Monday 14 April 2008

Because, as Sir Stuart says, there is no Plan B

14st 0lb (disaster!); 9.0 units of alcohol yesterday; 1,390; North Atlantic.

I blame the pub, frankly. Normally I have a proper stodgy lunch of steak and kidney pie or the like, perhaps with a spot of treacle tart for afters, then I don’t feel able to face anything in the evening and my diet progresses smoothly on its way. Yesterday’s fishcakes and salad represented such an exiguous portion that they would have raised eyebrows if served as a starter in most of the establishments I frequent; while the admittedly delicious pint of real ale which accompanied them merely raised the appetite for more. So yesterday evening, for the first time in many months (or, to be accurate, for the first time at home in many months), I went completely off the rails. Luckily I had prepared for this possibility by simply keeping my fridge, freezer and cupboards clear of the most obvious high-calorie indulgences like crisps, nuts, biscuits, cakes and ice cream. However, I had stupidly bought some very fine cheese when I was in Rothbury on Saturday, and ate all of it with an assortment of fruit and pickles after my main course of a rib-eye steak with salad. I also necked a large gin and tonic and the best part of a bottle of claret. By halfway through Foyle’s War, I was reduced to trying to satisfy my craving for something sweet by licking out a tin of Charbonnel et Walker drinking chocolate (I’ve put it like that mainly for the twisted satisfaction of seeing how many people arrive on this site by typing “licking out” into Google) and eating handfuls of sultanas from my store of cooking ingredients. Mercifully I fell asleep shortly afterwards, or it could have been even worse.

The only crumb of comfort I can find lies in that Telegraph article suggesting that occasional binges help you to lose weight in the long run. For now, I am thoroughly ashamed of myself and spend a blameless day not eating, writing stuff and endeavouring to burn some calories on a longer than usual walk.

Having written a newspaper column a few days ago comparing the Brown government to James Cameron’s film of Titanic, I am naturally a good deal less than gruntled when the Today programme highlights in its newspaper review a Trevor Kavanagh column from today’s Sun comparing the Brown government to a sinking ship. Shortly afterwards, while I am still lying in the bath, a man comes on who claims to have accidentally left his £180,000 violin on the luggage rack of a Great Western train when he got off at Bedwyn, and is now appealing for its return. I don’t fancy his chances much, not least because he’s dealing with the same railway which failed to spot a body hanging in Paddington station for almost a full week. I toy with the idea of writing an alternative column on this theme instead, but of course Monday’s columnist has already said pretty much everything about Mark Speight (whom he claims to have “discovered”) and in any case a whole load of old jokes on that theme would fail to meet the taste test and probably land me with an expensive libel action from the violinist. So I stick with Plan A, even if typing “Gordon Brown Titanic” into Google does throw up 498,000 results. Or, as of now, 498,001.

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