Monthly Archives: October 2012

Survival Level


Do you feel like you’re climbing out of your own skin? Can’t breathe? Feel that if you relax and try to fall asleep you’ll suffocate? Throat closes up when you try and eat or drink? Having another go at climbing out of your own skin? Hands shake so much that carrying a cup of hot coffee risks serious burns? Dizzy? Legs weak? Still climbing out of your own skin in a manner that the average shedding snake would describe as “taking the piss”?

Welcome to the wonderful world of acute panic attacks




*Sigh* – healthy living.  Giving the treadmill installed in the Smoking Room a bit of a bashing, as have given up on it stopping raining long enough to instigate regular walks in the Great Outdoors. (Admittedly in the Smoking Room the ingrained smell of fag-smoke rubs off some of the patina of healthiness, but I should be alright as long as I don’t lick the walls.  Remember Anxious, don’t.lick.the.walls).

Am making up for the incremental additions of cigarette tar to my life by trying to eat healthily yet well.  Not too bad so far.  The Ideal Anxious Breakfast would consist of fruit-cake and full-fat cappuchino.  Then another cappuchino. And then something fried.Obviously as a grown adult I have to pretend to have some control over my baser urges, so the Compromise Breakfast is a cinnamon and raisin bagel, no butter, with a skinny or soy latte.  If anyone wishes to get work, movement or coherence out of me before midday this is as far as I’m prepared to go. Lunch is another matter.  Awake and caffeinated I can face proper food; today’s was home-made egg-fried vegetable rice, with a dash of hot sauce.  Dinner was the piece de resistance – I’d organised myself last weekend to do a batch of cooking and freezing, so dinner was a pepper stuffed with soya mince, cheese and quinoa, a handful of brown and white rice, and some spiced squash and sweet potato chunks.  Healthy, colourful, vegetable-heavy, and on the plate in 15 minutes after defrosting and re-heating in the microwave.

Spiced Squash

The Magimix Attack


Anxiety Attacks – a user’s manual.

Please note that I am not medically qualified, At Own Risk and all that……

  • Survival level
  • Functional level
  • Managing level
  • Distractions
  • Coping mechanisms
  • Pharmaceu…(temporarily interrupted by my father enquiring if it’s possible to buy spare parts for a Ma Cuisine Magimix food processor on-line.  It is.)
  • Pharmaceutical treatment
  • Counselling
  • CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy)

More to come….

The cost of living


….due to the appalling summer, it looks like food prices here in the UK will rise.  As mentioned earlier, amateur gardeners are suffering; can only imagine how much grief professional farmers are experiencing from too much rain, plus additional rain, plus extra rain, plus a summer where even a few consecutive hours of decent sunlight, let alone a few days, or weeks, was a cause for national celebration, carnival and quite possibly ritual human sacrifice.  My father proudly displayed the two, (count ’em!), two handfuls of green grapes he’s managed to bully out of the vines in the back garden.  The rest he has consigned “to the blackbirds”, and it’s a truth that, given the summer, they may well desperately need that boost of fruit sugar to help survive the winter.

Despite this, we continue to be a nation that loves all kinds of international delicacies, even if some of us *cough* may occasionally use them to liven up a chip butty. I dropped into my local Big Business Supermarket this afternoon to arrange an anti-influenza immunisation with the pharmacy, and a gentle post-injection stroll around the aisles took me past such delights as red Camargue rice, black spiced rice vinegar, and glass jars of white truffles in porcini mushroom sauce. The last took a serious amount of self-control to walk past – I’ve never had truffles before but as I have a greedy love of mushrooms that wouldn’t disgrace a hobbit, I suspect I could cultivate a very expensive habit very quickly indeed.  I hurried away and settled instead for a butternut squash and some Hershey’s peanut butter cups; another non-native species to the UK, but one laced with enough sugar and saturated fats to keep the blackbirds and Anxiousbirds of Tangleton warm from here to Spring….

For those with a pint of olive oil going spare….


This is very nice, and will use up the quarter bottle of olive oil you had that you thought would last until next week, plus the cup of olive oil you nipped over and borrowed from your neighbour last minute.  Do not make this recipe if you are on a weight-loss-diet…..

Pasta shells or twists, cooked to taste, to be drained just before the other ingredients have finished cooking.

Decent handful of mushrooms, chopped.

Equal handful of breadcrumbs.

3 cloves of garlic.

Handful chopped ham or bacon (or vegetarian ham / bacon).

Olive oil.

Boil the pasta in salted water, to the packet instructions.

At the same time, gently fry the ham/bacon and breadcrumbs in olive oil until crisp (this will take probably take lots of olive oil).  Lift out of the wok/pan and put on kitchen towel to drain excess oil.

Chop the garlic and mushrooms roughly.  Fry these in olive oil. Add the freshly-cooked pasta, mix together with the breadcrumbs/ham mixture and season to taste.  Serve.


Butterflies and meals


One of my earliest posts, “butterflies and wheels” was about the suicide of a friend. Not all of us could make the funeral, and it seemed appropriate either way for those of us who knew her to meet up and have a drink in her honour. So eight adults and three small children decamped to London’s Camden, and the beer garden at Quinn’s pub for a drink or three. This was actually a surprisingly cheery affair, given the catalyst (small children are always a good source of surreal amusement), and for once the British weather obliged us with a sunny, calm day. Maybe a butterfly had a word with Mother Nature on our behalf……

Camden and Mezze

saucy wenches


Dropping round my sister’s last night to watch the season finale of Two Broke Girls + the new season of Strictly Come Dancing (only the finest cultural experiences for us!), I found out she’d laid her hands on some cheap steak, and had knocked together a bernaise sauce to go with it plus some oven chips.  I’d only had a bit of toast for dinner so prevailed upon her to do me some chips for one of the jewels in the British culinary crown – the chip butty.  To which, instead of mayo, ketchup or brown sauce, I added some of the bernaise sauce.  I’m not sure if this means I’m leaving the working class and joining the middle class, or leaving the middle class and joining the working class, but either way it soaked up some vodka and made up for the shocking lack of hummus.  I recommend….. 😉