What are these screens made of?  I have just spent five minutes I will never get back cleaning this one with the cloth in my sunglasses case and the little smears seem to have multiplied. Why?  Now, if I was OCD, that would drive me mad but, of course, the fact that I’m the only one who can puff up the cushions on the couch correctly, make the beds correctly, pull the curtains correctly, squeeze the toothpaste correctly … not a problem to me!  Actually, focussing on the words is enough of a challenge for my eyes now so, ignoring and moving on.

Another week bites the dust.  Country still in absolute mayhem and David Cameron now waging in; Theresa May has used up her quota of honours on her friends causing a furore in the case of Geoffrey Boycott and Robert Mugabe was flown home to Harare to be laid in state in the city’s stadium.  Reading one of the reports, according to a local from Zvimba – the rural village from whence Mugabe came – they have a saying, or a word, ‘afanaka’: when someone dies, he immediately becomes a good person, welcomed by God, regardless of the life he has led.  Talk about wiping the slate clean!  The final injustice, I would call it.

A varied week, I surprised myself and, voluntarily, went to the gym on Tuesday.  The self-righteous feeling gleaned almost made it worth it.  Then came Thursday and my first Boxercise class – that took care of any smugness!  Believing it would just be a case of donning a pair of boxing gloves and taking out one’s pent-up anger on the person wearing the pads, it must surely be an easy way to tone up the arms?   Well, the six women who confronted us as we walked in had obviously been attending for years!  Lithe, toned and with not a bingo wing in sight, they were like coiled springs waiting for release.  The smart move would have been to make a swift about turn there and then but the second of opportunity was fleeting and then it was too late.  Of course, there was a warm up and, as Scott connected his phone, I couldn’t help but smile – in horror – at the ‘music’ which filled the small room.  Music? I don’t know how to describe that mind-numbing electronic, incessant beat.  Suffice to say, it did nothing but enhance the pain of the five minutes Scott called a warm up.  A misnomer if ever there was one.

There was no clock in the room but there was comfort in knowing that the class was a mere thirty minutes.  Paired up, one with the gloves, one with the pads, it was time to throw those punches and, while it is very liberating, one quickly learns that one’s tank of anger is not quite full enough.  Never thought I’d say that!  My arms are much weaker than I thought and it is, rapidly, exhausting.  Come to think of it, though, I was always useless at climbing ropes at school so no improvement there.  As for my fellow classmates … one of them would have given Mike Tyson a run for his money!  She was a powerhouse and really gave it her all – fine, until Scott announced that we were to form two lines and those with the gloves on would move, progressively, down the line to the next pads.  Help! I was right to be alarmed as it took all my strength to shield the blows – and keep the sweaty pads on my hands! Now, remember that thumb I all but severed off on my left hand?  Well, it was a definite handicap under attack, I can tell you.  I did survive, though – God knows how – and came away with a sense of achievement and an appreciation of how friendly and welcoming those six ‘power rangers’ were.  Could certainly do with them in my corner.    Different location.  Nicer people.  Tick.

Enough of me and over to my infamous notebook!  First – in the news on Tuesday – Public Health England’s concern about addiction to prescription drugs and the latest review which reveals that a quarter of adults (in England, I presume) are using sleeping pills, strong painkillers and anti-depressants or tablets to help anxiety.  Half of that quarter are taking one of the five drugs in question for more than a year and some, for decades.  Shockingly, the figure prescribed in 2018, alone, was 11.5 million and the largest proportion was for anti-depressants: 7.3 million.  No surprise there.  One doctor I saw interviewed on the news volunteered that which we, all, already know – too many drugs are being prescribed outside guidelines, some of which are highly addictive.  Add to that that many are being left on them unnecessarily …  Same old.  Same old. A subject very close to my heart, I have written about it extensively before in previous posts – specifically those of 1st&10thMay, 2017– so perhaps I’ll refrain from climbing onto that platform again.  Something which both angers and worries me, it is, once again, a reflection on life today – all about money and the fast fix, isolation abounds and the need for back up is met by pills.  Everybody needs back up, just ask Will in About A Boy (a favourite film of mine)!  As Jon Bon Jovi so wisely said – not– ‘No man is an island … ‘.  Well, he’s not supposed to be, that’s the problem.

I planned to continue by writing about Boris Johnson’s latest policy to extend the length of the visa for foreign students staying in this country, having completed their degree, from 4 months to 2 years – wow, I’m out of breath – but, suffice to say, something else has come up.  All I will say is that it most definitely does nothave my approval!  Currently, there are 468,000 foreign students over here paying extortionate fees – need I go on?  What of the repercussions?  What about our ownstudents?  How many places remain after the Chinese and Americans have taken their quota? Whatever happened to looking out for one’s own?!  So unfair and now Boris is suggesting they are permitted to stay longer thus allowing more time to secure a job with a salary of the required minimum of £20,000.  Apparently, Boris – like the rest of us – has no idea what Brexit really means!

Finally, the ‘something else’ which came up:  Status Quo!  I have the television on in the background showing the BBC, Festival in a Day, and on they came.  An absolute joy!  Loved them forever – although have only seen them once at the Odeon, Edinburgh in 1979. Now, that was a workout and a half! What can I say about them as I watch and listen to them now?  The ghost of Rick Parfitt is definitely present but his young replacement is filling his shoes admirably.  Francis Rossi has aged incredibly and, though the infamous pony tail has gone, he still plays his green guitar – and is rocking it!  What a catalogue of hits and not one of our parties, growing up, was complete without them.  I could go on and on.  The highlight of Live Aid for me, all these years ago, their opening with Rocking all over the World was perfect.  My brother and his friend were huge fans and I shall never forget going to pick them up after a Quo concert at the Apollo, Glasgow in 1977.  Walking our dog, Tarquin, in a little lane behind the theatre as we waited, their car drove past me as they sped off and Francis Rossi waved and smiled.  Beat that!

Last, last, last, last thing!  Status Quo were all wearing white shirts, not black!  Follow that crowd, not!  Exclamation overload but …

I was looking for an appropriate quote on which to end; something along the lines of quality transcending time.  So glad I found this one instead.

‘Count your age by friends, not years.  Count your life by smiles, not tears.’   John Lennon.

This is Trish, signing off.