Monday, January 15, 2018

Lean times?

I do admire a country where it has the good grace to rain during the night.  This morning, bright sunlight and a brisk 14C to stimulate the circulation of the blood.

Although wittering on about the weather is enticing, it is not really apropos to what I should be talking about.  Viz. The Great Diet.  Again.

Although it feels as if we have been under the Self-Denying Ordinance for most of our lives, it is in fact, merely five days that we have been watching what we have been eating.  Five bloody days!  And this is supposed to go on months!

While the horror of that last statement has time to settle, snake-like, on the tenderer parts of my brain, the other parts of my brain which are not dedicated to thinking of food and drink wondered about my use of the phrase Self-Denying Ordinance and where I first heard it and what it meant, rather than what I have made it mean in my little universe.  When I use the phrase I take it indicate a signal piece of self restraint: like buying a stalls seat for the Opera rather than the front of the Dress Circle or buying the paperback version of an Art Exhibition catalogue rather than the hardback.  You know, pulling back from excess until it hurts!

Resultado de imagen de puritan, leveller
I remember that the phrase is somehow connected to the Civil War and must surely be something that the Roundheads invented, as it lacks the self-indulgence of the Cavaliers, as they were not noted for the self-denying aspects of life.  I assumed that it was to do with Religion (with a capital ‘R’) and therefore Oliver Cromwell and one or all of the Puritans, Levellers, Ranters, Anabaptists, Quakers and my favourite of the sects, the Muggletonians.  I’m sure that I have missed some of the groups out that contributed to The World Turned Upside Down, but I am impressed with what I can dredge (albeit without much further detail) from my memory when I really try!

Resultado de imagen de self denying ordinance
So, as a sort of knowledge is ever but a few brief clicks away, I Googled the phrase and found out (reminded myself?) that the Self-Denying Ordinance of 1645 was originally a bill which stated that no Member of Parliament (The House of Commons or The House of Lords) could hold any command in the army or navy.  Thus, neatly stopping inept (and King supporting) nobles from continuing command of any military force.  Unsurprisingly the House of Lords, composed as it was entirely of nobles, rejected the bill and a compromise bill was written which stated that parliamentarians from both houses who were military commanders would resign from their commissions, but could be reappointed.  This winnowing of the command of the military facilitated the eventual formation of the New Model Army.

Which is all very interesting (at least to me) but apart from the few minutes Googling, did not take my mind off what else there was to eat.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not as if we have done without lunch.  We went to our local restaurant, the one with the un-paralleled views of the Med and had a three-course meal!

My starter was a salad (good!) of quinoia (good?) green leaves, carrot and cherry tomato  (very good!) with feta cheese (baddish!)  I restrained myself from adding oil and ate no bread.  My second course was prawn and spinach stuffed sea bass (good! good! good!) and the drink that accompanied it was cold water (superb!)  No wine, no bread, no extra oil!  A positively saintly meal, at least in calorie terms.

And yet, I hear a faint clearing of the throat, as if the unasked question about the desert were hanging in the air.  Ah, yes, the desert.

OK, to be absolutely truthful I happened to catch a glimpse of the tart of the day that was based on Ferrero Rocher (extraordinarily bad!), and I was hooked.  And I did eat.  But, as a sort of culinary justification I did also eat half a slice of melon and, surely that must count for something in my over-weight defence?

Resultado de imagen de 1.5l water catalan
I accompanied the meal with a 1.5L bottle of water and I drank the lot.  I am sure that this is excellent, but perhaps we should not have gone straight from the meal to the shops as Toni wanted to buy an auger.  And I am prepared to bet that that is the first time that I have used that word in an ordinary piece of writing.  I think that the only other time that I have found a use for such a word was in a distant crossword, where I can remember (with the skeleton of two letters already in place) thinking to myself that I knew what the word was and then feeling very smug with myself for so doing!  Anyway, the search for the auger was also matched by my more urgent search for a toilet.  There is a lesson to be learned there, I think.

As the daylight fades and twilight steals up on the dieter, the temptations of the night approach.  I don’t know why it is that darkness encourages hunger, but it does, and sometimes, no often, no always, a piece of raw cauliflower or carrot does not send the demons of hi-carb desires back into the shadows.

I am sure that Toni is not going to let me forget my desert backsliding, and it is right that he does so.  I am hitching my lack of sliming motivation to the more Puritan regimen that Toni has adopted.

Here’s a drink (of water) to the world turned upside down and self-denying ordinance!



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