starving the caveman day 2

Late yesterday evening wasn’t good. It seems that the caveman wakes up more in the evenings because he was banging on the walls by 10pm

I’m trying to evaluate how it feels. It seems to be a cross between anxiety – that horrible feeling in your tum and all the stomach muscles are tensing – and hunger. 

So far it seems to be a purely physical discomfort. 

I did end up having to have a very brief vape before going to bed. Just to take the edge off. 

Fortunately the anxiety/cravings/withdrawal seem to “reset” somewhat during the night as I woke this morning not feeling as “needy” as when I went to sleep.

The working day wasn’t too bad. I definitely had to hold my tongue and censor my thoughts a few times though. Speaking ones mind at work – especially about work – is never a good idea. 
I think the agitation was mainly withdrawal with a tiny bit of work frustration. 

Anyway, I got through work ok. 
The evening was also fairly ok too. I didn’t feel as anxious as yesterday but my body still doesn’t like not having a rollup (or several). Another very brief sip of the vape helped a tiny bit. 

So far… Two days without smoking. 

That is an achievement in itself

Starving the caveman. First day….

It’s Monday morning and it’s also my quit day. I have a weeks “buffer” – the suggested quit date is one or two weeks after starting the medication – but I’m hoping that I won’t need that. 

My last rollup was last night and it tasted really horrible. If I get major cravings then ill have to keep that in mind. 
10.00 coffee break

The caveman is asleep but occasionally wakes up grumbling. 

Normally I would have had between 5 or 6 rollups by now and coffee break is one of those “routine” moments. I’ll distract myself with a book and console myself that I have an “emergency vape” device if I get too twitchy.


Lunchtime 

And I’m feeling a bit agitated. Not sure if it’s withdrawal because I’m a bit anxious and bummed out about something unrelated. So far the occasional deep breath is helping
Evening

The caveman is awake and demanding. Deep breathing is not helping much. I’m feeling very twitchy now. Not cranky though, which is good. Thinking about the vape but so far I have not given in to it. I can justify going to bed in an hour or so. I can hopefully hang on to that. 

Ah. First day and this sucks monkey balls. 

The Magical City Of Edinburgh

Nossur! I am not trying to be overly dramatic by saying that. But let me ask you one thing… Are you a Potterhead? Well then, do you know that Edinburgh is actually the birthplace of The Boy Who Lived? Well then… if you don’t know what I am talking about, let me explain it to you in muggle terminology: “Edinburgh is actually the city where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter”.

Legend has it that J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter while sitting down at The Elephant House Cafe in Edinburgh. The cafe has the spot overlooking the Edinburgh Castle, and it’s been said that it was then the lady herself breathed the life into the boy wizard.

Well… I am not a massive fan myself, so I didn’t get in to the cafe. In my defence, the cafe was jam packed with Potterheads, and my phone was dying, so all I wanted at that time was to find a place to sit and plug. So apologies for not getting photos.

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But you know what? I am not surprised that Ms. Rowling got her inspiration in this city. Not only by looking at the magnificent looking castle, I believe. The city itself offers an unlimited number of inspiration — the kind of inspiration that actually urge you to write, if you are into writing.

No, I am not overselling it, I bought a notepad because somehow I had so many thing in my head to write down, random stuff. In the hand of a more capable author, I won’t be surprised that it could end up as ten magical years of Harry Potter.

I mean, look at it. The castle, the cathedral, all the museums… the people… As someone who’s got an unhealthy appetite to languages, my ears were constantly spoiled with foreign languages around me. If I closed my eyes (I didn’t, by the way — for safety reasons, obviously) I could hear them chattering in different dialects, and languages. All of them… are aliens there. For that magical moment, I felt the sense of belonging — that I wasn’t the only alien.

That’s my personal magic moment, of course.

But, what if you don’t do Harry Potter (or you don’t read at all), and you don’t like language like me (or you don’t care about things like that)? Could you find magic in Edinburgh? Sure you can…

You know who does magic? Yes… yes… white magic, black magic? WITCHES! Yes!

If you are into that sort of thing, there are billions of ghost tours and witch hunt tour and show scattered all over the oldtown. I didn’t do it though, I though I saved it until I go back there again with my grumpkins, preferably not during the summer though…

Starving the caveman .1

Saturday night/Sunday morning – 1 day before quit date.

Initially today – Saturday – was my planned quit date. I changed my mind and moved it to Monday because I figured that my first day might be easier with the distraction of work.

I took today as a kind of pseudo quit day. I tried to go as long as I could without having a rollup.

It wasn’t as horrible as I thought. I have had 3 today and managed until around 5 or 6pm before caving in and having my first.

The pills must be working because not only did I not get too twitchy during the day, I also didn’t actively want the rollups. They also tasted…. manky.

Hopefully I can do similar tomorrow. If I can either not smoke or only have a few then Monday will be easier.

Feeding The Alien: The Scottish Way

Where I came from, we have numerous regional food. Each province has their own way to do rice. Each city has their own kind of soup, or broth, or stew. Every time my friend and I talked about travelling locally, we would have a dedicated time of the day to savour the rich variety of food in my planet. Culinary travelling… That’s how we call it. Somehow, though, the possibility of local speciality food in Britain never occurred to me when I first arrived here.

Of course as time went by, I learned that faraway there on the South West part of the island they have Cornish Pasties, or here in Norfolk we are quite famous for our Cromer Crab. But that’s about it.

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British people are really good at making crisps, though. They’re very creative with these…

So, when I thought of travelling within the UK, culinary travelling has never crossed my mind. Yes, we do have gazillion castles, and ruins, and monasteries, and churches, and museums, and galleries, and everything that shouts history. But food… I remember one anecdote I heard before… “British people don’t have cuisine… They have food… ” Shame that I don’t really remember where I heard that.

The lack of finesse in culinary department was also depicted in Agatha Christie’s novel, where our beloved Belgian sleuth, Poirot had to deal with British food. That’s been the running joke, of course. I do love British food, and I think some of them are simply gorgeous. However coming from a culture that worship food, I can totally understand Poirot’s frustration

Therefore, after trying several fry-ups, and fish and chips, I have to admit that I didn’t have a lot of expectation about British food. And, all those rambling was just to justify my ignorance of Scottish food.

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The ignorant me thought that Scottish food means Oatcakes

 

 

The first time I went to Scotland was just to go to a rock concert. In the B&B, I was offered “Full Scottish Breakfast”. I was excited then, but I realised that what I got there was basically fry ups which the English called “Full English Breakfast”. I am pretty sure if you go to Cardiff, they will call it “Full Welsh Breakfast”. So, I have decided for a while, so that I wouldn’t offend anyone, I might just call it “The Fryups”.

Since then, and until I went to Edinburgh last week, I never went to Scotland anymore. My knowledge about Scottish food was limited to whisky, and oat — both in oatmeal and oatcake. Ooooh, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE oatcakes. Scottish rough oatcakes, plain — just the best way to enjoy it. And whisky… well, I am not so good at handling my alcohol, so I have to be careful with that pokey stuff.

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No, I haven’t drunk it yet. That drip of 25ml is the serving size
I did try local whisky in Edinburgh. My goodness, it felt like my face and throat melt on the first sip. I have to say though, the aftertaste was wonderful… In case you wanted to try it too, I tried: Highland Park 12 Year from Orkney. I tried it in Bar 50 in Edinburgh.

If you’re into a less pokey alcoholic drink, there’s also a local product called Hollyrood pale ale. Fruity and tasty, but if I have to choose, between both, I will pick the whisky.

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This one has a better serving size…
But the best thing about Scottish food is what I just learned on my last visit to Edinburgh. And it is called: Haggis.

Okay… a lot of people would ask about what Haggis actually is, but then when I explain they would go, “eeew…. you eat that?” Seriously, why the hell not? It is probably one of the best thing I have every tried. When I had my first bite of Haggis, it was the moment I questioned everything in life, and wondered to myself: How could I live without knowing anything about this food?

Well, it was a bit hyperbolic. But I am being serious about how tasty it is.

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No, I am not joking. This is a smaller portion.
I heard about Haggis for so many years from my grumpy darling, but only when I was in Edinburgh I got the chance to finally tasted it. It was not without struggle though. Most of Scottish food was served in a gigantic portion, which I could never be able to finish without hurting myself permanently. My opportunity came when I found a restaurant who served both Haggis, and children size fryup breakfast.

I asked the lady if I could swap the bacon with the haggis. Don’t… I know bacon is tasty, but trust me, there is world outside bacon. And the swap was worth every bite, okay? And with that, I owe a huge apology to Scotland for my ignorance about your food culture. Your Haggis has opened my eyes and satisfied my taste buds.

There you go… Scotland fed me, and it fed me well… I am a happy alien.

Starving the caveman….

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had quit smoking. It was a bit of a “bugger of a journey” but I managed it.

… For two months. Then I started smoking again.

I have no excuses, just reasons. Basically I had a big “stress event” and subsequently cracked open a pack of cigarettes that I had left over after quitting.

I knew that I was being reckless and I thought that I would stop after that packet. Guess what? I was wrong.

The addiction and compulsion kicked in scarily fast. Before I knew it I had finished the packet and bought some baccy. Then some more. The daily amount that I smoked ramped up quickly and I have ended up smoking a metric shit-ton of rollups per day.

What an idiot!

It’s taken me a while but something has clicked in my head and I’m going to have to try to quit

..again.
I was happy that my doctor allowed me to retry the course of anti-smoking pills. They are the only method that helped me to quit. I have already started them and set my quit date.

And so to the point of this post.

This will be the start of a sort of diary. I will be putting down what it’s like during the quitting process. Chances are it’ll be me moaning a lot about how it sucks but it might be interesting (and possibly helpful) to some who read it. I also expect some freaky weird dreams too (although if they are too freaky I may edit!)

I’m also hoping that it’ll help me too.
Why have I titled it “starving the caveman”?

It is because the pill apparently targets the “primitive” part of the brain – the “older” bit that used to (and does) deal with the more basic stuff and survival needs. And base urges.  That is opposed to the frontal lobe (or something) which deals more with logic and rational thinking.

… Basically the primitive part of the brain can be very persuasive and it’s demands of “I want” can drown out the “but it’s not good for you” response from the logical part of the brain.

I’m pretty sure that description isn’t technically accurate but it’s good enough for me.

The “caveman” is a persona that I have imagined to represent those “primitive” urges. In my mind he is tall, lanky, and brutish. He also carries a tree branch club. This persona will represent the “primitive” part of the brain and help me to visualise (and hopefully “conquer”) the feelings of withdrawal. Basically he is my addiction and my compulsion personified. The caveman is the bits of the brain that want the nicotine and as I stop smoking ill be starving the caveman of what he wants.

Dunno how twisted that logic is but it works for me.

My quit date is in a couple of days (although I could have up to 7 more days to quit) and I’m already trying to cut down to lessen the impact of cold turkey.

Fingers crossed!

The Holyrood…

If you do believe that you have to go to Westminster when you visit London, then for the same reason you should believe that you have to go to Holyrood when you visit Edinburgh. I am not comparing London and Edinburgh, although I did mention that originally I thought Edinburgh is just the Northern version of London.

Of course it is not, for example… as mentioned in the previous post, people in Edinburgh are kinder, and friendlier.

But if you think Westminster is important, it is not fair if you don’t see the same kind importance of Holyrood. Of course, I am talking about the two houses of Parliament. Uhm… is that how you said it? What is the plural form of “House of Parliament“? Is it “Houses of Parliament” or “House of Parliaments“?

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This is the Parliament House looks like if you approach it through Royal Mile
Anyway…

I think I made it too obvious before that I kind of interested in politics a bit. So, I made it my mission — weeks before my visit to Edinburgh, that I had to visit the Scottish Parliament Building. Since on BBC it’s been called Holyrood so many times, I made the assumption that it is located in Holyrood road. I mean… deduction process, hello?

BUT, to be honest, it is easier to find it if you get there through Royal Mile.

BUT, BUT, I think, if you decide to visit the Parliament House, you should still do it through Holyrood road. And this is why…

The Dynamic Earth

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I am not really sure why it is called so, but I think it is one hell of a modern architecture. It is an amphiteathre, and I kind of think it is meant to be used to host big events. When I was there, it was a little bit too early in the morning, so I don’t think it was open for public yet. The bright side: an obsturcted view, perfect for panoramic mode photoshoot.

Dynamic Earth is located in the end of Holyrood Road. It might seem like a dead end, but if you go further, you could see a little passage that would take you closer to the Parliament House, which would be just on your left hand side.

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And this is what you’ve got if you approach through Holyrood Road. Massive difference. You’re welcome…
But this is why I said you should approach the Parliament House through Holyrood Road, because, if you didn’t go straight to the left, you would see a kind of ampitheatric-ish garden where you can sit and nom your snack. Please do enjoy some view there, especially when the sun is shining, and you realise that you are protected by the massive range of mountains around you.

Walk straight ahead.

“But… But the Parliament House is on the left…,” I heard you say. Yes, Dear… a little detour won’t hurt. Afterall, like I said, there are good reasons why you took Holyrood road earlier, didn’t I?

Yes, you are heading to The Palace of Holyroodhouse.

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To be fair, I am taking photos from a locked gate… I can’t make it better even if I tried… Sorry…
Or Holyrood Palace, in short. And if the name hasn’t given up the clue for you yet… It is a palace. Like Buckingham, or Kensington, or Sandringham… but this is in Holyrood, and it is open for public. Not for free, and for some extra you can even get an access to The Queen’s Gallery.

 

Me? I had a mission, remember? So I just took some photos, and get back on track.

I was lucky, though. I didn’t look up the opening times for the Parliamen House. Heck, I didn’t know that it was open for public. Yes for general plebs like you and I. Even for some lost aliens like me. I came a bit early, but apparently I came when it did open early. Like I said, I was lucky.

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From the Parliament House, looking out. There you go… the Queen’s Gallery…
It is pretty understandable that the security process was tight. I am not surprised that it is going to be even tighter after the explosion in Manchester last week. There is a guided tour there if you want, but since I was alone, I thought it would be a bit silly to ask for a guided tour. You can see the exhibition in the hall, but not all sections of the building are open for public — obviously.

I was kind of hoping that I would see, or even take a selfie with MSP Ruth Davidson, but apparently I wasn’t that lucky. Maybe next time…