The things I take for granted!

In the first week of November 2016 The Daily Express ran a headline predicting that the UK was
about to endure an ‘arctic blast’ which was about to blanket the country with ‘120 days of snow’! I think in Louth during the entire winter we got a few hours of the white stuff on a couple of occasions which gave a decent covering once and about enough to fill a half an dozen egg cups the other time.

What happened to the remaining 118 days I’m not exactly sure.

One evening in mid-December whilst we were in the grip of this Artic Hell (I remember it well partly because we had enjoyed a BBQ that afternoon – yes, sarcasm – sorry Daily Express readers) the power went off for us and certain other homes on our estate. To be clear by ‘our estate’ I am referring to the collection of houses and bungalows that surround where we live, as opposed to our 600 acres of land!

I went into ‘Hunter Gatherer’ mode and set about foraging through drawers and cupboards searching for a torch. I found one only to wish it actually had batteries in it! I eventually laid my hands on a torch which did work. Result! I then lit the candles in the special Christmas holder and ‘there was light’!

In the meantime Pam had found the number for the power people and had discovered exactly what the problem was and approximately how long we were due to be without electricity – about 4 hours. Very pragmatically Pam decided the best thing she could do was go to bed!

I on the other hand noticing that there was quite a lot of activity out the back of the house went to investigate – torch in hand, of course! Quite a few of the neighbours were milling about and some of the more elderly residents were getting quite excited and vocal about the current state of affairs. I tried to spread the word about what Pam had gleaned but to be honest the facts didn’t appear to be as interesting as this unexpected excitement and the chance to chat to people in the street wearing miners helmets – with lamps lit – it’s true, I swear.  After about 10 minutes I left the neighbours to it half expecting that on the back of this unusual burst of community spirit they’d be organising a street party to mark the restoration of power. That would, of course, have had to have been called off anyway because of all the six feet high snow drifts. (I just can’t let it go, can I?)

That event was a great reminder that I take electricity completing for granted and when it’s not there I miss it – a lot!

You might recall back in 2012 when the tankers drivers’ strike led to massive fuel shortages and chaos on the forecourts. For that short period my ability to put as much diesel in my car as I wanted, whenever I wanted to came to sudden ‘emergency stop’! One more thing I take for granted that when it isn’t there causes real issues.

I remember the summer of 1976 which was a genuine ‘scorcher’ to the point that the UK was in the grips of a drought. The National Water Council decreed that if we had to have a bath then we were not allowed any more than 5 inches of water. Not only was the nation encouraged to limit the quantity of bathwater but we were also asked to share it! T-shirt manufacturers went into full swing with slogans like ‘Save Water – Bath With A Friend’!  Genius.

I still remember the stand pipes and Dad watering the garden with the washing up water. Just another example of something I take completely for granted … until it’s not there anymore.

The real purpose of sharing these memories is that like electricity, fuel and water my good health is something that for all these years I have taken for granted. Not any more!

About 6 weeks ago I developed a twinge in my back after a six hour car journey. Long story short, I had sciatica which has been the single most physically painful experience of my life. If there was a better word than excruciating then it would be that word. For 2 weeks I could not sit down – at all, I could stand but was in permanent pain, I could only lay on my stomach - but getting into that position was really quite something to behold. Thankfully now due to daily walks, Yoga (I’m not kidding) and strong pain killers I am almost back to normal. My point is that I will never EVER again take for granted my ability to sit down, stand up or lay in bed. What a lesson and what a way to have to learn it.  

My wonderful Yoga lady Sarah has taught me how to stand, how to stretch and even how to breath so that the sciatica has a very good go at staying away.

My health has now shot to the top of my To Do List where it will stay and will never be taken for granted again. If daily exercise is the price of not having sciatica then it’s one that I am more than willing to pay!  

Right, I’m going to make the most of being able to sit down again.

I’m off to call a friend – I fancy a bath!