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Still Standing

So, we flew back from St Petersburg last Sunday, via Amsterdam (always a mistake), at the end of an utterly memorable visit to the Russian Federation. Still not convinced that Putin is, on the whole,  a good idea but a wee bit less anti than I was before I went. People wonderful, language interesting, sites and sights epic. We will go back.

First five days spent  in Moscow, a short walk from the Kremlin. Even shorter walk on the first night to the Bolshoi Theatre where we had tickets for a chamber orchestra performance which was seriously stonking. Mrs M is still slightly besotted by the cello soloist in the third piece. To be fair, I was not totally unaffected by the third lady from the right in the Second Violins. She seemed to me to be a very nice girl.

The next morning we set off to visit my personal pick Moscow-wise. I know you all recall Bravo22 from the heady days of MyT and of the Chariot in its prime. His photos all seem to have vanished from the Chariot but I still remember being blown  away by the ones of his visit to the ‘Quietly Flows the Don’ monument. I had to go.

It’s on the Boulevard Ring Walk just up the road from the  Russian National Cathedral. When we arrived, Russian commuters were walking past it like it wasn’t there. It was a bit like what I do when I stroll down the Royal Mile or look up at Embra Castle from Princes Street.

OK, it ended up that I now have far more memorable memories of other parts of Moscow than said monument. Doesn’t alter the fact that I still miss so many former MyT/Charioteers who entertained us all in the Good Old Days.

And, I will always be grateful to Bravo for this particular heads-up.

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A Rambling through the MacLeod Acres

I can only claim to be a Mackie because of  my mother. Her surname is one of my middle names, in traditional Scots style. It’s what we do, nomenclature-wise.

Just in case you have forgotten it. that is why Bob Wilson, stalwart keeper of the Arsenal goal, and one of the better Jock custodians thereof.  in my opinion. rejoices in the middle name of ‘Primrose’.

John is my other middle name. Down to the insistence of both sides of my family that the name be passed on.. Not complaining. I inherited a Grandfather clock on one side for it and the unconditional love (and a watch) from my Dad’s older  brother,  Uncle John, on the other.

Being childless, and having downsized, the Grandfather clock has been passed on to the younger son of my youngest cousin,  Her son’s middle names are ‘John Mackie’.

I’m keeping the watch.

Anyhow, just so you all know, my name is actually Rory MacLeod

Hi!

I am aware that, because I already told them. Boadicea, Bearsy, Christopher, Ferret (whom God preserve, wherever he may be)  TB (who I will always miss) and my wife’s godson, who introduced me to MyT knew that anyway.

Hi again to the rest of you.

 

 

A Loup* in Time

Every so often, I read a story that drags me right back  for far too many years.

This is the one that just did it for me:-

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3708698/Soldiers-set-British-Army-barracks-ablaze-firing-FLARES-duel.html

As an an Army-born brat, my  initial reaction was that junior officers will be junior officers.  I would not want them to be anything else, given the excellent  job that they will do for my country in their future years of service. They would not, in my opinion, be able to do that  vital job for the rest of us unless they were  heid-banger inclined  in the first place. I could, of course, be biased.

Then, I spotted that they were launching their flares at each other from kayaks in the swimming pool of  the barracks at Bovington Camp. Having, obviously, slightly mind-boggled about that scenario, I went straight back  for more than 50 years.

In 1959, Dad was Officer Commanding Royal Engineers (Southern Command), based at Wilton. His duties seemed to mean  that there was never enough time for us boys to hang together.

One Friday, he asked me if I would like to go to the Tank Museum at Bovington. I was an avid reader of ‘The Eagle’. Why would I not want to get close up and personal with tanks, having pored over exploded views thereof so many times?

Off we went and I had a magic day. Crawling in and out of WW1 tanks, both male and female. Bouncing around in various armoured vehicles. Absolutely no idea if Dad stuck around for all of my frenzy. For all I know, he might have nipped off to the Mess for a quick snifter while I lost myself in the joy.

Whatever! Eventually, he called time and we went back to the car for the drive home. Dad was in mufti

Exiting the gates, he turned left towards Wiltshire and home. 500 yards down the road were two obvious servicemen, also in mufti, who were hitchhiking.

You need to know that Bovington was also a base for Junior Leaders.

Dad assumed they were on a weekend pass and picked them up. They settled in the back and, after about 5 miles, divulged that they were on a 24 hour initiative test and were supposed to get as far from the camp as they could, under their own steam and without  using any money or any form of powered transport.

Dad stopped the car and reached across me to the glove shelf of our Hillman Minx (MGE 976) to pick up his RE colonel’s cap. I will probably never again see people snapping to attention whilst seated. It still resonates.

He offered them the option of handing them in straight away or a second chance of driving them back to the gates to start again without comment. They chose the latter.

I’m fairly certain that my Dad was a nice guy.

Thoughts on the Cambridge Weight Loss Plan

I have been overweight for as long as I can remember. I believe that many reasons came together for that to happen. I will not bore you with the details.

The point is that it did not matter to me for most of my life. I was never an unhappy chubby or a victim. In the playground, I was too good at most sports to ever be the last pick when sides were chosen. I also think that I was both clever and self confident enough to avoid being teased or bullied about my weight..

But, as I aged I drifted into a spiral of decline. Nothing dramatic or life-threatening to start with. A  busy, sedentary career meant that I gradually spent less time exercising and more time growing shorter of breath and even heavier.

Eventually, I was told by a consultant cardiologist that I would be dead within about five years if I did not do something about my weight. That was about three years ago.

So, I asked my GP for a referral to the NHS weight loss support resources. it was the best thing that I have ever done. I am now in a far better place than I have been for years.

I had often tried to lose weight before. We’re talking Weight Watchers, Atkins, Scottish Slimmers, cabbage soup, the egg diet and all the other usual suspects. I always lost weight, as most people do, but I always piled it back on with interest.

This time has been different. It has been structured and gradual and I have bought into every step of my personal ‘journey’.

The first stage was monthly meetings with a group of fellow fatties. That opened my eyes. We shared so many problems and our lives had been blighted in such similar ways. It really was good to talk.

Some of us, however. did nothing but talk and effectively dropped out. Others clearly found those group sessions were enough to make them walk the walk as well as talking the talk. They enjoyed dramatic weight loss.

I was in the middle. Never losing very much weight but never going in the wrong direction. I was also getting so much useful dietary and life style information from every session.

That included the bleak statement of fact that bariatric surgery was often the best possible solution for morbidly obese people like me. It was also made clear that such surgery could only be an option if you could prove that you could lose enough weight to qualify for it. I knew that I was finally serious about losing weight when I admitted to myself that I might sign up for such a drastic solution if all else failed.

I got through the group stage well enough to qualify for the ongoing one to one support and that is where I got lucky. Firstly, I got the support of a dedicated and highly competent professional. Secondly, I arrived at that support stage when the Cambridge Weight Plan was being trialled by NHS Lothian. Thirdly, I was accepted as part of that trial.

I was given time to have a deep breath and think about it. The bald statement that you will not have any solid food for several months and will rely on four shakes a day for all your nutrition throughout that period does sound a bit daunting. The delayed start meant that I had time to tell all my friends and family what I was going to be doing and to make sure that I cancelled or postponed all possible social occasions which might conflict with that strict regime. Including, in my case, Christmas 2015.

It was the easiest stage of the process for me. The balanced nutrition of the shakes meant that I never felt hungry or had any cravings. My shopping became totally focused. I only bought food for my wife and walked straight past the items that would have been my normal nibbles or treats.

The weight just dropped off and here I am on the other side of that strict regime in the food re-introduction stage. I really believe that I have changed my eating habits for ever and that I am on the road to a fitter, a thinner and, hopefully, a longer future. I have lost 15% of my starting body weight and expect to cruise through 20% at some point in the foreseeable future.

Should We Stay or Should We Go?

 

Right then, there’s less than a week to go and all to play for.

I have my postal vote. I’ll  complete it at the ballot box when I accompany Mrs M thereto – she prefers to do the cross thing on the day. I still don’t know which box I will cross.

I am, by inclination, a Remainer.

I was an enthusiastic ‘SUE’ (Student for a United Europe) in 1975.  Admittedly, it helped   that we got £50 from EEC funds to set up SUE at the Uni of Embra. We blew the lot on 3 kegs of beer and several 3 litre flasks of Chianti, all of which were consumed in one epic party. Of which I remember very little.

Moving on, my Dad volunteered in 1939 to fight for our country, despite being in a reserved occupation. He, and most of his generation, believed that it would not be a bad idea if we never had another European war. Dad, Heath and others were, in my opinion, honest in their hope that the EEC might make one impossible.

So, I was broadly  in favour of Europe. But that was then and this is now.

Now is a scary and dark place if you have a vote in this referendum.

To be continued.

 

 

 

 

WW’s Sweet and Sour Sauce – MyT 12 June 2008

JUNE 12TH, 2008 22:04
Recipe for XtremeMama

By ww
Sweet & Sour Sauce

Ingredients : 2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp cornflour
4 tbsp cold water
1 clove garlic
1 piece fresh ginger [about half inch]
1 tin pineapple [small optional]
1 tbsp cooking oil

Note : The above measures are a guide only taste the liquid mixture before cooking and
add more sugar or vinegar as you like

Preparation : Peel garlic & ginger and chop finely [use cheese grater or garlic press easier].
Drain pineapple juice into a bowl and save the pineapple pieces.
Mix cornflour with the cold water.
Add all liquids & sugar to the bowl of pineapple juice.

Method : Heat oil in wok over medium heat.
Add garlic/ginger and stir.
Add liquid mixture and turn up the heat to high the sauce will thicken and turn a nice red colour.
Take wok off the heat.

Tips : This is the basic sauce for all sweet & sour dishes.
You can add this to stir fry meat & vegetables.
If you are ambitious, deep fry a whole fish [red snapper/grey mullet white fish] and pour
sauce over it just before serving.
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  • Avatar

    Thanks yet again, ww.

    Your sauce was a special request for an extended family meal tonight. I am glad that it is still out there on MyT.

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    Glad to hear the recipe worked and well done with the pineapple … good thinking!

  • Avatar

    I see you’re here just now, commenting on Araminta’s fine pome.

    So, thanks for the recipe – I used it last night and it went down really well with both wife and guests. One small change – I only had fresh pineapple so I soaked it in maple syrup for the day and used that instead, leaving out the sugar.

    The result was pretty good if I say so myself,although obviously not up to joeslavko standard.

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    js – you really can’t go wrong with this sauce … if you want some ‘zing’ in it, add a few chillies cut into thin strips to the ginger and garlic … deep fry a whole fish and pour this over it just before serving if you are entertaining and impress the guest[s] 😉

    fg – yes, if you are using meat/prawns, stir fry them first and then add the sauce mixture and then when the sauce thickens, add the veg so they stay nice and crispy.

    Serve with plain rice.

  • Avatar

    Sounds like a delicious sauce. Doesn’t the chicken/pork or whatever need stir frying first with perhaps garlic/ginger/onion before adding your sauce?

  • Avatar

    shall try this. Though, it has to be said, my attempts at Eastern dishes are rarely successful.

 

 

 

Christopher Aus Trier Aber Im Embra

Well, we finally get rid of Christopher tomorrow.

He seems to have enjoyed himself and I await, with interest,  his critique of Embra and those parts of Caledonia that he has visited in the past week.

All credit to him. He has coped with everything that I have thrown at him, including the Full Scottish Breakfast which he consumed on the banks of the Union Canal on Friday. This was particularly impressive when you consider that he had just visited the home town of Alex Salmond.

Anyhow, here’s that breakfast:-

Full Scottish

The chips are, to be fair, not his (although he did pinch a few). Not that I’m bitter.

Haggis and black pudding front left. Potato scone rear right behind the beans.

When we offered him  his choice for his last last meal in Scotland, he specified an other FSB. I will be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to prepare it for him.

No beans will be involved but he’s going to have to cope with a bit of clootie dumpling.

Photo to follow.