Weight!! Diets and Doctors!!

Dear patient,
We are updating our records and would be grateful if you could provide us with an up to date weight. Please reply to this text with your current weight.
Many thanks.

How many more books should I get?

Well that did it! The other day I was having a bowl of soup in M&S with a friend. A buzz on my phone indicated a message. Always conscious that grandchildren try and get me if their parents are working etc. I take a quick sneaky look trying not to be rude. The above from my doctor’s surgery has to be read!

This shadowed is not the most flattering!

Oops! Yes I am overweight and that has been the story of my life since my first child!

Over the years I have lost over 42 stone = lbs 588. How could this be? Well to start with after my youngest was born 45 years ago 2 stone needed to disappear. This was done with calorie control. Great.

I have always been active with a family and household to run at the same time as my own business. That did not stop the weight accumulating time and time again! Weight Watchers greeted me rubbing their hands knowing that I was a money spinner. How right they were! Once goal weight had been attained two years later I went on a course to be a lecturer at our local meeting place which happened to be the Temperance Hall! That lasted a couple of years before they noticed that my fingers were bulging round my rings!

Gallstones made an appearance and the surgeon refused to operate until some weight had been lost. The Cambridge diet accommodated that request with five stone disappearing fairly quickly. In a London hospital I was looked upon as a hero because of the weight loss and a slender figure before their eyes.

Skinny once! With my father 1961

Another few years pass and a large frumpy figure stares at me in the mirror. So let’s work on this  no fat with Rosemary Connolly’s diet and exercise. Without any oil or fat my skin wrinkles up and any assets that were left have disappeared! So food here I come.

Not a good decision! Son announces a wedding! Hubby gives me a wink and knows exactly that his whole life will be turned upside down yet again. Fit for Life is the answer. Don’t mix carbs with protein! Actually it was not so bad until a friend arrives from Switzerland and tells me of an article suggesting it is not so good for the heart! Cabbage diet for five days. How I was not divorced there and then I have no idea!

Wedding over and grandchildren coming thick and fast! Problem whenever they came round they would charge towards horses and other animals in the yard. I could not run as fast. The Atkins Diet enters my life and I have never felt so good. Five stone disappears yet again! Drama. Husband dashed to hospital and told he would not survive the week. That’s it food comes to comfort me. Hubby survives for another twenty five years after his first brush with lung cancer. So so fortunate for both of us.

Since then  ‘love of life’ has been more prevalent and weight just comes and goes. Paul McKenna has been tried but the bruising to my arm was unbearable. Jabs from a doctor in Harley Street at great cost, a personal trainer at the gym lasts for two years, this list goes on!

I am conscious of being healthy and since that text a couple of days ago I have restricted food intake and already walked over ten miles! I know I owe it to my doctor and the NHS to take responsibility for my well being. It really is nonsense to ignore all the advice before us. But this dieting lark,  for me, is not the answer. Restraint and exercise appear to work for now! However, I read with interest the other day that ‘Heart surgery danger lower in the obese’ http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/heart-surgery-risk-is-lower-for-the-obese-6lmrk0ppk So what should we do?

Should I ?




“She’d even violated the only sensible rule of dieting she’d ever run across, the sage advice of the Muppets’ Miss Piggy, who recommended never eating anything bigger than your head.”
Susan Donovan

Expectations & Fear

It is amazing how quickly Great Expectations can turn to Fear! Since moving to my little pad in the middle of nowhere I have got involved in a few local issues. A major education!  Recently I was invited to a Think Tank Session up North!

One of the ladies organizing the  two days informed me  the venue was beautiful and the food outstanding! How exciting!


Montreuil, France 1961

Packing my little overnight bag was easy – spares and wash bag. Ah but perhaps Dinner may be a little formal so another skirt went in with a pretty evening jersey. Nothing too fancy! Then perhaps a swimming costume just in case a swimming pool is available!

Enjoying a pool Jan 1980 in South Africa


The train certainly took the strain to Chester. The antiquated station reminded me of my first arrival at York late one night in 1955 after our boat trip home from Cyprus. Cold, both times, the snow had blocked many routes. This time the Snake Pass over the Pennines.


The way we used to travel!
Reality sets in! Entrance to my room!








Not quite the elegance I was expecting!

I jumped into a taxi. Unfortunately the area of the City I was driven through excluded any view of the Cathedral etc. After fifteen minutes the taxi turned into this beautiful park, the sun trying to filter through some big old trees with the palatial old building in the distance. My heart quickened at the thought of two most elegant and enjoyable days!  We drew up to the steps under the columned portico leading to the enormous front door. All stonework was crumbling and the big wooden door creaked. The mustiness hit me like a puff of smoke. Through my disappointed eyes a lovely young lady greeted me to The Hall and hoped I would be comfortable. “Please sign there. Your room is number 13 and you turn left through all the doors out the back and then right and down to the second layer.” Gloria said, as she thrust a key on a large wooden block into my hand.


I struggled with my wheelie case through the dining room and kitchen out through some swing doors to be greeted by sleet rushing to my face. How quickly the weather can change as had my excitement to fear! The wheels no longer worked on the miles of verandahs I had to go along to reach my room. Yes I had arrived to what I can only describe as a derelict Butlins Camp with rats running through the now totally neglected Italian gardens. To begin with my key would not turn in the lock.

Versailles 196

A quick change from trousers into a skirt, cashmere polo neck and scarf with sensible shoes for the afternoon session allowed me to regather enthusiasm for the sessions ahead. On locking my room I concentrated on the obstacle course the broken boarded verandahs provided! How I didn’t break my leg down a gap the first time round is a mystery!

Back through the kitchen the smell of grease and chips sent a shudder through me. Then shock horror it looked as though the uniform for this serious conference/Think Tank Session was to be ketchup stained tracksuit bottoms, sweatshirts and trainers! Ouch!   I arrive at my allocated table to meet the group which would stay the same for all sessions.  Right Lavinia, zip those lips and smile sweetly, say nothing and if asked speak very quietly! That lasted for all but two minutes! On my first utterance  the hackles of four from my  table nearly hit the roof!  The introductory session lasted over 45 minutes by which time  I knew all about my new colleagues and they nothing about me! Success!! Dale Carnegie’s training kicked in after all those years!!


Bed socks and jerseys always travel well!

A few changed for dinner but not me! The conversation for 2 hours was interesting with some great stories from all over the country, children and life experiences.  My walk back to bedroom was shadowed by a follower and by the time I had slammed the door my heart was pounding with fear! All my extra clothing was put to use as I lay my head on a scarf over the pillow. Sleep, as usual, just followed and continued for eight hours!  


The next morning I realized I had a fan in my group! He watched me all the time and had dressed up for the day. Then he tells me he is on my train back. Smile and take it on the chin and be flattered! When we say good bye in London he says “I so loved meeting you. You remind me so much of my mother!!!!!!!!!!!” Perhaps optimism got the better of me this week. Yet it was an experience I am so glad I did not run away from. It will be interesting to see the final report in a few months time!!


 Oh how we can learn from this quote below. Have a great week.

“My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus.”

Stephen Hawking

Naughty Girls Driving Awareness Course

Well this week I have been to the Naughty Girls Driving Awareness Course! Honestly I was only doing 35mph in a 30 limit!

I have been driving for over 50 years and I know it all except driving in the desert and extreme Arctic conditions. Or so I thought!

Never driven here!
Painted Desert 1944

A great friend of mine, who attended one last year, said it was the most boring four hours and what a waste of time and money! Another very experienced driver had also attended and had been made to feel so small when she asked a question and said “how could anyone pay attention for four hours!”

Too difficult for me!

Unfortunately my wrinkles did not immediately disappear with my expensive anti – wrinkle cream ( a very generous Christmas present from my eldest granddaughter)! Dressed in killer jeans and long boots, trying to look snazzy at my age!  I drove off to the course, keeping to every speed limit including the 10mph on the drive to the hall the course was  held at. How does one stay at 30mph when there is no one else on the road? I ask you! I had been warned that if anyone is one minute late they would be thrown out. Apparently they are very strict about this. So to allow for road works and crashes etc I arrive one and a half hours early at 06.15 on the coldest morning of the year! I wait in the car, freezing and reading the Times. Then tried to work out how anyone can do the big crossword! It is way beyond me!

07.45 arrives! I walk in determined not to misbehave! Show no boredom! On entering I was greeted by a very dishy looking young instructor. Handed over my Driving licence as identification. The photo is  worse than any passport I have had in my life!!    I need the loo! On my return back up the stairs I am the last to be ushered in by an ex Traffic Cop with 30 years experience. The only seat available was right in the front! To be honest there were only two rows with six at back and six in front! All very cosy.

Care needed.

The first thing was introductions; the second instructor was a driving instructor who  advised the AA on certain aspects of driving. Two lovely instructors who put us at complete ease. Next to me was a very haughty lady with a grey bun. She was into horse racing and saw no reason why she should be with us. Another older gentleman was a ‘know it all’ who drove a Range Rover. Then a very bossy lady behind me knew everything there was to know in the world. She had lived abroad at some stage in her life. Her opinion was that the  UK lacked any understanding of drivers etc. Another gentleman was Polish. He spoke the most perfect English with manners to match. The others were just normal people! In fact are there such humans? Not sure.

The course starts.  I was captivated from start to finish. I do not intend to speed anymore. A very useful tip regarding keeping to a 30mph limit whilst in our modern warm , soundproofed and gliding modern cars is to lock into 3rd gear. Either manually or with an automatic use a paddle or sport mode unless the car already has a limiter. I use this all the time and it really works. Then shock horror! I did not know that in the UK street lamps, no matter what distance apart, mean a 30mph unless it has another number on the lampposts every so often! So one could be driving along and come to some street lights and automatically it becomes a 30 limit unless otherwise stated!!  Several accidents in the making were shown. The difference 2mph makes in a 30mph limit is enormous. The whole session was interactive. The Range Rover driver was actually most charming and said he was shocked at how little he knew. The horse racing lady still wasn’t convinced! But then she hadn’t really wanted to be. The ‘know it all’, from having lived abroad, actually came down off her pedestal and agreed that the UK was not so bad after all! Hopefully by learning so much I will become a better driver. I just wish everyone who takes a driving test could also go to one of these as they will realize that each time you step into a car you have a loaded gun in your hand.

Birds singing at Sunrise

This morning it is minus 9 but the sun is shining so brightly and the birds are singing their hearts out for food and giving us all such pleasure.



“You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen, it said ‘Parking Fine.”
Tommy Cooper