Tuesday, 15 May 2018

A Wee Jaunt

I've just been away for the weekend in Glasgow. It was lovely to be able to drive down for the weekend without worrying about hospital visits. I stayed with my pal, Anna. We had planned quite a few things including the Glasgow Contemporary Arts Fair where friends were exhibiting. Sunday was an afternoon Rachmaninov Concert at City Halls which is a delightful concert venue. On Monday I drove home via Ullapool and Anna came as far as Dunkeld before getting the train back for a lunch in Glasgow.

I'm finding that the 500 mile rounds trip plus the ferry seems to get shorter every time I do it.

We had an early evening meal out at a favourite Italian restaurant near the City Halls. When we arrived home we decided to go for a walk along the Forth and Clyde canal near Anna's home.

Through the Highlands there were quite a few hold-ups for road repairs after the severe winter. As I was sitting in the car on the moors perhaps 20 miles before Ullapool on the way home I couldn't help thinking that if I had to sit in a traffic hold-up this was as good a place as any to do it.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Carbohydrates, Nuclear Weapons and the Menopause.

How to delay the menopause. 
Various news media came up with all sorts of headlines from The Sun's 'Cutting carbs from your diet could delay the menopause for FIVE YEARS' to The Telegraph's 'Eating oily fish could delay the menopause by three years' whilst  The Scotsman backed both horses with the headline 'Oily fish could delay menopause while carbs may hasten it.' The BBC article came up with the neutral headline 'How your diet could influence the age of your menopause'. The BBC article is quite informative.

Two things occurred to me: how early does one have to start this diet alteration to delay the menopause or hasten it; and why would one want to delay it? In any case in my experience no one quite knows when the menopause is going to strike anyway. It's going to happen (with varying degrees of hellishness) so one is only putting off the inevitable at best.

I was going to mention the rather odd statement by Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran would only be developing nuclear weapons if it intended to use them. But that could be controversial so I decided not to do so.

On a more positive note I've progressed from 2 to 3 and now up to 6 mile walks in the morning (pushing wee Brodie in his off-road buggy round the Castle Grounds) and then 5 hours hard labour in the garden in the afternoon. The body is well on the road to it's pre-last-September condition.

Monday, 23 April 2018

News Addiction and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla

Unfortunately I am a news junkie. I have no idea why. I suppose there was a time when I had to keep abreast of what was happening and I also enjoyed knowing what was going on in the world outside the United Kingdom. I have, over the years, developed a habit of watching the BBC 6 O'Clock and the Scottish News every evening and I often switch the television on at 10pm and watch the ITV News. Of course every time anything happens of significance my iPhone lets me know instantly. So I knew instantly that the new Royal child was born (and gave a sigh of relief that we would not be watching days of pictures of St Mary's Hospital) and that people had been killed in Toronto before the van had come to a halt.

Of course there is occasionally Good News. Very occasionally.

When the news programmes that I have mentioned are on the television I find it hard to do anything else so that is 90 minutes a day wasted apart from the times when I have my evening meal between 6 and 7 pm (when I can't then do a crossword whilst I eat).

I gave up cigarettes in 1967 and never missed them from the moment (just after 9 in the morning in my office) that I threw the box of 48 Piccadilly Tipped across the office (I'd smoked 2) and said that I'd never smoke another cigarette as long as I lived. I stopped my habitual 2 glasses of wine at 6pm (when the news starts) last September and, whilst I haven't given up alcohol in general or wine in particular I no longer drink anywhere near the 14 units per week recommended as a maximum and I don't miss it. I didn't even take a conscious decision to cut down.

So why can't I stop watching the news programmes?

I have made a wee start tonight. I stopped watching the 10 0'clock news before the programme ended and decided to watch a Prom concert from the 2017 season that I recorded (I record most of them).  The conductor is Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. She is a Lithuanian conductor who has been music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra since September 2016. She is only about 32 and is exceptionally talented and brings a breath of fresh air to established works. Few things could persuade me to go to Birmingham again but the opportunity to watch her conduct the BSO would be one of them.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Walking: Continued

Yesterday morning I walked twice the distance (3 miles) of the day before in 1½ times the time (just under an hour). I then spent 4 hours in the garden doing some pretty physical maintenance work. Today I repeated yesterday's walk. It's a while since I've felt this physically fit and it feels pretty good.

In fact I'm really looking forward to this spring and summer in all sorts of ways: spending time with my grandson; the garden; visitors; starting a new pastime in the form of bowls (I just can't see me getting to Glasgow often enough to play croquet again to the level I had become accustomed in New Zealand); more walking (made possible, ironically, by my latest series of hospital visits); and so many more ways. Life is pretty darn good. 

A few photos from this morning's walk:

The Lews Castle. The open ground is where, amongst other things, the Celtic Festival is held each year.
The historic Gaff Ketch 'Tecla'. Webpage here.
Setting sail past me walking along the harbour-side path
Another memorial seat has been added for walkers wanting some contemplation time