Everyone here at Healthy Generations wanted to thank you for all your support, donations and more than anything, participation over the last three months. We do consider us being a big community of people sharing activities and time together whether online or in live classes and events.
September is traditionally the beginning of the school year as we go into the Autumn Term leading up to Christmas; summer ends and the autumn begins.
Twice a year the Sun illuminates the northern and southern hemispheres equally – spring and autumn equinoxes.
In 2023 the autumnal equinox was last Saturday the 23rd September at 6:50am GMT (7:50am BST to you and me).
The full moon nearest the Autumn Equinox is the ‘Harvest Moon’ and this year it is this coming Friday at 10.57am. The full Moon rises around sunset for several nights in a row, traditionally providing farmers with just enough extra light to finish their harvests before the frosts set in.
And while we are talking about moons I don’t know if you knew but last month (August) there were two moons on the 1st and 31st of August making the second one a blue moon. I feel a song coming on.
So all the best to one and all for these next three months as we move moment to moment towards Christmas. A big thank you again and all the very best for this new academic year 2023/2024!!
The Summer Solstice this year will be on June 21st at 14.57 UTC. UTC (Coordinated Universal Time)is the same as GMT but unlike GMT is never a time zone. It is a time standard, a basis for civil time and time zones worldwide. This means that no country or territory officially uses UTC as a local time. The UK uses GMT as a time zone until the change to BST which means for us the solstice will be at 15.57 BST.
Solstice comes from the Latin words sol, meaning Sun and sistere, meaning to come to a stop or stand still. On the day of the June solstice, the Sun reaches its northernmost position, as seen from the Earth. At that moment, its zenith does not move north or south as during most other days of the year, but it stands still at the Tropic of Cancer. It then reverses its direction and starts moving south again. The Tropic of Cancer is not only a book by Henry Miller that you shouldn’t have read when you were 14 but also the most northerly circle of latitude on Earth at which the Sun can be directly overhead. This occurs on the June solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun to its maximum extent.
Solstices happen twice a year—in June and December. The December solstice takes place around December 21. On this day, the Sun is precisely over the Tropic of Capricorn (another book by Henry Miller that you shouldn’t have read…).
One might think that since it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the Earth is closest to the Sun during the June solstice. But it’s the opposite. The Earth is actually farthest from the Sun during this time of the year. In fact, the Earth will be on its Aphelion (the point where a planet is at its furthest from the sun) a few weeks after the June solstice.
The Earth’s distance from the Sun has very little effect over the Seasons on Earth. Instead, it the tilt of Earth’s rotational axis, which is angled at around 23.4 degrees, that creates seasons.
The direction of Earth’s tilt does not change as the Earth orbits the Sun; the two hemispheres point towards the same direction in space at all times. What changes as the Earth orbits around the Sun is the position of the hemispheres in relation to the Sun. The Northern Hemisphere faces towards the Sun during the June solstice, thus experiencing summer. The Southern Hemisphere tilts away from the Sun and therefore has their winter.
Even though the June solstice is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere, most places do not see the earliest sunrise of the year on this day. The earliest sunrise happens a few days before, and the latest sunset takes place a few days after, the June solstice.
This happens because of the imbalance between time measured using clocks and time measured by a sundial. Don’t ask! Too complicated to go into here.
The hottest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere usually comes a few weeks or sometimes months after the solstice. This is because it takes time for the oceans and landmasses to warm up, which again allows for higher air temperatures.
And one last fact that isn’t really related but I kept thinking about it while putting this blog together:
68% of the Earth’s land mass is located in the Northern Hemisphere, 32% in the Southern.
About 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water.
The surface of the Southern Hemisphere is 80.9% water, compared with 60.7% water in the Northern Hemisphere. The Southern Hemisphere is a very watery place.
So have a wonderful longest day whether in London, Stonehenge or the canyons of your very own mind.
65 percent of all adult humans in the world are lactose intolerant. For the other 35 percent the ability to tolerate lactose (called lactose persistence because the ability persists into adulthood) is between 15 to 54 percent in Eastern and Southern Europe, 62 and 86 percent in in central and western Europe and more than 90 percent in the British Isles and Scandinavia. The two other areas with lactose persistence are the Maasai people in Eastern Africa and the Fulani in central and west Africa. All of us have a long history of farming cattle. So us adult Brits have an over 9 in 10 chance of being able to digest lactose.
All human infants are obviously lactose tolerant in order to feed on breast milk but then become increasingly intolerant after weaning and transition to adulthood.
Lactose intolerance is not an allergy – it’s an intolerance. An allergy is an adverse immune response which sometimes happens in response to the protein in milk which can affect between 2 and 3 percent of infants.
Cheese has more or less the same nutritional makeup as milk but has much of the lactose removed. Most of the lactose goes out with the whey which is the liquid part of milk left after milk has been curdled and strained in the production of cheese.
Lactose levels in milk are around 5 percent and is only 0.07 percent in Cheddar or Parmesan. That is a 70 fold reduction. The softer the cheese the more lactose it will contain. Ricotta can contain 3 percent lactose. Sensitivities to lactose vary so a lot of people who can’t tolerate milk can eat cheese, especially the harder ones. Butter also has very low lactose.
Yoghurt is also easier to digest than milk. The best yogurt for people with lactose intolerance is a full-fat, probiotic yogurt containing live bacterial cultures. The live bacteria helps break down lactose so your body has less to process on its own.
It’s best to look for yogurts labeled “probiotic,” which means they contain live cultures of helpful bacteria. Yogurts that have been pasteurized, a process that kills the bacteria, may not be as well tolerated.
Additionally, full-fat and strained yogurts like Greek and Greek-style yogurt could be an even better choice for people with lactose intolerance because full-fat yogurts contain more fat and less lactose-laden whey than low-fat yogurts. Greek and Greek-style yogurts are strained during processing. This removes even more of the whey, making them naturally much lower in lactose.
Every morning I take a nice warm shower. Then, at the end, I turn the knob to full cold and take a 30 second cold shower. Why? I can only offer this in mitigation and defence: Being a fan of Wim Hof and his breathing it was only a matter of time before the cold showers gradually loomed into view and wrapped icy sprays around my poor body. The ice bath is a little too much hassle. How would you do it? I have one friend who has a tub at the bottom of their garden and once a week pours sacks of ice into it and voila! In they go. But genius Wim Hof does the obvious. He has an old chest freezer in his garage which he keeps filled with water. Every morning he breaks the ice on the top and splosh! In he goes. Who would have thought of that?
But hold on! There is some method and science to this. In Holland research has been done to measure the effects of taking a cold shower every morning and the optimal length to achieve a result. Double blind studies were done between a cold shower group and no cold shower group. They found over a three month period the cold shower group went down with fewer coughs, sneezes, viruses and infections. It seems it is good for you. Then they wanted to know what the optimal length of shower was. Whether it is better the longer the shower lasts. They found that as long as you do 30 seconds you get the same increase in health and ability to throw off whatever is going around as staying under the cold for one or two or even five minutes. So I do 30 seconds.
But hold on even more!! Read on and discover how top professional footballers use ice baths to aid recovery.
Sitting in a tub of ice cubes is a treatment used by many elite sportsmen, as it helps reduce inflammation in muscle tissues by reducing temperature and blood flow.
Arsenal football club use ice baths and the interesting part is seeing how players react to being dumped into some freezing cold water. Back in 2017 Aaron Ramsey was not the least bit bothered, “I’m from Wales, mate. This feels like a summer’s day to me.” Theo Walcott used the meditative approach, “I am focused… I am relaxed… I am not cold…”
Danny Welbeck was a little more real, “Oh my God, that is cold. I don’t like it… oh, I really, really don’t like it…”
Where are they now? Aaron Ramsey now plays for French club Nice. Theo Walcott was just relegated back to the Championship with the club he started with Southampton. And Danny Welbeck just qualified for the Europa League with Brighton and Hove Albion, one of the success stories of this season. Does meditation work?
On the pitch, footballers perform around 700 changes of direction. During the 90 minutes of play they can cover over 10 kilometers. Football players need a large anaerobic capacity to cope with running at high-intensity and sprinting speeds and one strategy to recover from this is cold water immersion in an ice bath.
At the 2013 FIFA sponsored Sports Injury Summit in Wembley, Gregory Dupont of Université de Lille gave a presentation highlighting the strong correlation between fatigue and injury. In fact, the main precursor of injury is fatigue. This became clear in his report that injury rate was 6.2 times higher in players who played two matches per week, compared to those who played only one.
One of the best strategies for minimising fatigue is an ice bath. In fact, not only does it minimise fatigue, but it also reduces the risk of injury and aids recovery.
The recognised therapeutic tissue temperature for ice bath therapy is 12C to 15C, which isn’t achievable in a traditional ice bath, it melts! Also cold water floats to the top of the bath unless the water is constantly moving.
So many clubs use digitally controlled chillers to keep the temperature just right for repair.
Cristiano Ronaldo is renowned for his incredible fitness levels and reportedly once installed a chamber in his own house to keep him in top shape.
His Real Madrid teammate, Gareth Bale, was no stranger to the ‘ice box’, while Leicester’s stars used cryotherapy (cryo – cold)(and I’ll tell you, you take a cold shower every morning and you’ll be crying too) regularly on their way to the Premier League title in 2015/2016 season.
Foxes physios were so impressed with the results they installed a unit inside the King Power dressing room for the players to use pre-match.
Jamie Vardy said: “The cryo chamber that we’ve got at the training ground comes in useful. It’s absolutely freezing but it helps you in your recovery so fair play to the club for getting that in.”
So herewith endeth the lesson. If you want fewer coughs and sneezes and viral diseases take a 30 second cold shower every moaning and you’ll soon be moaning too because you won’t get sick so often.
Westminster Abbey has been Britain’s coronation church since 1066. King Charles III will be the 40th reigning monarch to be crowned in May 2023.
The ceremony is performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the most senior cleric in the Church of England, of which the monarch is supreme governor.
The two monarchs who did not have any coronation were Edward V (the boy king), who was presumed murdered in the Tower of London before he could be crowned, and Edward VIII who abdicated 11 months after succeeding his father and before the date set for his coronation.
William III and Mary II were the only joint monarchs to be crowned and the chair specially made for Mary’s use in 1689 is on view in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries in the Abbey triforium.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, public spectacle sometimes overshadowed religious significance. At George III’s coronation some of the congregation began to eat a meal during the sermon. George IV’s coronation was a great theatrical occasion but he flatly refused to allow his estranged wife Caroline to enter the Abbey. William IV had to be persuaded to have a coronation at all and spent so little money on it that it became known as ‘the penny coronation’. With Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1838 came a renewed appreciation of the true religious meaning of the ceremony.
By the time Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953 millions around the world were able to witness her coronation on television.
His Majesty The King will be crowned at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6th May 2023. The Queen Consort will be crowned alongside him.
Every time and motion research study says the same thing: Taking regular breaks during the day increases productivity.
This is from Dale Carnegie’s book “How To Stop Worrying And Start Living” (yes the guy who wrote “How To Win Friends And Influence People):
“A physical worker can do more work if he takes more time out for rest. Frederick Taylor demonstrated that while working as a scientific management engineer with the Bethlehem Steel Company. He observed that labouring men were loading approximately 12 1/2 tons of pig-iron per man each day on freight cars and that they were exhausted at noon. He made a scientific study of all the fatigue factors involved, and declared that these men should be loading not 12 1/2 tons of pig-iron per day, but forty seven tons per day! He figured that they ought to do almost four times as much as they were doing, and not be exhausted. But prove it!
Taylor selected a Mr. Schmidt who was required to work by the stop-watch. Schmidt was told by the man who stood over him with a watch: “Now pick up a ‘pig’ and walk. … Now sit down and rest. … Now walk. … Now rest.”
What happened? Schmidt carried forty-seven tons of pig-iron each day while the other men carried only 12 1/2 tons per man. And he practically never failed to work at this pace during the three years that Frederick Taylor was at Bethlehem. Schmidt was able to do this because he rested before he got tired. He worked approximately 26 minutes out of the hour and rested 34 minutes. He rested more than he worked-yet he did almost four times as much work as the others! Is this mere hearsay? No, you can read the record yourself in Principles of Scientific Management by Frederick Winslow Taylor.”
If you would like to learn more “JOIN” the “Mindfulness Energy” class every Wednesday morning at 10.00am. We are working directly on relaxing every day, especially when working, and increasing productivity.
It’s Easter, a good time to relax, take a break and in my case, read. I didn’t know Bill Bryson had written a book about Shakespeare. I found a copy recently in an Oxfam book shop.
One of my very favourite speeches in Shakespeare’s plays is from the “The Tempest”. You may know the last couple of lines:
“We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.”
Here is the whole speech by Prospero in Act 4 Scene 1:
“Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.”
Every time I end a Zoom meeting “melted into air, into thin air” is in my mind like a poetic earworm – there we go, melting into air, into thin air.
Bill Bryson says there is a reason the book is relatively thin for one of his books: There are few facts known about William Shakespeare’s life. Apart from a few legal records and a baptism there is nothing known about what he was like and even the famous portrait could be him, but may not be. Bryson observes: “Faced with a wealth of text but a poverty of context, scholars have focused obsessively on what they can know. They have counted every word he wrote, logged every dib and jot. They can tell us (and have done so) that Shakespeare’s works contain 138,198 commas, 26,794 colons, and 15,785 question marks; that ears are spoken of 401 times in his plays; that dunghill is used 10 times and dullard twice; that his characters refer to love 2,259 times but to hate just 183 times; that he used damned 105 times and bloody 226 times, but bloody-minded only twice; that he wrote hath 2,069 times but has just 409 times; that all together he left us 884,647 words, made up of 31,959 speeches, spread over 118,406 lines.”
“Shakespeare” is a great read. Bryson makes up for the paucity of information on Shakespeare by describing what life was like in 16th and early 17th century London giving us an opportunity to imagine being there ourselves.
Have a very Happy Easter and do eat slightly more chocolate than is necessary!
As an FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss spent his life learning how to negotiate the best outcome in some very difficult and dangerous situations. After leaving the FBI Voss set up a company to advise businesses.
He describes his development and learning over the years, lots of guns and hostages, but in this book his heart-felt wish is to help all of us negotiate better in our everyday lives.
Because think about it, our lives are filled with negotiations everyday. From arranging family outings to going out to buy something to finding a new job. It’s all negotiation.
Some of the advice is surprising. He distrusts “Yes”. He says there are three kinds of “Yes” and only one of them means they agree with you. The other two are devices to shut you up and make you go away. He says “No” is much more useful because now you can find out why they are saying no, not by asking “Why” (never ask “Why”) but by understanding and wanting to know more and asking how you can work with it.
The sweetest thing about this book is the constant advice to treat whoever you are negotiating with respect and patience, find out why they are taking that position and ways to reach a mutually beneficial and agreeable solution. Five stars!
Tibetans have known for a long time and Western science is now discovering that aging does not have to be a one-way process of decline.
The truth is – “Use it or you’ll lose it!”
And regarding breathing most of us spend our lives shallow breathing and not engaging the diaphragm anywhere near fully.
But you can increase lung capacity and two major long-term general health studies found that increased lung capacity was the one metric you could correlate with longevity.
Moderate exercise, walking or cycling, can boost lung size by 15%.
The upper part of our lungs are connected to our sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight mechanisms. When we are stressed we tend to breathe from the upper part of the lungs and breathe more rapidly. Good when you need to quickly run away.
The lower part of the lungs are connected to the parasympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic system is all about slowing down, nodding off, relaxing, meditating, chilling out – rest and digest, feed and breed.
In the next breathing blog we’ll cover some of the simple breathing exercises we can do during the day to connect with the parasympathetic chilled out nervous system – and increase lung capacity.
Big thank you to everyone who filled in the questionnaire we sent out over Christmas “We Want To Hear From You”.
Below are the results of ‘what do you attend’ both “Live” and “Online” showing a strong interest in Pilates:
We asked you for suggestions for new classes and the clear favourite was various forms of dance. Out of a total of 53 suggestions 7 were “Dance”, 1 was “Disco”, 2 were Latin Dance, 3 were Zumba, 1 Ballroom and 1 Argentine Tango! Out of 53 that’s 15 wanting dance of one kind or another, 28.3% – that’s a lot. We need to look at doing a lot more dancing.
The complete list without dance (15) is:
Setting up Website
More outdoor classes
We are going to look at new dance classes, more craft and art, more and different level Pilates, and more Yoga. It is not the first time we have been asked to record classes and make them available online and it is something we’ve wanted to do but it takes so much time we are going to have to kick it down the road until we are able to either hire someone or find a volunteer. All the rest are noted and are already in the pipeline like a) “More Outdoor Classes”; b) something I’d already like to do but we need to find funding – “Book Club” and “Setting up a Website”; c) something we already do – “Mindfulness”; or d) we simply need to find funding.
And lastly another thank you for participating. In all 81 people completed the questionnaire. I am working with Diana Birtas from Checkout.com who is volunteering her time to help Healthy Generations improve our social media. She said that 81 is a really good response and is a testament to the Healthy Generations’ community.
Boom Radio, set up in Feb 2021, is a new radio station catering for Baby Boomers because the founders felt Radio 2 was going for a younger audience leaving a gap in the market.
There are some well known names in their DJ roster like David Hamilton, Nicky Horne, Graham Dene and Kid Jensen! Remember him? Also Roger Day from the old pirate ships; and Jenny Hanley from TV and films. They play music from the 60s and 70s, with some a little older too.
You can listen to Boom on a DAB (digital) radio, smart speakers like Alexa; you can download their app to your phone or tablet “Boom Radio UK app”, you can listen on your PC or laptop and although it doesn’t have it’s own channel on Freeview TV it is listed on Channel 277 and you can switch it on there. Basically just about everywhere except FM radio.
Healthy Generations is hoping to hook up with Boom Radio. We run all those live and online exercise classes but maybe less well known because most of it takes place in care homes and day centres is we play loads of yes, Baby Boomer music, to Baby Boomers. Boom boom!
I (Peter Crockett) had never heard of Boom Radio until recommended by one of our users whose name I have forgotten. Forgive me! And send me an email again to remind me if you read this. Your name needs mentioning!
Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and a pinch of salt together in a large bowl.
Create a well in the centre with the back of your spoon then add the eggs, melted butter and milk.
Stir together until smooth.
Heat frying pan and use butter or olive oil. You don’t cook these hot, medium is good. I use a ladle to pour into pan; you can make them any size. Cook the pancakes on one side for about 1-2 mins or until lots of tiny bubbles start to appear and pop on the surface. Flip the pancakes over and cook for a further minute on the other side.
I like Maple Syrup and bananas but you can use any fruit and even cook crispy bacon for a real USA breakfast. This amount will serve 4.
Just been reading a book on negotiating called “Never Split The Difference” by retired FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss. It has all sorts of advice and strategies to help negotiate deals, contracts, salaries, and even relationships.
He now runs a company called The Black Swan Group with his son advising business, universities and government.
He quotes a book called “Descartes Error: Emotion, Reason and The Human Brain” by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio. Damasio studied people who had damaged the part of the brain where emotions are generated.
They all had one thing in common: They couldn’t make decisions. They could evaluate, rationalise and sum up the alternatives, but found it impossible to make the simplest choice.
It seems we can use logic to rationalise ourselves toward a decision but the actual decision itself is always governed by emotion.
Jeff Beck died Tuesday 10th January in hospital following a battle with meningitis.
He shot to fame in the 1960s with The Yardbirds playing alongside a young Jimmy Page, later of Led Zeppelin, and played on their hits before carving out a career of his own.
Considered one of the most influential guitarists of his generation, Beck’s solos earned him the moniker “the guitarist’s guitarist”.
You will probably know him best for “Hi Ho Silver Lining”. Listen to this great live version from 2003 on Jools Holland.
He was asked to join the Rolling Stones after Brian Jones died and had Rod Stewart in his band The Jeff Beck Group for a while.
My favourite album is from 1975 which he recorded with George Martin called “Blow By Blow”. Beck said of Martin, “To work with someone of that caliber … he gave me a career. I couldn’t wait to get to the studio every day.”
The first is the reason why Healthy Generations began a Remedial Osteoporosis class back in 2016. Loughborough University ran a year-long “Hip Hop Study” measuring the effect of daily exercise in 34 men over 65. They found just two minutes of hopping a day can strengthen hip bones in older men and reduce the risk of fracture after a fall.
Increases of up to 7% were identified in the bone mass of some parts of the outer shell (cortex) and in the density of the layer of spongy bone underneath this. Importantly, there were improvements in the thinnest areas of the bone most at risk of fracture after a fall.
Bones thin with age (lack of exercise), and localised thinning in the hip is associated with an increased risk of hip fracture. The Hip Hop study has shown regular exercise can help counteract the effects of ageing (the effects of not doing enough exercise?) to the bone.
The second story is about Sheila Hancock the famous actress widow of John Thaw.
In her early 80s she couldn’t lift her hand baggage into the overhead locker on a flight. On getting home she found out she needed to do weights in order to tone her muscles and bones.
Sheila said, “I was beginning to notice I couldn’t put my hand luggage above my seat on a plane, and that sort of thing. It was all muscle wastage to do with getting older.”
“But lifting weights has restored muscle that had gone. My bicep is back now. My lower arms are strong. Some people do weights to look toned but I just want to stay strong as I get older. You don’t have to get weak as you get older – I’ve proved that.”
The NHS states that strength training is one of the best ways to improve muscle strength and power, as well as one of the best techniques to help slow down bone and muscle loss as you age.
So if you are beginning to tell yourself, “Blimey I’m getting old.” Forget it! Instead start doing some exercises to gently tone muscles and bones up again. You can start with the Longevity class or Remedial Osteoporosis. Go for it! What’s not to like?
Gianluca Vialli sadly died Friday 6th January aged 58 and if you are not into football you probably don’t know who he is.
Gianluca Vialli wrote one of the best books on football I have ever read in my humble opinion (IMHO), and if you need to buy a present for someone who likes football and also likes a good read this is a slam dunk, two birds with one stone, win-win, you can’t lose.
He began his career at Cremonese, his hometown club, before starring in Serie A for Sampdoria and Juventus, and ended his playing career at Chelsea before going into management and coaching. He scored 16 goals in 59 appearances for Italy and featured in the Azzurri’s 1986 and 1990 World Cup squads. Most recently he was Roberto Mancini’s assistant when England lost on penalties to Italy in the Euro 2020 final. Ugh!
And remember if you do buy it and buy it through Amazon, please go through Amazon Smile and select Healthy Generations as your charity of choice. If you go through Amazon Smile each time you login to Amazon everything you buy generates a small donation from Amazon and it doesn’t affect the price you pay; they cough it up!
And thoughts for Gianluca even though he helped beat us with his damned positivity! Gawd bless ‘im!
It is so unusual to see films about real people in real situations nowadays but “The Mule” is exactly that. Clint Eastwood stars as Earl Stone, a man who is ninety years old, broke, alone, and facing foreclosure of his business. His family have turned against him and when he turns up to his granddaughter’s engagement party he gets thrown out. A young Mexican/American overhears he has money problems, follows him outside and offers him a job that simply requires him to drive. Easy enough, but, unbeknownst to Earl, he’s just signed on as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel.
If you like Clint Eastwood films this is a good one. You can get it for free if you are signed up for Amazon Prime or even getting a free one month. But beware! If you forget to end the trial after 30 days and you have watched a film they won’t refund.
Chinese style home cooking favourite from the Sprocket household.
300gm Beef, I usually use rump
2 medium onions
A thumb size chunk of ginger cut in thin strips
As much garlic as you like
Any vegetables you have and/or, you can use one packet of Waitrose “Water Chestnut and Bamboo Stir Fry” which makes it super Chinese.
Dice onions into strips
Fry initially high temperature until sizzling
Allow to cook at a lower temperature
Cut meat into strips and add with garlic and pepper to taste. Turn heat up again and fry at high heat until brown.
Add vegetables, put lid on saucepan and turn heat down to a simmering low that won’t burn anything.
Leave for at least half an hour, maybe longer.
You will end up with vegetables gently steamed with water content there-from mixed with juices from meat and onions. Salt to taste.
Serve with rice or noodles. I always use Basmati rice.
You can do this dish with any vegetables but they need to be chopped up Chinese style and if I don’t use the Waitrose veg I also add some fresh chopped chilli, but you will have to experiment coz chillis can be mild, hot and middling and it’s hard to know what you are buying so tread carefully! Also when cutting fresh chillis don’t rub your eyes – I have done this – bad idea….it burns! At the time of writing, the Waitrose “Water Chestnut and Bamboo Stir Fry” costs £1.60 and has just the right amount of chilli in it so no need to add chilli.
The Chinese think chilli should be eaten in the winter months because it is really good for the upper respiratory tract and lungs. Northern Chinese cuisine has lots of warm, thick broths with chilli.
And Soy Sauce is always good to have around for this.
2, 3 at a pinch using the “Water Chestnut and Bamboo Stir Fry”. If you chop up lots of veg you can make it go further. We often double everything up when friends come over.
If you like Star Trek you will enjoy this spoof comedy film. The cast of an old science fiction adventure series (very much like Star Trek) make their living at fan conventions and promotional appearances. The captain is approached by real aliens who have recreated the spaceship and machines from their television series “Galaxy Quest” and want the cast to help them because they are being pursued by the evil warlord Sarris. They think “Galaxy Quest” was all real.
What’s not to like? However if you never liked Star Trek – indeed avoid this movie. One-time avid Star Trek fanatic Lord Sprocket of Barnsbury commented, “I was utterly charmed by this film and would recommend it to any fellow Trekkie!”
A few broadband companies are offering substantially discounted broadband deals for people receiving certain types of benefits. The first link below is an article in the Guardian and the second, Martin Lewis’s comprehensive description of each company’s offer and the type of benefits it covers:
Dave Goulson is Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Sussex and founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
I’ve just finished reading his book “The Garden Jungle” and if you have ever enjoyed gardening I think you are going to like it.
He talks about how many of the pests we tend to dislike, especially Earwigs, are in fact good for your garden, eating many of the insects which are not good. And there is much research quoted on the use of pesticides particulary in the plants we buy at garden centres and how to grow plants that protect each other when grown together or rotated.
He is a big supporter of allocating more allotments around the country. At the end of the First World War there were 1.5 million. By 1997 there were 265,000. They are back up to 330,000 now.
But the fact which struck me is that allotments are way more productive than farming. A competent allotment holder can get yields of between 31 and 40 tonnes per hectare (which is more or less 2.5 acres). A farmer gets about 3.5 tonnes of oil seed rape or 8 tonnes of wheat per year from every hectare of land. He adds we should bear in mind that one third of the UK wheat crop is unfit for human consumption and is used for livestock feed. In contrast 100% of allotment food is available for humans to eat.
New blog series recommending films to watch. We are starting out with light stuff – no wars, shoot-em-ups or large-scale killings. This September we are going totally French with three films:
Funny comedy – “Le Placard” (The Closet)
Touching relationship – “My Afternoons With Margueritte”
A good story – “Moliere”
We are not doing any links because there are so many places you can watch and it depends who you are signed up with and if they have that particular film. If not, you can usually buy or rent often for less than a fiver.
This has to be one of the books of the decade. It explains why breathing through our noses is hugely better for us than breathing through the mouth and how to change if you are a mouth breather.
It has some fascinating stories about therapists who have found ways to help respiratory diseases including asthma and emphysema just with breathing exercises and tells you how to do them.
Below is a short video of James Nestor explaining some of the concepts in the book and if you do buy it and buy it through Amazon, please go through Amazon Smile and select Healthy Generations as your charity of choice. If you go through Amazon Smile each time you login to Amazon everything you buy generates a small donation from Amazon; it doesn’t affect the price you pay.
Sam Tomlinson, Healthy Generations’ Operations Manager has just been interviewed by Islington Life, Islington Council’s online magazine about the exercise sessions we are running in Islington Parks. Click here to read the interview.
Question: what percentage of people go into residential or care homes? Close your eyes, no cheating and come up with a number. I’ll write a couple of lines of nonsense so it’s harder to see the answer: (Why is there a ‘w’ in answer? I have an Argentinian friend who always pronounces the ‘w’. I keep telling him, “The ‘w’ is silent!” But he takes no notice. It’s made me think….where does this ‘w’ come from? Why don’t I pronounce it? If the ‘w’ was silent in swerve I’d be serving instead of swerving.) The answer was one in four 10 years ago. Which surprised me. I asked two people yesterday and they both said 60%. I would have guessed 50%. And the average stay is said to be 30 months. At the moment the answer is 15% which annoyingly at a recent trustee meeting both our Chair Lloyd and our Treasurer Maureen knew; but they both used to run day centres for older people so they are professionals.
This means most of us stay at home as we get older, or perhaps live with family. Not such a bad idea when the average cost is said to be around £35,000 per year. “I’ll look after you for £35k a year mum!”
I read all this in an article by Peter Lilley a former secretary of state who is now in the House of Lords. It was in the Daily Telegraph on or around the 8th September 2021. You may remember at the time it was a hot subject in Parliament and the media. He has an interesting solution which does not involve raising taxes.
Instead of me distilling the article I shall risk suits and opprobrium and you can read the whole thing below or read/download the pdf here: (but it’s still interesting that only 15% of us ever go into care nowadays)