Having chickened out, at the last minute, of an operation to fix my dodgy knees (decided 20% failure rate and 1% chance of hospital bug was too much risk) I thought I’d do better if I lost a stone and took some exercise. So I persuaded my daughter Li-Da to come with me to Ernest’s house in Lanzarote and we did a do-it-yourself- detox week.

Li-Da was brilliant. She insisted on a weigh in, and recorded all our measurements, and got us to agree to a 600 calorie a day, no caffeine, no ciggies, no alcohol, no carbs and no protein diet. Which basically means you live on fruit and veg: juiced for breakfast (we’d lugged her juicer with us), stir fry for lunch, soup for supper.

We took it in turns trying to be creative with the chilli, ginger, herbs from the garden, lemon grass, etc. Did you know you could  make a delicious juice out of parsnips, cabbage, pears, kiwi and mint..

And we thrashed up and down Ernest’s pool, and went for long walks along the cliff paths (well Ernest and I doddered along, Li-Da ran herself into a muck sweat).

One day we went to a German friend, Georg, for lunch and he responded to our announcement that we were on the diet of all diets by producing the most amazing beef consommé with Thai spices and great delicious lumps of real meat. We fell on it as only the starving would.

George, by the way, has the most amazing house and garden. AND is one hell of a cook.

When, at the end of the week we solemnly weighed out, Li-Da and Ernest had both PUT ON a pound and Li-Da had gained 11 inches round the waist. When the shrieking subsided we realised that I’d originally read the tape measure wrong and given her a 21 inch waist, and that the scales, depending on how you stood on them, or how they stood on the uneven flag stones, could give you just about any reading you liked.

Home now, and still trying. But I bet I’ll be as fat as butter again in a flash.