Seasonal Reflections – 6 April 2016

I am supposed to be sitting at my computer writing a blog post on lowering cholesterol. But the truth is that I am simply passing the time until the evening episode of The Archers is broadcast.  Archers fans will understand that nothing much else matters this week. Of course it does. It is just that sometimes the real world is too filled with real pain. So we turn hungrily to the made up world which, ironically, can also reduce us to shaking with fear in our own kitchens. If non-Archers fans do not know what I am on about, Radio 4 has a particularly disturbing story line about domestic abuse right now that is gripping middle England.

But back to the real world. I was greatly moved last week –as were many others around the globe – by the announcement that the great Zaha Hadid had died. One of the world’s greatest architects, whose buildings I adore, she suffered a heart attack while in hospital in Miami where she was being treated for bronchitis. Now I know nothing about Ms Hadid’s health history but it struck me that even while in a hospital her heart attack turned out to be fatal. You would think that having a heart attack in a hospital would give one a better than normal chance of survival.

What disturbed me most about her passing away was not only that the world will not see any more magnificent buildings with her instantly recognizable style, but that so much talent is cut short by cardiovascular disease. Considering how much is known now about preventing this disease, it seems especially cruel.

Yet, how many of us really change our lifestyles to lower our own risks? I count myself as part of the group of people who know the right things to do but find it so hard to keep up. At the moment I feel in the doldrums health wise. I am struggling to shake off a nasty virus that is doing the rounds and leaves people feeling exhausted. But in truth it has been some time since I have attended in a meaningful way to lowering cholesterol and taking general care. My weight is up, my eating is pretty much free for all and my exercise is at a three year low. What I do keep up is a daily bowl of oats for breakfast and almonds as a snack. The only downside of this cholesterol lowering behaviour is that my helpings are too generous by far – probably enough for two. Each morning I remind myself of this but as I tip the oats and milk into my pot I resolve to start cutting back the next day. And the day after.

The positive news is that Spring seems to be here – on a very short walk this week, I marveled at the buds bursting out on trees in the woods. Which makes me think that nature knows what to do to keep replenishing life. If only we could keep in tune with it.

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