On suspicious plastic bags

Last year, I signed us up for a local bread delivery service. The idea’s pretty awesome – one person buys loads of bread, breadbuns and pastries and drives round all the houses delivering them in time for breakfast, instead of everyone heading out to the bakeries individually, mostly in their cars. The trouble is, the bread isn’t nearly as good as the bread we can buy at our nearest bakery. It isn’t even as good as it was at the beginning. I think they must have changed the providing bakery at some point during the year. DB says he’s willing to cycle to the better one at weekends so we don’t really need them anymore. I keep meaning to cancel the subscription but I never think about it until I see the bag of bread buns hanging on the gate and then I head to work and forget about them until the next week.


Yesterday morning, when I went to open the front gate to let the car out, the buns I’d forgotten to cancel hung in their plastic bag on the gate handle, the way they always do on Mondays..

…Then I noticed a second plastic bag. This one was sitting on the top of the dustbin, minding its own business.

The dustbin lid is a good place to put things – it’s hidden behind the gatepost, and even if anyone notices a plastic bag, they assume it’s rubbish that didn’t quite fit in the bin.

Friends have been known to leave books and handcream, fish food and goodness-knows-what-else on the bin for us. When they do, they write or phone to tell us.

This time, though, I hadn’t heard from anyone. That meant either DB had put it there himself or he’d arranged for someone to drop something off. The bin wasn’t full, and DB is very orderly in his own way*, so that means he was an unlikely suspect. I unhung the bread bag, picked up the mystery bag and turned back towards the car.


It was heavy for its size, and squidgy, in a crunchy sort of way, like a bag of damp sand. I looked inside (because I’m nosy and not feline enough to feel scared of curiosity) but I couldn’t see anything interesting because the contents, whatever it was, had been put into smaller bags, which in turn were in a small bag inside the bag on the bin. I’m not curious enough to actually open other people’s stuff so I went to find DB.

DB hadn’t heard from anyone either and was more interested in leaving for work in time than finding out what was in the bag, so I left it on the porch, got in the car and forgot all about it.


When I got home, it was raining. In my rush to get in, I almost tripped over this:

The red bag is one of the at least four smaller bags, inside the white bag inside the green bag

DB followed me onto the porch, picking up the bag on the way. After a few seconds of bag squishing, he put it down and said we probably ought not to open it at all, and to call the police instead.


A very patient but rather confused police officer listened to me tell him about finding the mysterious bag, then asked me what I wanted him to do about it. I thought that part was his job, but I suggested he might want to see and/or collect it. He agreed that that might be a good idea and promised to send a colleague round to pick it up.


The colleague arrived over an hour later. He listened to the story (which really isn’t that exciting when you think about it), looked at the dustbin, picked up the bag, peered inside with a torch, pulled out one of the smallest bags, crunchy-squidged it, laughed and pronounced it to be salt for de-icing roads. He took it with him to throw away in his dustbin since whoever had put it on our dustbin hadn’t wanted it in theirs, and we hadn’t wanted it in ours.

And that was it.

Off he went, mysterious bag in tow.


Which is all very well, and I’m glad it’s gone, but it leaves me wondering a) why anyone would wrap salt in small bags before getting rid of it in someone else’s garden and b) how he knew what it was without even opening the bag.

DB says it’s probably crystal meth and the police didn’t want to scare us, but I’m pretty sure people don’t leave 3 pounds of crystal meth in other people’s gardens.

I shall probably never find out what it really is, and that’s going to bother me until I forget about it – which probably won’t take long if the bread bun subscription is anything to go by.

Talking of bread bun subscriptions – now would be a good time to cancel one. I’m on a train and have nothing else sensible to do. The catch? (because there’s always a catch) it’s an English train and I don’t fancy another huge roaming bill.. Maybe later when I have Wifi – if I remember…..


* as long as it doesn’t involve the garage or the workshop or the sitting room table.

On life, post-Elimination…

So. It’s about time I wrote about what happened.

I spent 4 weeks semi-religiously following The Rules, writing down what I ate and waiting for the magic moment when I felt full of energy and free from problems. I also spent an inordinate amount of time upsetting people with my presence. I’m not sure what part of me not eating bread or cheese or sugar was most upsetting, I just remember permanently trying to ward off the comments (and occasionally the commenters). (You can’t just eat apples, grapes and bananas for lunch, look, I’ll make you a sandwich, you’re wasting away, didn’t you bring any real food? Do you want to share mine?, please eat more, here – have some bread with that, DB, don’t you think she should stop being so awkward and just eat everything again?).

The next 3-4 weeks consisted of trying things out, and trying to notice the difference.

Most notably: nothing.

The bloating was stiĺl there, albeit certainly reduced. The stomach cramps were less intensive and occasionally nonexistent. I mostly had more energy, but still not so much that it overflowed. I got cold a lot more quickly than usual, occasionally so much that I wrapped myself up in blankets while the rest sat in T-shirts.

Overall I suppose I felt better at the end of the trial weeks than at the beginning, but I was looking for symptoms and still finding them.


I ate a lot of good lamb steaks, and bucket loads of rice and veggies. I doubt I ate as many bananas in the previous year as I did in those 2months. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t detrimental, although I suspect I could’ve made it more exciting.


Over the 2 months I lost 6 or 7kg.

The pile waiting for the clothes bank grew, while I shrank.

I didn’t go clothes shopping, because I hate that, and besides, new clothes every couple of weeks is a game I didn’t want to play. Instead, I dug old favourites out of the cupboards and wore them a week or 10 days before they were baggy. Another few days and I needed a belt. Then I’d retrieve the next old favourite.

The post that floated round my head most, without making its way to screen-paper, would’ve been called “shrinking out of my clothes”…


Then barbecue season began properly. We’d barbecued by ourselves until then, but being the one people have to cater for specially doesn’t appeal unless it’s really really necessary, so I stopped eliminating and began including. I figured I’d be better off not stressing about food, which meant I ate everything I wanted to eat and didn’t bother about writing it down (who takes notes at a party?!!) or watching for symptoms.

I gained 3 1/2 Kilos in the following month.

That was the first time I’d ever subjected my body to the yoyo effect.


I am slowly working towards getting rid of them again. Besides being fatter, I’m also unfitter. The changes are so incremental that I can’t say what triggers them, I just know that I am back to feeling tired all the time and my stomach’s back to cramps and queasiness. I’m coughing more often and apparently my breath smells bad in the morning (thanks DB).

I am contemplating going back and doing it again, maybe for longer before adding foods back this time round. The barbecue season is pretty much over, and the Christmas partys still belong a good way off in the future. On the other hand, next week is a big meet-up of most of DB’s friends at our house, and a wedding at the weekend, the week after that, my brother is here. Then I’m in England, followed by a glassblowing meeting, which brings us to the second week of October already….

Maybe I’ll try the better-than-nothing approach and stick to it when nothing else is going on… 🙂 I probably won’t leave out as many foods this time round either, maybe just sugar, bread and milk products.

DB suggested he eliminates with me, so we don’t have to cook twice, but secretly because he thinks he needs to lose a kilo or three…

On bikes, breadbuns and guilty conciences

Once upon a time there was a little girl. She learned to ride a bike (slowly) and when she grew up she still liked cycling.

That little girl was me.

Now I’m a whole lot older, even if not that much bigger.

When I started work, I lived in a house half an hour’s walk away from the workshop. Someone told me about the annual bike-sale in the town; I went, saw and conquered and came away with the most amazing bike ever.


That’s all history.

My bike was stolen in June last year.

I was not amused.

I moped and refused to think about getting a replacement.

A long while later, I was asked if I cycled; “I used to..” I said, and told him the sad tale.

Shortly afterwards, [practically] on my birthday, I received an answerphone message offering me a bike. She’d bought one recently and got too ill to ride it anymore. She had wanted to donate it to the church jumble sale, but since she’d heard mine had been stolen, she felt it would be more sensible to give it to me instead.

Who turns down that kind of offer??

After dropping my parents and brother at the airport, I went to fetch it and brought it home.

And felt incredibly guilty.

I just couldn’t manage to be as grateful as I knew I ought to be.

It’s not that I usually spend my time looking in horses mouths, but this horse had an attractive tongue..

I’d just been given an almost brand-new bike…

…and I didn’t like it.

The reason?

It was the sort of bike that stops if you pedal backwards.

Other than that it was pretty cool.

But it was enough for me not to want it. That and the knowledge that somewhere out there, someone was still happily riding MY bike.

It sat, or ‘stood’ if you’re a fussy German person, in my hall since then. I kept meaning to take it out for a ride and to get myself used to the stoopid brake-system, but I never got round to it. It was too icy, too cold, too windy, too wet, too dark, there was too much snow, I was too tired, I had to go out soon, I’d just got back and it was late… etc etc etc.

The days turned to weeks, the weeks turned to months, and the months were threatening to turn into a year. The more I didn’t ride it, the more I didn’t want to and the more guilty I felt about my ungratefulness.

Then, last week, one of my Hauskreis ladies asked us what we knew about the bike-exchange. We all emparted out assorted wisdom on her, and asked her why she wanted to know. Turns out her bike had just been written off, and she was on the lookout for a new one…

… one with backward-pedalling brakes.

Wow – seems people actually WANT the things.. I was astounded

As soon as I could speak, I immediately offered her mine and they all stared at me as if I’d turned into a buffalo.

I explained and they stopped staring and we arranged for her to come over on Saturday (with breakfast) and look at it, and maybe/probably pick it up. Then we would go to the Bike-Exchange and choose a bike for me.

And that’s what we did. I spent the morning tidying my house so they could have breakfast with me. When they came they brought breadbuns, but had already eaten and wanted to get on with their day. I put the buns onto the freshly washed sideboard and wheeled the bike out for inspection. She loved it and it was duly packed into the car.

I followed it in and we were off to the bike-exchange.

3 drizzly hours later I was the proud, if slightly soggy, owner of a ‘new’ bike.

The best part of it was that the pedals were there for pedalling and not for braking 🙂