Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Brief Encounter

It seems like a month since I spent a weekend in Glasgow 7 days ago. Since then my son has been home from Jakarta, been to Italy, got a new job and I took him to the plane this morning for his trip back to Italy where he will be working on a new-build super-yacht for the next year.

I have visitors whom I met through blogging and whom I feel I've known for ever we are all so comfortable together.

On their first night staying with me I was carted away to hospital at 2am by a couple of paramedics in an emergency ambulance. It must be very strange getting up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet to be met by a paramedic in the hall. However they took it in their stride and coped for the next day and night until I was deemed fit to be returned to life on the outside of a hospital. The irony is that I actually felt very well despite the fact that a kidney had closed down and my blood pressure had gone through the metaphorical roof. 

Anyway I was released on Sunday morning in time to prepare dinner for five that evening.

So that's why I've been absent from Blogland for a few days.

Talking of my trip to Glasgow, Anna came part of the way home with me (the first 70 miles) to Dunkeld where we had breakfast and then she got the train back to Glasgow to go to a luncheon.

She caught the 1033 train from Dunkeld station.

Hopefully normal service is resumed again.

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.