Friday, 22 May 2015

SIRTFOODS by John Hodges - Amazon release date 1st June 2015

This is the first book from our company VIDDA Publishing.

The release date June 1st 2015 

For the first 5 days my book will be FREE to download from Amazon Kindle, I will be posting a link from here and on my Facebook page. If you don't have a Kindle you can download a free App from Amazon so that it can be read on any other device you may have. I'd really appreciate some honest reviews if you download a freebie. This will be the first of a series of books on nutrition that I'm writing. The next one will be for all you dog owners out there. WATCH THIS SPACE

Thanks John Hodges

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Springtime in Middle England

For the last couple of years Pili and I have been pet/house sitting for clients up and down the country. After losing our beloved dog Barney in December 2012 and the deep grief we all felt I thought it would be very therapeutic to spend time looking after other dogs and animals. My mother took in a rescue dog (all our animals have been rescues) about a year after Barney's passing. Buster is a strong minded Bichon Frise with bags of character and he certainly keeps my mother on her toes.

Pili and I decided not to get a dog of our own basically because we travel so much and it wouldn't be fair on the dog or my mother as we would have to leave it with her while we were away. Pet sitting has given us the best of both worlds. We know are the adopted owners of over a dozen beautiful dogs, cats and even horses and rats. It's a great job and we love the freedom it gives us plus the income helps.

At the moment we're in a little village in the Midlands looking after a fantastic Labrador called Sammy. He's a real character and super affectionate; we love looking after him.

22nd May 2015

I woke this morning at just after 6am with a wet tongue on my face. Sammy was just saying good morning and letting me know the day had begun and that he needed to be let outside because nature was calling. He was right, nature was calling and bloody loud too.

The first bird I heard singing was the resident Robin. Such a melodic and distinctive song and even with my half asleep, fuzzy brain it made me peer out of the bedroom window to see where he was calling from. Robin's are very feisty and although they are very confident around humans a male Robin will not tolerate for a second another male in his territory. The male Robin will relentlessly attack any intruder and have even been recorded killing a rival. Fortunately most of the wars and conflicts between Robins are won by the bird with the loudest and most complicated song. This morning's vocal jousting was particularly intricate and powerful, no other Robin dared enter this red breasted brutes' domain.

The apple tree in the garden was full of young Starlings, all screaming at the top of their voices for their mothers to hurry up and return with food. The screeches, pops and whistles from the fledglings was deafening. I decided to make a coffee and sit in the garden with Sammy to watch the poor adult Starlings try to find breakfast to ease the ravenous appetite of their offspring.

Every ten minutes or so I'd see a flash of black, white and red swoop over the hedgerow and onto one of the many bird feeders hanging from the branches of the Apple tree. It was a stunning male Great Spotted Woodpecker. He's here for an easy breakfast of peanuts and suet. The other birds, the many Chaffinches and Sparrows give him space and perched in the bushes watching and waiting until he's finished.

The only disturbance to the avion activity is the arrival of a couple of Grey Squirrels. A none native to these isles and considered by many a pest. Yes they do damage young trees and they've out competed our demure, native Red Squirrel but I always enjoy seeing their intelligence and acrobatics when they find a troublesome bird feeder. The birds scatter and it was time to leave them to it and make Pili and I our morning Green Smoothie.

After watching all the feeding going on in the garden I was also ravenous. My recipe for this mornings smoothie is as follows.

1 stick of Celery
1 Stick of Rhubarb (thanks Paul)
1 Lemon with skin
2 Bananas
2 Pears
1/2 large Apple
4 leaves of Cavolo Nero Kale
1 large leaf of Chard
2 large leaves of Spring Cabbage
I chunk of Ginger (I like Ginger a lot)
1 tbsp Wheatgrass
1 tbsp Bee Pollen
2 pints of filtered water 

To be honest it wasn't my best ever mix, the fruit wasn't very ripe and therefore it was quite bitter. Pili had a bit of a moan but she still poured a pint down her neck. Personally I don't really care what it tastes like anymore, I drink them for preventative health reasons and it bloody well works like nothing else.
Being the pig that I am I had the rest of it, three pints in all.

Near to where we're staying there's a tranquil stretch of canal and expanses of farmland. In the winter it's a great place to see Lapwings display their acrobatics display. But today I'm eager to get out and see what new life I can find.

Sammy the dog is really anxious to get out. He knows that when we're looking after him he's going to get lots of walkies.

Dog biscuits in pocket, tennis ball in Sammy's mouth Pili and I walk out under springtime powder blue skies. Within five minutes we're on the canal towpath. It's 9am and the sun is already spreading its warmth across the land. The midges and flies are already in the air above the water and the newly arrived Swallows are feasting and feeding young at discreetly hidden nest sites.

The air is full of song of the Wren, Yellowhammer, Blue and Great tits and the sulky Dunnock (Hedge Sparrow). Occasionally I hear the cackling alien sound from a Pheasant hiding in the adjacent fields. Cutting through this choir of birdsong I pick out the distinctive melody of the Skylark, melodic and rising into the blue sky. Is there a more quintessential sound of the English countryside in spring? Fingers crossed I'll get some good pictures when we get to the farmland.

The edges of the canal are in full bloom, Forgetmeknots, Ragged Robin, Cowslips, Purple Vetch and many more.

As the temperature rises we start to see the lethargic flight of spring butterflies on wing. I see my first Green Veined White of the year and one of my favourites, the unmistakable male Orange Tip. At this time of the day butterflies are easy to photograph, they are cold  and need the sun to raise their metabolism to really get active. I pick my prey and settle down for a perfect shot.

My concentration is shattered by a Moorhens alarm call. She's been startled by Sammy plowing along the towpath to see why am I taking so long. I give Sammy a biscuit and he runs back to Pili who is trying to keep him distracted so that I can get some photos.

The butterflies take to the wing and so I set my sites on the Moorhen and her young. The male and female are tending to a newly hatched chick. Where the brother and sisters of this chick are I can only guess. Predation is high for waterfowl, this nearly born seems to be the only survivor of his brood. Watching the female gently tend and feed this fragile creature is wonderous. The poor little thing is so defenseless to the big and dangerous World. The little bird's naked and stumpy wings flap vigorously when the mother approaches, stimulating the mother to feed. I hope the parents are experienced in parenthood, there are so many dangers at the waters edge.

As I continue along the towpath of the canal trying to catch up with Pili and Sammy I hear the cry of a Buzzard above me, he's scanning the fields for young Rabbits or to use the correct term Kittens. The raptor sees me and comes in for a closer look. With my 400mm lens I get a good shot of him silhouetted against the blue morning sky.

Further along I come across a female Mallard with her ducklings. They are too distracted to notice me as they race around chasing flies and midges. The mother keeps a beady eye on Sammy and I, she's seen it all before and we're no threat so I take some quick shots and move on.


The morning sun is really starting to heat up now and my mind turn back to the Skylarks that I can hear in the adjacent fields. I walk along to the old stone bridge that takes me to where Pili and Sammy are patiently waiting when movement on the opposite bank catches my eye. A Terrapin is climbing out of the water and onto the bank to take in the heat of the sun. 

In the UK Terrapins were a native species approximately 8000 years ago but I fear this hard shelled reptile is an American import released into the canal by some bored pet owner. Like the Grey Squirrel it's a pleasant surprise to see them in the wild here but as a naturalist I'm aware that they do a lot of damage to our struggling populations of native fish, amphibians, Water Voles and nestlings. If they can capture it they'll eat it with no messing about. He's certainly not disturbed by me, he has some serious sunbathing to do.

Sammy is just stood staring at me. He should be used to waiting for me, as Pili has become accustomed. It can take me 2hrs for a 20 minute walk. I can't help myself, nothing gives me greater pleasure than being in and observing nature. It's a wonder I will never loose and it gives my life a layer of existence that I'm forever grateful for. Life is more vivid when you can appreciate the struggle for life that all other beings go through on our planet. God, I sound like an old hippy!

As I walked into the arable land that's full of bright custard yellow Rapeseed all I can hear is the lilting song of the Skylark. I scour the skies looking for a speck of a bird high in the heavens. Skylarks have a predictable behavior of taking off from their ground nests and rising high, high into the sky announcing their presence to all who care to listen. Then when they've finished their song and the bird has flown so high it can be practically impossible to see them for the untrained eye, they will silently glide back to Earth and disappear among the foliage or use it's amazing camouflage to vanish in a ploughed field. I never get bored of watching this amazing birds.

The Skylark population fallen by over 50% since the late 90's. The fall in population is thought to be the result of a shift from spring to winter cereal crops and well as intensive grassland management.

Today seems to be a good day for the Skylark, I count at least seven pairs in the immediate field, I feel we will have a successful breeding season.

We spend a good hour watch these delightful birds sind, display and just go about their business. The sun by 11am has brought the surrounding countryside to life. The air is full of flying insects, dozens of species. The sheep with the young lambs are bleating to their own tune. Sammy is looking tired so we make tracks and head back to the house. I one takelast photo of Pili before I leave the Rapeseed fields.

One last surprise catches my eye at the end of the lane by the canal bridge. I spot a dead Silver Birch tree with a hole near the top. I bring my camera to my eye and I'm met with a Great Spotted Woodpecker peering back at me. I manage to get a grainy shot before this common UK woodpecker retreats back into the depths of the hollow trunk, I wonder how many chick are in there.

Back at the house I prepared a salad for Pili and I full of SIRTFOODS (see my book) sorry I couldn't resist a easy plug.

Post Walk Salad

Lambs Lettuce
2 leaves each of Wild Garlic (Ramson) and a couple of flowers each 
Red Onion
2 Radishes each
1 Orange Bell Pepper
1 Dozen Green Olives
New Potatoes
Dressed with Olive Oil,  Apple Cider Vinegar, Turmeric, Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper and a little Rock Salt

All photograph by John Hodges
except this one by Pilar Bueno


Monday, 18 May 2015


This is the first of a series of entries that will lead eventually to a book about our travels around the World searching for species that I've dreamt about since I was a boy. My goal has been not only to see the animal with my own eyes but also to photograph it. This has not always been a triumphant journey but it’s never been boring. Our travels have taken us around the planet and I intend to keep travelling for as long as possible. So many animals and so little time I keep reminding myself.

Seeing an image in a well used book as a ten year old of an exotic species in a far off land sets the juices of imagination stirring and brewing. Personally for me this has never waned. Now at 47 years old I've been fortunate enough for the last decade to follow some of my boyhood fantasies and even to walk in the footprints of my hero Sir David Attenborough.

I hope the reader can get a little of what we've experienced in our travels from reading my words and seeing my photos, there are many more to come.

John Hodges 18th May 2015.

‘Searching The Mountains For Apollo’ August 2013 Andorra

As we drive towards Andorra heading for the French and Spanish border in couldn't have been hotter. The temperature was hovering around 40 degrees and our only relief was that we were driving our van towards the Pyrenees Mountains and the air was moving through the van.

We made a brief stop at a medieval walled town called Villefranche de Conflent and walked around to stretch our legs. The place was very quaint but full of tourists eating ice-cream and perusing the myriad of tacky souvenirs. We spent an hour looking around and following the narrow passageways trying to escape the crowds which we partially were successful in doing. Back at the van we recharged ourselves with some wheatgrass shots (it goes everywhere with us) and then hit the ever climbing road again. I was inpatient to get going as after last year’s blank trying to find the species I was looking for I really felt that the Butterfly Gods were finally on my side.

After a couple of hours driving we started to look for somewhere to camp. We eventually settled next to a shallow but fast mountain river just south of the town of Porta.

We cooled off in the icy river and then ate a feta cheese salad before retreating to the van and sealing ourselves in, cowering from the sudden swarms of mosquitoes. The more I travel the more I'm thankful that in the UK we don't really have a mosquito problem. Sure everyone gets nailed occasionally but not all the time everyday. I won’t use bug spray or deterrents as they are evil chemicals and really bad for you. After all they are made of powerful chemicals that KILL things. Why on Earth does it make sense to cover your skin with them several times a day because your body keeps absorbing them, no thank you! We use a diluted solution of Tea Tree Oil and Aloe Vera and it works just fine.

During the night a storm rolled in and battered our van keeping us awake. This really isn't what I was hoping for. Butterflies really don’t like wind and rain, come to think of it neither do I.

In the morning after a brisk wash in the river and coffee and porridge we head off on the 90 minute journey to Andorra la Vella which is the capital of Andorra.

It rained and rained. As we arrived the traffic was tailing back from the border. The rain was so bad that the traffic a few cars ahead was cloaked by the heavy rain, only visible because of the glow from the brake lights.

As we inched forward slowly a break in the dark, murderous rain clouds illuminated the road in front of us. Out of the gloom I made out the figure of a cow, just stood in the middle of the road, chewing away and just staring blankly at all the weird tourist sat in their strange tin cans. I had a flashback. It was a very weird moment and Pili and I turned to each other and said INDIA. At that moment a rainbow formed and came down on the roadside in front of us. Now I'm not superstitious in any way but the boy inside me couldn't help feeling the universe was sending me a sign…..This was the day I'd meet my Apollo!

We didn't stop in the capital, why would we? After filling the tank with diesel we headed toward a ski resort called Solden.

While researching for our trip back in the comfort of our house I'd spent a day looking for current info of the known territories of the enigmatic Apollo Butterfly Parnassius Apollo. I found a little personal blog by a traveller who wrote about seeing this butterfly in the location we were now approaching. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest and best of all, the entire storm was clearing and the sun was starting to shine on the mountains making them glisten, turning the air fresh and pine scented.

I’d spent last summer driving around the Pyrenees both French and Spanish sides looking for this beautiful member of the Papilionidae family but to no avail. This large white butterfly with crimson spots on the hind wings had haunted my imagination for so long that part of me started to feel that maybe I wasn’t meant to encounter it at all. But as anyone that knows me knows, I don't give up that easily.

We parked up near a sports centre and I quickly put my camera bag together and attached my monopod and 400mm lens onto my Nikon, ready for action. We walked down the main road of this typical ski resort, several large hotels and bars and caf├ęs lined both sides of the road. At the end of town the view led the eye right down the valley and onto the next village about 5 miles away. Between us and the next location were open fields and pine covered slopes. We could make out a snow less ski run between the trees, but today whereas in the winter was powdered white snow, there lay fields of wild flowers. I could hardly contain myself; I was already seeing butterflies in the air from where I was standing on the side of the road. 

We made our way along two hundred metres of dirt track that lead up to a dry stone walled field full of flowers. I immediately saw a large white butterfly in the distance. It couldn't be, could it?

The flight pattern was strong and fast, propelled by large, stiff wings. It wasn't a 100% identification, I told Pili, but I was confident that it was my first Apollo. All of a sudden and as if to shatter any doubt I had a large female fly from behind me and make off down the meadow. Pili knew what was coming next as I bounded through the flowers and grass in hot pursuit of my quarry like some demented, camera laden Neanderthal.

After 20 years together Pili is quite used to my obsession with all beasties, large or small. She’s even got use to the fact that I spend a large amount of my driving time scanning the land in front of me for anything that moves. My peripheral vision is very fine tuned after a lifetime of use. I can spot a flutter of a wing or the movement in the distant tree that gives away a bird from ridiculous distances. Any birdwatcher or naturalist will know exactly what I'm talking about. I like to think of it as a bonus that I have trained 20/20 vision from years of hyper alert and sensitive use.

My quarry outpaced me easily, as I knew it would, but part of the fun is in the chase. When I finally ran out of steam and meadow, the white lady glided out of sight over a tree line; I stopped to catch my breath. Pili was laughing at me from the top of the meadow, I must have looked a sight bounding through the flowers in my cargo shorts adorned with cameras and bags. I then noticed that the air was filling up with several other species of butterfly. I saw in the immediate vicinity Ringlets with their chocolate brown wings, Pearl Bordered Fritillaries, Marbled Whites and several species of Browns and Skippers.

Occasionally I’d glimpse the Apollo as it teased me by rising up over the wall turning around and going down the hillside out of sight. I had yet to get anywhere near close enough to hear it’s wing beats, I'm not kidding you can actually hear their stiff wings displace the surrounding air. If I’d have been calmer when earlier the female had rose up over my shoulder, I would have probably heard her but my current state of excitement and pounding chest had dulled my auditory senses.

When we finally reach the top of the hill to our original meadow the rain had stopped and the first signs of activity was starting to appear. First were the chirping and leaping grasshoppers and crickets, reminding me of my past youth growing up in England. Maybe it’s my rose coloured memory but I vividly remember walking through the long grass in any field or even road side and flushing out numerous Hoppers. I fear those days are long gone wiped away by decades of industrial pollution and chemical pesticides. Oh those halcyon summers of my childhood…

Shattering my focus on the beautiful insects around me I heard a call from the skies. It was a Booted Eagle riding the thermals directly above me. I managed to get a few shots off. Looking through my lens, I could see this magnificent raptor was looking directly at me; I would have loved to know what he was thinking.

All of a sudden the temperature dropped and the rain started to fall heavily. Fortunately we were next to the tree line and so we took shelter. This short shower was exactly what I needed. The Apollos would also be sheltering, their body temperature would drop and when the rain clears the butterflies would have to bask in the sun to raise their body temperature before they can take to wing again. This was my advantage as a warm bloodied mammal with a slight and sometimes worrying obsession with Lepidoptera (moths & butterflies). It was my chance to sneak up on a basking Apollo and get my encounter and if lucky some good photos (you can be the judge of that).

We made our way back up the hill to the original meadow as the shower came to an end. The temperature started to rise again and I knew my moment was near. On the way we saw a pair of Rock Bunting gathering large grasshoppers to feed their hungry nestlings. Beautiful and distinctive little birds and always a pleasure to see close up. We also found a couple of quite large skinks also warming up while clinging to the dry stone wall. One had lost its tail which they will quite happily shed if a bird or any other predator tries to grab them for a snack. Evolution is amazing, what an incredible defence and escape strategy. If you grab me and try to eat me I’ll just break off part of my body and run away, brilliant!

I decided to seize my chance and slowly and carefully made my way through the long grass, scanning the ground for my white quarry. Out of the corner of my eye I caught movement at the top of the meadow, an Apollo! Slowly it floated around, still too cold to use its powerful wings to full advantage. It settled on a yellow flower and as stealthily as possible I approached, stopping every ten feet to take some shots before closing in.

Finally I had this enigmatic Butterfly in full frame feeding away happily and not caring at all about this sweaty foreign observer. I reeled off approximately one hundred photos just to make sure I had some good shots in the bag. I knew a good proportion would be shaky as my adrenalin was coursing through my veins. I also took some footage which unfortunately is not great because of my lack of composure and shakes. I then sat in the still wet grass and just watched in awe as this dream-like creature went about its business, feeding on nectar and loading sugars into its powerful muscles located in its thorax so that it again could take to the mountain skies and head for the heavens.

Finally with a few powerful flaps of its shimmering wings we parted ways. I myself floated back through the meadow to where Pili was perched on the dry stone wall. While I had been in another dimension, lost in time and space and experiencing a childhood dream. Pili had also been taking photos of another Apollo, I could see in her face that she was also thrilled with her encounter and photos. It was all I could do to contain myself and hold back a nostalgic tear or two. Thirty seven years had been a long, long time to wait for this day. It had felt like I’d been trying to hold onto a dream; like when you wake from a deep sleep and the more you realise what has happened the quicker it fades.

Today had been one of those perfect days that I'm constantly looking for. Nature gives me these days time and time again. No ticket or entrance fees asked just time, patience and a little good fortune tempered with some research. Life doesn't get any better……or does it?

Organic Nootropic Monday Morning Smoothie

18th May 2015

Monday morning and I'm up at 6am, I've a busy day ahead and it's time to get my neurons firing.
By far the best way in my opinion is with a Green Smoothie. A big dose of Chlorophyll, Fibre, Vitamins and Minerals right out of my garden. Also a great way to make sure you're hydrated for the beginning of the day.

I look out of the kitchen window and it's pouring with rain. One of our large Stock Doves is looking a little sorry for himself and is taking shelter underneath the roof on our bird feeding table. Our nesting Bluetits seem oblivious to the weather, both parents are slaves to the conveyor belt of food that their chicks are demanding. The noise from the nestbox upon a food delivery is very impressive. Bluetits can on a good year sometimes lay a dozen or more eggs, I'm really looking forward to the fledglings taking their first look at the outside World, usually early June. I'm hoping the weather has improved so that I can set up a camera to capture the fluffy, yellow youngsters.

Below is a photo I took last month through our kitchen window when the parents were putting the lining in the nest.

I got wet in the vegetable garden collecting my ingredients for our smoothie but the smell from our wet pine tree was worth getting wet for.

Our smoothies are 70% greens and 30% fruits. This is the ideal ratio for us, it's very easy to add too much fruit in order to sweeten the mix. I like to make sure I get as many greens in the mix as possible and with lots of variety and wildies. At first the taste can be a little strong especially with the wild greens but it's incredible how the human taste buds soon adapt and you just don't need the sweetness. We really don't notice the taste too much now, it's our preventative medicine and breakfast for the day. I'm the greedy pig of the family and have 3 pints while Pili and my mother have a pint each. Within 20 minutes I can really feel the effects. My energy levels are soaring and I'm ready for my day.

Nootropic Green Smoothie

1tbsp Wheatgrass powder
1tbsp Spirulina
1tbsp Bee Pollen
1 piece of Ginger
1 Lemon with skin
1 Kiwi with Skin
2 ripe Bananas
10 stems of Goose Grass
10 Dandelion leaves
10 leaves of of assorted cabbage (3 species)
5 leaves of Cavolo Nero Kale
1 1/2 pints of filtered water

Later today I'm hoping to receive the cover to my first book which I will post here, it's called:

SIRTFOODS - What They Are & What They Can Do For You

It'll be on hopefully by the end of the month. I'll be offering a 5 day free download so get it while you can. I'd also really appreciate a honest review on the Amazon page, thanks.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Carboots - Sunday Recipes and Organic Pest Control for your veggies

17th May 2015

Had an early start this morning, I was up at 6am to work on my new book. At 9am Pili and I went for a walk around the car boot sale at Branston Cross. We're looking for a roof box for our van for our next adventure but we drew a blank. I did buy a few books and a pair of jeans. 

The adjacent oak woodlands are full of English Bluebells and not the commonly seen Spanish invaders. I must get up there with my cameras. Spring this year is really in full bloom, I love this time of the year in the UK. Everything is alive and fresh. The greens are vivid and all the birds and bees have just one thing on there minds. We have a pair of Blue Tit's nesting in one of our nestboxes. I can hear the chicks all excited when the parents deliver a juicy grub. Yesterday afternoon I set up a camera to record the coming and goings of the parent birds. My editing software is playing up but I will be putting up a video for everyone to see later in the week.

For breakfast this morning I had my delicious 
Spicy Rye bread 

3 slices of Rye Bread
drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A sprinkle of Turmeric
A sprinkle of Cayenne Pepper
3-4 grinds from the Black Pepper grinder
Chopped Spanish Onion
Cherry Tomatoes sliced in half
Lentil Sprouts
1-2 grinds of Himalayan Pink Rock Salt
with a dessert spoon of Spicy Coleslaw

On Sunday's we tend to give the Green Smoothies a miss, a day of rest I suppose.
We always have a large meal of greens and Sweet potatoes every Sunday, lots of Kale, Sprouts and Cabbage with roasted Parsnips and Sweet potatoes. Today was no exception.

For a nutritious dessert my mother harvested some of our Rhubarb from our garden, May is the best time to harvest Rhubarb, it's tangy and not to fibrous. Pili stewed six stalks with 2 Bramble Apples, Cloves, 2 sticks Cinnamon, grated Ginger and with Honey to taste, AMAZING!

Animal Friendly Pest Control

I put all our Rhubarb leaves will go into a large tub of collected rainwater and we will use it as an organic pesticide if we have to later in the year. We've a little trouble with whitefly on our veggies over the last couple of years but a spray of Rhubarb leaves infused water does the trick. 

To keep the slugs at bay and away from our young salads in the greenhouse with use filtered water with a crushed Garlic clove soaked overnight and then sprayed on the young plants, the slugs won't go near.

Here's mom with her Rhubarb harvest

Friday, 15 May 2015

Wheatgrass Shots

Mmmm homegrown fresh Wheatgrass shots in our garden with my mother and Pili my girlfriend.
Whether in powder form of freshly juiced, we all consume wheatgrass everyday. Out of 102 vital vitamins and minerals the human body needs for optimal health, wheatgrass alone provides 98!!! Incorporate it into your diet and you'll reap the benefits. If my energy flags mid afternoon instead of the rollercoaster of coffee I tend to reach for the wheatgrass and off I go about my day recharged. 

I'll be posting how I grow the living grass in a future post. Follow a few easy rules and you will have a very cheap superfood/medicine in an endless supply, even your dog and cat will love it. 

Breakfast Smoothie


Hi, this blog is about our journey and exploration into health and vitality through a diet of plant based food, commercial/homegrown and wild foods. Where we obtain our food, prepare it and what it does for us.

We'll also be plotting our path via our publishing company VIDDA Publishing into producing high quality educational Ebooks via Amazon Kindle. We will be specialising in Health & Nutrition - Education - Natural History. I'll be posting links to all our books with special offers and lots of freebies, WATCH THIS SPACE.

In the coming months I'll be showing how and why we eat and live as we do. No matter where we travel in the World we always strive to harvest wild foods and eat seasonal organic produce to nourish our minds and bodies and to prevent ill health. 

As this is my 1st day of blogging, I'll start by showing you all what I prepared for my girlfriend, mother and myself this morning for breakfast. All the plants are from our garden and 10 minutes before blending they were still in the ground, it can't get any fresher or alive. This is how we start our day everyday. 

By following this routine not only have I restored my own health from dire problems (I'll explain in detail at a later post) but also my mother who is now 72 years old has found a new lease of life after suffering for 20+ yrs from Glomerulonephritis and related kidney problems treated with handfuls of daily medication and all it's side effects. She was digging the garden yesterday and planting runner beans all fueled by a pint of Green Smoothie.

Basically PLANTS healed my family and gave us our lives back. This is the reason for my passion to help share and spread this knowledge. I'm not the first and I certainly won't be the last but I do believe I have something to say.

"The Chinese Do Not Draw Any Distinction Between Food And Medicine"
Lin Yutang (1895-1976) writing in 'The Importance Of Living' 

15th May 2015
Breakfast Smoothie
1tbsp Wheatgrass powder
1tbsp Spirulina
1tbsp freshly ground Flaxseed
2 Bananas with skin
1 Lemon with skin
1 Kiwi with skin
1 medium Pear
1 matchbox sized piece of Ginger with skin

3 Dandelion flowers and 10 leaves
10 stems of Goosegrass
3 10cm tops of Stinging Nettle
5 Cavolo Nero Kale leaves
4 Cabbage leaves
5 small heads of Purple Sprouting Broccoli 

Add 1-2 pints of filtered water or coconut water depending on taste
BLEND until smooth



Just heard the sad news that Blues pioneer B.B King has passed away in his sleep in Las Vegas, he was 89 years old.

I was very fortunate to meet the legend after a show at the De Montfort Hall in Leicestershire, England. The date was 4th July 2001. He was a real gentleman and he was gracious enough to sign one of my paintings. He was very frail but spent time with my friend and I and told us about the young Elvis Presley he knew from Beale Street in Memphis. He had nothing but good things to say about Elvis and expressed his sadness at how things unravelled for him towards the end of his life. 

I have great memories of a great man. R.I.P. B.B. King.  1925-2015

My signed painting