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One For Ladies Only: Mirena And Houseflies 


When I was a child, I learnt a nursery rhyme about an old lady who swallowed a fly. No one knew why she swallowed a fly, but then she swallowed a spider to catch the fly. Then she had to swallow a bird to catch the spider because she didn’t like how the spider ‘wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her’. She swallowed a whole catalogue of animals to catch the previous animal before it. In the end, she swallowed a horse and the writer of the rhyme declared ‘….she’s dead of course’.
I found myself in a similar sort of conundrum recently. I have always been a shameless pill popper. If there is a pill to fix my headache, I take the pill. No questions asked. I cannot understand people whose stance is to ‘wait for the body to wake up and do its thing’ when there is a fully licensed pill that can stop whatever ails them a lot quicker. Especially when no one is handing out medals for bravery or longsuffering!
I visited my doctor sometime ago as I wanted to review my method of contraception. I got sold the idea of a Mirena coil. Which sounded fantastic. Almost too good to be true (as they say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is). Once inserted, it lasts for 5 years. In the five years, your periods become incredibly light (a plus), and sometimes, they could stop altogether (plus plus). I was told that I would experience some irregular bleeding until the coil ‘settled’. The leaflet that came with it said that a small percentage of women experienced prolonged, irregular spotting. Turns out that I was one of that ‘small percentage’. Mine was prolonged alright. 8 months worth of ‘prolonged’. And not strictly irregular either. It was more like every single day.
I went to see my doctor, I went for a scan. Nothing was wrong. She felt I had a hormonal imbalance and put me on the combined oral contraceptive pill for a month and a half to balance out my hormones. Which would have been fine; but the combined pill also had some side effects. A small percentage of women also suffer nausea with the combined pill. Yours truly also happened to be in that small percentage! What are the chances, ey?
I went back to my doctor. And of course there is a pill that can also counteract the effect of the nausea. I began to feel like the old lady who swallowed a fly. But I put my foot down. I could keep popping the pills like the old lady swallowing her various animals. In the rhyme, she swallowed a cat to catch the bird, then a dog to catch the cat, then a goat to catch the dog. The writer of the rhyme gasps in horror ‘what a throat to swallow a goat’. It seemed that as she swallowed more and more animals, the original issue of swallowing a teeny weeny little fly got lost in the increasing size and complexities of the new animals she swallowed.
I think that as our lives get more and more complex, we grow new issues and develop new ways of dealing with them; and often times, the new ways come with their own challenges and a brand new facet of issues.
I decided to draw the line. There is no magic cure and there is no need popping pill after pill to counteract effects of the previous pill. Science says ‘You have a headache? Here take paracetamol for it. But not too much or your liver will suffer’

I think in truth, my decision from the beginning should have been to get rid of the Mirena and to explore other options instead of trying to plug new holes in my leaking bucket! Why did I opt for Mirena? Perhaps I need to fix that. Whatever I do, I am determined not to be the archetypal old lady who swallowed a fly….

 

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Embracing My Vanity


Almost 20 years ago, my friend came visiting with her older cousin. We had a great time talking, eating, and laughing until tears streamed down our faces. Her cousin Em, had great stories, and told them with such humour! Cousin Em was a lot older than us. She was in her forties, very well traveled, very well spoken and extremely down to earth. She felt at home in our student flat and ate whatever we gave her in our chipped mismatched student plates and enjoyed it too! It was such a shame when she had to go home; we wanted to freeze the moment and keep her with us forever! We asked her to spend the night. See, in my student days my flat was the flat to which everyone came and went and spent endless nights. I was so sure that it was a given that my friend’s cousin would spend the night.

But she turned us down: ‘I have all sorts of soaps and potions for different parts of my body. I couldn’t possibly spend the night away from home without my various soaps, potions and elixirs’

That was her reason. It was funny and we all laughed. I wanted to offer her my cocoa butter and Superdrug brand face wash, but suddenly, I knew they were inadequate. It was a shame to see her leave in the wee hours of the morning, but still, we have the memories.

Fast forward to twenty years later. Me.

This morning as I get ready for work, I’m startled by my rich array of creams and potions. The bathroom counter is spilling over with all sorts: hair creams, hair sprays, body creams, face creams, blemish removal creams, hair removal creams, hair growth creams….all sorts! I have never really classed myself as vain, but recently I bought a cream that promised to rid me of the stretch marks that I acquired in my teen years. I have no idea why I bought it because I never believed for a second that it could do what it promised to do on the jar. But I guess I thought I had nothing to lose. The magic ingredient in this particular potion is snail slime. Yes, I know.

Whatever you think, trust me when I say that my mother’s voice in my head has said it to me; not once, not twice. And it has also said worse. Snail slime. And I really ought to know better too. And I promise that I do know better. But, I bought it, so I am using it. It has an accompanying soap. Yes it’s made out of snail slime as well, but surprisingly they smell really good. The soap has a really rich lather and is actually quite refreshing. The body cream is not heavy; it is kind of light for a moisturiser but I mix it with other thicker moisturisers.

These snail slime products claim to heal all: wrinkles, stretch marks and all sorts of blemishes; well, unless you’re allergic to snail slime and then you’re really buggered!

The next question on your mind of course is ‘how do you know if you’re allergic to snail slime?’ I mean it’s not like people routinely find snails and rub their slime on their bodies….your guess is as good as mine!

Well, I’ve been using it for about 3 weeks now. And of course the marks are still there. But I’m still shovelling it onto my skin and smelling like it everywhere I go. On the train this morning, a guy attempted to flirt and said ‘you smell nice’. I had to bite my tongue because I almost replied ‘Yes, it’s snail slime’. He was lucky I was wearing my snakeskin shoes instead of my snake hair oil. Because if he thought snail slime smelt nice, he would have been bagging a real winner with snake oil! I mean, he’d have been mesmerised. He was as slimy as actual snail slime too, so instead, I smiled and kept walking down the platform. Wouldn’t want him to have smelt the macadamia oil in my hair, because that actually smells pretty good!

I am not sure what compels me to buy this stuff. Most of it doesn’t even work. But I am guessing that it is the human spirit of hope. We all need hope just to get out of bed and look at ourselves in the mirror each morning. I know that my hope is being geared towards having perfect skin (which in reality will never really happen), but it is hope nevertheless.

I celebrate my vanity, I celebrate my hope, I celebrate getting older….and I celebrate the fact that I will be saving a few pennies when I stop looking for the magic potion when I’m 200.

The truth is, I don’t necessarily want to live until I’m 200; but if I do, I’d rather not look like it!

Waiting For The Bus To Truro

I sigh loudly and sniff into my daisy handkerchief. The receptionist looks up at me then quickly picks up the phone. I can hear her trying not to sound exasperated even though she is almost as frustrated as I am. 

“But she has been waiting here for three hours! When is the bus coming? What? You said that an hour and a half ago when I last spoke to you. Please send the bus. We are all tired of waiting!”
Then she looks at me and tries to smile. “I’m very sorry. They should have been here ages ago. I will write a letter of complaint”. She hangs up the phone in frustration.
I try to smile back, but I’m tired! I look at my daisy handkerchief. It is not as white as it used to be, but the daisies are still bright. Red daisies. Christian bought it for me. He said that red daisies signified beauty. I catch sight of my wedding ring on the middle finger of my left hand. It’s hanging loose. I might have to take it off altogether. I had moved it to my middle finger because it was too loose for my fourth finger. It has not lost any of its brilliance. It still shines as brightly. I remember when Christian bought it, almost 66 years ago to the date! “See? It’s polished English gold” I think he called it English gold because it was hallmarked using UK symbols rather than the fact that it was mined in England.
I have only ever taken it off once: when I was pregnant with Joseph and had oedema so that my fingers swelled and looked like palm weevil larvae. I was glad to have the baby finally even if only so that my fingers could return to normal.
Joseph. I remember myself as a young mother. I was a stylish young mother. With my bright red lips, cooing and touching foreheads with my son. He was not as light skinned as me. But then again, I am what used to be called a mulatto. People don’t say that word anymore. Apparently it’s a corruption of the Portuguese term for mule; which of course is half horse and half donkey. And no one should be called a mule, not even half a mule! But I quite liked the word until Joseph came home one day and told me it was ‘not a nice word’. I looked at him with his incredibly pointed nose, his skin that shone like polished bronze and his piercing black eyes that always reminded me of Egyptian scarab beetles. ‘Not a nice word’. That decided it because that was the last time I ever used the term to describe myself or Joseph.
I loved being a mother. I loved kissing Joseph and I loved the way he held my finger in his hand. It filled his whole hand.
I look at my hands again and I am snapped back to my present moment. I sigh again. The receptionist looks at me again and tries to force a smile. “Would you like another glass of water? I’m not sure what’s keeping them”. I shake my head. No. I don’t want another glass of water and I don’t know what’s keeping them either. I wonder why there is a pressing need to get there. It’s not like I’m in a hurry though. I’m just tired of waiting. People shouldn’t be kept waiting for this long. Even if they are not in a hurry.
I remember waiting on a plane at Heathrow airport. We were there for 2 hours because there was a faulty fuel truck on the runway which meant that our plane could not take off. Surprisingly, I was not in a hurry then. But only because it was a trip to South Africa that I had been chosen for. I had been chosen to represent my university, and I felt unworthy and inadequate. As if I was a fraud and that any minute now, someone would realise it and ask me to disembark so that a more worthy person could board in my place. I look back now, and I know that I was worth all those hundreds of miles. I was chosen because I had done incredibly well in my Anthropology class. I had published a paper and now it was being presented at the University of Witwatersrand. If I could go back, I would tell my younger self this.
I see myself telling Joseph to believe in himself. For a moment, I almost jump out of my skin as I actually hear my own voice “Joseph, there is nothing you cannot achieve”. It’s a strong voice, full of conviction. I think I actually believed it. Immediately, I am back in the present, looking at my daisy handkerchief and the hands that hold it. They are painfully thin, with skin hanging. The skin is smooth so that I cannot see any veins. Just bones. Bones and liver spots. I wipe my eyes with my daisy handkerchief. It smells like mothballs and white musk. Christian also smelt of white musk.
A young lady walks in with her son who is wearing a Spider-Man costume. He looks like he’s about 6 years old. He’s crying and sucking on a lollipop. He has a shock of blonde curls that contrast nicely with his bright red face. His father is walking behind and bends over to try to wipe the boy’s nose. He is as blonde as the boy but with considerably less hair. He’s making such a mess of it. His mother takes the tissue, squats beside her son and skilfully wipes his nose. She wipes it dry. I smile to myself ‘ask a man to wipe a child’s nose and he feels useless so he consults his friends. They form a think-tank and call it something exotic. They discuss about the best tissue to use, the most accurate angle to position the tissue for the most precise wipe, then they create a formula to work out how much force to use. In the end, nothing gets done. You ask a woman to wipe a child’s nose, she gets the tissue out and wipes the damn nose within an inch of its life, so much so that the snot retreats in fear’. I remember hearing Germaine Greer saying something like this. The child has stopped crying and is sucking on his lollipop noisily. His tongue and lips are as blue as his lollipop. Blueberry flavour. I can almost taste it. Joseph loved blueberry.
A young lady walks in. Confident, purposeful and beautiful. She reminds me of my younger self although I’m not sure if I was this confident or beautiful. She’s carrying a black handbag, a laptop bag and luggage which she is pulling behind her. The wheels are rather squeaky. She’s dressed in a pink tweed dress. Not as loud as her bright pink luggage, which is rather gaudy. But a softer pink. I like her dress. I should be sick to death of tweed by now. But her tweed is very pink and very modern. When I moved here 27 years ago, Joseph made fun of me.
“Mum there are going to be enough old men in tweed and flat caps walking their ferrets!” Joseph was always a Londoner. There are going to be enough this or enough that. He never said a lot, or plenty, or even many. No, he said enough. Of course he was right about the tweed and flat caps, but he was dead wrong about the ferrets. Dead, dead wrong. Sick to death. It sounds almost ironic.
The lady in the pink tweed dress looks at me, she tries not to look it, but I know she’s taking me in. “I was once like you, you know?” I think it, but I cannot say it. This young generation don’t understand that they do not own exclusive rights to innovation and perceived intelligence. I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the automatic doors that I have been facing for the last few hours. My reflection almost takes my breath away. The same piercing eyes, but I read the eyes, and it is obvious that I am tired. My soul is tired. Tired of having hopes and dreams and not enough strength to carry them out; tired of fighting; tired of the drip stuck in my arm; tired of the pain. The brilliant white in my eyes is now a sickly yellow. And my face is a bit more wrinkly than the last time I looked. Wrinkly with yellow undertones. The lady in pink tweed is speaking to me. I am transported back to the present. Her hand is on my shoulder as she bends over and talks to me. It is warm and pleasant. I feel my shoulder underneath her hand and imagine it to be a bag of dry bones.
“The receptionist tells me you are going to Truro?” Is she asking me a question or is she telling me? “I’m going there too and can take you in my taxi. I came to get my grandma but she’s gone already and I have a big bus that could fit both of us and your wheelchair”. Just then, my bus driver arrives. I smile weakly at the lady in a pink tweed dress.
“I will take it from here, luv”. He sounds like he’s from Manchester. I imagine that I am being fought over. It feels good. But I’m too tired to look like I’m enjoying it.
“I can take you and your wheelchair too” the lady in the pink tweed dress is saying. And my wheelchair. Because that is my plus one. My old trusty. Joseph emigrated to South Africa.  Christian died 13 years ago and left me in my wheelchair. I was full of dreams and ambitions; I fulfilled a lot of my dreams and ambitions, and now I’m just an old lady in a wheelchair. In a wheelchair waiting for a bus to Truro. A bus from the cancer clinic. To my final destination. The hospice in Truro. I look at the lady in the pink dress “I will go with my bus but you can ride with us if you want to”. She smiles……..

I Finally Experience a Rock Concert!

So it started when my goddaughter’s mother asked me very nicely if I could take my goddaughter to a Rock Concert on her 16th birthday. I assumed it was because I was the cool ‘aunty’…..well it was, but that wasn’t the whole reason.

So it’s the day of the concert and I go to my goddaughter’s house to pick her and her friend up. I find out that her friend’s mum (who I will refer to as my companion) has bought a ticket for herself and her older daughter too. So that makes five of us. A bit crowded but hey, it’s a concert, the more the merrier. Her friend’s teenage sister and mum turn out to be great fun and great conversationalists, but my goddaughter’s friend: she’s the real bright spark. A live wire, kinda like me when I was a bit younger.

It’s November and I’m dressed like it’s November. We arrive at the concert venue and there are young people who seem to have camped outside, they are barely dressed and I feel cold just looking at them. We wait for about an hour and a half on the queue. And I’m feeling as smug as a bug in my uggs. I’m also wearing ski socks and three layers of tops underneath my coat and multi-coloured chunky scarf. I take pity on one of the teenagers in my party who says she can hardly feel her fingers because of the cold. I give her my gloves to wear. She has no scarf, or coat. Her answer to her mum when she was asked to put on a coat was to go back upstairs to put on a vest; a vest I said, not a coat! I might be an old fogey, but I’m certainly a warm and cosy old fogey! Someone says they want a T-shirt with the live tour dates. I find out that I only have my credit card on me. I feel like a rebel as I climb over the queue barriers to get to a cash machine which is out of order. In the end, I go to a supermarket and buy apple juice, and cheese and onion flavoured crisps in order to get cash back from the cashier at the tills.

We get into the venue, past security and past men stamping the backs of our hands with some sort of dark blue dye that smells toxic. The venue is actually quite nice inside. Not at all like the fire hazard of a warehouse I had imagined it would look like. It’s actually a proper venue. Very theatrical. The teenagers go onto the dance floor, and my companion and I get ushered by a very nice black guy upstairs. It’s away from the madness but we have a clear view of the girls and the whole concert.

So support act number one comes on and the lead singer says ‘Hallo Landon, you are foking crasee’ and my companion looks at me and we both laugh like demented hyenas. ‘He’s foreign’ she says, which is an irony because we are both foreign ourselves. I think he’s French.
The music is not my cup of tea, but the girls are loving it. The whole room knows instinctively when to nod their heads, when to jump, and when to point their index fingers….impressive!
But the novelty is wearing off quickly and I’m getting bored.
At 7:45 he says they have 2 more songs! They’ve been playing on the stage for what has been very clearly in my mind an eternity! At this point I know that I would never be caught dead without my iPad in this situation again (did I say next time?).

Act number 2 comes on around 8:15pm. I spend the whole hour of the act wondering if the lead singer, who’s dressed in monochrome, is wearing a dress or a kaftan. He also has an incredible girl drummer. She’s fabulous, and she’s the highlight of my evening thus far.

When he talks, I can’t understand a word of what he’s saying. Then he finally says ‘Phoenix, Arizona’ and it becomes clear that his words are lost in translation somewhere between the Arizonan drawl and my North London twang.
I also spend the act wondering how much longer I have to wait until it’s not considered rude to bring out my phone and start surfing the Internet! My companion is fussing about not being able to see the girls. I’m as cool as ice because with a venue as good as this, security is tight….and I can see the girls from my vantage point anyway.

Finally the main act comes on and it’s a female lead singer. She’s incredible too. She comes onto the stage wrapped in a huge Union Jack flag. She’s got forest green hair under a black baseball cap which is on back to front. But I’m not fooled! I know the band is from Sydney, Australia.

I thought my goddaughter said no moshing??? So what are those guys doing? They look like they are trying to mosh. I’m wondering if I should go down there and pick them up by the scruff of their necks. But alas I’m a bit too short for that! I am also horrified because there are crowd surfers riding the crowd all the way to the front to get a HiFive from the lead singer. My girl had better not entertain the thought in her pretty head for even a second! The phrase ‘perish the thought’ comes to mind! I check my watch and its 9:30. I’m dogggg tired but feeling sorry for myself because apparently, the gig ends at 11! I’m taking these deep yawns and wondering how long before I fall fast asleep. By now, I don’t care. I’m just tapping away furiously on my iPhone. Too tired to care if I seem rude. Truth be told though, being antisocial is not even an issue as the music is far too loud to even hold any sort of dialogue.

I have never heard any of these songs before. It’s not really my type of music, but I know that as long as I have Internet connection and a place to sit, that I would always be fine. Now the penny drops and I understand why my goddaughter’s mother has never brought her to a concert…..and also, why she chose me.
She has never brought her because she quite simply can’t stand the music, and she chose me because, well because she quite simply cannot stand the music! And I suppose also because I treat everything like a brand new adventure. Well, I can do this adventure next time, but I am bringing my iPad, and I’m not having a companion! Those are my rules.

True to form, the concert ends at 11. We file outside in quite an orderly manner, walk to the train station to go back home. The girls are buzzing from the concert. They had such a great time. I’m just tired and need my bed. I’m happy for my good deed of the day, but I’m also thinking about my work deadlines. Still this life is to be lived in the here and now. And my here and now is this carriage, on the tube. We are on the Northern Line travelling South to Euston. I’m happy, I’m content and I’ve just had quite the adventure to write about. I’ve also just listened to three bands that I’d never heard of before today. This is my here and now, and this is my reality. I feel blessed. Tired, but extremely blessed

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When parents discover technology

My mother sent me a whatsapp message a few months ago that said ‘hello, it’s your mother. Add me to your whatsapp group’! It’s hard to explain my horror as I realised first of all that my mother now had a smart phone; then secondly that she was now on whatsapp; and thirdly and devastatingly, that she was aware that my siblings and I had formed a whatsapp group, but worse still, that she wanted to be part of it!

When I jokingly announced publicly on my Facebook page that nothing good could ever come out of my mother being on whatsapp, there were quite a number of people who thought it was funny. I got a handful of sympathisers, but by far the most overwhelming response I got was ‘our parents have discovered technology and social media too, get over it because they are here to stay’!

I responded to my mother’s order to be put onto the family group very simply. I ignored it for a few days hoping she’d change her mind, or better still that she’d forget. When it did not seem like that was happening, I sent her a message saying that her request had been granted but only on the condition that she wasn’t allowed to parent us. Simply put, I read her the riot act: if you don’t understand what is being talked about, then that’s probably because you are not required to voice an opinion. This is Animal Farm; all animals are equal, the younger ones though are more equal.

My mother is a baby boomer so does not always do as she is told. In one day we were inundated with requests like ‘how do I increase the font on my phone?’ Or ‘how do l listen to CNN?’ And then she progressed on to using smileys and asking what LOL, KMT, SMH meant…but no sooner than we could answer her questions (and they were many), than the forbidden messages started coming in!

I’d formed a habit of ignoring my mother’s text messages when I didn’t feel like answering, or when I felt like I’d be repeating myself because she had asked the exact same thing previously. However, whatsapp has a time stamp! It tells people when you were last on whatsapp or indeed if you are currently online! This means that my mother does not necessarily have to police my whereabouts, whatsapp does it for her! So the messages like ‘why are you not answering? It says you are currently online’ have become more than just a passing pain in the neck. Surprisingly, I am able to ignore the judgemental messages, it’s the tiresome ones that are dragging me down; those would be the ones where she asks about a phone function, or asking for a medical opinion. The last slightly judgemental one I encountered resulted from one where one of my sisters sent which was a photo of a magazine cover with a well muscled, fine specimen of a half clad man. I held my breath when in answer to my caution, she replied that my mother wouldn’t mind. Well, if she was ever under any illusion as to how liberal (or not) my mother was, she must have received the answer as she read the very next message from my mother ‘what makes you think that I won’t mind porn being displayed on my screen?’ Well that said it all!

And I? Well, I have retreated into the shadows now that my mother is on whatsapp; I’ve been silenced in the group, the group which I created! I’m glad that she sees Facebook as one of the great evils of generation X where only exhibitionism and time wasting thrive. I can only hope that this view persists forever. In the mean time, I will be avoiding whatsapp when I am avoiding her questions. And possibly spending time on other social media (if this is ever possible) hoping that she doesn’t discover them and ask to be added on as a contact. But let’s face it, even if that happened, I think I would have to imbibe the philosophy that an overwhelming number of my friends preach: I need to get over myself! Technology has no age limit. All generations are free to partake, and that is not going to stop. Viva la technology! And viva the dawn of discovery!

When all else fails, dance!

Beau Rikefe

About four months ago, I went to the cinema to watch a film of my husband’s choosing. Quite predictably, it was an action packed movie. Fast and Furious 6. We’d caught Fast and Furious 5 at a friend’s house at Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed it so I was actually rather excited at prospect of watching Dwayne  ‘The Rock’ Johnson again.

Anyway, I digress! I confess that I am a total endorphin junkie. It’s not the adrenaline, it’s the endorphins. I love participating in high adrenaline sport: running, cycling, swimming, and maybe car-racing but in another life! You only can imagine my delight at watching super-fit adrenaline junkies doing things that make ones heart race. I don’t necessarily remember the whole story line (but who cares, right?). What is crystal clear though is how I felt after the movie. Someone once said to me that people never remember verbatim what you…

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When all else fails, dance!

About four months ago, I went to the cinema to watch a film of my husband’s choosing. Quite predictably, it was an action packed movie. Fast and Furious 6. We’d caught Fast and Furious 5 at a friend’s house at Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed it so I was actually rather excited at prospect of watching Dwayne  ‘The Rock’ Johnson again.

Anyway, I digress! I confess that I am a total endorphin junkie. It’s not the adrenaline, it’s the endorphins. I love participating in high adrenaline sport: running, cycling, swimming, and maybe car-racing but in another life! You only can imagine my delight at watching super-fit adrenaline junkies doing things that make ones heart race. I don’t necessarily remember the whole story line (but who cares, right?). What is crystal clear though is how I felt after the movie. Someone once said to me that people never remember verbatim what you say to them; what they remember is how you make them feel. Well, if I ever doubted that, I very quickly identified with it at the end of this movie.

I have to think hard to remember the story line (there was a story-line?), but no sooner had the movie ended than I decided that it was time for me to take up strength-building exercise again. I formulated a plan: I’d cycle 25-50 miles every weekend (in my defence, I used to do this a couple of years ago, and I still do it some weekends); I’d start jogging 3-4 miles every evening as soon as I can get my childcare sorted; and maybe I will finally find the time to do my 8 weeks intensive exercise video, ‘Insanity’.

Well that was 4 months ago, and this is now. Suffice to say that nothing happened! I didn’t jog, I didn’t find the time to mount my newly serviced bike (it was easier to drive my newly serviced car), I didn’t even wipe the dust off my running shoes. However, I found another way that has brought me right back to my childhood memories: dance.

Dancing is billed to be one of the most effective cardiovascular exercise, I’d have you know! I worked out that if I danced vigorously  to 4 or 5 songs every evening, I’d be doing my heart a big favour, and living off the endorphins in the process! As a child, my maternal grandmother always danced. If something good happened to her she’d break into song and dance; if you gave money, she’d sing and dance; if you gave her a gift, she’d sing and dance. She danced whenever she was happy, she never said ‘thank you’ without some sort of dance.

So what started off as an endorphin inducing quest has brought me closer to my childhood experiences. Or is this a chicken and egg scenario? Have I decided to dance because subconsciously I remember my grandma always dancing? Or am I dancing because all else has failed and I have come back to the heart of my childhood, to a familiar place?

Whatever the case, I have concluded that there are more things out there to dampen your mood than to brighten it. You need to consciously choose happiness everyday. For some people, their happiness comes in watching paint dry. For me, it’s all about the endorphins. And I have found a new way where I can actually avoid bad tumbles and scrapes on my legs. I’ve been dancing for a few evenings now. And I’m fitter and happier….and I’m celebrating my grandma’s genius!