When I were a lad, we ate rocks

I turned vegan when I was around seventeen, which is now some twenty-six years ago. During that time I have been witness to the comings and goings of different foodstuffs, from pork pies, to quorn (originally thought to be vegan when it first came out), to the relatively new addition of tzay. One thing that has not changed over the years is the availability of fast food. Not that we eat it a great deal, but it is a bit limiting when we go to town and desire something to keep us going.

We are currently in the middle of a trail period here in Stockholm. Two of the biggest chain newsagents (for want of a better word), Pressbyrån and 7-Eleven are, at selective outlets, offering vegan hot dogs to those inclined.

Yesterday, the ladies of the house went to Pressbyrån and tried one sort. Both Freya and Zelda ate a whole hot dog each, something which does not happen so often at home. And today the whole family went to 7-Eleven and purchased a different kind. Freya managed two this time.

Although it will not be such a regular occurrence, it was nice to be able to be “normal”. The main reason for the visits is to support the introduction of vegan food in newsagents. Whether it continues to be so depends, of course, on sales.

Vegan food has definitely changed. For the better.

Lucia 2011

Not the most successful of Lucia celebrations this year. Zelda had been vomiting a few days previous to the big event, so we decided to keep her away from school, lest she infect anyone there. Freya was also at home, as a precautionary measure, but showed no real signs of becoming ill. Yesterday, she was so upset that she was not able to a part of the Lucia celebrations at her school, so we thought it would be low risk to let her go.

Forty minutes before she was to perform, while I was on the train to her school, Jo rang me to tell me that Freya had thrown up.

Freya was not as devastated as I thought when I met her. In fact, she has not even mentioned it. But the end result is still that neither of our daughters got the Lucia experience this year, which is a little bit sad.

Stick Insect Problems Part 2

After the lingering demise of Spiken, the Giant Thorny stick insect, we were given another Spiken by the place we bought the first. We also decided to get a Pink Wing (Marmessoidea Rosea) to keep Spiken v2.0 company, and increase the odds of at least one of them surviving.

Limey, The pink wing, was (hyper)active for a day or so, then clung to the top of the vivarium. We think it was going to shed its skin, though this is no more than an educated guess. Some time later, we returned to find Limey on its back at the bottom of the cage, and it died not long after that. Our assumption is that it fell whilst shedding, which can be fatal because the new exoskeleton takes a few days to harden.

At least Spiken is doing a better job, and shed its skin yesterday. Spiken must be reasonably happy, since stress can delay the shedding process. It looks healthy, though has not moved a great deal since this morning. We await tentatively to see what (if anything) our giant thorny does next. It is a(nother) crucial period for us, since our success rate at keeping what is generally accepted as beginner stick insects is quite low. Fingers crossed.

We Become Five

I went down to our postbox earlier this afternoon, to fetch the latest addition to the family: a Thorny stick insect.

Freya has been interested in having a pet for a few years, now. A stick insect was decided upon, after giving her a choice of pets that would fit our lives and livestyle: Mum is allergic to the fur of some animals, and we live in a flat near the centre of town. Dogs and cats were immediately out of the equation, and whilst a degu had a lot going for it, we still did not know if Jo’s allergy would allow it. So, a stick insect it was.

We encountered a further moral issue. Since most stick insect are parthenogetic, we had to track down species that required two to tango. Our qualm was that we did not feel comfortable with crushing or freezing any fertile eggs produced. Luckily, we found a place just a stick insects throw away that was able to find something that required a partner to reproduce. Unfortunatelt, we could not go and pick up our friend: it had to be sent by post.

We will not know which sex it is until it has grown a bit bigger, when the differences between the sexes will become apparent. For now, it is called Spiken.

When Spiken first saw the light of day since being unceremously placed in a plastic jar and shived into a postbox, it was most lethargic. When we furnished its net and plastic vivarium with oak twigs and a spraying of water, it seemed a little happier, seemingly drinking water like it was going out of fashion.

So now, a few hours after its arrival, Freya has already played hide and seek with it, and is very excited about finally having a pet.


The Fight Begins. Again.

Sigh. Despite moving Zelda to Freya’s school, the food they have been given the last two days is of an unacceptable standard. Zelda is being inschooled, giving both Jo and I the opportunity to be with her for a few days. Including eating lunch and snack.

The school has a food policy of using organic ingredients, cooked in an on-site kitchen. The problem at the moment seems to be that the old chef has gone, and the new cook does not seem to have the knowledge (or maybe desire) to make interesting, tasty vegan food. This has lead to Yesterday’s lunch being Quorn (NOT vegan) and today’s being a tasteless chick pea, raw parsnip and undercooked courgette mess. Whilst the other children received a fruit smoothie at snack time, Freya and Zelda have been given a bit of banana. Fucking great.

We are on the case already, and shall instigate a short term and long term plan of action to better the food situation for our daughters. I did not give up at Zelda’s last school, the dividends of over a year’s discussions and meetings being an introduction of a daily bean salad and regular soya products at lunch. If the chef thinks he can get away with serving sub standard food then he shall soon realise his mistake.