Friday 30 September 2016

How to maintain a 5-2 fasting diet on holiday?

Can someone please let me know the answer to that conundrum, as we are struggling! It was easy when we were on the boat last year, and it's easy at home. But on holiday, with eating out lots, it's proving pretty much impossible.

We were trying to go walking for an hour each day, but that hasn't been maintained.

And we've had some lovely food:
  • lunch at La Perla with Barry and Pauline
  • Sunday lunch with Ray at a pub in Praed St near Paddington
  • dinner at Kazan in Wilton Road with our son Tim
  • dinner at Lionel and Carole's in Beckenham 
  • lunch today at the Watermill in Dorking with my lovely aunt Molly
  • followed by cake at Gordon and Sharon's, son and D-I-L of Molly 
Needless to say, tonight's dinner consisted of 3 crackers and cheese for me, grapes for David.

The lovely son and his mum at Kazan on Wilton Rd, Pimlico

A selfie - well done, David! The lovely Molly at Watermill in Dorking
My cousin Vince - Molly's second son

My cousin, Gordon, Molly's 3rd son, the big twin

The lovely Sharon, Molly's daughter in law, married to Gordon
Molly's youngest son, Nick, came in too, but left before cake and photos ... And Chris (the 4th son, and Gordon's twin) did not appear (not surprising as he lives in Devon) - nor did Pete the eldest. Ah well, no cake for them, then!

Fortunately we are seeing our grandsons tomorrow - that should involve a bit of running around! Sounds like a High Intensity Training session coming up!

Old friends, new friend

Since we arrived on Friday last week it has been a bit of a social whirl.

Barry and Pauline met us at Hatton Cross station on Friday evening - we were meant to hook up in the Arrivals Hall at LHR but we were through early and they were a bit delayed. They had come all the way out from Hammersmith to help us get our cases to the hotel we were booked into for the night. We managed to get ourselves plus luggage to Hatton Cross and then they took over! We had a quick bite to eat in the bar and then they left us to fall asleep ...

On Saturday morning Lesley, aka ODS, came to collect her food parcel from the hotel and joined us for brekkie. Then she toddled off, having donated one gingernut to the woman on the neighbouring table - to try out with her coffee and decide whether she and her husband needed to do a repeat trip to NZ. Last time in NZ apparently they discovered hokey pokey icecream, but no one had told them about the gingernuts!

ODS continually or continuously or constantly or all the time, tells people that I talk to anyone. She blames it on my New Zealand-ness. I have to say, she isn't far wrong on either count, although both my parents (English) happily struck up conversations with total strangers anywhere. So it's in the genes.

I am not sure what ODS's excuse was at breakfast though. Not only did she strike up a conversation with the couple at the neighbouring table, she also chatted with the man who was waiting for toast at the same time she was. I only found this out because he came up and shook my hand and wished us a good holiday ...

I was pleased to see that ODS had the grace to blush when she was justifying her sociable behaviour.

Back on track, McD, get back on track.

So then ODS departed, and we went back to the room to pack and await Barry and Pauline again. They were accompanying us into Pimlico where we were based for a few days, and then we were off out for lunch together. You saw the last two posts with La Perla (yummy fajitas) and Horse Guards Parade photos.

Then on Sunday we went over to Rembrandt Gardens to meet Ray of nb Ferndale. We didn't meet Diane as she was playing in Spain with their daughter.

Lunch in a pub on Praed St, two chardonnays, two lager shandies, two ciders, and lots of chat and laughs. Ray is a lovely man, but a trifle too tall ...

He doesn't look quite so tall when he's sitting down ...

And on Monday we headed out to Cow Roast to see Jaq and Les on nb Valerie. And what a lovely surprise to find that Carol and George from wb Still Rocking were due to visit too.

I copied these photos from Carol's blog : Les and Jaq, L&J and David and me, and then L&J, M&D and Carol and George, plus Molly - the last one is a bit dark, but we are all there - well, physically, but I am not sure about mentally ...

Lovely lunch, a huge number of laughs and some serious talk about end of life stuff. It's hard to describe how refreshing it is to converse with Jaq and Les who are so open about Les's terminal diagnosis, what's happening, how they are coping/crying/laughing/planning. There was a real sense of comfort given and received throughout our visit. We only stayed about 3 hours - they loved seeing us all, but Les's stamina isn't what it was and he isn't one of those people who can just slope off to bed in spite of visitors being on board. Anyway, we didn't want to be travelling back through rush hour - our stamina for that isn't what it was either!

A note to other boaters/blog readers: if you are in the area, DO go and see Jaq and Les - don't feel constrained or feel like you shouldn't bother them at this time: they want to be bothered and talked with and listened to and laughed with. Take wine - Les can have the occasional tipple ...

Sunday 25 September 2016

body language

Says it all really ...

Food parcel distribution - two down, two to go

The main reason for coming to the UK this time was to deliver food parcels. Yes, really. Well, OK, not the main reason, but an important one.

So gingernuts have been provided to Lesley (the aforementioned ODS), plus a stone fridge magnet with a kiwi (painted) on it - from Hokitika, you understand. But more importantly, we gave her a hoodie.
ODS has been threatening to come back to NZ for a few years now, but hasn't made it yet. And she is sadly in need of a break. The hoodie says it all really. Although therapy probably wouldn't be a bad idea ...

And a loaf of Vogel's gluten free soy and linseed bread has been given to Pauline. It is pretty yummy and a huge number of steps above GF bread that I have found over here. It is strange: there is a huge range of yummy GF foods here in the UK, lots more than at home, but the bread isn't comparable. I brought over one for her and one for me, and if I'd had room I would have brought more. As it was the two loaves had to travel in a plastic container so as not to be squashed in transit.

Last two food parcels for distribution are pineapple lumps for my lovely Aunty Molly, and perky nana bars for Tim. As neither of them (the people) are within cooee at the moment, they will have to wait. The perky nanas are not in danger, but those pineapple lumps are being eyed up menacingly ...

Will Molly know if we only give her one bag, instead of the two purchased?

Saturday 24 September 2016

La Perla is closing down!!!

Good grief, is nothing sacred?

La Perla:
  • which opened in 1976
  • introduced to us by John and Adair back in 2003, where John and I spent several long weekend lunches (vegetarian fajitas and one or two bottles of the house white) while Adair slept after night duty and while David languished back in NZ before making his way over here in Feb 2004
  • our favourite eating place in Maiden Lane near Covent Garden and just behind The Strand
  • our daughter Kirsty and friend Tomai's regular haunt during 2005/06 for wonderful cocktails
  • where David and I were planning to take Tim and the grandsons for dinner after seeing The Lion King on Tim's birthday.
Damn it! Is nothing sacred? We ate there yesterday with Pauline and Barry, and the waitress who has worked there for 20 years (must have started as a child) told us it was closing down in a couple of weeks - it has been sold and it to be remodelled as an Indian restaurant. Aren't there enough Indian restaurants in London?

Bah humbug!
See that? Since 1976. Aha! I see it says Paris. Perhaps we will investigate it there. Must look on the net and see if it is still in business ...

I'm pointing to something for Kirsty, and David is pointing to the year before she was born ...

Flying away

Well, I am clearly getting older and less travel-fit. Or maybe because it's more than a year since we last flew to the UK (16 months in fact, but only 11 months since we returned from there). But I'm going for the getting older and needing more comfort for my body...

We had made the decision that it was time to join the SKI Club in earnest - you know the one: spending the kids' inheritance. So we had booked to fly over to the UK Premium Economy and back Business Class - in the interests of investigating which was preferable (can you hear David's boffining in this reasoning? I was all for jumping straight to KNOWING that business class would be better. But David likes to be scientific and conduct proper trials...

So Premium Economy it was. But wait! I had been awarded a free international upgrade on one leg of the journey. So I got to travel Business Class from Auckland to Hong Kong. Well, any scientific investigation was over as far as I am concerned.

David however was in Premium Economy just 3 rows behind me - so near yet so far! And Air NZ's PE looked to be pretty good - same meals as BC, but served in trays, not on plates, a good wide seat with two armrests apiece, and a good leg/foot rest like on a lazyboy chair, but without the same level of elevation.

But BC was amazing.

Dinner on a plate! On a table with a tablecloth!
The first course of breakfast - cereal with fresh fruit salad and yoghurt and a decent sized mug of tea! That is cream in the little jug at the back ... Went back unscathed, by the way
The second course of breakfast - sorry, I had started to eat it before remembering to take a photo. Coconut and lime hotcakes with banana, cream and maple syrup.

The food was yummy and served on plates, as I may have mentioned and as you can see in the photos above. The seat was great and extremely adjustable. But the best was the bed - a lie flat, stretch out (well, for me, but not so long for anyone tall). Being able to lie down to sleep was a gift. The service was lovely and attentive but not fawning, and the staff were really helpful. They even make the bed up for you, even tho it is a push button job. Did I mention that lying flat was wonderful?

So I was sold.

That was confirmed on the Cathay Pacific flight to London where we were both in Premium Economy. David could do a proper comparison of PE quality between Air NZ and CP. I just knew that CP's PE (keep up!) was not up to scratch. There WAS more legroom than in Economy, but the footrests were foot rests, not leg rests, and my seat didn't recline properly - but the woman's in front of me did almost into my face. And my legs hurt.

The lunch when we boarded was lovely, to be fair - Australian beef fillet. But dinner was dire and I only ate dessert.

So as far as I am concerned, the jury is back, and it's going to be Business Class all the way from now on. Oh, by the way, David agrees. So thank you Cathay Pacific, for not being up to scratch. You did my job for me. Well done, you!

PS Now that we have been here in the UK for 30 hours, the body-memory of the discomfort is receding. So I will have to keep re-reading this post to remind me!

David and I have always told people to harden up when they complain that they cannot come to NZ because they cannot cope with the long flights (2 of about 12 hour duration). So, OK, I am no longer a hard woman, much as that will surprise some people. David is made of sterner stuff than I am, and he could continue to cope. Wait till we travel home though and both in Business Class - he'll be won over completely!

So, kids, we're sorry, but there will be very little left for you when we kark it!

Saturday 10 September 2016

Excitement is building

Since I posted earlier this week, I have done some of the aforementioned planning: emails have been written, the calendar has been filled in and I have discovered that I can print out the details for each event, if required (booking references, post codes, etc). I do need to find a way to increase the font size or otherwise we will have to take a magnifying glass as well.

Yesterday David got all the suitcases down from the loft, so we can sort out which ones are best to take. It should be an easy choice, but there are things to consider in the decision making process:
  • firstly, are our bags travel-worthy? We have had them for a while and they are looking a bit weary - zips may not stand another round the world trip
  • in the UK we will be driving so size and space won't matter; however we don't want to be carting a big bag each to France for 5 days, so we need an appropriately sized travel bag each - David suggested we share a bigger bag between us on that part of the holiday, but that is a recipe for contretemps as
    • his part of the suitcase gets messy very quickly and expands in size
    • he therefore takes ages to find what he wants, and I have to wait (and I am not sure if you know that patience is not my long suit)
    • we'll argue over who is responsible for trundling it along - he'll want to do it, and I will feel like I should share the task (I am not sure if you know that I am decidedly a feminist)
  • we have things to bring to the UK for family and friends - NZ gingernuts (best in the world, like our rugby team ...), a couple of bottles of NZ Pinot Noir, a few books, some Taranaki Hardcore clothing, things from David's parents' place for the grandsons, and a few bits to be dropped off at the boat.
  • and we have to fit our clothing in and we know it is unlikely to be hugely balmy weather in late September and October, but we don't want to bring too much - we always find that we wear, launder and wear the stuff on the top and bring the rest back untouched - so some discipline is required in the packing department.
    • we have both bought merino long sleeved tops from the Kathmandu shop - warm, and very light to pack
    • apart from that it is going to be jeans, jerseys in the main, and not many of them - I do hope that the places we are going to be staying will have laundry facilities ...
  • we will be staying on a narrowboat (an airbnb venue) in London for a couple of nights and we are hiring a boat on the River Wey for a few days with the boys, and as the boaters among you know, big suitcases with rigid sides do not fit well in narrowboats.
As I write this, the decisions are being made. I will inform David of them when this post is published (I am not sure if you know that I am decisive and cannot be bothered faffing about - apart from on this blog ...)

I am off to Hokitika tomorrow for my last week there before we head away. There's a lot to do this coming week, so I won't be thinking of international travel much over the next few days.
As I have to leave home by 5am tomorrow, I will pack today. and that will involve completing the washing and ironing, as well as making a batch of scones and muffins for the guys up at the Waiuta site. I am visiting there on Tuesday and it has quickly become a tradition that I take morning tea. As my best (read easiest) baking outputs are Ministry of Food Cheese scones and Alison Holst's crunchy blueberry muffins, those are what I will bake today and pack up to be re-heated on site. Usually I bake at the DOC office in Hokitika, but I won't have time tomorrow night.

And apart from the site visit, I will be running a planning session for the next remediation project that we are getting underway at the moment. Then it's making sure I have all the back-up in place for while I am away and working remotely from the UK and France.

Next weekend, David (my trusty IT Support Manager) has to load the Parallels Desktop on my Mac and then load Microsoft Project, so I can keep the schedules updated while I am away.

OK, yes, I am going to be working while I am away on holiday, but I want to. And What's App, Skype and email work wonders for staying in touch with the team. There's a few documents to draft, and I can do them as easily in the northern hemisphere as the southern.

My biggest concern at the minute is that my left ankle is playing up - not sure what it is but it is a bit crippling temporarily when I stand or twist or step the wrong way. Have had one session at the osteopath which helped a lot, and am now replicating some of his treatment when the agony strikes. The most effective technique, and I kid you not, is for me to waggle my leg ferociously from the hip - I can hear the ankle click ...

Next appointment is already made with the osteopath as I cannot afford to be limping around on this holiday - not being able to jump from a narrowboat to bring it to a standstill will be dire! Good thing I have a lovely osteopath in London too!

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Not long now ...

It is two weeks today until we leave for our holidays in the UK - just a short trip of 5 weeks this time, instead of our standard 5 months. We are excited and do need to get our ar*es into gear to get some visiting organised. Strange how thinking about it, and deciding it will be fun doesn't actually make it happen...

We have booked to visit Les and Jaq a couple of days after arrival, a trip to Disneyland near Paris with the grandsons, a few days on a hired narrowboat on the River Wey, a couple of nights accommodation on a narrowboat in London, tickets to The Lion King for our son Tim's birthday with him and the grandsons, and accommodation for the first few nights when we arrive, and a trip to Cornwall to visit friends. So there are just the arrangements to make for the time between seeing Jaq and Les, and going to Cornwall. Easy peasy!

We have both been extremely busy with work - not too busy to socialise of course, but busy enough that some of the holiday organisation has yet to be completed. This weekend, I promise!

My work on project managing the mine remediation is absorbing and wonderful - it is such a treat to be working on a project that is about doing something good for the environment and for people, instead of running a project with the aims of saving money and cutting people's jobs.

Work on the first remediation is well underway and the team are going great guns, even though the weather is cold and wet at times. Today though it is snowing up in them thar hills. I gather snow is more pleasant than rain for the work they are doing (graders, excavators) so I am not worrying now I know they are all well kitted out for keeping warm. (I am working from home so am warm and dry ...)

As the work on Waiuta progresses, I am working with the team on planning the next remediation which is due to be carried out over the coming summer - different site, different conditions.

That'll keep me busy until we are due to leave for the UK in May next year for five months at least - tickets are booked already, and this time, I won't let myself fall in love** with a piece of remediation work ... NB Waka Huia is calling!!

** David is not holding his breath on that one ...