Tag Archives: health

Another Day Crossed Off the List

I didn’t even switch the computer on until 11 pm today. Looking at the clock, it seems that two hours have passed by in the blink of an eye. I have paid for an eBay purchase, deleted emails, read one that needed reading, read an auction catalogue (which I should have done last week) and answered the comments on the blog. It doesn’t seem like much, but going through an auction catalogue and checking some of the lots seems to take ages.

And so, I sit down to write.

I’ve been sitting most of the day, but that was in a different chair and in a different room. That has been the only variety in my day. There is a TV advert which says that laughing uses more calories than jogging. I don’t believe it, but I have watched several comedy programmes to ensure that I got some exercise.  Come to think about it, I once read an article that said visualising an exercise is nearly as beneficial as doing it. I think that related to strength and there is probably some isometric effect, but I can’t help thinking that if it were true we’d here a lot more about it.

Sunlit oak leaves at Clumber

I’m going to start an exercise regime where I imagine all my food is much heavier than it really is. That way I can eat and delude myself that I’m lifting weights at the same time. If I write off to a couple of online Colleges I can probably get some qualifications to make it more believable. (Yes, I use that link before, in case you looked and thought it seemed familiar).

You may think, and I forgive you if you do, that I haven’t done much, but ask your self this question – what have you one today that is as important to human happiness? You may have been industrious (which I have not), you may have done some housework (which Julia has mentioned to me once or twice today, I admit) but have you made a breakthrough in the way we think of sandwich eating?  Thanks to me, it is now possible for fat people to feel virtuous and healthy as they eat sandwiches and work their muscles instead of just their jaws.

I had a sandwich and a bowl of soup tonight, and, as a result of imagining that the sandwiches were heavy, finished my meal feeling like i’d had a bit of a workout. Apart from the exercise, think of the other benefits – no gym subscriptions and no need to shower. Talk about win-win situations.

I went back to November 2017 for the pictures.

Robin at Rufford Abbey

Day 179

I had a call from the surgery this morning. They hadn’t made an appointment, and it came as a call marked “Unknown Caller” while I was on the shop phone answering a customer query. I know from experience that these are often calls from the doctor so I juggled phones and arranged for them to all back after I had finished with the customer.

It was the practice pharmacist ringing for a medication review. This was a surprise as I didn’t know they had a pharmacist and medication review s in the past have been sketchy. This would be no different, as she had obviously rung with a list of things to discuss, including blood pressure. As I may have said before, blood pressure is the new subject they all want to talk about. My blood pressure is much the same as it has been for years (as in “too high”) but they are now staring to worry. They aren’t actually doing anything useful, just muttering about it and demanding that I monitor it at home.

One way of getting my blood pressure down would be to stop ringing me when I am at work. Another would be to stop asking me to monitor it at home in the mornings. I’m in a rush in the morning, so it’s u8nlikely to give a good reading.

At one point, as we discussed it, she actually asked “Do you eat breakfast?” You would have thought that a quick look at my records would have revealed the answer. I clearly  don’t miss many meals. If I was prone to missing meals I would be thinner, my blood pressure would be lower and they wouldn’t be ringing me up.

Day 100 (Part 2)

This was the alternative post I was thinking of making today. I was going to post it later but I thought I’f do it then move on.

this morning I lay in be thinking. I often do that on Sunday, then go back to sleep for an hour or two. I have nothing pressing to do and getting up late helps to differentiate Sunday from other days. On other days I may lie in bed and think, but I do it under the pressur of knowing taht I have to get up.

This morning I thought it would be nice to find a Chinese restaurant that serves businessman’s lunches, as they used to be called, and take Julia out on Wednesday. We used to go to one in Matlock when we were out during the week – a no frills two course meal with coffee for very little money. We lost the habit over the years, and it has been a long time since I thought about it.

That led me on to all you can eat buffets and the lesson I learnt that I actually enjoyed them  more if I didn’t fill myself up to the ears. When you are paying a fixed price and presented with a lot of food it is always a temptation. It’s also tempting to fill up on several plates of snacks before attempting to eat several main courses.

The plan I eventually settled on was to eat a good selection of snacks, some pancakes and duck, and then move on to a main course made up of two or three dishes. You still eat plenty that way and get value for money. You don’t however, feel bloated, ill, unable t move or gluttonously greedy. Once I adopted the new method I found myself enjoying the e experience a lot more.

At one time three of us used to joke that we ought to go for one of these buffets and see what the management did. I can, as you may have gathered, shift a lot of food, and it shows. X, as I will refer to him, who was often mistaken for my brother due to size and ginger beard, was similarly placed and Y, the third of us, was built along the lines traditionally used by coopers in making large barrels.

We never did do it. Y died in his 40s, mainly due to an hereditary heart condition. Y died due to diabetes when he was 50, a sad end to man who served in the Territorial Army for 12 years and used to do a couple of ten mile runs a week.

That just leaves me. Sixty three but with a body at least ten, if not twenty years older. I hadn’t until today, really put it all together. It also dawned on me that two of the people who were at Y’s funeral are also dead now. One at 64 as his body just gave out due to weight and lifestyle (much the same as me) and one from a recurrence of his cancer.

It was a sobering thought, and  one that made me think seriously before eating during the day. The only difference between me and the others is that I eat better quality fresh food. Several of them took more exercise than I do, and two or three were probably thinner.

It feels like today was a cross-roads. Sorry for being a bit too serious, but it’s something I want to note down for posterity.

And now I’ve written it down I can forget about it.

Pope Benedict XVI

Cardinal Newman


You can decide for yourself whether the pictures are about me getting religion or about me collecting medallions. 🙂


Bullied by a Nurse

Today I went to see the nurse. She had look at my toe and decided that I have to go back on Friday so she can dress it again. No wonder the NHS costs so much to run. It’s a toe. It needs a plaster. It doesn’t need a whole appointment.

I hope that appointment runs better than it did today. I was there five minutes before my 8.45 appointment and had to wait until 9.10 to be seen. As far as I could tell the nurse had no patient in, she was just doing some admin. As a result, I ran late, was caught in traffic and ended up being late for work. It was only two minutes late, but I hate being late, full stop. I particularly hate being late because someone else has delayed me.

Wednesday should have been my day off but I agreed  to go in because a number of things cropped up yesterday. It just goes to show that no good deed goes unpunished. You try to do a good thing and karma creeps up behind you with a sandbag.

We had an interesting conversation about health. I will paraphrase but give a general idea.

The nurse asked if I had thought of going onto statins then said:”Oh, you’re already on them.”

“Are you sure? Nobody has told me that I am.”

“You must be. Your cholesterol is only 3.7.”

In broad terms 3.7 is considered good, though it doesn’t do to get too smug about this stuff. After years in the poultry industry, and watching research and marketing collide, I know that cholesterol changes from good to bad on a regular basis.

“I don’t think I am.”

Clatter of keyboard

“Oh, you’re not, but you should think about taking them.”

“If my cholesterol is so low you think I’m already on them, why do I need to take them?”

“Er . . . well, your triglycerides are a little high and recent research shows that you’re more at risk of a stroke and heart attack.”

There is always some new research. I am actually at risk of a  stroke and heart attack because I’m far too heavy and because I don’t exercise. I don’t need “recent research” to point that out.

Nor do I need more tablets. I currently take seven sorts of tablet. Two of them are to counter the effects of the other five. The last thing I need is more tablets.

This is probably a good place to leave it. I am going to give serious thought to lifestyle changes and new strategies for avoiding contact with this particular nurse.




A Badly Filled Evening

I came home, I did some reading, and took a call from the GP Practice Nurse who rang to nag me about various tests. It ended slightly uncomfortably when I pointed out, after a discussion about cholesterol, that she was trying to make me appear ill to satisfy some NHS agenda. We had the same  sort of discussion a few years ago. I just have naturally low cholesterol. It’s due to my genetics, not to a a virtuous diet, but I do object to them trying to turn me into a cripple. I’m overweight and have  a few problems associated with that. This is my fault and the remedy lies in my hands, or in the case of cake, in not having it in my hands. It is time to start work on my weight. I have never had a problem with cholesterol and I object to them trying to get me on even  more medication. I already have more than enough, and they can’t get that right much of the time. Why give them a chance to foul up even more.

We then had tea (pasties, cauliflower steak, cheese sauce, carrots and roasted leeks in case you were wondering). hen we had a bit of cake because w had some left from the tip to Scarborough. I proceeded to watch too much TV and read a book about writing poetry that was written by a poet who should have paid an editor to edit her prose. It was also probably not a good idea for her to suggest reading good writers to improve my writing. It’s not bad advice, it’s just that her suggestions we (in order) her, Hemingway and Dickens.

A touch of modesty would not go amiss.

Just Another Rant

After a painful day yesterday I am enjoying my day off today and am feeling quite sprightly. There’s a slight bittersweet quality about the pain free nature of the day because I achieved it by taking a double dose of paracetamol (which is a bad thing to do) and a double dose of ibuprofen (ditto). There’s some reason that I’m not supposed to take ibuprofen. The doctor did tell me, but I’ve forgotten. They have given me a gel to use, because I can have ibuprofen as a gel, just not as a tablet, unfortunately that has one major fault – it doesn’t actually work.

The other, minor,  problem is that my knobbly fingers have an unsettling quality at the best of times. but when coated in a shiny gel they look like the sort of low-budget horror make-up associated with British TV of the 1960s.

I wasn’t actually going to talk about my delinquency regarding over the counter pain remedies, I was thinking of a piece on a social issue, or  something philosophical on writing. Somehow I just seem to find my level chatting about health, TV or sleeping. Not even talking about health really, my subject is mainly  unhealth, which probably isn’t a word. However, it stands in relation to unhealthy as health and healthy stand together, so it should be a word.

I haven’t been keeping up with drinking guidelines recently because I stopped drinking  thirty years ago. I just checked them up and see the Government suggests limiting alcohol consumption to six pints a week. Beer, that is. I was going to check it up in terms of vodka but you have to download an app to check that. Download an app? What is the world coming to? It’s bad enough that I had stop smoking and drinking, now they want me to clutter my life with apps. I really would rather be a drunkard with  a hacking cough than the sort of person who browses a mobile phone and uses apps. No wonder the world is in such a state.

Next thing you know we’ll have  a Police App. Been the victim of crime? Download our app and press a load of buttons. It won’t solve your problems with anti-social behaviour and it won’t catch burglars, so in that respect it will be just like the real police.  Oh yes, it’s that time again, voting for our local police commissioner. I will, as usual, be taking a stroll down to the polling booth to spoil my paper with the words “Why are we wasting money on this nonsense?”.



Early to Bed…

My new health regime, which consists mainly of going to bed at a sensible time and turning down offers of a second slice of cake, have paid off – I’m already feeling a lot better than I was at the start of the week.

Today turned out to be another busy day. The sales promotion has not only brought a surge in sales but an avalanche of enquiries – many of which are time consuming and lead nowhere. However, like many things, you have to sift through to find the nuggets and as one of the queries led to a £275 sale, it was worth the sifting.

Nothing else of note happened during the day. I watched a little TV, snoozed and ate stir-fried vegetables for tea. I’ve also been going through magazines of Readly. I’ve managed a bird watching magazine, two writing magazines, the TLS and an art magazine tonight. Not bad for a monthly subscription that is the equivalent of buying two magazines. OK, so I only browsed the last two as I wasn’t feeling very intellectual, but it’s still good value.

If anyone is doing ab thesis on the life of an average middle-aged man in the early 21st century – this is it. This what I spent 60 years training for – a life of quiet mediocrity and vegetables. I always wanted to be rich and famous and eat steak…

I had an article sent to my email about the cherry trees in Washington DC – very interesting. I like cherry trees. My Mum and Dad had several and when Julia’s Mum died the village planted a cherry tree in memory of her contribution to the local community., so they have always ben part of my life. Of course, now that I write poetry in Japanese forms I am virtually obliged to write about them.

I seem to be deficient in cherry blossom pictures, so you will have to make do with apple blossom.

Spring in the Mencap Garden


I’ve just been looking at how to write a Gratitude Journal.  There are mixed views on the best way to do this but one way which is, according to a research study, very effective, is to write a list of three things just once a week. It seems that less is more in this area. Al the information is on the link. Having established that minimal effort produced good results, I stopped reading.

So, here we are. Three things for me to feel gratitude for.

One, fruit crumble. We had apple and dried apricot crumble last night. It was a decision aided by the presence of just one apple and the remains of a bag of dried apricots. The rhubarb is currently looking a bit sparse and needs time to revive. We have, in truth, picked too much. We have been neglecting it, so a good measure of manure will be needed this autumn.

On the crumble, we had custard. We have been having either cream or milk or nothing with it, depending on the supply situation. They are all pleasant ways to eat crumble but custard is the best.

The fact that I have plenty of food, and Julia to cook it for me, are the icing on the cake. This is perhaps not the best figure of speech to employ at this point, but it puts things across nicely, even if it is culinarily confusing. The spellchecker doesn’t like ‘culinarily’, but it is a proper word, so hard cheese.

Two, my health. It might not be the first thing you expect me to say. I’m obese, hypertensive and arthritic with a variety of other faults that keep me involved with doctors and phlebotomists, but in general I’m OK and while I may not make 91 like my Dad, I’m not feeling too bad at the moment. In fact, I’m feeling downright perky at the moment. It could, of course, be a lot better.

I should. I suppose, be ashamed of myself for getting into this state. However, let it never be said that I have gone to my grave with a song still in me. When I am old and huddled in front of Countdown, I will have many a disreptuble memory to bring an enigmatic smile to my lips.

Three – WordPress. What would be the point of writing all this if nobody read it? Or if there was nobody to discuss it with? Plus, I can be nosey, and live several lives apart from my own. Within moments of switching on the computer I can be riding my cycle in the Scottish borders, walking in the New Forest or sitting my Maine woodland garden. Or watching the Oregon sunset with my cats, making demented videos with an iconic yellow bear or gardening in Leeds.

There is just so much to do and so many people to see. And that’s before I start on the other sites. My grasp of American military history, with associated cartoons, and the archaeology of death is now much better than it used to be, as is my gardening and cookery knowledge.

Without the writers of WordPress my lockdown would be a dreadfully dull and lonely place.

That, I think, will do. It seems you can wear your gratitude out if you use it too much, and I don’t want to risk it.




Some Thoughts from Lockdown

I have just been complaining to Julia about the unfairness of life. Not the big unfairnesses like the lack of a lottery win, or not being born into generations of privilege, but the irritating little ones, like failing to go shopping the day before the panic started. Or being 61 instead of 59. (If you are 59 you are a lot less likely to die than if you are 60, according to the Government figures). And let’s face it, if you can’t trust the Government, who can you trust?

We bought memberships of the National Trust and English Heritage for Christmas, with the intention of visiting a lot of their properties this year. This  would have kept us active and given me plenty of photographic practice.

It hasn’t happened, and it is looking increasingly unlikely that it will happen at all this year, with most things being closed. To be fair, it isn’t all the fault of the virus, a number of local English Heritage properties were undergoing renovation anyway, and weren’t in a fit state for photography.

Looking on the bright side, it could be worse. We might have taken out Life Membership.

Having looked at the mortality figures for my age and underlying conditions in relation to the coronavirus, this would have been a poor investment. It’s always been ironic that by the time you feel able to take out a lifetime membership of one of these organisations it probably isn’t cost-effective.

From a bug that could be defeated by handwashing, and which only affected the over-70s with health problems, it seems to have changed into a bug that affects over-60s with a few health problems I hadn’t even thought of as problems. And it can now only be cured by spending 12 weeks locked in your house.

If I’d known that 12 weeks of lounging round snacking and watching TV was a cure for serious illness I’d have taken this medical stuff more seriously. In fact, considering my lifestyle (or life – there is, let’s face it, no “style” about the way I live), I really shouldn’t be ill at all.

I’ve also been reading articles on how to spend weeks cooped up with Julia without a murder occurring. I told her this, and she muttered that it was already too late. From the fact I’m still able to write I assume she’s forming an intention but hasn’t quite got round to method and means yet. I may have to start feeding her chocolate. It doesn’t mention chocolate in the articles I’ve read, but I’m pretty sure it will work.

Today’s header picture is an interesting stone from the car park at Aldeburgh. We were there in East Anglia for three days last week – which will form the third part of my A Week I Wouldn’t Want Again series.

If you are planning on three days away my advice would be not to set off on the day the Government tells you not to travel.




A Week I Wouldn’t Want Again (Part 2)

The day after the hospital trip we both had the day off. Julia didn’t feel like doing much so we sat at home and watched TV. Little did we realise, but within days this would become official Government advice.

After an hour I cracked and went out. I had errands to run and, as Julia pointed out, although I was trying to be solicitous and empathetic, I can be irritating in large doses. It was a bit of a strain for me too, as solicitude and empathy are not my natural territory. I tend more towards grumpy and sarcastic.

Julia decided to go to the gym while I was out, but after walking to the bus stop decided that was enough exercise for the day.

Thursday followed much the same pattern, though this time I went to work and Julia walked to the shop with a borrowed shopping trolley in search of vegetables for tea. There was still a reasonable selection of goods on the shelves, apart from toilet rolls and pasta, but we have plenty of toilet rolls and enough pasta so why worry?

There was, at that time, no sign of the Government descending into headless chicken mode, or the impending retail apocalypse.

On Friday Julia was back in hospital having a number of tests, including two brain scans which found nothing.

When she told me that, I smirked.

“You’re going to use that as a joke on the blog aren’t you?” she said. She has a low opinion of me as a humourist.

“No,” I said. “What sort of man would make light of his wife’s ill health.”

I think we all know the answer to that question.

The flowers – primroses and forget-me-nots – are from the Mencap garden. We are on holiday at the moment but nipped down just to check everything was alright.