I’ve been sharing my bed this morning with Philip Larkin, Harry Dresden, and a bookseller called Shaun Bythell. This is all very calming and serious stuff, to keep me stable in a weekend by myself before the madness that is a family Christmas day. And, this house is full of very dangerous stuff to a woman on a diet – the knowledge that there’s puddings, (meringues for God’s sake) chocolate coins and…my bloody friend has given me a basket of goodies including rum n raisin fudge, friggin shortbread! And jam, of all things; something to sit in my cupboard and snigger at me. But, it appears I have passed the test at 3am this morning…so I will forgive her.

When sleep never arrived I got up and raided the basket, captured (first) the fudge. I ate two. Ha, so there. And then I had an idea: I could have a glass of Irish Cream – that might help me sleep. So on the way out of the kitchen with a glass half-full I stopped by the basket and fumbled in the dark to where I knew the shortbread lived and sauntered back to bed and my audio book. So now I have discovered the secret of how not to eat a whole packet of shortbread with a cup of tea: don’t have the tea. I could only eat one biscuit. Imagine that; it has taken me fifty years to realise this…that the tea was to blame all along.

So, when I got up this morning, around ten, I skipped bran flakes for breakfast seeing as I had that wee nibble in the middle of the night, then had healthy home-made soup at noon, toast at 2 and look forward to a fabulous mushroom omelette for tea. I await my medal. Oh, I forgot to mention that before the meddling with the gift basket I weighed myself to make sure the half-stone had definitely disappeared – even though it was a night-time weighing and might be different. The decision of whether to have a nibble or not depended on it, but I seem to have passed the wavering bloody needle. When I had my real weekly weigh-in this morning it was twenty to the hour on the scales. Yay, I’m in the running for the stone by the end of the year.


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