Today would normally have been my Pilates day – but as it is half-term, I have the ‘day off’ today. This means that I don’t have to rush back to get changed into my tracksuit bottoms and walk down to the studio. It was a kind of day today when it really was a ‘toss up’ whether we made a journey by car or whether we went on a walk as normal. Surveying the sky, we felt it was probably safe to go for a walk and so we collected our newspapers and called in at Waitrose for some more milk (we always seem to run short at this time of the week). And so we made our way to the park, wondering who we might run across on an indeterminate kind of day like today. We were were well into our flask of coffee and biscuits when our incredible octogenarian walker friend hove into view. He seemed hale and hearty which was incredible news to us. We knew that last Tuesday, he had needed to go into hospital for a prostate operation but of course we don’t want or need to know any of the gory details of this. Our friend referred to his procedure as a ‘rebore’ which one can sort of understand but I am not sure to what procedure he was absolutely subjected. He was in hospital a couple of days and then seemed to have resumed his normal round walk of some 7-8 kilometers per day. According to the app he had on his Apple Watch, he was supposed to be walking a route somewhere in the north of Scotland which sounds a lot more exotic than Bromsgrove. He never tarries for long because he doesn’t want his muscles to get cold but he kindly relieves us of our little plastic bag of rubbish (banana peel and tissues) in a proximate bin. We also chatted to some other park regulars that we know by sight. At this time of year, we take pains not to slip on the large forest type leaves which can go slimy and slippery when wet at this of year and before a frost shrivels them up and a wind blows them away. The colours of the trees are just about starting to turn. Meg and I admired on acer-type tree that was starting to turn a flame red and it reminded us of a novel, set in Kenya, which was called ‘The Flame Trees of Thika’ as fas as we can remember. When we eventually made it home, it was lunchtime so we popped some fishcakes into the oven and cooked some broccoli as a green vegetable. As a second veg. I decided to innovate and cooked an onion and some green peppers which I then made a bit more exciting with some tomato passata and brown sauce (quite a change)
After lunch, we had intended to do various jobs but finished off with a good read of both yesterday’s newspapers. Yesterday’s Times contained a fascinating article by an immunologist who was suggesting the practical ways in which we can keep our immune systems fine-tuned in the face of COVID vaccines, flu jabs and the particularly vicious cold circulating around the country this year. But then I read a sentence that almost made the eyes pop out of my head. The immunologist explains: ‘If you are mixing with people, you might get sick but you can reduce the odds by eating healthily, staying active and getting outside as often as you can. It is not just the activity elementof being outdoors that’s beneficial. Plants and trees release compounds that boost our natural killer cells, the body’s first line of defence against infection making a walk in the park one of the best things you can do’ (It was the bit about the ‘walk in the park‘ which I found amazing)
And so on to today’s Times which, being a Tuesday, is the usual medical and life-style day. here again, I discovered something very much in my own self-interest. One of the by-lines in the article in the T2 section of the Times was the view of some experts ‘cutting carbs to lose weight could be a mistake‘ The argument here is pushing up the amount of fibre is particularly beneficial and top of the list comes All bran cereal followed by porridge oats, wholegrain bread, pears, avocados, baked beans and chia seeds. As I have been trying to cut down on the carbs but am very partial to All-Bran and porridge oats, this is music to my ears. The advice that is given, which sounds very sensible is that ‘consuming food as close to its natural state is the best way to get more fibre. In general, that means minimally processed food and whole fruit and vegetables’ Knowing all of this, I can see that at my next visit to the supermarket on Thursday, I shall be reordering some of my food priorities.