The weight of the world

I don’t like to crow about how brilliant I am – it would only depress the rest of you. However, over the past year I have been working on losing some of the stones I gained while I was suffering with mobility restrictions. Thankfully last year I eventually had a couple of operations which have improved the situation no end. There are still days which are hard, but on the whole I am pretty much pain free and able to walk gently, so long as I wear the right support apparatus and don’t over-do it. Or move about when there’s an R in the month.

So, the stones. I have lost about five of them since January 2012. For those of you reading in American that’s 70lbs. I have no idea what it is in kilos, but assume about 35.

I’m not here to gloat about that. I am still a little above the mid-way point on the BMI measure so I am just about right which is a very strange feeling because I haven’t been this right since I was in my 20s. Having children is fattening, both before they are born and after, as you finish off their leftovers.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to try out the Global Fat Scale that the BBC so kindly provides, and it turns out I am Gambian. Who knew?

The best bit about this little bit of BBC hilarity was this quote:

Did you know?

If everyone in the world had the same BMI as you, it would remove 13,630,341 tonnes from the total weight of the world’s population

I felt quite alarmed. If we all put on any more weight will the Earth break? Might she rip the space-time continuum with her porkiness and tumble through the resulting hole into another dimension?

What if she starts consuming pies directly? I envisage chomping Earth-mouths opening in the street outside Greggs the Baker, and customers tumbling into the crevasse clutching their pastry purchases and screaming, the sound dying slowly as they fall into the centre of the planet. “Noooooooooo!”

Suppose she decides enough is enough and goes on a diet? No more fruitful abundance. Oh no! It will be global famine on an unprecedented scale, and earthquakes at least three times a week as she tries to lose the blubber by shaking about. What kind of gym would a portly planet use anyway?

What if she goes in for cosmetic surgery? The Galactic Medical Aesthete would use a meteoric scalpel to carve humanity from her body surface and restore her to her youthful dignity. We would end up in the bio-hazardous waste.

I think I need some chocolate to calm me down.

Enjoy your dinners tonight, my dears. While yet you may.

Namaste.

To Valhalla!

Well, my dears, the festivity laden weekend has drawn to a close with a mighty flourish. Our In our closing hours of chocolyptic celebration the family has enacted a Viking ceremony to affirm the death of the Contact Lenses formerly resident on my very eyes.

Regular readers will recall as a matter of priority that I was subject to eye surgery both last year and more recently in early March to replace my biological, but inept, lenses with artificial, but effective, plastic versions in order to allow me to perceive the World of Light. This miracle having transpired, I have been settling down to what you humans call “vision” and gradually accommodating myself to waking up and being able to look at things such as the ceiling, the alarm clock and the sleepy face of Sigoth. Blessings abound.

In any case, these are the things I no longer require as part of my daily routine.

collection of contact lens paraphernalia

It seemed only appropriate to gather as many of the family as possible to recognise the importance of this moment, and to usher in the new world of visual competence awaiting me. A holiday weekend provided the opportunity and the weather relented on Monday afternoon to enable us to hold the ceremony in a traditionally biting easterly wind, blowing directly from the Viking homeland across the North Sea to the Yorkshire coast and then roaring inland towards EBL Towers.

Sigoth constructed a Dragon Ship to carry the lenses to the Halls of Valhalla, for they have striven mightily in the battle to reveal the world in its true colours over the years. Their achievements equalled those of the greatest warriors in piercing the gloom of myopia and the mists of shortsightedness, and we shall remember them with honour.

Dragon Ship model

Here is the proud vessel in all its glory.

I’m not sure why it has oars, but never mind.

We loaded it with fuel and took it to the water’s edge.

 

Ship by the pond

The Offspringses beg to inform you that they rolled their eyes but I am also pleased to say they played along, indulging their poor old mum and standing in the Arctic blast to watch the ship burn and start to sink in the icy wastes of the pond in the back garden.

 

Burning ship

It is the firm belief, and certain testimony, of the management that no lives were harmed during this funereal occasion, including any pond life; we removed the ship before it could cause any negative environmental consequences, and took it indoors to finish burning in the fireplace (once it has dried off enough from becoming waterlogged)..

And so we sent the plastic heroes to the Mead Hall to drink with the mighty Fallen, and we went back inside, shivering from cold, and ate a feast worthy of Odin: chocolate muffins and Yorkshire tea.

I hope your holidays were as mighty in their own way.

Namaste.

Strength in weakness – or why we need Schadenfreude

Rarasaur’s wondrous “Prompts for the promptless” feature Schadenfreude in this week’s episode.

Definition: Schadenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortune of others.

Naturally the Germans made it into a single word while we poor English have to use a whole sentences to describe it. This leaves us less time to indulge our guilty pleasure in the act itself., and so we pragmatically have annexed their word as our own

Don’t give me that look. I know you do it. Every time you cheer a goal or laugh at someone’s stupid mistake, you are guilty. But be reassured, we all do it and it’s part of human nature. It’s tribal, it’s belonging, it makes us feel safe because it identifies The Other, the one who can’t or won’t or didn’t.

There is a passage in Seven Days in New Crete by Robert Graves describing a time traveller’s encounter with the future, where values are different:

…they lacked humour – the pinch of snuff that routs the charging bull, the well-aimed custard pie that routs the charging police constable. For this they had no need, and during the whole of my stay there I heard no joke that was in the least funny. People laughed, of course, but only at unexpectedly happy events, not at other people’s misfortunes. The atmosphere, if it could be acclimatized in an evil epoch like ours, would be described as goody-goody, a word that conveys a reproach of complacency and indifference to the sufferings of the rest of the world.  But this happened to be a good epoch with no scope for humour, satire or parody. I remember an occasion when See-a-Bird absent-mindedly hung up a mirror on what he thought was a nail, but was really a fly that had settled on the wall. Everyone laughed loudly, but not because of his mistake: it it was a laugh of pure pleasure that he caught the mirror on his toe as it fell, and saved it from a crash.

The time traveller is not very impressed. It’s why Paradise sounds dull and Milton had the best line for Lucifer with “Better to reign in hell than to serve in Heaven.” We like it a bit rough. It gives us stretch and challenge, and if we cope we can enjoy the failure of others as an added boost to our self-esteem.

EBL is in a rather sombre mood today, na? Walk with me on the Dark Side a little longer, I beg you.

My definition of civilisation is whom we choose to mock and whom we cherish and support. Do we enjoy a child crying because of failure? Or an elderly pensioner unable to understand the changes to the bus timetable? Or a disabled person trying to get into the library and having to use the goods entrance? What about foreigners who don’t understand how to queue properly? Somewhere in there you may enjoy their misfortune, but we all differ where and when.

My personal moments of unrestrained gloating are focused on seeing the mighty fallen. In other words, people that I believe deserve it because they have been insufferable in the past and are now getting a taste of their own medicine. You know the creatures I mean: politicians.

EBL, why are these innocent lambs fair game in your harsh, unflinching, judgmental eyes?

Well, I’m glad you asked me that. (I suspect some of you just nodded, and said “Right on, sister!” or words to that effect.)

It’s because politicians try to tell me how to live my life. They try to tell me what is right and wrong. They try to define Us and Them according to their personal belief system and not the consensual system of the people who elected them. They lie and cheat and abuse their positions. I am generalising: some of them are as yet still trying to do right, whether it’s effective or not.

All those squirmy moments in the Leveson Inquiry, those were great. Nothing changes, but at least now there are memories to cherish and my prejudices confirmed. That is why in this evil epoch we need humour, satire and parody – because the mighty are men, and women, of clay, of human weakness and frailty but pretending to be more. We need to remind them of their basic humanity, and if we do not use  sharp, pointy, steel weapons we must use sharp, pointy, steely words.

If I were a conspiracy theorist (and I watched The X Files avidly, so it is possible) I would assume that politicians would try to hide what they do to avoid such embarrassment. They try, poor dears, of course, but they always forget they are still only human. In the end they slip up, or are out-ed by the little people who serve them, and the ensuing hilarity over their pathetic machinations makes the enjoyment all the greater.

It’s why we enjoy the satirist’s rant, and I commend you all to A Different Daylight’s recent article on this very topic.  Because a well-constructed rant lifts Schadenfreude to the next level, to “Schadenfreude-EX-treme!”, as it were. It exposes and propagates and multiplies the effect for all to share, enlarging the tribe.

I cackle, my dears, I snort, and I turn to my friends and neighbours and indulge in tribal bonding with the well-worn incantation: “I told you so! Bloody politicians, they’re all the same. What can you do?” And we all guffaw and someone buys another round, and we are united in warm, joyous, fuzzy contempt, and the world turns.

We are devastatingly, shamefully, beautifully human.

Namaste.

 

No one expects the comfy chair!

Rarasaur is kindly providing a series of prompts for the promptless and this week it’s on the 11th Possibility: the 11th Possibility is the idea that, regardless of data to the contrary, something unexpected and outside the realm of ordinary thought is always potentially around the corner.

This, my dears, speaks to my very soul. I love that kind of non sequitur, and all I could think of after reading the prompt were prime examples of humour that make me go <snort>.

For example, Monty Python’s hapless Spanish Inquisition, bursting in to cry “NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!” and then failing miserably to torture or maim anyone, beyond making them sit in the Comfy Chair, ensuring that the victim will get “only a cup of coffee at 11” o’clock and making the torture “worse by shouting a lot”.

Ah, Messieurs Pythons, how I love you. I never wanted to run a pet shop anyway, I always wanted to be a lumberjack.

You know when you get an ear-worm – one of those tunes you can’t get out of your head, sometimes for days? It’s been a bit like that with this prompt. I keep thinking of something completely different.

Most clamorous have been Messrs Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Both writers convey the 11th Possibility with expertise and panache. In both cases I appreciate their sudden twists of logic which leave me wrong-footed but amused by the dissonance.

In Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, apart from the invention of the Infinite Improbability Drive to power a spaceship, there are little moments when things just don’t quite go according to the usual script.

“What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?”
“Ask a glass of water!”

As for Terry Pratchett, almost any page you care to look at will have some kind of twist or turn that leaves the brain faintly disoriented.

The question seldom addressed is where Medusa had snakes. Underarm hair is an even more embarrassing problem when it keeps biting the top of the deodorant bottle.

So does an 11th Possibility matter? For me, it’s about opening up new ideas, creating space to try something different, or just experiencing uncertainty in a safe but stimulating way.

I am making it sound dull. Let’s try this.

Humour is what makes the world go round without us falling asleep or falling out; our creative brains are engaged and exercised and expanded by indulging it.

In my team at work I am the most right-brain of us all. What that says about our team I dread to think. Anyway, on one occasion we were on a workshop together and during the day various members of the team would leave the main room to go and take part in an individual exercise elsewhere. My colleague sitting next to me said, during the tea break, “You know, I keep seeing people going out but I never notice them coming back.”

“There’s a mad axe murderer out there,” I explained. “We’re actually being picked off one by one. By tonight there will just be one of us left. It’s management cutbacks.”

She looked at me strangely. “Trust you,” she said. “I just meant I was impressed by how quietly they all slipped back into the room.”

I sighed. How boring.

Namaste.

 

Snow train

The train had arrived early in Leeds in spite of Snowmageddon. Our management had told people to leave early in case of travel problems, with a predicted 15cm of snow across the Pennines which would inevitably cause difficulties for those travelling more than a few yards from Leeds City Centre. I left at my planned time and the train arrived early. It hadn’t read the memo, or, indeed, the weather forecast, and had crossed the Pennines in excellent time.

At York we sat outside the station for a long time, trapped as two other not-very-useful Engines gossiped idly on platform 5. We imagined them stamping their wheels and rubbing their fenders to keep warm, sheltered snugly under the Victorian roof and thinking little, caring less, for Engines which had arrived early or kept to their timetable.

“We’re waiting for two other trains to move so we can come in on Platform 5,” the conductor announced, keen to demonstrate his frustration and lack of culpability. We were all in it together alright.

The minutes crawled by, slow in the frozen wind, and we waited. There was sighing and tutting and raising of eyebrows. None of them achieved a forward momentum. I played Sudoku on my phone. It didn’t seem worth calling home where Sigoth was snuggling and thinking of dinner. Other passengers however chose to share their outrage with loved ones, and many conversations ensued along the lines of “I’m stuck outside York now, we’re waiting for a platform.” It was generally followed by a character-defining pronouncement of either “hopefully not long now” or “probably be ages, bloody trains”.

Eventually another trian strolled past heading north.

“That’s the culprit!” the conductor told us. “Feel free to gesticulate as he goes by!”

And everyone laughed. Some of us waved, ironically I’m sure. People turned to their neighbours and smiled and agreed it was good to have a conductor with a sense of humour. We felt warm and companionable, thanks to a single quip. Onward, fellow travellers!

One man made everyone’s miserable, cold, frustrating journey better. How easy it is to share a little joy, if only we remember to try.

Namaste.

 

Afterlife

It has been a busy couple of evenings so no posting for EBL. Time to catch up, because I have been reading some posts and thinking about what to post and generally going a bit postal (largely due to the extra hours required if I am ever going to get finished with The Project).

Thursday night I was at a School Governors meeting and discovered to my amazement I had served eight years. Honestly, you don’t get that for murder. There is wise advice about not serving too long, and stepping aside to make way for fresh insights. So I am starting to think about a New Life after the end of this school year.

On Friday we were at the village quiz, and Sigoth was telling me about some of the questions he had been writing. We write the quizzes each month, and this time I had to leave Sigoth to it because of workload. Sometimes one of us has to do that, it makes the quizzes a bit more interesting actually. Oh look, EBL, stepping aside again!

The thing Sigoth was telling me about was that because the 1st February is the anniversary of the space shuttle Columbia Disaster, there are a lot of astronauts coming up on the 1st February date page in Wikipedia.

columbia astronautsIt made me think. I didn’t think about the astronauts so much, although generally I am sorry for the loss in that slightly disconnected way in which we recognise tragedies at a distance. What Sigoth noticed was that they all had Wikipedia entries.

I pictured the heroes arriving in Valhalla on the wings of that terrible explosion, and the fuss and confusion and awe of their entrance, followed by a slightly embarrassed silence during which Thor hissed loudly “Who are they again?” and Odin said “I’ll just check them out on Wikipedia…”

I wondered, in the event that there turns out to be an afterlife after all, whether I would finally have time to read the sum of human knowledge as embodied in Wikipedia; and how long it would take, as when I finished I would have to start again in order to pick up the new articles; and if, in fact I would ever finish.

Will the souls clustered in heaven, of whatever flavour they choose, find their Wikipedia entries a comfort, or a source of one-up-man-wiki? Or will they shriek and moan at their editors, pointing shaking, misty fingers at prose riddled with factual inaccuracy and misconstrued meaning? Is Wikipedia in fact setting us up for the Great Demonic Infopocalypse, in which the souls of the dead, maddened by falsehoods, typos and misconceptions, storm and rage the length and breadth of cyberspace in order to re-establish the truth. We will see endless wars of information updates, malicious hacks and outright libel, discussion forums flamed and bleeding, servers brought down under the weight of change and counter-change.

Oh, wait, are we there already?

I was thinking of starting a New Life. Now I’m wondering if I need to plan my New Afterlife instead.

Namaste.

The Invisibles

Today I went to the dentist for a check-up. That’s not what I’m going to tell you about though. I am going to speculate wildly about the automatic doors at the train station.

Usually you see, when I catch the early train, there is a constant coming and going, a turmoil of busyness, thrashing about the station waiting room-cum-ticket hall. The young folk who travel into York to attend school are huddling and shrieking about homework and OMG-ing about so-and-so’s new nail varnish or football boots or electronic device of choice, or moaning about Miss Battleaxe in Divinity who gave them detention for not being able to name the Apostles or worrying about the cross country run they have to do in the afternoon because they forgot their kit and everyone knows that Mr Satan in PE will make them do it in their underwear in front of the girls and what the hell is a bunga-bunga party anyway? Among their rumbustious throng the grey and weathered commuters stumble and bumble, breaking skin and shins with laptop case edges and dropping phones and e-readers and iPads as they scrabble for tickets or credit cards.

In other words, dear friends, it is a hubbub and frothing, frenzied confusion. It is Life’s Rich Tapestry in market town hues.

Throughout it all the doors open and close as travellers come in from the cold or go to wait on the platform so they can be first on the train and get a seat. They swish and slide for everyone and often for no one as the queue for the tickets gets too close or the teenage ant’s nest swirls into their orbit. The blast of cold air from outside acts as a prompt for the perpetrators to move aside before their legs freeze off at the knee, and so doing the doors whisper closed again for a few moments. Then it all begins again. It’s not like Brief Encounter, I can tell you

There is a tea room on the station, but it doesn’t open until after the early trains have gone, so I rarely see it on the inside. The tea is dark and thick, just the way I like it, and very reasonably priced, as we like to say in these parts when we mean cheap.

All of this was history when I went to catch the later train after my dental appointment. I am aware that some people across the Atlantic don’t realise we have dentists in this country. We do, and many of them are quite good and some even do all that cosmetic nonsense for people with more money than sense. The rest of us don’t care what the teeth look like so long as they masticate efficiently. I get irritated with my dentist for polishing my teeth each visit and removing the carefully built-up layer of tannin. Honestly, white teeth are just so shiny and sometimes one wants to be the Shadow. I don’t want to smile at the driver who waits for me to cross the road and blind him so he runs down the little old lady along the street. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. It’s a worry. Even now I am having to type with one hand so I can contain the nuclear-powered glow f my freshly minted chompers behind the other hand, for the sake of humanity

Anyway, back in the ticket hall things were quieter than the early morning rush. There was still a reasonable number of people waiting for the train, but not the dense throng catching the 7.23. Various people came in to buy a ticket and wandered outside to wait, only to return as the bitter wind and flurries of snow persuaded them of their folly. In between the incursions the rest us,, wiser and more patient, sat and waited quietly and peacefully. Waiting for an English train is akin to Zen meditation. I’m almost certain the noise of the tannoy is one hand clapping; certainly it is a bit buzzy and not recognisably a sound of the everyday world, which is how I imagine the Zen hand sounds too.

The doors at the front of the hall opened. No one was there or even walking about the ticket office, which can trigger the doors. We were all sitting down. No one came in or even walked past on the pavement outside. Interesting.

The doors closed again and then the doors to the platform opened. Still no one was there or even walking about the hall. We were still all sitting down. No one came in or even walked past on the platform outside. Interesting.

Clearly there was only one sane and rational conclusion to be drawn. There were silent, invisible creatures passing through the ticket hall. You couldn’t see their reflection in the glass, so they could be vampires. Now, I’m not mad enough to suggest they were necessarily catching a train. That would be not be supported by the evidence. They may have been trainspotters. Or lost tourists. From Alpha Centauri.

What did they look like under their invisibility cloaks? If not Romulans, then sufficiently large – humanoid equivalent at least – to trigger the doors. Of course, they also allowed us to walk through their bodies, or they would have been detected before. So large and substantial but also invisible, silent and insubstantial to human touch. Perhaps some kind of phased timey-wimey distortion or portable wormhole solution. Interesting.

The biggest problem I can see (or not see, I suppose, in this context) is how to communicate. I guess they can’t talk to us or they would have asked for help with managing the rail network. Everyone does, in the end. I have not noticed any written notes, but will keep an eye out for the next couple of weeks in case. They may not be substantial enough to hold a pen but perhaps they can use a touch screen and tweet us. Some of the tweets I see certainly seem to originate on another planet.

They wouldn’t need much intelligence of course. Pigeons can cope with travelling about on the London Underground, hopping on and off trains at various stations, and waiting patiently near the doors in order to do so. Pigeons may also, of course, originate from Alpha Centauri, and in fact be pan-galactic, hyper-intelligent beings like the mice. No one seems to have published conclusive evidence either way. At least they don’t tweet.

I don’t think the Visitors can be very heavy because this phenomenon is only noticeable with automatic doors. I have been typing this on Leeds station while waiting for the delayed train home, and the old-fashioned doors are behaving entirely in accordance with the well-known Law of Human Interaction, and only opening when a visible humanoid operates pressure. The Visitors may be sidling through the doors after the humans, as the doors are quite slow to close. Clearly more research is needed.

In an infinite universe, as every hip frood knows, anything is possible. Even Invisible Visitors on the National Rail Network.

Tell me I’m not the only one to have noticed!

Namaste.

 

Hob-nobbing for peace

Well, my dears, I have had chocolate on the mind. It is a not unpleasant experience. Having actual chocolate would be better, but as luck would have it we have some of that too, sitting in the Salon de Paix in EBL Towers. I shall indulge as soon as I have typed and published; it’s a motivator.

I lay the blame for this quite understandable preoccupation with Kozo at Everydaygurus.com.

Kozo says:

January 4, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I read that chocolate stimulates the same endorphins as love, so I’m with you, chocolate for peace.

“Chocolate for peace”…well, who wouldn’t subscribe to that life-style choice? Never mind stuffing roses down gun barrels; give ‘em Smarties, to make ‘em smart about peace; or Bounty to take ‘em to a Peaceful Paradise; or even a Wispa, to speak in peace instead of shouting.

I hesitate to rattle on about Quakers again, but they were there from the start. Rowntree’s, Cadbury’s, Fry’s were all Quaker firms. Indeed, George Orwell, who was not a fond supporter of pacifism, tried to blacken the name of George Bernard Shaw by saying that

he ought to have been a Quaker (cocoa and commercial dishonesty)

Poor old George, I bet what he really needed to soothe his ruffles was a bit of chocolate. And possibly a nice cup of tea, because one interesting thing about Orwell (one of many interesting things, as it turns out) was that as well as taking a pop at Quakers, GBS and peaceniks, and producing the occasional book, he also wrote an excellent and important essay on how to make a cup of tea. The man was a genius.

I suspect his previous snarkiness regarding pacifism would have been significantly tempered had he been chums with the chocolate hob-nob. No one could possibly be snarky about anything if they had a chocolate hob-nob to dunk in their cuppa. While George was opposed to sugar in tea – and for jolly good reasons! – he was silent on the virtues of a well-dunked biscuit. Chocolate hob-nobs had yet to be invented when he wrote his essay, so he will have been in ignorance of the full range of possibilities.

For those unfamiliar with this aforementioned divine partnership, allow me to direct you to the last word on the topic and one of favourite websites: A Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down. This excellent on-line resource contains all you need to know about dunking and tea drinking, with additional cake factoids and a handy graphic for biscuit taxonomy.

What does a cup of tea with a biscuit to dunk not solve? And if it is enrobed in chocolate, what could be better? Can you imagine anyone fighting after a decent brew? As Asterix the Gaul discovered on his trip to Britain, everything stops for tea, or at least hot water, including the battles.

Anything else would be anarchy!

History does not lead us astray, my dears. This kind of evidence cannot be ignored. I beg you, fill your pots, brew your leaves and dunk your biscuits in the cause of peace!

Other bloggers to invite to participate in a Peace Tea Ceremony might include:

Namaste.

Getting back on track

EBL may be a grumpy old blogger who refuses to indulge the current cultural meme of “resolutions” and “goodwill” because she thinks she is better than everyone else. Bah humbug! But EBL nevertheless resolves to do things regularly and occasionally she manages to achieve some of them, at least in part.

Such heart-warming thoughts on a mild, damp January morning! I know, you want to thank me, but just can’t quite find the words…

The resolutions thing does get me grumpy though, and yet here I am dedicating time and web space to it. I did make a resolution last January as it happens, and I did keep it. On 31 December 2011 I was unconscious for a while, not through over-indulgence, but undergoing a general anaesthetic to try and restore some movement in my feet. It was a last resort by the consultant who had tried everything else, including hitting my feet with paddles to try and stimulate some healing. He didn’t know why it worked but it often did, although not for me as it turned out. And we claim Western medicine is scientific…take that, Richard Dawkins!

When I woke up, feeling all fuzzy and inexplicably happy (I love anaesthetics, it turns out!), I found I needed a visit to the little girls’ room. A nurse helped me up and warned me it would be painful to try and walk.  I discovered it was painful, but less than it had been before the anaesthetic. At this point she said a stupid thing along the lines of “Gosh, it must have been painful then!” as if I would be undergoing such a procedure for a minor bruise. I told her I was starting salsa class the following week so needed to be more mobile and she looked concerned and said maybe I should wait a bit. I am guessing she wasn’t used to humour, which is odd for an NHS employee who is exposed to so many humorous initiatives from bumbling politicians. Anyway, over the next couple of days I rediscovered the ability to walk from the living room to kitchen without agony. It was a revelation.

Getting giddy with excitement, I decided to try to lose some of the weight I had gained over the previous 4 years. Let me explain.

Middle Age is not kind to the waistline: my dears, I hope you are not too shocked to learn this! In addition, sitting around doing nothing because I couldn’t walk didn’t help, and I had ballooned even more than normal over the years of reduced activity. Sigoth was also suffering Middle Age, although otherwise relatively trim. So we both ate less, and moved more. I managed to start walking from the station to the office (about a 10 minute walk which had previously required a taxi), and lost weight. It was glorious.

I am no longer overweight. This makes me happy because I can move around more easily and I feel much better. I’m not too shabby for 50, which is just as well because that’s how old I am. I still can’t walk overly far, but I can shamble around town slowly on a good day.

Health blogs are boring, aren’t they? Especially the ones where it ends well.

What the foregoing was leading up to was the fact that I also took up a bit of yoga once I was able to stand in bare feet for a few minutes. The stretching is helping rehabilitate my tendons as well so it’s a virtuous circle.

Yoga blogs are terribly boring too, aren’t they? All the chanting and incense and silly posture names, like it’s a club for people better than you. (I believe real yoga people have a sense of humour, but I may be mistaken. It turns out I over-estimated the NHS, after all.)

So the point of that was to say I also try to meditate for a short while after the stretching and bending and generally amusing contortions. Middle-aged women starting yoga are just a bit of a laugh; fortunately most of us know this, and laugh along too. We particularly laugh because you don’t usually get to 50 without seeing the funny side of yourself, and also we know that it’s better to do something than nothing, and there’s no such thing as a free lunch, so we might as well enjoy putting in the effort.

And the point of talking about the meditation was that today I simply felt some joy as I heard the birds beginning to stir outside, and we welcomed the new day together. We don’t share joy enough, so I wanted to pass on some of mine.

You can roll your eyes if you like, I don’t mind, because I know I sound like a mad old hippy. But actually I am, and I wish you joy whether you like it or not. So there.

Namaste.