Monday, March 09, 2009

Lenten Fasting

Goodness. That’s a whole week of alcoholic abstinence! And so far we are surviving!

I had rather assumed that there would be cravings and withdrawal symptoms and all the same things attendant on giving up smoking. Although, now I come to think about it, I gave up smoking (at least ten years ago) at a time when I was completely out of money and so didn’t have, or at least didn’t notice , any nicotine withdrawal symptoms being focussed, as I was, on getting milk and bread and stuff for home. By the time more money came my way, I’d more or less forgotten about smoking. Although I hadn’t forgotten about alcohol!

And actually, there haven’t been cravings, or withdrawal symptoms. I have to say that I think life is slightly dull without the addition of a glass or three of wine in the evenings, but otherwise all is well. Except that I am strangely and extremely tired and sleepy. Not sure if that’s because of the (gradual up to last Sunday) removal of alcohol from my body’s systems, the somewhat abrupt complete withdrawal of chocolate, sweets, cakes, biscuits and other sweet things (although not hot cross buns, which I am baking two or three times a week) on Ash Wednesday, a chronic lack of sleep, a sudden burst of busy-ness or a combination of the lot. Whatever the cause, I am more than ready for bed from around 8:30 or 9 o’clock! I do struggle on until 10, but it is a struggle!

I am hoping that the Lenten discipline of healthy eating and water or fruit cordial drinking may yet lead to a reduction of girth and a burst of energy. Eventually!

We have been doing early Lent blood tests to see if all this effort makes a difference. I was pleased to see that a urine test for liver function revealed that I have no bilberries or Euro-bilberries in my urine. Sadly, Lindsey informs me that abnormal results in a liver urine test would tend to suggest that you are very definitely Not Well At All. Blood tests are the way to go. However, this would seem to require a visit to the medico. May have to assume that no results are good results and carry on. My blood pressure has dropped though, even after only ten days of sweety abstinence, from high enough to presage an explosion of nuclear proportions, thus taking out the planet, to just high enough to suggest a small explosion, merely taking out England. The replacement cholesterol tests haven’t arrived yet, although the blood sugar ones have. We’ll do them both when the cholesterol ones arrive.

We had a very pleasant weekend. We did manage to get out into the garden a couple of times, on both occasions being driven back in by inclement weather. We had lunch in the Three Horseshoes on Sunday. We went to the Dunstan Hall Garden Centre, and the Chatsworth one. I was looking for new oven gloves and a proper outside doormat, both of which we found at the Chatsworth Garden Centre whilst poking about during a massive rainstorm. We had positive gales on Saturday night. They made such a racket they woke the cat up! Otherwise we just pottered. The Builder has made a start on the jigsaws Tabitha, Austin and Freyja gave him for Christmas (the same scene but over four seasons). And I cooked :-)

Back in late December or early January, we were driving through the Chatsworth estate and read the large notice that announced that Chatsworth House was now closed and would re-open on March 11th. We commented that March seemed such a long, long time away - but that no doubt it would suddenly come upon us and we would wonder where the time had gone. That time is now! It must be said that January and February were somewhat more eventful than usual so it doesn't seem quite as quick as it would in other years, but even so. Where *did* the time go?

Memo to the Weather Dogs: I have enjoyed the nice, proper winter you have bestowed upon us this year. I know Taffa is fed up of being cold and would prefer the milder, wetter winters you have graced us with over the past few years. But I have enjoyed the dry, freezing conditions. I have enjoyed the snow. I was very pleased with my unexpected day off, walking in the snow and chatting with snowbound neighbours that otherwise we never see. I appreciate that the cold weather will have killed off lots of garden bugs and (if we are lucky) perhaps even some or most of the slugs and snails. However, I really think that that might be ENOUGH SNOW!!!!! Thank you, and all that. But enough is enough. We had lots in January and February. We don’t need it in March as well! We’re getting behind with the garden preparation for the summer veg, and it’s not effective trying to dig in the snow. Spring weather would be nice, if you wouldn’t mind.

I wonder if it would be an unconscionable break of the Lenten fast if I were to make some Hamantashen pastries for Purim, which starts tomorrow. We have a Jewish team member who has been perfectly happily munching his way through the hot cross buns. He did, however, mention today that Purim is upon us and these were the traditional pastries for the feast. It seems only fair to provide tasty morsels for all the religious feasts and fasts which we severally observe. And obviously I can’t bake them and then refuse to eat them. Traditionally they’re filled with poppy seeds and not with the jam they’re mostly now filled with. Poppy seeds are healthy :-)

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