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Ann’s monthly natter

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Well, hallo again. How are you? I know it must be September because the shops are groaning with Christmas cards, food, decorations and gifts. And of course, if you order now, you can have that new three piece suite in time for Christmas!! However, it’s still the holiday season for some so I hope you’ve enjoyed your time away wherever that was. Last month seemed to be full of food news but I’ve a bit of a different theme this month, although of course food is never far away!

On the 10th, I was an attendee at the Annual Age Well Conference held at the University of Birmingham. The audience comprised the Birmingham Thousand Elders; we are the guinea pigs used by the Research Group headed by Professor Janet Lord, Head of the Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research into the effects of ageing and looking for (and finding!) ways to keep us healthy physically and mentally. Of course, it’s a two way ‘partnership’ and we enjoy the privilege of various Mot’s. It’s fascinating and always an interesting and enjoyable experience – even the more challenging of programmes such as that with the Cognitive Understanding experiments – keeps us on our toes!!! The morning of the conference was given over to a series of talks by various experts on topics such as rheumatoid arthritis and exercise, kidneys and pneumonia. The afternoon comprised workshops and attendees were invited to taster sessions. I don’t know about the popularity of other sessions, but of course, as you might expect, Move It or Lose It was fully booked. The lovely Trish and I provided the experience in the classes and it was wonderful to see other people just joining in. Hopefully, it will sew the seed that moving it can be fun as well as beneficial.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. This is such a worthy cause with thousands of pounds being raised by thousands of people. In particular, our own Julie Robinson and her local group have raised £860,000. They always make their projects fun as well as challenging and in October there is Paint the Town Pink among other initiatives. Hopefully, we can all contribute in some way and get nearer to a cure. Good luck Julie – I know how busy you are with this charity which is close to your heart.

As usual, I’ve been busy in my garden; mainly now it’s pruning where appropriate and buying new shrubs which I find exciting (must get out more!!). Also, I’m very happy with the large crop of sweet eating apples I’ve been picking. And do they taste sweeter because I’ve cared for the tree? Well, I think so anyway.

My daughter Sarah and husband Steve have taken a lovely cat into their home. Jolene is so called because she was found wandering in George Road and was exceedingly lean. Thanks to Cats Protection, she was rescued and is now in the best of homes. She is an elderly cat with health problems but Sarah only ever wanted cats that were mature and difficult to home. Jolene isn’t lean anymore and now, with her shiny black coat, is a very happy spoilt and loved cat in her safe forever home. I love happy endings, don’t you?

On the 19th we had another happy ending. Trish and I were at Birmingham University where eight more students were taking their final practical assessments to become instructors for Move It or Lose It. They came from near and far – Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent, Cambridge, Devon, Bath, Sutton Coldfield, two were post graduate students – one from Greece and one from Cheltenham – both wishing to take this qualification to enable them to run classes as part of their research work. It was good news all round by the end of the day when all passed with flying colours. As a class participant it was interesting to see how all these lovely people were delivering the same message sympathetically but with differing styles.

This was also a unique occasion for two entirely different reasons. Firstly, the Movie It or Lose It team was pleased to welcome its first male instructor. Charlie captured all our hearts. Secondly, at 23, he was diagnosed with MS but here he is, at 32, having achieved so much. In 2013 he used a wheelchair but following his discovery of Julie’s special classes, is now walking having worked extremely hard. He puts most of his improvement down to mind set; in other words, guts and determination. He is now a fully qualified instructor and will be teaching classes with limited mobility. With his spirit, I can’t see anything stopping him now!

On the 20th, it was my pleasure to be a guest at my friend Jean’s 80th birthday lunch. What a good time we had and how we relished the day with family and friends. Jean has been fighting her battle with cancer for some years and is now struggling with her sight. Her close family doesn’t live near but Jean has so many good friends and we have been pleased to support her through her battles. My 44 year old daughters were taught English by her so you can see how long how association has been. Here was a further example of indomitable spirit fighting back. She attends Julie’s class when she is able and loves the atmosphere and fun which makes a positive contribution to her health.

So we have come to the end of September. As I wrote at the beginning, much of August seemed to be concerned with eating but this month has had a theme of food for thought. Just as important in other ways and probably takes longer to digest.


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