Monday, April 30, 2018

In search of the perfect breakfast

 The first plant to do really well in my garden this spring is rhubarb, and I mean more than doing well. The one clump of rhubarb rose from death-like winter hibernation to almost jungle proportions so quickly I began to think that at heart it must really be a weed
I asked about it online and was amazed to learn from Nutrition Data that rhubarb ‘is low in Saturated Fat and Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol.
'It is also a good source of Magnesium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Calcium, Potassium and Manganese.’

What's to go with it?

A perfect breakfast to follow my almost-daily workouts at the gym, I mused, and asked Google what might accompany it.
Porridge came the suggestion with a revelation that seemed astonishing. I mean, not every Scot looks exactly wildly healthy.
Sarah Knapton, the Telegraph newspaper’s science editor, reported that researchers at Harvard University found that a small bowl of porridge each day could be the key to a long and healthy life.
By now I was half-way to the discount supermarket for the perfect accompaniment for the now revered just harvested health-packed plant.

And then the unexpected

The rest of the healthy tale should be simply of the enormous good health I experienced with that breakfast. However, as they say when the unexpected is to be introduced … however … how many spoonfuls of porridge make ‘a small bowl’?
I was in a hungry hurry by now and put a guessed amount into the microwave, looking forward to a fast and life-restoring breakfast.
A loud bang announced that the breakfast was proving its surprising power … and was spraying the inside of the microwave, packing loads of it around the door and across its ceiling, and a surprisingly generous splodge under the turning glass part as well.
I learned then that as healthy a breakfast as porridge – and rhubarb - offers, it isn’t to be mistaken for a quick breakfast. Bon appetit!
Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, at

Friday, April 27, 2018

A long, wet hike back to childhood

It was that time of year again, time to be a pilgrim and go off to Tilbury, beside the Thames, to remember the great migration by my brave parents. And not just parents, but a grandmother, an uncle, three infants and a baby.
It must have taken extraordinary courage to take a whole family off to the other side of the world, just after the war when for the first time for an age people could forget the terrors just passed and – as much as extreme rationing allowed – enjoy themselves.
For six years, bombs had been raining indiscriminately down, and booby-traps awaited the unwary.

Salute the brave migrators

Every other day was packed with news of friends and relations mutilated if not murdered outright by the great nations at war.
The least I can do to salute the brave migrators and their courage is to go to Tilbury each year where on this night sixty-eight years ago, the ss Orontes set off for the southern hemisphere.
Late April often brings uncertain weather and today certainly reflected it. The pilgrim paid for his visit to the Tilbury docks. A pleasant morning in London became a wet afternoon near the Thames estuary. I was soon soaked.
The annual visits are almost always frustrated by more than just the weather. The docks offers no welcome to well-meaning pilgrims. First there's quite a stretch from the nearest station along a road carrying endless huge, very noisy lorries.
The building where I presume little me would have been carried through to that huge ship is no longer available for non-passengers.
If you’re on foot, the only way onto the docks is via an old bridge which allows cars through but bans pedestrians. The choice is to risk wading through the tidal mud, or ignoring the signs.

A real-life drama

Usually the docks are just that – huge pieces of timber alongside the deeper waters of the Thames, silent, barren reminders of the days when travel meant crossing oceans. Nowadays, it’s rare to even see a ship nearby.
Today was rather different. A real-life drama was on show.
Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, at

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A very strange medical non-examination

As promised, here's the most extraordinarily weird happening I've heard about from that great British love hate region of a very important aspect of our way of life.
As I mentioned yesterday, this medical happening, or non-happening, happened in the last two weeks
and in Kent - normally quite civilised Kent, neighbouring very civilised, very wide awake London. I mean, this isn't a happening from the Orkneys or around the Shetlands, some far away part of the kingdom.
It was right here, almost in the metropolis, the home (we like to think) of the brightest and best.
My good friend has suffered ill-health, if I might put it this way, in his private region. He was referred to a specialist as the problem is quite serious.

Down trousers

The specialist, who came with an unEnglish name, had questions to ask, of course, which my friend answered. Then it was time for an examination.
He was directed to the examination area, where to borrow an old term, he dropped his trousers. As he climbed up onto the examination furniture, as best one can while attempting to maintain some sort of modesty, the specialist excused himself from the room as something 'urgent' had to be attended to.
The specialist returned shortly in a fluster, grabbing some documents off his desk. He said sorry but there was something he had to attend to right away. He handed my friend some medication ... and vanished through the door.
My friend, as you will recall, is still on the examination couch, trousers down, staring at the open door.

A salary of £46,000

He climbed off the couch and dressed himself. He looked at the medication, read swiftly through its fine print ... and found that it carried a warning that people with his disorder must never use it.
Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, at