Hip Swinging…


After reading up about the health benefits of hula hooping, and feeling the need to rid my waistline of a few extra inches, I purchased a weighted, self-assembly exercise hoop online. It must be almost fifty years since I last hula’d (or is it hooped?) and back in the 60s we used large, hollow plastic circles which were as light as a feather, so the thought of spinning a 1.2kg piece of kit around my belly was a little daunting. However, I’d like to firm up my mid-section and this seemed a fun way to do it.

Luckily for the postman my new toy was self-assembly. With a 60cm diameter I’d underestimated just how much space was needed to avoid smashing the telly or knocking over dozens of plant pots, but thankfully once the sofa was shoved against the wall I was able to get the thing moving, albeit briefly.

Apparently I’m not quite as supple as I was when I was five, but I persevered despite disappointment at the hoop repeatedly hitting the deck after just one journey around my torso, but after just a few days I’m quite proud of the fact I can now keep it going for a whole minute! I’m probably getting more exercise from picking the hoop up off the floor than from spinning it around my body, but ‘practice makes perfect‘ as they say. I ache, and I have some slight bruising to my ribcage, but the good news is that I’ve already lost an inch from my waistline – yippee!


Wired For Sound…

Front view male figure torso with holter monitor and ekg/heart rhythm inset

At my scheduled cardiology appointment I had the usual ECG with a side-order of echocardiogram before spending half an hour discussing my recent health issues with the heart valve nurse. I was reassured to discover that the leaky valves are no worse, however due to some new chest ‘niggles,’ along with swollen ankles and the cough that I’ve had since January, I’m now going to be asked to return in a couple of weeks time to have a heart monitor fitted. I shall apparently be wearing my funky tech for two days so they can see what’s actually going on with my ticker, so that’ll be fun.

In less exciting news I’m also going to be facing an invasive angiogram to find out whether my arteries are furring up like an old kettle; which could explain my symptoms. I have to admit I’m less than keen but I have little choice if I want my cardiologist to make a full and accurate diagnosis. Although it’s positive that the NHS is doing all it can to check every inch of my insides, it’s not a procedure I relish.

Oh well, at least for today I’ve come away with a little bag full of new tablets to try out in the meantime, so hopefully by the time I have to have my arteries filled with something colourful that’ll show up on an xray I might’ve stopped hacking my lungs up. Fingers crossed!

Sick Pay…

Paid Time Off Clock Words Employee Medical Sick Leave

When you’re self-employed it’s really simple; if you don’t work you don’t get any money. However, now that I’ve ditched self-employment to become a bona fide employee I’m discovering the benefit of ‘sick pay‘. What a truly marvellous phenomenon it is!

After suffering with persistent cough, instead of continuing to struggle in to work in order to ensure I could afford to pay my bills, I was able to take a couple of days off so that my poor old lungs could recover, without me getting stressed out over money. Being able to rest at home fully focussed on simply getting better was not only good for my physical health but also my mental well-being.

This is actually a win-win situation all round as not only was I able to return to work fighting fit within a relatively short period of time, my co-workers no longer had to listening to me hacking up my lungs all day. Result!

Taking Action…


The minute I was told about yobs using the local woods as a bike race track, I knew something had to be done. I’ve spent a lot of time there, and on the adjacent meadows, enjoying all the wonderful nature, and I wasn’t about to allow a bunch of cretins to ruin it. Within hours I’d emailed a local Counsellor requesting that the issue be dealt with as a matter of urgency. The following day I took my camera along to gather evidence. I was horrified to see branches ripped off trees, wild flowers flattened, earth mounds created to act as jumps and and tyre tracks going right across the main footpath.

A second email, with photos, ensured that the authorities were now aware of a major Health and Safety issue, and within 3 days the local council had implemented an action plan to return the area back to its former glory with immediate effect. Official warning notices were ordered to be installed and leaflets distributed to residents to report any further bike activity to the police.

Now, with any luck the birds will feel safe enough to return before spring and dog-walkers and families will all be able to enjoy their woodland strolls again without the fear of being mowed down. If you want something to happen, you have to make it happen…

Shout Out, Get Out, Stay Out…


I’m rather pleased with myself because I managed to nab a coveted spot on another free Professional Development course that my new employers run, and this time there was more in-depth training on the Health & Safety aspects of fire hazards, which goes hand-in-hand with my new role as a Fire Evacuation Steward. These are transferable skills I can use in any situation, including when I’m at home.

The highly experienced trainer pulled no punches and I have to admit his shock tactics worked. I now know that the majority of fires are caused by electrics, and that you should never use a multi-way for plugging in anything that produces heat (hair straighteners, fan heater, etc). I also learnt that it takes just two and a half minutes from the first wisp of smoke before you become unconscious, and that given the amount of electrics in bedrooms nowadays you should have a smoke detector in them, with an absolute minimum of two in each home. We were also warned that despite the romance of a candle-lit bath, fibreglass (which many baths are made from) is highly flammable and you really don’t want to find yourself sitting inside a ring of fire!

As landings, stairs and hallways are your pathway out of a burning building you should never have anything in them that would be a trip hazard in a dark / smoky environment. Also, closing all doors wherever possible is the best way to keep any potential fire at bay long enough for you to exit safely, and unless you’re a fully trained fireman, never ever attempt to put a fire out yourself or return to a burning building. The main message however was just three simple things; in the event of a fire, shout out, get out and stay out!

Mummy & Me Time…


It’s only now I’m getting older that I realise I’m actually turning into my mother! There’s no getting away from it; as the old cliché goes “The apple never falls far from the tree“. After spending the morning accompanying mum around town on the hottest day of the year so far (or to be more accurate, listening to her reject endless cafes for no logical reason until I practically drag her into one before I faint from dehydration), I feel that I should apologise profusely in advance to my daughters for when I inevitably go doolally as I too approach my twilight years. Wow, that ‘little old lady’ can say some wildly inappropriate things at times!

I’ve clearly inherited my love of going on long walks from my maternal line, although I was somewhat bemused to discover that although in her 70s she apparently has far more stamina than me, resulting in my not-so-subtle hints about her ‘having a rest‘ falling on selectively deaf ears. Despite my blisters however, I’m hugely grateful that she’s currently in good health, and I obviously hope that she remains so for as long as humanly possible. As we grow older it slowly dawns on us that our parents are not going to be around for ever, and time spent creating happy memories with them now, while it’s still possible, will be something special to look back on when they’re sadly no longer here…