Another Tablet?! No thanks…

Yesterday’s daily prompt is a simple question:

If you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?

Answer: NO!!

Here’s why…

  1. For starters, I take so many pills anyway that I wouldn’t want to take any more unless strictly necessary.
  2. I PROPER LOVE my food. I love choosing it, unless excessively tired, I love eating it, and I often love preparing it, again depending on how tired I am.
  3. I would miss the taste of so many things; melting chocolate, freshly baked bread, toast dripping with melting butter, roast chicken, garlic bread, most forms of desert I can think of. I could go on…!
  4. I would miss the occasion of a meal out, or a meal someone else has cooked for me as everything tastes better when you didn’t have to cook it yourself!
  5. Some years ago, I had to have a huge operation, before which the surgeon and his team were considering inserting a feeding tube as they didn’t know if i would be able to cope with food. Having had to consider it, and avoiding it, I never want to take food for granted again.
  6. I can see that, for busy people, an option of a meal replacement tablet might be highly desirable as it would optimise the rest of their time. Perhaps something like that is possible in my life-time. However, for me, it would take a way a significant part of my life. I do a lot of my socialising with coffee and a biscuit or a slice of cake in front of me, with two forks, so myself and a friend can have half each. Somehow it doesn’t feel quite so fattening that way!

Over to you:

If you could take a meal-replacement tablet, would you do it? If so, why, or why not?


local observations

This post is a response to the Weekly Writing Challenge, asking for descriptions of a person, place, and thing.

A Person

Being me, she was the kind of person I would notice, I never did find out her name. I didn’t want to interrupt the girl’s time with her mother, or upset her in any way. At least, I think the woman with her was her mother. They did look a bit alike. The girl herself had a wonderful mega-watt smile; the kind that is instantly contagious. Beautiful girl, sat in an ugly standard-issue wheelchair, of the sort that is seen everywhere: steel frame, red sides, 4 small wheels, so not very easy to push, either. Heavy and burdensome, though covered in stickers to make it look a little more cheerful, and somehow also made it seem more personal. The girl herself was very pretty, brown hair in a pony-tail, brown eyes, neat features, and as I’ve already said, her infectious smile. She wore school uniform, though I do not remember what colour, this being some time ago, and gave no clue as to her age. There seemed to be no personalisation to it as other teenagers might do. It wasn’t until sometime later that I realised this girl had down syndrome. I guess that smile had something to do with it. I do not remember what the girl had to eat or drink, though I remember juice of some kind, perhaps a “fruit shoot” or similar, as I know the cafe sells those. The girl and her companion be they her mother, a carer or guardian, did not stay long.

A place

The cafe itself attracts a whole mixture of people, though I have never seen anyone go there who seems particularly well off. I have been there several times, sometimes months apart. To me, the place is either mobbed or empty, there is no happy medium. It is unusal in that it is entirely staffed by volunteers, many of them elderly, or disabled in some way. One might assume this is because it is often elderly or disabled people who have the time to volunteer, or the desire to do so, and therefore make volunteering a priority. There is always a cheerful atmosphere about the place, whether it be busy or quiet, and Christian music playing in the background. I always find there is a peace about the place which is attractive. No one ever seems in a hurry to leave, or in a hurry to make you leave. After costs, any profit is ploughed back into the place, or given to charity. There is a notice on the wall on the left-hand-side which explains this, and lists which charities received donations in which year and how much for. Alongside this there are sometimes framed certificates from the recipient charities thanking the cafe for their donation. On the same wall, nearer the door there is a large grey notice board covered in pieces of paper, and posters of all colours advertising local information, services, or events. Other places on the left-hand and right-hand walls are taken up by colourful posters displaying clever religious slogans or bible verses. I do not remember off the top of my head what is on the far wall, as it is a good few weeks since I was inside the cafe. On the wall nearest the entrance to cafe, a solitary blue door, much like the front door of a house, is a large window made up of several pains of glass, each one held in place by a wooden frame painted white. In front of this is the unofficial “trolley park” sometimes occupied by buggies or prams. The rest of the space in the cafe is taken up by several wooden tables, which I imagine not to be solid wood, but the type that has a wood-effect covering on the outside, with a circular metal base, and one wide leg in the middle. The vast majority of the chairs are also wooden, although there are two small brown-leather (faux-leather??) sofas with a small coffee table in the middle, next to the music speakers, and the specials board, contradiction in terms because extra dishes are written plainly, in white chalk on regular blackboard slate and are generally nothing fancy, though the regulars seem to like them. Near this is the counter, with a glass shelve unit which displays the cakes and tray bakes and keeps cans and bottles of pop cool. At the other end of the counter is a standard regulation automated till. Behind this end of the counter is a back wall covered in shelves and a unit which contain cups, saucers, mugs, plates, There is also a big dispenser which contains a large jug of filter coffee. Very good it is too!

A thing

The above is as detailed a description of the place as I can summon from the brain, but the thing which really captures my imagination is the glass-fronted cake-counter. As I can see it now in my mind, there are three categories of cake — old fashioned favourite, the simple classics, and new fangled favourites, so they might have butterfly cakes, which remind me of bake-sales at school, classic carrot cake with slices cut out, and American style chocolate brownies. I seem to remember other things such scones, flapjacks and mars-bar crispy cake, all of which remind me of being at my Grandparents house for tea on a Friday night while I was growing up. A treat then as now, and all home-made, familiar and comforting. Apparently the lady who makes the cakes for the cafe is a lady who makes cakes for a living anyway. Nothing in the cabinet stikes me as being overly fancy; however if you are looking for good quality cheap coffee and tea and an afternoon treat, or a morning bacon roll and pot of tea with a friendly atmosphere and a warm welcome, look no further than ABC!!



The best coffee shops in Leeds, West Yorks area

I couldn’t just write about one local cafe. I love coffee, and cake, and my friends. So, coffee and cake with a friend or a group of friends is my favourite way to spend an hour, a couple of hours, even a whole morning or afternoon. My first recommendation is the “ABC” just round the back of the nearest Asda and staffed, voluntarily, by a local church. Good strong coffee, homemade cake, and a warm relaxed welcome. On a budget. I recently bought two coffees and a butterfly cake, I think it was under three pounds, or thereabouts.

My second recommendation is Hazel’s slightly further away and  more upmarket. Fabulous coffee, and amazing cake. I can never choose which cake to have. The place is always packed. I can recommend the sandwiches, and the beefburgers too. The warmth of the welcome matches the quality of the food. The only downside is, because the place is compact, I could potentially drive my Electric Wheelchair there, but there wouldn’t be space to sit in side without blocking at least two other tables. Of course, the natural solution would be to sit outside. Given the weather though, I won’t be volunteering!

My next recommendation is just as local, in the other direction. The Granary is always packed, even though there are now many more tables than in the previous ‘Little Granary’, and there are queues out the door again even though the larger building has only been open a few months. I can recommend quite a few dishes on the menu because I’ve probably eaten it before.  There is local produce on the menu… so local that it’s travelled from one part of the farm to the other, so there are no ‘food miles’.The farm’s eggs are a best-seller. I’m told people go there just for those! There is also a shop attached to the cafe where you can buy meat from the farm, and local cheese, and lovely gifts. The best part is, after costs, the money goes to support the social enterprise based on the farm.

The final cafe I recommend is ‘Perk cup’ further afield in the centre of Leeds. I only discovered it a week or two ago. Is near Waterstones bookshop, I think. Fabulous cake, tea and coffee, great customer service, a warm welcome, and great value for money. Even my wheelchair didn’t bother them either, and there was plenty space for me. Here they think about all the little touches as you see from the pictures. Even on the way to the loo (bathroom, restroom!!) there are little blackboards on the wall for people to add their names, so the cafe can keep in touch on Facebook, and other so people can write comments about the cafe. I don’t think the carer with me took a photo of the blackboards. but they’re really cool.   I can’t wait to visit again soon. ‘Perk cup’ is my new favourite! Go and check it out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed!

The image shows a black teapot, a tea-timer with three egg-timers, one green, one black, and one orange, and a white cup and saucer on a plain wooden tray/board. In front of the wooden try sits a white plate and napkin with half a massive ‘red velvet’ cupcake with white icing/frosting.

Three doors, one nightmare?

This Daily Prompt is the original inspiration for this post. It’s difficult for me to write, as I don’t normally remember my nightmares. I’m on such heavy medication that I have deep foggy sleep where I barely dream, nevermind have nightmares, so until recently, I didn’t know what they felt like. Anyway, here is my best shot…

The beginning…

There are three doors, all of equal width apart, and all the same shade of blue, which white numbers on the door. Which do I pick? I close my eyes, spin around, and stumble vaguely in the direction of the doors, entering the first one I find. Disabled people are begging in the streets, painfully thin and stinking. There is a person with a disability trying to go the wrong way through the Christmas Crowd. Pushing, pushing with all their might. I can see the effort they have to put in. They are pale, sweating and exhausted. I reach out to try to help, but they cannot see me. Yet I cannot take my eyes off their struggle. I wonder, where is their support worker, why such struggle on their own? People in the crowd tut and glare at the person, swearing under their breath at the persons stupidity in trying to fight the crowd. The do not see the person or their struggle, merely the incontinence. I stare, helpless to do anything.

Memory of struggle

Slowly, a memory comes back to me. I was that person fighting the crowds. Sweating and fighting to stay on my feet, determined to push on. I hear it, I cannot miss it. The person does not try to hide their contempt. They shout at me, swearing. Supposedly under their breath, but loud enough for me to hear. The memory is but that. Part of my nightmare… long enough ago not to remember the words, near enough to remember the swearing and the contempt. They, and the crowd, and the fight was the reason I finally gave in. I’d had enough. The next time I went to fight the crowds, I had a weapon. Not a very secret one, but a weapon. One capable of inflicting harm, nipping ankles and causing more trouble. I do not care, I am only relived that I do not have the same struggle, I have a new struggle but it is not the same nightmare as the old one.

Exploring my surroundings

The memory disappears as quickly as it came. I wonder, what else is there here? I do as the person with a disability I saw, and fight the crowds. They cannot see me, yet are aware of an inconvenience.  Irritation upon irritation. I find a shop, filed with food and good things. Freshly baked bread, warm from the oven. Cakes of all kinds, glistening icing, full of shiny fruit. Chocolate cake, dark and indulgent. Lovely fruit juice, something to quench my thirst. I feel in my pocket, searching for money. I find a few coins, not enough to buy anything. I find my wallet, go to a cash machine, reaching the buttons with difficulty. I check my balance. There is nothing. I wonder when I will have more, and with horror realize I have a few days of not eating, meaning a hospital visit for dehydration. My money for that month had gone. I wonder, how have I spent it? Perhaps on my mobile phone bill? My connection to people, to help, an antidote to the aching loneliness which sometimes haunted me. Or my food shop, supposed to be for food, but spent on washing powder, cleaning products. I could go on, but cannot bear it. I feel it afresh. Deep and Raw. So, what do I do? Join the other beggars, it’s them who shout the loudest, and yet no-one hears me, so no one gives me anything, I am invisible to them.

A Nightmare?

I wake up shivering and sweating, struggling for breath. The pain rises in my chest, breath is harder to find. Eventually the feeling passes, and I drift into a sleep which gives no rest, fighting and fighting till I lose the duvet. I am freezing, yet I do not wake. In the morning, I go to put on my trousers. I used to have help to this. I reach into the pocket, and find a few coins. This was no nightmare…


At the moment, this is just the stuff of nightmares. And yet, the present reality is bad enough. See my previous post. Who knows what will happen when “Universal Credit” comes in?


Anyone for coffee?

A time to rest…

This week has certainly been quieter. I can’t even remember what Monday was as it feels so long ago. Tuesday also passed quietly. I was unable to go horse-riding, as the main person who is teaching me was on holiday. It was good to rest as I knew the remainder of this week would be busy. I guess for once I’ve been fairly successful in pacing myself, as I am encouraged to do in order to reduce my levels of fatigue.

More trying times

Wednesday was another story however as I had to trek into town to collect my new glasses. Given what had happened last week, I was somewhat dreading it. However, I am relieved to say it passed without much incident. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the rest of the day. I had my Electric Wheelchair with me which severely limited the the number of places I could meet a lovely friend for coffee. We ended up at one of the branches of a major chain. I’m fairly sure the disabled access for this building was added on later, rather than being purpose built which meant access was via the fire door. The staff had left this open, so far so good. We managed to find a table I could use, Jo found us, and we settled in for a good catch up. Two coffees later, I needed to make use of the facilities. I’d remembered from previous visits that these were upstairs but knew there was a lift. I’d forgotten how small said lift was though. If my chair was a millimetre longer I wouldn’t have fitted into it. I lifted my feet so as they didn’t scrape the side of the lift but fortunately there were no injures, and later I left the building unscathed. It brought back memories of a lift I used at Stirling Uni years ago which I and my friends christened ‘scary orange.’ It was a tiny, noisy platform lift which often broke down and we all hated it so much we mentioned it at disability access meetings. People were queuing up to say it wasn’t them who’d put the lift in, and no one would take responsibility for replacing it. I hope it’s not still in existence!

On Thursday, I needed a break to recover. Between Twitter and Facebook I asked people to vote on what I should do with my afternoon; bake a cake or head to the gym! The answer to unamimous, cake won! These days it is much easier to delegate and supervise… deciding when the mixture had been beaten enough, and when it was ready to go in the tin. I was rather impressed with the results! The contained I needed to store the cake in was miles above my head. I hadn’t remembered that till I was on my own. I tried climbing on a chair to retrieve it to no avail, much to my night carers disgust. She got the container with help from the mop handle and safely stored it away for Saturday.

Good Chaos!

Friday morning was rather chaotic, but definately good chaos. I have writing about the decking out of the flat here. Along with my friend Bryony, my friend Emma was also visiting with a young charge. As with the cake making, I whizzed about supervising another friend who was filling the UFO with medication, making sure everyone had drinks and London 2012 cakes! The morning was so much fun, the best in ages. It is so lovely to have those normal times with friends. It makes such a difference. Friday afternoon was back to normal with yet another appointment, however this one was fine. I have more changes to make to my ever expanding list of medication, but hopefully will have less pain at the end of the experiment.

Saturday morning, and a friend I haven’t seen in years arrived with her baby daughter for hours of chat, tea and cake, and more chaos. It’s always lovely when you can pick up where you left off as those we’d seen each other recently, rather than only keeping in touch over facebook, as we had done. I guess the jury is out as to whether online or offline friendships are the most beneficial. Have read, and written a couple of different posts, and am still thinking about it. Was great to see my friend and meet her lovely daughter. These visits make my week. If it wasn’t for loyal friends my social life would be so much more limited. I spent the rest of the day finishing my latest post for The Bible Bible Project. Not sure yet when it’ll be published.


Today has been one of those days when I found it difficult to be motivated, arriving late for church. I had managed a decent quiet time this morning, and am greatful that semons appear online later in the week. It helps make up for not concentrating this morning. Have spent the rest of the day catching up with coverage of the Olympics and writing. Is lovely to feel so peaceful and am hoping this will be a good start to the week. Definitely time for coffee tho…!