Two weeks ago tomorrow (and try translating that into Italian. I could never get the hang of the future past, or whatever boring grammarians call it, when I spent five months teaching English in Milan in the early Seventies and was slowly learning to get by in Italian - ‘non sono tedesco ma inglese, mia madre est tedesca et mio padre est inglese’ I kept having to tell people because apparently I spoke Italian with a pronounced German accent. Which is all by the by) and on a whim - that sentence while make a lot more sense if you start again at the beginning and ignore what I have written in parentheses (OK, brackets) i.e. go straight from ‘tomorrow’ to ‘and on a whim’ and cut out the crap in the middle which is pretty bloody irrelevant at the best of times and - don’t we know it - these are not the best of times. Still with me? Probably not, because if the truth be told, I’ve even lost myself.
Start again: two weeks ago tomorrow and on a whim I decided to stop eating all wheat products - bread, cakes and biscuits. I really can’t remember why, but I am already noticing a marked difference. I feel more energetic and less tired, my body feels ‘tighter’ and generally I feel a tad brighter all round. I am not gluten allergic or anything like that, it’s just that I decided to give up wheat and feel all the better for it. Admittedly, I am now eating more fruit and salads, which has got to be a good thing, but I’m not stinting myself in any way and haven’t, for example, given up other carbohydrates, alcohol and sugar.
I should stress that I am no faddist - in fact, faddists piss me off big-time (‘You know when you have that first pee of the day, you know, first thing in the morning, out of bed and into the loo and just let it all out, well apparently, according to researchers in Brazil, there are an unbelievable number of nutrients in that first batch which we are all getting rid of because, you know, overnight your body does some sort of housekeeping operation but very often overdoes it, so, according to these Brazilian researchers, we are actually not just getting rid of waste matter but proteins and vitamins and stuff which our bodies actually need, you know, we’re literally just pissing it all away which can’t be a good thing, can it? Mind it’s that very first piss of the day, not the rest that follow them, that’s just waste matter. Anyway, they say that we should catch it all, after what you piss in the first few seconds, your don’t bother with that, you know, like you do when you have to give the doctor a sample, you don’t bother with what comes out first, but then you catch it all in a cup and drink it. Yes, I know it sounds awful and the Brazilians say it’s quite OK to flavour it a little with a small measure of tequila or rum or something just to get rid of the piss taste, but anyway I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now and I feel totally different, I mean totally, it’s as though I’ve been reborn. Yes, it sounds daft but, you know, loads of things sound daft at first but they’re not, I mean if you told someone about nanotubes even five years ago they would have called out the men in the white coats pronto, but, you know, it’s the future, and we would be silly to turn our backs on stuff just because it sounds totally off the wall. So give it a go, there’s only one way to persuade yourself and that’s by trying it yourself. As I say, the researchers recommend a slug of something or other to tone it down a bit, although wasn’t there that Indian prime minister or president or something who used to drink his piss every day and he lived to a ripe old age, so - well, it can’t be that stupid, and now the Brazilians have done some science on it and it seems it’s all pretty kosher. I know I feel totally different, and I’ve only been doing it for a few weeks.’
But let me reassure you, dear, dear bloggees, I have only gone down the wheat-free road. I shall leave the ‘drink your own piss’ salvation to hardier souls. I'll keep you posted on the wheat-free thing.
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The other thing I wanted to mention was how totally - and I mean totally - fucked off I get with the use of superlatives on TV these days. Everything is amazing, and you and I all know that hardly anything is amazing, so why do they keep using that attitude. I used to enjoy TV documentaries about more or less anything, from Anglo-Saxon to dolphins mating to new solar system being born to how the Mesopotamians first invented surgery to how medieval kings used to use shorthand to pass on cookery tips - anything - and in the olden days they just got on with it. They told you what was what, it all lasted half and hour, then it was on to something else. Now? Now everything is bloody ‘amazing, with the presenter claiming he or she feels ‘humbled’ just to be able to open a 700-year-old book. Why ‘humbled’?
I used to think that there was something wrong with me, that a small part of me had some kind of sociopathic tendency because I didn’t faint when I saw an original da Vinci, that I wasn’t moved to tears when I was fed some concoction cooked the way the Aztecs used to cook it. Now I know I need not worry: it’s just the latest fashion in documentary-making. Roll on the next, although going by past developments it will probably be even more insufferable, although at this point I can’t quite imagine how.
. . .
How anyone can hope that the eurozone crisis will end in peace and harmony and rueful smiles and promises that ‘we mustn’t let that happen again’ is beyond. I have no idea exactly when the shit will hit the fan - no one does - but hit the fan it most certainly will, and it will be ugly, ugly, ugly for everyone the world over. But there still are many benighted souls (my sister is one, sorry M.) who think ‘it can all be sorted out, if only we pull together’. Yet the latest ‘proposal’ to sort out the mess should tell any one that the whole exercise is doomed to fail. And you don’t need to know anything about finance: you just need to have a passing acquaintance with European history and human psychology.
According to the Financial Times, the latest EU wheeze to pull the bacon out of the fire is for a Brussels-appointed commissioner to take control of Greek’s budget. It is a measure of how deep we have already ventured into la-la-land that not quite as many jaws are dropping as should. To make matters worse, the wheeze was dreamed up by the Germans. Need anyone be reminded that the Germans are best advised to make discretion their watchword in view of, er, their not so distant past? I yield to no one in my admiration of the country and its people, but they do have a tendency to precede with a total lack of nuance. Put it this way: if the idea was going to be mooted, was it not beyond the wit of someone in the candy store known as the EU HQ in Brussels at least to ensure it came from the French, the Dutch - anyone but the Germans? Well, yes it was. Oh, well.