Press night shambles

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 12 June 2007

Tonight I was going to the Globe to see the 'Merchant of Venice.' My husband got two complimentary tickets for the seated area. No groundling scamble for me, darlings. It was the Press night. Performances are always better when there are lots of journos around. After the show there's normally nibbles and lots of praise for the actors, but now it's happening on the 28th.

The result is that the husband and child are in the flat in London and I am in the Sussex countryside with the dog, cat and a fearsome array of flies and bugs and it's not even monsoon season so where the blighters are coming from? Beats me.

Today has been very interesting. Since coming back from OHI, which for those of you who don't know, is the Optimum Health Institute, in San Diego CaliforNi-A. I have attempted to keep some sort of regime. The raw food is not as difficult as it sounds and I brought back an exercise CD with me. When the postman heard the Californian asking me to bend over as far as I could, he dumped the letters on the mat, gave Jackson a pat and did a runner. But trying to maintain my resolve requires some sort of discipline. Not major but it does mean getting to bed before 2.00 (which I don't) and getting up at 7.00 (which I do).

I haven't read for days trying to fit everything in - my itinerary is packed: meditations, affirmations, exercises, walking, writing, and making sure that my food is fresh, prepared and soaking in some form or another. Seeds get soaked to make them more digestible. Legumes and beans get soaked to soften them and the dog gets soaked when he stands under the tap whilst I attempt to fill yet another bowl full of filtered water.

There's a lot of squeezing and watering, snipping and anticipating. Seed cheese, one of the staple foods, is dead simple. So for Steph, who wants the recipe because she's turning vegan, here it is.

Get some seeds - sunflower, or sesame, or pumpkin, whatever you like. Cover them with water. or a fermented liquid like rye or quinoa that has been steeped and left to, well, ferment. Soak for 6-8 hours. Wash them in warm water. Then blend them for 3 minutes until it looks like hummus. Spoon the mixture into a muslin bag, not a Muslim bag as my daughter used to call it, and hang it over a bowl in the fridge for a night. Scrape off the top layer, and there you are.

You will probably hate it, Steph, but if you smother it in cayenne pepper or cinnamon or dulse or garlic powder, it's exceedingly palatable and very, very good for you. Big Protein punch.

If you go to the raw food websites, you'll get all sorts of wonderful recipes that people share.

So, this morning, after five hours kip, I jumped, no let's be honest, I slithered out of bed and padded downstairs. I always open the door gingerly in case Jackson has delivered on the rug. Jackson is, of course, the dog not the husband. He's getting old, and that is both the husband and the hound, so if you leave him too long on his own, he can't control his urges. Does that sound familiar, girls?

This morning, however, he was merrily sleeping on his bed with Emmy the cat wrapped round his haunches. I sat down at the kitchen table and drunk a pint of cool water, wrote up some affirmations and then meditated for 20 minutes. Then I got dressed and took the dog out for a wonderful walk. The birds were awfully loud today and there was a whole platoon of squirrels somersaulting round the trees. The sun threatened to shine, which it did later.

The dog-roses are popping their buds in the hedgerows and the blackberries are already forming. My tree has it's fare share of limey green beech leaves and a big lipstick mark where I kiss it everyday. I know you know I am 'tree-hugger' but that tree has helped me more than any session with a Jungian therapist, and it's free. His trunk has two bums on one side and knots on the other that give him a long intelligent face. I talk to him, yes, I do I think of him as a 'him', cry over his bark, cover him in kisses, wait for a thought to come into my head which I always attribute to him and then say goodbye. Jackson knows to hang around until I'm finished. Dear doggie.

After my walk I made phone calls and then headed off to my cranial osteopath. I am not a tree-hugger, well, I am but not in the accepted sense. I do not see cranks and head bangers daily but I have got a gammy knee. My man is tres fit with the muscles to prove it. He is very straight with me and asked me whether I had been manipulated. I said yes, by most of the people I've worked with, but he meant had I ever had my body bent double whilst a 6ft geezer bent over me, cradled me in his arms and then cracked my vertebrae so loudly that the starlings were startled on the tree outside the window.

Yes, I admitted I had been worked on more than once so he then took my life into his hands. He released something in my chest which made me cry, not out of pain but out of relief, which then enabled me to breathe. Which has been a struggle for three weeks.

He also told me that I was not allowed to squat whilst my knee was so inflamed, so no more of that Karma Sutra stuff for me for a bit. He said it may be a sign that I was too frightened to move on. Resistance to change. That sort of thing. Then he suggested I swim.

Well, swimming and me are not the happiest of pool fellows. I taught myself when I was in my mid 30's out in the Canaries. Thinking Jim would save me, I kicked off from the end of the pool, mentally wishing family and friends goodbye in case I drowned, only to be met in the shallow end by my Northern Git of a husband who was high on Fundador. He couldn't have saved me if he tried. Having been brought up by a mother who believed that I was going to drown if I had more than a teaspoon of water in the bath, it was a feat that was well accomplished.

So, swimming for me is not a natural sport. I wondered where I could bathe happily. The local baths are full of noisy infant bathers who spill cheap talcum powder on the floor of the cubicles, monopolise the exceedingly loud hair driers and giggle under the communal showers. The spas in the area have pools that are just about big enough for Snow White with maybe Dopey at a push, and then I remembered that my friends had a pool in their back garden. They have always been very generous with to me so I called them in Italy.

'Bon Journo', I said in my best Italian, 'Do you mind if....' And of course they didn't. They were sitting on a beach at the time.

On the way home I nipped into Waterstones and bought another gift for my grandaughter since the bubble machine I bought her was the very same that her parents had purchased. By the time I arrived home I was laden with black carrier bags, the dog greeted me. I got over excited and slipped on the kitchen step. I knackered my right ankle, cockelled my left and exacerbated my inflamed knee. Jackson stood over me with that expression he always wears, which mimics Jims, a kind of what-are-you-doing-now-you-silly-bat kind of face.

I checked to see if anything was damaged. It wasn't only my pride. I heaved myself up and hobbled upstairs to pull out my tourquoise swim suit from the bottom drawer. To my horror and delight it was all saggy round the bum, just like those dreadful airtex knickers we used to wear. But I thought, nobody's going to see me, they're all in Italy and Florence their the dog is being baby sat in Beccles. So I slipped into my little, sorry, big blue number, wrapped myself in a towel, and drove down to their house. As the towel slipped revealing my perfectly dimpled thighs, not to mention my crenellated knees, their son emerged from the kitchen. I nearly stepped into one of Florences forgotten fecal towers as I apologised for being there. I asked him whether he minded if I had a dip and of course he didn't, although he did apologise for the watering cans and toys in the bottom of the deep end, although not the doggie mess. 'It's fine', I said as I hadn't banked on doing any diving.

It's an outside pool so I set my little alarm clock for 31 minutes. The extra minute was for me to acclimatise to the pool. We are in England. It is only June, so understandably it was frigging freezing. However, I made it. I swam five minutes one way, five the other and then up and down. When the beeper beeped I was ready to get out. I had a look of the Ursula Andress about me, although some of you may think I am more Daniel Craig, although I can't promise you the budgie smuggler that Daniel so lovingly displays.

I dripped back to my car, put a black plastic bag on the seat and five minutes later I was home and in the shower, standing under lovely hot water. I then made a crispy salad lunch.

I couldn't believe how tired I felt after my afternoon dip so I took myself off to bed. The phone woke me - a girl friend from Devon - so I got up and dressed. Off to my adorable beautician who I see every month or so. She does things to my face and body that only she knows. Sometimes the facials are so painful I can't wait to get out of the reclining chair, which is difficult at the best of times. I have been known to topple over backwards landing in the sink. Today though I came out all glowing and tight.

Got home at 6.45 and made a stir-fry. Yes, I know it's not raw but I wanted something warm. Jackson always hangs around the kitchen, and since Jim's not here to tell him off, I let him hover under the chopping trolley. He gets a little bit of cucumber, a lot of broccoli and whatever else I drop during the prep. He won't eat celery, tomatoes or lettuce. Otherwise, he is the best vacuum cleaner known to man.

I sat down to watch Trinny and Suzanna and the Channel four show of nudy women who bare all to get their confidence back, when the phone rung. This time it was a lovely Scottish producer on a train. We want to work together, so I started pontificating about what I thought, spoke very eloquently about the content but he had gone into a tunnel and only heard 'Hello!'

I went back to the TV but couldn't bare the bare women or the squeaky Suzanna. The light is fading now which means it's ever closer to Saturday.

I am still nervous although I know it'll be okay, but my stomach does somersaults every time I think about it. I am going to try and watch Simon Cowell and the talented British Public and then bed. It's weird. I haven't had this kind of me-time for years. I am a sort of workaholic so I need to give myself structure and I'm not very good at doing nothing. Given that I am completely alone, it is a bit like being on a retreat. The only people I talk to are either on the end of a telephone or in white coats. Oooeee... careful now, they're coming to take me away, aha!

Before I go I must say a big thank you to Glenn - your blog made me cry. I love Hamburg. The market and the lake are beautiful.

Darling Sybil, what would I do without you? For those of you who don't know, Sybil is my soothsayer in La La Land. When I hear her dulcet Lancastrian tones down the line, it takes me back to my youth when I played Mr. B's organ in The Blackpool Tower. We both came up out of the floor sharing the finger board, although he didn't like me muscling in on his chords. Anyway, he smelt of sweat so I wasn't too dis-chuffed.

And as for Karen. Look, I always say 'CU2morrer' cos I thought I was being clever and hip trying to get some kind of catchphrase going. But you're dead right, Karen, I don't always write the day after the night before because, as you can see, my life is SO piggin' full.

Maybe I'll change the tagline to TTFN or CUL8ter or how about 'night night, dearie'. Whatever. Karen maybe you could give me one? - oh, come on - you know what I mean.

CUSooooooon.

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

Comments

1. At June 13, 2007 7:03 PM Libby wrote:

Oh Jeni you do make me laugh, I've sat down to read this after work and been here so long I've burned my quorn sausages (probably the best thing for them!) Back on the diet doing The Importance of being Earnest next and I've just seen the size of my costume!! By the way we won the Welsh One Act so now we are in the British Final! Read your recipe but think i'll stick to babybels
Keep up the great blog
love you loads
Marmite Girl xx

2. At June 13, 2007 7:34 PM kerri wrote:

Hi jeni,
Havent written for a while, been on hols and just soooooooo busy. Am feeling a bit down, have started a new diet and being a similar size and height to you (pre your San Diego experience),I'm sure you can understand how i feel. So tempted by biscuits and booze, doesnt help that the old man is quaffing and crunching right beside me! So supportive these men, all 6ft 2" and like a beanpole. Its ok i'm only jealous! Would love to see some piccies of the new you for inspiration. Have to go, my mineral water awaits! Take care xxx

3. At June 13, 2007 8:11 PM christian wrote:

God help LBC ha ha xx

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