Home at last

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 22 May 2007

Hello, I am back. It's Wednesday today. At least, I think it is. My body clock is telling me it's not the day I think it is. But an acupuncture needle in the right spot should do the trick.

The last week in San Diego was the best and the worst. Getting institutionalised in the Californian sun was not the worst thing I have ever experienced in my little ol' life. The mornings were freezing. But then the sun burnt off the worst of the clouds by noon, and soon it was anything between nice and warm to gorgeously hot. All the yanks screamed at me to put on sesame oil to protect me from the UV rays, but as I kept telling them, I'm a Brit with Semitic overtones and, anyway, I only see the sun once a year and that is mostly through a studio lens.

The hardest part of the week was saying goodbye to friendships born out of hardships - a family that enemas together stays together. The underlying anxiety that I was about to face an 11 hour journey and arrive back in a country that had moaning taxi drivers also niggled away at me.

I completed the week with more colonics, more massages and an extrodinary experience with a computer. Years ago a NASA scientist had a family challenge when his son got ill. He left his work on the spaceship floor and concentrated on creating a cybernetic programme - artificial intelligence based on quantam physics - aimed at healing his son. The result is a practice called biofeedback.

Sensors are attached to the ankles, wrists and round the head. Then a delightful practioner hooks you up to a computer. It's based on energy. 'You are what you think' is the bottom line. I had seriously imagined that three weeks basking in wheatgrass would have cleared me of five years of live televisual stress, but 'the computer said no'. I attribute that to the lovely David Walliams.

I thought I had cleared my negitivity, that my spiritual practice had been divine, my mental condition had cleared up and my physical status was in direct competition to Elle,The Body, McPherson, but I'm afraid the computer said no again. The images on the screen showed tension and blockages in my back, which held suppressed emotions. The hot spots revealed I was as insane as I ever was, so a two minute zap from Bhudda and Mahatma Ghandi's energy would have me walking on water.

All it did was make me cry, but that may have had someting to do with the $100 bucks I had to hand over. In truth, it was a salutary experience. I learnt that three weeks do not make your adrenals better. 21 days makes a habit whilst it takes 18 days to break one.

I also learnt that I was dehydrated, thought too much and needed to do a lot more yoga, but never fear as now I am connected to the computer I will benefit from healing through Cyberspace.

The three weeks at OHI started a process. I am equipped with the necessary information to continue my detox and have a wadge of addresses from all over the world should I need to discuss my colon with a sympathetic listener.

It all feels a little surreal now. The eating out in 'Cilantro's', a raw food restaurant. The decor stinks but the food is fascinating. Pizza made out of fermented seeds, spring rolls with raw vegetables and rice paper, coconut water served in whole coconuts, and the best guacamole this side of Mexico. The greenest of avocados smashed up with raw onion and juicy tomatoes served with dehydrated flax crackers. Yes, I know it sounds like budgie food but trust me - I had three helpings and I still ordered more.

Chula Vista was another experience out of 'Tales of the Unexpected'. A common or garden health shop in downtown Chula Vista, which is a cough and a spit from the Mexican border, was the setting for a visitation from The Virgin Mary. The geezer who owned the shop was working in the back room when 'Our Lady' appeared before him. The locals heard about it and miracles started to happen. The lame walked, the bedridden rose, that kind of thing, and before you could say Lazarus, the shop had been turned upside down. As well as selling linseed oil and hemp, it now sells religious icons, shelves of plaster-of-paris 'Mary's' and best of all, has a newly built Chapel next to the buckets, mops, plastic bags of loo rolls and all the other requirements of a storage room.

A life size Virgin Mary, surrounded by coloured bulbs and flowers, a plastic flagon of holy water, and several stations of the cross are visited daily by hundreds of people who come to pray and get healed. On Friday folk from all over bring their rosaries. Whilst bags of lentils are being purchased at one end of the store, the Blessed Lady is being worshipped at the other end. I bought everybody gifts including a clutch of hand crafted crosses from the Holy Land made out of olive wood.

We arrived there in a huge Lincoln truck driven by Lisa, a Harley-Davidson-riding rock chick with a great selection of heavy metal and country cd's. As we swung into a parking place outside the chapel, the ridiculous met the sublime.

But I have a meeting with Rob now to talk about how to pay for all this, so I will continue later.


Well, soon is now.

I left on the 239 bus to Victoria station. The weather hot and ever so San Diegan. I took the tube to Notting Hill and met Rob for a wretched lunch in a horrible chain of restaurants. The trouble is when I was doing GFL everything tasted lousy outside of the studio. Now that I have done OHI, everything smells lousy. I can smell the grease. I can smell the left overs. I can smell the dirt. Still, I shoved some lettuce into my mouth and thought of my colon.

Then we jumped into a taxi, after an 'erb' tea... remember I've only just come back from the States, and set off for LBC radio station. I met Mr. L., who is a blogger, and his faithful producer Lucy, and we agreed I would try a test run on the night of Saturday June 16th. Radio beckons and I am thrilled, excited and not a little terrified. But with my mouth and their expertise, I think we may be okay. We'll find out, won't we?

So, back to my last week on the ranch. After the Madonna we went back to the campus.

Now please remember the whole premise of OHI is cleaning out the hidden depths using water. The lavatories are power driven so everything disappears in seconds. Imagine my grief when we arrived back to be told that the water was being turned off from 9pm Friday night until 10.00 Saturday morning. The full horror sunk in after Friday night's talent show. As the clock struck nine and I had sung my last song with Heidi, the opera singer whose mother hails from Bournemouth, the MPR's (yes multi purpose room....) restroom was awash with women waiting to relieve themselves. I complained to reception saying I had come all the way over from England and what were they thinking removing the very life source etc. etc.

By the time Saturday morning arrived, all was well. My bladder held out, my temper held out and the water was restored in all its purified glory. I had made a storm in a tea cup. So I apologised to the receptionists and pondered on the fact that ain't it the way with the imagnation. If it's misguided, it conjures up all sorts of disasters. In the event I lived. It was but one night without a loo.

Saturday morning saw us buying extra suitcases for all the books and clothes. Oh, and bars of pure soap.

I didn't know that the chemical used to make lather in shampoo and soap bars is carcinogenic. Sodium Lauryl-Laureth Sulphate is in all the normal products. So without wanting to frighten everybody, OHI says don't put anything on to your body that you can't eat. That means no more shampoo made out of lobster and chips.

Sybil arrived bang on 3.30 and Rita and I navigated us to Hillcrest. We met up with Zoe and Josh and shared too many plates of raw food. By twilight we were pogged. I hugged my young cousin and we set off to get lost. Not deliberately but my navigation on the way back left a lot to be desired. We took in the outskirts of San Diego, the oil fields, the outskirts - again - of San Diego, and more outskirts until the sun had gone down and unintentionally we were travelling towards LA. Sybil swung the car round and eventually we arrived back. Rita and I hugged each other and I felt like I was losing a leg. She had enough provision to feed Singapore Airways, having prepared enough seeds and vegetables to cover her 20 hour flight.

Sybil and I arrived back in LA by 10.30. We both fell into our respective beds and Sunday arrived before I was ready. We shopped in Trader Joes, a wonderful organic supermarket (apparently the old 'Barkers' in Kensington High Street is about to open a massive whole food supermarket, should be interesting.) I bought provisions and made three bags of salad, checked into the airport, sat for three hours, then boarded the United 934 flight.

My first companion was the only female working for NASA, an ex-pilot with excema. We talked raw foods then she leant over me and pointed out rivers and roads 30.000 feet below us. Then the perfectly lovely French air stewardess showed me to my upgrade. Three seats and a glass of champagne which I promptly spilt all over the empty seat. I ended up smelling of femented grapes all the way home. I watched a kids' film (not bad), 'Norbit' with Eddie Murphy (terrible), and 'Because I Said So' with Diane Keaton (even worse). But the trip felt short and I slept a litttle bit.

Just as I had expected. The rain was lashing it down when I arrived. We sat on the tarmac for 30 minutes as we had landed an hour early. Then it was through customs and out into the English morning air. I waited for a cab and there he was - the only cab driver not to have smiled since 1801. 52 pounds later I arrived back to the flat. I cancel-cancelled my negative thoughts and strugged up to the flat with my three new suitcases.

Jim had changed the sheets and hoovered, cleaned the sink and washed the bathroom mats. I was home. BB arrived later and Jim strolled in after her. It was like I had never been away except that I looked tanned and healthy and well, sorry to say, they didn't.

And now I am practically aclimated if you'll forgive the American. I haven't been to the cottage yet, but that's this weekend. And then I shall hug the Hanna, embrace the Emmy, and jiggle the Jackson. But now it's just gone five and I have to get ready for my daughter's first gig playing for Jocelyn Brown.

I will sit, with my delightful, as opposed to delightfully pale, husband (that's American Speak - they don't use adverbs) and watch my daughter slap her bass and remind myself that I am probably he luckiest woman alive.

That's it for today, but trust me - I am back with a vengeance.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes


1. At May 25, 2007 7:58 AM Louise Knight wrote:

Oh,it's great to have you back Jeni !
I check your site everyday cos I just love your diary entries and it makes up for not seing you on Tv....I've just stopped watching UK TV Food altogether.
Your trip sounds fascinating and lots of fun too..hope you are now raring to go and face all these fabulous new job offers that are going to be pouring in.
Welcome Home.

2. At May 25, 2007 9:50 AM Myfanwy wrote:

Welcome back Jen, TV hasn't been the same since you left
No doubt you have seen all the comments regarding MK?
Anyway, best of luck with your new venture
Lots of love xxxxxxx

3. At May 25, 2007 12:01 PM Lynne Raymond wrote:

Hi Jen, Its great to have you back. Bet Jim's missed ya! (my bit of American) I know I have. I have been checking your site since 13th waiting for your this entry, and I wasn't dissapointed. You'll have to let us know what time your radio event is and the channel. Hope I can pick it up in the Midlands. Good Luck Jen. Bet you will have lots more offers pouring in. Hope so anyway.
Love Lynne xxx

4. At May 25, 2007 2:01 PM Doris wrote:

Welcome back!

So the lucky listeners in the London area are going to nab you... good luck with it.

Interesting about the biofeedback. It would have been better after all that poking and prodding over the OHI weeks to have a sparkling bill of health but hey ho. The OHI must have been needed and much better than not doing it.

5. At May 25, 2007 3:59 PM Samuel Crawford wrote:

As a regular listener and caller to LBC I'm thrilled! I did email Chris Lowrie and told him to get you on as soon as he could and I know others did too so maybe it's worked! Now you can get your own back on Steve Allen. Radio Jeni - I can't wait!

Keep it glam.


6. At May 25, 2007 4:37 PM Dusty wrote:

Arrr, you're back Jen, welcome home. Delighted to hear about LBC, I'll look to see if they broadcast over the Internet. But no doubt that won't be your only offer. Great that you're home, refreshed and raring to go. Your blog's made me think about where my nearest Holland & Barrett is! Thanks for the tip about shampoo etc, I had heard it before but had forgotten most of the name. the same goes for deodorant, I use the crystal stuff now after hearing about the carcogenics in normal deodorant.

You've got enough there to write a book or two, or start a new TV program. Go for it gal,

Lots of love

7. At May 25, 2007 6:22 PM Alec wrote:

Afternoon Jenni.

Glad I found your site, it gives me a chance to say what I never thought I would get the chance to say. I am already getting over Liverpool not winning the champions league but I still can't get over no GFL! There is a reason for it, besides your natural talent.
When the show started my partner had to move to Ireland to care for her sick parents. Suddenly I realised I may be in trouble. I am liable to starve! After all, man can't live on Pot Noodle forever.

Luckily, just before this I invested in a satilite dish, which is essential for a man with a lot of time on his hands! That was when I discovered Good Food Live and our Jenni! You began to introduce me to chefs, some of which I knew vageuly if they ever had a program either side of the footy! But Most I had never heard of.

Your skills and all the chef's and inspirations made me want to learn how to cook so much that now I don't let my girlfriend in the kitchen, she is delighted that I have developed that 'man at the barbie' stance whenever I walk into the kitchen!

Now that the show is over I feel my tuition has been pulled. Sure, I watch the Chef's own shows but they are not the same and I have seen most of them many times already. Can't stand Market Kitchen, but it did have an act to follow.

Been looking through UKTV website, the show ending really seems to have caused a bit of a storm, rightly so but I understand we have to sit tight and watch this space. Whatever you are planning please make it foody, it gives me an excuse to watch. Mind you, a DIY program could be useful, i'm rubbish at that!

Good Luck with what you do, if you need a break we could take you out on the other half's narrowboat. Who knows, I might even make you and Jim a Pot Noodle!

8. At May 25, 2007 7:38 PM Ruth De Masi wrote:

Yey! And all the better with a vengence! Glad you had a nice time. Hope your stress doesn't return as your pace of life rapidly increases. Return soon to Sussex. Everything is green and blossoming! (well it is here in Tunbridge Wells!) Take care Jen. look forward to more instalments. Ruth x

9. At May 26, 2007 5:28 PM Kathy Reynolds wrote:

Hey Jeni

Glad to hear that you are well and back in one piece! I have just been away too and have spent the last hour or so catching up with your antics. Great to hear that you are going to be on LBC. Look forward to it.


10. At May 27, 2007 8:17 AM Sally from Bucks wrote:

So pleased you're back Jeni - I too have been checking your blog site everyday. OH and I are going to San Diego shortly but we'll probably have a very different experience from yours - no OHI for us - too scarey! No doubt you'll keep us posted with any new developments in your career - can't wait to have you back on TV. (I'm still getting mileage from the show that featured the 3 course menu - well, you have to milk it, don't you?!)
Looking forward to your LBC broadcast.
Love, Sally

11. At May 27, 2007 4:13 PM Rhianon wrote:

I'd like to say to Alec, I am still chuffing narked about Liverpool losing. Still, can't win them all, eh? And I'll support them thru hell or high blood pressure, win or lose, they'll never walk alone. I still can't get over John Lennon being shot, let alone George Harrison dying. Takes me a while to adapt to change, you know!
Glad you're back all refreshed and cleaned out, Jen. All the best with the radio show.

12. At May 27, 2007 4:42 PM Kirsten wrote:

Welcome back Jeni! And thanks for your fascinating blogs. I hope you feel full of energy & ready to roll! Have just checked the radio channels on the SKY box & LBC is listed, so I'll be listening on June 16th! It will be wonderful to hear your dulcet tones again! Hugs.

13. At May 27, 2007 7:06 PM Libby wrote:

Hey Jeni
We must have crossed in the sky, I'm in New York at the mo, and I can tell you one thing I'm not drinking wheatgrass. Glad to have you back my grass needs cutting again!!
Lots of love Marmite Girl xx

14. At May 27, 2007 9:01 PM Emma - Chocmonster wrote:

Welcome home Jeni!

As someone has mentioned LBC is available on Sky - it's channel 0177. You can also listen live via their website at www.lbc.co.uk

I look forward to hearing you!

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.