Nicotine-Free Ramblings

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The soon-to-be-harvested golden seed heads of the waving flax rustled and twittered; Pagan, like a fat, furry bouncing bomb, sent bird shaped splashes of burnt umber, soft slate grey, dark iridescent blue flashing into the air. Above, the jacks watched, twitching, in pairs along the telegraph wires; a comedic translation of the neat, sharp swallows waiting to desert the harshness of a UK winter. Can I write without the aid of nicotine? Possibly?

Sometimes the whole world feels as though it’s against you; the rabbits thumb their noses, the jackdaws mock from the treetops, and buzzards smIMG_0064irk from on high. Poor Hamish just had to duck as the windswept willow twigs – soft and malleable, just tapped him on his head; jumping sideways, he ran to hide behind me just in case! Life is tough for a 10 stone Alaskan Malamute!

Not that I have an interest in poo or anything, but there is a dog who walks in the fields before I get there that has really weird poo; it’s bright green, and I mean bright, and full of what looks like wheat seeds, or corn. Anyway, I’ve been puzzling over this for a couple of weeks, as you do, and this morning I finally met the mystery walker. He has 7 or 8 cockers, sprockers, sprickers, or crickers (sorry, Hatty, I didn’t ask for DNA proof, cos we all know it’s not proof an…………they were sodding spaniels – okay? lol), a retriever, and a rather miffed GSD in a basket muzzle. Impeccably well trained to the whistle, they milled around his proper working mans wellies (unlike my cheap Dunlops – I have wellie envy; in what world is that right?). We exchanged a few words – his involved pheasants and guns, mine involved giggling and trying not to trip over Hamish. We parted, his dogs running off ahead of him, mine almost pulling me over, causing me to squeal in a ‘I’m a feeble girl, who’s scared of spiders and country stuff’ kinda way. However, at no point did I ask about the mysterious green poo – bollocks, it’s bugging me now, and will continue to. Can I google it? Best not, I feel……….

I have tried and failed to quit smoking for years – over and over again, the guilt of lighting up, the inhale, the false promise of relaxation, the empty wallet.Yesterday I was on 40 a day, and now I’m not!!! None at all – cold turkey, wham bam thank you ma’am – Related imagedone! I am free at last and will not smoke again – there’s no point! My GP’s receptionist mentioned a phone app that she and her friends had had great success with – yeah right, a phone app?!! But I was desperate, so lighting up another cig, I downloaded it. It sat on my phone for a week or two, but yesterday I opened it, with great trepidation, and listened, agreed with what the guy was saying, and smoked my last cig!
I am tempted to light up – I won’t lie, but won’t do it, there’s nothing to gain by doing so.
If you, like me, were desperate to quit, give it a go – honestly you have nothing to lose.

This is what I used (Believe it or not):


This whole quitting smoking lark is so much easier than you think; I struggled, cut down, limited myself, smoked low tar, vaped, etc, for years, and it was always a form of torture, coupled with self loathing guilt every time I gave in and lit up. But this time – 5 days Related imagedown the line, and I can honestly say, understanding how the ‘nicotine trap’ works, is the key to giving up; understanding the relationship between you and smoking throws up questions and answers that make so much sense. I won’t say quitting was pleasurable, but it wasn’t the torturous enduring longing that it has been before. I even stood next to a smoker yesterday, and yes, I enjoyed the smell of the smoke, but did not have the urge to smoke at all!


One thing that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling is watching Hamish’s tail go into a slow but joyous wag – his whole body grins in childish glee. This morning he just didn’t stop wagging – he cantered along the tracks, finding sniffs to sniff, before bounding onwards, sharking through the damp grass, staining his fluffy cheeks vibrant green, and smiling the whole way round. He’s such a sweetheart! Still nicotine free too!!!


So, after the heavy and persistent rain last night, followed by more this morning, keeping my footing on the mud slides that pretended to be tracks, was challenging, to say the least; not helped by rabbits that were either as thick as shit, or more cunning than a box of cunning weasels studying for a degree in extra cunning. Related imageThey sat in plain sight, causing the dogs to go absolutely bonkers, and us unable to continue at any pace other than a hanging-on-for-grim-death slow walk; finally, they would shoot off sideways into the undergrowth, before the next one would take position. The other trick that was, apparently, ‘great fun’ this morning, was to wait, hiding under the canopy of crops, before being flushed out by Pagan, running straight into Hamish, who would panic, and then be flattened by an excitedly manic Pagan. Me, all the while, trying to stay vaguely in control – Yup, right! Coffee and drying off time 😉 Still no ciggies BTW and no cripplingly hindering urges to light up, either xxx


Gertie the Pink – that little firecracker of ball-chasing energy, just lay there and watched the beasts approach, then they lay down next to her – all three dogs too hot to care. Grunting Owner tried to gain some interest by bouncing his ball (Hey ho) in front of each dog in turn – all three ignored him! The futility of life lol. However, still no cigs!!!!!


Now, I could say that whilst walking this morning I was planning world domination, the plot of my best selling novel, pondering obscure and ultimately pointless philosophical conundrums or watching the minutiae of the world around me; however I was actually trying to work out how soon I could get away with turning around and heading for home, who had stolen the air, and how alarmingly big Hamish’s balls looked from behind now he’s in full coat drop. Ho hum


Whilst the fog burned off after the night, and the sun was still rising, I walked, and the beasts bounced, around the fields and copses. In the never ending hunt for a bunny breakfast, their foraging led them off the tracks and into the fields of silvery blue flax; with heads down, only sleek, shiny backs and waving tail plumes were visible above the crops (unlike our blessed leader, this isn’t the worst thing they have done lol). Pagan, stoical and surefooted as ever, trotted ahead, every now and then looking up to check I was still attached to my lead and hadn’t broken free, while from behind her would come a rustle, a huff and an embarrassed snort as Hamish fell down another rabbit hole.


Walking back, the beasts trotting contentedly along next to me, it struck me just how much flora and fauna they carry home on their coats; before shaking it all off, they must have a whole ecosystem in miniature.
Just today Pagan is covered in silvery blue flax flowers, gathered as she bounded joyfully through the fields; somehow, though, on Butch Grrl, they change from beautiful garlands to warrior camouflage, enabling successful bunny stalking. Hamish’s delicate petal coating gives, not the impression of a modern man wearing an ‘in touch with my feminine side’ floral shirt, but of a sparkling Mardi Gras queen complete with waving plume tail! Ho hum……:/ However amongst the flowers, there are also tiny green and black fly, perfectly created spiders, a beetle or three, a small elk, a couple of tawny coloured moths, a meandering cete of badgers, grass seeds, most of an oak tree, a small patch of clover, more grass seeds, and a weasel. Coffee time, I feel

Yesterday, after our walk, I was concerned to see a bloody paw print as I was removing collars and leads. I couldn’t tell who it belonged to as they milled around waiting to be towel dried (Hamish loves doing his Yoda impression – go, on admit it, we’ve all done it!), so it was paw inspection time. Eight paws later and no sign of anything – no splits, slits, cuts, nothing. It obviously wasn’t that bad then, thought I. This morning I was alarmed to see another blood red paw print – again paw check time, again nothing. Whilst they had breakfast, I stepped outside for a cig, and there it was – a little pile of red brick dust, which, when mixed with water, turned to bloody red! Haven’t a clue where it came from. Is Pagan living up to her name and practicing a Voodoo protective spell? Or is she trying to purify and cleanse Hamish of his impure, and quite frankly, randy thoughts? Who knows, but whilst the mystery of the Bloody Paw is solved, my mind is now onto where the brick dust came from. Badgers – got to be the badgers




Is Vaping the New Black?

I have smoked on and off for many years, through the time of cool smoking – when we imagine we looked so sophisticated, rebellious smoking – when the bad kids did it on street corners, adult smoking – picking my moments during a meal with friends to nip outside for a quickie (oh, if only) and feeling relieved to discover a dining companion also smoked, and finally shame smoking.

This is that time of guilt when we know full well how bad nicotine is for us, and yet we still light up; we chew gum, use breath freshener and dry shampoo (thank the lords for dry shampoo) to hide our shameful secret. We are horrified when we calculate our monthly ‘up in smoke’ spending, but yet still nip to the corner shop for a pack of twenty on the way to work. Because – well, for me anyway, we enjoy it. We enjoy that hit, that comfort found in embracing a familiar action. It’s relaxing, like coming home on a wet and windy day, closing the door behind you and leaning against a warm radiator – and if anyone mentions breast feeding and oral satisfaction in relation to smoking, may Nick-o-Tine strike you down in flames!

But for many of us, myself include, that pleasure fades, and the guilt gets stronger, building until The Day arrives – the day to Stop Smoking! I chose vaping as my method of quitting (this time) – still with the hit of nicotine, but without the other chemicals, nasty stale smoke aroma, and much cheaper (a major deciding factor).

Thus began the RESEARCH – I never do anything without copious research, Google really is my best friend! I spoke to people, consulted websites, and reviews, and finally came up with two I liked the sound, and more importantly, the look of – I bought both; an Innokin Endura T18, and an Aspire K1.

Both are stylishly sleek and gorgeous – stainless steel and glass affairs, slim and relatively lightweight, the batteries and coils (see, I know my vape tech talk) last long enough for me, and they are easy to top up with liquid (which, BTW, is poisonous to our furry friends).

Using the vape pen in company is a weird experience – you feel smug, and strangely cool! ‘Yes, look at me! I have given up the evil cigs, and now receive my drugs in a sophisticated, and elegant way, unlike you who still smokes the filthy white sticks; I am socially acceptable – you are scum’! It’s a weird feeling – openly inhaling drugs from a shiny little pen.

I look round, and find myself staring at other vape pens – mine looks smarter than yours, oh yours is shinier, I was even eying up a gorgeous brass, copper and polished wood steampunk vape the other day. The guy told me how he had searched high and low for the individual pieces that made up his drug delivering work of art. Apparently, it was frequently admired, and he had plans to create an even more flamboyant and enviable smoking pen.

Vapes are rapidly becoming The Accessory to have; people who have never smoked cigarettes are wielding them, wanting to share in the more stylish end of the vape market , hardened vapers share their experiences and preferences, and we all stare at each others, judging our own nicotine delivery system against others. Small cottage business are being started to supply the growing demand for unique, one-off vapes, with prices to match, and shops sell the liquids on brightly coloured little stands set next to their tills.

Are vapes becoming the new black? Yes, I feel they are, however, if they help me give up smoking, I don’t really care!

Opinions should be engraved onto a polished wood and copper vape pen and sent to me, or just comment here, please………………