Monday, 31 January 2011

It's written in the book.

The title of this blog post is a line from "Behind the Lines", the first track from "Duke" by Genesis.
Today, at Acacia Lodge, there was a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection taking place. It just so happened that the CQC lady who was on the 2nd floor (where mum is) was the same lady that I complained to about mum's last nursing home. She remembered me (we nerds are very memorable!). We had a long chat.

As a result of our long chat:-
1) I shall chill a bit!
2) There will be feedback books in every resident's bedroom. Anyone can write in them. What is written can be good or bad. I won't have to make any more verbal complaints to the manager (a great relief for both of us!).

In other news...

I've been adopted by a pair of black cats. Is that doubly-lucky, or what? Pets are a great de-stressor. Did you know that in Romania, black cats are considered to be unlucky? Jay (of Jay's Kitchen in Henley-on-Thames) told me.

Here they are drinking some Gold Top milk from the top of the bottle (i.e. cream).

I won't let them come in the house, though.

See also Dog's Diary vs. Cat's Diary

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Both Sides Now: Nerds!

Firstly, here's the song "Both Sides Now" sung by Judy Collins in 1967.

"I've looked at x from both sides now, from up and down and still somehow, it's x's illusions I recall. I really don't know x at all."

Basically, anything can be looked at in a positive or negative way. Which brings me to the subject of nerds. Please note: The following may be a little tongue-in-cheek.

I'm a nerd. Did you notice?

Nerds: The good
1) We're single-minded & very focused. If you want something to work, get a nerd to do it. Just about every gizmo on this planet was invented, designed or developed by nerds.

2) We don't crave a partner's attention. We're not really people-people. Gizmos, on the other hand.....

3) All of the cool stuff like computers, smart-phones & the Internet were invented/designed/developed by nerds.

Nerds: The not-so-good
1) We're single-minded & very focused. If you want more than one thing done at a time, don't get a nerd to do it. A nerd trying to multi-task can result in unintentional hilarity. Don't talk to us when we're concentrating on something!

2) We can be socially inept. Body language = Double-Dutch. If I button-hole you in a fascinating (to me) conversation, I won't notice any of your subtle signs that you want to escape.

The best way to interrupt a nerd is to hold up your index finger and say "Interrupt request!". If you're lucky, the nerd will say "Interrupt request acknowledged!" and allow you to get a word in. This, of course, doesn't work with telephone conversations. Shouting "Stop talking while I'm interrupting you!" loudly is an option.

We also "teach granny how to suck eggs" by stating the bleedin' obvious - just in case you didn't get it the first few times.

3) We can be a bit obsessive. From Duty Calls:-

If you think that I'm nerdy, see "The big bang theory" on YouTube. :-D

Continued on Both Sides Now: Asperger's.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Positive Feedback: How a tiny push can make all the difference.

As an ex-Electronic Engineer, I'm very familiar with the effects of Positive Feedback in electronic circuits. The Schmitt trigger is a classic example of a slowly-changing input resulting in a suddenly-changing output.

While I was chatting to another visitor in mum's nursing home yesterday, I had a "Eureka!" moment. I was talking to her about my sudden mood changes when the bleedin' obvious suddenly occurred to me.

When my mood starts to fall, I start doing less. This lowers my mood further. This forms a vicious circle and my mood suddenly falls to a low value and stays there, with me lying in bed/on the sofa feeling like crap and not blogging.

When my mood starts to rise, I start doing more. This raises my mood further. This forms a virtuous circle and my mood suddenly rises to a high value and stays there, with me walking, scrumping, photographing, Zumba-ing and blogging all about it.

So, do something that you think you can't do. You'll feel better for it!

F.A.O. anyone who links to my blog: The title has changed. It's now:-

Nige's Diet & Nutrition Blog
Diet, Nutrition & Fitness Information + Random stuff.

Please update your links. Thanks.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

It's Party time again!

The title is named after George Van Dusen's jolly little number.

I got an invitation to a party at mum's care home today.

Jenny Wood, mayor of Henley visited again.

Mum's hair was a little dishevelled due to her putting a cloth napkin on her head earlier, when there was a cold draught coming through a nearby window.

I was suited and booted with a dicky bow and got too hot. In retrospect, doing Zumba the night before wasn't a good idea!

During the high tea, I fed mum on strawberries & cream. She stayed wide awake and alert throughout the do. The lady to my left was overweight & type 2 diabetic but was fed sandwiches & cakes(!) Suffice it to say that she went into a hyperinsulinaemic sleep and was almost completely uncommunicative when her nephew & niece arrived.

I was bit naughty food-wise and I also had a glass of Champagne which went straight to my head, making me quite merry. I went for a walk to the local Car Service Workshop to clear my head and pay the bill for the repair of mum's car (it needed a new distributor and timing belt as the distributor was knackered and the old timing belt was nearly 13 years old).

For "supper", I gave mum a chopped banana with cream. She was not only wide awake, but talking and making some sense! I started to flag a bit and a lady told me that I looked tired and should go home, so I did. I kept myself alert during the 45 minute drive home by blasting myself with freezing air and playing "Duke" by Genesis at high volume with the window down!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Move More: You are NOT going to believe this!

At 7:30pm tonight, I walked to the place below. It's in the same building as the Co-op.

I did a 45 minute Zumba session. I was the only man in the room! My pulse rate went over 100% MHR but I seem to have survived.

Before 11th December 2010 and Uh-oh! There may be trouble ahead..., if someone had suggested to me that I try Zumba, I would have told them to not be so daft. During the walk home, I phoned my ex-G/F to tell her what I'd just done, as she's very into keep-fit. My, how she laughed!

Here's a Video ad.

Variety is the spice of life.

In Half a breakfast, I couldn't finish my breakfast and it looked a bit yuk. Today, I microwaved a rasher of middle bacon, 2 sausages and 2 eggs (Full English) with Tesco Market Value Stir Fry vegetables (a colourful mix of vegetables with seasoning, 750g for £1) and a sprinkle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) on top. It looked like this.

I ate the lot!

Here's a Full English with sliced mixed peppers, a sprinkle of Losalt & EVOO on top.

Here's a Full English with sliced mushrooms, a sprinkle of Losalt & EVOO on top.

Here's a Full English with finely-chopped onions, a sprinkle of Losalt & EVOO on top.


Monday, 24 January 2011

Chaenomeles japonica - flowering - quince, Japanese - quince (H)

This morning, while on my constitutional, I saw a bush in someone's front garden with some fruit on it and thought "I wonder what they are and what they taste like?" This is what it looked like.

When I got home, I took some photos. I took another Crabapple for comparison.

I then cut the fruits open.

Quinces are sour, but the frosts had sweetened it somewhat so it was edible raw. A checkout lady at the Co-op told me that it was a Japonica Quince later in the day.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Polite Requests.

I delivered a large wad (0.25"/6mm thick) of studies with a covering letter to my mum's new GP on Monday 17th Jan 2011. Here's what I wrote in the covering letter:- Personal information deleted.

"Dear Sir/Madam,

I have some requests concerning Mrs *****.

1) Please monitor Mrs *****’s serum B12 & homocysteine. Until Jan 31st 2010, Mrs ***** was receiving 1,000ug/day methyl B12. This was stopped by the management of Lashbrook House after I complained too much. Long-term use of PPIs in old people can adversely affect B12 absorption (evidence attached).

2) Please advise the staff at Acacia Lodge to walk Mrs ***** using the 3-wheeled rollator that I bought for her as often as she is able. Prolonged inactivity results in Insulin Resistance (IR) in skeletal muscle (evidence attached). IR results in hyperinsulinaemia on eating sugars & starches. Hyperinsulinaemia results in drowsiness and stupor (which makes it more difficult for Mrs ***** to do anything).

3) Please advise the staff at Acacia Lodge to reduce Mrs *****’s intake of sugars & starches. A low-carbohydrate/ketogenic diet is beneficial for people with impaired cognitive function (evidence attached). I have recently persuaded Acacia Lodge to give Mrs ***** cooked breakfasts and have supplied Acacia Lodge with Burgen Soya & Linseed bread (12g carbs/slice). This has resulted in improved cognitive function in the mornings.

I don’t want to impair Mrs *****’s quality of life, so she can still have chips or mashed potato (not both in the same meal as happened on Fri 10th Jan, after which I found Mrs ***** asleep in her wheelchair slumped over with her nose squashed against the arm of the chair). She can also have desserts and the occasional chocolate and/or biscuit.

4) Please allow Mrs ***** to have 5,000iu/day Vitamin D3 (provided by me), as UVB cannot penetrate window glass. 5,000iu/day is much greater than the RDA of 600iu/day but it’s a safe amount (evidence attached). That amount of Vitamin D3 has many beneficial effects (rather a lot of evidence attached!) other than bone health (for which 600iu/day is sufficient).

Thank you,

Nigel Kinbrum (son & attorney)
01252 ****** (24-hr Ansafone)
07768 ******"

The GP phoned me on Friday 21st Jan. He's taking my requests seriously and has asked for a week to read all of the evidence that I provided. Here's hoping!

I love onions.

I also love the ONION. The following YouTube video is safe for work.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

New directions.

When Rosso suggested to me in December 2008 that I start a Diet & Nutrition blog, I said to him "but whatever will I write about?"

Well, 100+ (quality?) posts later, I seem to have found a thing or two! The thing is, talking about just Diet & Nutrition can become a bit boring after a while, hence the "+ Random stuff".

I shall be having more pictures and music videos.

QUIZ: What is the object in the picture below and how old is it?

Here's Perfect 10 sung by Julie & me at the Woodcutters in Bracknell on 20.1.2011. It's darker in there than it was in 2009.

Any requests (other than "no more singing!")?

Quiz solution: The object in the picture above is the original timing belt from my mum's 1998 VW Polo 1.0L. Not bad for nearly 13 years old.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

My kind of town (Yateley is)

Another random post with a musical title. On my walks, I pass several places of interest. Here are some pictures. Permission to publish all pics granted.

1) The White Lion (a foody pub).

2) Yateley War Memorial.

3) Jessie's (part of Yateley Industries for the disabled).

4) Yateley MOT Centre (where I go to get my car serviced/repaired).

5) The Co-op (where I go to get loads of bargains).

6) Yateley Medical Centre (where I go to get myself serviced/repaired).

7) St Peter's Church (taken after dark, so a longish exposure).

8) The Dog & Partridge (a top quality food & music pub, former headquarters of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party!).

9) Boots (where I get my meds).

10) Chez Nige (where I live).

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Half a breakfast

This morning, I microwaved 2 rashers middle bacon, 2 sausages, 2 eggs & a chopped onion.

I could only eat half of it. Yes, I know that it doesn't look very appetising. I don't really care what my food looks like. It's the aroma, taste & texture that I care about and by golly, that breakfast smelled delicious (I love the smell of microwaved "fried" onions).

If anything, food that looks like crap tends to suppress my appetite, which for me is a good thing.

I shall have the above for lunch.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


I've found that allowing myself a small treat when I go for a walk makes the walk that much more enjoyable, even if it's freezing cold, pouring with rain and/or blowing gale-force winds.

While walking in Henley-on-Thames during mum's lunch break, I scrumped some Asian pears off a tree growing on the other side of a fence with razor wire on top. Here's one I nicked earlier! :-D

While walking in Yateley today, I scrumped some Crabapples. They were well bletted by the frosts and tasted delicious, if slightly mushy in texture.

On a later walk today, I bought a Co-op 100g "Truly Irresistible" Christmas pudding. It must have been quite resistible as it had been reduced in price from 44p to 29p.

You may have noticed that a lot of my blog post titles contain song lyrics or song titles. I have a musical bent and I enjoy singing karaoke. I had a great time last Sunday down at the Cherry Picker in Slough as it was Julie (the presenter)'s birthday. We sang "The Time of my Life" and another song. Here's Julie & me in February 2009 at The Woodcutters in Bracknell doing that song. It's a bit dark & noisy in there!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Product review: Weightwatchers® Berry Fruits Layered Fromage Frais

The great thing about "Eat Less, Move More" is that the "Move More" part gets me out of the house and away from the computer at regular intervals. I tend to go for a 10 minute walk to my local Co-op (formerly Somerfield), wander around the store picking up bargains on their sell-by date, chat to the girls on the checkout and then walk home.

Today I picked up the above product for 40p (normally £1.75). It's four 100g pots of fat free vanilla flavour fromage frais with fruits and sugars and sweeteners. The four varieties are Blackberry, Cherry, Forest Fruits and Raspberry. There is 1 WW point per pot.

INGREDIENTS (Blackberry): Fromage Frais, Blackberry (12.5%), Water, Fructose, Fructose-Glucose Syrup, Modified Waxy Maize Starch, Modified Maize Starch, Stabilisers: Pectin, Locust Bean Gum, Xanthan Gum; Flavourings, Acidity Regulators: Citric Acid, Calcium Citrate; Sweeteners: Aspartame, Acesulfame K; Preservative: Potassium Sorbate.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION PER 100g POT (Blackberry): Energy 64kcal (274kJ), Protein 5.3g, Carbohydrate 10.4g of which Sugars 9.0g, Fat 0.2g of which Saturates 0.1g, Fibre 1.0g, Sodium 0.04g, Salt equivalent 0.1g.

WHAT DID IT TASTE LIKE? The Fromage Frais tasted O.K. The fruit compote beneath contained a fair amount of fruit but was oversweetened, so there was no sharpness and there was also a slight artificial taste.

WAS IT FILLING? Sadly, no. My stomach likes some fat to keep it happy and this product didn't contain a significant amount. I ate all four pots one after the other.

WOULD I BUY IT AGAIN? For 40p, definitely. For £1.75, no way José!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

New beginnings.

Before I start posting on the above topic, mum turned 81 today! Here's a pic.

I made the card in the middle by getting one with 18 on it and modifying it!

I never thought she'd make it to 81. I recently persuaded the nursing home to give her cooked breakfasts instead of Ready Brek or toast, both of which would send her into a compensatory hyperinsulinaemic stupor. She was relatively with-it today after having bacon, egg etc. Coincidence? I think not! I'm also switching her bread to Burgen Soya & Linseed as it's low in carbohydrate and very low GI. Anyway, on with the post.

I need to give another "Thank You" to Richard Nikoley. His blog rocks! A Little bit of everything including Food Porn, but mostly Roger Waters & The Wall made me really think. It occurred to me that, to ease the pain of seeing my mother go downhill with me rendered powerless to help, I had built a wall and was comfortably numb behind it.

As Robert Sapolsky pointed out in his lecture on Depression, never-ending stress and social isolation are very bad. So I am "getting it sorted". I have resumed social activities and am tackling things that need to be tackled. See also Polite Requests.