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Archive for July, 2009

Race For Life

Last Sunday, despite me suffering from a bad cough and my Mum with her bad arm, we joined a 1000 other females, young and old, to take part in the Race for Life at Windsor to raise funds and awarenss for Cancer Research.

Mum hadn’t managed to train for this race, as she did two years ago, but she was still determined to do it. The most she had walked over the last couple of months was a mile along the coast when we were on holiday in Crete. Despite this, we set off in a sea of pink t-shirts, leggings and tutus, around the 5k course. Race for Life started as a charity run but nowadays there are runners, joggers and walkers. We walked for the most part, albeit quickly and then broke out into a jog every now and then for 100m or so.

As well as the numbers pinned to our fronts, lots of women were wearing the RFL pink piece of paper on their backs saying who they were running for. Reading some of these, you realise just how much we are all affected by cancer. What’s the betting we all know at least one person who has suffered, whether or not they survived. I’m not ashamed to admit that I had a few tears, particuarly when a couple of ladies passed us whose loved ones had died just in the last 7 days.

I don’t know all the stats for cancer but the lady on the PA system was talking about higher survival rates nowadays, although those suffering has also risen. Mum remembered the time when she and Dad went to see a film in the early 1950s at their local cinema with their ticket money going toward cancer research. Apparently, the pre-film trailer promised that with their help cancer would be eradicated within 30 years!

I think one of the many issues to overcome is lifestyle. Yes, treatments these days mean more people survive but our poor lifestyles mean that more people suffer in the first place. Diet, processed foods, smoking, drinking, sun damage, pollution, chemicals in our foods, make up and toiletries, and so on, all contribute. Preventative measures really are the key. Education is imperitive. Can you believe we even saw three women taking part who were smoking!!!

Anyway, we completed the 5k in 58 minutes, and Mum jogged over the line. I’m so so proud of her. Not bad for a 77 year old (going on 57!).

Well done for everyone who has taken part in a Race for Life this year. We’re doing good.

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I read the health press every day. Some of it is very interesting, some of it old news, some of it makes me laugh, some of it just ridiculous.

This report made me laugh. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good news although there’s plenty more research to do into it.

It’s been reported that the compound Brilliant Blue G that turns M&M’s blue (and presumably Smarties too) can actually help mend spinal injuries by protecting the healthy spinal chord cells around the damaged area. Rats given BBG were found to be able to walk with a limp, with the lesion reduced and motor skills improved, whereas rats not given the compound never walked again. (Of course, this says to me that the rats were deliberately harmed and experiments on animals does not sit well with me).

However, the BBG compounds does stain the skin and left the rates with a blue hue, almost Smurf-like. Animal experiments aside, the site of a blue-pawed, blue-eared mouse did make me laugh. I guess also that if you eat too many blue Smarties then you might end up looking like Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka!

blue rat

And how did they find this out? Why were they feeding rats with M&M’s in the first place?

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The astute amongst you will have noticed I haven’t blogged for a while. Sorry. I’ve been away, I’ve been house-hunting and I’ve just been crazy busy with work. But I’m back now.

Anyway, during this last month I spent a fantastic week in Crete with my Mum. Now, I’m more of a backpacker but Mum had booked a fantastic resort which I actually thoroughly enjoyed. The food was amazing with so much fresh produce to chose from and I’ve tried to continue eating healthily a la Mediterranean since I’ve been back. I’m doing ok but it’s harder when it’s not all lovingly prepared for you.

By the way, I’m actually not one of these people who won’t go abroad due to carbon emissions. Yes, I do what I can at home – I’ll be walking a mile and a half to the shops later – but a holiday is very valuable to me. In particular Mum had been ill and had broken and dislocated her arm and the week in the sun did us both the world of good. Running at 6.30am in the early morning sunshine followed by a dip in the sea did wonders for my own wellbeing and I can’t wait to go back.

So, you’re probaby wondering what this has got to do with the title of today’s blog. Well, the hotel’s internet room wasn’t working. At first I was frustrated thinking of all those emails in my inbox. The next day I tried again and still it wasn’t working. I started to get a little anxious. What if I was missing some major piece of information, a new client enquiry or just missing out. But there was nothing I could do about it. There wasn’t an internet cafe near by and I don’t own a Blackberry (hideous things in my opinion). So all I could do was relax and forget about it. Well, I am so glad the internet access was down. I enjoyed the holiday even more, my mind quietened down, I could relax in the sun without thinking of how to reply to certain emails. And guess what? The world didn’t end! I didn’t miss anything of major importance and half my inbox was junk mail anyway.

It was quite a revelation in a way. Is the feeling of having to be near email and internet actually just a sign that we are full of our own self-importance, do we think that the our friends, colleagues and families can’t live without us if we aren’t online? If I really was needed urgently then my boyfriend and my brother knew how to contact me.

I’ve seen people almost have a nervous breakdown at not being able to get online for an hour let alone a whole day. Lord knows how they would cope if without access for a whole week.

But perhaps they ought to give it a go. There was a time when none of us had even heard of the email and internet and I bet we all got on fine back then. Not thinking of the outside world makes us concentrate on the here and now – the walk along the beach, the evening drink watching sunset, learning about an amazing piece of ancient history that is too fast becoming forgotten, resting. Proper resting including resting the mind. It’s a little like meditation, emptying your mind of all things unnecessary for that moment in time. You feel energised, your mind feels fresh and you do really do come back from your holiday feeling rested – which is after all the point of a holiday.

So next time you go away, be it a week or a weekend, be brave – leave the laptop or Blackberry at home and don’t go near an internet cafe. Start with just an online-free day if a weekend is too much. I promise you the world won’t cave in and you’ll feel strangely but wonderfully liberated.

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