his therapists suggested that he write a blog.

Whether this is the true reason why he writes I don't know, but he writes well and clearly knows what he is talking about, judging by the many readers' comments that endorse his work and my own experience.

Basically, a narcissist is someone who, often as a result of a loveless childhood, lacks self confidence, and is filled with a deep sense of self loathing.  In the place of the loving, supporting inner voice that sustains other people in times of difficulties, narcissists have an aggressively destructive demon that tells them how worthless and horrible they are.

Narcissists try to shut up their inner demon by manipulating others into making them appear superior, by one of two ways:  (a) getting others to admire them, which makes them feel superior; and (b) making other people look small, so that the narcissist looks big in comparison.

Unfortunately, admiring the narcissists only works for them short term, because of the narcissists' deep rooted inferiority complex, which tells them that the admiration of someone who is dumb enough to admire them is worthless.

That is why they tend to rely on pulling down and devaluing other people, especially people who they secretly admire and want to be like.  Narcissists' main victims in this regard are their spouses, who usually end up with their lives in ruins, depressed and a shadow of their former selves.  Parents often do the same thing to their children, which creates the narcissist personality in the first place.

Most narcissists seem to follow similar principles and techniques to devalue their victims and destroy their self confidence, and HG Tudor describes and outlines these beautifully.  The many comments on his YouTube videos and blog written by many (ex-)victims of narcissists attest to this.

I link to several of his videos, and also to his blog below - some of them are truly chilling.

Narcissists like to victimise empaths, who are particularly susceptible to emotional manipulations, and they can really damage such emotionally sensitive individuals.  There seem to be more male than female narcissists, probably because our society's male role models encourage this.

HG Tudor Provocation   Why/how the narcissist insist on provoking his victim, and cannot be reasoned with

HG Tudor Crazed   While it is the narcissist who is mind-sick, he often projects his illness on to his victim, and makes out that she is the one who is crazy by lying, gas-lighting,etc.

HG Tudor Superempath Supernova  When an empath fights back

HG Tudor Narcs are everywhere!  It's not just intimate partners who hurt you with their narcissism

and finally a link to the blog of HG Tudor: