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Posts Tagged ‘brain’

I never thought it would come to this! The art of serving up a culinary delight that you could feast your eyes on, is no more. No salivating over the presentation of a delicious plate of pasta dressed with olive oil and fresh basil. No, this is to be a thing of the past.

Do you recall the Science fiction thriller Soylent Green? It was produced in 1973 and it won 2 awards for its brilliance. While I am not partial to anything ‘Sciffie’ myself this movie however, had a profound effect on me. Way back then issues like the Greenhouse Effect, pollution, overpopulation and depleted resources were all part of this thought provoking movie. It was definitely a movie way ahead of its time. The one aspect that haunted me over the years was the substitute used for food. It was a tablet that had been produced from euthanised people!

What a frightening thought that the human race might have to resort to this!

A whole new experience….

I gingerly put my hand up to my mouth. Can I do this? ‘It’ had been disguised in a round ball filled with safe ingredients like oats, honey and coconut. But the ‘it’ bit was the worrying part of this suspicious wannabe truffle.

I had to remind myself of the many benefits of the ‘it’ ingredient in these deceitful little morsels. They have twice as much protein as beef (gram for gram), contain vitamin B12….which I am assured is excellent for my brain health. This is comforting as the threat of dementia looms…..a real concern as one starts to forget all the proper nouns in your vocabulary. ‘It’ also has plenty of calcium, far more than milk. That should please all the celiac sufferers out there.

So what is this magical food? I hesitate to tell you but here goes. It is none other than CRICKETS!

My skin crawled when I thought of dangling this six- legged creature into my mouth. I could hear the crunch of the exoskeleton and could feel the spikes on their back legs rough against my tongue. The idea of putting an insect into my mouth made me crawl!. As an ex Biology teacher I have spent hours studying and observing these little creatures. The last thing that I ever contemplated was popping one into my mouth! Oh how we need to adapt to change!

But all is not lost. This amazing new food source has produced a consumer friendly product. It is available in powder form and can be added into many different recipes to boost the protein content.

Imagine your favourite biscuit recipe with the added bonus of this extra nutrition. It certainly lessens the guilt. Greenies will also be pleased to know that using crickets as a source of protein is environmentally friendly.

Yes, crickets are easy to breed and are happiest in a confined space. Condo-like structures are used as breeding stations. These undemanding creepy crawlies also require less water and eat very little. It makes for a cost effective business venture as well as a highly nutritious food source.

All I am left to do is put past prejudices away and is to sneak some past my family and into the morning smoothie…….

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The intrepid traveler gazes out into the grey morning over the tarmac at Heathrow….Terminal 2…the Queen’s Terminal. The first leg of the journey is over. Thank goodness! I survived a snoring old soul, a fractious baby and an over active gentleman in the seat in front of me. The writing was on the wall when I sat down in my seat. I was just getting settled….book positioned glasses near at hand and earphones in my pocket. Suddenly the chair in front of me surged back into my face. The plane had not even moved onto the runway and he was in relaxation mode! I debated whether to say something to this over zealous passenger as I envisaged eating my dinner lying on my back. There was another concern….. I shuddered at the thought of his rather oiled hairdo slipping into my delectable airline food. Thank goodness that I had recently acquired the status of ’advanced years’ and it had magically transformed me into a patient and tolerant  human being. I decided to wait and contemplated the result of such an intervention. Would revenge set in from the vantage  position of the front seat as a result of me meddling? Instead I would pull out my much practiced teacher’s voice.

“Young man, would you be so kind as to raise your seat?’

My squashed legs ached and I would far rather have just taken a swing at him with my handbag but I am sure that the civil aviation rules would just not allow that sort of  behaviour.  Pity! As this course of action would have gone a long way at assuaging my pent up frustration. All that was behind me now and thank goodness my ‘dark side’ did not get the better of me!

The bag lady......

The bag lady……


So here I was sitting back people watching for the next 10 hours.
There was the obvious ‘not so young’ honeymoon couple off to Portugal. They gazed into each other’s eyes and whispered to each other.

 A pair of over anxious parents were next with their clearly genius son…..the questions were enough to make any brain ache! But the wonder and curiosity in that little face was precious. Pity we cannot harness that energy. I am sure it could provide enough fuel for a plane to take off!


I must have been a soft target as I then got nailed to take part in a survey. You know the kind….. What do you like about this place? What would you improve? I tried to take it seriously as I realised I was representing a carefully chosen group which would affect their statistics.
There were many positives in this recently overhauled terminal 2. But I don’t think the surveyer expected the replies that she got from her carefully selected person.
“I like the chairs without arms as you can sleep across them when you have a long delay like mine. The extra length allows you to have a place for your makeshift cushion and there is space for my feet to curl up too.”
I would love to be able to have access to a shower. One for the ‘common man’ that does not cost £60! All my earlier research drew a blank and even the sweet talking of the gentleman at the rather elegant public lounge came to no avail.
So I will continue to ‘slum it’ and sit right at the back of the plane.

 It is all part of it……the pain with the pleasure. The intrepid traveler is getting to see the world.

Nothing quite like a coffee to wake one up....

Safely at my destination………

 

No matter where you are, no matter where you go in the world, you will need someone to stand by you.

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Time stood still this week…..

 

I walked down lanes and peeked over walls...

I walked down lanes and peeked over walls…

I awoke out of my deep sleep and could not work out where I was. It was hardly surprising as I had clocked up four different beds on two continents over the past week! I was definitely home and all the familiar sounds filled my ears as I surfaced from my foggy oblivion. I felt like I had been away for ages, yet it had only been seven days. It must be ‘an age thing’ where time just slows down. My emails and an update on the local news beckoned and I stretched across and grabbed my phone.  

 

An article bounced out at me. It was written by Professor Richard Friedman from Weill Cornell Medical College. It explained my warped time perception in a nutshell.

‘Studies have shown that the greater the cognitive demands of a task, the longer its duration is perceived to be.’ So I was not going crazy, the intellectuals also ponder such mundane perceptions. In my case a great deal of brain power was needed to find my way backwards and forwards to Heathrow Airport, to make sure I was on the correct underground train and not to lose my passport!

 ‘They also found that repeated stimuli appear briefer in duration than novel stimuli of equal duration.’ This also reinforces my perception of why I appear to do the repetitive task of my weekly ironing in a flash. But gloriously, time stands still when I savour the magnificence of an old cathedral. The brain is a wonderful!

 

Chichester had much to delight!

Chichester had much to delight!

So with all that explained so eloquently by the good professor, I could safely relive and savour some of the memories that I had added to my store this week. I took a train trip down to Chichester to catch up with some dear friends. The English countryside did not disappoint and the Sussex surrounds were as picturesque as I had imagined them. I peeked over walls into cottage gardens, read gravestones in forgotten graveyards and downed a local beer in a friendly tavern. The highlight had to be my visit to the Chichester Cathedral. It had been functioning as a cathedral for over 900 years. The difference was that this grand dame had moved with the times. There was a fusion of modern tapestries with old 12th century artworks. A modern copper and stone font stood below an exquisive stained glass window. It was an eclectic mix and a work in progress.

The cathedral was alive with people, a real mix of all ages. The reverence that one felt did not disallow the discussions that ensued between the enthusiastic participants. Groups of students debated the different eras of architectures, whilst younger members stared up at the roof and the coloured light that filtered through the stained glass windows. As we wondered round the choir burst into song. I thought I had died and gone to heaven!

 

Chichester Cathedral is adorned with magnificent  windows.

Chichester Cathedral is adorned with magnificent windows.

The professor concluded…….

‘It is simple: If you want time to slow down, become a student again. Learn something that requires some sustained effort. Do something novel. Take a new route to work, vacation in an unknown spot.’

 

Here’s to slowing time down a bit!

Cheers!

Cheers!

 

 The music is also a new choice inspired by my sons. Goldfish is a band from Cape Town, South Africa, and I am told their music type is a mixture of electronic African jazz. 

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I am a ‘lady of leisure’ propped up against my plumped up cushions and with a cup of English Breakfast tea at my side. What can I say? I am a lazy little cow! Well, this is how I feel. I am forced to ‘take it easy’ as I recently had a bit of surgery all in the quest to maintain health and to keep mobile. The anesthetic has hit me for a six and I have spent most of the weekend trying to unscramble my dreams. They range from weekends spent on the farm in the Karoo and Lowveld to shopping trips to the Fourways Mall. One’s brain is such an interesting piece of machinery and it is fascinating what thoughts are unearthed when it is forced into submission for a while. All these amazing memories are stacked away just waiting to be drawn upon and savoured once more.The Lonehill Koppie

So I have the luxury today of just recalling some of those special moments spent in Africa. The pictures are vivid in my memory…… green wine lands and those majestic Stellenbosch Mountains, the grey ‘ganna bossies’ of the Karoo in the evening light and the lush forests of Toehill Farm. The memories of my dear Lonehill Koppie are crisp. I recall my last climb of its colossal boulders and the breath taking view from the top as if it were yesterday. The wonderful thing is, that as time goes by, I can relive these moments without feeling too sad.

A rare moment with lion cubs.

I get these gentle reminders of how the Universe is connected, no matter where we live on this planet. That fact alone is comforting when one is so far away. On Saturday a local robin discovered the bird bath that we had placed in the back garden under the trees.  It was one of the things that arrived in one piece after it had made its journey across the sea in the container. Many of the earthenware pots had not taken the wave motion quite as well! Our robin splashed about and washed off all his winter grit. His red breast glistened against the backdrop of the spring blossoms. I was reminded of his cousin back in Africa, the Olive Thrush; he had followed the same rituals during those long hot summers.

We had a taste of a warm summer evening last night and walked down to the lake. The evenings are light till late into the night so we get to enjoy them. The men in my house practiced their long forgotten cricket throws, as they skimmed smooth pebbles across the water. I perched on a nearby bench and watched a front approach across the lake. The ducks and swans were feeding and some got in the last bit of their socializing before the light failed. Small groups of summer bugs were out discovering the delights of the yellow dandelions and the blue forget- me- nots.  
It was time to go and get back on the bed with my feet up. I am going to indulge myself with more memories, as soon I will be up and hopefully  ‘dancing on the ceiling’ once more.

On Toehill Farm

 

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