Sunday, 30 December 2018

A New Leaf

Hello dear readers!

Well did you? Did you have a great Christmas? I asked you to. It was a specific request at the end of my last post, so I really, truly, hope that you did.

Me? Well my Christmas was a bit of a mixed bag. Yes, I had a nice day. I managed to cook a three course meal of which two were eaten and I managed to do it without even the whisper of food poisoning. Chocolates were eaten, along with stollen, mince pies, and the rest of the traditional fare one might expect. Gifts were given and received with delight. Not a bad day at all.

Of course I could have done without the heart attack my father suffered almost exactly a week before.

The Heart Of The Matter
No, don’t worry, dad is fine (or at least as fine as an active and stubborn man can be after a heart attack) but it did cause a few small shifts in the season’s plans, not least for my parents who were due to fly to the Canaries only a few days later. He is weak, but growing appreciably stronger as time goes by. He is increasingly frustrated at the down time and the restrictions life has thrown at him (with mum looking after him he really does have little chance of testing those) and of course he is a little down in the dumps, I think at least in part, at the thought of somehow ‘spoiling Xmas’ (Nah), although to hear him speak you might be forgiven for thinking the ruined golf round was the thing that irked him most (his best round ever… and the fish was ‘this’ big, honest).


So yes, there was that. An afternoon of blind panic following the phone call, that mellowed into a week of fluctuating worry but dad is not the kind of man who would want the big day ruined and, although I tried my very bestest to be at least a little better than my normal uncommunicative self and be in something resembling regular contact, myself and Tina (my wife) resolved to throw ourselves into Xmas. Something I think we managed with aplomb.

All Throw
It was a hugely enjoyable few days with time set aside to spend with family on both sides We visited my lot on my nephew’s birthday (yes he is one of those unfortunate to be born perilously close to Christmas) and had a lot of Tina’s family over, including my rather lovely step-daughter, Sarah who stayed for the whole week.

Of course everything has it’s price, and it may be that in throwing ourselves into Xmas, we threw just a little too hard. Slimming World was a scything testament to this with the scales showing both myself and Tina had put on a few pounds (five in my case) and that with a houseful of sweet treats still to dispose of.

Glorious Food
It was a bit of a pickle. In fact it was several jars of pickle, three tubs of sweets, some mince pies, nuts, crisps, two Swiss rolls, and about half a home made bread and butter pudding. Not to mention alcohol. Fortunately it appears that, although temptation lies all around the house like a calorie laden tiger getting ready to pounce, we might just be getting on top of it.

Have we had moments of weakness? Of course. Have we succumbed? Well, maybe. A bit. The main thing though is those moments of weakness have grown less and less as time has marched on. Good behaviours, cultivated over the last couple of years have started to replace the sweet, carb laden misdemeanours that crept in with the pressies and the tinsel, and possibly just at the right time for a resolution or two to become more than workable.

Yes, we will stride into the new year with firm expressions and determined minds, ready to make sure the Rankin family is as healthy as life permits. Given the circumstances it’s a relatively easy pledge to keep.

The Thin End Of The Pledge
There is another pledge that has managed to sneak into the New Year’s resolution list for 2019 though, One that has little to do with health, at least of the body, and more to do with looking after those little grey cells Hercule Poirot mentions so often.


No, I’m not out to solve any murders, nor am I thinking of committing them. I am however talking of the medium in which M. Poirot most often appears, that of the written word. In short our joint New Year pledge is to read more.

It’s a humble resolution. One which should be pretty easy to honour but the truth of the matter is that neither Tina nor I read half as much as we used to. There are many reasons for this, busy lives, cares and stresses, the impact of the internet and social media, but the truth is we have fallen into bad habits. Habits that in my mind at least, need to be corrected.

Local Books, For Local People
We have formalised our agreement (nothing in writing you understand) and are going to start our own Rankin book club. A book will be read each month, digested and discussed. Some will be Tina’s choice and some will be mine, ensuring that each of us is challenged to look outside our preferred authors and genre and to help facilitate this we have both joined (or in Tina’s case rejoined) the local lending library, something that filled us both with a strange sense of pride at the small but decidedly grown up achievement. I think in some way it makes us both feel as if we are affirming our membership of the local community, taking part, I guess you could say. It felt good.


So there you have it a fortnight of mixed emotions out of which has sprung a promise to be as healthy in body and mind as we can in 2019 and an adventure to immerse ourselves in, one that could take endless forms, and take many a plot twist over the next twelve months.

It really is time for a new chapter.

Until next time.