The Rule of Three

Things come in three’s or so superstition tells us. Invariably, it’s usually the bad things too. This started back in March with a tooth that needed patching up after an ancient filling fell out. The Dentist asked that I be taken off one of my blood-pressure meds as it was causing my gums to swell and that was the start of it all. Incidentally, the same tooth finally broke in July and I had to have a crown fitted.

In June we started the process of seeking a new hypertension regime. Here we are in November, having taken a few wrong turns along the way, with three pills that finally seem to be doing the trick. All that remains is to tweak the dosage of one of them to get the pressure to the intended target. Naturally, during the course of changing meds, there were lots of blood tests.

On a visit to the Nurse on October 10th, I was informed that my blood-sugar level was ‘raised’. Apparently, I’m pre-diabetic. That was a little bit of a shock but perhaps not. What that means in real world terms is – I need to increase my exercise, reduce my food intake and cut out the sweet things. Now, I don’t eat a lot of sweets – I might have a chocolate bar twice a month and it’s rare that we have a dessert with dinner in our house. No – the sugar intake is almost entirely down to beer and that is something that I need to reduce.

So, much of October has been about adjusting to a new regime. I’m making a point of getting out for a brisk walk every day. As for the beer – ironically, I was already working on reducing my alcohol consumption and had made good progress over a 3-year period. In many ways this news has been the catalyst to ‘finish the job’ and I’m pushing on towards being alcohol free at home (apart from the very occasional single shot of whisky). One thing that has been helping this is the availability of alcohol free ales. You see, my ‘alcohol’ problem is not about getting drunk – I don’t drink to get drunk and forget bad things. I just love the flavour of beer – getting drunk is an unfortunate side effect!

Changing over to alcohol free beers has issues though. In the majority of cases, the brewers either use a yeast that stops fermenting before it creates alcohol or they actively remove their normal yeast before the alcohol is made. This has the effect of leaving significant levels of sugar in the beer. To give an example from one beer I tried – there were 18g of sugar in a 500ml bottle. However, all is not gloom and doom! There is an alcohol free beer that only has 0.7g of sugar in a bottle and… It’s actually a version of one of my favourite ales – Adnams Ghost Ship. How has the brewer achieved this? They have used a process called reverse osmosis after the normal fermenting stage has completed to remove the alcohol from the finished ale. The equipment required to do that is not cheap, so hats off to Adnams for being prepared to invest money up front for a small but growing market. I hope other brewers will see the trend and follow suit. Here’s the Adnams Ghost Ship 0.5 page.

So that my friends is why October saw very little in the way of blog posts – there’s been a bit of mental angst and a lot of life rearranging to do. Three things – Broken tooth, blood-pressure meds and pre-diabetes – can turn everything upside down. Now we move forwards and hopefully restore normality to this blog 🙂

Farmers Blockade D941

Jam on D941 as farmers protest halts traffic in Bromont-Lamothe.

Yesterday French Farmers blockaded the D941 in several of the towns along the route in protest at falling grain and milk prices which have left many local farmers on the verge of bankruptcy.   Traffic built up on the surrounding Autoroutes and rail traffic through Létrade was also disrupted when a combine harvester was used to obstruct the crossing barriers.   Drivers passing through the area expressed their anger – German Trucker Ernst Martin stuck in a jam and sharing coffee with a group of fellow truck drivers at a roadside bar in Bromont-Lamothe said “Always there is some protest in France!  The Gendarmes do nothing!”  The protest lasted for much of the afternoon with traffic finally getting moving again as dusk fell.   The Gendarmerie were unavailable for comment.
From our Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes reporter

Lost in Confusion

Continued From

An ISS Captain peered round the corner of the door, laser pistol in hand. He acknowledged Border and holstered his weapon before pulling out a scanner. Two junior officers appeared behind him in the doorway. As he viewed the screen of his device it spoke – “Border, Jaxon, recognised; bounty hunter co-opted to assist ISS in this sector.” “Clone, 22nd in series, Anson, non-resident; possible suspect in crime.” It stopped speaking. The Captain waved it over Jenckque’s body in an irritated fashion – “Damned thing – must be on the blink!” then, pointing to one of his subordinates – “You read the victim!”

The young officer took on a bemused look as his scanner also registered nothing. “Captain Hoathe” Border interjected – “Perhaps the two bodies down the corridor?” Hoathe nodded and turning to leave prompted his team “Don’t let the Clone leave – probably our man!” I didn’t protest – this was Border’s show and I felt I could trust him to see me right. Border turned to me – “You’re sure that’s your friend Jenckque? No mistake?” “He’s changed a lot but I guess I’m sure that’s him… I recognised his voice.” Border frowned – “He’s not appearing on the Citraxx system – I’m not reading him either – even dead he should be there!”

A new face appeared at the door – glasses held in place by an extended forefinger… “Hi Jaxon… Chief finished in here yet?” Border shook his head – “He’s having scanner problems and he’s checking the two down the corridor.” “Damn – clear weapons fire Terminates… should be straight forward.” Said the doctor – “those two down there yours?” Border nodded – “they were shooting when I arrived – I didn’t have much choice!” – He said, grimacing, and the doctor looked back down the corridor as the Captain started making his way back.

“This is damned stupid – those two don’t exist either…!” He waved his tablet around for all to see – “What the hell’s going on Border?” “John, I think someone has erased these from the Citraxx system.” Captain Hoathe stared at Border – “You’re givin’ me crap…” He said. “Do you have another explanation?” asked Border. “Have you scanned these bodies Border?” “No, but I did tag the two down the corridor a day or so back – got their info on my tablet. I’ll pass it to you – just watch out for overwrites. Those guys existed yesterday!” After a minute or so Hoathe looked at the files – “That’s amazin’ – These guys aren’t real… they’re angels and they’re shooting?” “Where do you fit in and who’s this?” he said, finally involving me in the investigation!

“I was waiting here for my friend…” I said, pointing to Jenckque’s body. Border caught my eye with a quick shake of the head – (don’t tell too much). “Just came down to my quarters and these guys started shooting at us!” Hoathe looked at me carefully – “I guess that’s the truth then – or you’ve spent too much time with Border!” He broke into a smile… “Don’t leave the station until I give the ok. I probably want the full story from the pair of you tomorrow after the autopsies have been done. Doc, All yours!”
“C’mon,” said Border “You need a beer and somewhere else to sleep.” We wandered off to Dayzee’s.