The Boy in the Bread Bubble

LN_870160_BP_11Surveying the trolley after doing the grocery shopping last night, I realised that – for someone who is supposed not to be eating wheat anymore – I still have way too much invested in beautiful bread.

It’s the stuff of life!

The big Waitrose in MK does a sliced (and toaster-shaped) sourdough from the Bertinet Bakery that is possibly the best bread I’ve ever tasted. It puts the “sour” in sourdough. At £3.50 a large loaf, it’s not so preposterously expensive that you pass it over. After all, a standard gluey white sliced loaf is over a quid these days.

In addition to that beauty, I was unable to resist the opening offer on Waitrose’s sourdough crumpets, and there was a nice filone pugliese that crusted up beautifully in the oven as an accompaniment to tomato soup.

Meanwhile, because I’ve been playing fast and loose with the gluten consumption lately* (I’m not coeliac, but have developed otherwise unexplainable eczema in my middle age), I’ve got itchy patches springing up at the top of my left leg and the bottom of my right.

Medical tests were so inconclusive that I can’t even say for sure that my eczema is caused by gluten, except that it clears up on its own if I don’t eat it. And, yes, that could all be the placebo effect, but that’s the problem with the human mind. This whole business kicked off with insomnia, which the doctor – not wanting to give me sleeping pills long-term – tried to treat with antidepressants (Sertraline), and which then triggered the eczema.

My latest symptom is that my eyes won’t stop watering. Especially first thing in the morning, they’re streaming all the time. It kind of clears up once I’m at work, but I don’t know if that’s because I’m away from the environment that triggers the tears, or simply because I’m at work and otherwise distracted. Because the thing is, the itching from the eczema also tended not to bother me (much) during the busy working day.

So: either I’m a mess of symptoms which are all stress-related; or I’ve developed allergies – in my 50s – to a variety of substances. Is it gluten? Is it the pillow? The mattress? The cat? Dust? Meanwhile, I’m still sleeping really badly. I get that sleeping pills are addictive and that no responsible doctor would keep prescribing them, but if I’d stuck with them, maybe none of this would have happened.

Pass the butter.

*We had visitors last week, so I was cooking for nine, which meant that doing a special glutard meal would have been a pain in the arse.

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