Bensoir! It's me, Benjamin. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You may have read stuff I've written elsewhere, but here on my own blog as Ben Viveur I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others, so pretty much anything goes.

BV is about enjoying real food and drink in the real world. I showcase recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. And as a critic I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended. Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Can't cook; won't cook; can barely raise a glass

Firstly, relatively sincere apologies for the radio silence on the old blogging front recently. And to those expecting to see me out and about in various places and didn't - yes, unfortunately I've been pretty quiet lately.

There is a reason, mind.

For the past six months or so I've been suffering increasingly from a frozen shoulder, complicated with hyper-mobility. I realise that sounds like a piss-poor excuse for inactivity and reclusiveness and being on a bit of a downer.

Until recently I too would have summarily dismissed 'frozen shoulder' as a minor condition, probably unworthy of complaint. But, the truth is, it's extremely life-limiting and bloody painful.

I'm having treatment - physio, acupuncture, painkillers, whatever might alleviate the bloody thing - and I'll try to blog more and be a bit more sociable, but I might be in for another year or two of this crap before it really gets better.

The pain isn't just confined to the shoulder - it radiates down the arm to the elbow, wrist and fingers. Simple food-prep tasks, like getting something down from a shelf, taking a casserole out of the oven or sprinkling herbs have become difficult or even impossible, as the muscles in my arm start to atrophy from lack of use. Even lifting a pint glass to my mouth is a challenge!

Of course, it had to be in my right arm, didn't it? The more important, dominant one. You don't appreciate the full range of movement of your rotator cuff until it's taken away. I've forgotten what it's like to wave my hand in the air, or put it behind my back or use a mouse for an extended period of time. Conveying three pints from bar to table in one movement? A mere dream now.

There's a psychological element too; a couple of months ago a sort of dull, depressed sense of fatigue really set in, after not being able to find a position to sleep in properly. And I have a constant feeling of uncertain restlessness and not knowing what to do - a feeling I usually only get immediately after somebody dies.

OK, that's enough whinging about my suffering. I just wanted to explain my general absence and indeed, why my mood probably hasn't been top-drawer when I have been around.

I'll keep going with my prescribed exercises and try to be back to my creative peak soon, OK?