EOTWQ with Ellis

Ellis really likes posing better than pancake

I have three grandsons – couldn’t possibly choose one favourite. So currently I have a favourite big boy, a favourite little boy (that’s him in the photo) and a favourite baby, and that’s how I get round it. Here’s an EOTWQ that’s all about favourites.

So…what’s YOUR favourite

1 Pudding (dessert, sweet, afters – whatever you call it in your culture)?

2 Breakfast?

3 Mode of transport?

4 Way of spending a lazy day?

5 Antidote? (Choose your own poison…)

231 thoughts on “EOTWQ with Ellis

  1. 1. Creme brulee
    2. The Full English (but no baked beans)
    3. Trains, preferably first class. My father being a high-ranking railwayman, this is how I travelled until I left university.
    4. Reading (aka snoozing) under a shady tree on a hot sunny day
    5. Not sure what you mean with this one but I do have a whole-hearted loathing of the smell of bananas. It makes me feel extremely ill.

    • My dear old cat (RIP) used to react exactly the same to bananas. There must be some chemical in there that some people/animals are sensitive to. Saw that you are laid up. Sending you healing energy.

      • Thank you. All the healing energy coming my way seems to be working. There’s no pain at all now that I’m in a cast. I’m a practised hand with crutches, having spent six months on them back in the eighties after a very bad break on the other leg, so I’m getting around quite well. The problem is in not being able to carry anything.

        Apparently, bananas give off ethanol. That may be the problem. No idea whether my cats react as they never get the opportunity to smell bananas.

      • Ethanol is said to ripen other fruit, isn’t it? My sister picks all her green tomatoes at the end of the season and stores them in a drawer with a banana. Mostly they ripen.

    • Apparently, if you eat bananas you give off a smell that is extremely attractive to mosquitoes To deter them, either have Marmite, or, if you are a Marmite hater, strong B complex..
      I like bananas, but only fresh. I hate “banana flavour” or things like banoffee pie.Don’t like banana shakes either.

      • I like bananas too, but only if they’re slightly underripe. Can’t abide them if they’ve got brown spots on.

      • Anything that bites just loves me. I am an insect magnet so it’s just as well I don’t eat bananas. I eat lots of Marmite; it doesn’t help at all.

        Treefrog! what a waste of green tomatoes. Where is her winter store of green tomato chutney?

      • @Tfd. Is it me, or are bananas reaching that mottled stage quicker these days?

        @mnemosene. I didn’t say it was foolproof!

      • Did you know most of us open bananas at the “wrong” end.
        Monkeys open them from the top and they’ve been doing it longer and are a lot better at it than we are.

      • ‘Banana flavour’ is one of those things that has nothing whatever to do with the flavour of the real thing, like prawn cocktail flavour crisps. Really, there needs to be a distinction between something that’s banana flavour and something that’s banana flavour flavour.

      • Cut up banana skins and put them directly on the earth round your roses. The nitrogen goes directly into the ground and does them a lot of favours.

      • Ah – should’ve pointed out this only happens after she has made more gtc than any human could possibly eat.

      • @Mitch: re speed of banana-spottiness, it’s you. Time goes faster when one gets to our age – don’t you know that?

      • Yes, I’ve had some success with that. Though there’s no point in my waiting for an Avon person to come to my door.

      • Mr. Steenbeck told me mosquitos like thin blondes. Must be the veins on offer. I think citronella helps? We like to have a lot of spiders in our yard. We have practically no mosquitos!

      • Citronella is good. I have candles infused with it and also mix up a few drops in water and wipe the skirting boards. That keeps the spiders at bay as they sense smells and taste through their feet and if they get a whiff of it they realise there’s unlikely to be any food about. Spiders are not my friends, either.

      • Spiders are your friends!! They don’t want your food, they don’t want your blood, they just want to eat the pesky bugs that bother you. And if you kill them…it will rain.

      • I won’t kill them. I usually trap them in a pot and put card over it so I can put them outside – a long way outside. One bit my wife on the neck once in her sleep. When she got up she had two blood marks trickling down her neck, like she’d been got by a vampire. After that she suffered from anaphylactic shock for the first time ever after taking some antibiotics she’d had before. What made it worse was she was a real arachnophobe amd I always told her they don’t bite humans in the UK.

      • Ah, yes, that would do it. I would hate spiders, too. It’s funny because Mr. Steenbeck always tells me that spiders don’t bite. But we know they do! Mr Steenbeck is a furniture maker, and one of the men he buys lumber from was bitten by a spider in a stack of wood. It never heals! It just gets worse and worse. Stories like that scare the heck out of me!

      • I’ve been bitten about eight times by spiders on the allotment and have a very bad reaction to them. I only go there now if I am smothered in insect repellant. The best natural ones have citronella, tea tree and eucalyptus oil among other ingredients.

  2. There is no antidote to bananas except having them removed (or removing myself) from the vicinity.

    Favourite antidote to general misery/bad day etc is a pedicure.

    Oh and baked deans? What was I thinking of…

  3. 1. ice cream (very nicely made ice cream – failing that – any)
    2. my partner and kids are vegetarians and I do most of the cooking so being a lazy git – all food in the house is veggie – for a heart attack inducing change I get a bacon bap or full english when out at work (on very rare occasions).
    3. I like boats – my Ms. can take sailing, but not ferries – as we no longer fly anywhere… trips abroad usually start with the shortest sea voyage…. but I’ve been on ferries to Sweden and Denmark (from Harwich UK) in horrendous weather and loved every minute.
    4 a lazy day is: sitting by the computer fiddling about with designs, listening to music and answering EOTWQ – a busy day is pretty much the same but with added family shenanigans and filing of paperwork plus the odd trip out to do some proper work (I try my best not to do that with much vigour)
    5 my antidote to the real world is to live in my imagination.

    • Well, I am an ice-cream snob, so I know what you mean. I used to make my own – had an icecream maker that didn’t require rock salt and I’d make some – tried different things, but couldn’t beat an old-fashioned egg custard vanila recipe I had. Your imagination is sharp. Keep sharing the art, saneshane.

      • TFD – next time that you go back to SA get Matt to take you to Culver’s off of De Zavala for the best shop bought home-made root beer and for egg custard ice cream. (They also do a decent hamburger.)

      • OK. Can I skip the root beer though? It tastes like medicine…My mother was in DC for part of the war and she came home with amazing stories, including the one about coca-cola vending machines. Which were a marvellous and unheard-of concept to Brits; except she said when the Coke ran out and they hadn’t any more in stock they would fill the machine up with root beer and you wouldn’t know, when you put your dime in, which would come out.

  4. Aw, what a cute little boy!
    1) I really, really like lemon cheesecake or my grandmother’s sherry trifle (heavy on the sherry).
    2) Waffles with cream cheese and pineapple, in bed.
    3) Nightboat
    4) Walking by the coast or in woodland ( I was going to say a graveyard, but that might be predictable)
    5) Laughter, cures a lot of things.

    What are yours TFD?

      • I am a big fan of graveyards, here in Bristol we have Arnos Vale which is a nature reserve with tombstones really.

        @RockingMitch -We went to visit Highgate once, but didn’t realise it had a closing time, so it was shut by the time we made it there, I suppose it might not be a good idea to let people stay overnight!

        I once dreamed of doing a tour of European cemeteries, Pere Lachaise, the Protestant one in Rome….it sounds morbid, I don’t mean it that way, they are often beautiful places.

      • @bethnoir

        If you like Pere Lachaise, you might like this song by Nick Kelly (ex Fat Lady Sings) which imagines what happens when the gates close and the ghosts are free to mingle….

        The video is completely unrelated!

      • That’s weird, mmoloney – I was only thinking of The Fat Lady Sings earlier today. I loved their “Twist” LP. Still have a rather thin tour T-shirt…

        There are some beautiful graveyards. I was rather fond of the one in Southampton by the Common. But the Common itself was rather wonderful, too.

        And I agree wholeheartedly with Sakura – your answer to 5 is, indeed, perfect.

      • A dreaded sunny day
        so I meet you at the cemetery gates
        Keats and Yeats are on your side

        A dreaded sunny day
        so I meet you at the cemetery gates
        Keats and Yeats are on your side
        while Wilde is on mine

        So we go inside and we gravely read the stones
        all those people all those lives
        where are they now?
        with the loves and hates
        and passions just like mine

        Mr Steenbeck saw him in concert, and he sang “Stonily read the graves!”

    • Graveyards are good, although I was once surprised to find a couple of lads enjoying a takeaway curry spread out picnic fashion on someone’s tomb, not that there were any issues raised by the tenant, I dare say. Churchyards are such lovely places to explore. I think.

      • I like graveyards and usually try to go to at least one in any country I visit – though I haven’t been to one in the US yet, as I’m dependent on someone to drive me around there and I don’t think Matt takes my desire seriously on this. It’s possible he thinks I’m a bit weird.

      • I often visit Highgate Cemetery to commune with Karl Marx, but that doesn’t relax me, just fires me up for more goes at the system.

      • Doh! Course, I’ve been to the graveyard in Lubbock – and Matt did take me – sorry Matt!

    • I make a pert decent cheesecake too – my dad taught me – bit of a fan of those ..

      and as for graveyards – lived in Bournemouth for 18 years – we had to go and toast Mary Shelly and Frankenstein on many an occasion.. we’d then spend the night scaring each other with monster stories.

      I also once found a fridge in a graveyard in Margate at night – the wire trailed off and went into the soil – took us ages to pluck up the courage to open the door.. it was right by a train track and a bloody train hurtled passed as I open the door – the light caught in the box making it look as though it had electricity – the noise startled us and someone (in daylight I guess- had squashed a tomato in it) to say we jumped is an understatement.
      We’d been to see a band and (deliberately) missed our trains home too – so we were wandering the streets all night sampling vodka – jumping at every noise and shadow.

      • I shall add Bournemouth cemetery to my wish list, I do have a book of where poets are buried, but perhaps planning a holiday around it might not appeal to the rest of the family!

        A friend once said,”Life is just space between cheesecakes” and I am inclined to agree with her.

        @mmoloney I hadn’t heard that before, it’s a nice idea, thanks zalamanda, it’s better to laugh than cry anyway.

    • I love visiting churchyards. In an ironic way, they seem to breathe life into history – personal,social, political – for me.

      We’ve got a very old churchyard in St Mary the Virgin, Morpeth. Emily Davison, the suffragette who threw herself in front of the King’s horse in the 1913 Derby, is burried here.

      On a trip up to Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka, across the valley, on the terraced hillside, I saw a cremation taking place on one level, and a group of kids playing cricket on the next level down. Summed it all up, really.

      For the poetry-lovers amongst us, two contrasting poems, the latter supposedly a modern interpretation of the former(http://plagiarist.com/poetry/5618/comments/) –


  5. 1. Shrikand. Sweet, sticky Indian yoghurt thing. First tried in London. Successfully made by self. Delish.
    2. Miso soup, rice and pickled cabbage.
    3.Foot. Can take you places other types of transport can’t get to. Sadly not getting as far as I used to due to dodgy hips and knees. and ankles.and toes.and back and etc etc
    4.All my days are “lazy”. I’d like a busy one instead sometime. I’m expert at wasting time.I feel I may have been a sloth in a previous life.
    5. A nice nap. Works wonders.

  6. 1 – Daifukumochi ( these are small round cakes made form rice flour and stuffed with anko which is sweet red bean paste) Daifuku literally means “fantastic good luck” ,mochi is the type of cake. So in English it would be fantastic good luck cakes!!!

    2 – I like really simple breakfast and have my favourite almost every day!!! Miso soup, small portion of rice and some pickled vegtables.

    3 – I like planes! It always means I am going home or going on holiday!!!

    4 – Onsen!!!! If can have a really lazy day then a day at an Onsen – this is like a natural hot spring and spa place. This is heaven!!!! And if I can afford it, a massage or treatment of some kind also is fantastic!!!

    5 – These days I spend a lot of time alone as my boyfriend in Sendai and of course my family is more than a thousand miles away. Many friends after finishing University and finding jobs are different further away neighbourhoods in Tokyo and it is really complicated to get to meet them in city as big as Tokyo. So I do suffer a little from loneliness, that is my poison. Music is my antidote!!! I can get lost in Music for hours and hours and hours and it really cures me!!!

    • Aren’t those rice cakes the dangerous one’s that people choke on every year ?
      Be careful, deadly puddings are not to be recommended !

      • Pairubu

        At new year some people choke on them, but this is because they try and eat a whole one in one attempt.

        You have to eat it in little pieces, then there is no problem!!!

        But I will make sure to be careful!

        Thank you for your concern!!!

      • TFD!

        They are not very big, I suppose maybe half the size of a tennis ball, you can get about four on a normal plate….


        “So “fantastic good luck cakes” is ironic?”


        No it is not ironic!!! 🙂 They are very delicious and healthy (as long as you do not choke!)

        It is nice to see you on the Spill!!

      • Hi BOK

        Japanese chef has a six year training period before he is qualified, and it is because of knowing how to prepare some of the dangerous foods like puffer fish.

        Personally I prefer a simpler diet!!!

      • (BLUSH) you guys!…

        Is it just that we hear disproportionately more stories about dangerous Japanese food, or do the Japanese genuinely like to take their lives in their hands at the dining table? I’m thinking of pufferfish, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Fish,_Two_Fish,_Blowfish,_Blue_Fish
        and whatever it was the elderly gentleman regularly ventured out to restaurants to choke on in Tampopo… I don’t suppose that poisonous (as opposed to venomous) Japanese grass snake gets eaten too, does it?
        Ha! “I cannot see her tonight.
        I have to give her up
        So I will eat fugu.”

  7. 1 I like crumble – when I was a kid I used to complain to my mother (the world’s best cook) that she didn’t put enough crumble on relative to the amount of apple. I said that when I was grown up I would have loads of crumble and hardly any apple at all. Guess what? That is horrible and Mother was right. (Any fruit will do for me, but perhaps plum is my favourite.)

    2 When I stay in a hotel I always have the full English without beans (like Mnemonic) – but I’m nearly always disappointed, because in hotels either they just don’t cook it properly, or they leave it to sit for too long. But for the last couple of days I’ve been cooking bacon and scrambled egg at home (I don’t usually buy bacon but I got some in case AliM wanted it, only she didn’t.) and I’ve enjoyed it so much, I just wish I’d got mushrooms as well.

    3 I like trains and boats and planes, and I’ll be going back to biking when I’m in MK – but most of all I love my C3 Picasso, which is comfy, green and economical and plays my iPod for me. I hate wearing headphones.

    4 Listening to music and talking to my online friends.You lot for example!

    5 I was thinking about this;

    South Carolina put out its arms to me
    Right when everything went black somewhere on Lonely Street
    And it was just some mean old poison that I put up my nose
    Thank god for a long-necked bottle, the angels’ antidote

    That’s not me of course – I don’t like beer.

    Very good answers so far everyone! Keep ’em coming!

    • Rhubarb crumble would be my crumble of choice. You used to get a really good fry-up on those caffs they used to have on the A1 before they got those awful Little Chef and Happy Eater things all for just a couple of bob – well my dad paid, and he said it was ridiculously cheap. Oh how I mourn the passing of those and proper pubs where they used to cook proper food before all that frozen crap or turned them into gastric bypass pubs. Love talking to you online, keep at it.

      • When we used to tour in the band in the late 60s, there were transport caffs all over that stayed open 24 hours. I recall a magnificent one near Hull. Then Little Chef muscled in, forced them all out of business and then had the temerity to close at 10pm! (And woe betide you if you wanted anything more than coffee and an over-priced teacake after about 9.15). Little Chef took over Happy Eater but I’m pleased to learn that they are now in financial trouble, the original company owned by Charles Forte have passed through the hands of several venture capitalists.
        Food on the road is disgusting in the UK. Motorway services are horrible. A crappy sandwich, cut into “vicarage tea-party” quarters isn’t worth £3.95 in my book, especially as they bung mayonnaise into everything now.
        And don’t make the mistake of trying the chain (on the A1 at least) of pseudo American places called “O.K. Diner”. All the food is micro-waved and expensive and the coffee is vile (instant – yuk – at the same price as Caffe Nero)
        The only exception is the T-Bay services on the M6 which is independently owned. The food is at least edible, although still quite expensive for what it is.

      • I’ve been there several times, Miss Froggie. Either on the road to the Highlands or Skye, or when taking comedians to either Glasgow, Edinburgh or Dundee. (I had that Mark Thomas in my cab)
        On one holiday, we stopped off at Lockerbie and had a fantastic breakfast with proper poached eggs.

      • Well, next time you go, turn left at the end of the M6 – look out for the blue and white sign!

      • We have a rather splendid (but quite pricey) American Diner just outside of our village, on the A339 between Newbury and Basingstoke (not quite trunk road territory, I know). I’ve got no idea how authentic it is, but it’s nice, and a cut above what usually gets called a “diner” in the UK. I’m particularly fond of their “Houston” veggie burger (made of beans).

        The kids love the Diner (which is called Nelson’s Diner). Unfortunately, they also love Little Chef.

      • Rhubarb crumble for me, too; not a lot of sugar, and heavy on the ginger. I’ve worked in canteens and for caterers, and I like to eat at home. I never can see eating out as a treat.

  8. 1. Homemade gooseberry flan – not least because it means I can restrict the level of sweetness, as for me the whole point of gooseberries is that hit of sourness combined with the sweet pastry and creamy filling. All of this assuming that I’ve managed to defend my gooseberries from the badgers – so far so good, but they tend to strike a day or so before harvest is due, just as I’m congratulating myself on fending them off.

    2. I’m very fond of the traditional German breakfast: several different sorts of bread, cheese and cold meats. Can’t cope with it in this country, where I stick to toast and marmalade in summer, porridge with condensed milk in winter.

    3. Bicycle. Dearly wish that I lived close enough to work to be able to commute by bike; instead it’s what we spend most of our holidays doing.

    4. Excessive protestant work ethic means that I’m not very good at lazy days; if I *really* didn’t have to work, would probably spend it cooking and gardening.

    5. Beer.

    • I love everything you mentioned except the gooseberrys (shudder) and I’m not overly fond of gardening (except admiring). Porridge, yum. Bike-riding, good. Lived in Germany long enough to enjoy the German breakfast – do like a decent graubrod, smoked ham and cheese and cherry preserves. A lovely bitter, heavily rinded English marmade made properly (none of that thin sweet sickly stuff) is fab on some decent bread i isn’t it?

    • when I was over in Germany – we’d gather in one of the lovely apartments and share breakfast with quite a few other people … as my friends ran a tea and records shop the new records would be discussed and the demos sorted for the record label being set up.. it all started about 10 or 11.. a much more civilised time for breakfast. (the fact that they didn’t even consider going out until 10 in the evening suited me perfectly) much enjoyment.

      • One of the things I really like about German breakfasts is that they’re so communal – even in a hotel or guesthouse, when you’re queuing up for the buffet, but especially with friends when the table is loaded with five different sorts of bread, seventeen different sorts of preserved pork, gherkins etc. The traditional Full English is, utterly predictably, a completely private affair.

        At some point (perhaps this coming holiday) I intend finally to brave the traditional Bavarian breakfast of Weisswurst, Brezen and Weissbier – now that’s really something for mid-morning rather than 7 am…

  9. Well many years ago the doc said ‘No more icecream’, so I acquiesced and for a couple of years I didn’t eat ice cream which would be my answer to #1. But at some point I decided that a tiny taste of ice cream couldn’t hurt, right? so I started having about 1-2 teaspoonsful of Hagen Daz Dulce de Leche every night just before bedtime; I go to bed with the sweet taste in my mouth.
    Not really big on breakfasts but whenever I’ve visited my mother and sister in Norfolk my 96 year old mother still insists on fixing breakfast for me, my favorite; 2 kippers, bread and butter and a cup of tea. Mode of transport? None, no favorites, except I do enjoy a drive through the beautiful Sonoma county countryside on a Sunday afternoon, sometimes in the old Porsche.
    They’re all lazy days: starting at about 5am I read the papers online with a cup of coffee, usually I get sidetracked with an interesting link, mess with Photoshop or Aperture whilst iTunes is shuffling, have lunch and listen to the radio then a nap and a read of whichever book I’m currently into; right now it’s ‘To end all Wars’ by Adam Hochschild, the heartbreaking story of the WW1 UK war resisters, highly recommended, a glass of brandy and a sit outside in the late afternoon sun and then dinner and some more reading ’til I doze off. There you have it, the life of Riley!
    Antidote, antidote! You see anything in there that needs an antidote?

    • GF, a little of what you fancy does you good, as the song goes, and minute quantities of dulce de latte icecream probably won’t kill you. Your life sounds supremely delightful. I love that part of California. If you go near Sacramento any time soon, take a couple of photos for me. I also ache for a Carl’s Junior’s western burger with onion rings and a vanilla shake and to shop at Trader Joe’s! Your choice of reading caught me right in the sternum as The Great War is one of the subjects that both fascinates and terrifies me. I think my attention was first grabbed by comng across a couple of Wilfred Owen poems at about age 14 and my interest developed from there. I haven’t read that book. I will definately take that as a recommend.

    • Whenever I stayed with my great aunt, she insisted on making the breakfast; the local warden would visit about that time, and scold me for letting her, at 95, wait on me… my auntie would defend me, explaining that a youngster like me could afford to sit doing nothing, and at her age, if she sat down for too long, she might not get up again!

      I like icecream at night if I’ve a cold with a bad cough (preferably with a splash of whiskey/cassis over it); it takes the edge off the cough just enough to nod off. (off ough off ough off!)

  10. goneforeign

    That sounds like a wonderful way to spend your days!!!! There is definitely no need for an antidote!!!!

  11. My favourites:
    1 Pudding – probably a very tart and lemony lemon tart.
    2 Breakfast – the best breakfast is cold left over pizza. Tastes great, doesn’t need cooking and doesn’t even need a plate to eat from. Disgusting, right? Hardly ever have that, but I love it.
    3 Transport = Boat; sailing probably.
    4 Online/listening to music/reading.
    5 I do smoke (it’s a shame) and I do indulge in the odd alcoholic beverage – a rather nice rioja or Jim Beam depending on my mood by choice. However, I am quite health conscious, get some exercise, eat lots of vegetables, healthy BMI, cholestorol, etc, so not too bad.

    • Cold left over pizza!!! That really reminds of when I was studying in the USA, I would get up in the morning and find the left over pizza from my room-mate in the kitchen, and also living room sometimes…I hate waste and I really felt bad to throw it away …..maybe I should have eaten it for breakfast!!!!

      • Well, it is a bit…:-)

        This reminds me though of my cat, Hobbs, who never caught a rodent or bird in his whole life, although he would waylay his sister and steal her catches and bring them in and present them as his own.

        One day he was struggling with something obviously very large, and making a huge racket trying to bring it in through the catflap, so I wnnt to investigate. He had stolen the most enormous slice of pepperoni pizza I ever saw. Luckily, my neighbour (who had caught the thief in flagrante) loved Hobbs and saw the funny side of it.

        Oddly, he ate the whole thing, crust and all.

  12. 1. Apple crumble & Custard.
    2. In summer I usually have fruit like papaya or melon, in winter toast and thinly spread Marmite. I also make my own muesli (well I am a Guardian reader)
    3. Very un-green, but I still love driving. I have a 12 CD auto-changer in the car which is like a travelling juke box. It used to be motor cycles, but I’m now looking our for a decent trike.
    4. Re-reading my Kerouac collection and various magazines to which I subscribe.
    5. The antidote for the blues for me is to stick on Frankie Ford’s “Sea Cruise” followed by Gene Vincent and Fats Domino. Usually works. I don’t drink, so I don’t need an antidote for that.

    • Well I am a sucker for crumble. I like a little liquid with the fruit because I like the crumble to sink a bit and be a bit gooey around the edges…mmm mmm. Sounds like you know how to fix a good and healthy breakfast, improve your mind and blow the cobwebs away. That sounds like a plan.

      • I love crumble too, blackberry and apple or rhubarb for preference, Abahachi I have come around to gooseberries now I don’t live at home and have to pick them every day after school and then eat them for dessert at every meal! (we had a large garden and too much fruit really). A properly soft, ripe golden gooseberry is one of the most lovely things to eat ever.

  13. 1) My very favourite pud would be seconds instead of pud. I had a Yorkshire gran, so we had Yorkshire pudding (open bowl-shaped, not those puffy balls) with gravy in before the mains, and with sugar on after. Then pie: puff pastry, apple and blackcurrant filling, made with dessert apples, grated, not cooked, so they kept some texture. Though I probably prefer rhubarb and ginger pie nowadays…
    2) I like leftovers for breakfast; or rice and plain yoghurt; or porridge with full fat milk and sultanas instead of suger.
    3) Train for long distances: you can socialise, read, go online, eat, sleep (I love sleepers)… foot for short: good for the back, and I don’t drive. Him indoors gave me an undefined number of driving lessons for my birthday a year or two ago, and I’ve still not unwrapped them.
    4) Hmmmm; I’m the laziest person in the world, so ideally all my days feel lazy, even if I’m busy. I have a horror of feeling busy. I try to enjoy whatever I’m doing, as I’m doing it, by focusing on just that. Once I’ve got that licked, I’ll be one happy bunny.
    5) Prevention’s better than cure, when it comes to mind-altering substances, so I try to avoid them, as I’m getting increasingly intolerant of their after-effects … In the past, I suffered pretty disabling bouts of palindromic (galloping) arthropathy, for which the only cure was a spellbinding music gig (Thomas Allen and Philip Langridge in Billy Budd at ENO springs immediately to mind; I was in agony at the start, and pain-free by the end) or a spot of how’s-yer-father (natural endorphins, dontcha know; names have been witheld to protect the guilty).

      • Oh, no, (touch wood) not for years. It was stress-related. Apparently, I don’t “do” stress any more; I only got a tiny suggestion of it the last time I moved house. And there aren’t too many life evnts more stressful than a big house move.

      • I am so happy you are well again now!!!

        I really hate moving!!! I live in the same apartment in Tokyo since I came here as a student six years ago!!! But I can not make myself move, even if it is quite an old block. I get stressed out just thinking about it!!!

      • It’s getting married, moving house and bereavement that always top the list, isn’t it? I’ve moved house loads of times, but luckily haven’t much experience of the other two.

    • “or a spot of how’s-yer-father”

      I was on a school trip to Switzerland when I was 11 – 12 years old and started getting these horrendous headaches – near migraines.. not the best thing when up a mountainside.. the medic in the hostel was advising me in front of all the rest of my school friends… no chocolate, no cheese… and then: have I tried wanking? i bulked thinking I’d misunderstood her accent.. but no – she said my head would feel worse while doing it, but the relief when finished would clear my headache. There is possibly no greater embarrassment for a shy English boy (who wasn’t even a teenager yet) than that day- except imagining an English nurse saying the same *shudder* – the plus side was some of the older girls took me in hand (not literally) and told me rude stories before bed time “as a help – for your headache” to be given such insight into certain females minds, was quite some bonus, I can tell you. LIFE WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!

      • Hate to say it, shane, but this seems to explain a lot… How do I do one of those little emoticon things to show this is a joke?

      • Awww.. I was going to ask for advice on getting rid of a headache, but now …

        Actually I’ve read about that cure. Personally I’ve never understood the “I have a headache,honey” as a reason not to…

      • I thought that “how’s-yer-father” was a euphemism!!! It is a really funny one!!!!

        We have lots of them also. Maybe the most common is the expression ecchi which is the pronunciation of the letter H in Japanese (the first letter of the word Hentai)

        When I went the USA and saw CSI Miami found it so funny everybody calling the chief “H” In the Japanese version his they just called him bass the whole time!

        Actually when I was in the USA if we went on a date with an American guy we would say “kokusai kouryuu wo fukameru,” which is “deepening the level of international exchange” more or less!!! (But actually I did not have many dates, and even fewer second dates!!!)

      • A head ache might not stop me but if anyone made advances if I were in the throes of a full-blown migraine might well end up on the floor.

  14. 1. Vanilla Ice Cream! with a small cup of coffee to lace over it.
    2. I love a good egg scramble with sausage ( chorizo please) & green onion & a side of hash browns.
    3. A bicycle for all things would be great but not easily done in America.. Now summer’s here I can ride my mountain bike truckster to the farmer’s market for fresh veggies & fruit.
    4. Music, music, music! (with maybe a little baseball on – no sound)
    5. Well laughter isn’t it?

  15. 1. Anything. One day (probably one day not very far off), I will be very large indeed. God knows how I’m not already. I am currently partial to M&S’s raspberry panna cotta.

    2. Eggs florentine on English muffins (white). Lots of black pepper. And a bit of salt.

    3. Train. No question. I feel very safe, but also excited, on trains. There is nothing I like better than solo train travel. Looking out the window at the countryside speeding by, wondering about all the lives being lived out there…

    4. Get up, do yoga, have bath, watch a lot of DVDs, surf the Net… I’m not very imaginative!

    5. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate.

    • That all sounds lovely, bishbosh, except I’d have to substitute scrambled eggs for your Eggs Florentine, since for some unknown reason I only like eggs that have been mixed together before they’re cooked. Daft, I know. But so it is.

    • What’s all this English muffins stuff, bishbosh! There are only two kinds of muffins, Muffins and American-style muffins. How many hundreds of people do I have to tell that to! 😉

  16. 1 Raspberries – just raspberries, no cream/sugar/ice cream

    2 Breakfast as served by any decent German hotel – you know the score, giant buffet thing. In particular the stewed fruit – blackberries/redcurrants with feck all sugar in there – just brilliant, particularly if you have a hangover, which you are bound to have there!

    3 Trains are nice

    4 Start the day with some EELs, nice breakfast, off to see a bit of countryside then find a decent pub

    5 Raspberries/Strong Coffee/Guinness/Elderflower & fizzy water/a good whiskey/a nice bottle of red wine. That’ll do!

    • Yes Mitch – and I live in Scotland! only downside is the Guinness and the weather, both of which could be better…

    • Swedish raspberries (though I’m told Finnish ones are even better). Something to do with the very long daylight hours and the relatively low temperature. In Sweden I learnt to eat raspberries with milk rather than cream (and NO sugar). It really brings out the flavour. That’s if I can get them home without eating the whole punnet on the way back.

      • Strawberries with black pepper, and orange juice (no cream) …oooohh yes…. was served fresas con zumo de naranja in Barcelona, and shown the black pepper trick in an Italian restaurant in Horsham… combined the two, and haven’t looked back since. I did see an Englsh recipe for strawberries poached with green peppercorns once.

        My strawberry bed appears to be running out of steam; a disappointing crop this year, with lots fallen off the plants before ripening; I’ll have to get some runners caught up in pots, and a new bed going. Actually, it’s him indoors runs the strawberry department…

      • At one time I used to put a little Cointreau on my strawberries…then I realised I should save it for the margaritas. (Luckily Tesco now sells triple sec which is much cheaper.)

    • Hi Blimpy

      I’m in Edinburgh – not itself great raspberry country but not far from where they grow them good!

  17. Beautiful boy and good questions, TFD!

    1. Most evenings we have a few squares of bittersweet chocolate while we finish our glass of red wine. But I love ice cream. Love it to bits. I literally have dreams about good vanilla ice cream. And I like warm fruit crisps or crumbles with melting ice cream. Mmmmmmmmmm

    2. Every morning I have an apple, cut up in a bowl, with a handful of granola and a little milk. And tea AND coffee.

    3. I like walking and I like trains. I also like bikes and kayaks. David just got a motorcycle, and I’d like to go for a ride on that some day. Mostly walking though. I live in a place where you can walk for everything you need, and I’d never live in a place where I couldn’t.

    4. I would sleep for another hour after I wake up, because that’s when you have the best dreams. I’d write a story, draw a picture, play my guitar, go for a walk somewhere beautiful, make a really good dinner, watch a really good movie…

    5. Nina Simone singing Ooooh Child

      • Ellis is just learning how to talk on the phone, but there are still long silences when he forgets it’s his turn. When I say “Ellis, are you still there?” he says “Yes, I is still dere.”


    • Though I used to love it (and there may be a connection here), I can’t drink coffee anymore; it makes my heart and tummy go crazy, then I have to lie down. Wierdly, though, I can eat those chololate-coated coffee beans from Whittards of Chelsea (if they haven’t gone into -ahem- liquidation). And I like a square of dark, dark chocolate with my telly ration. [I’m assuming] you won’t know Eisstern vanilla ice cream; it’s sold in Lidl cheapo supermarkets, and is very vanilla, and pretty inexpensive.

      • We’ve had a conversation which may have been before your time, BeyondOurKev, about the very superior and cheap chocolate to be had in Lidl. Have you tried it?

      • There was a discussion only the other week where everybody was praising Lidl’s Vanilla icecream to the skies. As soon as I can carry any shopping home I’m going to hobble over the road to get some (It’s my nearest supermarket, a mere three minutes walk away).

      • Oh yes, I have a vast pile of it my kitchen; imagine my deep joy when I found the one with BLUEBERRIES in it! Otherwise, “mit Kakaonibs” is very satisfying.

  18. 1 Crème brûlée

    2 The Full English; bacon, eggs, sausage, black pudding, mushrooms, toast, grilled tomato, red sauce, mustard, loads of tea.

    3 Car

    4 Reading and listening to music.

    5 Sleep (the antidote to too much wine)

  19. Richard; When I was a young lad in Sheffield there used to be a bloke who came around the streets ringing a handbell with a basket on his head, he used shout out his wares, muffins, oatcakes and piclates, they were all variations of the same thing.
    Re. Sacramento, we were there last weekend for a UC Davis graduation party and there was a time when I used to frequent Carl;s Jnr and Trader Joe’s, don’t anymore.

    • I was just playing the pedant about the muffins! I think my hankering for Carl’s Jrs and Trader Joe’s is more nostalgia than anything. I want to see the hills, feel the breeze and smell the scents more than eat burgers. I loved to visit Old Sac, a nicely done tourist attraction, and the capitol building more attractive than the one in Austin by a mile.

  20. Gorgeous photo, tfd. And sorry about the bacon … but glad you enjoyed it, anyway.

    1. Favourite pudding is lemon sorbet or summer pudding as made by my mum – masses of berries, and very little stodge.

    2. Breakfast depends on time – sometimes a fry-up is good, as long as there are LOTS of mushrooms. Alternatively, some sort of crunchy oat cereal with fresh fruit and Greek yoghurt is good. And Tebay? Did you know my brother built that stretch of the M6 single-handed, while working his way through Lancaster University?

    3. Train I guess, bicycle back in the day. Hate driving, though I can (and did, when I had a car).

    4. I don’t really do lazy days, now I’m unemployed I’m finding it very hard not to keep doing things – though I managed spectacularly well while staying with tfd. Walking, I suppose.

    5 Antidote – I hate ripe bananas too, I once dreamed I was locked in a room full of rotting banana skins. Horrible. Anyway, antidotes – music, if I’m unhappy; alcohol, if I want to forget; walking, if I have things to think about; beans on toast if I have a hangover; hot bath and Ibuprofen if my muscles ache.

  21. 1 Lemon Meringue Pie.
    When I was (briefly) a member of the WI, we had a “dessert island discs” evening, where we each had to take in our favourite pudding, our favourite piece of music and… something else? Film, name of favourite. I ummed and ahhed over the pudding, but settled on a childhood favourite. Homemade, of course. With lots of lemon. Yum! (The music was All About Eve’s version of “She Moves Through the Fair”; the film was the Filmfour production, “The Company of Wolves”).

    2 Croissants, coffee and orange juice. All in separate receptacles, naturally.

    3 Train. A certain amount of romance still attaches itself to travelling the rails, I think. Plus you can sit back and read your book (I get nauseous if I try to read on road transport). I’d probably have a bike to get to the station on. Maybe it would even be on the train with me?

    4 Really lazy: read a book. Read several books. Slightly less lazy: take my painting equipment for a walk, hopefully to bring back a nice picture or two.

    5 I find reading is a pretty good antidote to most things. Perhaps a square or two of really dark chocolate to go with the book…

    • Tee hee, Zala – I have a group of friends for whom ‘lemon meringue pie’ is code for sex – as in ‘Had any lemon meringue pie lately?’ At our age we don’t want to shock people you see.

    • I am beginning to realise that there are a lot of desserts I like, Lemon meringue pie can be gorgeous, but I have had some disappointing shop bought ones recently and it’s put me off. The music sounds like a perfect combination 🙂

      • I used to make lemon meringue pie (the actual pudding, not the euphemism) when the kids were little and I often used to reflect on
        a) how delicious it was
        b) what a bloody long time it took to make and
        c) how quickly it disappeared

      • Right on all points. My mother used to use a packet mix for the filling; I made her the real deal, following the Be-Ro recipe (that she would also have had), and she said it was too lemony! Is there such a thing?

        Lemon tree is so pretty and the lemon flower is sweet,
        But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat…


      • Sounds as though I should make another – perhaps for SpottedRichard’s visit. Who else is coming?

      • Strangely, I’ve become a dab hand at making Scottish Shortbread. I also do a mean cheesecake, melting moments, sponge buns and for savoury lovers, latkes.

      • Melting moments! When we were kids my sister and I used to sing Melting moments instead of Magic moments – with Perry Como

      • Zalamanda: when I was a teenager, I used to go on the bus to BHS in Stockport just to buy their Lancashire cheese, which was just lovely. Nicer than from the supermarket my parents went to.

        I went to Prague once, and everything we ate seemed to taste of pickle… ;-p

  22. 1. Most definitely “pudding” where I come from. Rhubarb Crumble with custard.
    2. Bit of toast smeared with tomato and garlic with lashings of olive oil. The secret is to pierce the toast with a fork repeatedly so it soaks up plenty of oil. Cup of coffee from the wonderful bar type espresso machine Maki jr was kind enough to give us last Xmas. Will have full English (with beans) when in the UK. The Spanish don’t really do bacon so it’s always a disappointment when I try to make it here-
    3. Sailing.
    4. A stroll round a museum or art gallery in the morning if we’re not in tourist season and it can be done leisurely. Lunch round at Quique’s followed by a good siesta and a little RRing or ‘Spilling in the evening.
    5. Cooking nothing helps me disconnect more than getting lost among herbs and spices in the kitchen with a little background music and a few meals to cook. This is really a Saturday morning ritual that eases me back into my life after a hard or not so hard (rare recently) week at work. If it’s a hangover a good hot pepper soup following a recipe that my wife’s friend Felisa brought with her from Equatorial Guinea.

  23. My favourite:

    1 Pudding
    DsGran’s Spotted Dick, with Mackie’s ice cream, probably. Or a mighty cheese, fruit and biscuits plate with a nice dry white Italian wine. The latter requires a long time à table, the former will probably result in my needing a nap shortly afterwards.

    2 Breakfast?
    A damned fine cup of coffee – or two, more likely – and quality bread products (bagels, soda farls, crumpets, DsG’s fresh bread rolls: there’s a big rota to work around! 😉 ), lightly toasted, with just butter.

    3 Mode of transport?
    If I’m driving: my car with a fully-charged mp3 player and a long road ahead with lots of high sun and little low traffic.
    If someone else is in charge, any slow-paced big (e.g. narrow boats good, dinghies bad; you get the idea) boat with a beer fridge on an inland waterway.

    4 Way of spending a lazy day?
    This coming Sunday is looking good: DsGran looking after the kids here at home, small country hotel near Whitby booked for me and DsMam for two nights, intended party we were travelling for cancelled, no-one knows we’re around for more than just Saturday evening. You ain’t seen me, roight?

    5 Antidote?
    My usual poison is stress: my favourite antidote is wait until everyone’s in bed, then downstairs with headphones, Sigur Ros and Jack Daniels.

    Can’t read anyone else’s til later – DsMam’s at college. Off to put the kids to bed …

    • I get my beigels (note the spelling) from the Beigel Bake in Brick Lane. They are made to a proper East London Jewish recipe and are MUCH cheaper than the supermarkets. They also do proper black bread and a really good light rye. I usually buy a load and freeze them.
      Bagels sold in supermarkets are often little more than doughnut shaped rolls.

      • A couple of places I lived (Clapton) and worked (Mortimer Street) in London, I was a gnat’s crotchet away from a Grodzinski’s, whose beigels and treacly, moist, chewy dark rye bread I found more than acceptable.

      • I’ve been to Grodzinski’s. They used to have a branch in Farringdon Road. I still prefer the Beigel Bake.
        Kossoff’s in Petticoat Lane used to be good, but the old man who started the business died and he took his recipes to the grave, never having written them down.

      • The Beigel Bake is rightly famous, but it was always that bit too much of a schlepp… which is why man invented freezers. I should get back into making bread. Beigels I’ve never tried to make…

  24. 1. Afters, I grew up with afters, and the idea of a steamed syrupy pudding with proper custard is enticing – but I don’t know that I’d really like it if I tried it these days. Anything with rhubarb, yes (rhubarb and ginger, anyone?), dito gooseberries, proper custard – or lemon meringue, or the brown bread ice-cream served in the bistro we used to get taken to for Family Occasions when I was a girl…. We hardly ever have dessert, am I depriving my children of their cultural [culinary] heritage?

    2. If any of the German breakfast lovers want to swap on a permanent basis, let me know! Coffee & croissant if in holiday mood [I dunk], tea, toast and marmelade if my butler’s bringing me breakfast in bed, porridge or cornflakes with sliced banana on weekdays where I manage more than just tea. That’d be Tiptree marmelade, of course!

    3. Trains trains trains trains trains. I hate cars [sorry, guys].

    4. Lie-in. Definitely a lie-in. Reading very probably also involved. In a previous lifetime I’d probably have gone in for some lemon meringue pie, too.

    5. A hug from my daughter, a chat with my son, or, if there’s dosh about, the full works at the hairdressers [now that’s something I never thought I’d hear myself say – until very recently I’d rather have gone to the dentists than let anyone near my follicles)

    • Afters. Quite right.

      I’ve cut my own hair (or not) for years, but I used to love having it cut… I love that tingle as the scissors cut through the hairs. Sends a shiver up the spine… My gran used to brush my hair, whenever we were together; it was a grand excuse to sit and have a natter for half-an-hour or more, and felt like a prolonged hug.

  25. Tee hee! It is nice to have ones hair washed professionally – by someone kind but firm – but your post made me laugh because the last time I spent proper money on a haircut (about 2 years ago!) Mr Munday said I looked like a startled poodle …

  26. 1) Blackberry and apple crumble

    2) Poached egg on toast – or, on my sporadic and doomed attempts to be vegan, scrambled tofu with soy sauce, mustard and turmeric.

    3) I haven’t ridden my bicycle for about a year now but it was always my favourite means of transport until the London traffic got the better of my nerves.
    I did get a trip in a hot air balloon for my 40th birthday. That was great because I always dream about flying but it wasn’t exactly a means of transport. Boat trips are good though. I’ll make that my nom I think.

    4) Lie down by the sea or a river or a lake. Read a bit, doze a bit. Get up. Go to a cafe/bar. Order a beer and some food. Consume. Go back to sea or river or lake. Read a bit, doze a bit. Go home. Job done.

    5) I find that swimming cures an awful lot of stress induced by toxic life experiences. Must do it more often. Failing that a bath with some jasmine flavoured concoction.

  27. 1. Desert (I wannabe posh). Not usually these days, if we do it’s probably fresh fruit salad. Must be something against cream in the constitution (erm… America’s that is; not mine). Miss cream cakes. Do have a good French bakery/cafe nearby, but it’s not the same.

    2. Breakfast: Cup of tea (See also: lunch).

    3. Driving/Walking. Must be something against that 2nd one in that constitution, unless you do it really fast, as exercise. My Dad must have noticed this when he came to visit. Asked him why he was tearing around a department store as if on speed? He pointed out a sign that said “No Strollers”.

    4. Lazing

    5. Don’t need, but do like my poisons.

  28. 1. I do a zabaglione that sets boozy cloudbursts of heaven loose on your tongue.

    2. Much appreciation for yer full English and full German but there’s an unmatch sense of well-being that comes with Marmite on toast.

    3. DsD’s answer regarding being at the wheel of a car is almost word-for-word what I might have said but a very longn solitary, uncrowded train journey with a book to read and one to write in would be a less frequent but more satisfying choice.

    4. If I’m on my own, pootling about on the computer in the company of you fine people and other non-work-related types.
    If it’s just me and her, a film or two on DVD or even the cinema if we’re flush, or strolling in the park, watching winter turn to spring and all lines of that song thereafter.
    If I’m with the kids, hogging their DS’s and watching Horrible Histories before heading out to somewhere like the Tate Gallery to stuff their memory chests.

    5. Single malt whisky for the physical ailments; music for the rest.

  29. Yay, EOTWQ’s!

    1- These days, peach frozen yogurt. And a slice of red velvet or carrot swiss roll.

    2- These days peach frozen yogurt with fresh fruit. Sometimes a bowl of granola. These are two tough questions because breakfast and dessert are my favorite meals. I like a full on eggs and french toast or Mexican breakfast too.

    3- Hoof express. I walk everywhere. And take the bus when its too far to walk.

    4- I don’t really have lazy days anymore, too much to do. If i had one, i guess a rainy day in bed with a good book all day always works. A few hours nap is a nice luxury too.

    5- I have a very low tolerence for alcohol in my middle age. 2 drinks is about my limit. So for a hangover – food and sleep.

    Pollen seems to be my poison these days, it’s especially bad in the northeast this year. I haven’t found an antidote, if anyone has one let me know. It’s been a few months long non-stop headcold so far this year.

    • A couple of friends of mine suffered truly miserable summers with hayfever, for years (decades, in fact), trying everything the healthfood shops had to offer; I suggested an antihistamine, so they gave it a go (cetirizine, I think; less drowsiness than with !st generation anti-H), and, waddyaknow? Free at last!

      • Cetirizene is the one that gives me the hellish depression as it wears off. I used to like Triludan, but they took it off the market because some people were getting irregular heartbeat with, especially if taken with grapefruit juice. Annoyingly, that one worked for me – no sleepiness or depression.

      • Sorry, didn’t see your reply here. Did your doctor report your adverse reaction with the cetirizine?

      • Grapefruit juice … I know there’s a few antidepressants, anxiolytics and sedatives you’re not supposed to take it with; it supresses an enzyme that metabolises them…

      • I did report it and she said about 35% of her patients had the same problem. Loritidene, the other one she could prescribe just made me go to sleep.
        I was 44 when I had chicken-pox. No fun at that age.

      • 35%.. wow!

        I used to go out with a competative cyclist who had hayfever (caused him no end of trouble; you can imagine!) who was intolerant of anti-H; he reckoned wearing large glasses helped.

    • Ah… pollen.

      I have suffered from hayfever since preschool days (my son, too, started early; his preschool teachers seemed sceptical when I told them he had hayfever, but it must be genetic). I used to take Piriton (notorious for making you drowsy, but it works; otherwise considered very safe because it’s been on the market for so long – it didn’t seem to make the childhood me drowsy, though), then Triludan (Terfanidine), and then, when Triludan went off-market, Cetirizine. Personally, I have no probem with Cetirizine; neither does Sheddi, or our son.

      However, they don’t like you taking the stuff when you’re pregnant, so I sought out alternatives at that point…

      I was told that ‘topical’ treatments were better than tablets during pregnacy. I’d already ben topping up my antihistamines with a beclometasone nasal spray, (eg Beconase), so that remained in the mix. Someone suggested green tea. Couldn’t do much harm, so I tried that, found to my surprise that I quite liked it (I don’t like black tea!), so I started a green tea habit. I also tried some homeopathic pills, which I didn’t really believe in. However, something – green tea or homeopathic stuff – seemed to work better than nowt, so I stuck with them both. Have since dropped the homeopathic stuff and gone back to cetirizine, mind.

      One of the best ways to avoid hayfever that I know of, though, seems to be spending time away from your usual habitat – I find being close to the sea helps. Sheddi, who grew up by the sea, however, doesn’t. I think he might be allergic to seaweed pollen. Um… maybe not.

      • Thanks everybody. It’s weird, but i never had the problem until my late 30’s – early 40’s. The same seems to be the case for other people in my age group and in the northeast US. So i don’t know if it’s a body change thing, or a climate change / bee population whatever problem. I can’t get prescription drugs as i have no health insurance and doctor visits aren’t in the budget, but i will look into homeopathic remedies. I’ve also been afraid of side effects from prescription drugs – drowsiness, depression, etc – as that would be replacing one problem with another. I will also green tea, which i love. I’ve been drinking a lot more tea and iced tea lately instead of so much coffee, i find it more refreshing in the summer.

      • Oddly enough, I used to get it really badly from the age of 12 until 1976 when the long hot summer we had seemed to burn off the pollen. I never had it so bad since, unless, as I say, the pollen count is really high.
        In th UK, drugs like cetirizene and loritadene plus piriton can be bought at pharmacies without prescription, but I do take your point about side effects.
        Whenever I get something that’s not too serious, I always explore natural cures first before turning to aliopathic medicine.
        A naturopath once cured my kidney stones.

      • So what do i look for then in the homeopathic section? Is it usually called hay fever remedies, or allergy remedies, or something else? Do you have any idea what the main active ingredients are? Thanks, that’s a lot of questions.

      • I would suggest asking for Hay Fever cures. The brand I buy, New Era, is a mix of Mag. Phos, Nat. Mur and Silica, which can all be bought separately at strength x 6. Somewhere, I’ve got a book which explains what each homoeopathic tablet is for, but I can’t find it.
        Can I also suggest, if you don’t already, always wear shades when you go out as they stop a lot of the pollen getting in your eyes.
        Hope this works for you.

      • I think New Era was the one I used, too.

        It has to be said that the antihistamines do seem to work better for me. Oddly, while being pregnant didn’t affect my hayfever, breastfeeding did – I scarcely sneezed at all during that period, despite being antihistamine-free.

      • It’s probably just as well you didn’t sneeze whilst breast feeding. It could have been messy and potentially painful!
        When I was a kid, the hospital carried out skin tests to see what I was allergic to and discovered 9 different things, including dry rot.
        In the 70s on hot days, newsprint would come off on your hand (esp. Melody Maker) and that used to get me sneezing too.
        I’ve heard it said that your body undergoes a complete change every 7 years, so maybe that’s why I hardly suffer now.

      • I was told, when I was small, that I would ‘grow out of’ hay fever. I’m still waiting.

        But it’s not as bad as it used to be (I was a tablets + nasal spray +eyedrops user and still suffered, albeit less than withoutall the medication). I’m not sure how much of that is due to living in a different county to the one I grew up in (I still avoid Leicestershire in June if I can).

      • Yikes Mitch… you’d have appreciated fish & chips from my gan’s chippy then; even in the 60s, long before it was outlawed, she wouldn’t use newspaper to wrap chips in, but spent a fortune on white paper for the outer wrapping. You’ve eaten up and down this fair land; was that a common practice, do you know?

      • My mate used to live next door to a chippy, but warned me not to go in there. This was about 1964. Heedless to his strictures, I bought some chips (I never ate fish, even in my meat eating days) and in amongst it were 2 fried match sticks. That was the last place I ever saw use newspaper.
        I could tell you a tale about a chip shop in Glasgow, but I’ll not do it.

      • Blimey; I saw newspaper used in Manchester chipppies until the late seventies, certainly.. I used to love going out into the back yard on spud delivery days; the smell of all those tatties was wonderful.

        I used to always have egg and chips whenever I moved house, so the first box unpacked was the one with the makings, except the chips, which I’d get from the local chippy. When I moved to Toxteth, I went up the Smithdown Road chippy, asked for chips, and the bloke suggested a pie; I thought “I could quite fancy a pie”, and said yes… he only threw the pie in the fryer… and then I realised the fryer was just starting up from cold, so the pie was going to sit there until the fat melted… I beat a hasty retreat. Egg butties that day.

        I only ever eat chips now when my mate Bill makes them. A couple of times a year, if that.

      • I’m not sure about allergies, but when I get a sinus headache I rely on pseudophedrine. And it has the added bonus of being very useful in your meth lab!!

    • Loratadine works for me,available over the counter (no prescription) – doesn’t make me drowsy. But I use a nasal spray as well (Beconase). And sun glasses. And eye drops!!!

    • AmyLee: My wife is also a sufferer, for everyday use she uses Loratadine, over the counter and cheap and she says it works. For eye irritation the local pharmacist yesterday suggested Alaway by Bausch & Lomb, she bought it, expensive at $16 but it worked instantly!

  30. I use the New Era homoeopathic remedy which works for me. You have to use fennel toothpaste as mint reacts against it and not drink anything except water for about 50 minutes either side of taking the tablets.

      • Yes. I used to get hayfever really badly when I was younger and the anti-histamine tablets the doctors prescribed used to either knock me out or make me feel very depressed as they wore off. The worst of it doesn’t happen now unless the pollen count is really high and that’s when I take the New Era. If they don’t do that brand, ask for anything to help hayfever that’s homoeopathic
        Strangely, I only got it in the UK. Never abroad anywhere.

      • Mitch – I tried the cetirizine myself when I had chickenpox (for the itching, which it suppressed), and had no drowsiness, nor after-effects. Chickenpox in me 40s: sheesh!

      • Hi Mitch

        I think it is not unusual that you did not get hay fever overseas, as often the pollen is different.

        When the cedar trees have flowers I get hay fever. Then I use an electric air filter in my apartment and it sucks the the air and removes pollen. Then I wear a mask when I go out into the street with a filter for pollen. Normally this works to avoid the worse of it, and fortunately this time normally only lasts two or three weeks. That way I can avoid to take any medicaments which I do not normally like to use if possible.

      • Hi Sakura.
        I think you are correct about the different types of pollen. Another thing that would give some relief was to go to the sea and walk out on a pier or jetty. The ozone would clear my head and last for about 2-3 hours.

      • I keep saying the northeast USA here because we have such different vegetation around the country, so i don’t know if it’s a problem for, say, Shoey in Florida or Fintan in Nevada. It was a big problem in NYC, and also in New England where i am now.

      • The local vegetation makes a big difference. I have long thought that different parts of the UK have subtly different mixtures of grasses, and that I am probably more susceptible to some than others. The same would apply for trees – fortunately, I’m only allergic to grass pollen (conclusion based on the times of year that I sneeze). I do know someone who gets hay fever in the spring from tree pollen and again in the summer from grass pollen. It’s also possible to be allergic to selected flower pollens.

  31. 1 Pud Pud – Tesco 75p for 6 chocolate mousse – their bizarre taste and longevity has fascinated me for years now.

    2 Breakfast? Usually a cup of tea, but I do like a full Scottish or Eggs Benedict.

    3 Mode of transport? After years of refusal, I’ve now been driving for a year and I hate to say, I quite enjoy it. Especially round all the beautiful countryside where I live.

    4 The mini-mcflahs make for approximately no lazy days anymore, not that I’m complaining, tho I did manage to drift off for about 5 minutes in a sun-drenched apple orchard last month before being yanked back into dad-dom.

    5 Sun and sleep cure all things. Hey take it right down, lay back in the sun, gonna have me some good times girl, good dope good fun

  32. Good God !!!! Over 200 posts. Boy am I late on this one……….
    1)pudding I love a well made apple and blackberry pie with thick custard. BTW. There is a restaurant called ‘Bryces’ in the village of Ockley, just south of Dorking in Surrey, where I once had the most wonderful Welsh Rarebit with a poached egg on top as a pudding. (Yes, it was on the menu)
    2)breakfast 3 pieces of wholemeal toast and a large black coffee.
    3)transport Flying. It means that for 50% of the time I’m off somewhere. And 50% of the time I’m coming home. Both a nice feeling.
    4)lazy day I would love to go fishing again on one of my favourite lakes in Surrey.
    5)antidote I just get under a powerful shower and stand there for 10 mins. Wash it all away.

    • You added ‘Both a nice feeling’ after the first version had already gone. But the blog elves are on the case.

  33. some great comments here!

    1. Puddings? Hmm….I like most, the first answer that sprung to mind was Lemon Meringue Pie, but I think i’m just being nostalgic, these days I prefer a nice crumble, apple or rhubarb (we recently found a great little roadside vegetable stall, selling veggies directly from the surrounding fields, run by a woman who looks about 106 years old, selling rhubarb, which is pretty unusual in Japan). I also like Sakura’s lucky cakes, they have a vanilla ice cream version too, Yukimi Daifuku, which I love!

    2. I like a simple rice and miso soup affair too (with some natto and nori (seaweed) to wrap around the rice) . A full English is a rare treat these days and the reality is never as good as my idea of it, I do like a good bacon sarnie though.

    3. I don’t mind trains, but I spend half my life on them (I am on the train as I type this!) so I can’t say they are my favourite. We recently got our first car (a secondhand Fiat Panda), but I can’t drive, i’m enjoying being a passenger though! Anyway, to answer the question, it’s got to be the humble bicycle, I used to love cycling around the back streets of Tokyo, it’s definitely the best way to get a proper feel for a city. Now we are in the countryside it’s just as good. On Saturday we cycled across the bridge to a lovely rocky island near us, it was so beautiful!

    4. Don’t get many lazy days, rare days off seem to be met with a thousand and one errands. If I did, it would be a little lie in (i’m no good at lie-ins though, I always wake up early), a cooked Japanese breakfast (see above), a couple of hours pottering around my favourite record shops, an afternoon of listening to records and reading record sleeves, followed by an evening of watching a crappy film or something similar on telly with a couple of brewskies and a final hour or so of more records and a bit of Spillin’ or reading a book . Ahh….it’s the simple things in life.

    5. I don’t get stressed too much these days as i’m thoroughly enjoying my new job, but when I did, by far the best antidote was to spend 20 minutes in record shop flicking through the racks, it never fails to calm me down instantly.

  34. 1. All the puddings sound great! I’ll go for a home-made sherry trifle with rasps, home-made custard and freshly whipped cream.

    2. I have Bran Flakes, Familia FruitX and low fat milk practically every day, never tire of it. The best breakfast I can remember having was huevos rancheros in a shack near the bus station in San Cristobal de la Casas 30 years ago.

    3. I love flying. My job gives me enough to travel allowance to get back to Europe in Business Class on JAT every summer, which is great, even if it isn’t the most upmarket of airlines. Supping a large glass of slivovica at 11.30 in the morning over Greece sets me up nicely to greet family in Belgrade I haven’t seen for a year.

    4. Friday is our lazy day. Planning the week’s menu followed by an early morning visit to the local supermarket. Sausage sandwiches for breakfast (the only day I take a detour from (1.)). Watch a Super 15 rugby match on telly. Make lunch. An afternoon nap. Then, after coffee (can’t drink the stuff after 6pm and sleep properly) and some leftover trifle, off to the gym for a (relativley non-aggressive) workout followed by a copule of bevvies sitting out on the ‘pub’ verandah.

    5. Good company, a laugh and a bit of whatever to keep the smiles long and large.

  35. Wow, what a big one! My two penn’orth:
    1. Pudding/afters (desserts are things you find on menus). I can’t avoid the nostalgic answer: my Mum’s Lemon Meringue pie. She, too, used a packet mix but it’s the pastry/meringue/lemon balance that makes it special and she got that just right. She also used to make a whimberry pie when they were in season, which was delicious and made your tongue go blue! I also like ice-cream (not chocolate flavour), apple crumble, panna cotta, sticky toffee, bread & butter, creme brule… well, I quite like puddings.
    2. Probably my favourite breakfast is pineapple & other tropical fruits, followed by two good quality organic eggs poached on toast, and a damn fine cup of coffee. Served with a stunning view, preferably.
    3. To get somewhere, I prefer the flexibility and personal sound system of my car. For the ride, a quad bike or jet ski.
    4. Most of my days don’t involve hectic activity, so I can’t claim that a lazy day is anything unusual. Reading the paper, doing the crosswords, playing my guitar, reading a book….
    5. Antidote: a nice cup of tea. Makes most things seem better.

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