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Hobbies – keeping dementia at bay?



In today’s world we are always busy, working, being at societies beck and call or just always having to manage life but we need to remember to put ourselves first. This life is ours to enjoy and embrace with all its intricacies and twists and turns. There will be many times you are sad depressed or even utterly in the depths of despair but doing something that gives you joy and is creative no matter the outcome can be hugely beneficial and transport you to a happy place for a while where problems and stress don’t follow. 

Hobbies can enhance your life, allow you to destress whilst still being mentally active and promote better health even lowering the risk of having high blood pressure. It can reduce the risk of depression and dementia. It enriches our lives. It is something fun with the opportunity to learn new skills. Todays technology opens a world of websites devoted to hobbies and interests. To suit every taste and interest. Why not try something new? The world is full of wonderful, exciting activities that we can explore and adopt as our own. Humans are all unique and, therefore, our interests and hobbies  should be vast and random but finding a hobby that we truly enjoy and are passionate about, we become fascinated and immersed in a whole new world that captivates us and brings immense pleasure.

There are so many  reasons why a hobby enriches a life, it can make you more interesting. Providing experiences and skills to share. Stress is relieved as you are absorbed in a task that fulfills and takes your mind off problems. You relax and lose yourself in an activity that doesn’t require you to think about work or complicated lives. The skills you will learn and develop will require patience which in turn is a valuable skill in life. Confidence and self esteem can flourish along with your new found skills enriching your life and eradicating boredom, ennui and lethargy. 

You add a layer to your personality and will draw people towards you. We all want to be around people who are interesting with a sense of curiosity, with stories to tell. You nwill feel more inspired when you have a rich and active life  and you will inspire others as well. This year with the Covid pandemic we have been confined to home in a way we are not used to and many people have turned to learning a new skill or developing a hobby previously denied to us in this mad busy and frantic world. New perspectives , challenges and opinions or ideas come with the knowledge you gain as you delve deeper into some hobbies through research or reading. 

The great man himself , Winston Churchill, said  

To be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies, and they must all be real.’

He was known as a passionate artist amongst other talents. 

Personally I had to smile when researching quotes on hobbies when I came across this little gem and had I been more of a floozy  or not happily married I’d  like to have adopted!

‘Men are my hobby, if I ever got married I’d have to give it up.’  ( Mae West)

In today’s busy  society we may feel we do not have the time for a hobby however According to Parkinson’s law, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”  so where you may feel your evening should be spent working or completing chores you will get them done quickly if you have a pleasurable idea of your hobby to look forward to therefore seeming  to create more time by encouraging efficiency.


I know that my wonderful parents in law have always loved their respective hobbies , but  since the death of their son, my wonderful husband, I think it has been  deeply immersing themselves in these hobbies that has created a way to cope and lose themselves in the pleasure of creating. My father in law  Roger says it gives meaning to your being he spends many hours expanding his knowledge of colours etc to paint the intricate detailed and beautifully authentic models he constructs. My mother in law Yvonne knits furiously  all the time deriving great pleasure from gifting the most beautiful jumpers shawls and cardigans, nothing is beyond her and over the years there have been such unique and quirky requests that she has never failed to deliver, She feels the need to be useful and both gives and receives pleasure from her creative arts , I think retirement has kept her busier than ever with  her adopting my ready made  family into her life so graciously complete with lots of little ones asking for  creations of  fabulous personal jumpers with no request being too intricate or denied. 


So, what to choose as your new hobby? Maybe a desire to learn a new skill like learning to crochet, paint or learn a musical instrument.  Photography, a drone or biking ? Perhaps when the world settles back into a semblance of normality you will want to join a group, a choir,drama club  or book club. There are so many options out there that you might never have even considered…browse the net, talk to friends and find something you love… I found writing ! 


I'm a slightly deranged middle aged widow, living in the Cotswolds with two fabulously funny little dogs. A mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Determined to survive by writing to remember, to forget and to cope with grief. the memory of my husband supporting me, guiding me and probably laughing at me if there is a ‘somewhere’

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The problem of Loneliness



Loneliness is universally recognised as being part of the human condition. The emotion of sadness at being alone, can be felt, even when in the company of others.
People may spend hours brooding  about things that make them feel sad, angry or worried. Everyone feels lonely at times, but when transient loneliness becomes chronic, it is a problem  that may be damaging to health, leading to depression  and physical decline.
Since the start of the Pandemic, Society has experienced lockdowns, restricting freedom of movement and people have been unable to visit each other’s homes, unless in a “bubble”, a known contact deemed to be safe. This has led to social loneliness, which people with access to social media have sought to remedy with Zoom meetings,face time and Skype calls.
Dependent on the whims of electronic devices, people may comfort themselves with the knowledge, that their isolation will have an ending, while those experiencing emotional loneliness, may not have this, with which to look forward. They may be experiencing existential loneliness, confronting what philosophers such as Jean Paul Sartre see, as the absurdity of our existence in a meaningless world. Not surprisingly, this will lead to a great deal of anxiety.
While not feeling cosmic isolation, immigrants may miss their own countries and feel themselves to be outsiders, living in a foreign culture, leading to their cultural loneliness.
Faced with so much misery, what can be done? Self care and sharing the emotional load is the advice given on websites dealing with physical and mental health. Paul McCartney in 1966 brought loneliness to public attention with his song “Eleanor Rigby” about a woman who hid her distress from others by wearing ” a face that she keeps in a jar by the door”.  In later songs, McCartney offers words of encouragement to John Lennon’s son Julian in “Hey Jude” and he remembers the advice his mother Mary gave to him, in times of trouble, to “Let It Be”.
In 1988, Neil Diamond expressed his existential loneliness in the song “I Am I Said”, protesting the worth of his existence in an empty and uncaring universe. While we may be less eloquent than Paul McCartney and Neil Diamond, surely sharing our negative emotions is the way forward, to bring us out of Loneliness?

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Other People’s Fears – how hard is it to have empathy?



Often the fears of others, may seem irrational and disproportionate. I once had a young work colleague, who was so fearful of needles, that he fainted, if he caught sight
of an injection, being shown on a television programme. He had no bad health experiences, as far as I know, that would trigger this reaction.
Fear of needles is a serious handicap if it keeps people away from having medical procedures, including going to the dentist! In the pandemic, people who are not afraid of the vaccine itself, may be deterred from receiving it, due to fear of the needle used for the injection.
One of the most common fears is that of spiders. Are you a Miss Muffet? Although the nursery rhyme identifies a female, who is put off her curds and whey, the fear is not confined to girls! It probably stems from the days we lived in caves, when we feared intruders, like spiders and snakes.
 My daughter, when she lived in a top floor flat in Hong Kong, encountered a large tree spider. Obviously it lived in the tree and decided to explore the nearby building. She disturbed it lurking at the bottom of her wardrobe!
 Removing it was not the job of a glass with which to cover it, as the creature was close to a large crab in size. Help from friends was summoned by using her mobile, and somehow or other, the spider was captured in a bag and set free.
I myself am wary of dogs I meet, when our walking. I tend not to give them the benefit of the doubt and give them a wide berth. If only dogs could be more like cats, with whom it is possible to have a few nice words and move on. Chances are that the cat will have run away first!
Luckily I am not scared of squirrels, or I would be in real trouble! It is impossible to go out from my house, without soon running into them, coming out of the woods and running along the footpaths and fences.
If you have trouble having empathy with the fears of others, such as leaving the house itself, imagine that whatever it is that you fear, is waiting for you outside the front door – Would you open it?

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Allergy to cats: what is it exactly?



Allergy to cats: what is it exactly? thumbnail

Many people claim to be allergic to cats, but the condition is a lot more complicated than that. Let’s look into it. 

 From a hypersensitivity of our immune system to an allergen, in the case of cats likely to be  fel d1 ), produced by the sebaceous glands of the cat and therefore present on skin, hair and dandruff,  in the saliva and the pee. As cats clean themselves by licking their coat, many will be found on the hair. The allergen has the particularity of being extremely persistent. In practical terms, it means it can remain in the environment for a long time and induce allergic symptoms even in the absence of close contact with the animal. 

In general, there is a genetic predisposition to become allergic. In practice, at a certain point in life, predisposed subjects,  the first time they come in contact with the allergen, will tolerate it or develop a reaction in the event of subsequent contact.  We know that those who live with cats from birth are usually more likely to maintain a good tolerance to their allergen.  

Who is allergic to cats is allergic to all cats (regardless of breed or length of hair) or just advertisement some?

Some habits can increase or decrease the spread of allergens in the environment and thus change the tolerance level. For example, keeping the rooms ventilated where a cat lives helps reduce the allergen presence while brushing the animal often contributes to increasing it because a brushed cat will often lick its coat.

It is not even possible to predict the duration or the intensity of the symptoms. It could even turn out to be a temporary or intermittent allergy and therefore occurs in certain periods and disappears in others. It all depends on the situation of the individual subjects and on the possible changes that could occur in life. In fact, there are factors capable of breaking the immunological tolerance towards an allergen.




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