A close call…

Continuing on with my spate of writing of a more personal nature, during lockdown, like me, many of you will have completed very cathartic house clear outs of clutter and accumulated stuff. Stuff we have no use for and are better off without.

For this, cupboards/drawers need to be cleared and ordered. One of my most famous stand-up routines (please note, famous by my standards) involved buying very expensive chutney, trying it a few times and then eventually throwing it out some five years later. Laughs that served me well and put food on the table but it seems I have not heeded my own advice.

Our packed food cupboards means that nothing can be easily found and so duplicate purchases are made. In my recent purge I discovered I had so many anchovies, I had my very own shoal.

And much out-of-date food also which is always a scandal, for anyone with a conscience anyway. Mine is sufficiently developed that I decided to minimise what food was discarded, obviously without running the risk of killing anyone.

This made for some pretty unappetising lunches Chez Holland but hey, there are people starving in the world. We have been to Kibera and seen it ourselves.

And also in my purge, I found food stuffs I have never heard of, nor how they came to be in our larder.

Flax seed.


Mid-clear out, it became apparent that Nikki has been through an expensive health food phase. There are no price labels on the foods in question but there are tell-tale signs. Expensively packaged. Foil pouches of various powders, emblazoned with words like: organic, nutrient-rich and even Superfood, no less.

When have such things ever been cheap?

Naturally, they all survived the cull but to date, only the flax seed has been consumed. The Organic Spirulina Powder (seaweed, basically) and the Organic Maca Powder pouches remain untouched.

But a quick word on flax seed and to the personal nature of this week’s blog.

We have all heard the expression – Better out than in. Better to expend our waste than carry it about and within. It is waste, after all.

Every year, many £millions are spent on laxatives. Medicines, usually dressed up in chocolate and designed to shift internal blockages.

Constipation is not something I have ever suffered from on account of my unusual career choice and the nerves associated with being a comedian. Stand-Ups even have an affectionate reference for this – a comedy poo – the body’s way of getting us ready.

But in lockdown, I have not felt nervous for a full year and it follows then that I might have accumulated some ballast.

And if so, this has been well and truly purged by the flax and occasionally with almost disastrous outcomes.

Being caught short…

Another expression we are familiar with and particularly people of a certain age. And always something to avoid.

One morning this week, apres my ‘fruit bowl’ (ref only for my hardcore readers) and two Weetabix heavily doused with flax, I am in the park with my beloved dog, Tessa. The highlight of a lockdown day, being in nature with man’s best friend. But this dog walk was not the joy it should have been. When it began, all was well with no signs of what lay ahead. As I walked, I took in the blossom buds in the trees, about to burst in to a colour to herald the warmer days ahead.

But a few rumbles later and quickly things changed. Suddenly I couldn’t give a toss about blossom as I fixated on only one thing – how keep my insides inside until I could get home.

Normally this can be done easily enough although not when flax seed is involved and I should know because there have been previous warnings and close shaves.

Distracting my mind is pointless. And toughing it out is not an option either. The grumbles come on more frequently now. There is movement below and an urge to push. Like child birth, I imagine? Too risky to lengthen my stride but I do quicken my step. With terrible timing, Tessa stops to empty her bowel and oh, how I would love to join her. I have enough poo bags, probably. But I don’t of course.

I make it to the car. I drive home in agony and a cold sweat. It is not lost on me that these are supposed to be health foods that Nikki has bought (and not eaten). Foods that are supposed to be good for us.

I make it home in time. Just.

Better out than in… Tell me about it.

But here’s the thing, it turns out that I love this blinking flax stuff. Its tasty and good for us albeit potentially humiliating – and explains why we have even bought further pouches.

That said, this week I have inked in three live stand-up gigs to my diary and going forward this means that I will no longer require the flax.

Because flax and comedy gigs combined is altogether too risky – and especially so with my nervous disposition, not to mention my blinking act!





12 thoughts on “A close call…

  1. J says:

    Our family grows flax seeds on our roof, along with other herbs and seeds. But one has to very careful on how much flax seeds one consumes. We make this smoothie which contains varied fruits and seeds, and we use only half a teaspoon of flax seeds because if consumed in large quantities they can have…dire consequences. We learnt it the hard way too, a couple of years ago.
    Great blog, made me laugh!

  2. Sydnee Coleman says:

    I love that your blogs have a more personal nature to them, Mr. H. I can understand purging food cabinets, and many of times having to purge healthy food whose dates have come and gone. Living in a big family there is at least one person who is on the health craze. Usually one of my sisters and then it gets buried and we never find it until I I am cleaning out the cabinets and I find out that we have a half jar of couscous which nobody will eat now. And I look at it, and I’m like when in the world did we buy this? Lol

  3. Lorraine says:

    Absolutely halarious Dom. I can picture the scenario so vividly. I use flaxseed but only in capsule form. By the looks of it, you’re on the hard stuff. Hope you feel a little lighter now!!
    Have a good week ahead.

  4. Andra Jenkin says:

    Doing stand up I fully understand the efficacy of the anticipating performance as laxitive, a combination of this and flaxseed sounds dangerous, mostly to the front row. I’m excited to hear gigs are a thing in the UK again. We’ve been lucky to host UK stand ups over Covid because we’re living in a weird normal bubble in New Zealand watching the rest of the world and worrying about you all. We all cleared the house during lockdown too but it was a few weeks worth, so how do you manage after months? I am genuinely both Co cerned and fascinated for those in the UK. Especially performers, are you all in your pj’s just listening to laugh tracks to chase the high you get from making people laugh?

  5. Emily Henry says:

    I truly appreciate how this post is written in the same way that Judge Judy speaks. You really *held* on to the ending so people couldn’t guess where you were going with this. Love it.

  6. Yose says:

    I wasn’t ready for this . But I do think we don’t usually eat enough fiber. Flax seeds are great and very versatile.
    I can also relate to cleaning and being mindful of foods that might have stayed waaay too long in the back of some cupboard, as I recently did this myself. My parents had been living with me for a while (I’m old enough to say that they were living with me and not the other way around) but they just found a place of their own so, I went back to living alone, and one thing I decided is that I’ll only get groceries once I eat everything I have. I love cooking, so it’s been great, I get to try dishes I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise and it’s one of the things that have helped me to stay sane during lockdown.

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