Hippies one, medicine nil

Festive yule logs, friends! I trust you are all exhausted and fluey and hungover and fed up like everyone else?

I’m actually quite well. But in fairness I’ve spent most of the year doubled up on the bog so a little bout of good health seems reasonable.

Anyway . . . As Christmas draws near, I have had to face a fact that I can no longer ignore:  I am consumed with longing for a Mulberry handbag. I really really want a Mulberry handbag. If you have one, lock it up because otherwise I will steal it.

I can’t tell you which model I’m after; I’m not a fashion person. It’s brown and slightly floppy and I think it has  a shoulder strap too and it has room for a pair of flats after an evening on heels. But chums, let me make this part clear: I want it bad. I want it like Grouse, my dog, wants his breakfast each morning (so much that he starts jumping up and down on the spot and then pretty much smashes the kitchen door down as my Mum walks down the stairs.)

To explain my crush. I am a member of a friendship group entitled the Real Meat Company (not to be confused with the award-winning organic meat producer of the exact same name) which is comprised of four females, all of whom own these bags – except of course for pikey old Robinson here. Last night we went to a carol service and then dined at SOS, and as the other three sat laughing and chatting gaily like the aspirational young things they are, Lucy Robinson just started furtively at their handbags and wondered whether or not she’d make it to Farringdon if she did a grab n run. EVERYONE IN THE REAL MEAT COMPANY HAS ONE! It’s not fair! I came back from Mexico with my current brown leather bag feeling very proud and excited, expecting a chorus of admiring oohs and ahs and isn’t-she-kooky-and-alternative. But the bloody RMC have gone posh on me since I’ve been travelling. And now my nice Mexican piece looks shabbier than a mongrel’s dump.

I just wanted to get that out there. I don’t really talk about the things that a Marie Claire blogger should talk about; this felt like my chance to do so. (Although in a slightly shameful I-want-to-steal-my-friends’-handbags kind of a way.)

However, while Father Christmas is unlikely to bring Lucy Robinson a Mulberry handbag, he has delivered two other gifts, both of them wonderful.

The first of these two things is a completed second novel. DID YOU HEAR ME? I completed my second novel! (I appreciate that I may have already announced this once. And that I may do again. But as a writer I am learning that you ‘finish’ your book several times before you see it on the shelves.)I survived the Difficult Second Novel! I didn’t have a breakdown or commit suicide! Bugger whether or not it’s good, the fact is that I didn’t end up head first in The Man’s oven.

Seriously – I cannot believe I’ve written a book while slumming round South America with a rucksack. Anyone tried that? If you have then you will agree that I am basically amazing.

(Oh c’mon! Let me have that!)

Secondly, even more wonderfully, I am now – pretty much – in possession of a clean bill of health. My colon is now a barren and inhospitable place for you if you are a parasite. But it is an awesome place if you are . . .

Hmmmm. I have failed to think of anything to fill this gap other than ‘a poo.’

And I am not sure if it brings me pleasure or sadness to report that, as suspected, conventional medicine has failed and alternative has triumphed.

Here’s a potted history of the last two months.

Early November.

Alternative Doctor: You have salmonella paratyphi and  3x different types of parasite; your levels of minerals, vitamins, amino acids and hormones are terrible, you have no digestive enzymes or hydrochloric acid in your stomach and what the HELL have they done to your colon with all those drugs? It’s a wreck!’

Tropical Diseases doctor: Oh, you’re not very ill.


Me: Er, about that . . . I was hospitalised for days. And before that I was ill for months. I’ve been sent back here to seek urgent treatment. I’m sitting here in your office in pain and I’ve been to the bog five times already this morning. What do you mean, I’m not very ill?

Tropical Diseases doctor: We’ll do some tests. But it’s probably just IBS.


In the following weeks, I quietly get on with the dietary changes and natural medicines suggested by the alternative practitioner. I take a few supplements, all of which have been carefully designed for, and tested on, me.

Cut to late December.

First I return to the alternative doctor. I shouldn’t have called her a hippy earlier, really. She couldn’t be further from it. She’s very clever and has a room full of state of the art diagnostic technology. She is amazing.

Alternative Doctor.’ The salmonella has gone. The parasites are almost gone. Vitamins and minerals are back to normal. As are enzymes, amino acids, hormones. How do you actually feel, Lucy?’

Me: ‘I feel great!’

The next day, I’m at the hospital.

Tropical Diseases doctor: “The tests we did on you back in November: all negative.”

I shake my head. “I was ill for 5 months. You’re telling me there was  nothing wrong?”

He nods. “Nope, you were in great health.”

Me: “I went to see an alternative practitioner who diagnoses using a different method to yours. She found three parasites and a really horrible strain of salmonella. Given how F*CKING ILL I WAS FOR MONTHS, do you not think that perhaps she might be on to something?”

He looks disgusted. “No!”

Me: “Come on! As soon as I started taking the medicine – boom, I got better. Are you completelydisregarding her work?”

Him: “Yep. Bye!”

I leave, speechless.

Peace and goodwill to all alternative practitioners. Me and my colon will be forever grateful.

Lucy Robinson.

Oh and PS: And a big fat merry chunking XMAS to my fabulous readers too. It’s been another vintage year with you all. Festive gropes all round. X x X

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