Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The first frosts have come. The little cyclamen are doing very well, in fact, more of them are coming up.

Yesterday, I was in bed most of the day, except for a trip to Janna's bank to run an errand for her. I also cut my hair. It had been falling out by the handful, I was beginning to look seedy.

In the old days, whenever I wanted to cut my hair, I would always have a couple of beers first. It took the edge off disaster, when I made a mistake. Somehow I actually believe it avoided disaster, because with a couple of beers, I was quite confident that I was as good as the best. Nowadays I do it stone cold sober, standing naked in the bathtub, and I slash confidently, hardly anybody suspects I cut my own hair, they just say: "So, I see you got your hair cut?" I don't tell them I do it myself, I don't leave myself open to any sort of remark indicating it's a less than perfect job.

I didn't finish about mushrooms the other day. In the good old days when I would spend time up in Canada with my friend Gil, we would start on a bottle of vodka, of an evening, and reminisce. We met in 1947 in boarding school in England, there's always plenty to say.

One evening, I don't know whether it was a Saturday or a Sunday, in Toronto it doesn't make much of a difference, I suddenly announced: "I'm hungry! Is there anything to eat in this house?

There wasn't much: half a little green salad, an onion, a leftover tomato, a lonely potato. "Soup!" I said brightly."Anything in the cupboards?" Pasta, a bag of dried mushrooms of some kind, rice.

I started putting it all together, and with a wild flourish, dumped all the dried mushrooms in the pot.

"For heavens' sakes, Fenn" Gil laughed, "These mushrooms are very strong: just one will flavor a whole stew!"

"Well, this will be very tasty!" I said.

"You're supposed to use just one at a time, they are very rare", Gil continued.

Well, I was sorry, but it was too late.

We stood over the stove, as I stirred my potion, and we continued drinking our vodka.

Suddenly, I announced: "I don't know about you, but I'm not hungry any more."

"Neither am I," Gil agreed.

"OK, forget about dinner. Let's go to bed."

"What are you going to do with your soup?" Gil asked.

"I dunno. Can't put it into the fridge until it cools off. Do you have a lid?"


"Do you have a plate?"


I put a plate over the top of the pot, opened the window and set the whole steaming mess into the deep snow on the balcony.

"There! It's perfectly safe here. We can have it for lunch tomorrow."

And so to bed, as they say.

The next morning, we were both of us somewhat bleary-eyed, and it was early afternoon before we went to the balcony to retrieve the "soup". It looked rather thick, we decided to have it with pasta. Delicious.

"What's in it?" Gil asked.

"I dunno. Whatever you had, in fact, everything you had."

"But I had nothing..." Gil protested, laughing.

"Yes you did, you had lot of mushrooms," I said.

Those mushrooms were "heirloom" mushrooms, very rare, from Poland. Ah well, you must expect that sort of thing when you choose your friends among barbarians.

The story of the water: this is water that must be drunk with ceremony. You only drink it when you are thirsty, and you must only drink as much as you need to quench your thirst, don't force yourself to finish your glass. You must also drink some before eating anything.

A few things I have notice about this water, which apart from the "infusion" of power, or whatever, is plain supermarket Poland Spring water, is that no matter what the temperature of the room, it is cold, not frozen, but noticeably colder than the ambient temperature. It also tastes "solid", that is, it has a consistent taste, it is the same difference one might notice between, say, regular Poland Spring and a French mineral water like Volvic (my personal favorite water in the whole world).

The differences I have noticed in my body since drinking this water are subtle, but clear. I am clearly thirsty, now and again, in a very obvious manner, and I also feel clearly satisfied, when I drink it. Usually, feeling thirsty and drinking is much less of a clear natural need.

The pain has almost all gone, the bleeding is considerably lighter, the infection is almost gone, and all this without either painkillers or antibiotics.

I had come to the conclusion, some months ago, with my surgeon, that I would probably have to be on antibiotics and painkillers for the rest of my life. There are ups and downs, and when it gets really bad, I go on antibiotics. I don't want to be on them all the time, I don't want to develop a resistance, I want to keep them for when I really need them. I take them whenever I feel the balance has snapped, it is a necessary evil, although of course not ideal, when you consider both antibiotics and painkillers are eliminated a good deal through the liver. So whatever is happening right now I consider a blessing, particularly from the point of view of my liver, which means it's also good for my eyes, since the "liver" is the "mother" of the "eyes". According to Asiatic medicine.

Dinner Sunday was Ok, although I did manage to burn the potatoes. It was nonetheless superb in the surprise department.

I have chosen to use the water experience to give up coffee one more time. I've switched to cocoa, at home, made with rice milk or oat milk. Apparently cocoa contains even more antioxidants than green tea. So, it's no more Starbucks for a while. I have a huge withdrawal headache, which will probably go by Thursday. Also, it's a lot harder to get up early in the morning when you don't go out for a lovely cup of coffee. I shall have to design something to compensate. Fresh bread?

A joke from the radio. A blond joke (I can tell it, I'm a blond, so there).

A blond man goes into a bar and announces: "Can I tell a blond joke?"

To his right at the bar is sitting a hulking figure, who turns towards him, and in a deep, husky voice says:

"Well, I'm a blond, I'm over six foot tall, I weigh 200 pounds, and I'm a black belt in karate. The barman is a blond. The bouncer is a blond. The woman standing right behind you is a blond body-builder, and the woman sitting at the bar to your left is a world-class, blond champion wrestler. Are you sure you still want to tell a blond joke?"

The newcomer swings his stool slightly, pushing away from the bar as if to get up, and says: "Well, I dunno..." he hesitates, "I'm not sure I'm ready to explain the point, five times over..."

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