Saturday, 23 May 2015

Sugar and the Unexpected Iris

Poppi & Emily enjoying their new garden.
Yesterday was devoted to writing and little else, and as a result the first draft of Fabian is almost complete.  So it now looks like the novel will be available by December, which is good news for all those who've been emailing me to ask when it's likely to be out.

We've settled into our new house and absolutely love it.  The photo of Poppi and Emily, shown here, was taken on Thursday this week, when they were lounging on the patio area of the garden.  We've tidied up the previous owner's collection of patio plant pots, removing spent spoil and weeds, and we've been enjoying the gradual process of discovering what the collection holds - such as the lovely iris which burst into bloom this week, (see photo below).  The patio border has a fuscia, too, which we're glad to see; they're one of Richard's favourites but we could never get them to thrive in our previous garden.

It's not so sunny today but we had a lovely time feeding squirrels in the local park.   They're entirely used to people being around and will come quite close - not too close because of our dogs, and we always keep our dogs on leads so they can't chase the squirrels, (which they definitely would, given half a chance).  Some people dismiss squirrels as pests but I think they're incredibly cute.  We were watching one playing with a stick, pouncing on it, flinging it up in the air and skittering after it purely for fun.  Another group of squirrels were merrily playing tag among a tangle of sturdy old shrubs, chasing each other and clinging upside-down to sturdy branches, and making little barking sounds.

We were also watching three roach swimming near the lake's surface.  Maybe they were feeding on the swarm of gnats which were hovering over the water like a fine, grey cloud.

The unexpected iris...
Richard's been teaching himself how to use a laptop.  He's never used any sort of PC before, so it's a steep learning curve for him.  I've been using a computer since around 2001, when I did a Learn Direct 'Introduction to the Internet' course - and quickly got into playing RPGs on-line.  Some of the characters in the Artisan-Sorcerer series originated from those old RPGs.  Richard is much more interested in looking at old football matches or rooting out old blues and jazz artists who are new to him.  Earlier this week he was looking at old photos of our road, which suffered heavy bombing at the start of WWII when many of the houses were destroyed in the blitz.

This week he attended his annual check-up at Arrowe Park Hospital's diabetic clinic, where he was given full marks for maintaining his condition well.  He sticks rigidly to the prescribed diet, never drinks alcohol, is careful with how much sugar he has, etc.  The problem is, of course, that so much of our pre-made foods have hidden sugars in them these-days, so we try to avoid them to a large degree. 

Apparently the Tory government has just declined to tax sugar in foods, on the grounds that it isn't really an issue despite a wealth of evidence to the contrary. Taxing food may not be the answer, especially when so many people's pockets are already empty, or emptier, due to the seemingly-endless recession.  Cheap food often has higher sugar and salt levels.  A more practical approach might be to set legal limits on the amount of sugar - including sugar substitutes - permitted in foods, which manufacturers would have to abide by.

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