It’s News… But not as you know it.

It’s News… But not as you know it.

A friends post on Facebook brought a book to my attention.  I tracked it down and bought it.  At this point I feel that I should point out that the majority of this post is blatant plagiarism.   But it tickled me, so I shall share.

As I may have already mentioned, I live in the UK.  To be more precise, I live in Kent, England.  (That is the bottom right hand corner of our hallowed isle, for you foreign folk.)

To be totally exact I live on the coast in a town called Whitstable, just a little north of Canterbury (that place with a big church which is famous for having an arch-bishop who is the top bod of the Anglican church, for having a guy called Thomas being murdered in it cos of a glib comment of a king and for being the main ‘stop-n-pray’ church for everyone who felt the urge to go to the Holy Lands in the middle ages and kill anyone who didn’t think God was English).

Actually, we don’t feel the need to base our fame upon our nearby historical centres.  Whitstable Oysters are world famous.  But I am straying from my point (like that is unusual).

This was just filler to make more sense of why I went looking for this book.

The book is called… ‘WHITSTABLE MUM IN CUSTARD SHORTAGE… and other world exclusives from Britain’s finest local newspapers’ (a link at the bottom of this post will take you to a page where you can purchase the book).

Now you get it, right?

I don’t know if our nation’s local papers are indicative of the quality of local papers worldwide, but here…  they kinda rock, for all the wrong reasons.  And this book highlights some of the best stories.

I must confess, usually the headline is the best part.  Once you get into the story itself, it gets a bit mundane.  But with headlines like these, what more do you actually need… And I should point out that these are all real.  Reality is often more bizarre than fiction…

Pensioner in Pants Foils Angry Burglar

(I should point out to any Americans… Over here ‘pants’ does not mean trousers.  It means underwear.  Now that you know this, read it again…  I’ll wait here while you do…  I know, right?  And you think I’d start with the best?)

Village is ‘Crime Free’

‘No crime was reported in a North Somerset village last month’.

Church Window Nearly Smashed

A football (soccer ball for you Yanks) was kicked and just missed the stained glass window.  Headline stuff!!!

I’ll fight Council over sausage roll

Don’t ask.  Just enjoy.

No Evidence of Drink Driving Detected

‘More than 80 vehicles were stopped over the last weekend during the festive road safety campaign’.

No Charges for man, 37

He was arrested, and released without charge.  Not only was this newsworthy… but his age was also pertinent enough to put in the headline (he wasn't the 37th man pulled up for the crime, whatever it was).

Mystery as Hanging Basket is Stolen – Then Returned

What more can I say.  Surrey was both shocked and incensed, and then relieved.

Milk Stolen From Outside Property

‘Two people were seen getting into a blue hatchback car’.

Hunt For Worthing ‘Poo Thief’

‘A bag-snatcher on a bicycle pinched a bag of poo from an elderly dog walker in Worthing’.

Boiled Egg Explodes

‘An elderly woman exploded a boiled egg. Watch manager Chris Roddaway, at Chester fire station, said: “She boiled it dry – they just go bang and it blackened the pan’.

Don’t Let Your Dog Eat Antifreeze – Says Whitnash Vet

Duh!

Hamster Caught Speeding on Prom

Huh?

Guides Delighted With Their Rubbish Award

Any explanation would spoil it.

Car Hits Hedge

‘A woman escaped without injury after the car she was driving ran into a hedge in West Cornwall yesterday.’

And a few short headlines before we get to our main feature…

Surrey Police Report No Deaths in Custody

Cows On The Run After Tractor Theft

Crabs Attack In Hampton

Woman, 79, Has To Cut Verges

Welsh Bungalow Has Neat Garden

Chair Destroyed

But, more importantly…

Whitstable Mum In Custard Shortage

A MUM of three is dis-custard after a hunt for the dessert sauce in the town proved fruitless.

Keen baker Jules Serkin, 43, of West Cliff, Whitstable, needed a tin of custard powder to top off her apple and blackcurrant crumble.

But she was left with a sour taste in her mouth after getting no joy in either Co-ops at Oxford Street and Canterbury Road, and in Somerfield, in the High Street.

Even a trek to Tankerton's Tesco Express – a corner shop version of its superstores – was wasted.

"I try to support my local businesses, but in the end I had to resort to going to one of the big supermarkets to get what I needed," said Jules, a holiday rental company director.

"I feel very sad that I can't seem to get basic stuff from my high street, and am driven to go online.

"Custard is a staple product on my shopping list and I cannot understand why it should be so hard to find.

"An assistant in Somerfield said they'd had other shoppers asking for tins of custard, but it hadn't been in stock since the shop was refurbished.

"And in the Co-ops I was just greeted with an empty shelf where it should be, and no idea  when they might be getting it in.

"I am upset because it seems these shops cannot order a product that customers are demanding as it doesn't seem to fit in with what they are selling.

"I had to resort to buying sachets which cost 0nly a few pence less than a tin, and don't go very far at all. If I buy a tin, it goes in my pantry and will last me quite a few crumbles.”

I know right?  Where is the justice?  No custard within walking distance??!!

Ok, actually there was custard within walking distance.  In fact there was custard in all of the shops that she went to.  The problem was that it wasn’t the brand of custard that she wanted.  But even so…  The injustice!!!  No wonder that it made the headlines, raised a national outcry and prompted a book titled after her plight.

Ok.  Two out of three in’t too bad.  Even if the headlines were only in the local paper, and the book was about stupid local headlines… and this was the stupidest.

Incidentally, there was no national outcry.  In fact, this scandal only happened 5 years ago.  I have been living in Whitstable over 10 years, and I only heard about it cos of a fr…  But you know this.

You don’t?  It’s the first sentence!  Go back to the start and read it again.  And this time take notes!

((The book is mildly chucklesome, and cheap (now).  Go buy it.  Even if you flip through it then palm it off to someone as a gift…  Which is my plan.  Happy birthday Dad))

So I am at it again…

So I am at it again…

For years I have put it off,  I had enough other stuff on my mind. Once I was happy about my weight and looks, then I had quite a turbulent time in relationships in my life. At the end of the storm I came out the other end with quite a few extra kilograms but I was happy. I had my new man in my life and besides all the financial and medical issues we had, we relished in cooking, baking and enjoying good food.

Now after 3 years back in Belgium I feel like the big one, my family and friends are all quite active and bike like there is no tomorrow. I just felt the time is there for me to get back into a shape that is healthier and that will allow me to fit back into a smaller size J. I have cupboards full of cute stuff to wear that I don’t fit into. Since I am blogging I thought I’d share some of the stuff I learned from the nutritionist I am seeing. These might not be new to you but they did need refreshing in my head so here it goes:

1. Eat frequently: train your metabolism to keep busy. I was told to never leave more than 4 hours inbetween a food moment.  So here I am normally having something for breakfast like a biscuit or a piece of fruit and then nothing until lunch, having to add food moments. Never thought I would be told to eat more (often)! In between your 3 large meals a day, have some snacks (3 per day I am allowed). Snacks can be a bit of fruit, a yoghurt, a biscuit basically if it has no more than 150kCal you are in with a winner.

2. Start the day with a kickstart for your metabolism -> EAT BREAKFAST. And not a fad breakfast like I used to have, have bread (preferably not all white) and a healthy spread or other sandwich filling.

3. Eat balanced: Make sure you get your calcium from some milk at least once a day, your vitamins from your fruit snack(s) and vegetables. Don’t skimp on the greens, when creating a dinner plate make sure that you keep these proportions 1/4 potatoes/rice/…, 1/4 or a palm of your hand sized bit of meat/fish and ½ greens (salad or steamed).

4. Don’t forbid yourself everything, try to get to a point where you think ‘Yeah I could do this every day EASY’. If you really fancy that bit of chocolate make sure it’s a treat and not a habit. It’s a win-win you will look forward to it more and you probably will enjoy it more too.

5. Light product are not an excuse to binge, portions sizes are everything even if you have a light version of a product.

6. Drink water! If you are like me and really dislike just drinking ‘boring’ water, these days you can find waters that are flavoured with all natural flavors and hardly any sugars. Perrier does a wonderful bubbly water with lime and lemon, bar-le-duc  does 3 YES 3 different flavours in their bubbly water. I have been allowing me a bottle with my lunch out of  Lemon & Mint, Orange & Quince and Berries & Guarana. The berry one is a big favourite. I never thought I would get excited about water!  So I try to drink at least 1.5l water a day of which 0.5l can be flavoured.

7. Cut down on the diet soda’s.  I am Liz and I am a Pepsi Max addict, I used to drink 5-6 cans of Pepsi max a day. An insane amount if I now think about it but at that time I didn’t enjoy other drinks so I would default to a cane of Pepsi Max. The first week of my diet I struggled with having  extreme cravings and according to some shakes :D. Now I am down to a maximum of 2 cans a day and feel a lot better for it. I don’t think I will ever completely quit Pepsi Max and the great thing is I don’t have to as long as I keep it in check.

I hope I didn’t bore you all to death and you find some new tips and tricks to keep healthy. As a little treat I wanted to share the recipe of a chocolate cake that I am actually allowed to have as a treat even in the weight LOSS phase!

What you need:

  • 250 g courgette (zucchini)
  • 10 ml water
  • 150 g fondant chocolate
  • 10 g sweetener (Stevia or normal sugar)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons white flower
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
     
  • Cake tine
  • Baking/lining paper​

Recipe

Heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Boil the courgette until al dente (preserve 10ml of the water).Melt the chocolate (au bain marie or in the microwave however you prefer). Mix the chocolate, sugar and the courgette + water. Add flower and egg yolks and carefully mix to a smooth mixture. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold carefully in the mix.

Put the mixture in a lined cake tin and put in the oven for 35 minutes.

Since no size for the baking tin was given the cooking time can vary depending on how high your cake is, feel free to check and see if the middle is cooked and take out when that’s the case.

Enjoy!

Per slice 143kCal J

Perspective: But it is a black square!

Perspective: But it is a black square!

Why, yes it is. It is a black square. Fetch me my soapbox.

When I get on one of my slightly pissy rants on the beauty of paintings and the concept of paintings as art, I must admit I hold no particular love for abstract art, nonetheless there is a specific painting that is used as an example of poor art in paintings: Kazimir Malevich's Black Supremic Square from 1915. There are many good examples of poor art in paintings, but this, I will argue, is not one. Here it is:

Time has not been kind to this piece of work though. When it was presented in 1915 the painting was pristinely black by all accounts and today the paint has cracked in several places and no one gazing at the painting in its current state would ever make the claim that it is today pristinely black. It is black for certain, but it is broken as well. As is the general conception of Kazimir Malevich's point of the painting.

The question: "What is the point of a black square," is the heart of the matter and I would (and do) respond to that question with: "The same as the point of any image you will ever see." It is black and dull for certain and it appears too simple to yield any deeper meaning, but take a minute to look at it. Actually, take ten minutes to just stare at it.

What images do you imagine in the painting? What Kazimir Malevich was trying to point out is that art is whatever the observer sees and art is not dictated by what the painter presents. Surely a motiff has an impact of the observer's experience, but the interpretation is entirely up to the observer and as such any work of art is a failure if it does not induce the observers to think and interpret for themselves. Art is what you see and in a shapeless painting as a pristinely black surface anything you see is your imagination.

And this is exactly the point. It is not whatever is on the wall that is the work of art, but the true beauty comes from each observer's imagination. The shapes and figures you see are made up by you and as such this square of black serves as a mirror for your own imagination. A harsh way of putting it: If all you see after minutes of silent meditation on the square is nothing but a black square, then that is what your imagination allows. If you see the wonderous shapes of animals, rainbows, magic and wonders then you have in front of you your own mind playing out before your eyes, and just maybe, you might come to know yourself a little better in the process.

It is a black square, sure, at face value. But, it is so much more than that. It is your mind on a painting. It is a meta-commentary on the art of painting and it is mirror of your own psyche and imagination. Not just a black square.

How can they do this to ME???

How can they do this to ME???

Sunday evening, 9 pm, in an old and battered 737-300 surrounded by tired and grouchy people, waiting to go home to Poland.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we apologise but our First Officer cannot fly. We are waiting for a replacement. We apologise for the delay and hope to be in the air shortly”

No matter who you are, I bet your first response is one close to “darn, I’ll be late for (…)”. But what’s your second?
“Being prepped for surgery in a hospital bed when a nurse comes in and postpones it. Don’t they realise what stress it is on me? And it’s happened TWICE (different hospitals) for the same operation!!!!”

I’ve read that one on Facebook a couple of times. The words are different, the message remains the same. First reaction: how can they do this to ME?

“We apologise but train number 666 is cancelled due to lack of staff”

How can they do this to ME? I’ll be late for dinner! I’ll be late for work! I’ll be late for watching the rerun of The Simpsons!!!


I’m certain you’ve experienced it. The last-minute cancellation that muddles up all your plans and wreaks havoc on any schedule. Your first (and probably only) reaction is one of anger, annoyance, and irritation, how could they do this to you???
But have you ever stopped and wondered why? Why is there a sudden shortage of someone to drive the plane, train or automobile, or to perform surgery, or take your order at a busy restaurant?


I must admit that I didn’t. Not until I was seated in an old 737-300, surrounded by annoyed and disgruntled passengers, and started contemplating the words they’d used. “(…) we apologise, but our First Officer cannot fly.” S/he can’t fly. Not isn’t here, can’t fly.
There is a possibility that this person was drunk, although I doubt it. Can’t fly. Heart failure? A phone call from a hospital, “Your partner was in an accident and it’s serious, please come over as soon as you can”?


I doubt if any of the staff on that flight wanted to be stuck at the airport. I doubt if the staff that were prepped and ready for an operation wanted it to be postponed. Even for my two simple out-patient procedures (muscle biopsies) there were two surgeons, three nurses, and two medical students. That’s a total of seven – how many are needed for an in-patient op? Nine? Do the patients who are annoyed by their surgery being postponed consider that it just might be in their best interests that it’s postponed, because one of the surgeons/operation nurses/ICU-nurses wasn’t there? Do they really think that hospital staff have so much spare time that they can cancel ops on a whim?


I’ve never had a job where people are dependent on me being at the top of my game every second. The closest I’ve come is working in the kitchen of a nursing home. And I got that dreaded call once. I’m sorry, your favourite granny passed away – luckily it was sandwiches for breakfast, rice porridge for lunch and salad for the pizza for dinner. I was planning on baking a couple of cakes, but I decided against it – my mind was only slightly on the job and I’d probably used salt instead of sugar and oatmeal instead of flour. I didn’t have to use any sharp utensils or need to make a schedule of what time to put what food into the oven. I had no idea what my name was and my thoughts were e everywhere but in that kitchen.


And that was from my granny dying, who’d been chained to a wheelchair for a couple of years and whose quality of life was quite reduced.
What if the call had been about my husband being in hospital? Or my house was ablaze? Would I stay at work or would I let my superior know that there was an emergency and I had to run? Even if the replacement cook arrived after half an hour, the food would still be half an hour late.


I certainly wouldn’t want anyone with my state of mind that day to make sure I got safely from Oslo to Warsaw airport, or drive a bus or train if I were a passenger. I wouldn’t want me to operate with shaking hands and eyes that often filled with tears.
Sure, many cancellations are due to the network not being able to set up a schedule with enough drivers or morons. The airport shuttle driver from Sortland to Evenes last September had forgotten his shift, luckily there was a bus driver who threw himself into a bus, broke every single speed limit on the 120 km drive and got us to the airport on time.


But maybe, just maybe, the next time your bus, train, plane or surgery is late – maybe it’s for your safety and not just your inconvenience.