Monday, 23 February 2009


Allergies are funny things… I am sitting here typing this with an itchy left eye, which means that the pollen has started, it is uncomfortable, however it will be easily solved once I get to a chemists and pickup some Piriton, in addition pollens help flare up my asthma and eczema, I stayed with my Mother for a while whilst I was suffering a bit of misery, and could barely walk after about a week because of all the trees she has around the house. The best my asthma and eczema have ever been was when I was living in the smog of London .

On Saturday I went to a chums flat, and his lady friend made some very pleasant snacks, pinwheels, crudités, halloumi wrapped in pancetta which were all very toothsome, and some backed mushrooms with garlic and cream cheese, they were supposed to have some pesto in them as well, the ingredients included cashew nuts, against which I have another allergy so that was left out, so the taste was mainly of grilled mushrooms. As the evening went on my tummy started to swell (or at least feel as if it were swelling) and I became most uncomfortable, in fact I had to make my excuses and leave. I remembered as I was driving home, having let my belt out a couple of notches, that I have never liked baked/grilled or raw mushrooms, and I am guessing that they were the cause of my discomfort, Oysters have the same effect on me, and they used to be one of my favourite things, Mater took me to Whitstable for my birthday once, and I have half a dozen oysters, and had to get rid of them quite quickly.

On the other hand, if I eat nuts my lips go all buzzy, and my throat constricts, as a good allergy is supposed to me. I have known about this for over 38 years, and so I avoid nuts.

There was an article recently on how doctors were desensitising children to peanuts by exposing them to small amounts and then increasing that by a small amount each day. Funnily enough this is what I have done with a number of things, not ones that I am violently allergic to, but things like eggs and bread which does make life easier. However it does seem that for most things I would need to start off smaller than one egg or one slice of bread, after all I was around the trees for a long time and my reaction never really decreased, my steroid intake went up instead. Although now I think of it I did have an oyster at the Fat Duck and didn’t have a reaction to it.

I don’t really understand why I can have three (or maybe four) different reactions to different allergens.

Actually, whilst I am on the subject of allergies I am going to vent on my worst of all time.

When I was about 12 I went on a diet where all one could eat for two weeks was, Cod, Lamb, Broccoli, and Pears, and all one could drink was distilled water, these being the things that fewest people were allergic to. One can get very bored of steamed cod and steamed broccoli very quickly. After that one could add a new food a week, and see if one had a reaction to it, I particularly remember the week when soya beans were added as uninspiring.

Anyway that was not the bad diet. When I was about 5 the doctor decided that I must be a coeliac, I think it was the flavour of the month at the time, anyway this meant that I could not eat any baked goods, excepting “gluten free” bread, and cake. The cake was very nice, the bread, one had to get the bread from the chemists, it was in a red tin, and it is still one of the most revolting things I have ever tasted, I LVOE bread, I love the texture and the taste, this stuff came out of the tin stale, dry, and just horrible. I coped with this diet until I was about 11. When somehow it was discovered that I was allergic to gluten, now you may thing that “gluten free” would be OK for me, you would be wrong “gluten free” was created for coeliacs of whom I was not one, and they have no reaction to a small amount of gluten, whereas me, I may as well have been eating normal bread all the time. /whinge

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Shops and my town

Another quiet week, working Monday to Friday, a distinct lack of excerise, so no weight loast again, although my shopping this week should help me a bit.

So again I digress, what is life like living on the borders of Surrey, Middlesex, and Berkshore? Well to me it seems normal, since apart from my two visits to University I have always lived here.

My town was blessed to have two university campuses, one of them has now left, but the other has taken over its buildings. Having so many students means that the town can support supermarkets, not necessarily a wonderful thing, however in so many places one has to drive to an out of town superstore. We have three supermarkets, with a fourth having been granted planning permission, and a fifth masquerading as a garage.

So we have a Tesco (UKs largest supermarket chain, cheap and relatively cheerful), and Iceland (specialising in frozen foods, but with some non frozen staples), a Budgens (Open 24x7x365 for at least 11 years, a little pricy, but otherwise very similar to Tesco), Waitrose will be opening in a few years (the supermarket I normally shop at, more expensive, but generally better quality and flavour), and we have a Marks' and Spencer in a garage (The most expensive, and best quality supermarket, being in a garage it is even more expensive than normal, I buy my lunchtime salads at one of their branches).

However we have no butcher, greengrocer, bookshop or baker in town :-( Just an astonishing number of restaurants only three of which are chain (and apart from one posh chain).

One of the things that I enjoy when I go abroad is looking round a supermarket, it seems to show something of the local culture, although looking at the different supermarkets we have over here I guess that view could be very different depending on which supermarket I go to.

Apart from that we have some charity shops, some jewellers, two shoe shops, a pet shop, a few estate agents, a Chinese herbalists, a few pubs, banks, building societies and a few nick-nack shops.

I suppose that this makes the town sound a little dull, and maybe it is, however it is quite a nice place to live.

I think that this is probably enough to write for one entry, maybe if I have another quiet week I may continue on to me!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

A morning in the life

Anyway… I could answer some of the questions that people have asked me (the rims were Ok, I was surprised by that).

Or I could put down facts about myself (Hey! I went to Uni in London as well! And I used to love the Saturday nights down at ULU :-) )

Or I could give you some info about the UK (Every town or village has a war memorial for those who died in the two world wars from that area, the one I went to is a little differernt, it is in place of a gravestone for those whose bodies have not yet been found)


I have realised that I have come across as a bit of a whinging pom. In reality I am an optimist, they say that optimists whine more than non optimists because they expect the world to be perfect and are disappointed when it is not. Sometimes I am disappointed, however in most cases I am amused, so many things go well for me every day that I tend not to note them, and instead focus on the negative.

For example yesterday I awoke at 05:15, ambled around the flat, brushed my teeth and myself, dressed in a very fetching white T and green jumper, took the OT quizzes, and left at 07:00, the car started, stalled once at some traffic lights, but started immediately again and there were no more problems, the drive in was not stressful and the traffic flowed well, Listened to a mix CD as Sir Terry is on holiday, I know one is not supposed to, however I do enjoy singing along in the car, I arrived in the office for about 08:10, logged in on the lappie, and then went to the canteen for a cup of porridge which was lovely, back to my desk, a quick chatette with the people around me, and down to work, no hassling e-mails, just a testing plan, and a project plan for my new role to do, a meeting that went quickly and wasn’t too boring.

I did have to eat two salads as the top had come off of one. (I have been buying Monday to Thursdays lunches on Monday lunchtime and leaving them in the car, where it is cold, and then bringing them into the office on the appropriate day) anyway, the chicken curry and lentil salad was open, and the smoked salmon nicoise was open, no idea how that happened. Anyway I threw away the curry and ate the salmon and the tuna with edamame that was todays salad. This is not a bad thing as I have been getting a little peckish in the afternoons, and this will prevent that.

So all in all a good day so far? True, however if I were to write down what happened in a diary or blog I would say “I got 4/10 on a quiz on Roman History” As outside of work this is my specialist subject (if I have one) tbh a lot of the questions were about the eastern empire, and I tend to cut off at Constantine where the middle ages officially start. However I was hoping for a good result on that quiz, although I did win the score was lower than I liked.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Ho Hum (and a bit of snow)

Another quiet week, maybe I will have something interesting to write someday, in the mean time I suppose that this blog will tell people in 1000 years just how tedious life could be in the earlu 2000's

Monday was georgeous, we had deep (4-6 inches, so deep to me) snow, living in the south of England I do not see snow that often, and was amazed at how beautiful it made everything appear. As usual I set off for work at 7 (I always aim to leave at 6:30, however I rarely manage this). I drive on main roads once I get out of my estate, so I was expecting the roads to be fairly clear, however they were ungritted, so I (and all the other fools on the road, and there were not that many of us) was pootling along very slowly in the middle of the two lanes going in my direction. The drive was slow, but very pretty. I found my first gritter/plough as I was waiting in traffic and it blew snow in through my car window :-( All in all it took over two hours to get into work (Normally one hour or so) and I was one of eleven people who made it in! The gritters and ploughs had been out by the time I drove home, and it was the quickest trip home I have ever had.

The forecasts have been threatening snow ever since, however we have hardly seem any.

I have a Vauxhall (Opel) Corsa R registration (11 years old)

Anyway I was driving into work on Wednesday at about 07:20 and one of my rear tyres blew. Having grown up on Hollywood I would have expected much excitement, however in reality the car drove perfectly well, albeit with a most unpleasant sound, being the idiot/lazy fatherless child that I am I drove about 5 miles to get to a tyre place. I know that this was a seriously stupid thing to do, however in my defence I will say that the safest place to pull over was about 4 1/2 miles away.

No weight lost this week, but I am OK with that.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Snow brings London to a standstill


OK boring for most, however really exciting for me. We had between four and six inches, which may be a dissapointment to some, but is enough for me.

As I was unable to connect to the work network on Friday or over the weekend I decided to drive in, this was probably a silly thing to do, but the opportunity to see so many places looking stunning covered in snow was just too much to resist, and the view from my fifth floor (sixth floor to Americans) desk was worth the two hours drive.

I have to say that everyone drove very sensibly, which was a relief, I didn't see any accidents, although we did have one lorry blocking a roundabout, one little dog running around in the snow, but in the snow on the road, and roadworks :-

There are over 100 desks on my floor, about half of which are normally populated, and Monday is normally a busy day as people tend to fly on a Tuesday or Monday afternoon/evening (I normally flew on a Sunday, but then I had no life). Anyway I would expect about 60 people in today, and there are 3 of us!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Much verbiage about nothing

2-3lbs this week and did very little exercise, I really need to focus on that, now I have steroid cream again that should make it a little easier.

Another quiet week, back on the prozac, but that should mean life gets more sunny soon.

Anyway went up to London with my Mother yesterday, arrived at the station at 09:20, it is having some work done and the electricity inside was out, so of five ticket machines and two ticket offices only one machine was working, missed two trains queueing for that, the coffee shop on the station seems to have shut, and there are works on the line so the journey was longer than expected.

Arrived at Picadilly at about 11:20 where we decided against dining as we were too early for a restaurant and didn't want to hang around waiting for them to open, so we went to Cafe Nero for coffee and a panini very pleasant. Then on to the RA, my Mother was agitating for the John Soanes Museum however I really wanted to see the Byzantium exhibition. When we arrived we found out that there was also an exhibition on Palladio, whilst I am not that interested in architecture the models of his buildings were very interesting and beautiful. The Byzantium exhibition was wonderful, I would have enjoyed more on the secular side of things, however it is definitely highly recommended.

There were a lot of Europeans around, both in Town, and in the RA, apparently with the collapse of the pound (apparently it has only kept parity with Turkey and Latvia) London is the place to go on holiday and almost all the hotels are full. It is an ill wind, although almost every shop round Picadilly seems to be having sales, so I guess things really aren't that good.

The Rock Circus seems to have gone, and been replaced by a "Ripley's Believe It or Not" I've been to the one in Orlando, in fact my favourite hotel is almost opposite, however I suspect that I will skip the experience in London.

Anyway on leaving the RA we went to Fortnum and Mason (Just a tip, but it is a much higher class shop than Harrods) where I managed to pick up a pound of Elvas plums for six quid :-) down from 24! Although their best before date was 31/01/09! Wonderful flavour, hadn't had them for years and was so glad that they were as good as I remembered them.

Thence back across the road to pick up some sushi for supper at Wasabi which I guess is an American chain, and is very nice, and very cheap, flying fish roe is up there with fatty tuna for me!

From there back to Waterloo, a cup of Nero for the train, and home about 17:00 for a quiet night.