Hit and Delay: Problem Foods Ambushes

Hey, Dear Reader, it’s been a while since I spoke on anything like this. I’m in a very stable place in my journey, there hasn’t been any huge changes, well, recently, er, maybe about four or five months actually, I decided to omit corn from my diet, I didn’t use it in anything other than pasta, cereal and baking powder and the baking powder never caused issues, really the corn would often be fine, but other times I think it was affecting me days later. Then again other times it would make my histamine symptoms worse, not that it caused them, but those two together could get very nasty. Histamine seems to affect me with the changing of the weather too, but keep on top of it has helped and without the corn it’s very manageable. Really it made me think of the years I spent trying to figure all this out, I suppose in a way I’ve applied the same methods to the garden: A slow and gradual testing system, with elimination and replacement. Which is absurdly difficult and has taken so much willpower, but it has been worthwhile. What this has reminded me of is of of the biggest struggles I faced early on, so let’s talk a little about that.

When I started I had no idea what foods, what food groups and even what illnesses and intolerances I had, I had no one to seek help from and was entirely alone, you know this story so I’m not going to repeat it. One issue I faced was that everything made me feel ill, trying to deduce whether it was the food, a delayed reaction, which is the worst or if it was just my health that had deteriorated greatly over the years. I suppose there are two very important points to take from what I’ve learned: The first is that you need to be methodical, you need extensive amounts of patience, you can’t cut out willy nilly because you’l ditch too much and eventually revert. For everything removed ad two was my motto and one I stick to. It took me three or four year to just map out the main bulk of my intolerances, the nuances have taken a full decade. There’s also another point: When you’re at a relatively okay point you can be tempted to stick, I was like this with corn, a good 60% of the time it was fine, I had no major issues with the cereal and ate it daily, the pasta weekly, in tortilla chips as a treat, but I think, sometimes even three days later, it was adding up and causing trouble, with food issues they can compound and cause greater trouble and the wait to heal again can be interrupted when you’re still eating the same problem food.

It took some willpower to break away from corn, I’ve lost so many of my staple, or so they seemed at the time, foods, but I’m better for it. I’ve replaced the sugary cereal, not sweet, but still surprisingly high in sugar, with puffed quinoa and chia seeds, the pasta is now all buckwheat. I feel better, whether this has contributed to a slight dip in my weight is hard to say because I’ve been so active in the garden. See, you can’t take anything as if it exists in vacuum, everything affects something else, but you can be careful of giving yourself an out, I did with the corn, it seemed impossible, it was extremely difficult, to find a replacement for the cereal which was a vital part of my diet. It’s not been an easy task, my relationship with food has been in a flux all this time, in someways I just don’t care about food and that has never been a part of my thinking regarding food so it can be jarring. I’ll never lose the “Fat” part of my brain, it will always be there, inert, but still a potential switch. It would take drastic steps to go back, but I’m aware it’s still possible and I’m always vigilant. I can love food and hate all the work my diet requires, I can love the garden’s produce and still want processed junk, I can still eat and find no pleasure in trash, but still want more and I can still shovel healthy food in without a thought and feel it as alien to me. Weight-loss has been hugely complex and involved, Dear Reader, I sincerely hope that when the surgeries are finished I’ll be given a re-balance into a happier state. All I can do is share what I can and hope no one has to face what I have and continue to. That’s all for today, Dear Reader, I’ll be back soon, take care.

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Lift With Your Knees, Ed-boys

As the day is snowy and slushy I thought I’d take a moment to talk weight-loss, Dear Reader, and if you’re a regular to these discussion you know when I talk weight-loss I’m giving you the hard view, the annoying well-informed anecdotes and focus more on sustaining healthy habits and weight. If you’re here for advice on losing weight in any gimmicky form or for shortcuts then trundle along, Jack is tired and there are so many conversation to be had. A quick one, today, Dear Reader, not very in-depth, just an interesting re-frame to an idea I’ve discussed often.

Since I’ve started the greater work of the garden the more labour intensive start, I’m still marvelling at the different the surgery and subsequent healing has made, still waiting for the next letter, but let’s not go there, I’m reminded of advise we all know: Life with your knees. Which in thinking on I realised I don’t actually understand it fully, so I went researching, I found the advise that the backside goes out while the knees stay put. The knees lower, but you don’t squat. Which really works well and saves the back. What, you’re thinking, Jack see all, Dear Reader, has this to do with weight-loss or healthy eating?Everything! Or nothing, depends on what you’re focusing on.

Think first of the advice we all know, much like lifting with the knees, eating well has it many examples, plenty of fibre, water, five fruit and vegetables day etc, but when it comes to the execution of those practices we falter because don’t have the full picture, much like lifting we hear, but don’t understand and again, like the knee advice, when it finally comes to a point we need it we can feel that we should know this and don’t start the important task of researching and learning. Partly it’s conceit, we’re all prone to varying degrees of vanity and asking for help or even admitting a lack of knowledge can be embarrassing. It isn’t helpful where many promoters of healthy eating are crafting an all-knowing, easy-to-do image, Jack isn’t bitter, I just know that’s not, nor has it ever been, never will either, my space. So, we, metaphorically, strain our backs instead of bowing our heads and admitting we know less than we thought. I’ve always said hat I know I know very little, but I can, and have, learned. I took a lack of confidence and turned it to a strength.

So, the first hurtle is admitting we don’t know, you pass that by simple truth, I don’t know, but I can learn, the second is putting the work in, in both researching the real answers, not the easy ones and then applying them, which can be extremely difficult as you will meet resistance in yourself and, worse still, others. I always say my journey was a solo one, that is probably part of the reason, I don’t ever advice doing everything secretly, but oversharing can be detrimental too.

From an unrelated piece of advice, which I will be endeavouring to follow, I’m extremely tall and have no intention of doing any further damage to my back, I’m free from back pain for the first time in twenty years and I’m not undoing that, Dear Reader, mark my words, we find an anecdote for sustained weight-loss and healthy eating, both sides of the same coin. It’s always simple sounding advice, isn’t it, Dear Reader? That in itself is telling of its worth. The humble acorn becomes a tree, I saw that in a cartoon, I’m very cultured. Until later, Dear Reader, I’m off to haul stupidly heavy pots in the best posture possible…to the wheelbarrow because I’m learning. Until later, take care.

Control Yourself!

I go to the Farmer’s Market for carrots and then go home and pick more.

And a lonesome parsnip. I’m currently at the stage of the year where people wish at me, I’m like some kind of benignly, placid stand-in Saint, people come to Dearest Darling Jack and wish, fervently they could do what I did, I do bite my tongue and don’t ask if they’d like to lose nearly eleven stone, deal with crippling pain and then get cut partly in two and resewn inside and out, that’s the saintliness seeping out, what they naturally mean is they wish they had my self control as if it were an infinity transferable commodity. Just rub your hands on Poor Traumatised Jack and you’ll put down that cake. I could talk about what self-control is, but really it’s an assessment of what changes need to be made for an end result, say getting healthier, which was my goal, and continues to be, despite of people talking weight-loss at me, sometimes to me which is nicer, and figuring out the necessary steps while adhering to them. Naturally this is discipline, self-control, willpower, whatever term you like it boils down to holding yourself accountable and making sure you stick to whatever plan you’ve devised. But there is an interesting aspect I think isn’t often discussed.

How that self-control manifests itself, say as an example, Dear Reader, we take me, Often Jack, and a bag of candy, sweets, confectionery, pick a name it’s all sugary sweetness, much like me, yeah I’m not buying it either, but let’s imagine Jack and the Candy. Now, say I only eat one piece of candy a day, that’s self control in it’s usual form, right? Yeah, I could eat it all, but I don’t and that’s fine…if it works. Here’s the snag, it depends on how that candy affects me, say you see me, taking just one piece, what you might not see is me eating a piece of cake, crisps, but just, just, one bag alongside one soda etc etc, so you take that example and wonder why it isn’t working. That isn’t to say this can’t be the method, but I know for myself it was either eat the whole bag or don’t, then when that was done I had to decide that was the limit, for the day or week, week these days, sugar makes me  sick, doesn’t stop me eating too much on occasion though, addiction weee. So for me having a set amount works instead of rationing, that’s always been the case by the way, this isn’t anything to do with my successes, so don’t mistake it as something you can just emulate. As to why, well a little always make me want more, which I think is truer for most people than realise it, it’s just the little is seen as a congratulatory effort of will, where the blind-spot is all the other “efforts” that sabotage the overall result.

I think willpower without tailored thought leads nowhere, if you sick to drinking cabbage water and never stop, until you explode I suppose, and in the end the result isn’t what you expected that’s a waste of willpower, which I feel does deplete when the result isn’t worthwhile, this happens with diet books, I will rail against them with all I am until the day they or I die, because the results differ from person to person, from body to body, from metabolism…you get the idea, but the will, the effort, the discipline remain consistent, which is depleted when the fad fails. When you’re promised a result for your efforts it’s hard not to deflate when it doesn’t work, or works and fails, though running out of willpower is a different story. I suppose what I’m getting at ultimately is that you need both extensive willpower, true knowledge of food, and a tailored diet plan to achieve a result. How to get them? Well, sink low enough and anything’s better, that was true for me at least. This is a warning for the new year as it is me groping through the past, blindly trying to understand exactly what it is that drove me, made me do all I do. I’d love to be able to help someone like I was, but no matter what I can’t just offer a quick solution. I see it often repeatedly stated that you can’t keep weight off, it’s nearly an impossibility, but coming up to my ninth year, never regaining and staying true to the overall plan, I tend to focus on the nearly part of impossible. I’ll be back again soon, Dear Reader, take care and Happy Holidays.

Putting The Cart Before The Foot In Your Mouth

Dear Reader, I’m often wryly amused at the fact I recycle the same topics repeatedly whenever I talk about weight loss on the blog, it’s funny because with each repetition I gain a greater understand and offer my points in a greater clarity, but it makes me realise how little effort is put into the various ubiquitous “think-pieces” that populate the web and occupy people’s minds. I knew said Jack was going to be famous, but I’ll sleep better knowing I always take my responsibility seriously when sharing. I’m not  getting too deep or dark today, so flippant tones will suffice, right? Right, though you can’t exactly argue as I’m deciding this before I post and you become my actual readership, but that’s why I like you, Dear Reader, you’re very easy going before you’re real and even after.

So, today I’ve been thinking about the changes that are made to the diet to achieve, well, any measure of success. It always sounds simple to start, which is a major selling point. Just Quit that and Ditch this and you’re all set. Right? You know that’s not true, don’t get me wrong it’s not that easy to even accept that, but the main issue facing anyone who wants to reduce intake one way or increase it in another, I’m being vague because I don’t feel like attacking all the dumb fads that’ll be revived in the New Year, by the time they arrive I’ll be in the garden anyway.

So the first issue when starting is that even simple changes need to be tailored to your lifestyle and you can’t just transplant a way of eating and expect it to graft to your life and your own level of discipline, which is necessary regardless of how supposedly easy something is to accomplish. Which means that though a supposed plan seems to be a one size fits all you actually need to set it to your life and this is where the major problem occurs. You see when you set the entry requirements, say you decide you’re quitting This, tasty, tasty vague this, Quitting This is all you need do, that’s the only step. That’s the mistake, right there, did you see it? You set the entry barrier low and by that you’ve sabotaged yourself. You’ve given yourself the idea this will be easy and when it’s not, when the people you’ve told, because you’ll tell people because it’s obviously going to work as it’s so easy, the book said so, there’s always a book, a celebrity, an article and a hack, whatever, then it isn’t easy, it doesn’t work and the usual spiral occurs. Weight is regained, plus more often, sadly, and the diet is ditched and what makes it worse is that you learn that reality can be harder, but your initial framing stay in people’s minds so now they look at you in askance, why couldn’t you do this easy thing? And that’s a horrible place to be in, so I offer what I did, not as a solution, just a suggestion. It’s worked for over eight years so far, no lapses, forward progress all the way.

I’ve often said I told no one when I started and honestly that was the best idea, because keeping quiet lets you work at it slowly, now I’m not saying you do something dangerous and don’t tell a soul, but keep it to close friends and family who won’t judge or pressure you. But, see, here’s the catch, I knew nothing starting, eight odd years ago, I had no idea what I was getting into, so I read, I learned, I thought and I fought, but I never told people, never bragged, I had too much work to do, I was too scared, I was what I always am: A quiet, hard worker. So, I suppose, if you’re doing anything like this for attention then don’t come to me. I don’t care. But I am proof that this can be done, even if it seems overwhelming, by chipping at it, one little sliver at a time. I broke down what I was, I rebuilt myself and it’s still a work in progress, the weight became stable, so  waited, the skin never bounced back and I was in constant pain, so I looked for help, then I waited, and waited…and waited. Eventually I gained part of my goal, I was free from some of the skin and the pain. All though this I was reworking, breaking and fixing, discarding and amassing, whatever was needed I found or made. This journey has been too long already, I hope the New Year brings better days, but I want you to know if you are in a place like I was you can get out, it’s hard, sometimes unfairly so, but you may never see half of what I did, but be prepared and if you can face that you can do this, whatever this is for you, Dear Reader. No success is too small, no goal met is a waste, every step forward is to be celebrated as you put your foot down towards the next. Don’t start and stop, start right and keep going. Slow and steady if needs be.

Since it’s the years end, I’ll just toss out the donate link (https://ko-fi.com/Z8Z5IIEL). You know the drill, don’t worry about it if you can’t and to those who have sent something thank you so much, it really means the world to me. I never knew what the blog would become when I started, but I’m extremely grateful you’re here with me as we figure it out. As always take care and I’ll be back soon.

Weight Loss Inspirational Lies

Oh, Dear Reader, we’ve gone a long time since my last post on my own experiences with weight-loss, haven’t we? Let’s go at a rapid clip, because I can only reiterate a bit before it starts to grate. Jack is bitter because life isn’t ever the Hallmark Moment that people assume it should be, Jack has been through a lot of pain, both mental and physical and Jack didn’t mention that he lost ten stone, probably more, went through a major surgery and needs further first and that tells you how I go about talking about this. I’m honest and I put huge emphasis on responsibility, this is rarely what you expect and that’s what I’m talking about again, and ever again.

So, why is Jack doing this? The clarity and refinement that time brings with contemplation and the hopes it’ll reach just one person. One aspect of this kind of discussion is it tends to sound familiar, because a lot of it is the same, but it’s the framing hat’s important. I’ll get to that, first I’d like to talk about something that has been at times annoying, other times hurt and always downright infuriating. The question of “How did you” Blah blah blah. It really can be an earnest question, but all too often it’s a coded request for the secret code to skip ahead because it can’t be hard if you did it and you’re obviously holding out. Which is always ironic as I’m ever honest in the difficult and willing to help, why this bothers me, aside from just being a terrible way to treat another human being that has been through a traumatic experience, I’ve always said experiences vary and my was a dark time indeed. So, let’s draw back the curtain, I’ll use the notes, literally typed as I started so I wouldn’t lose the thread of this and you can see how simple it is when you know, but how useless that knowledge is without understanding.

Stumble by looking for an easy out, hurt me by doing it too. Oh, well I’ve covered this, see Jack thinks both ways. Rough and ready and slightly more elaborate and general.

Saviour complex makes bank. Tell you, Dear Reader, that THERE IS INDEED A WAY TO LOOSE WEIGHT™? See that’s where I stumble, I could frame my whole diet as a cure-all, a way to make me money by parcelling out bits of it as many bloggers do with nary a consideration to the safety of such an endeavour. You see I’m the poster child for successful weight-loss, I’ve never regained it, I’ve never even gone backwards. I could treat myself as a saviour to those who need help, but I don’t, I’m just Jack, which is a pen-name and such a simple one speaks volumes in itself, because I don’t want to do that. I want money, I want success and comments and views and all kinds of attention, but I will not do harm to one person to get that. Which makes me all but invisible at times, I’ve often said I was ever the weird kid growing up, that remains true, but I also remain true to my own moral compass, do what I can and leave the rest to the users and those who think too highly of their own intellect. I do teach I do help, often to no thanks or repayment, so I take it at my own pace and hope it helps.
Shortcuts fail to work perceptions warp. Yes, I think like this, I should stop, I’ll break something someday. So, when a Saviour’s™ great all wondrous Diet Plan fails to help or worse helps to get you started then falls apart you see the major problem with these kinds of people. They take what they can get, hurt people and leave mental scars, mistrust at the idea that diet can ever work. They make people hate themselves and often cause them to fall further back than when they started, hence the often observed phenomenon of Weight-loss Successes ending up heavier after a while. This is the part that really enrages me, Dear Reader, obviously if people where more sensible, less arrogant and lazy, also scared, confused and unintentionally ignorant, don’t worry I’m not tossing everyone under the bus, I understand a lack of knowledge. But simply put, when someone fails we’re a lot more likely to listen to them when they say it’s impossible to eat like this, it’s not, it’s impossible to lose weight, nope, and that’s really awful.

There are many issues at play, Dear Reader, there are issues with he ideal body type and the assumption that weight-loss bring not only a washboard stomach but also a sense of contentment. It’s why I talk like this, you’d be mistaken to think I regret it, but I do hate the work it takes hat is so rarely acknowledged. For the first time in perhaps two decades I’m free from back pain, Dear Reader, that seems miraculous to me, at times I still put a hand at my back due to the sheer number of times I had to to ease a pain or ache. See, the problem is if I talk only positive you’ll take that and go to the Saviours™ and decide they have the shortcut to great days and cheery nights.That Jack is just to dumb to figure out what he did. I lived on Mince for nearly three years, mince in a lose, watery sauce with pasta, before that mince and rice cakes, look at me now, Dear Reader, I went from that to this site, I did more work than I see in any recipe book being sold as an answer to a simplified question of healthy eating, so if you listen to anyone, doesn’t have to be me, listen to the ones who prove, who don’t just talk, the ones selling you a book of twenty generic recipes versus the free sites loaded, like say, here, with nearly four hundred for free. Yeah, you have to root through the site, that’s the clue, Dear Reader, you have to work for it or chances are that shortcut will turn out to be a dead end.

So, I’m learning to do this more, it’s the way of he internet. I provide a service here, as nontraditional as any, but the work is more than it seems and is consumed by many. So, if you’d like to donate you can do so here, if every Dear Reader who used a recipe from here, or several gave just a cent I’d have a lot more than you’d imagine.

Ko-fi: It’s literally like buying me a coffee. It may very well go to coffee.

Paypal: More straightforward. Throw money at me.

You can also help by sharing, Retweeting, liking or commenting, anything that spreads the site is helpful, but even if it became a huge success I’d still never see a penny. Ideally if I made enough from blogging I’d like to get a proper domain, really not viable right now, I can’t pay that monthly. Really I always feel I shouldn’t ask, but I then ask myself who ever did this much for me? No one, that’s the hard part and the part that has hardened me. I never want t withhold recipes, like a Patreon say, which is a great service, but if it took a recipe from someone who needed it I’d never forgive myself. In the end I’ll keep chugging along with the blog until I can’t or don’t want to. I hope it doesn’t sound ungrateful, but when I see huge amount of views, but only a few dedicated Dear Readers,  whom I appreciate more than they can know, really interacting I figure I may as well put this out there at times. If they don’t like being reminded that I’m a person working hard at this then phooey to them from me. I’ll be back again later, Dear Reader. I have a post in the Same Old, Same New format waiting in the wings. It just needs some polish and photos. Until later, take care.

Doux Doux

There is a jar on my, now very crammed, spice rack, still clinging for dear life to the wall it resisted so much, marked sweet sweet. It naturally causes confusion to anyone but me. Then again, it’s my spice-rack so it can be as eclectic and bewildering as I am. It did set the ball rolling on this post, along with some purchased organic parsnips, the really wonderful kind not too long from someone’s garden, and, yes there are some growing in mine, but how they’ll fare is still up in the air, they’re keeping the weeds at bay whereas these freshly purchased ones are keeping Jack in sweet vegetables. Which is where we come in.

Now, you’re naturally thinking that I mean honey roasted, which I don’t, so you’re probably assuming they’ve been caramelised in the pan after boiling or steaming, which again, is wrong, then, Dear Reader, you’re just going to let Jack ramble because you’re so kind-hearted. You see, I’ve mentioned this countless time, but you have to keep pointing it out, I was once morbidly obese and sugary coated, filled and packed everything wasn’t just an option here and there it was life. You wouldn’t believe what I once could eat, I honestly struggle with it. So there’s that sweetness, the sweetness not of a beautiful sunset, the laughter of children or the endless small joys of your everyday lives, but the pleasure of a part of the brain that reacts favourably to sugar, which science can probably explain and Jack is tired of so he’ll let you go to Google, instead of either of these sweet joys I’m talking of a third, why mention the first? Because I’m a jerk and want to keep typing to fill out a post.

So, I’ve given up almost all sugar, in fits and starts, quietly resigned at times and screaming bloody murder at others, and the hardest part of it isn’t that it was difficult, it was hellish, but that people who still consume a vast quantity of sugar, not only do they not realise that it’s everywhere, not literally, stop opening the presses and licking the chairs, Dear Reader, it’s in a lot of food, processed mostly, but you’d be surprised when other people are preparing your food, but they don’t realise it affects their taste-buds so much. Much like a smoker, Jack wasn’t ever a smoker or a drinker, nor a pious, officious jackass, funny that. I also dislike the I Quit Sugar brigade, due to the prevalence of alternatives not marked sugar. That’s another topic for me to alienate readers on, Dear Reader.

So, what am I getting at. We’ve established that there are two types of sweetness. We haven’t? Oh. We’ve only established that there’s the sugar sweetness that most think of when sweetness is mentioned and then I became side tracked. Well, to resume the thread and pick up the parsnip…The what? Ah, he natural sweetness problem. All vegetables, when fresh and grown in preferable conditions, like my garden say, have a natural sweetness that bare any resemblance to sugary food, but in its own right is a blessing to the taste-buds, but if you are a sugar fiend you may have trouble every recognising it. A freshly harvested carrot is sweet, the naturally stored sugars are present in every bite, to me, one who eats like this all the time it’s a joy. When I mention it to someone else it’s a mystery.

Which is a shame, I love the sweetness of cold-brewed tea, freshly harvested vegetables, the slight hit from yellow skinned squash, the surprise in every golden beet and the absurd sweetness of fresh strawberries. There was no way I’d taste or enjoy any of this if I consumed sugar as I once did. Am I suggesting you cut down on your sugar? No, you do what you want. But if you ever read me mentioning the sweet flavour of something that seems savoury then hopefully you’ll remember the two kinds of sweetness and it’ll make a little more sense. All the differences between people can be bridged by a willingness to learn and teach, when willing. That’s really all I have to say, it’s interesting to have been on both sides of so many polarising experiences, tiring too, Dear Reader, but as I have fresh parsnips I’m happy enough for the while. Until later.

Barrels of Jack

I just planted some expired seeds. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.

I mean, how, what…I’ll dry it then, I guess.
Birds, bees, Butterflies and Jack.
Remember the random yellow strawberries I transplanted? Ta-da! I should pull that nettle.

I’m following this guide, which unlike far too many other guides out there isn’t just a cheap copy and paste job with stock photos. I was gifted very bitter quinoa and some expired seeds, then I threw the seeds in a pot for giggles and they just refused to die, three plants started, three plants were transplanted and they just kept growing, in the heatwave, in the cold spells, until today, yes, today Dear Reader, Jack works fast, Dearest Darling Jack as you are wont to call me, saw an infestation of worms had taken the quinoa over, then after careful examination it turned out that the quinoa seeds had sprouted in places as they’d been ready to harvest for a while. So, I grab a secateurs and get to work, taking the heads and removing leaves. The heads are drying in a paper bag in the shed, I’ll keep you up dated, the next step involves removing the hull or chaff, no idea. Lot of work for little reward I’m told, but I have to see this through. I squeezed a flower? Seed pod? and quinoa popped out. So, I guess we’ll see.

 The tap splutters, but as long as the barrels stays dry that’s fine.

The magical angle.

Should this even work so well?

I’ll get to you soon!

I mentioned the barrels a lot, didn’t I? Yeah, when it comes to projects like this they tend to take over my attention completely. You know I sealed them, successfully thankfully, with epoxy, and had to connect two via some hose. No I will not buy hose when old hose is plentiful. We had a heavy rain and one was filled, but the hose wasn’t draining, the barrel was nearly full, so I twisted the hose and viola: Water drained rapidly into the second. Now, anyone else would’ve been happy at that, but with the placement of the hole it meant that a lot of water wouldn’t be collected, so I smartly pulled the hose out and almost drowned myself, I quickly shoved it back in, that’s a too perfectly airtight seal, but I won’t complain. Then the water stops as the angle is wrong. So I just move it a bit until it drains just a bit and stops. Then, seriously, I’m a terrible story-teller, I go and fetch the huge bucket I collected rain in because I knew I’d end up screwing around with the barrels, and tested this new angle, the first barrel was almost entirely full, well above the hose, but once I filled the rest it drained! That means I can collect a huge amount of water with losing out to empty space, you lose below the tap-line, the barrels are curved at the bottom, so nothing can be done there, but the top was another issue, now it isn’t. It’s all angles and gravity and all a fluke, but a really useful one. I’ll connect the final barrel soon.

Phlox, I think. The stem warped a lot.
Whatever these are they smell wonderful.
Plant your parsnips late it seems.
I tilted the pot to allow frequent draining and it’s getting clearer.

I’m a water expert now. Heh. I don’t have much more to relate, Dear Reader, I’m currently trying to vary my wardrobe, which sounds easy, but when you have difficultly buying clothes in your size and have spent years over-weight and unable to dress yourself, well, it leaves scars. Currently I’ve found another Tall store, Bad Rhino, and really have found their clothes a great fit. I’m only dressing for myself and I have to wear clothes that are comfortable, an elasticated soft-buckled belt has worked wonders. It sounds easy, but I have no frame of reference for any of this, for a long, long time I wore just one colour of tee-shirt and baggy tracksuits, it was traumatic, not in the dramatic sense we often assign to those kinds of ideas, but still an ordeal, I just feel like an impostor, like I’ll wear jeans and they’ll be wrong somehow. I’m working on it gradually, teaching myself to have a selection rather than being trapped in just one style. Stress hasn’t exactly left me a roguish devil, Dear Reader, if I lose any more weight I’ll just be gaunt and haunted. As it is I’m aged, more than my years a bit, but I’m healthy and I’ve been through so much it has had to wear on me, so now I want to wear comfortable, varied clothes, to enjoy my garden and to pester you about new projects. I’ve earned it, I just wish for an end to all the waiting on surgeries, soon I say often, to whom I don’t know, but soon. Until later, Dear Reader.