Friday, March 14, 2014


All goes well. I am inclined to think that yesterday's smidgen of improvement has continued.

The dr was less than bowled over by the “abnormal” ECG. He has referred me to cardiology for an “echo” which will make the diagnosis more precise, and has doubled the dose of diuretic which he says should relieve the symptoms of weakness and breathlessness. The diagnosis being, as far as I understand, a thickening of the wall of the left ventricle, making the pump less efficient. AND he doubts whether cider is the main causal factor – he prefers old age. Go for the simpler explanation first, he said – another follower of William of Ockham. Also, my liver is in good condition.

I will have to wait some weeks for cardiology, which is a bore. But once it's done, further drugs can be prescribed.

He clearly knew what Weston's Vintage Cider was, and likes an occasional bottle of it himself. We told him the Whole Truth.

Greek Helen is safely here, so it is hard to know whether I really feel better or am just enjoying the Helen-effect. She says I look as I usually do: I wondered about that; it is hard to tell, peering at oneself in a mirror. It's reassuring to hear her say it.

The Milano is hers, a belated 51st birthday present, all unblocked and even un-steam-ironed. I will see that we get a picture before she leaves. It looks good on her.


The Rose Elliot Bean Book turned up yesterday, AND “Heirloom Beans” from Rancho Gordo, sent by my sister. The former looks pretty austere (I got the first edition, remember), breathing the spirit of Lord Woolton. Helen will have to point out the choice bits. I liked the critic who filed a review on Amazon full of praise, saying that if you found the recipes too bland you could always add a chilli.

“Heirloom Beans” looks wonderful. I will start with Spring Lamb and Flageolets, as soon as Helen is gone. She is a near-vegetarian. There are lots of big words I don't know, in this book. Some of them will be a simple question of translation, “cilantro” and “arugula”. Others will reflect the fact that you've got lots more beans and chillis and cactus's in the UsofA and I will have to make things up as I go along. But it will clearly be worth the adventure.

Knitlass, I'm sure you (and Kitchen Cabinet) are right, that canned beans are very good these days. I think Jamie Oliver says so somewhere, too, but I can't find the passage when I want it.

And, oh yes, Knitting

The 14th repeat of the centre of the Unst Bridal Shawl lacks only two rows. I haven't yet taken the promised picture. This is real progress – another fortnight,less, even, should get us on to the border.

Now I must get on with the day – an exciting one, as people are coming from London to talk to my husband about his Magnum Opus.


  1. I can help with half the translation - I know from watching "America's Test Kitchen" that cilantro is coriander, but no idea what the other one is. I'd look it up in my New York Times recipe book, but that is probably too old to mention these modern herbs.

    Have a really good day - pleasure is a really good medicine!

  2. Anonymous11:27 AM

    Yes, cilantro is the leafy plant (can be mistaken for flat parsley, but is much sharper taste) that grows from coriander seed. Arugula is a pungent, flat-leaf lettuce. It is known as "garden rocket" or "rucola". I suggest as a resource for translations.

  3. Glad to hear that you didn't get any awful news about cider, and if you have to wait for cardiology this must mean that you're not in imminent danger of collapse. Good news indeed.

  4. I am glad the doctor was helpful and calm and that it is not the cider's fault, I never thought it was (if I am entitled to an opinion from so far away and only via a blog!). Hope the increased meds help. Happy bean cookery.

  5. I went straight to your blog as I sat down with my tea, hoping for good news. More cider! Less worry! And how nice that Helen is here for you, at least for a few days. I have settled on Rebecca West, Return of the Soldier for my post Mansfield read. I am knitting a garment for the WWI film and wanted an appropriate accompaniment. I think it is very good. The other option was Parade's End, which is also on the kindle shelf.

  6. The first thing that I thought of when I woke up this morning was that I needed to get up and see what you had found out at the doctor's yesterday. I'm so relieved to hear that he doesn't think it's anything dire, and also that he has ruled out cider as a probable cause. I hope your day with The People from London went well. Enjoy every minute of your time with Greek Helen!

  7. As another commenter has mentioned, what's called arugula in the US is rocket in the UK, I believe. It's easily grown. In one of the seed catalogs I received this winter, they're even selling a variety called "Danish" so it should grow in Scotland. Greek Helen is a lucky girl, to have someone knit for her. Hope you enjoy her visit. And glad to hear you should be able to enjoy your cider now without qualms.

  8. Anonymous3:27 PM

    Thanks for the health update! Yes we really wanted to know the diagnosis.
    Rocket/arugula can be a very peppery green to throw into salads, pastas, soups etc. Sometimes it is not so peppery. It is very popular in North America to see plastic containers of baby arugula leaves ready to add to salads but I seem to prefer the bunches of larger leaves sold with the roots.
    enjoy the weekend!

  9. How interesting that a diuretic would help with symptoms like that. Swollen ankles would make sense - but breathlessness?
    You certainly sound more cheerful.

    1. If you have too much water in your system, it's in your lungs along with everything else, hence, breathlessness. That's why congestive heart disease (killed my husband) and emphysema (killed my father) are connected in my mind: both have to do with the heart not able to work efficiently, so there is too much fluid in the lungs, causing, among other things, breathlessness.

  10. Enjoy the Helen-effect and let's hope it is long lasting.

  11. =Tamar11:31 PM

    Here's hoping the increased diuretic helps. Canned beans are definitely faster than having to soak dried beans, but just so you know, my friends are telling me dire tales of the chemicals in the can lining (I still use canned foods). Congratulations on the shawl progress! Also, felicitations on the interest being shown in your husband's work, which is also partly yours due to the hours you've spent keeping the computers tamed.

  12. Lynne in Florida3:06 AM

    Arugula/rocket=Eruca sativa, if you care that much. Sorry about the e-mail - thought I was commenting. Ah, weel - I'm old too!

  13. Dried beans cook up really quickly in a pressure cooker! The modern ones are really easy to handle. And anyway, my technically very challenged mother did not have a problem with her old fashioned one 50 years ago.
    I hpoe the increased diuretic helps. Have a nice weekend! Best wishes from Germany.