Is Empathy only present if you are well and well fed?

Starvation Diet. What is it?

Mmmmmm chocolate, Mmmmmm sandwich, Mmmmmm doughnuts, Mmmmmm beer. Spoilt for choice. Trying to resist. When I resist I put the money in a pot. When the pot is full I send it (the money, not the pot) to somebody who needs it to survive. The art comes about through the documentation of the process, here and in other places. There is no end to this project.


29 Nov 2010

Your diet with others in toe



Its hard to stick to my guns when other people pop up. I realise how far from other peoples every day reality my life is. It sticks in my gut to see food thrown away. Its hard to justify the expenditure on a meal which I can't eek out for two days. Maybe I am too stuck in my ways or maybe its just about reaching a happy food compromise.

A whole month into the void


Where does time go to. I knew that I had been really slack with documenting my starvation diet resists in my log charts but went to fill them in today and found that they were more than 2 months behind. October is a right off, I can barely remember what I had for tea last night never mind a month ago. November is a rough approximation with lots of "Resisted nothing"'s filling in the blanks. It amounts to an unknown amount of money not filtering through to the charity of my choice and I feel bad about that. I'm not sure if I've piled on any extra weight with all this slap dashedness.

11 Oct 2010

Peer pressure




Writing the title for this blog sent my mind off on a tangent about pier pressure, the pressure you experience when walking along a pier at the seaside. Pressure to purchase candyfloss, shells made into tiny animals, goes on bouncy castles and arcade games. But this is not the kind of pressure I really set out to write about. Hanging around with somebody else this week Its been funny to note how frugal I have become. Bacon for dinner on a Thursday, what extravagance. Bacon chopped up really small and added to a cauliflower cheese much more the ticket, four meals at under a pound. I also don't see any of this as a sacrifice more as a challenge. The only problem is convincing others that having less is not detrimental to your life but instead brings.... hmmm what does it bring? Pause. I can't quite put my finger on what it is. Maybe its a smugness which is strangely satisfying, maybe it is a certain kind of safety to know that you can live on next to no money if you really have to.

6 Oct 2010

To Book or not to Book?


I am in two minds about if Starvation Diet Should become a book. I keep putting it off and can't decide if that is because that's not what it should be or I don't want to do the work. I suspect that the only way to know might be to start. Or maybe I need to think about what purpose the book would serve. Would it be a book for the person in the street or a bit of high brow artistry? Could it be both? I want it to be a reading experience if its going to be a book at all. A sit down with a cuppa, clean hands and anticipation of enjoyment kind of a read. Sorry, headed off for a bit of internet research there and have come back with this:

Why do artists make books?

"Artists may use other media such as painting or printmaking but for some of their work only the book adequately fulfils their idea.

There is affection for the book as an object and a recognition of its long history as a container of information and ideas. The book form also lends authority to its contents. People understand books because they are accustomed to reading them. Books are very intimate artworks. When you read a book, you are in control. Unlike a painting on a wall, you hold it in your hands, you turn the pages, you touch it and smell it. Only you decide how long it will take, and you don't have to share the experience. Artists like the close connection with their audience that they can have through artists' books.

Books are sequential, with ideas and stories building up as each page is turned. This allows complex ideas to be developed within one artwork.

Different binding forms can be used to reinforce an idea, for example a binding that continually folds in on itself could house a never-ending story. Materials used can also relate to and tell part of the story."

I do want a container of information and ideas, I want authority to the contents. I want a form which is easy to understand and has an understood convention. Touching it and smelling it is good. The way that I want to set it up does involve an element of sharing in that people will be asked to pass the book on. I'm not sure how sequential I want it to be. I've considered materials like rice paper and starch paper to convey the idea of an edible book which people can choose to either eat or read. Think that maybe this gets rid of the idea of it as a book somehow though. Its a nice idea cause it fits so well with the concepts but is it a step too far? Will have to get some paper to try.

Funny how the focus has completely changed now that an object has reared its head. Is this a good thing?

18 Sep 2010

My tea versus their whole days food

The portion I would give myself for one meal.












In the Scales Slightly over the 11.34 Ounces a malnourished child in India would get. Still on the plate, the difference. Of course there food is probably not cottage pie and broccoli.
A part answer to how much food a malnourished person would get each day. Kalyan Puri, india;
"On every street corner of this district, at around noon, a woman with a big tin pot ladles out thick gruel to a stream of small children carrying tin bowls. Each one is meant to get exactly 320 grammes, but few are measuring what ends up in their bowls."

"The results are evident in the charity-run primary school run for street kids behind the police station. Here, teacher Amitha Joshi says many children do not eat from early in the morning when their parents leave home until late at night. "They cannot concentrate, cannot retain any facts, they have serious behavioural problems," she told the Guardian."
Taken from:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2010/sep/14/mdg1-hunger-poverty-india
I'm off to take a make my tea and will weigh out how much 320 grammes is and take a picture.

13 Sep 2010

It should have been my last day

I should have been celebrating a return to food after a week of porridge and rice today but gave up last Tuesday. The rest of this week has made me feel privileged. Each time I eat I tended to think I could be eating porridge now or this is so much better than rice. In that respect the two days on rations served a lasting purpose. We should really enjoy food. Its ungrateful not to.

9 Sep 2010

Lucky me

I'm feeling pretty lucky today. Just sat here and thought, "I could have a cup of coffee if I wanted to in a bit, or maybe I could have tea."

Wednesday

8 Sep 2010

Why I gave up.

Down the Slippery slope with honey in the porridge

Its like wearing a hair shirt for no reason

I started this extreme part of the project with clear ideas about why I was doing it. It was an experiment in increasing empathy, challenging my thoughts and getting a greater understanding. But with my head like cotton wool yesterday I realised that I was in no fit state to contemplate anything at a higher level let alone debate it in a sensible way. So I have started eating according to the normal starvation diet rules again, resist things I really don't need and give the money to the charity. I still feel the physical effects of the last few days but my head is clearing a little and I should be compus mentus by dinner time.

Friends turning into fruit

7 Sep 2010

Some thoughts on brain functioning and food

Feeling sick

Woke up this morning feeling a bit queasy.

I can't stop yawning and have a bad head

Feeling sick

Woke up Feeling a bit queasy.

Things to research-any help gladly accepted

  • What access to flavours do those on subsistence diets have?
  • Is empathy only a luxury for those who are well and well fed?
  • What is the average portion of food for somebody on a subsistence diet?
  • What are the vital measurements of a starving woman aged 36?
  • What bugs are not killed off from boiling contaminated water?
  • What are the various signs of malnutrition short term?

6 Sep 2010

Empathy

I'm interested to see how this process of Extreme Starvation Diet helps me to develop more empathy with those on subsistence diets. A few things I have noted so far:
  • When we cut down on food we have the choice to take comfort in other things, hot baths, bad Tv etc. What must it be like to have a life with no sources of comfort.
  • When food has no flavour it become purely about function, food as just function is sad

Some do this for fun



This process I'm going through is something close to the usual mode for dieting. Restricting what you eat in an effort to loose weight relatively quickly. Possibly cooking different meals for yourself and your family. It places so much focus on the lack of food or the change of food that you can't help but feel miserable. Its like giving something up. But as food is actually a pretty good thing, it keeping you alive and all that giving it up becomes nonsensical. The normal Starvation Diet model seems to me to be even more useful after my first day doing this.

Compare and Contrast



We don't live with stark comparisons that much in this country. We see other less fortunate places on the tele but that is just like fiction. Tonight was curious because, for the first of my meals there was a real contrast between what I was eating and what George my son was eating. As I cooked his chicken there were several occasions when my fork was poised over a piece, almost about to eat it. It smelled soooo nice and as it got browner it looked more and more tempting. But resist I did. As we sat down to eat I tried to remain upbeat. The temptation to steal from his plate was high and whilst he has not yet appeared before me as a cartoon chicken leg I can see it going that way. Most of the time he was a typical teenage boy, goading me with forks full of flying chicken and asking me in a sarcastic voice "Is it delicious your tea?". I had to give in a little and add salt and a few chilli flakes.

Before First Dinner Porridge

First dinner half in the bin

First Breakfast

Videos

I'm publishing all the videos in their entirety at the moment and will then edit them into one short film later. Funny to see the odd conversations between my son and I.

First Breakfast

5 Sep 2010

The ubiquitous before shots


Was in two minds about doing these as this week is not about losing weight, rather about gaining empathy and insight. But as I want to document all the changes in me I guess I have to do the Physical too.

Last Supper Vid

Last Pud Vid

A day full of last suppers









Chicken and Salford Onions pie
Salford Tomatoes and onions on home made bread
Hollies Cake
Salford and Cuddington Rhubarb and blackberry crumble

The morning before

Ate too late last night and woke with a poorly belly. So the day of last breakfasts, dinners and suppers I've planned has started at a slow pace. I keep looking in the cupboard at the beige food I have to eat over this next week, starting tomorrow. Its not very inspiring but I am pretty excited to see how I will react to it all. Will I just get really grumpy and give up day 1? Will people I'm talking to start turning into chicken legs, cartoon style? We shall see. Will get around to the first of my Video logs tonight so check back here then.

Starvation Diet-The Next Generation

Just created a new blog for those of you out there who want to get involved in Starvation Diet and contribute your ideas and experiences to a blog. Its here:

http://starvationdietnextgeneration.blogspot.com/

1 Sep 2010

My Extreme Starvation Diet log

So, its the week before the start of this extreme week. Nothing but water, porridge and rice to eat. Maybe a little milk for the porridge. I've been trying to find out what an average portion of rice or porridge type food would be for a person on subsistence level but can't find any facts. I don't think that I will be going that far and will just be eating enough of the mentioned food to keep myself going at some semi decent level for a week. I am interested though to see what happens to you if you dramatically limit your diet for a week. See my weeks journey on this page.

23 Aug 2010

Its a date



Have set the date for my extreme starvation diet for the week starting September 6th. Have been in training, eating porridge for breakfast and weening myself off the honey and raisins, mixed results. Two other kind souls have agreed to join me and take part in the normal starvation diet for the week. Think I'm going to do a video diary each day of the week so watch this space.

Just as an aside was glad to see that Our Lady of Sorrows was getting Pizza to cheer her up. (see Image)

The cupboard was bare




Or was it? So many times I enter my little pantry, look around at the stacked shelves and decide that, no, there is defiantly nothing for tea. Granted there is a proliferation of rice and spice and some cheapo spring rolls that I've decided are unfit for human consumption but it turns out there is enough to create something delicious and nutritious without dashing to the shop again. Lentils, aforementioned spices, the scrappings of a peanut butter pot and some ground up porridge oats are believe it or not (trust me I looked on the internet for inspiration) the ingredients for mini vegi burgers. A tin of tomatoes spices and some cinnamon to make it all a bit Moroccan as a sauce. A few strands of spaghetti and a bit of cheese from the back of the fridge finished it off. Stuffed now and feeling very smug and pleased with myself. Another one in the eye for consumerism. More pennies in the Starvation diet pot.

Crisp hangover




Crisps make me feel ill. The other night we sat down to watch a film. It seemed like the occasion required snacks. My son and I set about the weigh and save pick and mix sweets and a big bag of crisps. Crisps are very salty. That may appear to be stating the obvious but as a once semi regular eater of crisps I hadn't really noticed it. I hadn't noticed the affect they have on my body before. Now I've been avoiding lots of snacks since October I notice changes they provoke more profoundly. Thirst drew me to drink my bedside glass of water before my head even hit the pillow. The following morning I was still dehydrated, poorly belly and a slight fuzzy head. I had a crisp hangover. Crispy hair of the dog anyone?

15 Aug 2010

Get Lost



Getting lost on a bike is great for the fitness levels. It also adds a sense of adventure to my life, which is, quite frankly missing of late. Standing at the cross roads just outside Davenham wondering if I should aim to get to Plumley in 20 minutes to get the train back, go and sample to delights of Lache Dennis or could I make it all the way to Knutsford?. Its the kind of mico exploration I've come to love, exploring the detail of your area rather than getting transport to other places. Along this morning's route there is an organic farm which sells ice cream and has a wonderful view. A riverside ride which at points get a little too close to river for comfort and the ever pretty Whitegate Way. Its all here on the doorstep. Its all part of this mornings adventure. Total ride 17.25 miles, need for lie down and good book, total.

8 Aug 2010

Get a Proper Job



Had some other ideas to post but they have completely gone out of my head. So will post these musings instead. I justify myself constantly. Sometimes in response to challenges from others, sometimes just because its what I do. This role as an artist, which I'm playing at present, isn't seen as a proper job. For a start at the moment it doesn't bring in enough hard cash to support us, secondly it doesn't involve going to a place away from home to work for someone else and there are probably a whole host of other thirds. I see it being useful. I see it being challenging but I still justify. Was also thinking that artists are more commonly involved in experiments where as others feel that they are into presenting conclusions.

6 Aug 2010

Extreme Starvation Diet



Am thinking about doing starvation diet in a more extreme way for a week in September. The plan so far is to eat only rice and porridge for a week and only drink water. To help me in my quest I would really like at least 5 other people to take on the challenge of doing the standard Starvation Diet for that week. This would mean resisting things you don't need to eat, luxury items, snacks, expensive meals out etc and donating the money saved to charity via my Just Giving site of to another starvation related charity of your choice. Reading the book I'm on at the moment has really given me food for thought and made me think about my actions for future generation as well as just thinking across the globe. If anybody wants to join me do let me know by commenting below. If you want to express an opinion on my plan also feel free to comment below. All comment are moderated just to make sure I don't get loads of junk mail comment on here so can take a little while to go on line but will get there eventually.

4 Aug 2010

Starvation Through Time



Am reading a very grizzly but thought provoking book at the moment called "Bread Of Dreams" by Piero Camporesi. It looks at starvation through history in Europe. Heart warming chapter headings include, "The Disease of Wretchedness" and "Sacred and profane Cannibalism." Came across the word Autophagy, which was a new one for me (google it if you wish as a description here would all be too much)and notes of people eating the elderly to secure the lives of the young. It made me think again about our place in history. I've previously wrote about our lucky geographical and historical placing. Lucky to be born in place time in this era. A recent radio program on money was saying that my generation will not have the economic benefits of the baby boomers, those born 1945-50. There will not be the same opportunities to buy cheap houses and see the prices rocket until you sit on a nest egg, there will not be the opportunity to walk into a job for life or expect to retire at 60 on a good pension. What we have just witnessed in the last 50 years may be unique. The boom in food supplies, the mobility due to oil may soon come to a close. Fingers crossed we don't have to ask questions previously asked in the not so distant past like "can we ever eat human flesh without sinning?" or "when should we pile granny on the bonfire?". I know that I am straying into perverted territory here but maybe it is only by virtue of our extreme privileged times that we are able to find these questions so abhorrent and I am finding this book such sickening reading.

As one of the past commentators on this blog noted, extreme poverty can bring with a very different perspective, even maybe a different morality. However I like to remain less pessimistic about our future than the last few paragraphs might indicate. Maybe we in the West will suffer some of the extremes of the past or current other world but it will probably be how we react which will determine the true decline into wretchedness. I was pondering about how it may be the thoughts like "Let them fend for themselves, I'm keeping all this for myself." which are just one step away from drugging Granny up on Hemlock and feeding her to the kids. Both things come from the same pragmatic striving for individual survival. In fact maybe our current morality is more perverted than that because it is not survival we are aiming for it is luxury. We do, however know that we can work beyond that way of thinking, things like empathy exists in the human mind, compassion and love. If we allow these things to prompt us into action for the good of everyone maybe the future will be less bleak. It is with this in mind that I need to look to those less fortunate, either geographically or in terms of the future, galvanise myself and stop slipping off the wagon. To be repelled by the stories from history and in the same breath resign others to chocolate slavery or eat food brought about at the cost to future generations so that I can have more would surely make me a hypocrite.

26 Jul 2010

To binge or not to binge?

Another picture of cake, the blog is thick with them.




Next post birthday dilemma. Left overs. Two cakes, some biscuits and a box of chocolates. In terms of putting on weight I wonder if it is better to eat them all in one sitting to get them out of the house or to spread them out. Any idea anyone?

Its my Birthday and I'll Eat if I want to


I ate lots of cake and dips and bread and the like this weekend. Had to, it was my birthday. I also drank some hard liqueur and a bit of soft liqueur too. But in my defence I made almost everything myself and "Mum didn't go to Iceland", not even once. Now I know just how many bars of chocolate went into those chocolate brownies. Started with two bars of fair trade but ethics took a nose dive when I realised I needed at least 400 grams more. The birthday spread included Home baked bread. I'll post the fool proof recipe soon. Such a smug feeling to unveil my walnut and pesto bread in its rustic wooden tray. Even went all 70's and baked a honeyed ham. Next recipe down from the ham in the book was a calfs head. Call me squeamish but I shy away from any recipe with the word Nostrils in it. I'll spare you all a posting of that recipe. Feel a bit guilty about the chocolate brownie chocolate not all been fair trade now, need to keep putting my mouth where my mouth is. Probably can't condone slave labour just cause its my birthday.

12 Jul 2010

Man, That Hurt



I've been busy lately and not keeping on top of noting my resists. Lame excuse I know but true non the less. Serves me right though 'cause I added it all up today and, even with the days I can't remember what I might have resisted, it came to £45.48. A lot of this was resisting taking my Dad out for dinner after he had dome some DIY for me. I love meals out but when you place their price in this context you see that they are a real extravagance. That meal would have cost around £20.00. The £20.00 now banked with practical action could feed over 20 people for over a day.

When we have odd bits and bobs to get rid of we call a man who sells it on a car boot to raise money for schools in Ghana. We call him father Christmas because he has a long white beard and a kind giving heart. Don't remember Santa driving a robin reliant van so the similarity may stop there. He told me last time he took some bits that a school in Ghana would cost them £1,000 to build. Money stretches so much further in other countries.

Weight Loss Shoes

This site by Dominix Wilcox never fails to amuse and impress me. Could his scale shoes be the way to constantly monitor my weight loss? (p.s. not really contemplating this, just tongue in cheek)

http://variationsonnormal.com/2010/04/27/weight-watcher-footwear/

30 Jun 2010

Misery Meals Down The Pub



I have had a bout of the poor mes. Where is my life going? What is the point? Nobody loves me, everybody hates me. Lots of introspective clap trap which just lurked up on my over the weekend. I know its a waste of time. I know it makes me an ugly thinker. But sometimes you can't help it. In an effort to alleviate this it seemed that a meal at the pub was in order. We had a lovely time, me and my son, listening to the very small loop of music on the CD to the point where we didn't care that Tom Petty was Free falling again. The food was ok. My son bought us pudding. It lifted my mood to be chatting to my son, joking and putting the world to rights. Was it worth the money though? If I had resisted I'd have to be paying £30.00 into the charity pot. It seems like a lot to donate to charity not so much when I handed over my card at the end of the meal. Not quite sure what all this means but just thought it important to blog it.

21 Jun 2010

A Guilt Free Weekend


I decided that this weekend would be guilt free. I would eat as I please. Crisps with a film, cake after tea, kebab for the take away, beer and cheap cider. I find however that I'm not as good at it as I used to be. I don't enjoy it so much. Its the difference I feel in my stomach I think. Normally it is pretty well behaved but as I pile in the junk food it gets to feeling bloated and grumbly. I don't so much like the taste left in my mouth as I used to. Msg doesn't taste as yummy as it used to, sugar rush isn't quite as good. It doesn't leave me craving more, just wanting to go upstairs and brush my teeth. I suppose all this is a good sign. A sign that my diet has changed and I have somehow educated those tiny buds which litter my mouth.
Taking my son and his chum out for a bike ride to the lake turned out to be the most indulgent bit of the weekend.

18 Jun 2010

Activity Log


Activity Log for the past few months just uploaded to the starvation diet section of my web site. Its an effort to make sure that I don't just sit in avoiding food and getting no exercise. Apologies for those of us of an aesthetic persuasion, the web page and sheet itself is pretty ugly in the style of fluffy diet type literature.

http://www.bethbarlow.com/completed_pages/starvation_diet.html

Navel gazing whilst the world is going to hell in a hand cart




When I was much younger, so much younger than today (bet you will be singing the song all day now) I worked for a very brief spell as a care assistant in elderly people's homes. I went to see one chap who was still all there but who couldn't command his body enough to do basic things like getting ready for bed. We had a chat which has stayed with me all my life. It was about art. He told me that he didn't think women could be good artists because we are too introspective. I don't agree with his generalization but it has given me lots of food for thought. I was reminded of that conversation this morning during one of my thoughts for the day (yes sometimes I have several). I've encountered several groups of late who are interested in self reflection, inner growth, stepping away from society at large. I started to wonder if these folks are spending too much time in this inner journey to consider the practical facts that the world and people in it need our help. Can this penchant for inner growth simply be another reflection of the cult of the individual which I think is a major contributing factor to some of our ills. Got that off my chest now, can go back to filling in the backlog of starvation diet log sheets.

To lobby or not to lobby?

Friends of the earth Campaign to lobby government and make changes to food feed policy. I recently heard a women speak at a conference and her point of view was that personal actions are negligible and spending our energy on lobbying was the way forward. I think its not an either or thing and there should just about be time for both.

2 Jun 2010

16 miles, singin' in public, so proud







Cycled up to Kelsal Via Delemere. There are some monster hills up that way. The photo depicts me half way up one such hill. Always a believer in having something to cycle to, this time no exception. Chester Folk festival the target. Got there knackered and strangely light noggined and headed to the pub. Felt good to tie up my bike knowing that I'd not just jumped in a car to get there. 2 O clock found me sat in an event called a singaround. I was expecting a nice sing along ensemble type bit but the lady next to me informed me that they go around the room and everybody has a solo sing. Several options: run for door, stage dramatic coughing and spluttering fit when my go came round or wrack my brain for something remotely folk which I wouldn't murder. Feel the fear and do it, stick your mustard to the sticky post (or something like that). I did a passable version of Pete Seeger's, "Sometimes I feel like a motherless Child" (a real party tune). Not too many squeaks or missed notes. Felt brill after. Good to step out of the comfort zone. Felt so good that I decided to cycle all the way back and not cheat and jump on the train at Delemere. Decision may also have been tinted by the big piece of cake I ate at Delemere Station Cafe.



Biggest ride this year and starting to realise that I won't die if I get out of breath.

26 May 2010

Question Time

What one thing;

directly kills 1.2 million people worldwide a year

causes injury to 50 million people a year

kills or injures many more poor people than rich people

kills or injures more children than any other age group?

A growing list of really nice things

To keep on top of my vow to try and eat only things which are really nice I'm making a list and checking it twice(sorry couldn't resist the Christmas song link. I'm actually just making it, not checkin it twice at all. This will grow as, hopefully, I find more and more nice things or other people suggest them and I venture to check them out.

Coffee and Walnut Cake from The Hollies Farm Shop in Little Budworth You can almost excuse them calling it a "Concept Cafe" Whatever the monkeys that is, I've not encountered many concepts over my coffee and cake thus far.


Flourless chocolate cake from Cafe Curio, near the bridge in Berwick Upon Tweed
Of course it may only be quite this memorable if you have just slip slidded through the snow to get there.

Almost anything from The Goshawk pub, just off the train at Mouldsworth Particular memories of a deep fried Jam sandwich which I don't think they sell anynore, Shame.

Bread from the Cheshire Smokehouse Especially when you have been bus hoping from Knutsford and sit on the green to eat it.

Banana and date Cake from my oven
when I get round to stirring it up and putting it there.

Cakes at Delemere Forest Station Cafe best when you have raced up on your bike just in time before they close for the day.

To be continued. Please feel free to post comments with your suggestions for me to check out.

Elderflower cordial hunter gatherer










In the olden days, much further back than those olden days that older people say were much better, women would be the gatherers. Spending long amounts of time foraging with the aim of staying alive. The thrill of the hunt was all very well and good but it was these hours of spine bending stooping, looking and picking which formed the bulk of early humans diet with meat only on the menu once in a while. I can't say that I had all this in mind when I set off on my bike to find elderflower. I was inspired by a lovely matt paged book called Homemade by Ros Badger and Elspeth Thompson. It features things to make each season. Being spring/summer the thing to make is elderflower cordial. What started me thinking about being a gatherer was the process of doing this. You begin to see nature differently when you are looking for something in it. Its not just a background to your activities it is your activities. The book said that I needed 10 flower heads. The flower heads were high up, this would require a tool, a forked twig was employed for the job of pulling down the branches. 10 flower heads in the bag and a conversation with some nearby goats later I set off back towards home. But it wasn't in the same vein as usual. I stopped my bike three times along the way. One was to pick some more flowers from a much healthier looking crop I spotted closer to home. The next to cut some beautiful white lilac to go in a vase and the third at the local shops to buy further supplies for my brew. All mixed up and sat for 48 hours under a cloth in the pantry it could turn our tasting really bad but that probably doesn't matter too much. Life's enjoyment is most probably directly proportional to the amount of effort you put into it. Modern day life aims to make everything easier, more convenient. You can pick up any nationalities food processed and packaged from a supermarket shelf. If this was all so great why does it always feel so fulfilling when you do things like bake a cake and it comes out roughly cake like, travel to get something you really want to eat, walk miles and suck on an orange at the top of a hill? Our memories aren't made up of things like, "Do you remember that time we went to the shop and bought a packet of Findus crispy pancakes (other crispy pancakes available). Aren't memories often made up of the times we inconvenienced ourselves and really felt the glow of our efforts.

Oxfam fundraising group


Have got involved in the start up of an Oxfam group in the local area. It was nice to have the odd trip to Manchester to take part in their events but will be even better to be involved in something closer to home. The other ladies (for we are all women so far) seem really nice with a good mix of skills. Hopefully the more strategic organised ones will help keep my creative feet on the ground. We decided to keep the committee to about 5 people to make sure it manageable and at the last meeting there were about 3 places left. We also decided that there may be folks out there who want to get involved but not so intensely. With this in mind we need to make it easy for people to help out at specific events or just keep up to date with what we are up to. Ideas flying around thus far are sports challenges, tea parties, fashion shows, geocaching events etc etc etc, the list goes on and on. So if anybody reading this fancies a challenge to help make the world a better place drop me an e mail bethbarlow@bethbarlow.com

Walk the world

25 May 2010

Starvation diet T shirts-help needed



I want to create a starvation diet T shirt. It will have drawn on it the outline of a woman my age who is starving. This will help draw the direct comparison between me as a healthy, lucky eater and another person who is starving. Trouble is I'm finding it really hard to find statistics on the size of a starving woman. Grizzly stats I know but they must be out there somewhere.

Another 4 pounds floats off into the ether




11.7 Pounds is the new weigh in. Will post it to the weigh in maps here soon. http://www.bethbarlow.com/completed_pages/scales_map.html

That is another 4 pounds lost since last time. Need to refocus somehow though on the other side of the coin, those starving. As I loose more weight I am getting a bit more self focused. My feet look like the feet of an old lady. See there I go again, self obsessed.

Getting up whimpy's hill






There is a hill near to us which the kids tell me is called Whimpy's hill because some kids were once playing on go kart's on it and anyone who failed to go down was called a whimp. I don't know if that is really how it got its name but I like the idea that young people can have an affect on naming things which everybody then assimilates into their language about an area. So, as you can guess its a pretty steep hill. Going down it I almost whoop and think that if I was brave enough I could spread out my arms and take off. Probably would just spread out my arms and very rapidly spread out myself and bike across the tarmac but its a nice fantasy. The great thing about Whimpy's hill however is that it allows me to see that I am getting fitter. I go up it on my bike at least once a week. Before I'd go up it and still be heavy breathing when I got home now I get to the top and am hardly out of breath. Before I used to avoid Whimpy's hill now it heralds a minor victory over my aversion to physically pushing myself. Knitting today so encounter with the hill on the cards. Will take a picture and post it.

24 May 2010

Summertime


I find that I can wear shorts this summer without squinting critically at my legs. Now I am just squinting critically at all the detritus which seems to be on my studio floor.

21 May 2010

Big Pizza, feel sick





Allowed myself to be convinced into getting a 12 inch meat feast pizza for me and George. After two pieces thought, "Full now". But it seems that an open pizza box is still an empty pizza box. George set in for his last piece. "I could leave my last piece" I thought. But no. Feel sick now. Not guilty though. Just think I've learnt my lesson. Stop. Have it tomorrow for dinner have it for breakfast just don't jam it in when you are already full up. In the words of my mothers weight watchers inspired mantra "don't use yourself as a dustbin.".

15 May 2010

I need a Nurse




I need a nurse or some other qualified individual to tell me where the measuring points should be for the Choke and Rope Technique. Once they have marked them on I'm off to the tatoo parlor to have them marked on. If you are such a qualified person and want to help out please let me know either through a comment here or by e mailing me at bethbarlow@bethbarlow.com