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..and the Door Creaked Open

Yesterday was the most exciting day for 11 days. We had to go out to shop as our supplies were beginning to run out. 

A daily visit to the shops is permitted but as that is something we would never have done, we are planning our domestic arrangements to go out to shop about once a week.

The main issue is fresh goods, milk, bread, vegetables and fruit. We've cut down our consumption of bread by about 40% so that helps. And is part of a modest calorie-cutting that will slightly slim us.

Milk lasts a long time these days and essentially is only used for my spouse's tea—so no big deal.

Fruit, I consume large quantities of and am missing. Yes, we've been able to dig our own garden's frozen fruit out of the bottom of the freezer. But my vitamin C input from raw sources is definitely down. Not good, as getting enough "C" boosts the immune system (Note: I ain't giving medical advice anywhere in my blog, not qualified to do so, but recalling what I am pretty sure about). So we are on a daily vitamin C tablet. 

Fresh vegetables can last quite a long time. So instead of picking a piece of fresh fruit from the bowl, it's into the fridge for a raw carrot.

Now I have always liked chewing on a raw carrot, and it also provides roughage for my digestive system, which is a good thing.

It is, however, increasing my intake of carotene, the natural yellow colouring agent that gives them their hue.

Like the Lesser Flamingos in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, humans can take on skin colour based on diet. In their case, a vivid pink.

Eating a lot of carrots can cast a yellow hue onto my skin I know from experience. No harm in that. It can easily be confused for a suntan. One very senior US politician shows us the way. But as we know he has a significant disinclination to eat anything healthy, we must assume alternative "B"; makeup.

In my youth, I had the good fortune to be brought up in a large house which came with my father's medical practice. So large was the house that my father did not tell mother about it when he bought the practice. Or so I was always told.

Mother was significantly immobilised by arthritis and walked with the aid of two elbow crutches. In consequence, we lived in a single room with a gas cooking ring, dining table, and seats around a small electric fire. And a 12-inch black and white TV which received a single channel.

But with this house came a garden in which grew apples, pears, plums, carrots, beetroots, peas, rhubarb, onions and no doubt other delights now faded from my memory. 

Oh, how could I forget, my favourite, yellow hairy gooseberries? Throughout my adult life, I have attempted to find out what variety they were so that we can put them in our garden. So can you help?

One season the plums did particularly well. And I simply stood by the two trees of Victoria plums consuming vast quantities of them. With the inevitable consequence that my skin took a purple cast and, how can I put this delicately? all my outputs turned what to my parents was an alarming colour.

Dr Willie Preston, my doctor, GPs cannot be doctors for their families, was summoned. And after extensive testing and interrogation, concluded that I suffered from no identifiable ailment and would return rapidly to my previous state if removed from the plums.

I still love Victoria plums to this day. And yes, Willie Preston was correct.

So if I turn a yellowish colour, it's the carrots. If you see me on my morning walk and worry that I appear jaundiced, worthieth not, it is just that Mr ASDA had an adequate supply of these lovely, root vegetables which are playing their part in keeping me healthy.

And the shop also had virtually everything we wanted. So no evidence of "panic" buying in our rural area. Well done folks and well done all our local shops. It was only coleslaw that I could not find. But then I regularly forget where they keep it. So no change. Cutting it from my diet won't be life-changing. But I will still look for it next week.

The journey to the shops also involved a close encounter of the cervine kind. Two very fit and handsome roe deer bounded across the road in front of our car. That's pretty unusual. Such encounters usually happen at night.

There is nothing unusual about seeing the deer. We've had up to 20 foraging in our garden in winter when food elsewhere is in short supply. Attractive as they are, they can be intensely destructive to our garden plants.

On the roads, they display little inclination to stay away from cars, and near misses are common, collisions not uncommon. 

They are not as bad a badgers that seem to have a compulsion to fling themselves into the area illuminated by car headlights. Most country dwellers will have clouted a badger from time to time. This does neither car nor badger much good. 

But even at the 30 miles per hour which is the proper speed on our twisty single-lane roads, one has only micro-seconds to miss a large, low-slung animal that dashes out from the verge six feet in front of you. Nonetheless, the complex of sets that is only a few hundred metres from our house seems to contain a clan that is prospering.

My daily walk may not involve my engaging with many people. But it does allow me to see, and be close to, speugs, cushie doos, buzzards, corbies, mice, rabbits, hares and, yes, deer and badgers.


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