Escaping

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Whilst in the midst of my ‘I could scream’ mini breakdown my friend Eve told me she was going away for a few days. To Bexhill.

“Why Bexhill?” I asked.

“Because I’m thinking of moving there,” says she.

“What?! Why?! What’s wrong with here?!”

It turns out there’s nothing wrong with here, it’s just not home. Eve was born and brought up in the South-East and while she’s had a lovely time living in Cornwall the past 8 years it’s time to go home to where her family are.

We continued to amble along beside Loe Pool, as we do, chat, chat, chat when I said I was thinking of asking my brother if I could borrow his flat in London for a few days. Just to get away from my son, painful though that is for me to write. My brother spends half his time travelling and happens to have a lovely little flat in Camden.

“If he’s not going away you could always come to Bexhill with me,” said Eve.

“Why Bexhill? I ask again.

“I’ve been doing my research and it looks nice. I need to live by the sea and my budget rules out places like Brighton”.

So here we are in Bexhill. It is not nice it is a dump. It is soulless. There are endless shops devoted to old age: Alzheimers and Dementia Society, Mobility Aids, charity shops, many, many residential homes and funeral parlours. No doubt I will be delighted with all those things one day, but that day is not now. I cannot believe Eve is even considering it.

As the place that Eve booked had no space for me I did some googling and found myself a  bargain price hotel room. I totally lucked out. Eve’s place was grim, mine was fabulous. Lovely, comfy hotel: swimming pool, great bar, excellent breakfasts. The only downside to my otherwise very pleasant room was that the floor sloped at an angle of about 30 degrees, which was incredibly disconcerting whilst walking to the loo in the middle of the night, still half drunk.

The plan was to do lots of walking over the next few days to counteract the food I knew I would succumb to. As my hotel was a couple of miles outside Bexhill this was quite handy as it meant I more or less had to walk lots, just to get to Eve. Up and down Cooden Beach I walked, getting pebbles in my boots. My thighs are now strapping. I still managed to put on 4lbs in 4 days though. That takes some doing. I blame the hotel breakfasts. It just seemed rude to refuse the full English. Every. Single. Day.

Yum.

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I could scream

One of the hardest things about trying to lose weight over the years has been the need to cook highly calorific meals for my son, who has cystic fibrosis. The kitchen needs to have drawers full of chocolate, crisps, cakes etc, simply because he needs the calories. Of course he eats healthy meals as well, the cakes etc are the snacks he needs to make up the calories.

So I’ve never been able to simply ‘not buy any biscuits’, as many a diet article will tell you to do. I’ve always had to have these highly tempting things in my house. Still, despite the mountains of roast potatoes I’ve cooked over the years, Angus remains very thin. He is improving though now that he has a gastrostomy tube.

Anyway I digress. The reason I could scream is because despite loving my son very much I also find him so frustrating I feel like leaving home some times. He does nothing, or very little, to look after himself. When he’s in hospital he always promises that when he gets out he’s going to do more exercise, lift more weights, maybe get a part time job, be more helpful round the house etc, but he never, ever does. I went away to Center Parcs for a weekend recently and when I got back he’d not taken his tablets. The tablets that I help him make up, in little pots, that sit by the chair he sits in when he’s watching television in the sitting room. I couldn’t make it any easier for him.

If he doesn’t take his tablets he will deteriorate very quickly and end up back in hospital. Which he professes to hate. I have tried everything to motivate him. Bought him a treadmill so he doesn’t have to leave home to get his exercise (what the hell was I thinking?) I have paid for memberships to racket sport clubs. I have suggested he might be depressed and told him to go the doctor. He was prescribed a low starting dose of citalopram and then never went back to get the dosage increased to an actual therapeutic dose. I have offered to pay for 6 counselling sessions. He went to one, said it was quite useful, but then refused to go to any more. I have paid for holidays, meals out, take-aways every night he’s in hospital, bought him a car so that he could do a college course that he’s never capitalised on, the list is bloody endless.

But. I’ve had enough. The final straw was when I found myself bribing him, financially, to take his medicines, do exercise etc. Even that didn’t work. I have to just accept that if Angus wants to be ill and stay ill then that is his right. But I don’t have to put up with it going on in my house. Angus will always hold the trump card because if he gets ill, which he can do very quickly, then he knows whatever hard stance I am trying to take will melt away in my panic that I’m going to lose him.

I have lost one son (not to cystic fibrosis but an accident) and I don’t want to lose another. But I have to just accept that I probably will. I now have to try some tough love, knowing all the while that in the short term, and maybe the long term, it might make Angus’s health worse. It is shit. But I am all out of ideas. I’m quite terrified of implementing the plan my daughter and I have come up with (which is that he goes to live with her for a bit, she won’t stand any nonsense from him) but if I’m honest I’m more terrified of what I will do if I don’t take this stand. I am so close to just running away. I’ve had years of this and I’m worn down with it all.

***

Last week we had snow. Actual, lying on the ground snow. In Falmouth! This is quite unheard of as we normally have mild winters and we are on the coast. In terms of walking myself slim it was fantastic because I couldn’t bear to stay in, I was out in it, walking miles, taking photos, slithering around but having the best time.

In dieting news I am so fed up of losing and gaining the same few pounds that I’m now trying a bit of 16:8. That is, I only eat in a window of 8 hours. So I’ve been skipping breakfast. Now I’m not one of those mysterious people who ‘can’t possibly face food first thing’. No, I am one of those people who LOVES breakfast. In fact it’s probably my favourite meal. So this is quite hard but so far I’ve been replacing breakfast with either an exercise class or a bottle of fizzy water. I will report back as to how it’s going. Or not!

 

The Great Flat Lode is far from flat

For a long time I’ve wanted to walk the Great Flat Lode, or at least part of it. This is a long trail around the old tin mines near Redruth and as many of my ancestors were tin miners and both my parents were born and brought up in the area it has particular significance for me. I am also a woman in want of a flatter stomach and a good old hike is a step (excuse pun) in the right direction.

Lo and behold what should pop up on Facebook a couple of weeks ago but a lady who likes rambling and who likes people to join her on her walks who just happened to be leading a walk around The Great Flat Lode. She calls herself Cornish Ramblings. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time but haven’t been quite brave enough to do. ie just announce a walk I’m about to do on Facebook and see if anyone’s interested. Jodi is her name and good for her for being braver than me and inviting others who like being led on a walk, to be led.

I like both exploring by myself (I am never happier than with a map in my hand) and I like being led. With the latter there is no thinking involved and also you can have a good natter to whoever happens to be walking along beside you. If you don’t gel then no bother, you just drift apart and the next person you strike up a conversation with could end up being your next best friend. It is quite brilliant.

After weeks of rain the Gods were shining on us as was the sun. We had a fantastic walk though the name is a misnomer as it is far from flat. We even walked past the house by father grew up in, in Carnkie, and the house my mother was born in, in Four Lanes. We also walked past Carnkie village hall where there is a little plaque dedicated to my father. Such fame! It was six miles of heaven as two of my closest friends, Jan and Denise, came too, and we put the world to rights at the top of Carn Brea.

In dietary terms things Are Not Going Well. My friend Tamara gave a tea party for another friend Natalia, for her birthday. Tam makes the most wonderful cakes and I ate about 7 of them. And sandwiches. Well it was rude not to.

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Guns ‘n’ beaches

IMG_0175Out on my usual 3 mile stroll around Pendennis Head I came across two men with a gun. One of them was shooting something down on the beach. I stood on the footpath and watched them – they had no idea I was there. I took a photo. I carried on staring at them, wondering when and if they’d notice me, and if so what they’d do. Eventually one of the men turned round and looked somewhat alarmed to see me. At this point it occurred to me that it might not be an air rifle but a fully loaded shot gun so I decided not to hang around any longer and continued on my way.

Just round the bend, the other side of the cove, where there’s a good view of where the men had been standing I turned to look. They’d gone. I was perplexed. Was what they were doing legal? They were so brazen it seemed to me it must be. But then I started to question it so mentioned it on Facebook where the conclusion from friends was that yes, I should report it to the police.

Which I did. And now the police are saying I should have dialled 999. Aargh! They’ve also asked me to keep an eye out for the men when I next go for a walk so this is going to make my daily constitutional much more interesting.

Shrinking breasts

One of my motivating factors for wanting to lose weight was my consultation with Mr Breast-Reduction Man a year and a bit ago. He stared at my nakedness and told me I was too fat to have my breasts reduced. He did me the most massive, massive favour. He was right, god damn him, I could no longer pretend that if I had smaller breasts I would look thinner. I would still be fat but with perkier breasts. Perkier breasts deserved a better body to go with them than I was able to offer at that time.

He sent me away and told me to lose a stone. I lost three. Yes! I was really looking forward to presenting my new lighter self in his consulting rooms and being lavished with praise and a date for reducing my (still huge) breasts.

But something happened on the day of the consultation. Roads were blocked, the venue was changed last minute and I was also told that in any case the consultant didn’t do his operations in the Duchy Hospital any more. It was just before Christmas, I was worried sick about my son, irritated with the consultant’s secretary for being so incompetent so I just gave up on it and cancelled. The consultant, mortified at his secretary potentially costing him a lucrative operation, offered to see me in January instead, for free.

I was going to go. But then something happened in my brain. I realised I just wasn’t so bothered about it any more. Yes my breasts are still huge but they’re not quite as huge as they were. I’ve discovered Curvy Kate bras which repackage my breasts very well into something almost verging on perky. In short, I think I have reached peak boob job obsession and come out the other side. And saved myself several thousand pounds and recovery time when I’ve got enough on my plate as it is.

Today’s walk involved my friend Eve which was the best news as, due to illnesses, holidays and generally shit weather I haven’t seen her since before Christmas. We had a lot of catching up to do. A LOT. We covered every topic, as we generally do and she revealed that she’s thinking about moving back to the South-East. No!!!! She lives in Carbis Bay and this is the problem I told her. People move to Carbis Bay to live out their final years before they die. She is far too young for this. I am on a mission to persuade her to move to Falmouth, which, as everyone who lives here knows, is the best place on earth. She is unconvinced.

Yesterday I walked 12,000 steps. For breakfast I had bircher, for lunch I had tuna salad and for supper I had 2 pork steaks, sweet and sour peppers, creamed leeks and cabbage. This morning I weighed 75.1kg. It would seem I simply cannot get down to my previous lowest weight of 74.1kg. And I’m getting bloody fed up of it!

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OMG I went for a run!!!!!

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I am in shock. I don’t do running, on account of my arthritic knees, my dodgy hips, my unstable back and my massive norks. Haven’t run for years. When I say run, I really mean shuffle. As in slightly more than a walk, but it would be a stretch to call it a run. Even a mere shuffle results in my tits swinging wildly about, despite being practically bandaged to my rib cage.

What brought this about? Well… by chance I watched a programme called Mind Over Marathon last night, which is about a group of people suffering from mental health problems, grief, depression etc, etc. And it’s about them training, as a group, for the London Marathon, which is this weekend. I was so moved by their stories. These are people who in some cases haven’t set foot outside their house for years, or who suffer such crippling depression that to walk, never mind run, is a major feat. I cried throughout the programme, as I suspect most people who watched it did. I suddenly found myself wanting to join them, but thought no more about it. I am 56 FFS! My running days are definitely over, although I think I could count the number of times I’ve been running in my life on the fingers of two hands so you could argue they’d never actually begun.

In an effort to communicate with my 23 year old (going on 15) son I agreed to play racquetball with him this afternoon. I haven’t played for ages. I enjoyed it. (He needs the exercise, he has cystic fibrosis). We drove home and I thought, I have my trainers on, I have my joggers on, my tits are already hoisted into a highly engineered steel structure (I might be joking about the steel bit) so if I’m ever going to try a bit of a run again before I die THIS IS MY MOMENT.

So, slightly in shock at my own daring, I grabbed my iPod and started jogging! I bloody did it! Ok it was mostly a walk, but I really did jog a little bit too. And it was bloody brilliant. Will I ever go again? Maybe. Who knows, it might encourage the scales to shift a bit.

I can but dream…

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Of the good old days, back in January, when I was losing consistently 1.1kgs a week. This week I have actually put ON 0.1kg and I have been eating more or less the same as I was a couple of months ago.

Or have I? Have the portions sizes been creeping up? The wine consumption become more regular? The walking slightly less frequent and more slowly maybe? Or is it just that I am 56 and basically fucked when it comes to trying to lose weight and keep it off because of pesky fat storing hormones?

One of the things I really wanted out of this trying-to-slim-down lark was smaller tits. Surely, surely they will reduce in size as the rest of me does? Well, no. My bra size is still massive and hasn’t changed at all. Maybe I fill the cups slightly less pneumatically but what I really want is noticeable difference. Not too much to ask when you’ve lost a stone and a half is it? Apparently yes.

I’ve been walking 3 or 4 miles a day, as usual, though I did have a couple of days off this week because I was feeling poorly.

Things I have eaten in the past week:

Thursday

Br: 2 fried eggs on one slice rye toast and butter

Lunch: 3 slices belly pork fried in magic dust, salad

Supper: Pork chop in M&S cheddar sauce, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli

Friday

Br: muesli mix

Lunch: carrot and bean chilli on some leftover veg

Supper: sausages, baked beans and chips (parboiled then oven roasted with Frylight)

Saturday

Br: 2 poached eggs on rye toast

Lunch: salad with half a quiche (pastry removed)

Supper: steak, mushroom, salad, onion rings, peas, pepper sauce

Sunday

Br: muesli mix

Lunch: (Easter Sunday, lunch out) roast beef, Yorkshire pud, 2 potatoes, veg, gravy, most of a bread and butter pudding (divine). Much wine.

Supper: salad with half a quiche, pastry removed

Monday

Br: 2 poached eggs on rye toast

Lunch:salad with halloumi cheese and cranberry sauce, turkey slice

Supper: roast lamb in orange and ginger sauce, veg, parsnips, wine.

Tuesday

Br: muesli mix

Lunch: salad with halloumi, cranberry sauce and turkey slice

Supper: courgetti bolognese

Wednesday

Br: 2 poached eggs on rye

Lunch: salad with turkey and corned beef

Supper: balsamic pork, pesto cauli mash and salad

Walked round the Trelowarren Estate today with Eve. Absolutely gorgeous. The thatched cottage above is just one of many we saw on our walk. Cornwall in Spring is so beautiful.

 

 

I suppose a loss is a loss

…Even if it’s only 0.4 of a kilo. Huh. I was honestly expecting a little more encouragement from the scales than that! Maybe the wine has started to creep in a bit… I have now lost nearly 19lbs which actually is pretty good now I think about it. I’ve just googled what this amount of fat looks like and 20lbs looks like this.

20lbs-of-fat

Ugh! It’s good to know that is gone from my lardy middle. Plenty more where that came from though, unfortunately.

Yesterday I had..

Br: muesli mix

Lunch: crunchy salad with chorizo, bacon, french dressing.

Supper: pork steak in lemon and rosemary, salad, french dressing.

 

I walked very hastily around Pendennis Head yesterday as my son was cooking and I was running late. I cut through Princess Pavilions to get home a bit quicker and the daffodils and the blue sea lifted my spirits and I didn’t care anymore that I’d ‘only’ lost 0.4kg this week. I live in a fantastic place, my son was cooking tea (and I never ever take his health and ability to do that for granted) AND we’d just booked a holiday to Vietnam for the autumn. Another reason to be slimmer and I seriously hope my partner loses some weight beforehand because otherwise it’ll be a bit of a squash sitting next to him on the plane. And it’s a loooooong flight.

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Mending fences with a prawn sandwich

Lunch today was spent in companionable conversation with my Dad, at his house. I brought him an M&S prawn sandwich, one of his favourites. I’ve done this many times over the years but just now it has more poignancy. We are mending fences, Dad and I. This was not just a casual turn-up-for-lunch type thing, although we are both pretending that’s exactly what it is.

Until recently we were estranged. He said this, I said that, blah, blah, blah. I was hurt, he was hurt. I said to my brother recently that I got all my rows with Dad done in one year. And it’s true. Up until the point we fell out I had never had a row with him. He would often row with my brother and half-brother but we never did. Then, when all hell broke loose, over a Chinese meal, I realised I had a million grievances. Stupid really. None of them very important. Except for one.

My son, my beautiful first born child, had a terrible accident at Dad’s house. He died. But Dad never once asked me if I’d like him to move house afterwards. So all the years of visiting Dad since have been the most horrible, painful reminder of what happened 25 years ago. And until we had our fall-out I hadn’t realised how much I had suppressed anger about that. And boy did I feel bloody angry. He could have moved, but he chose not to, like what happened was nothing.

Anyway. Tis done. Dad and I have now made up (my mother is now not speaking to me but that’s a whole other story) and my peace offering was a prawn sandwich. I meanwhile had an M&S salad for lunch which was delicious but left me so, so hungry I could have eaten one of the cats this afternoon. I didn’t though. One of the things I am really, really trying to change permanently is not to snack. Ever. So I drank a load of fizzy water, went for a walk and when I came back I made some (delicious, though I say it myself) cauliflower rice to go with the Thai curry Angus had made (also totally delicious).

Tomorrow is weigh day….

 

Breakfast: poached eggs on rye toast

Lunch: M&S salad

Tea: red Thai curry, cauliflied rice.

Walk: Pendennis Head

 

Just me and my boy (and the cats)

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It is awfully quiet in the house. My partner has gone to Italy with his son, skiing. My daughter and her boyfriend are up country visiting his parents, so it’s just me and my son and our two cats rattling around this house. And it’s rather nice. Much as I miss my partner and daughter sometimes it is nice to not have to cook for lots of people and to have to consider their needs. The not so great thing though, about today, was that Angus went to college and made pastries. Aargh. He came home with an apple pie, apple turnover, spotted dick and eclairs. They all looked totally divine. Agony.

It was lovely to see him eat a load of eclairs though. He needs, as ever, to put on weight. It is a constant battle. People with cystic fibrosis generally do better the more weight they have on them, yet it is so hard for them to gain weight. I wish I could siphon some (all!) of my excess fat to him. For the last twenty odd years we’ve had this weird dichotomy whereby I am trying to lose weight at the same time as he is trying to gain it. It is madly frustrating.

I was at Rock Choir this morning and my friend said, ‘have you lost weight?’ I beamed. Yes, my lovely friend, I have. Over a stone in fact. It is nice when people notice. Unfortunately I was so overweight to start with I think the amount I have lost is still barely noticeable.

Today the weather was cold and temperamental and it would have been very easy to stay indoors. But! I ignored the call of the log fire and donned a heavy mac. I did the usual Pendennis Head walk. When drier weather arrives I will start being a bit more varied. However I do love my regular walk even though I got hailed on today and I notice when I got back how much my mood had lifted. Walking really should be prescribed on the NHS.

Today I ate:

Breakfast: my muesli mix (which consists of nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, dried cranberries, a couple of tablespoons of Dorset Cereals muesli)

Lunch: I found a home-made cottage pie in the freezer and had that with broccoli and carrots.

Tea: 2 pork steaks in sweet chilli and soy sauce and salad.