Saturday, 28 August 2010


At this time of year, with fruit ripening on many a bush and hedgerow, in the hope that this won't be too much information for you, Oh Gentle Reader, we need to talk about guts.

It is a well-known fact that a change of location can affect one's internal plumbing to some extent. It could be a change of diet, different water or just pure stress, but something is playing havoc with the bits we can't see. Since we're having a 'shopping' theme for the time being, I feel I can't ignore this issue. After all, we all have guts, and if they're not functioning efficiently, it can be rather awkward. And therein lies a whole new marketing opportunity.

While executing my latest supermarket excursion, I stopped before a giant fridge full of products which boasted specific intention. Dinky bottles and tubs glinted at me from the shelves, each one promising to tend the gut, to enhance natural bacteria and restore a gastric balance. I could purchase some 'probiotic' culture which would not only support my natural defences, but ease digestive transit into the bargain. Marvellous, I thought, just what the doctor ordered, not that she had.

So I've launched a consumer test to see what might happen if I give the plumbing system a dash of 'friendly' bacteria. Hence several rooms of this house currently resemble a suite of laboratories, replete with wall-charts, spreadsheets, and other accoutrements, all in the spirit of acclimatization, you understand. The only trouble is, so far, my boffin-like dabbling is sadly failing to yield any conclusions.

The truth is, I don't think we in the West are terribly honest about guts. We all have them, after all, so why not bring them up in conversation more often? In some places, it is quite the thing to inquire about other people's shows you care. I'll never forget a complete stranger approaching me on a station platform, a blazing Asian sun belting down on us as we consumed some unrecognisable fast-food ...'may I just ask, Lady, what is your religion and is your stomach behaving itself?'....I've only ever been asked this kind of thing in hospital, so I was mildly surprised, but I thanked him for his concern, and we all launched into a lengthy, graphic and most pleasing conversation about the state of our digestive tracts while we waiting for the train.

I'm not yet 100% convinced that all these 'probiotic', fruity-creamy-things in wee bottles make me more 'balanced', (now that really would be a revolutionary product) but I'll give them a shot for a while, and at least they taste quite nice. In the meantime, while on my morning walk, I passed a raspberry.

Oh, ha-ha-dee-ha, very funny. Ok then, I WALKED passed a raspberry, and couldn't resist. It's the time of year here in Scotland, Norway and many other northern-type places, when we are surrounded by ripening fruit, festooning the hedgerows, woodlands and moors wherever the country walker might stroll. There is no 'choice' here....there is simply the sheer joy of coming across something delicious growing in the wild that is incredibly good for your heart, your brain and, I feel sure, your stomach. And it's see, there IS such a thing as a free lunch.

So I scoffed the raspberry, and then a few more for good measure. What could be more pleasurable than a wild berry?

Can't wait for the brambles.


  1. It seems to me that there is a rule: the older we get the more we talk about bowels.... !

  2. Oh, my in-laws love to talk disgestive systems. And especially at the dinner table!