Have You Got The Bottle?

It’s plain to see throughout the media that we have become aware of how much damage plastics are doing to our environment. But what are we really doing about it?
Thanks to an up ward trend in health consciousness in the UK, and therefore the need to stay hydrated, we have created a bottled water industry in excess of £2.4 billion. With more than 20% of the UK drinking bottled water every day, that’s more than 7 billion single use plastic water bottles discarded every year. In 2017, bottled water outsold Coca Cola – we are talking here about water, not the new trend in flavoured Gin.

As part of his own crusade against single use plastics, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has tried to take on this multi billion pound industry by proving to the the general pubic – that’s you and me – that the UK’s drinking water from the household tap has the same and in some cases a better mineral content than the bottled water with a fancy label. Think about it for a moment, we are being asked to pay anything from £1 to £2 for a 500ml bottle of water, when we have, thanks to our local water authorities, a nigh on endless supply at the turn of a tap.

Then there’s that empty bottle, it takes about 400 years for it to decompose if it’s just discarded into the countryside – let’s face it, we’ve all seen these in hedgerows, floating on our rivers and canals, rolling down the street on a windy day.

Part of Hugh’s task has been to get petrol stations to provide a means to refill our bottles. Maybe if we all followed suit and requested this more often when we are out then it could become the norm. I don’t for one minute think that we are going to stop the sales of plastic wrapped water overnight. Nor do I think that it has to be banished completely, I’m sure there will always be circumstances where plastic bottles will be the only option to supply us with water (although I can’t think of any off hand).

There is a far bigger picture here than just single use plastic water bottles, in a world that is producing plastic faster than we can recycle it, it’s gradually entering our food chain in the form of microplastic particles directly affecting our health. This we will cover at a later date, for now however, we should narrow the focus down to our own individual usage. We could start by acquiring a suitable reusable drinking vessel and start taking advantage of sites like this https://refill.org.uk/ where businesses are already signing up to put their ‘Tap on the Map’.
Another company https://www.hydrachill.com/ is trying to supply machines to gyms etcetera, that dispense a reusable bottle that you pay for and then fill it with water. But there’s no getting away from the fact that while we as the consumers buy our water in plastic bottles, there will always be someone there willing to part us from our cash to sell us something we already have.acquiringThere is a far bigger picture here than just single use plastic water bottles, in a world that is producing plastic faster than we can recycle it, it’s gradually entering our food chain in the form of microplastic particles directly affecting our health. This we will cover at a later date, for now however, we should narrow the focus down to our own individual usage. We could start by purchasing a suitable reusable drinking vessel and start taking advantage of sites like this https://refill.org.uk/ where businesses are already signing up to put their ‘Tap on the Map’.
Another company https://www.hydrachill.com/ is trying to supply machines to gyms etcetera, that dispense a reusable bottle that you pay for and then fill it with water. But there’s no getting away from the fact that while we as the consumers buy our water in plastic bottles, there will always be someone there willing to part us from our cash to sell us something we already have.

A Wonderful Wollaton Walk

As hundreds of walkers gathered in the grounds of Wollaton Hall, there was a definite upbeat feel. We were all there for one cause, to help raise money for the Prostate Cancer UK.
Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer in men, with over 47,000 men diagnosed in the UK every year. Every 45 minutes a man dies from prostate cancer, that’s more than 11,000 men every year. With 1 in 8 men likely to be diagnosed in their lifetime, there’s an urgent need to raise awareness of this form of cancer.
As we assemble, many are going through the ancient ritual of applying the war paint before a great battle, albeit under the guise of T-Shirts, caps, ban-banners, wristbands and the like, all adorned with PCUK logos. The compere starts the motivation with the count down to the off. Introducing one of the Directors to PCUK, who gives thanks for all those taking part in the day’s events. – More rousing words of encouragement.

More of a sombre moment as one of the fallen takes the stage to really remind us why we are there. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer and immediately started his treatment to fight the disease. As is sometimes forgotten, the problem is a big part of the close family and love ones around them. Too many times we all fail to see the help and guidance that is given when we are at our lowest. This man stood in front of hundreds, told of how he was given the all clear after an operation, knowing that he will always have the nagging doubt of the cancers’ return. Knowing that his sons’ odds of risk had been increased. Knowing that he owed an immense debt of gratitude to his partner who helped him through. – And that’s why we are here – to help in anyway we can.

More motivation, this time physical with the ladies from a local fitness center as they took us through some warm up exercises, – the clock was ticking. Time for us to split into our different distance groups. A quick count down and we were off. We ascended towards the Hall with more of an amble than a walk, but the shuffling crowd turned into a line as people found their stride. Twice around the Halls grounds was the objective, but with the day rapidly warming up, this felt like a long way off. The first lap felt slow, people coming from all directions from their various routes, but this gave us plenty of time to take in the wonderful grounds and some of their inhabitants.

Now remember it wasn’t a race! But…you can’t help seeing the 9 people in front of you as a challenge. Two were running, there may have been more, but I had my sights set on the walkers. 2nd lap, I’d got my pace, taken on some water, time to push. The first couple were easy, they slowed on the hill, rookies mistake. Next was the elderly couple I’d been watching from the start. They kept an incredible pace, my self-esteem was knocked further once I’d caught up with them. I praised them on their efforts only to be told that they normally run greater distances. Refocused I pursued my next quarry, a woman that had surged pass me half way around the first lap. No time to stop and talk with this one. Revenge – albeit not severed cold on this hot sweaty day in June. Onward. I was soon in the wake of a well seasoned couple. Once again I joined them for idle chatter. As they told me of their previous year’s endeavours, by keeping their pace at 4mph and that there was only the slow incline to the finish they were well in on their previous years record… not good enough for me… I was off again. The finish was in sight. As I pushed on down the hill to the inflated Finish Arch there was cheering, even though many had been through before me I still felt a winner.
I will now have to spend two weeks in intensive care with exhaustion and dehydration – worth it!
That said…. I wish to thank everyone that has donated towards Prostate Cancer UK. – AND GENTS, KEEP ON CHECKING.



Take a Walk…..

I think for many people now days, the “C” word has become a word that haunts us, and yes I’m going to talk about cancer. Whether we have someone close to us that has had their lives devastated by this unforgiving disease, or they are going through their own physical and mental battle, we are all fully aware of the suffering that this single 6 letter word can bring. I often hear the expression that someone was “lucky” in that their particular form of cancer has abated or even been cured. But how are they lucky?, surely “lucky” is not to have contracted cancer in the first place.
We almost take for granted the hundreds of people who have dedicated their lives in search of remedies for this, the evil ruler of despair and destruction. It’s these people I wish to briefly talk about today. I’m not going to bang on about what a marvelous job they do, we know they do a marvelous job. I want to talk about how we can help them.
One of the biggest steps we can take, is to take note of our own bodies. Both men and women should take a moment for a self-examination check. If your not too sure what or how to do this, contact your local doctor for full advise. You can find plenty of information online at the NHS websites. Remember, that catching symptoms early is a massive aid to a full recovery.
For me, I had been suffering from a low back ache and finally went to the doctor for some advice. I found myself sitting there completely fear stricken when I was told that I needed a full prostate exam. The “C” word wasn’t even mentioned, but for any man to hear “prostate” and “exam” in the same sentence will only conjure up the same conclusion – the doctor suspects cancer. “Luckily” my prostate was given a status of “normal”. My mind, however is now highly conscious of this threat.
I found myself giving a small donation towards the Prostate Cancer UK. This is another way we can all help. Since then I have been spurred on by watching “The New Full Monty” that I wanted to do a little more, so….
I had a decision to make, to find somewhere to take part in a “Full Monty”, or, go for a sponsored walk. I thought the walk would be easier on your eyes.

Maybe it’s time for your help…. Why not sponsor me, or give a donation, or maybe, take a walk yourself.

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The Pillow

Pillow

The nurse was continuing her questions, “Who was I?”, “What was I having done?” “What is the molecular weight of oxygen in a vacuum?” The third nurse, the third consultation, the same key questions. As I pondered, trying to get the answers right this time, the doorway was filled with a pale blue clad figure.
Pausing the nurse looked towards the door and turned her gaze back to me.
“Ah..this is Chris, he’s your anaesthetist” she said.
“Hi…” I said, noticing he had a pillow under his arm, “……Are you going to use that to render me unconscious…?” I asked, gesturing towards the pillow.
“Yeap..”
“Is it because of cut-backs?” I asked.
“Yes, and I have a cricket bat in the surgery just in case you start to come round. Don’t worry we know how to hide the bruises,” he replied with a broad grin.
“Right, I’m all finished here…,” said the nurse as she handed the notes to Chris. “He’s all yours. You’ll be fine Mr Russell, you’re in good hands ”Read More »

I just wanted to say thanks…

Day two and I’ve woken up feeling like crap. My whole body feels battered and misshapen, my knee is throbbing, stinging and tender, a reminder of yesterdays operation and “no” nurse on ward 18, I haven’t taken my painkillers yet.
I turn now to the staff of the Leicester General Hospital, to the nurses who booked me in, to the anaesthetist team who kept me asleep though the surgery, to consultant Mr Brown and his invisible craftsmanship on my knee, to the nurses in the recovery room, and to the nurses in ward 18 and not forgetting the physio who showed me how to walk with crutches, I just wish to say “thank you” to you all. You all made a harrowing event bearable.

RS Traditional Shave Cream: Review

3-5 Starsrs2511


Having used the RS (The Real Shaving Co.) Traditional Shave Cream (Step 2) for a couple of weeks, I thought it time to give it’s review.
As you can see from the picture it comes in a plastic tube, handy for a travel bag as this makes less mess and is a simple squeeze to produce the small amount needed for each shave. On opening there isn’t much scent but this becomes slightly stronger when in use. It has a fairly faint, slightly sweet aroma but I’m not too sure that I like it. You do need to use with a brush and bowl as I found that it didn’t lather very well applied directly to the face or in the hands, ending up with more of a light cream texture not a lather, not good enough for a comfortable shave. I then tried it with a badger hair brush which did produce a full lather after a good mixing in a shave bowl. I had better results using a boar hair brush, but the balance of water had to be right to maintain a full usable lather. The RS range is readily available from most supermarkets and is very reasonable price, but for me there was just something lacking.

Food for thought….

FoodRatings

Once again Britain win an award for unadulterated stupidity… I ask you, “where is it safe to eat….?”
I ask this after watching a program on food inspectors from the Safety Standards Agency as they allowed us to follow them around various eating venues. From the facade of the plush dining areas and shop fronts, taking us into the vile depths of what they laughably call the kitchens from where the dubious chefs and cooks prepared food and then serve up to the unsuspecting public to consume.

Demonstrating just how easily for us to catch E coli by contaminating a knife used on meat then using it to created a simple salad sandwich without washing it in between. The potential of causing total kidney failure and then a long fight to get back to health.

On display was filth and grime and a total lack of cleanliness in conditions that had encouraged rats and mice. There was grease on the floors and walls, discarded food left in the open on the worktops and again on the floor.  After collecting numerous marks against their check, the inspector fails to give any rating their Food Hygiene Rating, or health & safety, let alone hygiene…. telling the owner of the establishment that it isn’t fit to process food. So with the mounting possibility of poisoning a unwitting consumer, did he close them down, forcing a clean up? Nope, he let them continue to trade for a couple of weeks before his return to reassess the situation. The public completely unaware of the horrors behind the door to the kitchen….is it just me, should they not just close these dirty bastards down?
…. so I asked again “where is it safe to eat?” Well in an aid to help I have given a link below for the Food Hygiene Agency Ratings, might be worth a check of where you’re eating before you eat.

http://ratings.food.gov.uk/

Cricket “Fun”draiser

CricketJune16-5-2Cricket has never been on my top ten list of sports, as I find it difficult to categorize a summer game in which you have to wear a jumper, as a sport. However, imagine my surprise after attending a fund raising event at a local cricket ground in Broughton Astley, that I enjoyed the whole afternoon and despite the weather trying to dampen the spirits of the participants, all had a good time and the beer tent was busy. The main event was a 6-a-side tournament played by the men. The 12 wan-a-be Joe Roots fought it out while the rest of us enjoyed something from the BBQ washed down with a chilled beverage. Then it was the turn of the women, brandishing their bats like good rounders players do, throwing them backwards to the unsuspecting wicket keeper as they took flight. So another drink and more socializing while they sorted the winners. I have no idea who did win, but I have come to the conclusion that this is the way forward, with ‘fun’d raising events that involve beer.

DIY Dentists

DIYDentistAfter reading an item in the news just recently, about the rise in people undertaking their own dentistry, using the cheap over the counter dental first aid kits or even household objects, my first reaction was, what did we expect?   Britain provides a supposedly free healthcare but with dental treatment being the most expensive in Europe and a high percentage of Britain’s practitioners making our dental treatment private, thus providing less access to NHS care. Despite the governments reforms, many people can no longer afford the imposed bloated prices. Although this did conjure up numerous images of people with minds adrift whilst using contact adhesives, fumbling to replace a filling or grappling with pliers to remove that painful tooth.
In my view, we will in fact be making a large U-turn in attitudes to health in this country. Simply put, if you have the funds, you’ll get the treatment or there’s always the flight to Poland option. Where will the DIY end, out in the shed with that trusted old Black & Decker sander to remove that unsightly mole?