Sunday, December 31, 2006
Over here the new thing is Five Portions of Fruit and Veg a Day. Check it out here. This is the total opposite in style - it keeps things short and sweet and there is a useful list of of "portion" samples. It could do with a portion-calculator and a search function I think.
And failing that there is also the option of popping a few newly-arrived pills and getting them to do the job for you - for smoking and for weight control.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Here's an eve of new year's eve summary as far as smoking is concerned:
8m 3w 12:50 smoke-free, 6,644 cigs not smoked, £770.70 saved, 3w 2d 01:40 life saved
And we have a newcomer to the stats - all part of the de-fattening process:
Weight 72kg ~ 11st 3lbs Waist 40 ins.
Could be worse.
All in all it's a bit too much for me - even R finds it a bit mind-bending watching me eat fruit and clap gleefully at the sight of a carrot.
And of course there's the no (minimal actually) alcohol regime.
So where am I?
I gave up smoking in April.
I was getting really itchy skin so I went to the doctor. He saw my palms and promptly fainted. "Your liver" he gasped.
I went through two extended dry periods prior to a blood test and then an ultrasound scan.
Neither was conclusive. Either its a type of fatty liver thats not too bad or its liver disease at an early stage.
I see a second doctor and he seems relaxed about it - I start enjoying a few drinks again
Then I see a consultant - he thinks a biopsy might be needed and he wants me to lose weight and go minimal with drink.
In the mean time I think I'm having a heart attack which is some other vaguely diagnosed ailment, another doctor gives me a drug and am told not to drink. Subsequently my face explodes with yukky skin disease around the mask of my face. So I see another doctor. For some reason she wants to input basic info onto the practice's database again. She is amused when I tell her I drink 1-2 units a week.
She gives me another prescription. Then I am looking at the small print of the first drug and it warns me to consult a doctor if my face starts to blister so I guess I am going back to see another doctor about...er...what...oh yes...my face...or is it my liver?
My first non-smoking Christmas. Any thing to say about it? I had to spend more quality time with my family - I used to be able to escape to the garden for a long cigarette or two. Did I say escape?
I missed my post Midnight Mass cigarette - much more than my usual Christmas Eve drink-up it must be said.
John Lewis yesterday braving the sales-seeking crowds to get a weighing-scale. Got pounced on by an assistant "Can I help you sir" "Yes I am looking for some weighing scales" He must have thought I was a drug dealer or something as he sent me down to the kitchen department. I emerged ten minutes later and sought out bathroom accessories.
I had little idea how the market has changed - weighing scales tell you all sorts of things nowadays like how much of you is fat and how much is water at any given moment. After failing to find out what batteries were required I bottled out and bought conventional mechanical scales. They also happened to be the cheapest.
Football used to be a different experience altogether and it wasn't only because the Wimbledon FC team was professional. At least four pints of lager would be involved and it was almost statutory to visit one of the many chicken outlets in Thornton Heath - the greasier the better. When things went Non League I suddenly found I could drink just as easily and smoke much more easily. Fried chicken was on offer in Kingston Road but I never really got on with it. The chips and burgers inside Kingmeadow sufficed nicely.
Post-smoking and the experience is practically unrecognisable. Today I had two bovrils on the trot (don't tell me its fattening please!). In the second half I stuffed my face, rather furtively I have to admit, with some over-priced dried berries I had bought from Waterloo Station. The berries were washed down with tea.
(Bovril of course does belong to rituals of football - it was drizzly and windswept and the light was perfect as I sipped on my warming beaker. AFCW beat Walton and Hersham 3-1. I celebrated with a berry.)
Though R has been a great help with giving up smoking she isn't very expert at anything to do with slimming. In fact reading labels is not her strong point unless it's the bright yellow "Reduced" or "Two for the Price of One" type of label and then she's very observant indeed. Negotiating the microscopic grid at the back of foodsfuffs (Fat 0.3g of which 0.05g is mono-flatuent and so on) isn't easy for anyone. I have never ever in my life bothered looking at them till now. I have spent two weeks odd checking them and am already annoyed at the inconsistencies. I original thought the values were all on a per 100g basis but obviously not. Something I looked at today was only X amount of fat per 1/3 of a pot. Not very easy to make your calculations extrapolating from fractions of pot sizes.
Despite our relative inexperience we'll shortly be settling down to a Jacket potato and a lettuce leaf. R might have a beer to wash it down with ....ahhhhh.
A Happy New Year to You All.
Football Diets Smoking New Year
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
OK. This is getting silly now. I went to see my "consultant" on Monday. He wants me to lose weight. And not use sugar. And avoid dairy products. And fatty foods. And bready foods....potatoey foods...foody foods. He very kindly will allow me the 1-2 units of alcohol I mentioned below.
And the daftest saved for last...he wants me to exercise. Twerp.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Crise de coeur
A person came to live in the close's dustbins the other week. Very Christmassy – doubt it was a pregnant virgin but we never got to see the occupant. A note was left for them telling them it wasn't safe to live there and they seem to have moved on. They had stuffed old newspaper paper into the slats of the door to keep out the cold.
Last Monday I decided I was in the middle of a heart attack and called out the ambulance. I felt a bit silly doing it but the ambulance people were very reassuring. To my surprise they actually took me to hospital and worse the doctor wanted me in over night and I had an IV thing plonked into the back of my hands. I didn't get out until 3pm the next day.
My fellow patients were a bit of a pain. I wondered if one of the disembodied voices I heard during the night was the person who had just moved on from our dustbins.
There was another who I was convinced was faking his moans and groans. R smuggled in a slice of pizza. Although he didn't see the source of the smell he was soon on his feet hassling the staff for supper. “I smell food” he said “I haven't eaten for two days” “Why haven't you?” the nurse asked. He didn't answer.
Another bloke turned up at 5am under police escort. Various doctors attempted to ascertain what he had taken – there were concerned mutters about opiates. The next morning the doctor did her rounds and had a jolly chat with him about the pills cocaine and litre and a half of Jack Daniels he had drunk. When she got to me she asked how much I was drinking. I had briefly discussed the indeterminate liver problem. “Around the limit” I said “21 units a week” - she hit the roof and gave me the third degree – “You should be drinking 1-2 units a week at the most” she screeched. Oh well. How much is a unit now?
Sunday, December 03, 2006
I am just at the end of another period of being on the verge of a cold. On the verge of one. Not laid low off sick with one. This has happened twice since I have given up smoking. Has my resistance/immunity strengthened?
That said I did get hit by a bad one shortly after giving up. At least life is a bit more comfortable now if you get burdened with a sore throat. There was nothing more depressing than steeling yourself to smoke despite a red raw throat.
Sometimes with a fever you would have to go without - you had no choice because you were unconscious. But as soon as a bit of clear-headedness arrived it would be out on the balcony for a puff.
There was an error or rather an oversight in my earlier post about the Waterloo Cafe makeover. The Waterloo Cafe is now to be known as the Cafe Waterloo - in fact thats what all the engraved glass is about. Very chic that. Cafe Waterloo. Very French.
Guess it's not one of the more common cafe names over there though.
Thanks to Eric Lafforgue for the image "Papua New Guinea"
Friday, November 17, 2006
Though the pros and cons of Macs running OS X Tiger and PCs running XP Home and Pro are rigorously detailed at XvXP its taken for granted that the Mac machine is ahead on pure design and the logo blares out of the back of every MacBook.
And it's not only Steve Jobs who is at it. After a bit of a gap I decided to visit the Waterloo Cafe for egg chips sausage and beans today. This is a cafe that I mentioned had annoyed me in the past - it had a billboard advertising spag bol but everytime I went there the old guy would say "We don't do it on a tuesdays" ...or if it was a Weds "we don't do it on Weds".
They finally took the sign down after me going in there a thousand times and turning on my heels whenever the excuse was trotted out.
I went in today and ordered my food in a half trance finally looking in the direction of the manager. He was wearing a black tee-shirt with The Waterloo Cafe printed on it in a clean modern font.
I should have ordered mutton dressed as lamb.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Originally uploaded by questionyourtruth.
Aaaaargh...its so annoying. R and I look like we are going to hit a brick wall with our dream home. The vendor says he can't shift the tenant and that he's going to sue them etc...Months of fiddle-arsing is coming to nothing. Fivers have been wantonly cast upon the open flames and it wasn't even a rock stunt.
Oh well. Just have to chew it over with some new-style Orbit chewing gum in weird cigarette type packets. Perhaps Orbit are gearing up for the new boost in sales that should accompany the smoking ban next year.
Instead of changing the packets they should really be thinking about the flavours. Spearmint doesn't really go with stout or bitter though its probably ok with Vodka and Tonic and the more flavourless lagers. Some possibles:
Cheese and Onion
The last one is a bit problematic - does tobacco without nicotine taste of anything? The sickly burn is the whole point.
A friend reckons it will be smoke free tobacco products that will hit boom time rather than the sweety industry.
I know only one tobacconist, in Otley, that sells chewing tobacco. Will it become a standard behind every bar counter? And snuff of course.
I think I'll google around to check out the Irish experiments.
EDIT: And sure enough here's the first hit so to speak.
thanks to questionyourtruth at flickr for the image
Sunday, October 29, 2006
R and I were able to do some catching up with respective friends who live in or near Exeter and the whole thing went a treat.
Friday, October 27, 2006
AFC Wimbledon take on Conference Giants Exeter tomorrow at St James's Park.
R and I have to get a ridiculously early train so are preparing for bed at a ridiculously early hour.
Oh yes the chain smoking...no I'm not. I am having to make do with decaf instant. Great thing is its a long train journey tomorrow and I won't have to deal with any cravings.
R has just opined that "we are going to get mullered aren't we?". I think she meant to use another word but if we win tomorrow we will probably get mullered and all.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Had my first heavy smoking dream in ages as if to mark the occasion last night.
Half a year without cigs- little old me.
A world without smokes seems possible.
Had to happen in the 21st century though - wouldn't really look right in any other era.
How would James Dean have looked cool? Hung a shoelace out of his mouth?
And what would Sherlock Holmes have done if the anti-smoking craze had kicked off even earlier?
"I am most beholden to my horse chesnuts dear Watson - it is a liberation of the mind to enjoy them by the hearth but even so I fear this problem is a nine nutter. Leave me now"
Sunday, October 01, 2006
R needed some extra folder space today so she asked me to purge the smoking folder that she had built up for me and used to leave on the smoking ledge.
I was a bit hesitant - isn't this memorabilia worthy of preservation?
Most of it is mass produced literature so I didn't think it would have any wider value - there would be no future Museum of Smoking without the Smokers issuing requests for old anti-smoking leaflets.
Inevitably I gave them a quick glance- I was not a devoted reader of the file (started three or four years ago) in it's early days as I had no intention then of giving up - there was a picture of some local sporting hero kicking some small person in a cigarette suit. This unfortunate character was called Buttman.
There were my quit cards mentioned on this blog - these are to be left around the house or office to give gentle reminders. A lack of fridge magnets meant that whole idea never took off.
Even channel 5 turn up in one leaflet giving financial advice. It says things can be cheaper overall for non-smokers but makes the interesting point that some insurance companies pay out larger annuities to smokers that non-smokers as their life expectancy is lower.
Well the R's marvellous efforts at building up a propanganda pack over the years is now in the bin.
Bye bye Buttman.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
R has been applying the Chinese Burn in a move to encourage a healthier diet.
I said I had decided not to do anything else healthy until the quit-o-meter was over the one year mark.
The pressure has had some kind of effect of effect though. I had a dream about a doctor giving me a scary diagnosis so today I entered the symbolic realm of giving up sugar in my coffee. It was fine.
This small concession might protect some of my other snacking habits in the short term (see illustration).
The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step it is true. But it is also true that a journey of a thousand involves around a million steps after the first one and that's a bit off if you ask me.
Felt some positive emotions about not smoking. A long train was a lot more comfortable - a bloke in front of me starting rolling up when he was one station away from his destination just like I used to. And when going without my sugar today I was aware that it was nothing compared to the early stages of giving up. I felt a tinge of satisfaction at having done something that was good for me.
(Thanks to konaboy pigalina and kevin and kathy for linked images from flickr.)
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I popped into the Caffe Nero yesterday morning a bit ahead of my usual time and bumped into Kevin Spacey who was half way through purchasing a breakfast bowl of fruit.
He's a big lad our Kevin. Massive. He was wearing a flat cap on the wrong way round. It was as if Norman Wisdom had got the lead in King Kong.
He kind of shrieked and whooped when he recognised me- "Heh Rikky my boy- long time no see"
"Oh, oh - here he is,” I said rather unenthusiastically "where are the rest of the usual suspects?"
He crumpled up in hysterics.
"Stop it Rik! Stop it - you're killing me"
When he regained his composure he ordered a mango juice to go "...and better chuck me a banana too. Make that two. As in T-W-O the number. Two bananas. And a pear"
"Yeah Rikko how's tricks?" he continued chucking a couple of grapes in his vast mouth "Keep meaning to catch up with your blog. Still off the smokes I take it?"
I faked humility "Just because I sent you an email Kevvo doesn't mean its compulsory to read it. The Clinton thing went well I hear. Has Misbegotten opened yet? Sorry I'm a bit out of touch with you too- I've had a few projects of my own on the go."
"You're kidding me...great news Rik, great news. You mean we're going be seeing you pull the old tights on again? I'll never forget that thing you did at that Church place in Kensington. Noel Coward right? Or was it Brecht? Anyway you were the old
guy. Excellent doddering"
"Sorry to disappoint, and no offence Kev, but acting's a mug's
game and I'm not going back. There are more important things than lighting up the world
with my talent. Much more importantly I'm completely off the
"Great part for you - Snout"
"No no Kevin. Tobacco. I'm still off the
"Good good but tell me Rikksy- Are you 'compensating'? Know what I
mean Rik my boy? are you com-pen-sat-ing? Because I am since I
quit. With me its fruit. I'm compensating with fruit"
"Yeah that's what the the Great Mr K ordered and thats what I'm
sticking to. And boy do I feel great. Fruit man, fruit's the way
to go." - he shoved a watermelon into my hands - "And the thing
about fruit is...” he took one ginormous stride to the door..."it
ain't made of chocolate" . He glanced meaningfully at my stomach
turned on his heels and in a flash he and his fruit were gone.
Kevin Spacey is currently appearing at the Old Vic in Eugene
O'Neill’s ‘Moon for the Misbegotten.’
Erik Fuller is currently not smoking in and around London SE1.
Kevin Spacey Misbegotten Fruit
Sunday, September 17, 2006
---5m 1w 1d 03:28 smoke-free, 4,030 cigs not smoked, £467.48 saved, 1w 6d 23:50 life saved
I have been getting a bit lax with my anniversaries. (I know anniversaries comes from the word year but who cares).
So it was five months and a week yesterday.
I decided against football at the last minute yesterday- I don't know whether it was the French Farmers market in Lower Marsh (picture) or R having passes to London Open House (she volunteered at her workplace) that stopped me going but I missed AFCW's win in the crazy-early stages of the FA Cup against Horsham.
We're off to Open House this morning after I've finished my special homemade coffee- Douwe Egberts with milk frothed up with an Aerolatte with vanilla syrup (both gifts from a reader) and sprinkled with the amaretto powder that R got me.
We have some interest in a particular house at the moment and I'll fill you in when things develop.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Well turnout far exceeeded expectations at the reader's meeting. We all managed to cram
into the Caffe Nero and engaged in a few ice-breakers. Then it was time for me to start
People were sorely disappointed that Mr K's Chemists weren't open. A false hope had arisen
that I would be able to arrange a meeting with the great man and possibly people would be
allowed to have photos taken in the anusol chair with him. I do hate to disappoint and I
don't blame my readers for their frustration but it did get a bit out of hand.
I continued the tour along the river pointing out to the crowds the spot where I filmed this (video
link) one off episode of Fag Free TV way back in April.
My voice began to get hoarse shouting to the crowds and they began to lose interest so it was decided to go to the Pub.
Here are some unused ashtrays and here is one of my readers meeting up with a couple more
of my readers. And here are some more readers relaxing.
Then we went to the Tate Modern- no idea why- and then off to have something to eat. We
managed to shrug off the unmanageable numbers of followers and managed to squeeze into Marie's Cafe The Best Cafe In SE1.
And then a bit of a sing song at the Sussex Arms Karaoke until it was time for the readers
to disperse. There were planes to catch and so forth. One of them a certain Miss B who
had come all the way from County Wicklow just couldn't tear herself away until she got a
bit bored and then she managed to break away no problem.
Great meeting you guys and gals even if I
didn't have time to talk to you all one by one. And thanks for the presents you
coincidently heaped on me on a day that was so coincidentally close to my birthday...
Thursday, August 31, 2006
I know its short notice but why not get yourselves along, drink some coffee, take in some art, meet fellow readers and have a fag, oops, go for a wander and so forth.
The schedule is:
3pm The Caffe Nero The Cut Waterloo
Meet up and have a coffee - where I first came to on Day One.
4pm Guided tour/walk to my workplace - see the steps I no longer walk up and down. See My K's The Chemists where I used to get my patches. Visit the "Valley of No Customer Service".
Continue on to The Founders Arms for some more coffee or maybe a beer.
5.15 Breathe coffee fumes on the punters at Tate Modern for half an hour or so before heading off to the Charles Dickens pub in Union Street arriving about
6.15pm Charles Dickens Pub - for another, ahem, coffee and maybe some food.
If food is not on we'll head to the Capital Kebab or Maries cafe subject to a popular vote of the masses.
7-9 Eating things drinking coffee smoking some more with a Final Wind down awith some karaoke down the Sussex Arms.
PS The proximity to my birthday is a pure coincidence and is neither here nor there.
PSS This is the first day coincidentally close to my birthday that has occurred since giving up smoking.
Now all I have to do is make sure R is coming.
See you soon! Everyone Welcome!
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Read about and try it here.
AT the LBs barbecue last month someone Mr H.O. brought up the subject of my blogs unfindability using google. I countered that I was number two hit using '"erik fuller" blog' as the search term in Yahoo. Then I disappeared from yahoo and mysteriously appeared in google. Trying it just now
I turn up as Hit 3 with google.com, don't show at all with google.co.uk (guess because the site is US) and show as Hit 7 for yahoo.com.
Two things. First my friend's assumption that if you can't find something with google then it can't be found. I was put right on this by a colleague whose job it was to use search engines. I was bitten by the desire to check out some friend's name on the web and was getting a few vague references to some work she had done switching out of google and using some of the other search tools out there I got a perfect hit with her tel number and her email address. I think it might have been dogpile but that's not the point. For the cost of a few clicks you can go from meagre rations to the full monty in search terms. Try it out. There's plenty of tools at this site.
Second thing. Can I expect old friends to start getting in touch using the web as the way of finding me? Well they would either have to be imaginitative enough to stick the word blog by my name or persistent enough to dig theirway through the first 14 pages or so to find a link to me (not necessarilty a very useful one)just using Erik Fuller. So I won't expect a surfeit of Christmas this year but slowly and surely we're moving towards the biggest telephone book in the world.
Technorati Tags Search Engines Eh List Bloglines Famous
Saturday, August 19, 2006
into the bookshop behind Starbucks (my whole worldview is determined by
coffee outlets nowadays) and I saw a programme there from a Roualt
exhibition that I went to. I was shocked to see it was in
1993. Who did I go with? Did I go alone?
Having spent too much time staring at this computer screen it was a
lovely refreshing thing to focus on on lines that have been impressed
upon paper by the human hand and to revel in the extreme delicacy
of the "evil fairies" in a corner exhibit that we all liked at the
The Tate's showing Domestic Incidents in the turbine space which was quite pertinent. R's been heavily involved in household goods and they were well represented here. Amusing but not as good as the evil fairies in my opinion.
For some reason I kept thinking I should be lighting up when leaving
both galleries. Guess it's my first art-fest since giving up.
(Geek-point: I did this post from beginning to end just using the tiny Puppy Linux Live CD and the software that gets squeezed into its 70Mb.)
Technorati Tags Puppy Linux Tate Modern Jerwood Gallery
Friday, August 18, 2006
Unlike my initial look at the Ubuntu one when I tried Mandriva
and Knoppix (both magazine coverdiscs) last night the internet
connection worked a treat.
So I could write a letter saved as a Word Document (to my tiny
little SD card attached to the usb socket), whizz through a
calculation on a spreadsheet programme, browse the internet, do
some internet banking, download a podcast (to my SD card) then
switch off, remove the DVD and unplug my SD card and walk away
without leaving a trace. No change will have happened to the
hard drive of the computer I had used - no cookies, no net
history, no recent document entries, no registry changes, no
spyware and no virus and no nothing.
So if I'm holidaying at a friend's house I could view all my
email attachments safe in the knowledge I'm not going to damage
their machine. I guess could also carry around my own preferred
settings and bookmarks etc around in my SD card).
There's one Live Distro (Puppy Linux?) that is so compact that
you can actually write data to its own disk. Or Geexbox that you
can remove after it has booted so that you can use the ROM-drive
to play a DVD or review other data.
The main use of them I think is for emergency recovery and to check out particular Linux flavours (Mac and Windows-type are also available- see this article) with your current hardware set-up.
But it's not just that: Knoppix is stuffed with 1000+ applications or something ridiculous like that.
Technorati Tags Knoppix LiveCD Ubuntu Mandriva
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Now on a more important note - Verbal Diary Best Coffee Supplied by a Chain Award.
The candidates are Starbucks (Waterloo Kiosk)
Pret (Stamford Street)
Cafe Nero (The Cut)
And the winner is Cafe Nero. Because its a good cup of coffee at a good price and they have the best range of syrups of all the chains. Having said that they ran out of caramel today because I had used it all. I was confused by the choice. I saw cannelle and that looked tempting but I didn't have a clue what it was. In fact they were all pretty weird looking so I went for plain old vanilla.
I also like their silly little loyalty cards - an added bonus if anyone nicks my wallet.
My readers meeting could start there...it is where I went on my first day of not smoking and composed my first blog. I thought I'd go there on that day because I thought it was non-smoking inside and continued to think it was for some time until I noticed someone lighting up in there when I went in for my morning special the other week. It's amazing how you can fool your senses simply because you want something or don't want something to be the case.
Technorati Tags delusion weather coffee
Monday, August 07, 2006
I headed back towards the office disappointed and had to make do with a meagre salt beef sarnie from the local "have-a-good-day" Pret.
No fun at all though I felt a bit better in the afternoon without a great lump of meat cheese and pasta in my stomach.
R went over to Surrey Quays and did the grocery shopping - a careful examination of the bags has revealed a distinct lack of spaghetti. I wouldn't mind these hunger pangs if I was smoking.
I'm in ubuntu as I write and can't tell you what the Quit-o-meter says because it's a Windows programme. I guess it's something like Fags Not Smoked = Loads.... Life Saved = Years....Cash Saved = Buy Yourself a Yacht.
I want spag. I want spag. I want spag
Sunday, August 06, 2006
A reader of this blog "C5" has asked if I would update that official photo to reflect my present physical condition. Well I won't do that just yet but if any one is at all interested...(warning-not a pretty sight)...here you are and here and here and here
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
I wasn't at all successful with his method but lots of people have been and I hope this new development isn't too serious for him.
Meanwhile it has been decided by my dearest R that the "hilliness" of my stomach demands abstinence from spaghetti for the foreseeable future. I was even banned from looking at the pasta shelves in Tesco's yesterday. I think this is a bit off - surely chocolate is much worse tummy-wise?
I met another recent ex-smoker whilst basking in the radiance of the Redsticks hospitality on Sunday. H had been going six months but had had a solitary relapse. She says the urge to smoke has grown since that relapse. As they say on the WhyQuit site I link to "Not a single puff more".
Today has been almost perfect so far. Work was of the brain dead variety that I prefer and I was able to check out the excellent Frank's cafe . I have good reason to believe their spaghetti bolognaise and chips is first class. I have very good reason. I took a lot of care today at lunchtime especially wearing a white t-shirt. When I got home I don't think R noticed anything suspicious.
Technorati Tags: spaghetti dictatorship belly SE1
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Smoking 'reduces alcohol effect'
"Smoking and drinking often go hand-in-hand
Having a cigarette while drinking may reduce the effects of the alcohol, scientists suggest - but the tests have only been carried out on rats so far."
Can this story be trusted? After all nicotine alone is fatal to rats.
So what genus of beer-and-fag-consuming rats have they been doing these tests on?
Technorati Tags rats smoking rat-arsed
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Last night was the legendary Mr and Mrs LB's barbecue. If anything was designed to test the resolve of an ex-smoker it is this.
The event has been running for eleven years now the first one being their wedding reception. There’s plenty to throw on the Barbie, plenty of drink to wash it down with and there’s a couple of charming cats and a nice garden to enjoy it all in. There is a abnormally large amount of cigarette smokers however and as I wrote earlier it’s this sort of undefined event where the urge to light up can be strongest. It acts as a kind of punctuation mark in the sea of fulsome prose.
You what? Exactly.
Anyway I DID NOT SMOKE. And to be honest I’m rather pleased with that. And I enjoyed it every bit as much as I usually do.
Bad head though.
(I made a lame joke some time ago about a Palin-athon on the television. Well UK History has designated today Palin Sunday. No kidding. Can my fragile head cope with it all?)
Technorati Tags Hangover BBQ Smoking Erik Fuller
Friday, July 21, 2006
I think I've picked up a little friend. I opened my gmail account and saw that some comments had been left on Verbal Diary. Lots of comments. Lots of comments about items I posted more than a month ago.
"Very pretty site! Keep working. thnx!"
"Greets to the webmaster of this wonderful site! Keep up the good work. Thanks"
"Nice! Where you get this guestbook? I want the same script.. Awesome content. thankyou."
"Hey what a great site keep up the work its excellent."
"Really amazing! Useful information. All the best."
"This site is one of the best I have ever seen, wish I had one like this."
"Very pretty design! Keep up the good work. Thanks."
I somehow doubt they are being sincere- or capable of sincerity or any other human quality. But I'm in two minds about this.
On the one hand I don't suggest you get too close kiddo or it's a hose-pipe down the throat and see how your electrics like it.
On the other hand I do need cheering up so ta very much.
Can we meet?
The Quit-o-meter reads:
---3m 1w 5d 05:51 smoke-free, 2,583 cigs not smoked, £299.63 saved, 1w 1d 23:15 life saved
R had noticed that one had gone at auction in the same road for way beyond our budget. I was looking at the auction online and feeling a bit more optimistic about things as I noticed 3 bedroom houses were going for affordable prices in places like Thornton Heath. However it wasn't to be as we were outbid by £26,000. For some reason things are rocketing just when and where we don't want it to rocket. We retreated to the White Horse (itself doomed)to drown our sorrows.
This was preferable to losing it for a matter of a few hundred I guess but it still felt pretty bad. We were full of righteous anger about it seeing in our imaginations all the Victorian fittings being ripped up for the inevitable conversion into flats that is to come. A real pain.
Another feature of auctions is the nerve-wracking nature of it - a wave of the hand signifying a lifetime commitment. At least at a wedding you have your friends and family to back you up and some uplifting music if you're lucky.
I felt the same as attending one of the all-or-nothing interviews I had been to in the past. And the result was the same. The difference was I performed well- that is I put my hand up at the right time and stopped putting it up at the right time. It's just that we weren't rich enough to compete with the evil developer pig-dog bastards. That's all.
But for all the nervous stress and crashing despondency I didn't need or even think about having a cigarette. So hooray for that.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
It has now been three months without a cigarette so I'll have a little review of my progress since April.
Most, but not all, of the things in the hamper have been consumed. R only recently made a move on the Balm Mint footscrub. She also did an excellent job of the coconuts using her power drill to extract the milk.
I think there might be some monkey nuts left but my mind has turned to different types of snacks. Chocolate snacks to be exact.
My comedy beer belly has expanded exponentially. The other week I pulled on my corduroys, as I got dressed for work. I had forgotten that the night before the button had come off it and I didn't have time to sew it back on so I reached for another pair. They didn't fit. I then got another - again they had mysteriously shrunk. Four pairs later and I was going to have to miss work because I had no trousers.
" Sorry L I can't make it in today - no trousers" wasn't a phone call I wanted to make.
Luckily I saw some green commando type things with a stretchy waistband that looked ridiculous but at least covered most of my lower limbs. Panic over.
Other things? The patches had an unsettling effect on my skin which lasted for a bit beyond their use but its all ok now.
Fitness levels are probably a little bit better but carrying around my tummy is a bit tiring.
Money. Slightly better off at the moment but that will change when I visit the dentist next week. I can feel the caramel syrup corroding my molars as I write.
Mental Health. You what? Who you looking at?
Odours. These are no longer masked by the sweet smell of tobacco.
Time saved? I'm not sure here. I guess my employer has benefited handsomely. You do have to give up a lot of time if you're a smoker to ensure you get your fix. On the reverse side a cigarette is a great way of filling up dead time and staving off boredom and depression.
Net effect. Positive but not life transforming.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
One of the ways I've tried to keep my hands occupied over the weeks has been by sitting down at the keyboard of my PC – obviously. Sometimes this has been enjoyable. Sometimes not. I have done a bit of cautious experimenting with the world of Linux and at times I have felt like Nicholson in “The Shining” constantly typing “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” into a Terminal whilst going slowly INNNSSSAAAANNNEEE!!!!!! (R has been a perfect Shelley Duval).
But not always. I always feel nervy about praising it because whenever I'm feeling evangelical about Ubuntu something tends to crop up. I will throw caution to the wind and say it's been really good fun and must have a chance of making inroads into the market. Apparently its Apple that might feel the heat more than Windows as it possesses some of Apple's selling points minus the tie-in to the pricey hardware.
There are loads of times when I rejoice I'm in XP. Feed Demon is a great tool for my minor RSS obsession and its a Windows-only prog but I'm beginning to appreciate the work done at Straw. My first Linux RSS try outs were depressing but things are looking much better.
I have Ipodder the same as I do in XP I have got Opera 9 working (blood sweat and tears there I'm afraid)
It has its limits. Its strengths are what though? Freedom from the security chores you have with Windows. The freeing of processor power for the same tasks.
I rather like it because it forced a tiny dose of learning on me and, ironically perhaps, has made me discover things in Windows that I didn't know were there such as some windows management features. (Windows management means things like jumping between programs and stopping your screen getting cluttered up with too many things – stuff like that. Linux has lots of great stuff for all that such as multiple workspaces that you can jump between.)
Sorry. Downside is it makes for a very boring post.
Oh ...yes Blogger doesn't like it when I paste over from Open Format Documentsssszzz
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
It may or may not be killing me but getting home and opening a bottle of Young’s Ordinary just now is pure heaven. The beer’s at just the right temperature – R keeps it in the communal shed to make it slightly more difficult to access. Like most self-imposed barriers they tend to be a bit flimsy. One of us just phones the other one when we’re approaching the flat and they throw the keys down and Bob's your uncle. The shed does stay nice and cool though. So though the shed fails as an aid to temperance it succeeds as an aid to temperature.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
It was a forgettable enough display for any poor neutral who decided to watch it. Lucky old neutrals I say. Its pain is still fresh in the memory for some of those involved.
I still don’t really understand the game of football. Rooney gets sent off for kicking some balls around the park. I thought that was the whole point of the game. Anyway it resulted in penalties with the inevitable result.
What’s really annoying is that it was the wrong balls that got the treatment.
Luckily things cheered up a bit with a great display from France against Brazil. I hope they can deliver up some pain for their next opponents.
Despite the stresses and strains I didn’t feel the need for any consoling cigarettes. The quit-o-meter now reads as:
2m 3w 2d 01:46 smoke-free, 2,102 cigs not smoked, £243.83 saved, 1w 07:10 life saved
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Hooray...I had my two tests yesterday and celebrated with two pints, my first drink in months.
I have not smoked 2000 cigarettes.
I think todays number is the number two. Where's that Big Bird when you need him?
Off to the St Barts area to gather evidence againgst evil parking enforcement officers who knobbled R the other week.
Will be popping in to the Rising Sun (?) just by the famous St Barts Church where Burke and Hare (or some other body snatchers) used to get their victims drunk before clubbing them to death in the neighbouring cemetry. Quite an appropriate setting I suppose - if they ran into a Peeler they could say "we just dug him up honest Ossifer"
I'll be watching my step tonight though.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Tomorrow will be three weeks without any patches and consequently no nicotine at all. I have be getting some quite strong cravings which is odd since I haven't smoked for a good long while.
It's a bit like it used to be on a long train journey. You tried not to think about how long it would be before you finally got off and had a cigarette but you knew that time would eventually come. The journey has lasted two months or so and is going to last an indefinite amount of time longer but at the end of it there's going to be a cigarette to finish it off and reward myself with.
I'm getting a bit bored with all my replacements - tea coffee chocolate etc...They'd all go down a lot nicer with a cigarette except the chocolate which I barely touched when I smoked.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
As do these footballs
The better England have played the worse they’ve got. Look at Terry…great face-saving performance against Trinidad and Tobago. Then last night he’s a fully paid up member of Swede Aid.
I’m no expert but I think it is quite common for teams to use set pieces as score goal-scoring opportunities instead of tea-breaks.
Just as well I am still not allowed to drink.
R bought me a surprise present the other day. Two bottles of coffee syrup (Irish Cream and Hazelnut) and a combo coffee topping sprinkler. These products only seem to be available from their stores but Whittards sells pre-flavoured coffees and other things online
Sunday, June 18, 2006
These patches get everywhere.
I've just this moment remembered its Fathers Day so...er...hello Dad.
Also went to see Cocteau's Orphee today for a change from football and to catch up with JJ and his missus.
When the Orpheus character is hanging around in the bedroom of Death, Death kindly orders cigarettes and champagne to be sent up to him. I felt a big twinge of envy. Lucky sod. (He also starts drinking when he pops back to see his wife for no apparent reason)
I feel Orpheus-like at the moment drifting into strange dreams involving lovely beers and the occasional fag.
Better have a nice cuppa for the twentieth time today and bumble on.
The Quit-o-meter reads as - 2m 1w 2d 13:46 smoke-free, 1,770 cigs not smoked, £205.32 saved, 6d 03:30 life saved.
I like the look of that £205.32. Where is it though?
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
I have reached beyond the two months 'not smoking' staging post. I have had 8 days without any nicotine whatsoever.
I must be in my third week without any alcohol.
And what do I think of all this? Not a lot. Its a bit like being dead except you can still watch the occassional bit of television and play around with your computer.
(As I write R is trying to emphasise the need for us to get a house by going around pretending to be bigger than she actually is.)
We tried an alternative to the pub last night. We went for a thing called a 'meal'. Apparently lots of people do this? It involved some pizza some tap water and some lettuce leaves. It took a bit of time for things to get going. A very long time. So long I am still waiting for it to kick in.
Pound per minute it was twice as expensive as the pub and considerably less jolly. On the plus side there is no hangover. In other words the only positive thing is an absence.
(Now Mr Z the friendly local off licensee was having a lovely time standing on the pavement in the evening breeze zonked out of his head and rabbiting nonsense at passers-by. He reminded me of some of his homeless customers who sometimes gather on the pavement opposite. Lucky chap)
Perhaps South Korea v Togo will cheer me up.
**A Reader Asks** What is the connection between the Market Porter and Reykjavik? The answer is that there isn't any I hope. Does that help?
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
"We have already given, in our collections, one of the letters, in which Mr. Hanway endeavours to show, that the consumption of tea is injurious to the interest of our country. We shall now endeavour to follow him, regularly, through all his observations on this modern luxury; but, it can scarcely be candid not to make a previous declaration, that he is to expect little justice from the author of this extract, a hardened and shameless tea-drinker, who has, for twenty years, diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant; whose kettle has scarcely time to cool; who with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and, with tea, welcomes the morning."
Excerpt from Samuel Johnson's Review of Hanway's Journal of Eight Days Journey
And its not any old tea Hanway's worried about - it is Green Tea. It came as a bit of a surprise to me that for the first 100 years or so your English cuppa was made from Green Tea and was served without milk.
I had been under the impression that the tea plant was indigenous to both China and India and the Brits came to drink it as a result of the colonisation of India. In Victorian times when it arrived in England people even used it for sandwiches they were so ignorant of its proper use. I was completely wrong. People certainly knew what to do with a tea leaf long before Queen Vic. Maybe I wasn't paying sufficient attention in my History lesson. Or maybe the problem was that I was paying attention in the lesson but my teacher was rubbish and I have carried his rubbish around for the last 33 years.
Tea is such an interesting subject. Stay awake at the back there. If you have the time do read a bit more of Johnson's review.
I like the whole health scare thing and the way Hanway's got everything arse about face. He was right about gin but I just love the use of the stats here:
“I am now informed, that in certain hospitals, where the number of the sick used to be about 5600 in 14 years,
From 1704 to 1718, they increased to 8189;
From 1718 to 1734, still augmented to 12,710;
And from 1734 to 1749, multiplied to 38,147.
"What a dreadful spectre does this exhibit!
My dear Hanway.... What hospitals pray tell again? Certain ones?...Oh I see ...certain ones.
Though I doubt Green Tea in either its Original or Plus forms is a magic cure for anything I do think its a bit daft to liken it to gin as Hanway does.
I'm off to have a medicinal/non-medicinal Greeny right now to fight against this flu thing. I'll then snuggle up with a copy of the Review.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Another visit to Dr SH. last night. I don't think I've ever visited a doctor with such frequency. It was R's idea I should go. It was so much of R's idea that she came with me. In fact I think she could have gone instead of me and left me in my sick-bed.
R was asking the doctor a question at some point when Dr SH interrupted her. “I think I better take his pulse in case he expires in front of me”
R disappeared and Dr S.H. checked my throat and seemed very concerned about me. He was concerned about me sweating though that was just me overdressing. I had been zonked out all day and had no idea it was a warm summer's day before leaving the flat. He told me to take plenty of rest and ibuprofen.
I note he didn't ask me to take lots of Green Tea Plus. I only say that because I stumbled across this marvel when browsing for smoking related information.
Green Tea Plus gets around many of the problems of giving up smoking. It does this by making you give up illness. Here's a bit from the article
“Numerous studies have shown that Green Tea can help reduce your cancer and cardiovascular risk. Green tea can boost your immune system by fighting free radicals. AND HERE'S THE BEST NEWS --- cigarette smokers who drink up to six cups of green tea daily suffer 40 to 50 percent less damage from the toxins caused by cigarette smoke!”
Something makes me doubt the authenticity of this product.
“Fast between the Brahmaputra and the Yang Tse Rivers lie the nurturing valleys of the much sought after Green Tea Plus plant” ???
It doesn't sound right to me. And I should know as I have visited the Bramah Museum of Tea and Coffee between Waterloo and London Bridge.
It's a private collection of tea and coffee related odds and sods and worth a visit if you want to know a bit about what you're drinking. It is very much “tea and coffee from an English point of view”. I couldn't find any references to tea drinking in the Middle East. I think it cost £6 each. We thought it was worth it but it's no freebie.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
New Day Zero Plus One
Instead of that a miserable bug.
Mind you there’s nothing to stop me cracking open a bottle.
1m 3w 5d 06:07 smoke-free, 1,409 cigs not smoked, £163.44 saved, 4d 21:25 life saved
(Thanks to ikelee from Flickr for the bubbly)
Thursday, June 01, 2006
The end is nigh. The citadel of the enemy lies in ruins, the future overlords prepare themselves for power and Bruno Ganz is feeling an Oscar coming on.
My penultimate patch oozes its low tar essence into my upper arm and all is uncertainty. Whither now matey-face?
No more Mr K? No more desperate cravings? The gradual reduction of sugar and caffeine? Normality returning?
I feel blog-panic coming on.
Oooh I need a cigarette.
Ah ha. There is hope after all.
I’m off to prepare the fireworks for the New Day Zero.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Week seven and I'm feeling rather odd.
My patches are now ridiculously small. There are only four more to slap on. I do get a bit of a reaction from them on my skin so I'm looking forward to being free of them.
The Bank Holiday has vanished in a weird haze. R was working all day yesterday and I was messing around with the Linux system I had installed on the computer. Today has been pretty much the same except R has been catching up on sleep.
All this sobriety and lack of fags is doing me in. Listless, that's the word...listless. I just don't feel myself anymore.
The Quit-o-meter reads:
1m 2w 6d 03:10 smoke-free, 1,254 cigs not smoked, £145.46 saved, 4d
08:30 life saved 1,256,325 blahs blahhed
Thursday, May 25, 2006
It's just a basement hidden from public view that is rented out to various Russian businesses such as hairdressers, gherkin purveyors and the like. It used to be where the apparently Chinese Mr B, the dodgy (but extremely good) computer man used to run his shop. Mr B moved on to other things (prison?) and was replaced by someone else who I only briefly saw but who R did business with. He has now been succeeded by V who, surprise surprise, seems to be Russian. Computer talk can be pretty incomprehensible at the best of times but I think V and I reached new depths of incomprehension.
It wasn't so much a language thing as a brain thing. He seemed to take the second third of one of my sentences and mix it with the first third of the next sentence and chuck in a whole load from somewhere else. I left feeling totally confused.
Despite that I took the machine round to his stall at R's prompting this lunch time. I'll probably pick it up on Saturday and find he has converted it into a vacuum cleaner that sings.
Tomorrow I progress to Step 3 of my treatment. This is the nicotine absorption equivilant of getting into a lift with someone who smoked a cigar at breakfast.
It looks like I might be having my second test a bit earlier that originally planned. Which can mean only one thing- beer.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Well Blow me down.
This is my first blog brought direct to you from the world of Linux. Amazingly I don't have Linux installed on my machine, yet, I am running everything off a CD. The image was created using GIMP and I composed the text on Gedit.
So far I have found it very user friendly. If you like messing around with programmes why don't you go an extra step and mess around with an OS without really messing around i.e. installing the thing? You can download the Live CD or get it sent to you free of charge. In fact they send you five so if any one wants to play and is going to see me soon don't bother sending off as I can probably sort you out. Let me know.
I'm sending R out to get me another hard drive so I can install it on this machine. It'll give me something to do over the dry spell.
(I’m now back on XP in order to post this blog. I haven’t looked at connecting to the net yet on Ubuntu. One feature Ubuntu (and other Linux?) has that is an improvement over XP is the windows management tool. The focus shifts to whichever window the mouse is over. Have you ever gone back to your browser only to find you have to click on it before you can use your scroll wheel? It’s not a problem with Linux. It also gets the active window to jump to the top and you can do a double-click to maximise/unmaximise rather than try to land your mouse on a tiny little square symbol in the corner.)
I wasn't going to write about this but about Allen Carr however I seem to have got distracted by IT. I'll get round to it some day.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
I have been so distracted with the drinking ban and liver anxiety that I missed a little milestone that I was going to mention. The Quit-o-meter passed the 1000 cigarettes not smoked mark the other day.
It now reads:
1m 1w 5d 15:17 smoke-free, 1,073 cigs not smoked, £124.47 saved, 3d 17:25 life saved
Using my calculation of ten minutes per cigarette that makes 6.9 days of time that would have been devoted to rolling up and consuming my cigarettes have been used doing something else.
Something else I have been able to do with my spare time is worry about my health – my rashes and itches have gone into overdrive since my last meeting with the Doc.
Despite that I was able to have an enjoyable lunch over in
Luckily PW and K were also packing in cigarettes and favoured the nicotine lozenge over the patch. They have been off for over 6 months.
(PW maintains a little website and was able to explain a bit of HTML stuff to me. He assures me the title is old English for a little scamp or something but I’m not sure I believe him. He also told me a joke- there’s three balloons Mummy Balloon, Daddy Balloon and Kiddie Balloon and they all share the same bed. Kiddie wakes up in the night feeling a bit squashed by his two parents so he unties the end of Mummy Balloon and deflates her a bit to create a bit of space. He re-ties the knot. This isn’t enough to make him comfortable so he unties the Daddy Balloon’s knot and quietly deflates him a little bit too. He re-ties the knot. It’s better now for Kiddie Balloon but isn’t quite comfortable enough for him so he unties himself releases some air and re-ties himself and finally goes to sleep. Next morning at breakfast Daddy Balloon is looking decidedly angry as he says to Kiddie Balloon “I really wish I didn’t have to say this to you again. I hope you realise you’ve let yourself down, you’ve let your mother down, you’ve let me down…)
When I got home R told me that that she was going to give up alcohol for three months in sympathy with me.
“Don’t be silly darling I’m only giving up for two months”
“It’s alright because I’m not going to do it as seriously as you” she said with a straight face.
Is it harder to give up for three months unseriously than to give up seriously for two I wonder?