Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Gobble, gobble

Just returned from said run. Feeling much better. I managed half an hour - at varying speeds it has to be said - but I did it.

Couple of things: middle of the afternoon in what is STILL apparently the interminable school holidays not the best time for a run, unless being watched by assorted feral children is your thing.

Secondly, as I live in the middle of town I have to run actually in town. You know, past shoppers, ex colleagues, friends and occasionally ex boyfriends. I manage most of the time to focus away from this and comfort myself with the thought that they wish they were running. Yeah, they look at me with envy. Not poorly concealed pity. Nooo, not that, as they look at my sweat drenched maroon face.

Anyway, i was sprinting back to my house (I like to keep up a fast pace in the middle of town to convince people that I have been running like that all along. I'm fully aware they don't give a shit either way, but it makes me feel I have a purpose) and an old codger kindly (or so I thought) stepped aside so I could get past.

As I ran past him I was thinking that he was probably thinking that he wishes he could run still (he had a walking stick) and it made me appreciate my ability even more. Until he said, right into my face: "gobble, gobble".

As is my wont when someone says something to me that I'm pretty sure is offensive but I can't really work out why, I struggled to assimilate this phrase. But I'm still at a loss.

As far as I see it, there are a finite number of options here:

1. He thinks I look like a turkey because of my red face
2. I'm running like a turkey
3. I was previously unaware that I have a massive dewlap under my chin that makes me look like a turkey
4. He's just watched Gigli and its sex scene.

The last thought made me stop thinking about this.

Old people suck though. Show me a nice old person and I'll show you a tolerant pope.

Running scared

Today is not a good day. I'd go so far as to say today is a Bad Day. With capital letters.

I am struggling. And I'm sick of it. I have to sort this out. I have to get my shit together. I am wallowing in my pain and it's boring.

So fuck it. I am going to set myself a wee challenge. I am going to run for half an hour every day. Every single day. No matter how shit I feel or how bad the weather is. I am just going to do it.

I've discovered a love of running over the last year but I still lack the willpower to get up and push myself out of the door sometimes. Every single time I do I feel better about myself. My head is clearer, the voices shut the hell up for a bit and I feel proud of myself.

At school I skived out of PE for the entire five years. I hated it. HATED it. It was ritual humiliation followed by communal fucking showers. When you're 14? And your PE teacher is extremely suspect? I remember her - Miss Waite - as an overweight, unfit looking bully who pointed out girl's cellulite and watched them walk into the shower. Seriously, what the fuck? She didn't look like she could walk a mile let alone run one.

I watched her watching the girls (I had plenty of time on my hands. I was persuaded by a doctor that I had a cartilege problem in my knee which I carefully cultivated for the five years I wanted to skip sports) and she was a bitch. A nasty bitch who did everything she could to keep the fat girls down and praise the kids who were already doing well.

So yeah, I grew up feeling ashamed of my (lack of) sporting prowess. I fully admit that it probably shouldn't have taken me quite this long to realise that I can run and I can swim and actually I can do everything anyone else can. I just need to DO IT. (I still can't do a cartwheel. That's never going to happen).

A run a day. Let's see what that can do for my state of mind. And my body. Starting now.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Aids is your fault

Didn't you know? If you have Aids, it's your fault. It's your fault for being 'defenseless and hopeless and suffering from sexual guilt.'

Oh, and if someone you know has Alzheimer's then it's also their fault. They're 'refusing to deal with the world as it is.'

If your ass itches it's because you're guilty. If you have athlete's foot you are 'frustrated and unable to move forward with ease'.

I have had my appendix out and this is my fault for being 'scared and blocking the flow of good.' Oh. And I thought it was just bad luck. But surely my gallstones weren't my fault, right? That painful and traumatic time I went through wasn't my fault as WELL was it? Oh, it was you say? Because I am 'bitter and have too much pride'.

Oh, well this is comforting.

My dad dying of heart failure though. That wasn't his fault, surely? Oh hang on, 'Long standing emotional problems. Belief in stress.' If only my dad hadn't BELIEVED in stress he would still be alive? Is that what you're saying?

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the world of Louise L Hay. She has written myriad self help books. In fact, she's credited (on her own website, presumably by herself) as starting the self help movement.

She believes that illnesses - or what she cringingly calls dis-ease (geddit?) - are caused by negative emotions. So if you have cancer, you just have to 'lovingly forgive and release all of the past and choose to fill your world with joy.' Yeah. That's it. That's the cure for cancer everyone. All of these stupid scientists wasting their time making actual medical breakthroughs. What do they know eh?

Louise knows because she has written a book. A book that was published in 1976. And has gone on to sell gazillions of copies and be translated in 33 languages. She has a five star review score on Amazon out of almost 3,000 reviews.

This makes me weep. She's a dangerous quack preaching bullshit to vulnerable people and it makes me sick. How fucking DARE she? It genuinely makes me seethe with anger that people who purport to be helping the sick, vulnerable, depressed or people who just want some help, feel this gives them a licence to print money by vomiting up any old shite out of their raddled, confused brains.

She says she cured herself of cancer by thinking positively. It was gone in six months. It doesn't occur to her that perhaps she was one of the lucky ones? That cancer does spontaneously go into remission for some people? That maybe, just MAYBE, it wasn't the power of her tiny mind that made it magically go away?

Her ideas are embarrassing, frankly. And it shocks me that so many people are lapping up this shit. I don't see anything wrong with the self help genre in general. I think reading can certainly help at difficult times - I have a shelf full on relationships and grieving because they give me comfort when I'm feeling low.

But to preach as FACT this kind of nonsense is disturbing in the extreme. She may as well be prescribing leeches for fucks sake. She is an out and out charlatan, a con artist and someone who displays very little understanding of the human psyche and the grief and fear that comes with illnesses.

Sure, there's nothing wrong with being positive and telling yourself that things are going to be OK. Maybe they will be. But to preach this stuff INSTEAD of proper medical care is irresponsible and disturbing. And to blame people for illnesses over which they have no control is neither helpful nor humane.

Still, Louise L Hay doesn't give a fuck. Why should she? She can cure cancer and she's sitting on millions of dollars worth of vulnerable and terrified peoples' money to prove it.

I have been recommended her book by a few therapists and counsellors over the years but only just got round to reading it. After scraping my jaw up from the floor I did a little research and see that her roots are with the Church of Christian Science. Alles klar.

Hope you burn in hell Louise L Hay. You can always try positive thinking while you're down there, hey?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Children of the Corn

I am jangling mentally and generally all of a fluster in the head area right now. So I decided to go for a little run. Running is good. I like it a lot and it is one of the few things that does genuinely lift my mood (things that are not a. illegal and b. in pill form).

I ran for a couple of miles along the Green Way for I am in Long Marston at the moment. It's odd running in a long straight line, when all you can see is a long straight line ahead of you. It feels like running into the horizon at the end of a Western but you never get anywhere. If it wasn't for the sheep changing into horses and then into cows in the fields next to me, I could have persuaded myself I was on an outdoor treadmill.

That is, until The Child came along. He kept cycling right next to me. And i mean, every time I slowed down to get away, sped up to get away, or pretended to take a phone call to get away, there he would be. Cycling alongside me just staring at me. I felt for a second that perhaps he wants to be my trainer, a la Rocky and he's wordlessly offering me encouragement. Perhaps he's going to whip out a knife and loot my personage. Perhaps he is, in fact, a Child of the Corn. I do genuinely get freaked out by children wordlessly staring at me. What is it they want? What are they trying to convey? Why do they stare so? I felt he was gazing into my soul. So I said: Er, hello. Can I help you? and he buggered off. Strange beasts, children. No offence if you have one or two or more of your own. I'm sure they're gorgeous and marvellous in the main and that.


On the way back from my run I stopped in at the graveyard that is next to my mum's house for a bit of a perspective booster. I do like graveyards. They feel peaceful and serene and there's such a lot of love there in the markers and the words they use. Of course, it could all be for show, particularly with some of the Victorian ones, but I like to believe that every single person lying there was loved and is missed by someone, somewhere. Also I prefer people when they're very, very quiet. I jest.

In between procrastinating like a motherbitch and drinking far too much coffee, I spent some time spying on Kate O'Mara through my mum's fence. For it was she of Dynasty fame in the garden next door. I know! A famous person! In Long Marston! Fancy! I was almost as excited as when I stood behind Russell Howard in Tesco Metro. I can confirm that she does look very good for her age and has lovely, swishy, famous person hair.

I have a Very Important and Scary Thing tomorrow and would appreciate any and every good wish from any of you... keep it all crossed, yeah? Not THAT. Ew.

Lookey likeys

For various spurious reasons I've been a bit shit with the old dieting for the last couple of days. Today, I ate potato with cheese. Deal with it.

Other things I have been doing include watching some truly awesome TV. I started with University Challenge (I got two right. Score), moved on to some kind of antiques show which, I noted with surprise, appeared to be hosted by Emilio Estevez. I wondered what had happened to him. I mentioned it to my mum who pointed out it was actually Sandi Toksvig.

Spot the difference:
Emilio Estevez
Sandi Toksvig

Monday, 22 August 2011

Lowering the tone

My ma read my blog last night. With me in the same room. That's really awkward, sort of like being there when your teacher marks your essay and you can see every grimace and raised eyebrow.  I found myself getting dead nervous and hoping desperately I hadn't mentioned anything about anyone shagging anyone (I haven't).

Braced for her comments on my writing (which she hasn't seen in many years, probably since I was at school) I was both relieved and amused to hear: 'Very funny dear. I do wish you'd remove the f-words. It does lower the tone'.

I can't help swearing.  I like it. I don't think there's anything wrong with a fuck word or even a cunt every now and again. I really don't. If I want to hurt someone's feelings or make a point I usually find swear words diminish and really cutting adjectives take their place.

But then again, I don't want to offend for the sake of it. Oh fuck it.

Sorry mum.



Sunday, 21 August 2011

Fuck OFF, dog

I refer, of course, to Churchill's 'black dog'. Not a real dog. I love dogs. I prefer dogs to most people. Fact.

I'm going to credit you with the intelligence to already know what I'm on about, but at the same time if I don't explain then I will have a nagging doubt throughout this post. I don't like nagging doubts. Winston Churchill used to call his bouts of depression the black dog.

I'm currently enjoying a bout of depression. It blows. Anything that's going wrong in your life, well, say goodbye to perspective and logic. And welcome in fear, horror and a constant feeling of being on the edge of Nietsche's abyss. And you know what happens if you keep looking down there.

It is, of course, ridiculous to suffer from depression isn't it? It's such a western disease. I bet starving people don't suffer from depression. Don't worry, I haven't turned into Liz Jones. I was just trying a ridiculous statement on for size.

Depression is real and it colours your life. It colours it black and then sometimes backs off and lets you breathe. But it tends to come crashing right back into you, sometimes out of the blue, sometimes in response to life events. I find the worst is it leaves me reeling and feeling that I can't see straight. I can't think straight, I don't trust my decisions, I can very easily fall into a jelly-like heap and, rather than ever feeling suicidal, just not really see the POINT of getting up again.

However, I am lucky. I am saved by people who love and care for me. Who listen to me even when I'm repetitive and tiresome and emotional and difficult. People who help me see another way. And they give me the strength to pick myself up and get on with it.

Today is different to yesterday. Strength is there, I can feel it. And I will get through this, just as I have every other time.

So cheers you lot, you all know who you are. I'm lucky to have you.

And you, black dog, fuck OFF, eh?

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Totally neurotic plus 12

I just took a test online to see if I'm neurotic. The test is called 'Are you neurotic?'. I got 112%. And then I realised that the mere action of finding a test on the internet called 'Are you neurotic?' means 'Yes, you're completely neurotic'. What is 112% anyway? I'm totally neurotic plus 12? What the fuck does that mean?

Things that pleased me today were neglible. Although I did find out that if you're vigilant and keep an eye on the Sky menu you can watch Come Dine With Me continuously. All day. Which is nice.

I am feeling existentially disturbed today. Tedious isn't it? I fear my inner goth tendencies will never leave so I have decided to embrace them and write lots into the night supported by gin, cigarettes and opium.

Also, the interwebz promised me that Charlie Sheen would be on Celebrity Big Brother. He's not. I actually watched the launch show thinking he would come on. Instead it was bovine booze hound Kerry Katona, ex-actress Tara Reid, fucking Jedward and about 12 people I didn't recognise.

Today I'm mostly reading a book entitled Why We Lie by Dorothy Rowe. She's an excellent psychologist (I think. Or pyschiatrist. Or maybe she isn't any of them. I dunno. I haven't done any research. I'm just making shit up). It's very interesting, so it is. I'm also reading Oliver Burkeman's book, basically a collection of his columns from The Guardian. Very funny and very helpful. If you don't know who he is, Google him. He's intelligent, level-headed, insightful and funny. I might actually stalk him on Twitter and ask him out. Why not eh?

 Having vaguely skim read this blog it appears to read as the disjointed ramblings of a mad woman. Huh.

Other things that I noticed today include the fact that Fatman will only let me work if I lie on the floor with the laptop in front of me and allow him to curl up in between my arms and the keyboard. It's really comfortable and convenient. Especially when he drools on the keyboard as well. Moments like that make life worth living.

I also noticed that Match.com have a new advert along the lines of their grotesque effort with the nauseating Camden-type nouveau hipster twats singing about the Godfather 3 in some junk shop in the most twee and arse bendingly badly targeted advert I've ever seen. I have used Match.com. Men on there do not dress in tweed suits and have emo hair cuts. They ask you for photos of your tits and spk like ths. As if vowels are beyond them. They call you hun and darlin and expect you to reply to them even though you're pretty sure you wouldn't touch them with the end of 15 bargepoles welded together.

Anyway, the new advert features a busker on the tube. Although he's probably not a busker. He's probably called Tarquin and has taken his inspiration from Pete Doherty or some shit. He's probably on his gap year and experimenting by pretending to be poor. Of course it's set in London. No one looks for love outside London you know. He starts singing (again) to the girl opposite him. The girl bears an uncanny resemblance to the tart in the music shop in the first ad. She has that floaty, semi-hippy hair and a side parting that starts just above one ear. It looks like a massive combover and she's wearing a dress that looks like it's from Laura Ashley in the 80s and is all ethereal and coy. JUST like every girl should be.

So he starts singing about her beauty. And she doesn't look up, tell him to fuck off and call the police. She grins inanely. Just as he's warming up (I mean, who DOESN'T want to date a busker on the London Underground? WHO?) the tube comes and he loses sight of her. When it leaves she's gone. He gives an exaggerated downward grimace, like a toddler who isn't allowed sweets. But WAIT. She's only right next to him. For his turgid, creepy 'song' has, naturally attracted her to his busking self.

I have so many problems with this advert I can't even speak.

Just as I was recovering from the experience, a mascara commercial came on that promises to 'millionise' your lashes.

Then I started looking for quizzes about being neurotic.

I hate life.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Pah. Youths.

I don't get why people are all anti-TV. It's a thing what I have noticed over the years. My vast years in the wilderness of people and usually an awful lot of 'cool' people but ALSO an awful lot of 'geeky' people. It is only in the last few years they have appeared to meld into one. So geek chic is in. It's been in for a while, and let's face it, it's not showing any signs of going anywhere. It's sort of morphed with the London hipster look circa 2005 and sometimes, I have to confess, just renders me confused.

While gazing out of my window in the manner of a sage writing type, I observe the young people and their habits. Often I don't know what season it is thanks to the propensity of the young'uns to wear denim shorts all year round and the increasingly disturbing uptake of espadrilles and mid calf jeans/jeggings for boys.

I also find the vogue for the 80s and early 90s confusing. Girls are wearing exactly what I wore in 1995. Hell, sometimes I'M wearing exactly what I wore in 1995. How can this be? Although I have re-embraced the old inner goth since turning 30. She's hard to let go of. Neurotic bitch. What?

Anyway.

I'm aware this just sounds like the ramblings of a lady well past her prime and who possibly relies on the opinions of her corpulent kitty too much about various things, but I shall push on through now I've started.

NHS glasses that, in my school days, people would have been openly and brutally ridiculed for are everywhere. Worn mostly, it appears, by people that don't EVEN NEED GLASSES. Or they have Ray Bans. Like real Ray Bans. I didn't have real Ray Bans, well, ever actually. No one had real anything, apart from Doc Martens and they were from Birmingham Rag Market.

You know what this started as? A very quick rant about how people shun TV because it's not cool anymore. And how much I love it. and then I was going to regale you with tales of what I'm watching at the moment but now I have to go and Do More Work. Because I couldn't stop chuntering about the youth of today and their dress sense. God. How annoying.

Pants

Freelancing is utterly ACE. Why did no one tell me to do this before? I enjoy the way I can write things like that even though lots of my friends did, in fact, tell me to go freelance. Some of them have been on about it for ages in fact. But it's my blog and therefore I can shift blame whenever I like. Ha.

Lolling on the sofa in just my pants, typing at a coffee table (no H&S 'assessments' here, no siree), singing along to whatever is on MTV... And all of this while doing Actual Work? A-maz-ing. This is my office now and you know what: it may be just my lounge; it may be full of Marlboro Lights, coffee, a fat fuzzball and a cheap laptop. But it's mine and I am free. I mean, not totally free. Obviously. I still need to actually do the work and pay bills and all of that boring shite. But I may have found my niche. Or at least A niche.

So, in between pondering the best way to extricate myself from underneath several pounds of lardy cat flesh every five minutes, I have worked out my New Diet. It is, as previously stated, not Dukan based. I think Dukan is (and I know you're going to be shocked) a bit of a quack. He's talking bollocks. Any diet that renders you unable to move, think or defecate normally cannot be right. And that's the last words on any kind of bowel habits I assure you. Actually, it's probably not if I'm totally honest. Just shut your eyes for those bits.

New Diet consists of eating healthily, low carbs but lots of vegetables and fruit, booze once a week. And the P90 exercise programme. I don't really know what this is or where it came from. Apparently a P90 is some kind of gun, so it's beyond me why it's called that. It's basically circuit training, six days on, one day off. And it's pretty good so far. Two days in and I'm feeling, well, in loads of pain actually, but quite HARD with it. There was kicking and boxing. I like kicking and boxing. The dude in it is quite annoying and very American. He looks like a Ken doll and says: "bam" a lot as you're doing movements. Odd.

Still, onwards with the quest to complete task Fat Girl Thin...



Monday, 15 August 2011

AHAHHAAHAH. How is this fair? The humanity

So my diet partner has lost 10lbs in the last four days. I have lost around 5lbs.

He didn't even stick to it! he drank booze every day. And ate at least some potato. I saw it with my own eyes. Yet the weight has dropped from him like all he had to do was tell it to.

Is this a man/woman thing? Or a metabolism thing? Or WHAT? WHAT IS THE ANSWER?

In which Dukan and I take a break

So yeah. Turns out you were all correct. You lot with your warnings about feeling like crap and not having any energy and it basically being a ridiculous idea to cut out all food groups except chicken and beef. Yeah, well, whatEVS. I told myself I'd give it till Monday and so I did. Today is Monday, right? The brain fog induced by lack of sugar has rendered it difficult to understand precisely what day it is.

After a humdinger of a bad mood this last few days, coupled with a bloody awful headache and, well, gut problems that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, I have decided that vegetables, fruit and perhaps some whole grains need to be reacquainted.

Back to Weight Watchers it is. For those that don't know, WW is basically a way to restrict portions but not the foods you ingest. Everything has a points system so, technically, you could follow WW and eat chocolate cake as long as you don't exceed 29 points a day.

I suspect anti-dieters and those blessed with natural self esteem and the corresponding ability to not neurotically obsess over their weight, will still think WW is a Bad Idea. But I think my OCD and control freakish nature responds well to a system where I have to track what I eat, write it down, get points and, well, sort of level up.

Oh shit. I'm A GAMER.

Excuse me, I need a lie down. And a ryvita. Come to momma...

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Fatman Communications

I'm going freelance. Like, properly. I am now working for myself. This is exciting and terrifying. Mostly terrifying.

We'll see how it goes. At the moment I have one writing contract. So it's a start... let's see if I can actually do this, kids.

I diet therefore I am?

Talking about dieting brings out reactions. This I have noticed. I think probably partly because it's extremely egocentric to go on about what I'm eating every day and people thusly - and completely reasonably - find it dull as fuck.

But it also brings out other reactions. Lots of people have said to me that I look fine as I am (thanks lovelies), that I don't need to lose any weight (again, thanks but I disagree and so does my BMI, although only by a smidge it has to be said), that I should just be happy being me (alien concept, sorry). But is there something wrong with wanting to be, cough, the best me I can be?

I know I'm happier thinner. I also accept that spending my formative years sitting down reading books and avoiding all kinds of physical interaction with my peers has probably made it a lot harder to shift weight now. I've always battled my weight. I don't remember a day when I haven't woken up thinking about it and gone to sleep resolving to eat less, less, less the next day. That's just a fact. This isn't a whim, it's been a lifelong obsession.

The first time I remember being called fat was by my brother when I was about seven. I genuinely thought I was fat all through school and teenagehood. It's only now when I look back at pictures that I see I wasn't fat - don't get me wrong, I was definitely Not Thin, not then, not now, in fact only once briefly in my early 20s - I was fine. I looked OK.

But you grow up being called fat and it sorts of absorbs into your skin, like poisonous osmosis. You see it in the mirror. You see it in the eyes of your friends, covertly looking you up and down (at least in your head they do). I remember when I got my first pair of skinny jeans when I was 15 (they made a come back then too) and I got a size 10. I walked in to my friends whispering about me and finally got them to tell me that they thought I was lying about the size of them. I ended up tearfully showing them the label to prove that I really was in a size 10. Pathetic eh?

My mum threw away a dress I used to wear with leggings and Doc Martens. I asked her why and it was only years later that she said it was because I looked big in it. Well, maybe I was big - I still needed clothes didn't I??

Anyway, following a flirtation with mental illness and a pretty severe breakdown when I was 19, I put on a lot of weight. i would definitely go with the fact that I was FAT. But I didn't care. i was just glad I was waking up and not wanting to not exist anymore. That seemed more important. But as my return to university drew nearer I went on a diet. Again. I lost weight. And over the next two years I lost a LOT of weight. I was finally thin (like genuinely, had hip bones sticking out and could count my ribs). And yes, it made me happier. It did. It actually did. I looked in the mirror and I LIKED it. I liked buying clothes, I liked being thin.

It also gave me confidence. I met my ex while thin and thought I had it made. But, sadly, a few months of love and happiness and going out for dinner saw me pile on something like three stone in a year. My ex was (understandably I guess) Not Happy. It wasn't what it said on the tin. It wasn't the goods in the shop window. I think he felt cheated.

It became a Thing, and was one of the reasons given for our breakup seven or eight years later.

Christ, I'm boring myself. I guess my point is that this thing, this wanting to be thin, has dominated almost my entire life. I have been there and I know I'm happier. So, really, with the diets and the worrying and the thinking I am trying to get to a happier place. And that's an aspiration to be proud of. Isn't it? It's not about changing who I am, or wanting to be someone else. I want to me, just thinner and happier in my own skin. That's all.

What I done read on my holiday

I read a few books while in Italy. And here they are.

The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson As always Ronson makes me snark and snigger and this time turns his attention to the thorny subject of psychopaths in society. Who are they? How can you spot them? Is it true that all CEOs are psychopaths? What about scary Tony in Broadmoor, he of the American Psycho suits and assurances that he's only pretending to be psychopathic? What about the test that tells you in 30 easy questions whether your ex is, in fact, a psycho just like you thought all along? All of these questions are, well, totally not answered but tonnes of food for thought. Take a look in the mirror, maybe we're all psychopaths underneath it all.

How to Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran The first time I came across Caitlin Moran was when she was hosting an early 90s show called Naked Lunch. It was, as she says in her book, like The Word without all the scallys eating pubic hair and snogging grannies. In fact, it was so much like The Word that I totally thought that's what she used to host until I read this. This is about reclaiming feminism as a word women should use and use proudly. She's funny and totally nails the awfulness of growing up. We're exactly the same age and, well, completely not the same in any other way but I feel an affinity with her. We were both goth girls in the early 90s. Course when I was necking K cider and trying LSD, Caitlin was already working at Melody Maker at the age of 16. I'm not jealous. At all. Read this book, whether you're a man or a woman. Highly highly recommended.

An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington I love Karl Pilkington. I love Ricky Gervais. The inevitable backlash has dented his once solid reputation as comic genius, but I love him. I love his podcasts and his stand up. And I love the character they've created between them for Karl to play. The diary is exactly like the show, there are no extras but it was ace holiday reading. Bless him and his perfectly spherical head.

The Dukan Diet, Dr Pierre bloody Dukan Don't eat anything nice at all and you will be thin says some French doc. Currently on Day 3 of his miracle diet and am battling the mother of all headaches. So, yeah, don't buy this book. Just to make me feel a smidge better. Kthx.

Heartless, Book 4 of The Parasol Protectorate, Gail Carriger I found this series by accident last year. I was attracted to the pretty lady in the victorian dress on the cover. I think this is steam punk, but I've never been too sure what that is. It's funny though and set in the 19th century in an alternate universe filled with vampires, werewolves and the soulless one. Christ, that sounds awful doesn't it? It's not though, it's fun and nicely done.

Flying Without Fear, Captain Keith Godfrey I basically can't fly anywhere without this book. I don't even read it most of the time but I like to have it. I don't like flying. Now, if you knew me, you'd know that that is a major step forward. A few months ago I would have said: I hate flying. I'm not going and you can't make me. But three holidays this year has eased it a little. Plus valium, natch.

Sick Notes, Dr Tony Copperfield I think this might be that ginger doctor who sometimes turns up on panel shows and comedy programmes. Do you know the one I mean? If I could be arsed I'd google him, but I just can't. Anyway, he's a GP, he loves the NHS but hates the way it's run, and he's quite funny.

Dukan is a douche

I started the Dukan diet three days ago. For the unititiated, the Dukan diet is a no carb, pure protein plan that, gasp, KATE MIDDLETON, used to get all sinewy for the wedding. Clearly she didn't fancy following the Princess Di-fingers-down-the-throat-diet. And, you know, good on her. Didn't she look thin? And hungry.

I've just returned from two weeks in Tuscany where, naturally, I gave in to daily gelato and a few plates of pasta. While lying by the pool mainlining lard I read Dr Pierre Dukan's diet book on my fancy Kindle.

It's extremely verbose and uses an awful lot of words to bang on about how the diet is EASY and you ALWAYS FEEL FULL.

It's not easy. And most of the time you don't want to eat because you feel sick.

That's because for the first 2-10 days you eat only protein. So, no sugar, no carbs, no fruit, no veg, no fatty meat, very little dairy, no booze. What the feck can you eat? Eggs. And egg whites. Fish, lean beef, chicken, turkey, non-fat yoghurt and skimmed milk. And that's pretty much it.

Oh, and for an added little treat - and also presumably so one's system doesn't completely seize up in despair - you get to chow down on a tablespoon and a half of oat bran (NOT WHEAT BRAN) every day. Dr Dukan suggests making this into a galette comprising of non-fat yoghurt, egg whites, artificial sweetener and OAT BRAN NOT WHEAT BRAN. He's very insistent on that.

So, after 10 days you then get to add in vegetables every other day. Not fruit. Not carbs. Veg.

And then you do that for ages until you get to your target weight.

After that, you move into the next phase which has to last for five days per pound lost and (I think - I'm not sure cos I didn't get that far in the book, I was so carried away with envisaging myself all skinny and preferably six inches taller) you get to add in a bit of bread every now and again. It might actually be just once a week.

After THAT, if you're still alive and haven't stabbed yourself in despair, you get to eat 'normally' but low carb provided you have a protein only day once a week. For some reason he's designated Thursday the ideal day to have a miseryfest.

So, what attracted me to this hellish nightmare?

The promise of not having to give up coffee, being actively encouraged to drink diet coke till it comes out of my (probably phosporic acid burned) ears, losing up to half a stone in five days and being encouraged to EAT AS MUCH AS I WANT from a list of foods. Having lost two stone over the last nine months on weight watchers in an agonisingly slow manner, this sounded perfect.
Sadly, pure protein is horrible. Never has fillet steak looked so nauseating. Never has a boiled egg repelled me so much as after the first day.

For on the first day, I started enthusiastically. Scrambled egg for breakfast. Lovely. Non-fat yoghurt for a mid morning snack. Mackerel (just mackerel) for lunch. The gallette for tea (the galette by the way is a thing of pure horror. A pancake made of yoghurt. I mean what the fuck?) and smoked salmon for supper. Yum, yum, yum. Vomit.

Still, the newness of it was exciting. One of the weirdest parts of it is it makes a day last, like, a really long time. I'm pretty sure days are at least three times as long as the days when I was hoovering up foccacia every five minutes.

I was nauseated, I had a headache, I really really wanted an apple... but I went to sleep instead. Because I was knackered. Like properly, pathetically knackered.

Mid way through Day 2 and the headache is worse. So I get online. And there I discover a veritable underworld of forumites discussing what is apparently known as 'Dukan flu'. THAT wasn't in the fecking book I can tell you. Dukan flu is what happens when you cut out sugar and carbs after eating them every day for your whole life. There's posts comparing the withdrawal to that of coming off smack.

I'm not sure smack addicts would agree with that one but you get the idea.

Day 2 passes in a whirl of egg whites and chicken.

Day 3 and I get on the scales only to find that I've apparently lost nothing. Nada. Fuck all. Then the cramps start and I'm, ahem, indelicately indisposed for much of the day. I get back on the scales. Now I've lost five pounds. Should call it the dysentry diet.

Taken out for dinner with my boyfriend I'm faced with the menu of the finest Italian Leamington Spa has to offer. I choose ribs (shouldn't have pork but I cannot CANNOT eat another piece of beef) and grilled chicken. I cheat and have some green beans in lemon juice. They taste better than chocolate. That can't be right?

After watching the rest of the table consume prosecco, Borollo, limoncello and Disarano I stick to diet coke and water. And then have to go home because the thought of trying to drag my weary carcass out on the tiles is too much.

If I don't lose shedloads of weight by Monday (Day Five) I will personally hunt down Dr Pierre Dukan and forcefeed the bastard bread till he pukes...