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Pearl Barley aka C M Donaldson

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Alas... In wonder land
By Pearl Barley aka C M Donaldson
Saturday, June 04, 2011

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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The battle of the bulge continues, nothing new there then! Since the year The Fat Bag was published, I've lost two and a half stone...but gained 14lbs in the past six months. I still can't understand it as I've become so meticulous about what I eat. The new book continues the saga. Here's an excerpt from a chapter entitled - wonderland:

It appears I haven’t been very disciplined of late.  In fact I appear to have been downright gluttonous for the past month or so. And I'm left wondering what on earth is going on?

Much like Alice in Wonderland, being tempted by food items with instructions on invisible labels to “Eat Me” and drinks similarly enticing to “Drink Me”, I’ve not had to be told twice and have been wolfing down food and drink like there’s no tomorrow. 

In fact I’m quite surprised that unlike poor Alice I haven’t ballooned up big enough to take over the whole house with my arms sticking out of my bedroom windows, and my head poking out through the loft conversion.  But here’s to betting I’m not far from it, and here’s the thing - I can’t quite figure out why!

There’s nothing particularly stressful going on in my life, unless you count the letter from my energy supplier threatening to enter my premises and disconnect my electricity supply for late payment of the bill.   I tried to explain that they hadn’t actually read the meter for months and besides which I’d been paying more than the required amount on a payment plan that they had worked out for me, to no avail. 

My pleas were ignored with the added warning that I get to pay for the locksmith to come if I’m not there to greet them (joyfully?) at the door on the day (and that, I suppose, is because they’re too civilised to break down your door in this day and age), so that’s alright then!  One week from today they propose to call, and it’s all been a bit frightening and embarrassing but really nothing too major to put me in a spin I don’t suppose - as long as I can raise the necessaries before the grand switch-off!  But looking on the bright side (don't you dare laugh, there was no pun intended), it’s not as bad as when the bailiffs turned up six weeks ago. 

I seem to have stocked up on the biscuits and cake for some odd reason.

Nor am I particularly stressed out at my three payday loans.  Yes, three!  They were so easy to secure and so desperately needed…at the time.  However, the ease with which they are acquired does backfire somewhat when you’ve borrowed £150 and end up paying back £200.  That’s not too bad but it’s when you take out an additional loan, doubling the payment to a sizable chunk, namely approximately £400 coming out of your monthly (part-time) wage, you pay it back, and then realise you have to borrow it again to see yourself through the month because of the £400 deficit. 

Then along comes a blessing in disguise which turns out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Another loan operator offers you the option to pay back only the interest at the end of the month, thus easing the burden...or so you think.  I think I'm stuck between a rock and a …well, no, maybe I shouldn’t exaggerate as it’s not really all that bad, I don’t think. 


And I expect the gambling doesn’t help but I prefer not to go into that!

It’s surprising how many packets of Butterkist butter popcorn one can get through in a single sitting, isn’t it?

My weight is creeping up and I am bored with the whole effort of watching a one pound loss here and a three pound gain there, like one step forward; three steps back, from week to week, so I’ve got to get a grip.  It might be water retention.  You never know!  We women are never the same from one day to the next, are we?  But like I said, I’m not particularly stressed about anything major at the moment, so it’s all a big mystery to me.

Those toffees I bought at the beginning of the week didn’t last very long!

All these takeaways my partner used to bring home aren't exactly helping the cause.  The pizzas with stuffed crust and extra cheese, the kebab and chips, lightly battered masala fish with chicken biryani and the West indian oxtail with rice 'n' peas are just the ticket after a hard day's graft, coming home tired of an evening.  You can't complain, can you? And there's usually enough to have the left-overs for breakfast the next morning - waste not, want not! 

Anyway, he's been history now for the past few months and thankfully I don't have to share my poppadoms with him anymore, and I can resume eating biscuits in bed without his complaints about finding crumbs in unmentionable places! 

There’s a ton of ice cream in the freezer lately.  I can’t remember when I bought that but it was probably on special offer.  I love Cornish ice cream but the clotted cream vanilla is my favourite!  And I could just swoon into a tub of rum & raisin  (*whisper, just add a dash of real rum).

I can’t understand why I seem to be constantly eating.  Today is a bank holiday and I’m wandering in and out of the kitchen, going in with an empty plate, coming out with a laden tray like someone demented.  

But often I’m still up and down and in and out of the kitchen, in and out of the fridge, in and out of the cupboards and even in and out of the freezer (for ice lollies) and I can’t understand what’s driving this eating fest, especially when I so particularly want to watch my weight as the summer months are nearly upon us and the warmer weather is encouraging us all to leave our coats and jackets at home and start bearing arms (as in bare arms).

The car is due for its MOT soon.  I hope all goes well and it passes because I can’t afford, quite literally, any more demands on my purse, such as it is, given that finances are so very tight at the moment. 

 I remember last year when the crooked MOT specialists I took my little Corsa and sabotaged it to the point of needing, accordingly to them, over £500 worth of work in order to pass the MOT.  That car only cost me £350 on Gumtree!  More than slightly peeved at their brass neck and the fact that they’d already conned the £50 MOT fee out of me, I removed my beloved wheels and took it to someone more reputable, to find fortunately that I only needed to fork out £150 to fix everything inclusive of the re-MOT price.  So let’s hope that kind of thing doesn’t happen again, I don’t think my nerves could take it.

Chicken, chicken, chicken and more chicken - roasted and barbecued is fine, but fried is even better!

And the long-distance learning company (I shall mention no names) has decided to charge me for a course I applied for but subsequently didn’t take because of illness in the family, and all the anxiety that goes with that, and then to add insult to injury, they’ve decided to take it further and take me to court, so I’m feeling as if I’m being hounded to the tune of nearly £400 and I can’t seem to convince them that, since I didn’t actually take the course; even having informed them in good time that I couldn’t consider continuing with the course, incidentally called ‘Mental Health Matters’ (ironic isn’t it?) what with what was happening in the family and all, therefore I shouldn’t be liable for the costs, etc, etc …but it all fell on deaf ears.  They can sing for it for all I care!

Have I mentioned chocolate?  Two great big slabs for £1.50 – buy one, get one free - yep you don't need any forceful persuasion when you know you’re making a massive saving, right?

There’s a great deal of sweet content associated with my present overeating.  I’d better watch my teeth.  I did feel a twinge in my back molars on the right side only a couple of weeks ago.  This then developed into a dull ache and before long I was swallowing pain killers like Smarties.  It might have been the tremendous amount of chocolate I’ve been eating lately but I can't be sure.  Normally I don’t really like chocolate, or at least, let's be real, chocolate isn’t my usual ‘Achilles Heel’ but that’s all changed now somehow, so it’s all a bit of a puzzle.  Mind you they say Maltesers have very few calories - little balls of fresh air dipped in chocolate, they are - so it's been alright to eat the whole bag with no guilt whatsoever, and anyway I usually only gorge on sweets when I’ve got things on my mind, but I can’t think for the life of me what could be worrying me at this time. 

Strawberry syrup in milk is lovely and refreshing, especially when you’ve got toothache and can’t eat anything solid for a while.  I've been drinking loads of this of late.  And this stuff is pure sugar you know, pure sugar.  But if I dilute it in water instead of milk, it's really more like empty calories, isn't it? Isn't it?

The dentist will surely put things right so I can continue with my usual healthy-eating plan.

And then there’s the weather.  We enjoyed such a lovely summer-like spring that it’s been quite a shock and a real shame that the weather has gone back to being dreary, rainy and cold.  It means riding my bike to work and back is practically impossible unless I want to get drenched, and the bike in question needs a complete overhaul as one of the brakes needs attention and the gears might as well be non-existent.  More to fork out, alas! It doesn’t help the vow to live on salads for a month if it’s too cold to break out the cucumber!

Pies, pies, pies, that’s all I can see and smell.  I’m fixated!  Steak pie, chicken & mushroom pie, mince & onion pie, ooh and pork pie…with lashings of thick gravy with mash potatoes and peas on the side, Yum!

I really do need a break from work.  I work hard and I’ve been staying late these past few weeks.  There has been more work than usual and I’ve not really been getting home much before 9:00pm.  By that time I’m too tired to cook anything and often end up going to bed with nothing but a cup of tea.  But on the nights I stay late at work I make sure I have a bag of nuts handy and maybe some fruit pastilles and crisps, because I don’t often have time to take a lunch break, and that usually gets me through till I tiredly switch off my machine and assess the huge workload for the following day.  There are so many staff cuts being made at work that you dare not complain in case yours is the next neck on the chopping block.  I hope I've got nothing to worry about, but you never know, do you?  I've been taking sneaky looks at the Situations Vacant pages...just out of interest.

Still, I have my health and strength, oh apart from the lump I found under my arm that quickly became infected and hurt like a bitch every night.  I’ve taken the antibiotics and I have to say I’m pleased to see it’s starting to heal up and at least the question of whether it was an early symptom of the ‘Big C’ can be erased from my thoughts.  But it was touch and go for a good four weeks and I hardly slept a wink.  I wonder if it’s all the cheese I’ve been eating a lot of lately that’s causing the nightmares?

Still, the resulting episode of thrush caused by the antibiotics wasn’t exactly pleasant so I had to down an awful lot of pro-biotic yoghurt drinks (and I can only tolerate the very creamy ones) to stave off the irritation and then take another course of anti-thrush treatment before I scratched myself into oblivion.  I even had to stop wearing my pretty thongs, so the big baggy knickers are back in vogue.  Only termporary though.  Still, I mustn't grumble!

I'm trying to find some kind of a connection but I'm scuppered if I know what it is.  When I can't sleep at night, I head down to the kitchen and just finish off the leftovers, otherwise I can't get to sleep.  Well it saves having to throw them out and I do hate waste, don’t you?

And if that’s not enough, I’m suffering from writer’s block.  Yes, I’m working on a book but I can’t seem to be able to concentrate.  I tweet on Twitter several times a week; I update my status on Facebook daily, post regularly on, StumbleUpon and AuthorsDen, play ‘ketchup’ with the three writer’s forums I’m a member of on Amazon (otherwise I have to deal with over 500-odd emails a day if I let myself slack) and try very hard to update my Blog periodically...but of late my mind’s been a blank. 

So while I mull things over and try and get my head around things, the kitchen is continually calling and I haven’t been unable to come up with one good reason why I’m always in there cooking, preparing, baking but, most of all and/ or alternatively lolling on the sofa with munchies close to hand, basically just stuffing my guts fit to bust!

What on earth can be wrong with me?  I’ve put on 5lbs this week but I lost 3lbs last week (oh, yes, that was my jippy tummy), so I’m puzzled and perplexed as to why I just can’t stop grazing and picking at food titbits.  I can’t quite seem to put my finger on what’s causing the avalanche of constant hunger I’ve been feeling lately wondering if it's linked to some kind of anxiety, and, equally, it’s not going to be doing my confidence much good if I find myself too porky to fit my clothes that are already starting to burst at the seams. I could end up quite depressed. But I’m beggared if I know how to deal with it.


Never mind, I’ll work it out after I’ve finished this gorgeous strawberry and custard tart, ooh and I think there’s still a slice left of that chocolate cake I made last week,  and as I type there’s a walnut cake baking deliciously in the oven (the cake-y aroma wafting in the air).  I’ve also got more toffees and Haribo Kiddies Supermix in a bowl alongside some peanut brittle on the coffee table to munch while I get into the latest episode of Midsomer Murders, and I might rustle up some home made chips or ...shall I plump (ha ha, plump, eh?) for a take away meal? Decisions!  Decisions!


Here I am, contemplating my navel, which, I have to admit, is nearer my line of vision than I’d care to admit with the amount of weight I've put on lately (it's a bit like a whodunnit without the murder) and oh, look, there’s a van pulled up outside, I wonder who that can be?  That’s the fourth one in the same number of days.  Mind you, my TV license ran out two month’s ago and I haven’t done a thing about it yet! I've been hiding in darkened rooms, peaking between the slats in the blinds, knees a-tremble every time the doorbell rings ever since...

Oh, it’s ok, , the van looks harmless, phew I've dodged another summons and the Tesco delivery van is right behind it with my weekly shopping (boy, that was close - I sigh with relief). 

There may be something going on here but I'll be blowed if I can figure it out. Maybe I can't see for looking.  I wonder if  there are any hidden clues. Or maybe this is just life!  Alas, I wonder!

















       Web Site: Pearl Barley's I love food blog

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Reviewed by J Howard 6/4/2011
so sounds like me, but i might rate a mini scale. so perhaps this is just you and...nothing indeed is wrong...however...working in a hospital i see lots of healthy OLD folks, but none too heavy and so i rethink! :O thanks for sharing -fun piece
well done,

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