Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Health and Wellbeing and a camping holiday

The pier
Worthing pier, September 2017
What with being away on holiday for a few days, and Thursday badminton starting up again, and also just not wanting to sit at the computer when I'm at home, I've got a bit behind with my online life. I've only watched the first episode of the Great British Bake Off, and it's the only TV programme I watch all year. LTRP update - no, just joking, nothing's happened.

There was the Leamington Food & Drink Festival, which was delightful as usual and attended by Lola II and Mr M as well as cousin Y and one of Mr M's friends from Nottingham and another of Mr M's friends from Wolverhampton. We started early on the Saturday and this turned out to be a good idea because at about noon the rain came down in torrents. It cleared up for brief periods thereafter so the event wasn't a total washout.

At work, I created a Dietetics stand for the Trust's Health and Wellbeing event for staff. It was in the dining room of the hospital along with other stands: Stop Smoking, Join UNISON, Physiotherapy, the Chaplain, the local Sports Centre, Neyber (something to do with cheap loans), and the Occupational Health team offering blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol tests. On my stand were free leaflets from CASH (Consensus Action on Salt and Health), BHF (British Heart Foundation) and the World Cancer Research Fund, and I wheeled my scales over and brought a tape measure and stadiometer for measuring height.

The only stand that really attracted any traffic was the Occy Health one, which had queues lined up most of the time. Neyber and UNISON had free pens, and the physio offered to time you sitting and standing as many times as you could in a minute, but most people were really only interested in their blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol. Including me. My cholesterol level was even higher than it was when I went for my over 50's Health my GP.

The Occy Health team sent a few people over to me to have their weight and height measured, including one teeny tiny Asian lady whom I dutifully measured even though it was obvious that she wasn't even close to being overweight, but who seemed relieved to be told this fact. They also sent over someone with high blood glucose to have a chat, but she'd been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes some time ago, didn't really seem at all bothered and wasn't particularly interested in doing anything about it.

I spoke to no more than about ten people in the four hours I was there, not counting people on the other stands who were similarly idle - I don't think the Chaplain had any customers at all. But it was a nice change of scenery, and despite not having much to do it was a great deal more interesting than the day at the ante-natal clinic.

Church and graveyard
Shipley Church, September 2017
The main event recently was an epic camping trip with Lola II to a beautiful campsite in West Sussex. It was one of the best campsites I've ever been to, mainly because of the facilities. These include covered areas for sitting, eating and washing up (and for cooking if you'd hired one of their tents), delightful composting toilets, open air showers and baths (we didn't try these) but also properly plumbed indoor toilets and showers and a wood stove and sofas in a communal area which was very welcome when the cold and rain arrived one evening.

We were the only campers on Thursday night, although there were a few inhabitants of the fixed cabins and tents. When a single chap arrived on Friday we went over to offer help him put up his tent, and found out that it was his wedding anniversary and he was going to surprise his wife with a couple of nights away from their three-year-old. When we were sitting on the sofa in front of the wood stove we got chatting to another couple of campers who were a nurse and a carpenter, and then another couple wandered in and they had just got engaged. They had put up two tents, and it seems that there are still people in the world who do not share a tent until they are married.

Knepp Wildlife, September 2017
This was a great deal more interaction than is usual at a campsite, and enhanced the experience no end. But it wasn't all chat - we went for a long walk and saw a herd of deer, we ate a really good meal at the local pub, had a couple of similarly good meals in the tent, and went to Worthing Food Festival which is about a quarter of the size of Leamington's. But there were some good pastries and pies and we made the most of the opportunity. They also had some activities, and while we were there an American guy was overseeing children constructing structures out of wine gums and cocktail sticks, which were then tested to see how many bags of sugar they could support. His commentary was highly amusing, including a section where he forced his audience to pronounce various words as Americans do: To-MAY-to! YOH-gurt! Say it! YOH-gurt!

Lola II was due to blow the ram's horn ('shofar') at mum's synagogue where she has a regular annual booking, and following a bit of a disaster one year when she didn't practise in advance, she had brought the shofar with her. Back in the tent I took a photo of her in mis-matched pyjamas with a tea towel for a prayer shawl and a sock on her head and put it on Facebook for a laugh, expecting it to attract no attention whatever, as is usual for my posts. Over the next few days I had more Facebook 'Likes' for this appalling spectacle than for anything I've posted before. Lola's horror was most entertaining (for me) as she writhed in embarrassment at each new visitor.

On the way home we stopped at Watts Gallery and Artists' Village in Surrey, where George Frederic Watts and his wife Mary set up home and did their art - painting and sculpture (him) and pottery (her). I'm not great with art galleries, but I really liked this one. We also went up the road to the chapel that they built and saw his grave as well as that of the Huxley family - one of the gallery staff told us that the actor Patricia Hayes was also buried there.

The weather was very variable - clear skies full of stars the first night, pouring rain, hot sunshine, just what you'd expect of September in England. That was the last camping trip of the year, I think.

Single storey building housing Watts Gallery
Watts Gallery, September 2017

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