News & Tips

Ann’s Monthly Natter

Well, where to start? Thought I might be a bit short of news for April as I expected to spend most of it regaining my health and picking up the strands of my life. Not a bit of it; so you can expect the usual rambling chatter.

I must start with the TV programmes on the 7th and 14th ‘How to Stay Young’. Of course, we’d been looking forward to seeing the final product but what a disappointment. Out of a total of some 10 hours filming, some in September and the rest in October after an intensive 6 week training course, devised by Julie to improve our ‘sit to stand’ scores, there was but a glimpse of our efforts. Julie raced between the four of us who were chosen to take the challenge on, coming to our homes for one to one training and then more at the University. I appreciate that the programme had so much to cover in two one hour programmes, but the achievements of the Move It contingent went unrecognised. However, Julie has done much on face book and the web site to bring home the fruits of the work undertaken. She has also managed to get on some local radio stations – they are lucky that she was able to broadcast for them – her enthusiasm comes through loud and clear – not like some of the ‘personalities’ who are inflicted on us who seem to think they are doing us a favour by mumbling their mysterious messages. It seems to me that the final result of the programmes is to eat more fruit and veg. And keep dancing. Well, that’s not news, is it? And as for dancing, well any movement to music is a form of dance so we should all live to at least 100!!!!

While on the subject of health and research, I have been invited to be a guinea pig in new research to study the sensory role of muscle for the control of balance. Sounds very complicated but I will be in a Sports Sciences lab. For two hours, wearing shorts (hope it’s warm there!) while my balance, ankle stiffness, weight, height, muscle function and limb length and a host of other body measurements are taken. The reason for the shorts is that I will have ultrasound electrodes strapped to my legs. Sounds absolutely fascinating and interesting. I might have something to report on that in May but I expect it will all be very technical.

I watched the London Marathon. I look forward to this every year, not really for the elite professional runners although I do admire them, but for the ordinary people who take on this frightening challenge in order to raise funds for their personal charities. I see there was at least one 80 year old taking part – hope for me yet then! Esther Rantzen was interviewed and she said ‘Age is no barrier to ambition’ and I believe she’s absolutely right. Looking for that something that’s a bit of a challenge – could be walking to the next lamp post which is just as important on a personal basis as swimming the Channel is to someone else.

Talking about age and meeting challenges, I can hardly move on without recognising the Queen’s 90th birthday. Yes, I understand that her position is unique and I have no doubt that she has the best and finest health care but there must be days when she would rather have the morning in bed, or just have toast and jam in front of the tv. Fancy having to look good every day – hair and make-up just so with immaculate clothes – and then to be in company with all sorts of people, be charming and polite rather than telling them what you really think of them!! She’s one tough lady.

Of course, there are those of us who just can’t resist a challenge, whatever it is. Trish Hensey, my Move It oppo, took part in the Chocolate run on the 23rd of April, so named because it took place around the Cadbury Village. There were chocolate stations (strictly for the energy you understand. I left it to Trish but felt obliged to eat a large bar of Cadburys chocolate to support her. Of course, she was raising money for charity. Well done, Trish. You’re always a winner!!

23rd April was a special date anyway; not only St. George’s Day but the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death (and he was born on the 23rd). My English degree which I completed in July 2013 involved the detailed study of the Bard so Stratford has special interest for me. It’s also a lovely town. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go but I did watch some of the wonderful TV programmes over the weekend.

I also revved up a gear and got back to the garden. So much bad weather meant that it was a major job to pick up the pieces in between the rain. Part of my plan this year was to have a new and larger patio so there was lawn to be dug up and old slabs to be moved. I didn’t do all of it, but once I started I found it difficult to stop!! A professional company has done a good job. It’s almost completed now and once it’s to my liking, I shall be ready to tackle the next house improvement item on the list.

So I end with the same theme which seems to find a place in all my natters – exercise. May’s National Walking Month is my Awareness choice. Can’t think of a better, cheaper and easier way to brighten a decent weather day than getting out – even a walk to and round the local shops will do. It’s a great way to have a chat with people too. Exercising your body including your jaw. I’ll certainly be doing just that!!

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