An honest try

Wednesday August 17, 2005

I slept a little late again today but woke refreshed and, after only one mug of coffee, started in on getting the house clean and tidy again for the next viewing, just in case. That done, I hopped into the car and drove off over the country roads in blazing sunshine to do my delayed provisioning. I took my lunch in Tesco’s, topping up my fat levels in a continuing emergency programme designed to get my internal systems flowing again.

The trouble with an ultra low-fat diet, healthy or not, is a tendency to intestinal overload with little regular release. Then it stops being healthy and starts being painful. I should have known. Yesterday’s comfort food helped, and lunch today—sausage, chips and beans—will likely restore normality but I’m going to have to find a way of adding some healthy fat to the diet, fat with what they call ‘good’ cholesterol these days. The most approachable sources of healthy fat are nuts, avocados, and olive oil. Can’t chew nuts too well these days with my poor old worn-out teeth, and I’ve never been over-fond of avocados, so it comes down to olive oil. Fortunately, I love both olives and olive oil so I shall add a handful of ripe black olives to my dinner, and slurp a big spoonful of olive oil every day. I’ll get it balanced, see if I don’t, and then the need to eat comfort food will come along even less frequently.

This diet is more a matter of finding a healthy, convenient way of putting good food on the table for myself while I’m on my own than any misguided attempt to lose weight by eating less. Combined with the increased physical exercise however, it’s having a marked effect on my waistline. Like as not I’m losing a few pounds, too, but I can’t verify that because I long ago ceased weighing myself, and condemned the bathroom scale to the back of a cupboard. Weight watching is for younger people. They have time to put things right.

Actually, I’m doing very well, both physically and psychologically. I had a good fit of bad temper yesterday after my two-times carpet treader fooled her way back into the house but there’s nothing wrong with a good fit of bad temper now and again. Just so long as it doesn’t become a way of life.

My temper, generally, is equable, as is my outlook. There’s passion in me still, of course there is, but it tends to find expression in creative rather than self-destructive ways. There’s hope for me yet.

I still don’t understand the elderly carpet treader’s lax approach to the truth. I find that, as I get older, I have a need in me to get closer and closer to the truth. Slowly but surely it becomes easier and infinitely more desirable to tell and to live the truth than to indulge in porky-pies. Working on the principle of saying nothing if you can’t find something good to say, you don’t have to tell all the truth of course. Finally, I appreciate the beauty of the old saying about silence being golden.

There’s an added advantage to this approach. An old man who keeps his own counsel is often taken, or mistaken, as being wise. No harm in having a reputation for quiet wisdom, no harm at all. Even if it’s not entirely justified.

When you’re young, untruths aren’t so bad. Let’s face it, as with weight-watching, you have time to make up for your innocent untruths. That doesn’t necessarily apply when you get older. I told my share of fibs when I was younger, most particularly when it came to putting a CV together. Or, perhaps, not fibs so much as a creative telling of the actuality.

Well, I do the best I can not to do that anymore and to divest myself of ancient untruths so long as I can do so without hurt. Some youthful untruths cover hurtful things and there’s no profit in uncovering them in public. There’s more than one reason for the secrecy and privacy of the confessional.

The day hasn’t been all peace and light, though. I took it into my head to write a formal sonnet in classical form, and have been sweating over it all day, breaking off now and again to have a good curse at the obstinacy that words exhibit when you try to herd them into a prescribed form. Hey ho. I may succeed with it, and I may not. I shall be happy if I do, and happily satisfied that I’ve made an honest try if I don’t.



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