Cute bunnies! Rabbit lawnmowers! One washes face; another sleeps, eats dandelion.

It’s Soft Soft Sunday, and here are my seven favourite cutest bunny pictures of my rabbits from this week.  In the spotlight this week are Katie and Fifer because they did some really adorable things while I had my camera to hand for a change (usually they dodge the camera):

Left: Fifer, Right: Katie.
Left: Fifer, Right: Katie.  This is a run I’ve set up in our front garden to get the grass mowed by bunnies.
Fifer strikes a pose.
Fifer strikes a pose, surrounded by grass he and Katie have cut down for me.
Left: Katie, right: Fifer
Left: Katie, right: Fifer.  Tired from lawnmowing, the bunnies settle to some flopsy time.

In the next four pictures, watch Katie eat a dandelion in realtime:

Katie eyes up a dandelion.
Katie eyes up a dandelion.
Katie bites dandelion
Katie bites dandelion
Katie eats dandelion.
Katie eats dandelion.
Katie moves on to find new nibbles.
Katie moves on to find new nibbles.  This whole sequence took about 10 seconds to unfold.

What did you think of Katie and Fifer’s cute bunny adventures this week?  They had a lot of fun exploring places but all my cat-proofing (which has stopped the other 6 cats getting in) hasn’t stopped one persistent feline from trying to get at the bunnies when they’re out of their run (which is all the area behind that fence next to Katie in the final 4 pics), so I have to supervise them outside rather than from the kitchen window, which limits what I can do when they’re outside, so affects how long they can be out, which is a shame.  Fifer is more timid and gets a bit scared about being loose in the garden if I’m outside, because he’s part wild and doesn’t relate to humans very well, so he hardly comes out while I’m there, but Katie will nose my legs and play chase with me sometimes.  She’s come a very long way from when we first brought her home and she was too scared to come out of the travel box for over an hour, and Fifer was the bravest out of the two of them!  I sometimes forget we haven’t had her for a full year yet, and that we’ve barely had Fifer for a year, they just seem so much like part of the family and I get bunnysick for them when we’re away from home, and they miss us too (all five of our buns usually won’t say hello for the first 24 hours when we get back from holiday just to show us that they are displeased that we let someone else come and feed them).

All About My Hair: Silver hair and white hair

Just in time to make the Friday blog update, I got this video finished!  I’m answering questions I’ve been asked about my hair including how I got it silver, how I get white hair, how I look after it, why my hair hasn’t all snapped off, whether I use silver shampoo and more.  Check it out if you’re vaguely curious:

How to get from Russia to Alaska across the Bering Strait

How to Cross The Bering Strait From Russia to Alaska, detailing everything from Vladivostok onwards for your convenience (last updated February 2016):

This article is going to explain the different options you have to get from the end of the Trans-Siberian Railway at Vladivostok, to Alaska (or vice versa), for those people who have looked at a map and thought, ‘gee, Alaska and Russia are real close, I bet I can go from one to the other.’ My friends, you are in luck, and I’ve done all of the hard work of research for you.

Background:

Why am I sharing this? Recently, I’ve been planning an ambitious if uber-budget (like, as cheap as it can get) round the world trip that will require me to get across the Pacific. My general preference is to fly the shortest distances at all times to the nearest land with an airport if it’s possible to go onwards, because let’s be fair, I could just fly on a plane around the world and it would be very, very boring.

It all started with a Trans-Siberian railway idea. You may already know that the Trans-Siberian railway ends either in Beijing or Vladivostok, depending which of the two you want to go to. Both take 6 days, I believe and they both cost about £450 for a one way trip in 2nd class (see Seat61 for more on train journeys across Russia).

That left me (on my proposed itinerary) stranded in Vladivostok with no onward travel. So I looked into whether it was possible to get from Russia to Alaska across the Bering Strait as one of several options (most of the others being to finish in Beijing and fly somewhere). In this article, I wanted to only talk about how to get from Russia to Alaska, since information on this appears to be very limited with loads of sites saying it can’t be done or being deliberately vague because they didn’t actually know.  When I updated the article in February 2016, I have also included information about how to get from Alaska to Russia which is MUCH easier.

The Specific Details of getting from Russia to Alaska:

Can you get from Russia across the Bering Strait to Alaska? Yes, you can, although the amount of effort or money involved may leave you changing trains and going to Beijing International Airport instead, for a flight to somewhere less undeveloped. The last thousand miles or so of Russia are still remarkably untouched, like a corner of the world that’s still how it was before agriculture caught on, punctuated with the occasional Soviet-era city or town, and many traditional settlements.

Here’s your options, assuming you are starting at Vladivostok, which is fairly accessible having both roads and rails going to it:

1. Fly from Vladivostok (or Khabarovsk) to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, then get a flight from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Anchorage, Alaska, with Yakutia (www.yakutia.aero), a Russian airline. It’s about a 3 hour flight and goes every Saturday from 11th July to 29th August as it’s a seasonal flight.  You can also travel from Vladivostok to Khabarovsk (or get off the train early) and fly from there to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.  This certainly seems to be the most reliable way to get out of Russia towards North America without going to Beijing or Seoul.  To get to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, you can use any of the following airlines from either Vladivostok or Khabarovsk: Aeroflot (operated by Aurora, use the Aurora site to plan this flight), S7 Airlines, then Ural Airlines only goes from Vladivostok and Yakutia Airlines only goes from Khabarovsk.

Why do you need to fly from Vladivostok (or Khabarovsk) to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky? There are no roads. Literally, the last 800 miles or so of Russia has no roads or railways, not even dirt tracks, literally no thoroughfares at all, connecting places with each other, there are just the occasional towns and villages (which do have roads). Some, like Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, are on the sea and sometimes get freighter traffic.  Many other settlements in this area are inland and very isolated. These were the frontier towns during communism, and now, they lie abandoned, the new government seems disinterested in building roads to connect them to anywhere, and their concrete buildings are falling down.  There aren’t even any maps aside from Google Earth – literally, this sheet map is the furthest east I could find a paper map for, and it pretty much ends with Vladivostok!

It has been suggested that freighters are another way to get from Vladivostok to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, but there are no regular sailings, I don’t speak more than two words of Russian, so I certainly can’t learn enough Russian to get a job or follow technical instructions by the time I travel, and anyway, I am female and therefore not being physically strong enough to do a lot of work on a freighter, even if the captain would allow me to try, which is unlikely, and freighters are unreliable as a mode of transport – your visa could run out while you waited for one to turn up, so I disregarded this option as impractical.

A note on Google: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky confused it on some of the ‘maps’ searches, Petropavlovsk did not, Kamchatsky did, so the best search term for information on this place is Petropavlovsk. Some people call it Kamchatka but Google struggles with that too.

2. Travel from Vladivostok to Provideniya, the furthest airport towards the Bering Strait, from there, you can charter a plane from Bering Air, an Alaskan company. They fly Nome, Alaska to Provideniya, Russia and may be able to pick you up in Russia if all your visas etc are in order, and if you’ve arranged this with them. They will probably want you to pay the cost of a return flight because they fly out from Alaska for Alaskan tourists to have trips to this isolated part of Russia, but you don’t need to charter a whole plane; you can potentially do it as a “seat fare passenger” when a plane is bringing American tourists over. I would still expect it to cost some money, however. You need to book this at least three weeks in advance of when you wish to travel so they can arrange all the paperwork which needs time to get from Alaska to Moscow. Email them for further enquiries as they don’t have a scheduled service.  This method has the advantage of the shortest flight from Russia to Alaska, but the disadvantage of being complicated and unreliable and potentially expensive.

Getting from Vladivostok to Provideniya:
This is a complicated multi-step trip requiring more than one short-hop flight due to the lack of roadage. Basically, from Vladivostok you need to go back upwards to Khabarovsk (or get off the train early, but then you’d miss out on Vladovostok, which may or may not matter to you), then you can fly from Khabarovsk to Anadyr (Ugolny airport, which is 11km east of Anadyr), then from this airport you can get a flight to Provideniya, from which you may be able to charter across to Nome or Anchorage using the information in the paragraph above.

3. You can walk across the Bering Strait when it is frozen solid, however, it’s about 53 miles of ice, after 800 miles of no roads and wilderness in Russia, and the US immigration office might frown upon your arrival in this manner (but at least they probably won’t arrest you if you have all the correct documentation such as a Visa, not sure where you’d get your exit stamp for Russia, though). There has been one known case of someone doing this in the opposite direction (they described the whole adventure as “brutal”) and they got into a lot of trouble with the Russian authorities because, due to lack of roads, it was impossible for them to register themselves at any police station in Russia within 24 hours of their arrival in the country. Oops. Other alternatives may include horseback or cycling if your off-road biking skills are outstanding, still not sure how you would cross the rivers, however.

Those are all the options I’ve found so far, as there are no direct flights from Vladivostok to anywhere in the U.S or Canada (but you can go on a 35 hour flight changing at Moscow going back all the way around the rest of the world to get to Anchorage or Seattle or anywhere else in North America if you’re set on using a plane and have loads of money). None of them come up on flight comparison services because they are not really comparable with anything.  There is literally one option at every stage.  Pricing information is also a bust so I don’t know how much any of this costs at the present, but I would guess at least a couple of hundred at each new flight.  It’s also worth noting that the NAVTEX stations over that corner of the world don’t appear to be very well maintained so navigational information is often unavailable, which can lead to some scheduled flights being grounded.

Update: Alaska To Russia:
Since I wrote the original article, I have found a company offering charter flight services who may be able to take you from Anchorage to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (or to Vladivostok or Provideniya) or (less likely) Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (or Vladivostok or Provideniya) to Anchorage. This cuts out ALL of the uncertainty and means you will be able to go straight from Alaska to Russia or possibly vice versa with an reputable, accountable company organizing your independent journey by finding you a pilot and a plane.  If you wish to book a chartered flight, you can find one here: Villiers Private Jet Charter. Villiers has lots of private pilots with planes around the world and is most likely to be able to meet your needs. Most charter flight services depend on where the individual pilots are based, but there are a lot of people in Alaska with planes so this is your absolute best option if you want to go from Alaska to Russia rather than the other way around, especially since you can book a flight for a date and time which suits you. There are some private charter jets offering the reverse journey (Russia to Alaska) but these are thin on the ground. To offset the cost, it would be well worth finding several other people willing to accompany you on this journey, and on a private charter flight you should be able to take items such as bicycles as well if you needed to.

Do you have any further information on how to cross the Bering Strait from Russia to Alaska, or in reverse? You can email me at invokedelight@gmail.com if you have managed to do this or if you have found any other ways of getting across, or know of a ship that travels this route and takes passengers (not freighters, as explained above), please do let me know I would love to hear how you have done this journey and can add your perspective to this article. If you have a first-hand account of the journey that you’d like to share with the world, I’d love to put you up as a separate article as a guest post (your name to your article, you keep copyright etc) if you email me. I am particularly interested if you’re female as all the articles I’ve read so far seem to be young men in their 20’s and 30’s who have even considered doing this journey. NOTE: I am not a travel agent, please don’t email me asking for detailed travel advice!

Helpful Map

This map shows an overview of the ways you can get from Russia to Alaska by air. Click to enlarge. Base map: Google maps Additional layers: me.
This map shows an overview of the ways you can get from Russia to Alaska by air.  Click to enlarge.  Base map: Google maps.  Additional layers: Invoke Delight.

Resources:
Bering Air website.
Travel Article on crossing the last part of Russia and the Bering Strait Please note this information is all very old and was last updated in February 2006, after which the author appears to have lost interest in further research into this topic.
Yakutia airport website flights from Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky to Anchorage, Alaska, this is the flight schedule, they only fly on Saturdays in July/August and not at all the rest of the year.
Off the unbeaten track Travel information for Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky.
The Other Side of Russia: A Slice of Life in Siberia and the Russian Far East by Sharon Hudgins: This is the only book written about extended travel in far Eastern Russia although I don’t think she offers much helpful advice for making the journey between the Bering Strait and Alaska, there is a lot of information in this book which gives some eye-opening insights into life in this part of Russia.
Villiers Private Jet Charter the website for the private charter jet services.

I am an Amazon Associate. This post contains affiliate links. This does not affect the prices you pay, I just get a percentage of their profits which frees up more of my time to bring you accurate, up to date and informative content.

Fantasy Dragon Scale Wedding Armor For the Groom

Have you ever dreamed about getting married in a fantasy armor that you could wear again and again to LARP or comicon for many years to come? Ever wanted to make your own leather (or faux leather) dragon scale mail to really stand out in your wedding photos? Bored of suits and ties, cravats and cummerbunds? Looking for inspiration in a world where women are vibrant peacocks and men’s attire is designed to be as prominent as the tableware?
My future husband decided to design and make a leather suit of armor to wear to our wedding.  Photos are at the bottom of this article.

He was still making it on the day of the wedding.
One word of advice to any brides whose intended decides to make his own wedding outfit: Shut him in a room with his project about two months before the big day and don’t let him out till he finishes it. Nobody needs the kind of stress on the morning of their wedding that comes from hearing the words “I just need to finish the shoes.”

He made his outfit out of fake recycled leather pieces** that had a backing which looked a bit like cardboard. He cut out every single scale separately in oval shapes that were all the same size, that he cut out with a craft knife and sponged very lightly with silver acrylic paint to give them a dragon scale glow. He then riveted them together onto a cotton shirt for an anti-chafe backing, using metal rivets, and set it all off with a belt with a dragon design on it, and he made a pair of boots made from the same material, using a pair of flip flops for insulating the soles. Underneath, he wore one of his pairs of suit trousers.

**I was adamant that no cows or other animals be harmed for our wedding but when this recycled leather arrived, I decided to compromise on it, because it had already been someone’s sofa or coat, or something else, and was reformed and reconstituted and held together with a polyvinyl derived glue which all meant that nothing died for this to happen.  Even though it wasn’t to the letter what I had expected when he told me his plans, it was at least in the same ballpark, and my husband eats meat so I decided he had really thought this through.  He had looked extensively at PVC, and realised it wouldn’t give the same rigidity and would make the whole garment a waste of effort since he would not be able to wear it regularly to go to LARP where it would get subjected to all sorts of things that I don’t know about because I don’t LARP.  Throwing a useless worn-once PVC wedding outfit on a landfill would probably harm more animals than using recycled leather that would be kept until it fell to pieces, so I reluctantly agreed this was ok.

I haven't cut his face off to be mean - he has asked to not show his face on the internet as he works in a job where he doesn't want people seeing him on the internet, which is also why I don't refer to him by name.
I haven’t cut his face off to be mean – he has asked to not show his face on the internet as he works in a job where he doesn’t want people seeing him on the internet, which is also why I don’t refer to him by name.
Here's a full length look at the whole outfit.
Here’s a full length look at the whole outfit.
Here's a look at the buckles and shoulder pad detailing
Here’s a look at the buckles and shoulder pad detailing
Here's the detailing in black and white and colour so you can see the silver patina which didn't come out too brightly in the photos but looked fantastic in real life.
Here’s the detailing in black and white and colour so you can see the silver patina which didn’t come out too brightly in the photos but looked fantastic in real life.

Click on any of the pictures to enlarge to their original size.

Cities I’d LEAST like to visit AGAIN

It’s Travel Tuesday and I’d like to share the cities I’d least like to visit again. Obviously, this was limited to places I’d already visited.  I don’t have much in the way of photos as they weren’t the kind of places that inspired me to get the camera out.  Before you put pen to paper about the North getting a bad rap, stay tuned for next week, when I’m going to look at my favourite cities in the North of England.  I love a good city adventure, somewhere with style, romance, undiscovered cool stuff or great places to eat.  The following cities failed to deliver on more than one level.

#9  Boulougne Sur Mer
This is a seaside town, slightly off the main route to Calais, and there is literally nothing of interest here. Usually you can be surprised by an interesting place such as a random church or something. This had nothing.

#8  Reading
I kept misreading the signs, because it calls istself “City of Reading” instead of “Reading City” and I thought that was an accolade. Like international city of culture or city of lost dreams. Nope, it’s not the city of reading, it’s the city of Reading, (pronounced Redding), and their library and university are so-so.

Also it has far too many roundabouts and not enough traffic lights.

#7  Modena
Its traffic management system is akin to three drunk penguins trying to run away from a walrus.

#6  Milan
It’s a northern Italian city that’s renowned as the home of high fashion. Do you know why they invented such beautiful clothing? Because the city is really boring. There is nothing to do but worship at the altar of consumerism.

#5  Newport, Gwent
I had the dubious fortune of staying here a couple of years ago on my way to the Brecon Beacons. It’s had a facelift. but that doesn’t stop the skanky drunk women from shouting racial slurs at anyone who looks European.  I think if I’d stayed here longer, I would have learned to hate it with the same passion that I dislike Luton.

#4  Paris
Bleeeeeeeuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrgh. That is all.

#3  London
I hate my birthplace in a way you only can if you lived somewhere then got forced out by gentrification and riots. London has PROBLEMS.  You have to be uber middle class to live here and like it, or you will just keep getting kicked in the face until you get your head back under the poverty line.  It’s saturated with people who just grab at everything and leave nothing for anyone else, it’s the most needy, desperate city of human misery, decay and lost opportunities which I’ve ever been to.  But it doesn’t get the number one spot because I am aware it has several redeeming features such as the Natural History Museum.

The underground tube network: One of London's redeeming features.
The underground tube network: One of London’s redeeming features.

#2  Doncaster
It’s grey, it’s dull, it’s a shit northern town whose inhabitants like to shout racial slurs out of car windows at people who “look foreign” (i.e. Eastern European, i.e. anyone who doesn’t have the features inherent in the narrow gene pool from which Doncastrians draw their mates). Then they laugh about it with their friends later. It’s also the AIDS capital of the UK despite having none of the risk factors – they’re anti gay and anti foreign – because they’re so securely inbred that they refuse to take precautions so when one person got it, it spread like wildfire. The only good thing about Doncaster is that it was the birthplace of Jeremy Clarkson. Why do you think he learned to drive? To get the hell out of there!

Barnsley, Preston, Kingston upon Hull, Middlesbrough: More grim northern cities. I could quite happily go through my entire life by never seeing them again, as well. They’re all pretty much the same as Doncaster.

This is what it's like to cycle around Doncaster.
This is what it’s like to cycle around Doncaster.

#1  Luton
It’s got an airport. That’s its only redeeming feature. And Luton is on negative points to start with, for reasons such as the Labour MP used to put racist electoral propaganda through our door, and the Lib Dem opposition candidates tried to topple her by doing the same, because people in Luton are just that racist against a particular minority group, and it has no character or class, and their council is run by a goldfish who can’t talk to you on the phone because he lost his glasses. Oh and if you’re female and blonde? Expect to be sexually harassed on a daily basis. The whole place is a dump.

As you can see, racism, poor traffic management, and other completely arbitrary reasons earned many cities a spot on this list. My experiences are just that – my experiences, and Your Mileage May Vary. But what is travel writing, if not a way for people to share subjective experiences with other people for mutual benefit?

Where would you least like to visit again? Let me know in the comments.

My Weekend As A Sproutarian

I want to talk about what happened when I tried out sproutarianism for a three day weekend.  It was a very interesting experience and I thought it might be useful to write it up for anyone who is considering sproutarianism or becoming a sprouter so they can see what it’s like when you first start it.  I only did it for three days, and would like it if any sproutarians could come forward and share their experiences for comparison.  I normally eat a vegan diet, and have bipolar disorder, so these may have affected the results.  From meat eating, you might struggle with the transition straight to sprouting because it will be vastly different to what you normally eat.

Before the experiment – Preparation and Planning:

So I found some cool sprout products in Tesco, and I’d already bought a packet of alfalfa seeds to sprout a couple of months ago, so I thought, since I’ve got nothing better to do this weekend, I would eat like a Sproutarian for a couple of days and see how I felt afterwards.

I’ve had positive experiences with eating things that are still living – for example, cress, straight from the packet, where it’s still in its soil (I accidentally bought some from Waitrose this time and didn’t realise it didn’t have soil in the bottom because it never occurred to me that it wouldn’t). Morrissons does good soily cress.

Why would I do this? Because I wanted to find out whether eating something as close to the time that it had a life force inside it would make a difference to how good it was. Like killing and eating my own cow, only with plants. I do think there are ethical considerations.

Anyway, given that Tesco had pre-sprouted sprouts that they claimed were ready to eat, I bought a couple of packets as the thing that struck me the most while I was researching all those unusual vegan diets in December, was that I didn’t eat ANY sprouted seeds in my diet whatsoever. And there were people in the world who subsisted entirely on them.  In the conclusion of my article on Sproutarianism, I remarked that there wasn’t enough information on it and that I might have to try it just to see what it was like.

Tesco Sprouts looked like this.
Tesco Sprouts looked like this.
This is what the top of the packet looks like.  I think they do another one as well.
This is what the top of the packet looks like. I think they do another one as well.

On the Friday, I realised that this was going to be a very narrow view of Sproutarianism and not in keeping with the ideology of it, because it isn’t really something you can buy (although it’s great that Tesco does a Sproutarian option for when you’re out and about) and it’s all about detaching yourself from the System and living off the land. Or living off the jar of water and seeds. So I decided to extend the experiment over a three day weekend and started growing my alfalfa seeds (which came from a gardening store such as Homebase or B&Q) on Friday morning. I got some soily sprouted cress from Morrissons as well, for a bit of variety.

The experiment:

Here’s what I ate:

So I informed my husband, who let me get on with it, and I didn’t really plan my meals, but I had half a pack of the Tesco sprouts for lunch on all three days, and ate vast quantities of the alfalfa and cress for dinner on Saturday and Sunday.  Friday evening, I ate more of the Tesco sprouts along with some sunflower seeds that I thought I had sprouted in water but it turned out they had just gone soggy.  I had no snacks.

Here’s how I grew the alfalfa:

1. I made a cone funnel out of kitchen towel to wash them in. Then I rinsed them and tried to put them in the glass.

2. I had a lot of trouble getting the seeds off the paper towel, then I accidentally put it down on something I wouldn’t want to eat, so I washed some more seeds.

3. The next lot came out of the paper towel easier, but there was still a scattering of wasted seeds.

4. I used a glass instead of a jar to soak them in as I don’t have a jar.

5. I covered them with water and left them on the windowsill for eight hours. I was doing it at 9:30am so they would be ready to start sprouting by 5:30pm.

Alfalfa seeds in a glass.  If you watch them for long enough... they still won't sprout.
Alfalfa seeds in a glass. If you watch them for long enough… they still won’t sprout.

6. It said on the instructions that after they had been soaked to transfer them into “a sprouter” but I don’t know what that is so I googled it.

7. Having found out what a sprouter is, I decided I could achieve the same goal by lining a sieve with kitchen roll and suspending it over a saucepan, covering it all with the pan lid. Because I don’t want to spend money on this venture. Obviously that leaves one of my saucepans out of action for three days but never mind.

This was my sprouter.  It's home made.
This was my sprouter. It’s home made.  The seeds made the paper towel a funny colour.  This was how they’d sprouted by Saturday.

8. I need to water them with a cup of water once a day, and they should have sprouted by day 4 (the packet said 7 days but the internet said 4 days). I had decided that if they were not done by Sunday, they were sadly going in the bin because I was going to the Highlands on Monday very early in the morning.  Luckily, as you can see in the picture above, they were sprouted by Saturday in time for dinner.

In the meantime, I started chowing down on my already sprouted seeds.  I was able to continue the experiment for all three days.

Post-experiment Analysis:

Taste:

The pre-packaged sprouts: They definitely taste different to anything I’ve eaten before. Even now, I can clearly remember how they tasted although I couldn’t possibly describe it. Not sweet, sour, salty, bitter OR umami. I guess the only way to convey it would be to say it DIDN’T taste like the non-sprouted version of the same things, and it tasted potent, like there was a definite quality to the flavour that rosemary (the herb) has.

The alfalfa: It tasted like grass. Or cress.

The cress: It tasted like cress.

Nutrition:

I’m not convinced that these meals represented a balanced diet but I wasn’t hungry between meals and it didn’t make me feel at all sick, so I can see people eating it for a while before the nutritional deficiencies set in. I think you would have to plan this diet very carefully to get all your nutrients, because, while my table of dietary information (using stats from the FDA about individual food sources) does value sproutarianism as higher than fruitarianism, it’s not taken into account how much variety that would give or how long it takes to grow those plants, or whether specific varieties are needed for sprouting (such as sunflower seeds). Another thing to take into account with sproutarianism is that you have to constantly be on top of sprouting because otherwise you literally will not have anything to eat. It took 2 days for the alfalfa seeds to be sprouted and I ate them pretty quickly. The quantity of seeds needed to do this safely is pretty high and you’d probably need a greenhouse and to spend at least an hour every day growing your sprouts just to eat enough volume of food.

Weight Loss:

I don’t think my weight vastly went up or down over the three days I was doing this, but I don’t own a pair of scales, so observations are limited to visual differences, and I would expect it to take longer to effect a change even if I’d eaten nothing at all for three days.

Energy levels:

I was sproinging around all over the place. For the fact that I did this a few weeks ago when I was still not in an elevated mood, I can see that sprouted seeds would definitely send me into mania pretty quickly if I ate them regularly. All that stuff about potency that sproutarians talk about is true.

Emotion:

I was noticeably happy, calmer, didn’t have my usual anxiety and after a couple of days, was enjoying the universal interconnectedness of everything, man. It wasn’t quite like the time I tried an unusual substance, but for the fact this was coming from the diet not anything else, it’s certainly an unusual and unexpected side effect. I’m not sure this diet would enable you to be productive if you are gainfully employed.

Drinks:

I continued drinking tea because I get very confused and upset if I don’t get my morning tea. I also drank hot water because that’s my other drink of choice and ensures I get enough water every day.

Conclusion and Evaluation:

While it was enjoyable to include sprouts in my diet for a weekend, I was glad to get back to normal food on Monday. I really noticed a change in energy levels, though, and given that it was the weekend before I went to Scotland, slap bang in the middle of a long depressive phase, the pick-me-up was definitely welcome. The feelings were also enjoyable for the three days, and makes me wonder about the cause and effect of whether Psychonauts become Sproutarians, or whether Sproutarians become Psychonauts through their diet.

I would advise caution against this diet to people with either bipolar or psychosis, however, because you could end up with unwanted mania or unwanted psychosis over a longer period of time. I discontinued this diet when I went on my long road trip, and the mild psychotic symptoms (universal interconnectedness etc) went away before I even got in the car, but the slight elevation lasted another three days, sitting somewhat awkwardly on top of the depressive phase I was in at the time (I am very sorry if I’m not explaining this very well, I experience daily moods as a complete disconnect from the underlying elevation or depression that’s due to my bipolar).

I don’t think I would want this to be my daily way of life, and I haven’t actually sprouted any seeds to eat since then, but I would not be opposed to having an occasional sprig of sprouts, although I don’t want to eat enough for it to affect my mood again because I am working very hard on stabilizing it.  Additionally, it’s worth noting that sunflower seeds have to be a special type to sprout in water.  Mine were packet seeds (from a garden centre) not wholefood ones, and they did not sprout like they were supposed to.  Quinoa also didn’t sprout the way it was alleged to do.

Has anyone else tried Sproutarianism and would like to share their persepective? If so, I would love to hear from you in the comments, so other people can learn more about this way of eating.

Note: I did this experiment 6 weeks ago, it’s just taken me a while to get round to writing it up.

Bob Dylan, Dave Gilmour and Apocalyptica

It’s been an exciting 8 hours, and I have learned that Bob Dylan and Dave Gilmour are both touring in the UK this year (we’re definitely in 2015, right??).

So my favourite favourite band of all time is Pink Floyd. If I got stuck with one band on a Desert Island, they’d be it. If I could build a time machine, I’d go back and see Syd play “See Emily Play” along with my other favourites from their first couple of years as a band. They’re number 1 on my bands bucket list: The bands I need to see before they kick the bucket
So I regularly check the listings to see whether Roger Waters or Dave Gilmour are doing tours in 2015.

I was, in fact, checking them today, when I was crashingly disappointed to find out that Dave Gilmour’s first tour in years sold out within an hour of being announced on 6th March.  All the dates are in October.  I must have last checked hours before that got announced!  I would have known this in April if my dad hadn’t died as I was totally caught up with that until now.  To top it off, Dave (or his management, because it’s not a standard ticket condition) has insisted that to prevent ticket resale, the person who booked the tickets MUST be present with photo ID on the day of the event! So people can’t buy tickets as birthday presents, and if you’re in a group and the person who booked them is sick and can’t go, you’re going to get turned away at the door! If your circumstances change or you have a bereavement? Your tickets are non-refundable, voided and non-resaleable. This seems unreasonable conditions to impose on people who are paying to see someone perform. So no hope of last minute re-sales. I don’t think disappointed covers it. I thought I was going to start spiralling down into the blackness of depressionland again (and I’m not due for at LEAST another month or so), I mean, literally, I would have sold my car to go to this concert if that was a way to make it happen.  Or blown my meager inheritance.  I know my dad would have implicitly approved; Pink Floyd were his favourite as well, along with the venerable Bob Dylan, The Who and Jimi Hendrix.

I checked Roger Waters (because they often used to plan dates to clash with each other, back when they had a bit of a feud), and all his dates were in America (I might go to America to see him at some point). So I went to look at the Royal Albert Hall’s tickets page in case there were still some left at the venue and the “sold out” thing might have been a mistake.
No they were sold out of Dave Gilmour on all ten dates.

But they did have a scrolling banner of upcoming acts and Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan were both billed (not together, although that would have been epic).

I’ve never been the biggest Clapton fan although I totally appreciate what he did for the field of guitar music. Bob Dylan is one of my favourites, though, and the one that I never thought in a million years that I would ever get to see play live.
I excitedly went to the listing and looked at this:

Bob Dylan 2015 tour dates UK screenshot from Royal Albert Hall.
Bob Dylan 2015 tour dates UK screenshot from Royal Albert Hall.

There was only one UK date left for Bob Dylan, and best news ever, it was a Saturday sometime in October, so I looked at seats to see about getting some tickets. The only seats were those ones BEHIND the stage, that I remember looking at year on year back when I used to watch TV, whenever there was a televised performance, because I remember thinking, “why would people buy tickets to sit where they can’t see?” I still don’t understand why you’d do it to see, like, the Spice Girls or something (and y’know, when I was 11 I used to dream about being their long-lost sixth member, Jasmine Spice. Like literally go to sleep and dream this), but for Bob Dylan, I would do it.  Bob Dylan is a freaking LEGEND.

This was all about 8 hours ago, then my husband came home from a party and I excitedly bounced up to him and said, “Bob Dylan, Albert Hall, 24th October, it’s a Saturday, they’ve got a few tickets left.”
He said we’d talk about it in the morning which is responsible-person-speak for “no. And I don’t want to talk about it.” Okay, London is very far away and train tickets are generally stupidly expensive and its neither of our favourite place, in fact we both have it at the bottom of any list of places we’d like to go, next to Slough and Luton (Paris is only slightly higher on the list, give me Salzburg or Rome ANY day), and he doesn’t tend to love 60s alternative hippie music as much as I do because his parents worked for the man their entire lives and mine tuned in, turned up and dropped out, and grew me in a cloud of narcotics and other “plants.”  We are Dharma and Greg (except for the whole Kitty thing).  But Bob freaking Dylan!!!

Anyway, it’s the morning (or it was when I started writing this) and we talked about seeing Bob Dylan live in concert in October, and I pointed out that although it was in London, it WAS a Saturday, and he agreed that this WAS a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a musical legend and that even choir seats were better than missing it since we missed out on so many concerts this year due to late announcements and tickets being held for fan clubs, and that’s how he very generously bought two Bob Dylan tickets, one each, and said that mine can be my birthday and Christmas present for a couple of years.

See?  We can has tickets!!!
See? We can has tickets!!!

Excited doesn’t even cover it.  And I know this sounds awful but things happen for a reason and if I’d checked Dave Gilmour in April I wouldn’t have seen Bob Dylan’s tickets because he didn’t announce until 1st May.  So something slightly good came from losing my dad when I did.  I know my dad is looking down on me going “yay! Tickets!”

Ooh and the third band I listed in the title, what about them?  Well, I’ve had my Download 2015 tickets for a while, it’s in 2 weekends’ time, and I was looking at the line-up last night when I saw Apocalyptica were confirmed.

Which put me in mind of one of my favourites of theirs:  The Hall of The Mountain King.  Which is an awesome interpretation of a classic and reminds me of when I used to work as an Ice Dancer at Alton Towers (because they’d licensed the classical version as their “ambient music” for some areas).  Enjoy: