Nutmeg

Like many people, I have been on a health kick since the start of the new year. My resolve has been surprisingly fortitudinous and to a great extent I have eschewed alcohol, pre-prepared foods, salt, sugar and chocolate. I’ve devoured my five a day with gusto and have even (temporarily one hopes) given up my regular morning cheese roll from Lennie’s Café in Widcombe, possibly the most generous cheesers in the world.

So it was with huge annoyance that I found myself quite ill last weekend. I’m very rarely off sick and have never had, say, flu, in my life. This wasn’t flu but I won’t go into the symptoms in detail. Sufficient to say I am several pounds lighter this week!

Could it have been the shock of all that healthy, organic, fresh, vitamin-packed nutrition coursing through my system? Was it pasty withdrawal syndrome perhaps? Can my body not cope with going home early for a light supper in front of the telly instead of propping up the bar in the Ring O Bells?

Weirdly, my ‘symptoms-that-cannot-be-mentioned’ were accompanied by mild hallucinations. I became fixated on remembering to return that bright red fax machine I borrowed (there’s no such item). And for ten minutes after I woke up one morning I was convinced I had written an episode of the television drama Borgen. In Danish!

As one does on these occasions, I went over what I had eaten the day before disaster struck.  Nothing untoward: a wheat berry salad, home-made pasta, bran flakes, various crispbreads and some fresh fruit salad (impressed, huh?)  And then I remembered. Feeling that the fruit might lack a certain something (lashings of whipped cream perhaps…hush my mouth) I had sprinkled it with copious amounts of grated nutmeg.

Having visited a nutmeg plantation on my travels I should have known better. Nutmeg in large quantities is poison. A cheap high in some quarters. ‘Large quantities’ depends on the individual. I’ve only ever had a light sprinkling on a custard tart.

I’m convinced I had nutmeg poisoning. Not just because my symptoms exactly matched those listed on Wikipedia (and who amongst us can resist pressing the search button?) but because of a comment from a friend.

‘Yes’ he said sympathetically, ‘That’s just the sort of comedy illness you would get!’

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