The Winter Spring Clean.

Myself and the co-inhabitant of the two-storey rabbit hutch we reside in decided it was time for a much needed spring clean of the bedroom (yes, only one – it’s all the hutch has). As we don’t have wheels of our own, we hired a car to help with the “dirty deed”. The plan was to buy wardrobe space and use the ‘robe space provided (the bedroom has a built-in ‘robe) as actual storage space for “junk” (IE: stuff we want to keep that’s not used daily or frequently).

We bought two canvas covered ‘robes for our clothes to go into and cleared away the pile of stuff that had accumulated in the corner of the bedroom. The ‘robes were culled of excess clothes, which saw 3 wheelie bin sacks of clothes taken away for charity. On top of that, there was probably another 3 wheelie bin sacks of actual rubbish taken to the tip.

It was two days of toil, but worth it, as the result is very pleasing to the eye.

Yesterday was “us” time. A day in which the car was used for leisure. We went to Milton Keynes early in the afternoon. First to a garden centre over there. It was busy for the end of January. Only about 4 spots left in a 80 bay car park. We looked for a new seed feeder for the goldfinches that come and visit the garden (no real luck there) and in the craft section, I found a peacock feather for Chrissy. There’s a little fruit and veg shop there too, so I got a few things from there. A lovely little slice of shortbread biscuit with a caramelised top (yum), a stick of soft liquorice (yes, it IS a fruit and veg shop, honest), some Jerusalem artichoke, broccoli and courgette (see, I told you it was a fruit and veg shop).

From there we went on to a shopping district of MK that has a Morrison’s supermarket and a few other shops. There’s one there called “…in Store” where we found some white onions to grow. Then we went into the pet shop there and got a replacement seed feeder for the goldfinches. After that, on to Morrison’s, my favourite UK supermarket. We don’t have one locally (Well not REALLY local anyway, our nearest is about 12 miles away. Easy to get to with wheels, but not public transport), so while we had wheels, we had to go to one. I love Morrison’s. For the Aussie’s reading the blog, it’s more Coles rather than Franklins. It’s just a nicer shopping experience here, and they have the BEST own brand products, including a top of the range brand called (appropriately), The Best.

We buy their own brand tea bags. The best tea, by far. Better than the brand names. You can keep ya Lipton’s and Tetley’s, PG Tips, and Typhoo, for me it’s Morrison’s Red Label ALL THE WAY! Their UHT milk is the nicest and creamiest too. We can stock up on the tea bags, but not so much on the milk. It’s the nature of UHT milk, I know, but finances hinder the stock pile of that…plus the lack of space to keep it all in.

I really do miss my regular Morrison’s shops. That’s the only thing I miss having a car for, it really is. Sad, eh?

Globesity – The New “Buzzword”.

Where have we got this sudden desire to merge words to make a new one from? All this Brangelina/Bennifer stuff is just weird.
Anyway, I digress.

This word, reportedly first used by a writer at the World Health Organization, in an article about the “global obesity epidemic”, is increasingly being used to describe the state of the 1st world’s health.

The figures ARE worrying. Despite the fact that I’m some 130-odd kilograms in weight myself, and therefore a “globesity” statistic, I do suffer the mentality of “well, I don’t want to live until I’m 110, so I’ll eat what I damn well like, thank you very much!”. But I really would like to be healthier in the here and now. I might not want to prolong my life, but I’d like for it to be a better quality of life at the moment.

I am old enough to remember (sadly) a time when food was still not as readily available as it is now. Supermarkets when I was growing up seem to only really have the basic things. Fruit and vegetables (nothing exotic mind…and only things “in season”…which is not something you have to worry about anymore – big “up” to food miles!), bread (white and brown, that was it – pretty much anyway), butter and marg (although margarine was pretty low quality then), milk (in cartons or bottles), some sweets/lollies…not at the stock levels we have these days though, nowhere NEAR those levels. And I’m pretty sure that, until the early to mid 1980’s the supermarkets in Oz didn’t sell meat. You still went to the butcher for your meat. My mum refused to by meat from the supermarket until into the 1990’s and then she would only buy small amounts. Now, if she wanted to, she probably couldn’t find a butcher to buy from!

It was an absolute TREAT for us (me, my siblings, kids around my street and local area) to get any kind of sweets. You felt really special if you were allowed to buy something off the ice cream man (who would come around at least once a day, most likely twice, three times on weekends, and during the Xmas summer holidays, they might as well have parked in the street they seemed to come around so often!!). A BIG treat was an ice cream, perhaps a paddle pop (they only use to cost 20 cents!), or a bubble-o-bill (about 30-40 cents). The biggy was a gaytime – that was the creme de la creme of ice cream treats. I think they were a whopping FIFTY CENTS when I was in single figures, but 50 cents was a big deal! But we’d be more than happy with a 5c or 10c bag of lollies (sweets). You didn’t expect these things every day. Half the time you’d be too afraid to ask, cos you know your mum would go MENTAL if you even asked. Pester power was NOT going to work on our war/post war baby mothers!

Now it’s so readily available and affordable that we’ve had a generation of kids that have been given chocolates and sweets as pacifiers. Cry = get a bar of chocolate.

Food was much simpler as well. Post-war, what could you buy? Milk, sugar (in limited quantities), eggs (again – limited…no eggs at all during the war), butter, limited meat, fruit (only seasonal, and limited), vegetables (seasonal), tea. If you wanted bread, you made it. It was like that for a long time.

Even while I was growing up, we had lots of casseroles and soups and stews. My mum was always making Irish stew and home-made friend rice. To have a Chinese take-away was an extra special treat. Half the time you had to go to the restaurant, there was no “take-away” as such. Not being delivered to your door anyway. I think I was around 12. We (my family) went to a Japanese restaurant in Sydney for my mum’s 45th birthday. I remember trying sashimi, only a taste. It wasn’t something I ordered…no way. Raw fish – are you kidding?!!! I’d not even had a take-away curry until I moved here to the UK.

Most nights as I got older, into my teens, we’d still have just a meal of meat and 3 veg. On a really lazy day you might have take-away fish and chips, or a burger and chips. But even then, the burgers weren’t McDonalds slop. It was a burger from the local milk bar, made with a fresh meat pattie, fresh bun, filled with lettuce, tomato, onion (I didn’t have onion then), beetroot (yes! beetroot on a burger – it is delicious), maybe cheese. If we made them at home, we’d even have an egg on there. One hamburger was a complete rounded meal…not a bun of artery hardening slop. You wouldn’t know it to hear of my size…but I rarely have take-away/fast food. My downfall is sweets – chocolate, lollies, cakes and crisps.

I think food is now too readily available. It’s too easy to get, with supermarkets open 24/7. I think supermarkets contain far too much stock these days, and are far too over-sized (I think the increasing size of the supermarkets are in line with the size of the obesity problem). I don’t have a problem so much with the opening hours, more the size of these supermarkets. I’m sure walking the length of one of these “super” supermarkets is the only exercise some people get – me included!!

And we have the genetic problem in us. We (as humans) veritably starved for thousands of years and our bodies are designed to crave fat and sugar. And now with the over-processing of food, all we’ve put in to processed food is fat, sugar and salt.

I think we need to design a pill that rectifies what is now a genetic flaw or defect (IE: the bodies fixation in obtaining fat/sugar). A pill to tell the body that fat/sugar is no longer wanted or required. Not at the rate it needed anyway. We’ve gone from our bodies not getting this stuff, only in very limited quantities in fits and starts, to having a balanced, stable intake of it, to – LOOK OUT, HERE IT COMES, in the last few hundred years. The last phase – from balanced to LOOK OUT – in the last 50 years!! It’s pretty bad.