Writer, journalist and columnist James Delingpole, 53, suffered for many years
The cause is a Lyme Disease – which is notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat
Here, he reveals his on-going battle to beat the devastating tick-borne condition
Almost the worst thing about Lyme disease — almost worse than the migraines, brain fog, night sweats, chronic fatigue, depression, panic attacks, insomnia, neck ache, facial twitch, numbness, shooting pains, arthritic joints and the sensation of impending death — is that no one believes your problem is real.
You complain to the family and they say: ‘Off he goes again. What is it this time — a brain tumour?’
You moan to the wife and she says: ‘But I thought you’d been told years ago that it wasn’t Lyme?’
You tell your doctor you think you’ve got Lyme, and he says: ‘Now let’s see if we can get to the bottom of what’s really wrong with you.’
… but JAMES DELINGPOLE says the idea these giants will solve our energy problems is simply hot air.
What could be more clean and natural than harvesting energy from the power of wind using gigantic turbines? Environmentalists have dreamed of this since at least the Thirties, when a Nazi German inventor called Dr Franz Lawaszeck theorised how to solve his country’s energy problems at a stroke.
He wrote: ‘Wind power, using the cost-free wind, can be built on a large scale. Improved technology will, in the future, make it no more expensive than thermal power . . . the wind towers must be at least 100 metres high, the higher the better, ideally with rotors 100 metres in diameter.’
Wind power was all the rage among Nazis, many of whom shared the party’s fanatical commitment to the environment. Other big fans included Hitler’s favourite commando, Otto Skorzeny.
After an eventful war — which included springing Mussolini from his mountain-top jail in a daring glider operation and planning a (happily abortive) assassination attempt on Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin — the plucky SS-Obersturmbannführer settled in Spain where he spent his later years campaigning on behalf of the nascent wind industry.
But it has taken until now for the Nazis’ dream of a world powered by wind to become even remotely plausible.
At first he found six-year-old Jim an irritant, but 25 years on, JAMES DELINGPOLE is proud to call him ‘son.’
James Delingpole claims taking on his stepson, Jim is one of his best decisions
25 years ago, aged 26 he met his now wife who was 32 and had a six year old son
He became close to Jim through play-fighting and driving him to school daily
He shared how their family unit has changed over the past 25 years
Sometimes I like to tease my wife that the only reason I managed to bag a woman so out of my league is that when we met, she came with a huge albatross round her neck: a six-year-old boy, Jim, from her first marriage.
I’m joking, but there’s an element of truth in this. No person in their right mind chooses to take on the responsibility for someone else’s child, especially not when they’re footloose and fancy-free. But that’s what I did 25 years ago and I’ve no regrets. In fact, becoming a stepfather was one of the best life-decisions I ever made.
My first glimpse of Jim was a pointy-featured face with red hair grinning at me from beneath his duvet, presumably just after bedtime, when I’d gone round to his mother’s pad for supper.
Immediately, I christened him by the name which has stuck ever since: the Rat. He remembers being impressed by my rock-star-length hair and black leather coat. I remember being impressed by how grown up I was at the tender age of 26 to be going on a date with a woman with an actual kid. She was 32; we had met at a party.
The Peligoni Club is a popular watersports club-cum-hang-out on Zakynthos
For a fixed fee, visitors can use any equipment like catamarans and sailboards
Lessons from enthusiastic young British instructors are also included in the cost
Not until the mid-week quiz night did we finally understand why the Peligoni Club is one of the Med’s hottest destinations for families with teenagers.
It’s a pop-up, seasonal watersports club-cum-teenage hang-out on the Greek island of Zakynthos (or Zante as it is also known).
You pay a fixed fee, then for the rest of your holiday (in one of the club’s nearby villas), you can use all the equipment you like — dinghies, catamarans, sailboards — and have endless lessons from the enthusiastic young British instructors.
My wife was perfectly happy jumping into the clear Ionian sea while the teenagers, a boy, 18, and girl, 16, were far too preoccupied lounging all day by the infinity pool at our secluded villa to want to take the epic journey (five minutes in our hire car) to an alien place where they might risk being judged by fellow teens. And then there was Boris, our private leatherback turtle.
Some years ago there was a farm shop in Worcestershire I loved to visit. It was run by a Mr and Mrs Orchard — yes, really! — and operated out of a tiny wooden hut, next to the barns where they milked their herd of Guernseys.
Beyond were the fields where they grew their carrots, cabbages, potatoes, turnips and so on, whatever was in season — and all of them sold at such stupidly low prices that my jaw used to drop every time I got the bill which, of course, Mr Orchard would tot up in his head from a handwritten list.
The Orchards could afford to do this because, by selling direct to the consumer, they were cutting out the middleman and avoiding those iniquitous deals that supermarket buyers tend to impose on farmers. It was a win-win situation for buyer and seller.
And though they weren’t organic, those vegetables were as crisp and delicious as any I’ve ever eaten.
The Daily Mail‘s James Delingpole headed for Sicily with his family in tow
He spent a week at each of two lovely villas, both of them near Ispica in Sicily
Holiday highlights included a tour of the glorious hilltop town of Ragusa
Don’t tell anyone — my teenagers would die of shame. But my favourite thing about our family villa holiday in Sicily were my 8am Embarrassing Dad nudie swims.
Each morning, ignoring my wife’s protests — ‘Oh really. Must you?’ — I’d stride starkers across the lawn to the cliff at the bottom of our garden, down the flight of steps and — splosh! — launch myself into the Mediterranean.
Then I’d swim out a hundred yards or so and gaze in awe at the empty bay, with its spectacular white rock pillars thrusting up from the sea bed. ‘Wow!’ I’d think. ‘We’ve got this all to ourselves for the whole week.’
Oh, how I wish I’d kept hold of my Skoda Yeti. If only I hadn’t just sold it, I might have stood to make a cool £3,000 in compensation from the class action being brought by motorists against Volkswagen and its sister brands (Audi, Skoda, Seat) as a result of the Dieselgate emissions scandal.
Like many duped motorists, I acquired my diesel car in the naive belief that it would not only be more efficient and cost-effective than a petrol one, but also that it was better for the environment. We now know that this green myth is a nonsense.
The particulate matter produced by diesel engines is toxic, polluting and may be responsible for tens of thousands of deaths annually across Europe.
Some manufacturers such as Volkswagen have known this for ages, but rather than lose business it rigged emissions tests to make its cars seem more eco-friendly than they actually were.
on a once-great institution’s plans to promote the gay and transgender links of our finest houses
Whenever I read in the papers about some new trendy scheme introduced to the National Trust by its tiresomely PC management under director general Dame Helen Ghosh, I feel a pang of regret at having resigned our family membership a decade ago.
One month Dame Helen is singing the praises of wind farms; the next it’s a story about signs in the grounds of NT properties that read ‘Please do touch the trees — or even hug them!’; then it’s a row about some scheme to pay over the odds for a farm in Cumbria that has infuriated the locals.
Every time I read this stuff, my response is: why can’t I still be a member? Then I could resign, to signal how thoroughly I disapprove of initiatives so at odds with the Trust’s culture, history and core membership.
With the civil war over, the north of Sri Lanka is now a wonderful new frontier for holidays.
Northern tip of Sri Lanka was closed to tourists, but is now an adventure
It’s a little battle-worn but there’s plenty of colourful temples to be seen
You can also go to one of the many game reserves and see elephants
Promise me, dad, that you’ll never take us anywhere tropical ever again!’ said my 14-year-old daughter. This is not what you want to hear when you have forked out for the trip of a lifetime to Sri Lanka.
But I knew what she meant. Along with her similarly unimpressed 16-year-old brother and stoical mother, she had been dragged by her cruel father away from the comforts of the lush southern half of Sri Lanka, with its white beaches and boutique hotels, to the northern-most tip of the island, which couldn’t be more different.
Arid, burning hot and scarred by bullet holes, this was the region that saw the bloodiest fighting in the 25-year civil war between government forces and the Tamil Tigers. Until 2009, it was closed to tourists and even now is an adventure.