Friday, 28 September 2012

A Diet Fad You Might Forget

Tree trunk legs, ham arms, love handles, tyres... I have never been particularly pleased with my body shape and doubt I ever will. One of the earliest memories I have of a photograph being taken I still unfortunately have in my possession is my first day at my second school. In the picture I am standing in a classic photographer's pose stance with hands beside my hips and gargantuan legs slightly apart. It is an exceedingly unflattering photograph, from the pre-brace days when I had rather distinctive rabbit teeth with a gap between them more than accommodating enough for a two pence piece to slot between.

Over the years I've lived off both the Atkins and The Cabbage Soup Diet and contemplated the Thatcher Diet but been too disturbed by the vast quantity of boiled eggs you're required to eat. I've more recently settled on a more successful but an unhealthy mixture of daily pilates style stretches and calorie control interspersed with binge style meals out.

This week, I discovered the first diet that has appealed to me in some time. A tiny little NIB in Metro alerted me to the Schroth Cure in Oberstaufen Retreat, Germany. Dating back to 1949, this diet involves consuming a mere few hundred calories a day (vegetables, cooked fruit and salt-free crackers), a spot of exercise broken up with rest and most importantly alternate dry and "drink" days. The non-dry days and exercise aim to take your mind off the hunger, help you forget and “spur on [the] immune system”

Although apparently hugely successful, the diet does have one drawback – dieters are risen at 4am in order to be wrapped in freezing cold sheets covered in hot water bottles and blankets. First reading the Metro Nib, I honestly believed they'd published this bizarre news item preposterously late or far too early for April Fool's:

Bizarrely, since discovering it involves early rises, the diet now seems more credible. After all “no pain, no gain” eh? Or perhaps “loss” would be more appropriate? Either way, if work permitted, I'd be more than happy to sample this Schnapps heavy highly efficient “life-changer”.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Stand-Off

We've been warned we'll be disturbed but it's 10am and we're still lying on the inflatable mattress like beached wales. Clutching my throbbing head, I'm relieved my virtual nephews have been kept at bay. Having first woken an hour earlier, I could hear the excited cries of a six year-old ready to start his day.
Slipping in and out of sleep, I imagine my virtual brother and sister in-law instructing both boys to leave their Uncle Andy and Auntie Leo alone and to remain upstairs until they hear evidence of our waking. I've already snuck out for my morning bathroom visit and know the sound of the door is tempting fate. As if to confirm my suspicions, I hear a small voice chirp inquiringly: “Is it morning yet?”
Upstairs they're equally hung-over and unlike me have the added pressure of keeping an energetic child entertained and away from their slumbering guests. I wonder how long this amusing stand-off could last for if there wasn't a Liverpool match to return to Leeds for. Feeling as rough as I do, I visualise the entire family later watching TV with me still marooned on the air bed in the centre of their living room. Unfortunately there is a match and the stalemate is broken with The Boy's cheeky very English request for morning tea. As he finishes shouting up the stairs, cries of “Uncle Andy” are heard and our Sunday begins.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

On The front Line

I'm back and already on the front line. After extended travels around Morocco, I've returned to mayhem in school and have been buried under vast amounts of marking and writing assignments. The mood in school isn't good. The examining boards have left a large percentage of last year's Year 11 without the college places they were virtually guaranteed. The number of students achieving grades A-C for English Language has dropped from above 70% to just over 50%. As the media scandal continues and schools fight for a return to the original grade boundaries, tomorrow's future are learning hard lessons in the unfairness and unpredictability of life.

In the meantime, I've discovered bus spotters actually exist (surely only in Bradford?) and that the Romans like the Moroccans favoured a direct no nonsense approach to advertising:

An advertisement and sign for a Roman brothel in the ancient city of Volubilis.

Above and below: products on sale in Essaouira's medina.

I've also undergone yet another traumatic experience shortly after arriving at Leeds Beer Festival: 

And once again chewing gum temporarily saved the day... Tune in next week for yet more pointless (but hopefully entertaining) observations and reflections.