Saturday, 18 January 2014

Gluten bloomin' free

As you can probably tell from the title, I'm not entirely happy. You see, I decided to get a few things before going off the gluten free stuff for the week leading up to my O.G.D. on the 27th. I need to have gluten in my system so that the symptoms will show up that day. No, I am not looking forward to the symptoms but that's not the subject I'm unhappy about
in this particular blog post. Anyway, I got a few gluten free things to keep me going until I do my full grocery shopping later. Aldi doesn't do a specific gluten free section like Super Valu, which is where I got the few things. The thing I'm not happy about is the price. €25.30 for a few items I paid for at the "10 items or less" checkout. I would easily have come in under €20 (if not €15) at Aldi for the same amount of items.
So the plan is to shop as I did before the blood test diagnosis and compare the spend. I think I will save up to €25. Before going gluten free I could budget for between €30 and €40 for groceries each week. Now I stop counting the spend at €50 and there are still a couple of receipts I wouldn't have looked at. I have a short term strategy to deal with it. But, with a much higher percentage of coeliac and gluten intolerant people in this country than the UK, shops in this country need to cater for that market and bring regular shoppers along as a healthy option as well. And those that do already need to give more affordable choice and value to their range.
So the message to Aldi and Super Valu is: give people like me the same type of affordable choices that everyone else has.
P.S. I just want to add something to this. The receipt on the left is for 10 items in Super Valu. The one on the right is for 14 items in Aldi. €25.32 for ten items vs €20.38 for fourteen speaks for itself. If only all the Aldi items could be gluten free.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Holidays

Hi guys! How did the holidays go? I got my holidays a week before Christmas. It was a nice long holiday because I didn't come back to work until the 6th of January. Christmas was ok this year. I suppose the fact that I had been working before this holiday season meant I was so glad of the break that I wasn't as bored as last year. Even though it was two weeks of doing very little. I went to my sister's for Christmas dinner. A lovely day was had in Ballybunion. I stuffed myself as usual. My sister and I went for a walk with her dog and I remember hearing a constant thundering rumble in the distance. It was the sound of the Atlantic ocean battering the shore and the big waves rumbling in the wind. I didn't quite make it down to the beach that day. By the time we went for a walk, it was already getting dark and when we saw threatening looking weather blowing in form the Atlantic we decided to turn back.  Speaking of visiting siblings, my younger brother and another sister live only a mile away from my parents' house, so it was handy to walk down and visit them and my nieces when things were too quiet at home. I also took the opportunity to play a few tunes on my nieces' guitars as well, which was fun. Maybe I should try and take up the guitar myself again because I was rusty but some tunes still came as naturally to me as when I used to play them all the time. My older brother visited a couple of days as well. The new woman in his life is very nice.
Overall I didn't eat as much over the 2 weeks as I normally would at that time of year. I had to be careful of what I ate since having to avoid gluten. I remember the rest of them eating cake and pizza and biscuits and I couldn't have any because of the gluten in them. I bought gluten free biscuits in the shop one evening as a result. I did have a little bit of glutenous (is that a word?) food in the latter end because I was due to go to Galway hospital for an O.G.D. on the 3rd of January to confirm the coeliac diagnosis that a blood test showed in September. So I needed to display symptoms for that.
It got quite stormy at times. I was woke one morning, before Christmas day, by thunder and lightening. Another night I was watching tv and the wind was quite wild. It must have battered the ariel because the picture on the tv got quite shaky. Thankfully we avoided the power cuts affecting some parts of the country. I didn't mind the storms. The biggest thing to bug me was the fact that mobile phone signal is so weak at the parents house, and indeed the whole parish, that sometimes there was no signal at all.
But the storms did affect me in the end. My sister and her children's father were supposed to take me to Galway for my O.G.D.appointment. My dad decided to drive me to her house in the morning, even though she could easily have come up for me in her car... or so I thought! Just down the road a few metres from the house was the sart of a few straggling wires on the road that had been broken off the poles by the violent winds that night. We got to the village and stopped before the bridge because the fire brigade were blocking it. There was an exceptionally high tide that morning, combined with low atmospheric pressure, that flooded the village on the other side of the bridge. I made the decision to call the hospital to cancel my appointment. My mom told me how she heard on the radio that the Shannon had burst it's banks and flooded the road near Foynes. My brother couldn't go to work as a result. Conditions were not safe for travelling and the lady in Galway hospital was very accommodating, obviously understood the situation and arranged another appointment. The sun came out that afternoon and when the flood waters receded I decided to visit my sister. She didn't make it to Galway with me, but she wasn't at home. She said she evacuated when she got the chance. It was an appropriate word. She was wise to do so because the flood returned the following night. I was not going to come back to Gort until the Sunday. I had planned to return to my parents' after the O.G.D. But when that was cancelled I decided to return on Saturday on a relatively calm afternoon weather-wise. The wind was due to pick up again on Sunday and I didn't want to get stormed in and miss days at work.
Looking back, I didn't think the holidays were quite as dramatic as reading this back suggests. But I suppose it was. Maybe that's another reason why I wasn't so bored this year.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy new year

Happy 2014 people. Just a quick one today, since I hadn't posted a blog in a while. It's my intention to blog about my festive season here in Ballylongford when I blog again. I also hope to express a few personal political views in the next while as well. But for now I hope you all had a great Christmas and have a great new year.