Sunday, August 18, 2019

Red-Hot Pokers and a Spa Day

Our red-hot pokers are blooming -- they're the big orange flowers in the photo above, shown with red persicaria. We were thinking they came later this year, but now that I look back on previous posts I see that they always bloom in early to mid-August. So I guess they're on the same timetable as usual. They're one of my favorite flowers.

In the photo above, I caught a bee in flight -- here's a closeup. Good timing!

Some of the pokers got knocked around by our recent windstorm. They flopped over and then began growing upright, which led to some funky shapes.

I took Olga for a walk in the cemetery yesterday, and saw the turaco -- once again in a yew tree with berries. That must be what it's eating. It doesn't seem to feel any urgency to go anywhere!

We had a pretty good walk, although it was marred by a black poodle that chased after us barking madly -- and persisted at my heels for a very long time, while the owner sat on an increasingly distant bench, calling the dog ineffectually. It kept racing up to my feet and dropping back, and I was a little afraid it might bite me. I finally walked back to the owner, the yapping dog close behind, and said, "I really don't appreciate this!" He apologized and said the dog was trying to play, which may be true, but he needs to get off his butt and put a leash on that thing if it's going to cause such a disturbance.

In the afternoon, Dave and I had a spa day -- he surprised me with an outing to get massages and a vegan lunch in Notting Hill. Fun! He knows I've been stressed out lately because of some medical uncertainty -- I had a routine test that returned an abnormal result, so it looks like I'm going to have to get another colonoscopy, and getting that arranged is proving to be a bit of a nightmare. I thought I'd use my private health insurance to get it over with more quickly, but the insurer has a lot of paperwork hurdles that require the cooperation of very busy NHS doctors -- and the NHS, being a public, nationalized health system, just isn't designed to twiddle around with insurance forms. It's always something, you know?

Anyway, I had a 90-minute massage and Dave had a 60-minute massage and a facial. (I am not a fan of facials. My face is fine being washed with bar soap.) Afterwards we sat in a cafe beneath a large visage of the Buddha (there are always images of Buddha in spas) and had avocado toast and scrambled tofu. I think this may be the first time I've had the ever-so-trendy avocado toast -- at least, marketed as such. My mom used to make avocado sandwiches on toast when I was a kid, often with bacon. She was ahead of her time!


  1. I am sorry to hear about your current health anxiety Steve and hope that your mind will be put at rest before too long. With health, I think it is the "not knowing" that creates most of the worry. Would a red hot poker help?

  2. Sorry to hear about your health problem...hope it will soon be sorted. I love avocado on toast....nice with marmite!, but scrambled tofu sounds disgusting. Does it have something else with it?

  3. I've sort of put red hot pokers and a colonoscopy together and the image I got wasn't' good. lol
    Let's hope all is well for you.
    As for avocado, I was very sick once after eating one and its' put me off them although I think they are supposed to be very good for you.

  4. Sorry about your health concerns, I hope all is resolved to the good I love your flowers!

  5. I was trying to avoid the red-hot poker/colonoscopy joke, but I should have known that my ever-reliable commenters would go there! :) Thanks for the good wishes, everybody.

  6. colonoscopy is rather pleasant, it is the getting prepped for it that I will not do, They must come up with a better way! I am sure you will be just fine, because I will have it no other way. Spa day sounds deee vine! I'll bet Dave was all glowy after a facial. Stay well. you must. Glorious shot of the bee!

  7. Your mother was ahead of her time.. I will try the avocado with bacon after the next farmers market. When the Citrus Man brings down whatever variety of avocado he has on offer.
    Insurance forms, nationalised health and twiddling around. Doesn't help for a quick result does it? Maybe the red hot poker IS the solution...

  8. Waiting to have a procedure, especially when it is worrisome as well as unpleasant, is rough. I hope you can schedule one soon.

  9. I hope the second colonoscopy goes well, it's the prep that is so awful I find.

    Lovely photos, especially of the bee.

  10. Like everyone else I want this health issue to be resolved QUICKLY! And of course you're stressed out. Mr. P. is certainly correct about the not knowing being the hardest part. For sure. But all will be well. I know it. I'm not going to make any jokes because dammit, I'd be anxious as hell and jokes would not help.

  11. So sorry that you have to endure a second colonoscopy. Hope the test goes well and all is okay.

    I make homemade scrambled tofu with potatoes, kale, and mushrooms. I add a bit of tamari, nutritional yeast, and smoked paprika. It's really yummy. Avocado on toast is a favorite as well. Yum.

  12. I also dislike those yappy little dogs that come after my heals. I don't trust them. They're not playing.

  13. Nope, I'v never had avocado toast and I never will. I dislike mushy green food with a passion, although I had a dandy time picking avocados on a kibbutz in Israel in the early 1980s. Once I found a chameleon hanging onto a little avocado tree branch, and all work came to a halt because champions are tremendously interesting creatures.

    I don't like colonoscopies but lordy, the drugs are FANTASTIC. I hope you'll awake with the same zesty sense of absolute refreshment as I did, when the recuperation doctor said i sat bolt upright and yelled, "THAT WAS GREAT!" And then I feel back "asleep" and had the best, the pinnacle sleep experience of my life. I still remember it and I haven't had colonoscopy in years.

    Oh yuk, health care paperwork sucks, as does prodding recalcitrant office workers. I feel for your worries, in that when I was in my 50s I began to wonder, viscerally, what I was going to die from because I was sure that I would be finding out any time soon, the answer to the last mystery of life. Now I'm in my 60s and I don't care as much -- I think I got tired of thinking about mortality and my mind has wandered.

    I wish I could say something that would help with the nerves, but all I can advise is endurance. The not-knowing is always far worse than the knowing.

  14. how amazing that the bee was even in focus! love the persicaria, I've noted it down on a list of plants to look for this fall or next spring.

    I refuse to get colonoscopies as there is no history of colon cancer in our family. I will poop on the floating paper and take a sample and send it in and I just got my little kit the other day in the mail. I'm sure yours will come out fine. it hasn't been that long since you had one.

    and how nice of Dave to get you out for a massage. I've never eaten avocado toast though my vegan granddaughter eats it all the time. back when we lived in the city one of our favorite lunch places had BLT and avocado on the menu. it was a favorite.

  15. Sorry to hear about the questionable results. Hopefully it will be nothing. Colonoscopies are just the pits, I had to stop doing them. The prep would make me pass out on the bathroom floor. So it's Cologuard for me! Poop in the hat, mail it off. Your garden is looking spectacular as it always does. Nice shot of the bee.

  16. Great catch with that bee mid-flight! The blooms look great too.
    That yappy dog would have bugged me too. Good for you for letting the owner know. I've heard that "oh he's just playing" tune before right before one started nipping at my ankle.
    The spa day sounds like a good solution to worrisome things. I have my fingers crossed that the health scare is a false alarm.

  17. Your flowers are beautiful. I love the shot with the bee. It's good to find bees in our gardens. I do hope your health issues get resolved soon. I think it's a shame how insurance companies and doctors are so slow with paperwork. Wow, such a fun afternoon Dave had planned for the two of you. I'll bet you came home feeling on top of the world after your massage. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

  18. I hope you get your test scheduled soon. The not knowing hangs over a person like a black cloud. Kudos to Dave for arranging the spa day - I'm sure the massage was helpful to reduce muscle tension. Just keep plodding, one foot after the other. There's not much else to be done. The wheels of universal health care can grind slowly at times. On the other hand, it seems if there is a need for speed, it will get done. At least that's been my experience with our similar system. If something is not scheduled quickly, it's a gauge for how likely the doctor thinks there will be an issue (i.e., not likely). Fingers crossed.

  19. Regrets about your health worries but I'll bet that spa visit did you some good. The Red Hot Pokers are beautiful.

  20. Oh I wish I could have a spa day. The last time I did was back last November but I didn't get a massage. Just a facial and my nails done. I was going to have a pedicure but my daughter got hers while I was getting my nails done and they cut her toe. She bled like a stuck pig as they say. Well with me having diabetes I passed. I am glad that I did because when I saw my doctor she told me never ever let them trim my toe nails. She can trim them and I can go back and get sexy toes haha..

    Steve I am very sorry to hear about the colonoscopy results. They have a new procedure that is really great here. It cost a bit. $150.00 not covered by my insurance but the last time I had one my sugar went thru the roof. That prep stuff is very bad for diabetics.
    Anyway it is done with water that flushes everything out. Your given something to relax you and it takes about 45 minutes to complete. So they may have something like that in London. It wouldn't hurt to ask about it. Good Luck with the results. I will be thinking of you and sending you healing vibes....

    I love your flowers. Gosh you have such a green thumb. You and Dave. I use to but not this year. I have had some financial issues that has had to be taken care of before my wants if you know what I mean. Also I have watering issues here. We don't have a spigot in the back yard and what flowers I do have I am watering by taking out gallon jugs of water. No rain for us in a long while.

    Have a good week at school and watch out for those dogs. You might need a stick to defend yourself. That dog owner needed to get off his butt and get his dog. Grrr… Goodnight, Beth