Deep spots, bloating and squishy orange #2s

Only read this post if you have, or someone you know has any of the following symptoms:

  • Deep spots on your buttocks and thighs
  • Bloated, gurgling stomach with lots of wind, top and bottom
  • Soft, slimy orange stools

These symptoms crept up on me over a period of about eight years in the order above. I wish I’d known where this was heading in the first couple of years because it would have saved me a lot of discomfort and allowed me to sleep better (without the bloating).

It all got too much for me 18 months ago. Sleep was becoming less and less attainable because of the discomfort in my bowels. Distended stomach, lots of burping and farting and three or four trips to the toilet every day to squeeze out…well, you get the idea. I went and saw my GP who referred me to a dietician. To cut a long story short, I went onto the FODMAP diet, an 8 week detox of eating only meat and rice and potatoes and almost nothing else. Ab-so-lute-ly miserable but I stuck it out. After 8 weeks, I gradually introduced banned foods back in one by one and recorded the effect. The result…wheat is the culprit. Somehow over the years, my digestive tract has developed wheat-intolerance.

I now avoid wheat as much as possible and it is great that all of the above symptoms have gone but I really, really miss croissants, nutty brown bread, cakes, sandwiches. It could have been worse.

It irritates me that some are dismissing people like me as ‘faddy’ or suffering from some psychosomatic but I feel great now so I can ignore their nonsense.

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50th year in orbit around the Sun

I’m just over halfway around my 50th journey around the Sun, albeit with the help of a large rock called ‘Earth’. It’s time I got back to recording some thoughts or they will be lost, “like tears in the rain.”

Things have happened since my last post; I have three teenage children now, the eldest is at university. A friend who I’d known since the age of six committed suicide, another friend has depression. I left full-time employment to go contracting. I’ve taken up running and made new friends. I published my second novel. In keeping with my original design, my posts will look to the positive because complaining is too easy and rarely does any good.

“I’m back!”

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‘The Making of Harry Potter’

If you or anyone in your family has been bitten by the Harry Potter bug, I urge you to stop by ‘The Making of Harry Potter’ Warner Brothers studios in Leavesden, UK. Even if you don’t go weak at the knees at the mention of wands or wizarding but have an interest in the process of film production, this studio tour is an extraordinary experience. I’ve read about the making of Star Wars, but I don’t think I ever really understood how much like orchestrating a military campaign the process of making a film is really like until yesterday. Thousands of people!

A large number of the sets are there, laid out as they were during filming, including the burrow, the Gryffindor common room, Harry’s cupboard under the stairs, Dumbledore’s office and the Great Hall at Hogwarts, to name but a few. There are costumes, stories, props, the Knight Bus, 4 Privet Drive and much, much more. There’s a chance to ride on a (static) broomstick, against a green-screen, get a filmed introduction to the animatronics department and you can buy Butterbeer (a bit too sweet!).

The highlight of the tour for me and my family was the art department and the scale model of Hogwarts. The art department displayed some of the sketches, drawings, architectural plans, white card models and artists impressions of certain scenes and dragons etc. It’s really breathtaking work where imagination begins to turn ideas in J.K. Rowlings texts to reality. The penultimate room is huge and houses the 1:24th scale model of Hogwarts and it has to be seen to be believed! It’s truly breathtaking!

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Free Pussy Riot!

Dear Mr Putin,

Free Pussy Riot.


Something odd going on…
Access is denied to
Facebook dumped me out of the Pussy Riot site.

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Bilbo Wiggins

Is it just me or is Bradley Wiggins a Hobbit?  Stretched a little on a rack, but surely a Hobbit.

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A dying sport? I beg to differ!

It’s s source of fun for D, needling me that I’m doing an old man’s sport. “Windsurfing is dying out!” she proclaims. “All the young dudes are kitesurfing.”

Well, that’s as may be but windsurfing is a long way from dead. Young people are still learning and I saw plenty of evidence of that in Fuerteventura. Kitesurfing is only better than windsurfing if you value huge jumps, otherwise it’s just ‘different’.

It’s possible to find lots of gloomy comments on the web and more rational ones like this…

Anyway, I’m proud that my sister and my son are both windsurfers. My sister’s already pretty good from what I’ve seen and my son’s turning out to be an enthusiastic beginner and with only a small amount of encouragement on my part. We all had a good day down at the Westhamptnett lake the weekend before last. What will I do if my son decides to try kiteboarding? Why I’ll encourage him of course. With a bit of luck, he’ll try other sports too and take something special from each one. Variety is the spice of life after all.

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Home Alone : How many films?

I didn’t know this until just now but there are four Home Alone films and a fifth one (Home Alone 5: Alone in the Dark (2012)) in the making! Well blow me down. I just checked because I had an idea for one of the next ones…

In my new version of the film ‘Home Alone’, the kid isn’t actually at home. The entire family have (for once) all gone on holiday together. The twist is that the kid is a super-geek who not only has a computers in the home hooked up to the WWW (with help from an indulgent father in the IT business) but he has also written an Android app that allows him to control ‘the house’, thereby giving the hapless burglars yet another trouncing, but all entirely remotely!

Any script writers want to hoook up with me? 🙂

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A genius passes away – farewell Ray Bradbury

Farewell to Ray Bradbury who painted pictures in my head and gave wings to my imagination. You were an inspiration to me Ray.

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Flying fish show the way

View of the sea from the beach at Sotovento

View of the sea from the beach at Sotovento

On the last day of the holiday in Fuerteventura I was first out on the sea. As I sliced through the dark, deep water on the outside, a school of flying fish broke the surface around me and glided ahead, twitching their gauzy blue tails to trim their flight before slipping back into the water. I’ll treasure that memory!

The only slight nagging worry at the time was that I’d heard that flying fish leap from the water to escape predators. Hmmm…

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St. Pauls’ Cathedral, with a toothbrush.

D told me that the author George R. R. Martin said in a recent interview that writing a novel was like “cleaning St. Paul’s cathedral with a toothbrush!” I think I know how he feels.

It’s 7:30 on a Saturday morning and I’ve just finished the third draft of my novel, a project that’s been in gestation for 15 years. It’s true that I’d done nothing on it for about 10 years until last year, but I have been working on it almost every day for the last ten months. “Hurray,” I hear you cry, but no. I still have lots to do. This rewrite has raised it from being sh*te to being ‘not bad’. There’s a lot of work needed to raise it to being sufficiently good that someone will read it cover-to-cover.

It’s time for a break of a couple of weeks, but then draft four begins. At least this time the changes will be more like keyhole surgery than wholesale slaughter.

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