When the Soviet writer Solzhenitsyn was in the gulag, he used to sew bread rations into his mattress, so that if the guards withheld his food, he wouldn’t die.
My sister helpfully reminds me of this as I head off for a week-long juice cleanse, offering to pop a sewing kit in my bag. But there is no bread — nothing chewier than juice, broth, herbal tea — on a juice cleanse. If she were here now, five days in, I’d most likely eat her. As each day passes, the potted plant in my room becomes more nervous.
Yet I have done this before. Twice. I hope to make it an annual thing; like getting your car serviced, except instead of an oil change, it’s beetroot juice and meditation.
The woman who runs the retreat I’m on, at Combe Grove near Bath, tells us about her family. Her aunt is 94, and has been vegan since the 1940s (imagine how hard that would have been); Auntie Bridget still teaches Kundalini yoga, and has just come back from a month in Chile. I want to be Auntie Bridget.
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