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Random thoughts of a meandering mind

Hold that ball and be set for life

A double-take was needed. Are my weakening eyes truly failing me?

Did I read that correctly? Surely it could not have been £370,000?

A wage of £370,000 a week? In underpaid, impoverished, breadline Britain?

Definitely has to be another typo. One not noticed by the subs. But hey, what subs?

Sub-editors are a dying breed, put out to pasture, their jobs done by interns or bots.

Crusty old pedants with a lifetime’s knowledge watch aghast as errors akin to this obvious monetary misprint proliferate and are ignored.

Mistakes not even recognised as such by today’s ill-educated editorial upstarts.

I rechecked the text.

No mistake – it really did state £370,000 as the weekly wage of a thirty-something man employed to stop balls kicked by other similarly remunerated young men going into the netting behind him.

Think of the numerous needy causes such money could be used for.

So many health sustaining machines to be provided, so much outdated equipment in need of updating, so many decrepit schools desperate for repair and/or teaching aids.

Set those needs alongside that wage of £19,240,000 a year. For a goalkeeper. A man-boy who has extended his playground skills with a ball into his teens and on into adulthood.

Staggering. Gob-smacking. Beyond all reason and way out of proportion to the earnings of the vast majority of the wider community – most of them engaged in more stressful, more skilful and far more essential work.

One example: the junior doctors having to strike for a wage that is a mere 0.0003 per cent of what many of the top-flight sportspeople earn.

They live on a knife’s edge every day. Making split second decisions that mean the difference between life and death for those they care for.

A far cry from deciding which way to leap when faced with a penalty kick; or which teammate to pass to in the race towards goal.

The majority of the populace left their playground games behind them only to find they now have to stop work and hold the country to ransom to earn what they consider a living wage – a laughable term for a weekly pittance that barely meets basic costs.

And here’s an odd thing: though millions now cry “poor” there is no shortage of fanatics to fill football stadiums to watch these pampered, often surly and arrogant, cossetted and ill-behaved adult children have a kick-about.

Moreover, they do so at ticket prices that would buy a substantial meal for a struggling family allegedly unable to make ends meet (or meat).

And when games are being played further afield it is staggering to see how many can not only afford travel, accommodation and meals in foreign venues but also the time off work.

So, are things really as bad as the activists, union leaders and general pot-stirrers would have us believe? Is the vast majority living on the breadline, as the media would have us believe?

Or is it that we have become the handout nation? That instead of working to earn a livelihood we prefer to sit at home and demand the government devotes even more of its diminishing resources to paying for our daily needs?

If we persist in supporting gargantuan wages for teenagers who see life as one long playtime can we complain if there’s so little money going to where it is really needed?

£370,000 a week! Really? Surely it’s time to blow the whistle on such excess and direct the money to where it is really needed.

The shame of doing a downward dog

No pain, no gain is such a worthy motto. One that is loved by the excessively fit. And even more so by the bully boys (and girls) who lord it over exercise classes, keep fit cohorts and squads of military recruits.

Also not immune are sport groups and individuals who willingly subscribe to the urgings of personal trainers and coaches.

It’s their credo. Through pain comes nirvana.

Yeah, right.

And when the pain stops, what remains? A succession of aches, bruises, sprains, spasms and numerous other reminders of the torture that has been inflicted and endured.

But all in a good and worthwhile cause, we are assured.

Now there is added anguish awaiting in the ashrams and yoga studios – shame!

Apparently maintaining balance while standing on one leg while pulling the other up to head height is now less about posture and composure but more about cultural appropriation.

Indulging in an hour’s bending, twisting and deep breathing has joined the growing ranks of activities (mental as well as physical) to be given this glib label.

It merits a trigger warning.

One of hundreds of cries that aggressors, activitists, moaning minorities and general spoilsports now employ in their disruptive war on the innocent majority who intend neither harm nor hurt to their fellow beings.

Among those apparently “triggered” is Daily Telegraph contributor and yoga instructor Boudicca Fox-Leonard.

She recently wrote extensively about what was headlined as “My Yoga Shame.” A self-analysis of her role in a practice she has long enjoyed but which now brings her the headlined “shame.”

One reason for this is that yoga “is not part of  my cultural heritage.” Nor is skiing part of most Brits’ heritage, so we’d better stop flooding into Swiss, French and Italian ski resorts and leave them to the locals.

And bypass Italian pasta places, Indian curry shops and Japanese sushi bars. Better for our souls to stick to roast with two veg and a pud of spotted dog and custard.

Of course, if she feels uneasy – or shame, as she calls it – about wearing her t-shirt printed with the word Namaste, she could cast it aside and wear something else.

Why tie yourself in agonising knots when the solution is so simple?

Ah, but that’s what yoga is all about, ain’t it so?

Hey Doc, the drug’s not working

It has been more than a year now since I got on the drugs.

Pills galore, but are they any use?

Not something I would normally do but it was my GP who was prescribing them. So where’s the harm?

Since when there has been no contact. Not a single call, even a text, to say, “How are you going?” or “Are they working?”

Which might just about be acceptable but for the fact that scientists have this week declared there is no evidence that the drug he prescribed is any good.

Not a very cheering thought for the millions of Brits who have been taking their daily 10mg dose.

More puzzling is the fact that despite its ineffectiveness, users are told to continue taking them.

The drug is amitriptyline.

It is the UK’s most common anti-depressant in the treatment of chronic pain. It features in 15 million prescriptions a year.

And after analysing 176 different trials from 30,000 people, scientists from universities in Southampton and Newcastle gave it the thumbs down.

But “keep taking the pills” is the advice that followed their findings.

The instructions that come with each 28-dose pack make alarming reading.  Especially as the emphasis is on the little blue pill’s role as an anti- depressant.

I consulted the doc – remotely, of course, as contact with actual patients is the last thing they want to encourage – because of chronic ankle pain.

A pain that has the bad habit of increasing at night and causing severe sleep deprivation.

Emphasising his hands-off role, the quack asked for pictures. Ever tried to use a mobile phone to take a shot of your ankle?

It’s something likely achieveable only by an advanced yoga practitioner (see above).

From my poorly focused, badly lit and off centre pictures he diagnosed the problem and prescribed amitriptyline.

“I am not depressed,” I roared on reading the instructions.

And roared again, “That’s the last thing I am.”

I obeyed instructions. Yet with great caution, often skipping my daily pill at bedtime.

The ankle agony remained. But now I was also waking each day with a head of fog that rarely dispersed before lunchtime.

In time I learnt to take my drug much earlier in the evening. Fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow.

The ankle remains painful but at least I sleep through it most nights.

Thus there is at least partial truth in the headline that states amitriptyline is ineffective in treating pain. The flip side is that it induces a sleep that shuts out that pain.

And that’s a relief.

Keep taking the pills, folks.















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