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Rock Maze
  • Writer's pictureNeil

Pasties and their part in my Downfall

Just don’t Google it!

All through my illness I’ve vowed not to resort to Google for information specifically regarding my cancer. So far I’ve stuck to my decision. Without a doubt there’s a myriad of places where I can find plenty of sound information but to get to it I also need to wade through all the ‘turmeric and black pepper’ nonsense. Sadly, my friend, who went through a similar journey far more hastily than me was inundated with the odd and the freaky so much so that his family appealed for everyone to desist. The flippant person in me would say “Well that's living in Totnes for you". But I’ve been lucky. I’ve had good practical help like; you’ll need gloves (I do), don’t skimp on your medication (I don't), listen to your body (I have been) eat lots of raw garlic (only joking).

Often I wake up chronically early, with a headache. I listen to my body, I get out of bed, make a cup of tea (pot of Assam today), take a couple of paracetamols and either write my blog or watch some BBC news or both. That’s what’s happened today but today I’m unsettled. Let me tell you why.

Yesterday I broke one of my cardinal rules. Yesterday I inadvertently Googled something. In my blog I spoke of me, as a boy, jumping off a clay tip into soft sand. Actually, as it transpires, quite a dangerous thing to do. What I was looking for was an image that would help describe this event that I could use in my blog. I simply Googled trajectory and searched images. I glimpsed the image that I thought I could use. So I opened the page. There in all its glory was a graphic from the British Medical Journal describing the path of the transition of patients from healthy to their demise. One path was a horizontal line that turned into a vertical line. (Sudden decline from acute illness or being hit by a bus I suppose) Then there was a kind of wobbly line (frailty / dementia). An extremely wavy line (organ failure). Finally there’s a smooth line that, like all the others, starts high on the y-axis (function). This line travels in a slow decline for a while then, suddenly, changes into a steep curve until it hits the x-axis (time). Yep, you guessed it. (Cancer). I'm troubled now because I know I’m on the line I just don’t know where. What I do know is there’s a steep decline for me in the future and it’s unsettled me. I’m unsettled enough at the moment. By the end of the week I will possibly have my scan results which will give me a better idea of how far I’ve travelled along this line. Grim times. On the other hand I could still be hit by a bus.

So I have a week of ecstasy and agony. I need to focus on the ecstasy. So what’s there to be ecstatic about? Well I’m not completely at liberty to share all the salient details but there’s a couple of high points I’ll risk telling. On Friday the girls are going for a swim, nutters! Before the swim I’m threatening to provide some Coronation Chicken vol-au-vents, Coronation Prawn vol-au-vents and crack open a bottle of fizz. Then after the swim I’ll provide some hot pasties and lashings of tea. I’m going to take the motor home to use as a field kitchen. A bit of rule breaking? Maybe. Then on Saturday I get dressed in my finery. I have an extremely important scheduled, legal appointment that I simply cannot miss. It’s all go here.

While I haven’t Googled my illness I’m happy to use Google. Where else would I find my recipes. I’ve always baked a bit. Latterly, when I was working at the Eden Project, on my birthday I’d make one or two Victoria Sandwich sponge cakes to share with the gang. I’ve been making a cake or two each week in recent months. Each time I want to make a new cake I Google some recipes. I should become a celebrity chef, easy, recycle old recipes and pass them off as new and different. Take pasta as an example. About the easiest thing to make. A peasant food. I found a simple Jamie Oliver recipe, then I found another different, simple Jamie Oliver recipe followed by a third simple Jamie Oliver recipe. Imagine how many recipes he could recycle and modify if he chose to make pasties. Another couple of recipe book opportunities. It would be interesting to see how much the lockdown has impacted the sales of recipe books.

Without using anything special here’s my pasta recipe;

100g, or 4oz or 1 cup of flour, more or less and some sprinkled on your work surface.

1 egg

Mix the flour and egg into a gloop, bash it into a dough. Too dry? Add water. Too wet? Add flour.

Keep bashing the dough until it’s really smooth and roll out-able

Roll out dead thin, use flour to stop it sticking to itself.

Then loosely roll it up and slice into little strips.

Shake it out and dump it into a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes.

Scale up for more people.

Voila or should I say ecco?

My next idea is to make an egg and bacon pie. After not eating meat for over two years I have a desire for bacon. I’ve never been a vegetarian but following my bowel surgery I simply couldn’t tolerate meat in my diet. Many vegetarians, apparently, find bacon hard to resist, with me it’s pasties. A countywide conspiracy to make me eat meat.

Pasty shops, my downfall.

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Juliet French
Juliet French
Feb 02, 2021

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