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Ann’s Natter

30th June 2016 Natter

So that was June.  Quite a lot to natter about but first must come congratulations to Julie on all that she continues to achieve.  FABS is really taking off now with courses coming on line in Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham and London and that’s just the start!  The NHS has now recognised the importance of the Move It or Lose It organisation and Julie is going to be providing classes for patients with COPD within GPs’ surgeries – at last the NHS understanding the worth of the movement.  Julie has also been nominated to join the International Dance Council and is now on the Committee organising the International Dance Congress to London next year.  Yes, I know – absolutely exhausting even just thinking about all of that and running classes with all the admin. that goes with it, not to mention the cancer charity in which she plays a big part. It’s a privilege to be able to support her and the organisation whenever I can.

As for me, well – it’s been a funny old month.  I had some work done on my car and was without it for two days.  That was fine but what really worried me was that I felt almost disorientated; much as I do if I can’t find my mobile phone.  It just made me think how reliant so many of us are on our electronic and other machines.  Of course, it was OK but food for thought eh? The complete makeover of my study is now complete and I have to confess to 6 power points which is more evidence of my dependence on all things mechanical/electric.

I’ve been involved again with the university research programme into the effects of ageing.  On the 6th, I spent 90 minutes in a soundproof room, providing a running commentary on screen images which changed every 5 seconds, part of the enquiry into language processing abilities and the relationship with physical fitness in young and older adults – phew!!  This was at the School of Psychology.  I did have a break after each 30 minute session but it wasn’t easy.  Part 2 of this programme follows next month and looks even more challenging.

I’ve joined my local branch of the University of the Third Age – something I’ve been meaning to do for some time.  I was astonished to find more than 100 attendees at the monthly open meeting where all sorts of things are discussed by various speakers.  There are quite a few of groups such as modern or classical music, ambling, rambling, t’ai chi, a lunch club, holidays, but I’m being cautious and have just joined the creative writing group for now.  I’ve met so many interesting people – wish I’d joined sooner.

My birthday was in May but the gifts keep coming.  My son took me into Birmingham on the 11th June for a day out.  I couldn’t have guessed what a fascinating day it would be.  Of course, I did know Birmingham like the back of my hand but all the new changes are breathtaking.  Grand Central was astonishing – shops I’d only ever associated with London showing their wares.  He then took me to the new library.  The building itself is amazing but the icing on the cake was getting out onto the roof garden.  We had started queueing for the lift but there was a queue and, not being the most patient person, I suggested we should take the stairs; little did I know that there were 90 in number; you never know when your keep fit habits will come in handy, do you?  It was well worth the effort, although the day was damp, but I could see all the old familiar landmarks through the mist and the garden itself was really impressive.  A walk along the canals followed and the biggest surprise was to be taken to a building called The Cube, in the lift to the 25th floor, where I found myself in Marco Pierre White’s restaurant where we lunched at a table by the window.  A walk back down into the city followed and, following a short ride on the new tram, we caught the train home.  Of course, the whole day was wonderful but the best bit of all was having my lovely son to myself for a whole day.  I have another birthday treat in July so that will be something else to report on next time.

I know the summer’s been really a wash out in the true sense of the word – where on earth is all this rain coming from – but it’s lovely to have had the tennis from Queen’s which heralds the beginning of Wimbledon.  At least there’s a cover on Centre Court at Wimbledon so it should be possible to have an uninterrupted diet of tennis for a fortnight.  And how can it be possible that we’ve had the longest day? Doesn’t it usually come in the middle of summer? On the good days, I have been able to garden until at least 9pm but it hasn’t happen very often and indeed, I’m writing this in the house when my intention was to take a book and a cuppa into the garden.  However, another monsoon has descended on us here so outside is on hold.

On the 23rd, I went to an open rehearsal for a band in which my daughter plays saxophone.  This is a more serious undertaking than her other band which is a dance band playing pop music.  Watling Wind is a 10 piece ensemble whereas Force Ten is much larger band.  I’ve just realised both bands’ names are linked to the weather although the MD of Watling Wind said that title sounds like an illness!!!  Any music is good for me but all activities with which my children/grandchildren are involved are wonderful as far as I’m concerned.  Again, more on that next month.

Finally, I’ve chosen 19th to 25th July which is an awareness week to “Make Someone Smile”.  It is a commercially backed event but, leaving that aside, what a lovely idea.  I think the best way to make someone smile is to smile at them first.  Usually seems to work, especially in shops and the like.  Of course, family and friends (and I include pets!) can’t fail to raise a smile.  Hopefully, the sun will join in too for the rest of the summer.

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