The Best way to Keep up with Social Media


I like to think that I am not doing too badly when it comes to keeping up with technology and social media.  I use my computer every day, have a Facebook page (admittedly I don´t do much with it) have joined Twitter (I haven´t tweeted yet, what would I say and frankly who would care?) and I even have Instagram, but it is dawning on me that I am way behind the game.

There is a technical and social media spectrum and I am not where I would like to be.  One end starts with my inlaws who have a computer but are terrified of all communication by email.  They also own a mobile phone but don´t turn it on incase someone rings them and it runs out of battery.  At the other end there are Teenage Son and Daughter who no longer SMS  their friends but send strange contorted selfies on Snapchat.  When I asked Son why he hadn´t been on Facebook for weeks, he replied ¨Thats so old, now everyone is on Tumblr¨.  As a friend of mine asked, ¨What the hell is Tumblr?  I thought I put my gin and tonic in one.¨  So as you can see there is certainly ground to make up.  I can at least take consolation from the fact that I am not as bad as that same friend who when buying an alarm clock, put it to her ear and asked why it wasn´t ticking.  ¨It´s digital Mum¨sighed her son with a monumental eyeroll.

It is therefore ironic that the least technical member of the household is the first to get the iphone 6.  Husband has been a staunch advocate of Blackberry and has had an array of basic plastic devices which have struggled to do more than send the odd email and act as a phone.  Enter the new iphone 6.  It took a couple of hours before he realised it wasn´t necessary to either viciously slap it or prod heavily at the screen in order to switch between icons or emails.  He is now at the stage of brandishing it to anyone who will listen and say, ¨Do you realise how easy it is to use?¨  The rest of the houshold (who have much older versions of iphone and are suffering fits of jealousy)  smile and nod with gritted teeth.  Infact Teenage Son and Daughter keep feverishly looking up their phone upgrade dates in the vain hope that they will somehow miraculously move forward.

So while I can usually help Husband with connectivity issues and setting up the printer, I think I will start taking lessons from the younger members of the family to get me up to speed on subjects such as widgets (sounds like something you get from poor personal hygiene) and how to use Flickr.  Once I point out that I am far less likely to embarrass them if I know what I am talking about, I am sure they will help.  If not,  then the words ¨Early updates¨are bound to do the trick.




Competitive Personal Training




It is hard enough turning up for my weekly personal training session, anticipating the pain and humiliation that will follow, but now I have identified a new concern – Competitive Personal Training.  Now you might think this would occur between the clients being trained and to be honest, I am as competitive as the next person,  but no.  I have noticed that there is a disturbing competition between trainers.   The idea being that the more advanced exercises their client can survive, the better it reflects on them.

My last session started benignly enough with the usual rolling around using foam cylinders on the buttocks to help with any stiffness (if you read my earlier post, you will understand why) and  then a gentle warmup.  Enter two more trainers with their clients. One was a lady of around my age and fitness and the other was a young, slim woman who looked about twenty five.  The older lady was asked to lie on a mat and lift her legs gently in different directions and take long rests between sets of repetitions.  The younger one was quickly set a punishing warmup.  As she began a long and complicated set of lunges, my trainer who was handing me a kettlebell, snatched it back and watching her out of the corner of his eye  devised  some very similar lunges for me as well, instead of the kettlebell lifts I had been expecting.

Bright red, and with my legs trembling, I got through those and was looking enviously at the lady on the mat (she had not changed colour and was admiring her manicure), when the young women was instructed to jump up onto a high box from a standing start.  She managed it with apparent ease and her trainer looked around the gym as if to say ¨look what my client can do¨.  My own delightful taskmaster looked at me speculatively and then dragged over a smaller box and indicated that I should attempt the same feat.  After a couple of humiliating tries where I either bottled out or tripped and landed on my knees on the box, he sighed and suggested that I step up instead.

Meanwhile, the young women had been hoisted up to a high beam to do some assisted chin ups with her own trainer helping by pushing on her heels from below.  My trainer´s eyes narrowed,  and he looked from me to the beam.  I stared at him incredulously and said ¨Seriously?¨.

¨ You can do that with your eyes closed¨ he replied and grabbed me around the waist to lift me up to the bar.  I squawked and  having grabbed the bar, hung there like a sloth.  ¨Right, now do a chin up and I will help¨ he said.  There was a long moment when I pulled up and he pushed and we got absolutely nowhere and then my fingers started to slip.

¨I can’t hold on¨ I warned.  He ignored me and continued pushing up against my heels.  Meanwhile the young woman had lightly jumped down and after a smug glance from her trainer moved on to some crunches.  At that moment, my fingers lost their grip and I hurtled down landing ignominiously on top of my trainer. As we picked ourselves up, I noticed the lady on the mat was lying on her stomach being gently stretched and discussing her plans for the weekend.  Finally my trainer glanced in her direction.

¨We will do some core work when the rehabilitation client is finished¨ he said.  ¨What happened to her?¨ I asked.  ¨She hurt herself training¨was the reply.

Frankly, feigning injury might be the way forward…

Roast chicken anyone?

backyard hens


There is consternation at the hen coop.  For the fifth day in a row there are only two eggs waiting for me instead of the normal three or four.  My four “ladies” aka  Mustard, Mrs Potsdam, the Gingernut Ranger and Bustle all avoid eye contact and studiously look the other way when I enquire which one of them has stopped laying.

It seemed a great idea at the time when Teenage Son declared that we “absolutely have to get some chickens”.  I had visions of majestic free range hens wafting around the garden and fresh eggs for breakfast, and to be fair, the first two years were idyllic.  There is nothing quite like going and collecting the eggs in the morning and then having them for breakfast.  Not to mention the taste, they are delicious and shop bought eggs are now met with derision and scorn in our household.

Every night the chickens are shut in their hen house and are not allowed out until there are at least three eggs in the nesting boxes.  (We discovered quite quickly that if we let them out early they would lay their eggs all over the garden and then our delightful dog would find them, eat the addled contents  and throw up while we were watching Strictly).  They are then let out to peck peacefully on the lawn and in the flowerbeds.

But recently, in addition to not producing enough eggs, our ladies have become slightly delinquent.  They have taken to hopping up onto the large terracotta pots by our front door and scratching violently looking for tasty titbits and at the same time uprooting all the petunias and leaving them shrivelled on the ground or festooned on the nearby rose bushes.  The petunias have already been replaced twice  but I can never catch the culprits in the act, although there was a fairly startling moment when I returned home and found three of the four hens actually sitting in the pots like an advertisement for kitsch garden ornaments.

So, productivity is down and delinquency is up.  Husband had a quick look on Google to look for solutions to low egg yields but all suggestions come down to the same thing eventually. ” Eat the culprit”.  This is of course impossible as our ladies are now part of the family, so I have resigned myself longterm to owning four ornamental hens, setting up a standing order with the garden centre and buying my free range eggs at Waitrose.

Eye Candy….


I never thought it would happen to me.  One day you are reading the fine print on Calpol bottles in low light, and the next minute you can´t read a menu in a romantic restaurant without squinting ferociously or holding it up to the nearest light source.

I have always prided myself on having 20/20 vision.  I could read approaching motorway signs minutes before Husband could, and felt vaguely smug that I didn´t have any glasses to lose, or contact lenses to get stuck behind my eyeball (yuck!!)  But how the mighty fall with the passing of time.

After months of telling myself that I was just tired when I struggled to read my book in bed or check the carbs on a yoghurt pot in Waitrose,  the realisation dawned that I needed, horror of horror, READING GLASSES!  I admit that I procrastinated for a couple of weeks and tried to put it off.  After some thought,  It became clear that it was pointless for me to go to the Opticians and be sold some glasses for hundreds of pounds which I would loathe and despise, so I did the next best thing.  I went to the chemist.

The selection was fairly narrow with the usual NHS looking offerings but after trying a few on and deciding that I could actually read fine print with a prescription of 1.5,  I saw them.  They were the antithesis of attractive, and not the sort of thing I would ever normally consider, but something about them drew the eye.  They were what might kindly be called Edna Everage glasses –  leopardskin print with slight wings and diamante on the top. Fabulous!  Trying them on only confirmed my suspicions, I had to have them.

Now a few months later, I am getting used to the idea that I am someone who occasionally needs glasses.  When I whisk them out to read something in the bank I do get the odd raised eyebrow and there was the memorable flight when Husband had forgotten his own and borrowed them to read the FT,  but I can honestly say that I can read in comfort.  And that has to be good for one´s crowfeet, right?