So long, Wheels

I gave my car away this weekend. I seldom use it, don’t truly need it, since I got a bus pass, and my nephew in Ireland is caring for his dad, who’s 85 and has just had a pacemaker fitted. Sam had to borrow a wheelchair a couple weeks ago to take his dad to a GP appointment, after his lift didn’t materialise. Stressful for them both and solvable, so, farewell wheels…

Today, on the bus, I sat next to a man in a blue hat. He was counting a stash of crisp Euros and told me he was going on holiday to Cape Verde. He’d already had his shots, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, something else, I forget what. We chatted about holidays and turns out he’s been everywhere, The Middle East, Asia… Travelling keeps me going, he said, don’t drink, don’t smoke, I like to travel. He asked me where I’d been and I couldn’t compete with his list, my frequent visits to Ireland and France seeming small by comparison. But he was keen to know all about Northern Ireland, he’d never been and intended to go ‘someday’. I told him people often said that to me and that they were still worried about their personal safety. He agreed and said he thought France must be a bit scary, too, these days. I said, no, not really, it’s beautiful and the food is out of this world.

Funny what people find scary, don’t you think? And what they talk about to complete strangers on the bus.

Fall, food time…

Fall is almost here, or autumn, as we refer to the season in the UK. I think ‘Fall’ says it better. Leaves fall, temperatures fall, twilight falls earlier and earlier each evening.  Fall describes the misty, golden, shorter days, when you dig out your sweaters, scarves  and socks from last year and wrap up warm to go out and kick leaves like a kid.

The grocery stores are full of all kinds of apples, pumpkins and squash. Recipes leap out at me from my news feed, warm, comforting dishes: Apple Cakes with Caramel Sauce, Butternut and Barley Risotto with a whisper of Parmesan Shavings, a vegan waffle mix, with Chia Seed eggs, instead of the ones from a chicken. All worth an hour or two spent experimenting in the kitchen.

Trouble is, as usual, I’m keeping an eye on my waistline and trying to stop my little body becoming ever more roly-poly. Last evening we ate out and I chose Shangai Noodles with shavings of Rib-Eye steak. They were delicious and not too bad for my healthy eating regime. But the two generous glasses of Shiraz accompanying the meal probably, literally, tipped the scales. Still, red wine is good for the heart, so the experts are maintaining, at least they are this week.

I’m dreading the Christmas adverts, they’re only just appearing, but soon we’ll be facing a constant barrage of turkey, plum pudding and all-the-trimmings menus. By the time the big day arrives, all I want is chicken and vegetable soup, with chunky bread to dunk. I’ll have had it with the fancy finger food and ubiquitous baked hams, a million ways to stuff a turkey and brilliant brussels sprouts makeovers. Why not just give Christmas grub a miss altogether and hold off until Pancake Tuesday? My waistline would definitely feel the benefit!