Day 5+n: Aftermath (Or, After All That Math)

29 Apr

To open with The Most Relevant Movie Quote Of The Day (spoiler alert):






To digress further: new Kevin Bacons EE ad in the cinema today! Nothing on YouTube yet, will upload when I find it.

(You say Kevin Bacon is getting old? When does Kevin Bacon ever get old? Ha, geddit, geddit?!… like, us getting tired of him vs him getting biologically old…. hmm… anyone else here following The Following?)

Now that I am well and truly living back above the line – and in electrolyte equilibrium, thank you Harriet for the elegant turn of phrase – I have a couple more random thoughts on the post-LBTL experience if anyone cares to check back.

Was going to post more before, but you know, Life gets in the way and such.

No matter. Think of it as a Post Credits Scene if you like. Like Thor’s hammer at the end of Iron Man 2. Like Tony Stark promising to return at the end of IM3. Yaaar.


* * *

[another backdated entry, written last Saturday PM]


It is now 4pm on Day 5+1.

After my week of perpetual hunger, I had a whole spread of food ready in the fridge to break fast with.

However the old stomach has genuinely shrunk during this time.

16 hours on. Still haven’t finished what one was supposed to have wolfed down by 12.05am.

This is probably a good thing in terms of appreciation for the wonder that is food.

However this also means the pipe dream of competing on Man v Food Nation has now well and truly bitten the dust. Oh well.


Cycle of the day so far:

Eat – sleep – wake up to eat some more – try to blog but end up sleeping some more – wake up to eat some more

(rinse & repeat ad infinitum)


So lethargic.

That said, my waking/eating hours today have been swamped by glorious synaesthesia. Every bite has been a truly exhilarating explosion of vivid Technicolor. Really, truly. This is the sort of experience that inspires spontaneous but profound gushing statements like, “I will never take food for granted again”.


I will never take food for granted again.


* * *

Speaking of shrinking body parts (ahem, what are you thinking? Wash your brain out please) – lots of people have asked if I weighed myself before and after LBTL.

‘Course I did.


Weight on Sunday night: 54kg

Weight just before midnight on Friday: 51kg


Hellooo clavicles. Haven’t seen you for 10 years!

MASSIVE DISCLAIMER: As much as I welcome and encourage everyone to try Living Below The Line, in no way can anyone possibly endorse this as a Diet Plan. Yes it is low calorie, but you WILL feel physically awful throughout. You WILL be constantly mentally unhinged from the lack of brain food and all the microcalculations required. Plus to use LBTL to lose weight is completely missing the point, the point being to raise awareness around poverty, hunger and malnutrition, and to support people who would love the luxury of putting on weight but can’t.


¿Comprende? Muy bien.

Now that is out of the way, here’s a slightly tangential parting vignette.

Sometimes I think we can all be guilty of promoting unhealthy attitudes towards food, consciously or otherwise.


Some months back my GP told me off for putting on weight.

Le sigh.

First of all let me say that my GP is excellent.

Example: Guan asked her for a referral to our local hospital for a tonsillectomy. For tonsil stones. (What are tonsil stones? Watch a video here. Warning: not work safe.)

In spite of the usual NHS hiccups the surgery physically went well. His psychological scars live on in his blog – this particular entry seems to provide great comfort to similarly afflicted folk around the world, so much so that two years on he still gets hits from Search Engine terms such as

  • ‘tonsillectomy day 5’
  • ‘pain after tonsillectomy’
  • ‘day 7 of tonsillectomy recovery what day do scabs fall off’
  • ‘so much saliva after tonsillectomy’
  • ‘tonsillectomy scabs smell’





Anyway on discharge he got a one-word discharge summary:


I know my discharge summaries are long, but come on. The HCA (healthcare assistant) can do better. The least you could add is ‘No immediate complications’.

A week of diclofenac, DF118 and Difflam mouthwash later, he gets a phone call.

It is our GP. Her copy of the summary has come through the post that morning.

She read it, then called him to check he was doing OK post-op! “As per [her] usual protocol”!

Wonderful. Hats off. Good GP.

However. She told me off for putting on weight.


I have fluctuated between the resolute limits of 52 and 56kg since the age of 17. No more, no less. That is 100% guaranteed to change in the next decade with middle age spread and all that jazz, but so what? I’m not and never will be a size zero, and my weight will not bother me until my BMI is out of range.

So during this GP visit I was at the upper end of my normal (BMI 21.3). I had other things to worry about (still do). Nonetheless:


GP: As part of your routine check-up, just step onto the scales for me.

Me: OK.

GP: Now how much is that… 56? Fifty-six? FIFTY-SIX?!

Me: [Cold sweat. What crime have I committed now?]

GP: Let’s see how much you were before. 52 – that’s 4kg more…


Pause for effect.



Me: [very small voice] ….I’m wearing jeans?

GP: Yes I suppose some of it could be clothing. But still! WHAT HAPPENED?!


I forget what transpires immediately afterward, as my traumatised brain stops to scrape the rest of my 56 shameful kilograms off the carpeted floor.

Next thing I remember is that I am frantically deploying Conflict Resolution Techniques from my rusty Interprofessional Communication Skills arsenal (some background for the layman: trainee doctors have to be formally taught in medical school How To Talk To Staff From Other Disciplines) – ‘Blocking’, that’s a good one, here we go:


Me: So what is your secret? You look fabulous for your age!


By God I can be such a lame duck sometimes.


GP: Well! I don’t ever eat ice cream and I try to eat healthily…


Long-ish sermon on avoiding ice cream follows. I don’t even like ice cream, french fries are my weakness.

My dream party, once upon a pre-LBTL time.

SOUTH KOREAN POTATO PARTY. My dream party, once upon a pre-LBTL time. This party got Seoul! Woo! 

No matter. I let it slip. There has to be a useful message somewhere in here.


GP: I pack my own lunches because it’s very difficult to get things I like around the Asian supermarkets around here – they are great for spices and things but I can’t eat curries every day yada yada yada…


So that is how a horrified me gave up my intended post-GP visit pitstop for a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin on the way back, and ended up trekking another 15 minutes in the other direction, as it started drizzling (then raining horizontally, then pouring) to the supermarket to pick up a not very tasty ‘Love Life’ chicken salad.

Day 5: Five for Fighting

22 Apr

Last Day!!!


I (think I) am grinning like a fool all the way through work.

[While checking/double checking/triple checking everything I am doing. A brain that is Living Below The Line is a tired, underfed, mildly psychotic brain, and thus not a brain that can be left to its own devices.]


* * *


Friday – 19/04/2013

Last Friday – breakfast: 

1 supermarket banana – 0.14

2 shots Nespresso + milk – 0.74

1 oat biscuit – 0.07


This Friday – breakfast:

1 BL banana – 0.07

5g instant coffee + 50ml milk – 0.12 + 0.04


Umm, I really do have practically the same breakfast every day, LBTL or not. Is this a problem?


Last Friday – lunch:

1 hospital salad bar salad (inc. staff discount) – 2.10

1 supermarket apple – 0.33

Tap water – 0.00


This Friday – lunch:

‘Deconstructed*’ bacon jam + 2 eggless pancakes + other 1/2 of pan-fried apple – 0.24 + 0.09 + 0.04 = 0.37

* In the style of, say, a ‘deconstructed’ piccalilli. Having discovered the ‘jam’ in fact tasted better before going through the processor, half of it was left unpulverised, to be eaten as was. Like a sweet, smokey barbecue.

1 portion mixed veg (not pictured) – 0.08

1 BL apple (not pictured) – 0.08

Tap water (not pictured) – 0.00

LOOKS PRETTY GOOD HUH! My colleagues at lunch couldn't believe this (let alone this plus all my other F&B for the day) cost under £1 *smug

Looks pretty presentable huh?! My colleagues at lunch couldn’t believe this (let alone this plus all my other F&B for the day) cost under £1. *smug


* * *


Then – home time.

Turning the corner into our block, what do I see but this:

Clearly some of us are made of money

I think this is 34p in total. Windfall! Dinner on me?

I didn’t pick the coins up, no.

In hindsight I’m not sure why I didn’t – how rich would we be if we all picked pennies off the street every day?

This reminds me of the commotion on the ward on Monday after a patient went and flushed his wallet down the toilet.




* * *


Last Friday – colleague’s birthday drinks, then dinner at home:

1 glass Malbec – 3.50

1 glass Prosecco – 4.20

1/4 pint unidentified beer – 1.00

3 slices pizza – 3 (1.25) = 3.75

Flemish beef stew + potatoes (more cooking school leftovers) – 2.80

Spinach – 0.50


This Friday – dinner:


I cannot look at bacon anymore. 

They say the smell of sizzling bacon has converted many an ex-vegetarian back to their carnivorous ways.

I dunno. Eat enough of something for 5 days straight, and the sight of it might induce vomit for 6 months afterward.

(And that, ladies & gents, may just be the solution to your chocolate/biscuit/crisp habit. You’re welcome.)

But this is especially true of Basics bacon which comes in different shades of pink, brown (and towards the end, green), and not infrequently requires spitting out bits of bone.




So tonight is going to involve a major cop out.

You ready?




The heavens part! A work of art!!

INSTANT NOODLES. The heavens part!


Speaking of instant noodles – let my experience stand as a parable as to the dangers (okay, perks, I suppose) of innocuous status updates posted to Facebook the week before your birthday. A throwaway rant about running low on Indomie can, and will, result in a lifetime supply being gifted to you by your joker ex-housemates.

Last week they were asking whether it would be financially viable to survive LBTL purely on Indomie.

(£9.99 for their box of 40)


There has to be something wrong when Esther Tan is telling me not to eat something. However, today I am blithely ignoring this advice, as I am already high on the forthcoming hit of monosodium glutamate, and am thus invincible.

When even Esther Tan is telling me not to eat something, that something will usually have something seriously wrong with it. However, today I am blithely ignoring this advice, as I am already high on the forthcoming hit of monosodium glutamate, and am thus totally invincible.



It even comes with MICROWAVE INSTRUCTIONS. Fabulous.


As you can tell from the shoddy iPhoneography, I am so psyched about this meal that I cannot wait for the proper food camera to make its way home (apparently out gallivanting at some supperclub *narrow-eyed glare).


Once again. This Friday – dinner:

1 packet Basics instant noodles, bought as emergency rations last week – 0.14*

(*15p this week! The cheek!)

1 portion mixed veg – 0.08

(Very bland. Gah. No wonder this is 14p. Carefully budgeting the remaining 5p…)

2g Knorr chicken stock (£1.65/100g) – 0.03

2g ready-fried shallots (from New Loon Moon. Back section, turn left, next to the sambals and Konnyaku jelly) – 0.02


Most exciting meal of the entire week.

Ending the week on a high.


On that bombshell.


Total spend last Friday = £19.13

Total spend this Friday = £1.00 


One Pound. On The Money. 





One may be approaching the wizened, raisin-fingered age of [somewhere between 25 and 30], but is it possible for one to outgrow Internet memes? Don’t think so.


* * *

Five days. Finito.

Thank you for reading.

Day 4: More Jammin’ with Bacon

21 Apr

[Time of writing: Sunday PM]


Sorry for the hiatus, peeps.

Hadn’t counted on (what I think is me dropping my electrolytes due to) refeeding syndrome – especially having deliberately loaded myself daily with a banana-shaped dose of the good stuff. Vitamins B1/2/3/6 & C – constituent parts of Pabrinex.

Or I could have just subconsciously channelled all my energy to Mo Farah as he whizzed past our flat in today’s Virgin London Marathon. What a hero!

(Him, not me. heh)

In any case, one is feeling better after substantial quantities of chocolate (magnesium), OJ (potassium) and dairy (calcium) and now we soldier on.



‘Takka Takka’, Roy Lichtenstein 1962. The bit about tropical fungal infections may (or may not?) be an exaggeration. Everything else applies.


Subsequent entries to be drip-fed here over the next few days.


* * *

Day 4: Thursday 18/04/2013


Breakfast last Thursday:

1 supermarket banana – 0.14

1 tbsp (nice, also half price) instant coffee + milk – 0.16 + 0.08 = 0.24

1 (reduced price – see, I try to be frugal in day-to-day life…) hot cross bun – 0.20


Breakfast this Thursday:

1 BL banana – 0.07

5g instant coffee + only 50ml milk (cf usual 6g coffee + 100ml milk – read on for explanation of where the rest went) – 0.10 + 0.04 = 0.14


Lunch last Thursday:

Hospital canteen salad bar salad (inc. staff discount) – 2.10

Tap water – 0.00


Lunch this Thursday:

Ragu etc + rice (see earlier entries) – 0.42

1 BL apple – 0.08


On-call sustenance last Thursday:

Nature Valley Sweet & Nutty bar (bought on offer) – 0.24

1 can Red Bull sugarfree – 0.75 (4 for £3! Yup, it was me that cleared out the Aldgate Tesco Express supply :S)

2 patient chocolates (i.e. chocolates from patients, not chocolates who are very patient) – 2(0.20 each, based on current RRP of standard 420g Thorntons box) – 0.40.

Of course I helped myself without paying, but for LBTL I am factoring in the actual cost I would have had to pay.


Not on-call this Thursday. 


Dinner last Thursday:

Soy braised pork with cabbage – 0.65

Rice – 0.15

1 glass orange juice – 0.43


Dinner this Thursday:

Bacon jam! – 0.23

Half apple, sliced & pan fried – 0.04

2 eggless pancakes – 0.08

Toshiba apple – 0.09


Total spend last Thursday = £5.55

Total spend this Thursday = £1.15 (Crap, in debt now) 


* * *

Many of you have enquired about the rationale behind my choice of main protein.

Basics bacon? Why?!! Why not eggs/lentils/beans/canned tuna etc etc etc…”


6 Reasons I Went With Bacon:

6. Most bang for buck. I did all the calculations – trust me on this – and this has worked out to be the cheapest proteinaceous food per unit (it being mostly water weight notwithstanding/not discovered until much too late)

5. Horrifyingly high in fat = good for satiety. It’s easy to judge when living above the line; but when living below, fear of hunger >>>> arterial health any day

4. I don’t know how to cook with lentils *sad face. Somebody please teach me?

3. To be able to namedrop Kevin Bacon. Obviously.

2. Salt already added so
i) no extra spend on salt (how cunning are we??), and
ii) less risk postural hypotension, given all the extra fluid retention (in fact I didn’t faint once this week, so not a bad strategy)


And the No. 1 reason:

…To make BACON JAM. 




Let me hold a mirror up:


[Waiting for your face to unfreeze.]

Done? Moving swiftly on.


One major factor in my choosing to undertake this challenge is my having been a long-time silent fan of this blog: Back to Sainsbury’s Basics.

Basically (<— pun!) this guy is a friend of a friend – I think some of you know him in real life too. He writes up unpaid reviews of various products from the Basics range and works them into recipes. The blog is original, hilarious and utter genius. Please visit and be thoroughly entertained like I have been.

This is my version of his version of Bacon Jam, which in turn is adapted from the also-brilliant Not Quite Nigella.

I do not own the rights to the original recipes; all credit is given anywhere credit is due.


* * *

Bacon Jam

Ingredients in original no-costs-barred NQN recipe:

  • 500grams/1 pound smoked bacon (or use regular bacon and liquid smoke)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium brown onion sliced
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Tabasco sauce (according to taste)
  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Extra water

Method in original NQN recipe:

1. In a non-stick pan, fry the bacon in batches until lightly browned and beginning to crisp. Using a pair of scissors cut into 1 inch pieces.

2. Fry the onion and garlic in the rendered bacon fat on medium heat until translucent.

3. Transfer the bacon, onion and garlic into a heavy based cast iron pot and add the rest of the ingredients except for the water. Simmer for 2 hours adding 1/4 of a cup of water every 25-30 minutes or so and stirring.

4. When ready, cool for about 15-20 minutes and then place in a food processor. Pulse for 2-3 seconds so that you leave some texture to the “jam” or of course you could keep whizzing and make it a smoother and more paste like.


Ingredients in Jo’s scaled-down, budget LBTL version. Makes 2 portions: 

  • 150g Basics bacon, unsmoked – 0.24
  • 3 tbsps ragu from Tuesday – 0.00 (already factored into Tuesday’s costs)
  • 1/2 can Basics kidney beans (for bulk) – 0.11
  • 1 Brick Lane apple, diced (to substitute for onion/garlic/apple cider vinegar – that should provide enough plant fibre and the appley taste… right?) – 0.08
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar – 0.01
  • 1g instant coffee, shaved off the morning cuppa – 0.02
  • 1 dried chilli – 0.01
  • Extra tap water – 0.00

Method in Jo’s LBTL version: 

1. Pan fry bacon to a crisp. No need to cut into 1-inch squares as per original recipe; Basics bacon automatically disintegrates to pieces when heat is applied. (Win.)

2. No onion or garlic to fry. Too poor. So fry diced apple. Add beans.

3. Cast iron pot? One does not have enough spare energy while Living Below The Line to lift a cast iron pot. So – continue cooking bacon and apple in the same pan. Add sugar, coffee and chilli. Simmer for a long time, adding 1/4 cup tap water every half hour or so and continue stirring.


4. Theoretically one should not be able to afford electricity (or gas) for 2 hours. So take off heat after 1 hour.

5. Cool for 15-20 minutes. Pulse in food processor.

Not quite Not Quite Nigella...

Not quite Not Quite Nigella…

6. Serve up with eggless pancakes and pan-fried apple – see recipe below.


* * *

Eggless Pancakes

Did you really think I was going to have bacon jam with rice?

Makes 4 pancakes (2 servings).



  • 80g flour (80p/1.5kg) – 0.06
  • 100ml milk (50ml each saved up from today and tomorrow’s allocations) – 0.08
  • Rendered  bacon fat for frying – 0.00
  • (Which didn’t work out so great, so eventually one had to add a smidgen of proper oil – 0.01)
  • 2 tsp baking powder – 0.02


1. Mix flour and baking powder.

2. Whisk milk in with dry ingredients. Rest batter for 2 minutes.

3. Take a fresh pan. Fry up some bacon that is meant to join the rest of the bacon jam later on.

4. Remove bacon, leaving rendered bacon fat behind.

5. Ladle a spoonful of batter into the pan.

Oops. Not part of the plan.

Oops. Not part of the plan.

Not part of the plan. At all.

Really not part of the plan. At all. (The crispy bits were tasty though.) (Of course I ate this up, what else was I going to eat?)

6. Change tack, as that is the only way one is going to have any meaningful dinner. So – take pan to sink. Scrub the hell out of it. Dry pan. Ration out 1 tbsp of cheapest oil in the house (‘vegetable’) and add it to pan.

7. Cook pancakes as one normally would – spoon it out, wait for bubbles to appear on surface, flip over.


* * *

Pan-fried Apple

Ingredient (yup, singular):

1 Brick Lane apple, sliced – 0.08


1. After frying up pancakes, add sliced apple to same pan (don’t wash it just yet).

2. Pan fry until lightly caramelised.


* * *

This is more like it.

And dinner is served.

Proper Food Is So. Amazing.

19 Apr

I have specially interrupted my breaking of fast to say this out loud. Phwoarrrr.

More in a bit. Back to eating.

Day 5: Over The £1k Line

19 Apr

More Stuff You Can’t Make Up.

This afternoon, after speaking to a patient’s family on the ward.


Jo: Is there anything else you would like to ask me?

Patient’s daughter: Dad, is there anything you want to ask the doctor?

Patient: Yes. [Trying to crack a joke:] Have you got a thousand pounds?

Jo: No I haven’t… (only £981 so far. But how on earth did you know what I was up to?!)


* * *

Scribbled on a stray bit of disintegrated manila folder of the kind that houses patient notes.

Scribbled on a stray bit of disintegrated manila folder of the kind that usually houses patient notes.

Craaaaazy stuff.

Craaaaazy stuff.


This happened at approx 7pm today.

I meant to post this then, but then I sat down and promptly passed out.

(Today this was obviously precipitated by the starvation/fatigue of this last week. However this – i.e. me going inert on the sofa and deepening the me-shaped depression in it, on the left hand side – is an exceedingly normal occurrence in this household. The trigger usually being junk food coma induced by consuming 2-4 packets* almost every evening after work, despite Guan’s protestations that “DINNER IS ALMOST READY, CAN’T YOU JUST WAIT A MINUTE?!”)

(* – Hula Hoops being flavour of the month [due to it being BOGOF at the time of purchase] – prior to that it was Wotsits. I reckon it should be Cheetos next. Hmm. Where can I find cheap Cheetos in this country?)

I wake up and suddenly the new total is £1,066.





I don’t know what to say (except thank you again, 1,066 times).

So here, watch another YouTube video while I play Cinderella. 6 minutes to midnight. Thought this moment would never come! *hyperventilating in excitement

Day 4: T is for… Toshiba apples

19 Apr

[backdated entry]

Fate had it that I would see Mrs X (the one who was horrified at me taking her brain out) and her son back in clinic today. A delightful surprise.


Jo: How are you getting on?

Mrs X: My breathing is fine, but after 3 weeks in hospital I’m finding I can’t remember where I kept things, my security alarm code…

Mrs X’s son: Yes, it’s like someone removed everything from her brain.


I did not pay him to say that. Some things you just cannot make up.


* * *

T is for…

  • Thursday
  • Two days to go
  • Thank frick we’re nearly there
  • Time for a treat


As made famous in Marina Lewycka’s A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. Toshiba being the make of microwave used in the creation of this dish.

Some of you will know I am a great proponent of microwave cuisine. My theoretical Desert Island Cooking Appliance would have to be the microwave, hands down, no contest. Clean, fuss-free, foolproof (not foilproof though, careful). Why generate so much extra washing up when you can cook in and eat out of just one receptacle?

Cases in point:

  • Scrambled egg – ‘normally’ requiring 1 bowl to whisk egg in, 1 frying pan, then 1 dish in which to serve it
  • Omelette – as before, except removal from appliance at the halfway point for quick fork-scrambling motion not required
  • Indomie with egg and veg – easily 3 separate cooking pots right there!
  • …that’s as far as my repertoire goes…

Essentially though, I strongly believe you can cook almost (keyword: almost) anything in a microwave. There are whole books dedicated to the subject (201 on Amazon!). True, the results aren’t always edible palatable. In which case just add Sriracha.



Sriracha I can’t wait for us to meet again. Two more days…

But I digress. Nikolai, the narrator’s dad, is a man after my own heart. He is an eccentric war refugee who invents and subsists almost solely on this dish following his wife’s death.

This is his special recipe – apples gathered from the garden, peeled, chopped, packed into a pyrex dish and cooked in the microwave (a Toshiba) until they are sticky and solid. 

This gets supplemented occasionally with boil-in-the-bag mystery meats served up by his gold-digging, green-underwear-wearing new wife.


Nikolai: “I cook for myself – look, Toshiba apples. Cooked by Toshiba microwave. Full of vitamins. You like to try?”

(Except this is a Samsung apple. Pirated version)

After I read this book in 2006, for 6 months I breakfasted solely on a yummier, more nutritionally balanced variation of this – the Microwave Apple Crisp. But I can’t afford oats at the minute, so this will have to do. In fact this does very nicely. Mmm.

Serves 1. Cost = 9p.


Toshiba Apple 


  • 1 apple – 0.08
  • 1 tsp brown sugar – 0.01
  • 1 pinch cinnamon – closer to 0.00 than 0.01…
  • 1 tbsp butter (optional, I didn’t use it) – technically 0.05, but for me, 0.00


  1. Core the apple.
  2. Place into bowl.
  3. Fill the inside with butter if desired.
  4. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the top.
  5. Microwave uncovered on high for 3 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  7. Savour. Relish. Enjoy. And bask in the humble glory of the Toshiba Apple.


* * *

Full Day 4 Menu to follow on Friday. Sorry for the slowness. My mental faculties are not at my full disposal at the minute. I cannot help but be preoccupied with the fact that in 24 hours, my dietary horizons will expand beyond the confines of bacon, bacon and more bacon. 24 hours more!!

Day 4: One Day More!

18 Apr

Another day another destiny!

(This never-ending road to Calvary…)



Thank you all SO much for the cash infusions tonight.

I am muchly revived and now I can press on!

* * *

Keep up people. Bacon fried rice is so yesterday (or more accurately, so 3 days ago).

Tonight’s preview:

We – the royal ‘we’, who liveth on the poverty line – have diversified.

…to this.



Frying pancakes using rendered bacon fat (to save on cooking oil) = bad outcome. Baaad. Outcome.

* * *

While ‘we’ playeth the same soundtrack:

"On my own"

Thanks to everyone’s generosity, I no longer feel like Éponine. On My Own no more!

Day 4: Running on empty

18 Apr

No donations for 24 hours now.

No adrenaline to keep me going.

I might actually die.

*collapsing in heap

Please donate. Please.

Thanking you all.

*crawling to the tap for free water

Day 3: Four Degrees of Kevin Bacon

18 Apr

Last Wednesday – breakfast: 

Nespresso (2 shots) & 100ml milk – 2(0.33) + 0.08 = 0.74

1 supermarket banana – 0.14


This Wednesday – breakfast:  

6g instant coffee + 100ml milk – 0.12 + 0.09 = 0.21

1 Brick Lane banana – 0.07


Last Monday Wednesday (typo!) – lunch:


Ramen – 9.90

Back home:

1 packet Vitasoy Malted (MALTED SOY MILK! Revelation of revelations!) – 0.42

1 blood orange – 0.50

1 green tea – 0.03


This Wednesday – lunch: 

Bacon ragu etc & 1 portion mixed veg & rice – 0.30 + 0.08 + 0.04 =  0.42

1 Brick Lane apple – 0.08 (but then I forgot to eat it, so -0.08)

Tap water – 0.00


Last Wednesday – dinner (out again):

Seafood crispy noodle & half bottle Tsingtao – 9.90


This Wednesday – dinner: 

‘Pea & ham’ soup

‘Pea soup’ recipe:

Make Mystery Stock by deglazing the pan used to cook up tomorrow night’s Mystery Dish, as one cannot afford a stock cube or more oil.

Cook 2 portions veg in it. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Blend it all up.

‘Pea soup’ – Mystery Stock + 2 portions veg = 0.00 + 0.15 = 0.15

Zooey Deschanel! To distract you from the resemblance between my dinner and _____ [insert blank for whatever comes to mind first - that's the one].

Zooey Deschanel! To distract you from the resemblance between my ‘pea soup’ and _____ [insert blank for whatever comes to mind first – that’s the one].

‘Ham’ – approx 75g bacon (wet weight), grilled to a dry weight of approx 20g = 0.12

Rice – 0.04

Tap water – 0.00


Total spend last Wednesday = £21.63

Total spend this Wednesday = £1.01


Exhibit B: see the brown marks of burnt fat around the perimeter of the bacon? That would be the original size of each slice pre-grilling.

Check this out… I have inadvertently restaged, in my kitchen, the best ad ever – featuring The Kevin Bacons, Sainsbury’s basics version.

Clockwise from top: A Few Good Men Bacon, Apollo 13 Bacon, Footloose Bacon, Friday the 13th Bacon (it looks like he is in two pieces, but it is in fact only one Bacon with an iron arrow through his chest, like the photo below:)


For the benefit of the uninitiated.

‘A Few Good Men’ Bacon: All right Bacons listen up! I declare this meeting of the Film Club officially open. Now. What release shall we download from the EE film store this week?

Apollo 13 Bacon: I dunno. How about some Sci-Fi?

Friday the 13th Bacon: Eughh…

AFGM Bacon: Friday the 13th! What is your problem with Sci-Fi?


Ft13 Bacon: Less CGI, man. I like my special effects old school. [clinks tip of arrow]

AFGM Bacon: Good point. Footloose! Any suggestions?

Footloose Bacon: I just wanna dance!

AFGM Bacon: OBJECTION! A Few Good Men Bacon does NOT dance! It’s girly.

[blah blah blah…superheroes]

AFGM Bacon: Superheroes. I can do superheroes. I’m a hero myself. There I was. Deep behind enemy lines…

Footloose Bacon: Was not.

AFGM Bacon: Was too.

Footloose Bacon: Was not.

AFGM Bacon: Was too.

Footloose Bacon: Was NOT!


A13 Bacon: ….that’s not even his line.

Ft13 Bacon: ….I know right?! 

Day 3: Brain Drain

18 Apr

Two weeks ago at work.

Me: Hi Mrs X, I’m going to take your (chest) drain out.

Chest drain. (
Said to be comparable to childbirth in the pain stakes.

Mrs X: !!!

Me: ?

Mrs X: [shoots her son a look of bafflement and alarm]

Mrs X’s son: What’s wrong Mum? She’s just going to remove your drain. You’ve been wanting it out the whole time.

Mrs X: OH! Whewww! [palpable relief; regains composure befitting her 97-year-old self] I thought you were going to take my BRAIN out!

* * *

Today I want someone to take my brain out.

Take it out! Now! It’s not working anymore I want a new one………

And this is me speaking as a relatively healthy young person in a warm home with running water and an indoor flush toilet, and not having to worry about electricity/gas/transport/clothes/school fees/medicines coming out of this same 1 flipping £/day.

Please, please, please donate.

* * *

No brainpower for the menu now. Do check back in the morning.

* * *


The humans are dead The humans are dead We used poisonous gases And we poisoned their asses

The humans are dead

The humans are dead

We used poisonous gases

And we poisoned their asses