Wednesday, October 26, 2005

You are what you eat

I was going to provide a link to this post, but if you need a little background, go to and type in "Jamie Oliver" in the search engine.

Our Jamie has recently been involved in a campaign to improve school dinners, which had basically turned into turkey twizzlers and chips. I remember on the TV the other day that there was an item on a school that had taken some of his advice and had started serving up "proper food", and the parents had been invited to watch. Apparently, the sale of school dinners had begun to decline (well, in that particular school anyway) as some of the pupils had refused to eat it, and were starting to bring in packed lunches. One disgruntled father stated words to the effect that it was a waste of time serving up food that kids won't eat, whilst looking at his son who was going as green as the broccoli he was looking at.

This tells me one very important fact - they are being served crap at home as well as at school.

Their parents were probably brought up on a diet very similar to mine. I ate school dinners (although secondary school did tend to provide chips with everything). At home, I was fed a good, square, lunchtime meal at weekends or during holidays. Chips, burgers and fish fingers were rare - only cooked very occasionally. I had a roast dinner on Sundays. Sometimes we had fish and chips and if I was very good, a share of my father's chinese spare ribs and chow mein on Fridays. As I started to earn more pocket money, inevitably I bought a lot of crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks and my physique tells the tale of this. However, despite the rather high fat content, because my diet was basically balanced I am basically healthy. (The high cholesterol in my youth probably contributed to the fact my gall bladder was removed last year - though this can happen to anyone).

In one of his books, Jamie once bemoaned the number of mums he saw in supermarkets with trollies piled high with frozen crap food. He stated that he wished he could kidnap the kids and feed them a proper meal at home. The mums seem to have several excuses:

"They won't eat anything else" - Rubbish. I ate 'proper' food as a kid, and if I could eat it, AND enjoy it, so could they. The fact is, you've never tried, or never put in the effort to make healthy food interesting. Kids love spaghetti bolognese, which although not the epitomy of healthy food, can be balanced, can be made low fat AND is easy to make.

"I don't have time, I work during the day" - Look, I work too. I don't have kids and I admit I am one of the laziest cooks there are. If something takes more than 10 minutes preparation time in the kitchen I get cheesed off (pardon the near pun). I am very much a 'leave it simmering on the hob' or 'slam it in the oven and forget about it' cook whilst I go off and do something else. You're too busy watching Eastenders. You've got a video recorder, watch it later.

"I can't cook" - I got E in Home Economics. Not E for Effort, E for 'Extra Incompitent'. I learnt from an a basic cook book. If you can boil an egg without burning it, you can cook. All the recipes I learnt off by heart take about 5 minutes in prep and I can go and play 'Theme Hospital' on my puta until I smell burning er hem...its cooked.

I get just as peed off as Jamie when I see them in the supermarket, we're breeding a generation of unhealthy youngsters who will probably die before their time. Maybe it will be seen as another weird way of 'protecting our future' - there won't be one.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Darn shame

Your Career Type: Conventional

You are orderly and good at following a set plan.
Your talents lie in working with written records and numbers in a systematic, orderly way.

You would make an excellent:

Bank Teller - Bookkeeper - Court Clerk
Mail Carrier - Post Office Clerk - Secretary
Timekeeper - Title Examiner - Typist

The worst career options for your are artistic careers, like comedian or dancer.

Just when I was thinking of a new career..I'm a mixture of all three suggestions...rats.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The End of the World is Nigh (Closing Down Sale)

Oh yes. A suitably dour post for a Blue Monday (and being a purist, I like the original)

Before you shout, 'Hey Fi, aren't you breaking your 9th commandment (thou shalt not Bible bash)?' and scarper, hear me out before you sod offski.

Whether you be a God-fearing believer or philosophical atheist, can you really say that the world can only get better?

What have we got...hmmm...
1. Terrorists blowing themselves up at random moments and locations
2. A non existant ozone layer
3. Trigger happy presidents who think they're God
4. A Middle East just spoiling for a fight
5. Diseases generic to animals hopping over to humans for a party
6. Dormant volcanoes threatening to blow up, loudly and destructively...

...I could go on (and I do). However, I think you're getting my point here. It doesn't matter whether you believe all/some/none of Revelations, we ain't gonna last long as a species, not in this life anyway. Frankly, as a believer in Genesis to Revelations, its God's world, He made it, He'll start it all over again.

In Abergele, there's a shoe shop that's got 'Closing Down Sale' emblazoned across the window. Now, nothing unusual there, Fi, you say, shops close down all the time and what's this got to do with the end of the world? The shop has been 'closing down' since before I moved in. In fact, I distinctly remember when we came here on holiday in late Feb that he was closing down then.

It made me think the End of the World is a bit like that. You never know when the last bang will happen. And one day, the guy in Abergele *will* close down, and probably no-one will notice. I think everyone will notice the End of the World. Oh no they won't, they'll be dead or 'elsewhere'.

Me and the SOH started dreaming up all sorts of strange reasons as to why the shoe shop hasn't closed down yet. Of course, we finally settled on the very boring solution (and probably correct), the guy owns the shop and flat above, is retiring or moving on, needs to sell to retire or move on and hasn't sold yet, so is therefore continuing with the shop until it sells.

Of course, there could be a similar reason as to why God hasn't ended the world yet. Perhaps he's waiting for a buyer.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

To everything - turn, turn, turn

I arrived here late Spring and now Summer has given way to Autumn.

When I was in London, I didn't notice the changing of the seasons very much. In Spring, the mornings were less nippy and on the few patches of green grass that I could see on my way to work, daffodils and crocuses were poking through. Summer - well, the trees got greener and my trip to work was warmer, I could stop wearing my coat and make do with a jacket. Autumn was just like Spring.

Here, though, the seasons are a lot more marked. Acres of sky mean that you can see evening by evening as the sun veers round from its Spring cycle round to the summer. In late Spring, the last of the lambs and the first of the calves are born. Crocuses and daffodils give way to the bright colours of summer and breezes blow on the hilltops. The sea gives off a misty haze caused by the heat - not, obviously, like the Meditterranean heat hazes, but a miniature version that is North Wales' own. As we can see the horizon round 200 degrees or thereabouts, the summer days seem to last longer. Seagulls make the most of the pickings around the beach before they will have to do the best they can when the tourists have gone - like, eat real food for once.

Autumn - well, autumn is just really special. Oh yeah, the trees went brown in London and of course they do here too, although there seems to be a great deal more evergreens than where I lived previously. Autumn is when the rams are released into fields of ewes, who will be lambing between January and March. The swifts, swallows and housemartins have gone now, but out of both my sitting room and workplace window, I watched the youngsters practice their flight skills, ready for an epic journey which they may be blissfully unaware that only a few of them will return from. On Saturday, we went to Llandudno and saw the sea at its most beautiful and threatening; the sea bashing up against the rocks, soaking the fishermen and anyone else caught unawares, telling tales of a storm out in the Irish Sea and warning the coast dwellers to beware of their choice of living so close to nature.

If London makes a footprint on the world, North Wales leaves a fingerprint on your mind. Gentle, personal and always unique.