The Good Life

“Lack of pep is often mistaken for patience”

Kin Hubbard

There was a BBC comedy called ‘The Good Life’ – that was about two couples who were direct opposites to the other, and that is what made the comedy, comedy, and so very funny, but what I am telling now is not comedy per se, just about the Good Life that causes illnesses such as Gallstones.

The populace at large in the Western World is eating better and richer food than ever in the history of mankind. Yes, we are eating like the kings and royalty were in the olden times, every day. We were talking about this the other day with friends and I mentioned that not so long ago there were foods that were considered to be special treats for very special occasions which were consumed only ever a few times a year; what I mean is the rich fatty foods — the kind of gallstones and other illness building nosh. People used to eat simple dishes most of the time, only eating rich foods in the events of joy and merriment such as weddings, feasts and such like when the buffet table was laid out in great abundance and variety.

When I was working in a hospital in Sweden, to see if I suited and wanted to be a nurse, the thing that surprised me the most was, that when the patient had been registered in, the first person even before the doctor to meet him/her was the dietician, who would chart the eating habits, the foods eaten and diet of the said patient. And, without an exception, everybody’s eating habits and the foods they ate were drastically changed. The dietician would put together a schedule of the recommended foods for the patient with the right amounts nutrients and other health promoting factors taken into account.I changed my own eating habits and what I ate, dramatically, from that time on. Here is a link to very interesting study in WHO Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases.

Since that time I have eaten daily vast amounts of fresh fruit, berries, vegetables and eating a mixed diet of varied meats, fish at least twice to three times a week. I began to use good quality olive oil and less salt and sugar as well. Although, how pure & clean the nature where they grow, is particularly after the Chernobyl ‘accident’, another matter altogether! That nuclear incident is still affecting Europe very much. It’s rarely mentioned in the media these days but the affects and the consequences of it are very present with us still. Isn’t it rather odd that all this so-called healthy foods – fruit, vegetables, et cetera – are so very expensive everywhere, and yet, they are the foods that are promoted and advised by the health ‘experts’ for the populace to eat in huge quantities! Mind-boggling as to why then they are so costly even in the countries that produce them.

Stamina or pep, whatever one calls it, is most necessary in order to keep one’s vitality in the art of living & life as is also to have an attitude of courage, contentment and guts. I am saying this as there since a few weeks back I seemed to have been suffering from something that I just could not put my finger to. I thought, maybe, it is the tail-end of the hay fever with the last of the weed pollen before the autumn sets in? But no, not that either. I do have love/hate relationship with the nature.

The what?! I wrote about it in this entry: ’Nature of the Nature: Hay Fever’. And the reason for my lack of stamina, which is so unusual as it rarely happens – wheat sensitivity – at present suspected, but to be confirmed. I know that the Wheat Intolerance – affects among other things: the gastro-intestinal tracts = stomach and the Wheat Allergy – affects the lungs etc., and can lead to an anaphylactic shock. So I know it’s not the allergy definitely, but most likely the first mentioned. Although, to what extent I am to avoid the wheat and/or other grains. I have to sort this out and get me menu corrected.

It may be it is the nasty thingies that are put aka sprayed on wheat to make the harvest to be huge, makes it so that people do become allergic to the whole thing more than the ‘wheat‘= the grain itself. I just wonder with all these sensitivities which are so common world over nowadays that, you see. People have been eating wheat for thousands of years and now suddenly, we are getting so highly sensitive to it!

Hmm… makes me ask questions.

I think also that the pollution, the fertilizers etc., and whatever GM- Genetically Modified stuff are done to the food we eat, is causing a build-up in our bodies and hence the feeling of unwell, ill-health and so on in the populations round the world. Hmm…


I think that the feeling of unwell last autumn that I thought was wheat that caused it, was a kind of prelude to what was to follow in these past few months. It was the food poisoning in June this year that set the show on the road – so the say – with the most horrendous pain and agony-ivy, and then the rich & fatty meals eating out other times that put the finishing touches on this Finn’s gallstones!! There is a whole selection of them in me gallbladder apparently – the ultrasound showed them, you see. I did ask the doc doing the ultrasound what the inside view was like in me guts and he said that it was jammers with a row of pepper-sized gallstones!

Quite galling really – innit?!!

Tis for now, Rii xx

*I think that a lot of the time when there is a lack of stamina or pep, it is food related and not depression per se; so really the patients should be given allergy/intolerance tests by the dozen and then as the last resort the pills!

Some Handy Links:
Wikipedia Portal: Health online

Bloodindex – Find nutrition values for common foods

WORLD HUNGER online site

Travelogue from Dublin: Coffee Shops

Village Square

It’s your very own tour guide Barbie here again doing her tour in the Emerald Isle – and yes, me cheeks are killing me with all that smiling…!! This time in the ‘logue it’s going to be about the cafes in the locale where I am staying at the moment and also of the cafes that I like elsewhere in this country. Here is a very handy link to touristing in  Ireland and in Dublin, in particular.

My very favourite cafe, Coolbeans, is in Bray where I just step in and really don’t have to have say a word and the things are served to me with speed and the accuracy of the pro. Just marvellous. I hadn’t been in there for two whole years and the staff remembered me name and all as I walked in there the other day as if I had never ever been away at all. Excellent.

There are some other favourite haunts of mine as well such as the Cafe an Seine – yes, it’s very O’ La La, French – which is situated right in the centre of Dublin on the Dawson Street. The pastries are outstanding and the coffee ab fab and the ambience – well, let’s say, very turn of the century as in the 19th century Paris. Another great French place is the cafe called, Cafe des Amis at the Alliance Francaise on the Kildare Street where the food, the pastries, the coffee and the prices are first class. I highly recommend both of these places.

In Dun Laoghaire one of my favourite places for cafes is Costas – a new place in the Pavillion in the centre of the town which is located upstairs of the most marvellous bookstore called Hughes & Hughes. Go n stuff your gullet in there at your leisure and enjoy the fab view! Then there is Walters, where the cappuccino is just right and the food in general extremely good and delicious. The GTI cafe cum restaurant on the George’s Street, that is the main street in Dun Laoghaire, is always great and the service is both humorous and precise. Here is a link to Dun Laoghaire tourism online site.

The Cafe Javas are these days in nearly ‘every’ place around Dublin, but in my mind the best of the lot is the one in the corner at the lower end of the Leeson Street in Dublin. They are consistently fab and better somehow than the other branches for whatever reason. The Bewleys’ Cafes were an institution but as the institutions go, they often lose their momentum and this is what has happened to them as well in my mind. Shame.

Tis for now from your guide in the Emerald Isle. The tour continues… Riihele xx.

The photograph is the village square in Enniskerry, County Wicklow taken by me.

Travelogue from Dublin: Eating out & Restaurants

Japanese Bridge

I said in my last logue that I would be writing about eating out in Ireland – and here it comes! The cuisine in Ireland has evolved to be very international indeed. When I think back to the time that I first arrived in these shores and how impossible or nigh impossible it was to get the ingredients to the dishes that I cook; every time it was a treasure hunt of a kind to get them all together! There is a delicatessen cum specialty shop, Cavistons, in Sandycove – just a few kilometres south of Dublin on the coast – that has the most comprehensive selection of all kinds of everything that one possibly could need in the art of cooking.

Yes, cooking is art most definitely. I remember our Home Economics teacher in Finland saying that: ”Girls, do always remember that cooking is art.” And we were like – ‘oh sure’ – but none us gave a smart-alec remark on the same; not even me, because she was a great teacher and she gave us the freedom to experiment and learn a great deal about everything concerning the cooking and the home economics in general. Later in life I did come to see that the teacher was absolutely right in her thinking.

Not so long ago the choices of eating out here were the pub grub of dried sandwiches and soup that had seen better days or the very expensive but not particularly fancy hotel food. Then bit by bit came the other eateries of the more reasonable bistro/ taverna-style places: Vino Pasta is one of the restaurants that I have liked from the moment they opened in Greystones, County Wicklow. Their food is always first class in taste, in presentation, and in the way it is served. Chicken Gorgonzola is my all time favourite in there. Yummy.

The title of the one of the oldest restaurant in Ireland goes to the place where our wedding reception was in Dublin many moons ago: The Beaufield Mews in Stillorgan, County Dublin. – Ireland has no postal codes so the places are in counties.- This place is in the very tasteful old mews buildings with the most gorgeous gardens and with an antique store as well. The evening out always started there with a glass of sherry either Winter’s Tale or Harvey’s Bristol Cream which were our choices. Many happy and delicious hours were spent in the locale by us and our guests. The menu there is outstanding and I have tried the lot more or less so everything there should be first class with the most excellent corteous service. The prices are on the high side on the scale but worth it.

This time most of my eating has been in Enniskerry, County Wicklow village just a few kilometres south from Dublin where I am staying and where there is a great pub of the new style that is more of a restaurant than the old style pub called, The Enniskerry Inn. The food is good and well presented and the service is friendly as well there. The menu is comprehensive and everything is tasty that we have tried in there. The prices are around the 10 to 20+ euros per dish. The desserts are about five plus euros each and the coffee about 2.50 €.

Also in Enniskerry is the Main House in Powerscourt that has two excellent restaurants run by the Avoca Handweavers where one can eat royally and fairly reasonably in the surroundings fit for a king. Most of my photographs of this travelogue have been and are from there. The food is poetically gorgeous; yes, am vaxing lyrical here… The prices are not expensive about the same as the ones that I quoted above which seems to be the price range at present. Here is a handy link to the facilities in the Powerscourt Estate.

Bon Appetit y’all!

Tis for now yet again. I will write about coffee shops later on. Riihele xx.

The photograph is a bridge in the Japanese Gardens in the Powerscourt Demesne in Enniskerry, County Wicklow taken by yours truly on a toasty hot day.

Travelogue from Dublin: Eating, Food and Such

Walled Garden

About food, eating and the like is what I am going to write a few words in this entry today on the Travelogue from Dublin. The green, green grass of the Emerald Isle makes the cattle and also the sheep to produce the most tasty meat on this planet, I should think.

Before I arrived in Ireland in 1980, I had become more or less a vegetarian because the meat in Sweden tasted absolutely foul so that I couldn’t eat the thing without feeling ill, so my solution to the problem was not to touch the meat at all. I must say that I did feel much better by not eating the meat over there. In Israel and in Finland and any other country I am all right eating the meat, it was just the meat in Sweden at that time that caused problems to me. I have eaten meat again in Sweden while visiting and it was okay for me to eat it with no dire consequences.

The very first T-bone Steak that I was served in a guest house in County Wexford was the size of the enormous plate where it was amid the garnish and the spuds winning me over to be a carnivore once and again. Needless to add that it was poetry in the dining! The European Union in its quest to be useful to the citizenry came out one year with a ban on the t-bone in the T-bone Steak, so for a good while twas forbidden to sell and to serve, but I believe, it is all right again by the bigwigs of the EU to have and to hold, even to eat it with relish. Excellent.

Ireland is famous for its great lamb as well, in particular, the Wicklow Lamb, that we used to buy at our butcher’s  who also as a farmer grew his own meat with such skill and care that the taste came through in all the meat he sold. The County Wicklow, which in Ireland is my home county, is also known as the Garden of Ireland due to its lush growth and the rolling green hills with the fresh, clean air to boot. I used to roast the lamb in the oven with lavendar (fresh or dried), cinnamon, fresh garlic, pepper and salt drizzled with honey and the best quality olive oil and serve it with the Roast Potatoes – raw potatoes cut in good size chunks, plenty of herbs as in dill and parsley, olive oil and butter with some gorse sea salt cooked in the oven until golden. Then, of course, with the seasons I would serve it the fresh green salad and other salads or in wintertime with the Ratatouille – the French roasted vegetables of aubergine, zucchini, et cetera. Delicious.

And last but not the least is the fish which is plentiful on this island of a nation. Although, the Irish themselves are/were not so keen on the harvest of the seas surrounding them. At first I could not understand why until I was given the typical fish dish on these shores at the time: the smoked cod with the white sauce and the mashed peas from the dried ones, steeped in water overnight and boiled to death! Terrible, absolutely dreadful, so it is. This was the tradition in here for every Friday being a day for ‘fasting’ – as in no red meat to be had on that day.

I had my work cut out for me in changing the thinking of himself and our Irish guests on the eating fish and considering it to be delicious. I grew-up by the vast river in Lapland that made the border between Finland and Sweden, so I am and have always preferred fish as in the wild salmon, white fish and the like to be superior to the red meat. It was served simply but always so very tasty that one could not help but to love it. That same approach I did with the fish in Ireland as well and it worked.

The Irish Brown Bread is well-renown the worldover, and rightly so, because it is so tasty and yummy. It’s fairly simple to make oneself as the ingredients are not expensive neither is it complicated to produce only really requiring the time and the bother to bake it. At present it is my breakfast toasted and lashed with humous and for the choice of the morn beverage at the moment it’s strong herbal tea. So my breakfast is a kind of ‘west meets east’ and grand so tis.

Tis for now. I will write about eating out later on. Riihele xx.

The picture is of a walled garden in the Powerscourt Demesne in County Wicklow taken by moi on a toasty hot Saturday.