WHAT YOU'LL FIND ON THIS BLOG

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Evidence that I have plenty of material should I wish to write a sitcom

You know when you feel like you're starring in your own sitcom?

Here's what happened. Prepare to feel better about yourself.



Awkward pause before story begins. I can't believe I'm telling you.











A confession.

For a week, I'd been on a no-carbs diet, eating lean meat and salad, salad and lean meat, lean meat, lean salad, and lean meat salad.

That evening, I sat with my husband and ate lean salad and lean meat again, only he had salad, half a cow, and a pile of potatoes higher than a crack den. I tried to look happy, forking in my lettuce, but I was expecting to have lost three stone in my first week, and disappointment made me miserable.

We had a meeting to go to. 'I'm going on my bike,' he said, as we washed up.

'I'll go on the bus,' I said, 'and meet you there.'

We often travel independently like this, because he likes to get exercise, and I .... and I ... anyway, on with the story.

'You'll be early,' he said. 'Don't arrive early. It doesn't start until 7.45.'

'I'll find something to do,' I said. 'I'll sit on a bench and read. It's a nice evening.'



I got off the bus at 7.30.

The bus stop was outside a fish and chip shop.



The first humiliation of the night was that two girls from school appeared behind me in the queue, giggling as the assistant packed up a large portion of chips for me with more carbs than a paddy field. 'Salt and vinegar?' he said, as if to say, 'If I have enough supplies, that is, to cover this lot. I may need to ring the Cash and Carry in the morning.'

I wandered along the road, looking for a place to stand and scoff my chips. I was unwilling to do so anywhere those girls - or anyone else from school - or any other human - or thin, snide cat -  might pass me. There's no elegant way to eat three hundred and ninety fat chips with your fingers, especially when they're so hot that you're going, 'Hoo hoo, huh huh huh' like a steam train but still stuffing them in as though you'd been told you had ninety seconds to live.

I then realised I was on the road my husband would cycle along in the next five minutes.

Near the house where the meeting was, alongside the road I stood on, is a spinney, a small wood. I strolled into it, as though keen to study wildlife, and checked over my shoulder that no one was watching. But a curtain twitched in a row of houses opposite. I must have looked suspicious clutching my paper-wrapped parcel, as though I were about to bury a small body. Or part of one.

I ate the chips while standing in a clearing. It had rained, so all the logs I could have sat on were wet, and I didn't want a muddy bottom as well as burning shame. I hoped no one else would walk through: a man with a couple of dogs, perhaps, or two teenagers hoping to grope each other in peace against a tree and not expecting to find a middle-aged plump woman feasting in secret.

The chips tasted good, but I prefer them laced with ketchup than with guilt. And it was nearly 7.45, so I didn't have time to eat them all. But there always is tragedy in comedy.

The next challenge: to find a bin. No way was I going to say at the house, 'I've just eaten three hundred chips. Can I put the remaining ninety in your kitchen bin?'

But the only bins I could see were at the ends of long drives so that people in their living rooms would have seen me coming down the path.

My conscience wouldn't let me dump the package over a wall into someone's garden. There were too many potential observers behind too many suburban curtains and blinds. And I didn't need to add littering to my list of offences.

Approaching the house, I saw other people arriving, climbing out of cars. One waved 'Hi!' My husband arrived, too, on his bike. I still clutched the package. What to do? I stopped, turned my back so no one could see, opened up my handbag, and stuffed the package into it, screwing it up as tightly as I could, and squeezing it in between my diary and purse.

I couldn't do the zip up on the bag.

Inside the house, trapped in my own subterfuge, I left my open handbag in a corner of the hall, and over it I draped my jacket in case the chip smell emerged. There's a dog in this particular family home. I spent a worried evening in the living room during the meeting, hoping I wasn't about to be exposed as a chip addict by a terrier, nosing at my bag like a Customs and Excise hound.

'Would you like a lift home, Fran?' a man said after the meeting.

'No, no, I'll be fine walking,' I said. And I would have walked the whole 50 minutes back, there being no evening buses, to avoid being in his car with my aromatic contraband. But he insisted.

He didn't say to me, 'Why are you clutching the edges of your handbag together as though stopping blood from an artery?' as he drove me home. But I'm sure he wondered.

As I got out of his car, my husband appeared on his bike, home before me. Damn. Now I couldn't get my illicit package into our garden bin before he saw.

In the end, I dropped it into a neighbour's bin, emptied that morning by the council. The package made a big 'DOOM' sound as it hit the bottom. I hated doing it ('Darling, did you by any chance put half a packet of chips into our bin? ... Are you sure?') but I knew I would hate more admitting that I had consumed a bag of chips the size of the Americas when I was meant to be on a lean meat salad salad lean meat diet.

I avoided looking at any curtains as I ditched the evidence, in case I saw twitching. Was someone saying, 'Why is Fran putting something in the Brown family's bin? Isn't that what alcoholics do?' 'Maybe she's just dumped a load of English essays, dear, like people do with double glazing leaflets when they don't want to deliver them.'

The next day, my husband said, 'Do you have any tissues in your handbag? Can I look?'

I leaped up from the sofa so fast to get them for him that he must have thought, 'I haven't seen her move like that since the man with the Indian takeaway knocked at the door in February.'

But I couldn't take the risk. My handbag still smelled like the inside of a pickle jar.









26 comments:

  1. Thus doth dieting make sinners of us all.

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    1. Exactly. I'm not sure the chips were worth it.

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  2. You could have given them to me--I would have happily eaten them for you!!

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    1. I would have been happier if you'd been there, joining in with my secret feast!

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  3. Hmmmm. Well, my dear, you shouldn't go cold turkey. It will have you on the run. Or you'll get the runs. When you start you high protein, you need to gradually reduce your carbs. And please don't feel bad about the chips. I would have done the same.

    Te amo,
    Soy Una Perdedor

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    1. You'll be glad to hear I have only gradually increased the carbs back to the pre-diet level. Taking things easy ...

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  4. Aaaand - you were never caught. Sounds like a successful, if white-knucked, evening.

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    1. It's the nearest I get to an exciting life, skulking in woods with chips.

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  5. the cycling husband, doesn't read your blog?
    Is this the time to say I always know when my husband has had chips ... that smell of rancid oil.
    Sorry.
    But your storytelling is a delight!

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    1. No, the cycling husband doesn't read the blog. And I'm staying quiet ...

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  6. Probably you should have bought a smaller portion, say 200 chips.
    Anyway, everyone needs to fall off the wagon now and again. just get back on as if nothing had happened.

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    1. Get on a wagon? I have trouble getting up my front step.

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  7. I love this. It's why I read blogs. It's so true and worthy of being written and shared.

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    1. Thanks, Mwa. I see you've been just as truthful on yours! How we do love our little consolations.

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  8. I offer the biscuit tin to my volunteers in the shop & we all take one with our coffee.

    When I return the tin I scoff two more !

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    Replies
    1. We are definitely sisters separated at birth!

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  9. I have just enjoyed the most delicious laugh, Fran! You truly are an incredibly amusing and gifted writer, and that you do so in such a charmingly self-deprecating way just makes you all the more precious.

    If you are feeling disheartened with the diet you are following, you might consider switching from low/no carbs and low fat, to low/no carbs and high fat. Research ketogenic, paleo and Tim Noake's Banting diets. Another really great resource is a website called Authority Nutrition authored by Kris Gunnars. You will find this way of eating a lot more sustaining and you will shed unwanted mass more easily.

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    1. Thanks so much, Desiree, for both the encouragement and the diet suggestions! I did try buying a smaller plate - that's supposed to be a good idea - but then I just went for height of dinner instead of width. I truly think I am a lost cause. I will look up the links though ... who knows?

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  10. Or just give up dieting ?

    But then , of course , you wouldn't have written this and that would have been a shame .

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    1. I'd also be very happy to write about the trials and tribulations of being thin. 'The day I bought chips and fell down a drain hole before I could eat them.' 'The day I bought chips and found that each chip was fatter than I was.' 'The day I bought chips and couldn't manage the weight of the package.'

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  11. You do know that when you eat chips their aroma sticks to you like a mouth-drooling miasma for at least a couple of hours, don't you? You fooled nobody. They said nothing but after the meeting they ALL happened to find themselves passing a fish & chips shop on their way home...

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    1. I'd love to think they did!

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  12. I sat here reading this adorable story while consuming a bag of potato chips FULL of salt. AND I just promised my doctor this very morning that I would lose ten pounds by December! We even shook hand on the deal WITH my husband watching. By the time I finished your story, I wasn't feeling so lonely, just fat!

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    1. That is exactly how I like to think people read my blog! And there's PLENTY of time before December. Starting on the 1st should do it which leaves you a good few months to enjoy potato chips. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  13. Thank you! You've convinced me that dieting is a very bad idea.

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    1. I really ought to work on being a better influence!!

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