Five definitions of boredom

It was Saturday. The sun was out for the first time in days. The miserable weather of the last week had driven me inside, into the pajama pants, and under the covers to you know, do work, research, study, surf the internet, lose motivation, catch up on Dexter and all right, fine, become a sloth. So I turned to the girl who blows her nose with one hand and I said “That’s it!”

“That’s it” I have learnt, is a proclamation I make quite often, usually followed by some ridiculous statement I have no intention or ability to commit to. That’s it, we’re moving somewhere with better weather! That’s it, I’m going to get fit! That’s it, I’m learning to fly a plane so that when I’m neighbors with Ange and Brad we’ll have something to talk about!

On Saturday, disgusted with myself for not going outside when the sun came out, it was “That’s it, I’m hiring a car and we’re going for a drive tomorrow!” But this time I actually did it.

On a scale of self inflicted pain, driving in London runs a close second to piercing your netherbits. Then again, that results in a happy ending, allegedly. There is no pleasure to driving in London. But since a train ticket to the English countryside starts at around £25, there were three of us and the rental was £40 plus petrol, it made sense to grit our teeth and just deal with it till we got out of the city right? With a car we could come and go as we pleased, there’d be no screaming babies/teens/bogan mothers to annoy us and we could pull over if something quaint and English presented itself. Much better right? Hmm.

The girl who I decided was in charge of navigation set about trying to get us on the A2 while I set about trying to decipher all the different squiggly lines on the roads. I realised then that I don’t really know London at all by road. I’m always on trains or buses and never really take any notice. I didn’t even know that the main street of Peckham Rye, one that I’ve been on many times, is only for buses and bikes. Luckily a guy on a bicycle explained this to me in a nice loud voice and with helpful hand gestures.

Nobody ambles about anymore do they? We always have somewhere to get to, an itinerary to stick to, and we want to get there the quickest and easiest way. So in a car that means freeways, and for the driver (that would be me) that means an hour or two on a straight-ish road, shifting focus between three mirrors, making sure some other driver hasn’t fallen asleep from all that concentrating.

Small Towns
I chose Whitstable because the girl who eats anything except (so far) turnips and sea urchins had expressed a desire to try an oyster. As soon as I had made sure there wasn’t any kind of innuendo in the meaning of that sentence I researched, and apparently if it’s oysters you want in south east England, it’s to Whitstable you go. I also noticed that Canterbury was close by and it’s always good to have a plan B if the small town proves unsatisfactory. Not that I knew anything about Canterbury, but I expected it would be a smaller version of Oxford or Cambridge – over run with day tripping tourists and extortionately priced memorabilia, but better than being at home in bed watching the sunshine fade. Continue reading


Farty McBland

Six days into the Elimination Diet. Or should I say one? I keep accidentally stuffing it up by not reading ingredients labels properly, so I’m not sure if one mouthful of a banned substance means I need to start again. At this rate forget ten days, I’m going to be on this thing till Christmas.

So what’s it like? Well, I’m sure we’ve all watched enough episodes of The Biggest Loser to know that for the first few days of any diet you’re mostly losing water right? What? Isn’t the television where you learn everything about life too? If the number of trips to the loo are any indication, it seems I’m losing the Indian Ocean. Middle of the night peeing used to be because I’d had too much Jack Daniels, now it’s because I’ve had too much Apple and Elderflower juice. That’s not cool, that’s just embarrassing.

Among an endless and varying list of no-no’s (depending on whose version of the diet you follow) I’m not allowed to have yeast, dairy, corn, eggs, beef, potatoes, onions or garlic, so ingredient checking has become my new hobby and I pretty much have to clear a whole afternoon to go to the supermarket. As a by-product of this new hobby I think I may have figured out why so many people develop a yeast intolerance these days. Have you got any idea how many things in the supermarket have yeast in them? 134,987. Trust me, I’ve checked. Or if there’s no yeast, there’s potato starch or corn starch or maize starch, the latter which I learnt on day three’s stuff up, as I quickly spat out the Mango chutney, is bloody corn too. Arrrgghhh, why didn’t I know that? Why don’t we learn these things in school? Scrap Pythagoras and throw in some nutrition will ya? Except for poly-amorous couples, I’m yet to meet anyone obsessed with triangles. Continue reading

Ode to the tasty buds

It’s about four days till I have to start the elimination diet. There’s no surprises here, it is what it sounds like. You take away everything that could possibly upset your digestion for a while so it’s out of your body and then reintroduce food one at a time to see if you have a negative reaction to it.

To prepare for this monumental deprivation I’m doing what any sane human being would do: eating just about everything I’ve ever put in my mouth “just one last time”, because I know there’s a chance I won’t be able to have it again if it proves to be something tummy can’t handle. Mostly that means my diet this week consists of sugar, alcohol and things I haven’t had in years, so they couldn’t be the source of the problem anyway.By the way, do you know how hard it is to find fairy floss on a whim?

I wish this kind of prep was suitable for other challenges in life. If this is what you did before a marathon I’d be giving Eddie Izard a run for his money. If this is what you did before a wedding, I’d be giving Zsa Zsa Gabor a run for her money. If this is what you did before moving to Adelaide… ahhh… actually, sorry no, silly me, who voluntarily moves to Adelaide. Are you mental?

But I’m not happy Jan. This diet thing doesn’t leave any room for vices. Seriously, man must have one really bad thing in his life, a thing that’s naughty and forbidden and bound to lead to a colostomy bag by middle age. It’s what makes life exciting, what makes you feel like you’re walking on a tightrope instead of being strapped into the kiddy seat of life. If I follow this diet, that’s pretty much everything gone. The only thing left to get a thrill from each day will be picking my nose, but fark, I’m probably intolerant to mucus too. Continue reading