Tag Archives: New Year

Wasting time together

We headed “down South” this week to spend the New Year with my family.  It was a relatively rare gathering of my immediate family; Mum & Dad, Sister, Brother, Nephews and Nieces.  It was even more rare for us to spend so much time together; typically visits are restricted to a weekend arranged around a family event or celebration.

As well as featuring my first dry (and sober) New Year’s Eve since the 1990’s, the extended visit and miserable weather presented the opportunity to waste time together, catching up on events and developments in each others lives.

Our New Year celebrations were a little more subdued!

It was great to see everyone!  We seem to have had more than our fair share of challenges over the past year; emotional, physical and psychological.  However, we are fortunate… and I am particularly fortunate to have such a strong, supportive and generous family.

As you would anticipate, food and drink were a major feature of the visit.  Despite significant temptation, I managed to stay on the straight and narrow, even when presented with a variety of delightful desserts, cheeky cheeses and some of the most extravagant Burgers I’ve ever seen (the “Surf, Turf and Cluck” Burger in particular looked mighty fine!).  How my Sister and Mum managed to keep producing meals I have no idea, but we’re all very grateful!  Thanks!

***

Inevitably, in time, the competitive embers were stoked by younger members of the family and a “Girls vs. Boys” challenge was thrown down.  The games tested our knowledge, skill and nerves, culminating in a win for the Boys… of course!  To be fair, we benefited from the fact that the game was produced in 1995 and some of the questions were rather dated, particularly for those born in the 00’s!

Pirate ShipA late Christmas gift allowed me to demonstrate my creative prowess as I built and painted a Pirate Ship.  The present included an Eye Patch and Treasure Map, but I resisted the temptation to become a fully fledged Pirate… perhaps next year!

Personally, I’m relieved to be heading into 2014 “on the up”.  I’m able to reflect on the trials of the past and look forward with optimism.  While others are in a similar position to myself, I feel for people that have experienced a loss, or are still on their challenging journeys and fearful of what the future might hold.

I wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Successful 2014!

Not very Festive

My wife says thinking about Heart Attacks isn’t very Festive.

I agree.

I also think that having a Heart Attack isn’t very Festive.  In fact, I wouldn’t recommend one at any time of the year.  They can be inconvenient.

Unfortunately Christmas is a risky period.  Apparently Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are the three days on which you are most likely to experience a Heart Attack.

I’m no medical expert, but when you read about the contributory factors, there appear to be some fairly basic things you can do to reduce your level of risk:

  • Keep moving:  Make a conscious effort to keep up with your exercise.  Take the dog for a walk.  Go for a swim. Do something.  Don’t let the poor weather or the warm fire stand in your way!
  • Avoid excess:  Enjoy all the trappings of the Festive Fare, but be aware of when enough is enough.  Eating too much places strain on your Heart.  Do not eat and drink so much that you run the risk of “that heartburn feeling” being something other than “heartburn”.
  • Chill out:  Unfortunately the Zen Meditation Book you receive on Christmas Morning is unlikely to be immediately effective in relieving the stresses and strains that the Festive Period can bring.  Create some “me” time.  Maybe a breath of fresh air and a little light exercise?
  • Don’t overdo it!:  Exercise is good, but too much exercise can be dangerous.  For example, (and much to my wife’s annoyance!), shovelling snow is not great for the Heart.  It’s basic stuff, but warm up properly and don’t overdo it!
  • Keep taking the pills:  Keep up your good habits, like taking medication.  Don’t let changes to your routine or environment distract you.
  • Keep warm!

Possibly most importantly… do not ignore the warning signs.  Apparently it is common for people to ignore pain or discomfort, not wanting to “cause a fuss”.  As a result, they wait rather than seeking medical attention.  This can make the difference between life and death.  Don’t!

Reminder of Heart attack symptoms:  http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Heart-attack/Pages/Symptoms.aspx

OK.  Sermon over.  Now, where are the Mince Pies?