The Caffeine Kick Gets A Kicking

Four years in a row I’ve fasted for one or two weeks twice a year – just drinking water. This is a wonderful thing to do – provided you’re not anorexic and your health is good. Anyway, the first four days, sometimes even the full fourteen, were always a major arse pain.
I’m partial to a cup or two or three……of strong, stronger, strongest coffee. The first days of such fasts, then, were always dominated by severe coffee withdrawal headaches – excruciating. Then, last year I found out about feverfew and it’s reputation as a migraine cure. Well, the herb is WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!! I drank three cups on 31st March, three every day until 4 days ago, then one a day and, finally, none. No headaches, and believe me I HAD been caining the caffeine! The only hint of a germinal headache came as I was on the way up to London to see Paul Kingsnorth at his book launch, a few weeks ago now. Unfortunately after 4 station stops I had to text him the following:

“Hi Paul. Was on the train 2 London – even took wild soup and wine, thought about all those stressed and hurried people rushing about at Victoria station, felt nauseous, got off train! Going back home. Really hope it goes well 2night + look 4ward 2 reading the bk! Fergus x”

As soon as I arrived back in Herne Bay I nosed about the local park, found some fever few and ate it. My germinal headache was eradicated at source! I also found some Japanese Knotweed so, arriving home, I stewed it up, this time with windfall dwarf quince and wild apple juice.

Japanese knotweed, in fact, is a fabulous plant and has been serving me very well these past two weeks. However, it is true that in many ways it can drive you mad – wild even. The day before my abortive trip to London I had come across a wonderful quote about the plant that I had forwarded to Paul after using it to conclude an article I had just written on the plant’s culinary value. It just seemed so incredibly apt given the subject matter of his new book Real England. Karen Leach, writing for Birmingham friends of the Earth has come up with this delightful analogy:

“a similar monoculture has been creeping into our high streets all over the country, and is similarly tenacious, pernicious and rage-inspiring.

Just as Knotweed is all cloned from one single plant, so the big chains are all cloned from global corporations. Just as Knotweed makes it impossible for the local plant life at its roots, and thus kills off the local insects and the local birds, so the big chain shops kill off the local independent shops around them and thus destroys the local economy. Just as Knotweed will come back again several growing seasons in a row until those of us out there with mallets and rollers are exhausted, so a big supermarket, refused planning permission, will apply again and again until the Council and local people are worn down and give in.”

Next time I want to tell you about the amazing generosity of saints: St George and St Werburgh. In the meantime, I won’t be going hungry.

On today’s dinner menu: Slow roasted charlock and cleavers stuffed pheasant cooked with chestnuts, wild mushrooms and apple juice, and served with braised burdock roots and sea beet.

And, besides, I’ve quite sensibly laid down a not insignificant quantity of supplies:

Inventory of wild food supplies April 2008

250g sea salt (Herne Bay)
1.4kg dried apple rings
363g mixed dried wild mushrooms: tawny funnel caps, hedgehog fungus, parasols, trooping funnel caps
156g dried field blewit mushrooms
286g dried yellow leg mushrooms
300g dried mixed boletus mushrooms: ceps, orange birch bolete, bay bolete
7.437 kg dried chestnuts
1.775 kg alexanders root flour
2.170 kg roasted alexanders root flour
1.6 kg roasted acorn halves for coffee
1.8kg coarse grade acorn flour
3.6 kg fine acorn flour
2.3 kg dried rose hip seeds
940g roasted rose hip seeds for coffee
350g hazel nuts in shells
590g Carrageen seaweed powder
2.135 kg dried kelp powder
915g dried dulse powder
580g dried unlabeled and unknown seaweed powder – probably kelp and serrated wrack
590g chickweed powder (from 2002)
95g hairy bittercress powder
268g dried wintercress powder
100g wild garlic leaf powder (after extracting protein content for leaf curd)
528g slightly burnt rosehip and apple juice cheese roll
1.525 kg wild cherry cheese roll
150g curly dock seed flour
100g dried wild cherries
140g powdered alexanders seeds
140g unknown flour
180g unknown but probably evening primrose seed pod flour
20g reedmace seed head flour
100g tree mallow seed flour
454g wild garlic leaf curd
225g alexanders leaf curd
8 x 50 ml bottles 4x concentrated apple juice
6 x 250 ml jars 5x concentrated apple juice
29 portions of seaweed, pheasant and fox soup
29 portions of nettle, wild garlic, burdock root, alexanders root, evening primrose root etc etc soup
40 litres spring water
9x 500 ml bottles rosehip (and apple) syrup
57 x 750ml bottles sea buckthorn juice
4 x 750ml bottles clear extracted sea buckthorn juice for vinegar
30 x 750 ml bottles apple juice
7 pints bullace plum wine
6 pints rosehip wine
7 pints apple wine
3 frozen pheasants
350g processed badger protein
1 frozen rabbit
950g pure processed badger fat
3 badger intestines for sausage making

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4 Comments on "The Caffeine Kick Gets A Kicking"

  1. You truly are an amazing man. I enjoy reading your blog.

  2. RAD.
    I think knotweed is delicious albeit in the spot where I get it, the plant is ripping apart the pavement.

  3. Hey there Fergus,

    After reading a number of your blogposts, all I can say is, You da Man! :-)

    I’ve eaten a fair amount of JK as well and it’s great to see others plugging it too! I am going to find some Feverfew in the next day or two before the weather here turns cold and white. :-) Thanx for the great blurb on that powerful herb for my medicine kit too dude! ;-)

    Yours in the Bush,


    My other Outdoorsyish blog…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Reading with interest after an article in Sunday Times Magazine. Well done and strength to you. I am very interested in substituting my groceries 50% to start with and always keen on alternative economies. Hope you find that girlfriend :)

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