The Scream – 2019

With the Chimes at midnight fast approaching and which I’m sure many will stay up to hear, I contemplate 2019 and what sort of year it has been. Frankly, it’s one I’m glad to see the back of. There have been many bad things on a global scale happening, of which the bush fires in California and Australia stand out as true tragedies – not least because of the clear correlation with global warming and our contribution to climate change. Then we had the culmination of the Brexit debate and a victory for a very right-wing Tory party. Makes me wonder how far the Uk is from where Germany was in 1933 – not very I suspect after a Leave campaign that played on people’s hate and prejudice.

On a more personal note, this has been a year of medical issues for me during which I have often felt that I was not in control of my health as I waited for the right type and dose of medicine to be determined through a process of trial and error. As a part of that and by pure chance I was found to be pre-diabetic. In some ways that’s a positive – because it is something that I can do something about and take control of in 2020.

Epi being knocked down at the start of December reallly put a final seal on the bad side of the year. While she is a lot better, it will be a while before she is fully fit and the anxiety I have been through in the intervening period has been very disruptive. I wonder sometimes… Why do we get married when so often it brings such pain. But then I remember all the love and caring for each other, the warmth and friendship, and the occasional passionate rows! Yes – that’s why we have long term relationships and that’s why they make life worth living!

My football team survived being relegated back in April. That should have been a positive but here we are back in the same position at the end of the year with the very real prospect that last season’s do or die effort was just a preamble to the inevitable drop this season. Currently, Wingate & Finchley are in a group of 5 teams from which 3 will be relegated – the teams above that group already have a 5-point margin. It’s frustrating watching as the team score a couple of goals to lead a game only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory – we’re leaking goals at the back and it’s hard to work out why as we have a pretty good set of defensive players and one of the best keepers in the league! Things have to turn around as of our game on New Years Day or it’s a downward journey for Wingate & Finchley. I think Charlie’s face in this photo sums up the feelings of fans at every game currently…

When I look back at 2019 all I feel is negatives – at least I think so. I was looking for some positives and intitially all I could come up with was the marvellous releases of simulation games on pc! I’ve had so much enjoyment from ‘The Hunter – Call of the Wild’ and ‘The Fisherman – Fishing Planet’, the latter releasing in 2019. And SCS Software have continued to provide new content for the excellent Truck Sim games. It’s coming to something when computer simulations are your highlight of the year! 😦

However, The last few months have seen Alasdair take on a lot of responsibility for his own future – arranging visits to potential universities if he gets the required grades. He’s suddenly grown-up over the last 9 months. He’s been working part time in the club kitchen for a year now and I have been very pleasantly surprised by the praise from the bar manager – he’s creating a very good impression. So that’s one big positive from 2019!

That Was The Year That Was – I hope 2020 will be much better!

Yesterday

Yesterday is written down
Kept for posterity
From Today
True is tarnished
Its ink corroded
A metallic presentation of a past
Controlled records hide fact
With convenient truth
The RAM is corrupted
And the memory is lost
Degraded…

Martin Addison: 28/11/2019

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 🙂