Well. Now I am 57 years forward in my journey back to heaven…………
rather an odd birthday in terms of doing many very uncharacteristic things:
firstly wore pants, now that’s almost unheard of for me.
But I had a doctor’s appointment – something else almost as rare as wearing pants. And as the presenting problem concerns my groin I thought it might save embarrassment if I was wearing pants. Which it did.
Prior to that I drove my car to the garage for its MOT – definitely not on my list of fun birthday activities.
And even before that I broke with my customary essential morning pot of tea ritual. Eschewing this comfort in favour of hot lemon water, so as to not need to wee whilst the doctor / car delivery tasks were in flow. It worked, but naturally the first vitality upon returning home on my bike was a rewarding 4 mugs of very excellent silver tips tea fresh from Sri Lanka. Thanks to Beenie and Dave. Followed by a green smoothie float which was minus its usual banana as we had neglected to go shopping.
Speaking of which, Beenie and Dave had intended to go and fetch the items required for our birthday feast, but in the end a decision was made in favour of the longer journey to Asda in Lancing.
Except we thought it was in Worthing. And there were road works. And Beenie felt very sick, on top of the tummy gripes she had woken up with. These still undiagnosed digestive issues which marred much of her 4 months in India. Later in the day she thoughtfully shared that her technique
for stool sampling was thanks to my having told her one of my patient stories :
Not that I remember this, but she vividly does recall my describing to her how a 90 year old patient of mine had selflessly achieved a deft turd catch from beneath his frail wife’s bottom. A diagnostic stool sample had been ordered by their doctor, but no method of managing this was proferred. So too with Beenie’s kit as supplied by her GP. There was merely a cylindrical tube with screw-on cap which had the smallest spoon imaginable built into it. Seriously, it would hardly have accommodated the poo of a gnat, so shallow was its bowl and so miniature its circumference. Anyway, according to Beenie I had recounted my aforementioned nonogenarian patient’s technique of turd retrieval. Simple in its concept, it called for a generous bed of folded toilet paper held in outstretched palm hovering beneath his dear wife’s trembling buttocks. A rapid scoop into the sampling pot later, the palm-load was swiftly jettisoned into the toilet never to be seen again. Beenie’s mission of ambidextrous dexterity having been successfully accomplished, she then had to carry this sample cylinder around with her all day. During the bicycle ride to the station, jostling and jiggling. Then all the way to Brighton as she made her visit to friends there. It is unclear whether she effected the drop off at the surgery before or after taking lunch and tea with these friends. Nor did she disclose whether the cylinder had resided hidden in her pocket or nestling snuggly in the bowels of her capacious handbag. I did not enquire, but I did thoughtfully provide a plain brown envelope for modesty purposes. We anxiously await the results. Does Beenie’s intestinal flora harbour an invisible foreign invader, or need we look elsewhere for the underlying cause of her discomfiture?
During my own bike ride back from the garage I broke into spontaneous self-celebratory song, intoning Happy Birthday to the tune of “Halleluia” – it was along the lines of:
“I’m such a lovely and a wise person, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy birthday to me………..etcetera. Well, if not me, whom else was going to pop up from some passing bush to shout my praises to the sky? I have found that waiting for others to laud oneself can prove a dismally futile endeavour presaging early depression. This way, I was singing which always raises my mood, the sun was shining in an azure sky, and if any person unnoticed by myself heard me they might have raised a smile if not a glass to the unknown eccentrically dressed cyclist. I did not realise my appearance had been construed as unusual until last week when a fellow chorister, glancing down at my stripy, rainbow coloured, over-the-knee socks, said:
“Your way of dressing is quite a statement isn’t it”
“ A statement of what?” I asked, but she did not elaborate.
Eventually thanks to Dave’s excellent internal mapping system and sensitive driving, we three arrived at Asda, which is actually in Shoreham by Sea (hyphenated?) I think, but don’t quote me on that. It was not as massive as we had hoped, and had no gardening section wherein to source the cheap seed trays I was hoping to find. Neither did it have the dried soya beans which I seek for the tempeh making I have recently discovered is both simple and exciting to do. Overhearing a gentle man asking for the tofu, of which there also was none to be found, I did have an uplifting conversation with the shelf-stacker who declared herself to be vegetarian. Never knowingly miss an opportunity for vegan evangelisation; you know me.
I had requested a cake with marzipan animals on it, and Beenie said she would make them pink by using grated raw beetroot. The base to this topping she created from wheat-free wholegrain millet, almond, and brown rice flour, out of deference to my wheat intolerance. Due to a happy oversight and multiple distractions she forgot to add any raising agents. Hence the expected light fluffy cake emerged with an impressive density and avoir dupois.
“Beenie’s Marching cake!” I instantly christened it – a high honour bestowed only upon the very best foods worthy of accompanying me on my long peregrinations. Pilgrimage for a wheatless vegan requires copious pre-prepared survival foods, as most corner shops one might chance to be passing with the herd (flock?) usually yield nothing more nutritious than bananas and dried nuts, if you’re lucky. Whilst the carno’s are unreflectingly replete with the dismembered corpses of hapless beasts, chased down with toast and marmalade, I am left to the joys of my dehydrated chia/hemp/flax seed marching biscuits. As it is necessary for me to carry these on my back, the weight to nutrition density is all important.
Beenie’s Marching Cake presented with the inestimable bonus of tasting utterly delicious, being satisfyingly chewy with a crispness to the outside and a yielding springiness to its core – the very perfection of a landship’s biscuit indeed! And because she set to, making a replacement birthday cake, we got to stuff our faces with the B.M.C. straight away – how good is that! Happy accident indeed 🙂
****** Beenie is creating a wondrous cookery (and rawfood uncookery) book very soon; featuring some of my tried and tested secret recipes too! So order one right now – you’ll be very glad you did 🙂