WARNING: Long self-pitying waffle...
Well, it's been a while since my last travel post. Things went a bit pear-shaped when I got back from Ireland. I came down with a nasty cold again, which turned into bronchitis. Bit crap, being the feeble asthmatic that I am. Basically curled up in bed for a fortnight, unable even to read a book as I also managed to contract conjunctivitis and my eye was glued shut.
Topped it all off with a killer hemiplegic migraine, which is the one that looks like a drunk having a stroke: slurred speech, loss of balance, dribbling, partial limb paralysis, crazy-assed techno-trance light show and the mother of all hangovers.
Slightly worrying as, for the past eleven years, I've had aurics without any pain. Annoying as they are, I've come to think of them as cheaper than acid.
Yes, I am joking.
So, something went a little wrong.
Three weeks down the line and I'm feeling much better, although I can't quite shake the last of the cough and, given that I've spent most of my convalescence watching Breaking Bad, I'm now convinced I have lung cancer.
But that makes three, right? Lungs, eyes, brain. That's it now. Over.
First step to recovery: spring cleaning.
Alongside my many forms of exotic plague, I managed to contract minimalism off my friend Martine. I decided that it was the clutter around me that was making me ill - all that dust and stuff. So, I got rid of it. Whole heaps of stuff binned or recycled. Everything I had squirrelled away, fooling myself that I would one day find a use for.
I think I could become a bit of a hoarder if I allowed myself to be, so every now and then it's liberating to hit the eject button.
I do feel better for it. I've tidied, hoovered - I even washed a lampshade. Yeah. Take that dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, bitch. (I mentioned I've been watching Breaking Bad, right?)
Next step was to drop the bags at the charity shop, via tea with Dad at one of the nicest tea shops in Gloucester: Lily's.
Also decided to take out some of my frustration on a flan dish. The picture up top may not look all that spectacular, but it's a masterpiece of improvisation.
Baking got a whole lot harder than I remember it. So, okay, I probably should own a rolling pin, but that was easily fixed with an old trick from my uni days - wine bottle. Round and weighty, don't mock it.
But 'baking beans'. Seriously?
How bourgeois is that?
Best I could muster were a handful of ceramic chopstick rests.
Anyway, it all turned out fine. A block of cheese, a tub of double cream, and Bob's the healthiest broccoli and mushroom deep-fill flan you've ever clamped your chops around.
I'm all for rough-and-ready, but I must admit to blushing slightly at that pastry. Nana would not have approved. So, I've buckled to convention, ordered a rolling pin, a tub of (I can hardly bring myself to say it) 'baking beans', and a non-stick rolling mat. I'll let you know how that goes.
So, I've tidied, I've baked.
Today I went for a lovely walk around Highnam Court. Will devote another post to that soon. Made me realise how little of the outdoors I've seen lately.
Thoughts of Simon float across my mind. I told Di and Julia 'see you in a month'... that was in July.
On the one hand, I'm not entirely sure my lungs are up to it yet, on the other, I can think of nothing that would feel better than flying through autumn woodlands with the wind in my hair. I would forgo breathing to do that.
Anyway, my new boots finally arrived, so they're ready when I am.