Garden Glimpses

two squirrels


Dave's notebook

Exhaustion in lockdown. Peta Bee investigates, Times Jan 23rd. John Leach suggests this is an adaptation to not knowing - when it will end, what is really going on with variants, are the vaccines actually the answer? So to the suggestions -

* No lying in bed and no falling asleep in front of the TV. Guilty as charged. Even if it's only 9.00 pm, go to bed.

* Eat. Fresh and varied. 2 litres of fluid per day. Not too late for the evening meal (6-7 pm?). We try. And don't drink alcohol late at night. Yes spot on - try and have a 4 hour break before bed. Think about Vitamin D and iron supplements.

* Reframe goals. Maybe not possible to plan short term work, fitness and social goals. These are maybe mostly activities outside the home, on the go. Reframing could be more about planning stuff within the home. Have a go at something simple. Not so easy when I always make stuff more complicated or break off before finishing. 
    Two daily routines. (1) Regular schedule like mealtimes - coffee, coffee, lunch, coffee, beer o'clock, evening meal, chocolate (2) Plan to fill in those spaces - exercise, hobbies - yoga, writing or getting finances in order. Pilates? a Blog? phoning a friend, social events - zoom for example. This is best done as a partnership, otherwise another's expectations might get in the way. 
    Sounds a bit busy to me and a bit contradictory. Smile and don't worry - try again the next day. 

* Slow exercise. Fitness is not all about busting the machines. Slow jog or walk for 20 minutes three times a week. Don't sit around all day. Get up from that chair every 30 minutes and go for a little walk.

* Get outside early. The dark months really do suck.

* Relaxation. Setting aside a quiet time and this sounds great. Reducing 'the processing of non-essential information' and moving away from ruminative and negative thoughts. This I get but don't always do. It's simple, measurable and enjoyable (SMART goals; specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound). As long as you like, but I find 30 minutes a bit of stretch. I'm a Simon Barnes 'bottomless sit' person. Best in the garden. Let thoughts drift in and out. Tune into the periphery of the senses - sight and hearing. Having a breathing technique helps. It's mindlessness I'm after.

* Get scrubbed up each evening.

* Measure how you are doing. Improvement in tiredness is the overall goal. Otherwise Hmmm - how do you measure the simple things in life? Most of us will agree with most of this stuff. We must forgive ourselves if we struggle. Having a go maybe is achievement enough, but keep having a go.

So summary. We have never been perfect. We try and not surprise each other with a walk or housework when we've planned something else. Beer o'clock finishes 6.30 pm. I write something every day. We could exercise more. I could sit in the garden more. The reframing goals is hard - keep it simple and make it regular. Smile and don't worry - try again the next day or phone a friend. The childbride does.

The stoic dichotomy of control - 'The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control' — Epictetus. Discourses. II.5. 

When it will end, what is really going on with variants, are the vaccines actually the answer? Don't know - live with it. Compared to bereaved families and families with children of school age or any age come to that, we have it easy.

Lockdown44 keep active

Walking from home - Upperthong, Hinchliffe Mill and along Bottoms Mill race. 
A dead log has fallen across the race and produced a dam with debris backing up behind it. 
Have any beavers been released here?

squirrel alert again

Keep active - boomercise

Times, Anna Maxted reports - staying fit for over 70s - 14 suggestions from Dr Pollock.

Be risk-aware not risk-averse - sounds like common sense, but 'phone a friend' if you plan to do something you haven't done for a while or never done.

Preventing frailty and falls - strength and balance exercises
                Lift weights
                Fitness regime
                Stand on one leg
                Men and pelvic floor - whatever next

Supplements - vitamin D is always a good idea in winter.

Eating - enjoy cooking and meals. Heaven protect us from all the diet fetishists. My favourite is bacon, fried eggs and black pudding. Closely followed by fish and chips. I could go on.

Social interaction - on my weekly trips to the shops I talk to anyone who will talk back. How strange is that for a grumpy old man?

Make more fuss when getting help from medics - no problem. I've made a career of being difficult with everyone, not just medics.

Medicines (checking the point with medics again) - I recently had my eye review at Acre Mills. No, I'm not going to bang on about ophthalmic services. The SHO who could be my granddaughter said I didn't need the pills and eye drops I'd been taking for the last 5 years. Her boss agreed. "If it all goes pear-shaped, will you see me quickly without all the tedious computer watchers getting in the way? "Yes" she said. It hasn't.

Scans and interventions - the stoic dichotomy - no need to chase stuff you can't or don't need to do anything about. I agree checking poo for blood is an exception. Polyps and early bowel cancer can be treated. The downside is sticking that tube up your bum. I have two T-shirts.

Dementia - yes, but what can you do? I regularly find myself in a room and can't remember why. 

I admit it's been a lifelong hobby, keeping fit. All I can suggest is try something, keep doing it and maybe do a bit more. A good walk a few times a week is a good start.

I think we are realising this covid job is a marathon.


Lockdown42a - senior moments or not?



dropped four pieces

more crack than pot, gorilla

rescue look no joints

Dave's winter pics - garden glimpses

Many photographers have great winter pics, so I went for something a bit different. A pile of stones becomes a little man with a hat on and folded arms. Perhaps other people can see something else?

Dave's notebook

Matthew Parris in the Times, 9th Jan. The man who is sitting on the bottom of your bed when you wake in the night or in the early morning. An image of the grim reaper perhaps. A personification of anxiety and preoccupation. Matthew cites Brexit, Covid and Trump as perhaps the major culprits. For younger people maybe, but not for me and my small circle of friends. I voted to stay in Europe. We have stuck to government advice and not ventured. Trump is an idiot running a banana republic - temporarily. I don't care, he will soon be out. Sincere thoughts for the bereaved families for whatever reason.

Worry about things you can do something about. I have enough dark thoughts and have no need of more.

The childbride is always even handed. Business men will worry. Mums with jobs and kids out of school will worry. How will the great relationship with the US fare? I still go with a stoic dichotomy of control. Decisions and behaviours are under our control, nothing much else. But people will still worry.


James Marriot's review 'Can't Even' by Anne Helen Peterson. Times January 9th. Millennials - apparently anyone born between 1981 and 1996. Today aged 25-40 if my maths are correct. I'm 73 and we, the middle classes, had it relatively easy in the 1960s - financial stability and improving living standards, unions strong and capitalism restrained. Era of free love. So different to our parents who lived through the inter-war years and the Great Depression with strict behaviour standards.
  Then the 1980s. Globalisation, financial crises, decline in unions. Reducing middle class security. 'The net worth of millennials is 20% lower than that of boomers at the same point of their lives.' The first generation since the Depression to be less well off than parents. Censoriousness originates from financial instability - looking for comfort in moral certainty. 'Me Too', 'Black Lives' and 'no-platforming'.
  So I can understand it and at bottom I'm for it. But I'm uncomfortable with it. I've never been perfect.
  Anne finishes with something that rings another uncomfortable bell. Quoting Claire Tomalin's memoire 'I used to think I was making individual choices, now, looking back, I see clearly that I was following trends and general patterns of behaviour that I was powerless to resist as a migrating bird or a salmon swimming upstream.'
  Mmm - discuss. I thought they were under our control, bugger.

Lockdownweek42 stay active

Two old farts sharing a moment

Stay Active

Recent piece in the Telegraph by Jan Etherington, 30th December - 'It's wrong to see older people as the collateral damage fo Covid'.
  Lucid and literate - main points:
  'Age creeps up on you as stealthily as a Japanese bullet train.'
  'Ageist attitudes have seeped into the national conversation.'
  'The elderly' a horrible word ... who should 'take their chance as their lives are over.'
  Prue Leith (80) didn't think the old should be prioritised because 'you want to save the person who's got a life ahead of them, not the person who's had a life.' Jan suggested along the lines of -  tell that to Tom Moore or David Attenborough, both older role models in their nineties plus and benighted. Prue accepted her vaccination.
  Jan's godmother recently died of Covid, aged 95.

What is elderly?

I agree that older person and older people are more pleasant names.

It is a fact that we do change as we age. Physically we wear out, predetermined by information contained on our DNA. So, the 4 - Ss. Strength, suppleness, stamina and skill. Most of us cannot shift pianos from 50-60s onwards. Stiffness similarly. Most of us gradually lose cardiovascular performance from even earlier than that. Skill is hard to define, but imbalance and clumsy fine movement follow changes in our peripheral nerve pathways.

There's a whole industry ready to help out and making lots of money. The clock won't go back, but making the best use of what you have is possible with benefits.
  Gyms, online exercises, pilates and so on don't suit everybody. I recommend have a go at something and do it regularly. The minimum is a stiff walk (sweaty and breathless) of 20/30 minutes up to 5 times a week. Gardening and golf, though laudable, don't count. Design your own stretches and balances. Further information from ageuk.

Anyone seen Clint Eastwood in The Mule? The theme tune is 'Don't Let the Old Man in' by Toby Keith, apologies for the gender bias.

"Many moons I have lived.
My body's weathered and worn.
Ask yourself how old would you be
If you didn't know the day you were born."

Can anyone help?

Sadly illness can dog us at any age. Many older people bounce back pretty well from acute illnesses. Even a hospital admission can be quite quick.

It's the multiple pathology and polypharmacy that's a bugger. Naturally reducing reserves are further compromised. Recovery from illness may need more time and patience. Learning to live with a new health or illness reality if full recovery is not possible. In the past these people were referred to as 'bed-blockers'. I hope this term is now extinct. One person's bed-blocker is another's second chance. Multidisciplinary rehabilitation - therapists, medics, social workers, community nurses. Forget the tribal agendas, work to what the person, patient or whatever they are called these days, want. This is the common purpose that binds the team.
Many older people, whatever their health, will thus have a future.

Don't let the covid in

many things we have done
some good and some bad
leave your troubles behind
enjoy the love that you have

stay true to yourself
keep as trim as you can
sing and dance a safe space
don't let the covid in

things have not changed
sit tight when you’re called
rules are still there for reasons
we must all get along