Father, Flu & The Garden Of England – Week 38 : 2019

September 18, 2019

An early morning text from an old friend alerted me to the latest edition of the local newspaper – The Yorkshire Post. There was a pull out section with images of the past. On the back was a photo of my father. He died in 1989 and 30 years later you don’t expect to see his photo in a newspaper. By the time of his photo I was living away from home but I vaguely recollect him coming across this post box/plate. He was a Councillor on Leeds City Council. I think this may have been something that was surplus to requirements after an old building was demolished and he he bagged it. He did have it refurbished and I expect it then languished in the garage or similar.

My own photo came through after I spotted another VR post box whilst on a bike ride the other weekend. 

This ride was after I drove to Tooting and met up with an old friend, Tony, from my MBA days. The next day we cycled down to Brighton. Leaving London was easy enough on a cold and overcast day and the weather never really improved. Some of the country lanes of Surrey and West Sussex were delightful but the amount of  cars and trucks was awful and it’s not a route I plan on revisiting. My new Sat Nav was something I hadn’t technically conquered and a 15 mile detour led to Tony having to do more cycling than was prudent for a man finding some fitness. Add on the epic climb up Ditchling Beacon and a staggering easterly wind nearly saw him off. Some delightful hospitality and a few beers improved the whole day near the front in Hove.

A ride along the coast the next day to Rye was interesting with some interesting sights in Newhaven, Seaford, Eastbourne, Bexhill and then, via a ginormous climb, out of Hastings onto Winchelsea. Not all the towns were attractive but Bexhill looked delightful and Seaford was memorable. The next day Tony trundled to Hastings to get back to London via train to prepare for a busy work schedule the following week. I rode from Rye back to Tooting. I found East Sussex and Kent most delightful: being so close to London but finding empty rural small country roads was wonderful. I will return to the “Garden of England’.

A circular turned up from my local doctor’s surgery inviting me for a flu jab. As I’m approaching 65 I am eligible for this free inoculation. I don’t expect I will take them up yet. This is not the first illustration of my local GP or surgery prescribing something based on the fact I’ve cruised into my 60s. 

One of the realities of getting older is that the statistics are against you despite feeling fine. I can’t remember the last time I had flu and have no other health conditions that would make me vulnerable to the serious consequences that might arise out of catching it. However the NHS have computed some figures and I got a letter that’s aimed at an age group rather than having any specific facts to confirm I need this. Where age group testing for diseases such as bowel cancer exist I think it’s a great idea but administering a vaccine that you may not need I’m less comfortable with it. I’ll let you know about flu when I get it!


Lastly Anna and I are rocked by some recent and devastating news. A friend of Anna’s family had just moved to York with his wife from the south coast. He mainly relocated to look after his elderly mother. He’d been settling into a new job, house and started looking after his mother whilst his wife had been doing the same thing. At the beginning of May I went to a concert in York with him. (He was a music nut like me although his talents stretched into being a guitarist and member of a band). On that night he looked fine. We found out the following week that he’d been for tests after he’d coughed up some blood. It seemed that he led a blameless life health wise. Four months later he’s died. Just in his late 50s. Life can be bewilderingly unkind.

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