Tuesday, 15 February 2011

On being a domestic goddess

imageYesterday, while steaming a bit of fish for lunch (smoked haddock, if you must know, with mash thanks to Aunt Bessie), I slung the ingredients for a fresh Potaje de Berros (watercress soup, Canarian style) into a saucepan to simmer for supper.

After lunch, I rustled up a batch of Vegan Blueberry Muffins, which, to be fair, didn’t rise that well and the fruit exploded into purple pools, but they still taste OK for an afternoon tea treat.

At the same time, the bread machine was busying itself making dough, which I subsequently split into a dozen rolls, put two by the warm oven to rise and baked  them just in time for super-fresh, warm bread for tea and later with the soup.

(The real test for the rolls will be today when I attempt to bake two more. The house is too cold to encourage them to rise. They were probably warmer in the ‘fridge.)

Otherwise, it’s an almost cuddly image of perfect domestic blissyness isn’t it?

imageAll I need is boobs like Nigella Lawson’s for the image to be absolutely complete. Winking smile

Nothing could be further from the truth in reality (especially about the boobs) and I can only do this stuff at all by using lots of shortcuts and by only doing one small task at a time before taking a rest.

Funnily enough, it was the muffins that caused me the most trouble. I took the laptop to the kitchen so that I could follow the recipe – can’t remember more than 3 –4 ingredients otherwise – but it was still too much for me to cope with getting all the ingredients together from various parts of the kitchen and then standing to mix.

Actually, I couldn’t stand and I’d had to crouch down on the floor when the power in my legs had become exhausted and could no longer hold me up, whilst at the same time my head had gone all swimmy. The dreaded orthostatic intolerance again.

And then I shook from head to foot from the “exertion” of it all!

But, of course, I can’t take that many short cuts that would help – if I do opt for any packaged items I have to watch the ingredients carefully - because I have to maintain this wheat-free, gluten-free, meat-free, dairy-free diet if I’m to keep my symptoms from food intolerances, IBS, fibromyalgia pain and ME fatigue in check.

Though I know, it’s hard to imagine how much worse I could be, I do know that all of my symptoms are greatly exacerbated if I ever eat “naughty food”.

What we’re talking here is getting out of bed for around a minute or two (a little longer for the muffins) about half a dozen times during the day. And yet, at the end of the day I was utterly exhausted, with nausea, headache, the pain in my hip and legs increasing, a pain in my chest, and, then I fell asleep in the early evening.

This morning I woke with the classic symptoms that follow such exercise intolerance; sore throat, snuffly and achy, just as if I was coming down with flu. My hip is crying out in pain. My legs hurt. My neck feels broken – the pain is truly excruciating - and I can only manage to recline with my head and neck supported and immobilized.

It’s good that I prepared food, some of which will last the week, yesterday, but it’s at a rather a high cost. What I really need is more help to avoid these crashes.

136381874_oDomesticity is hardly my style anyway. My attitude to cleaning, for instance, coincides most closely with that of the late Quentin Crisp who said, “There is no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse.”

But I guess it has to be done, eventually (not today, that’s for sure) and the more so in a house with carpets. (I so miss the tiled floors in Tenerife that could be swept with a broom and wiped over with a mop, neither of which tools were too heavy to manage.)

Actually, after getting used to those for so many years, I rather feel that carpets are filthy, dirty things. They certainly cause me more allergy symptoms, either from the fibres and chemicals in them or the dust, dirt and hair that they harbour.

But, at the same time, I really can’t manage to man-handle a standard vacuum cleaner, so cleaning was getting “swept under the carpet”, so to speak.

However, recently, I came across this Gtech Cordless Carpet and Floor Sweeper and I thought I’d mention it here for anyone else who suffers from any form of disability or is elderly and finds the hoover a bit of a job to use these days, because this is light enough to manage – without causing pain or too much exhaustion - and is actually far more efficient at picking up cat hair than the “big hoover” ever was. A result.

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