pub dogsThis blog might be a bit confusing, it’s sort of about retirement but exactly how I’m not sure yet. It has a broad theme around my birthday which I mentioned last time was on Friday and I was 68, I’m older than that now. Let’s not talk age or as my in-laws put it – ‘don’t let the old man in’, let’s talk presents. The photo on the right is the front cover of my nephew’s book, Pub Dogs of Glasgow (which is where he lives). On the back of it he describes himself as ‘one of the UK’s most talented photographers’ (although look at my picnic photo at end, pretty good I think), but still who am I to disagree? It’s a lovely book, assuming you like dogs which I do, and it was one of my birthday presents hence its appearance in this blog. Available to purchase on Amazon for a ridiculously low price. It was ordered on-line at the family picnic which reference I use as an excuse to include photo below. The boy done good, we’re talking franchise here, you could have pub dogs of every city in the world I guess. Well maybe with the exception of Ireland where, I think I told you, they don’t let dogs in pubs. Mrs Summerhouse says I’m being harsh, some pubs don’t let dogs in. Anyway, nice present.

The title of this blog also has a connection to my birthday although slightly more obscure. On the evening of my birthday our old chums from Shanghai, now Bejing, are visiting the dull people like us who haven’t gone anywhere, and they came round for a celebratory birthday meal. As we live vicariously through their lives in China inevitably we spent a fair amount of time talking about how things were going with them. Instead of retiring and living the quiet life in Knaresborough they went to work in China 4 years ago, well the male half did anyway and it was he who said that he was about China-ed out. When we asked why he told us China was hard work and gave as an example the night when his electrics went off. He tried to find the janitorial team but although he knew they were in their room (turned out so were many others judging by the number of beds crowded into the room) they wouldn’t come out. It took the help of another tenant to find the fuse box and flip the switch. Seems everything is more complicated and protracted than it should be and it wears a person down. So he’s ready to leave but ‘unfortunately’ his wife has just got a new job in Bejing so they will be there another two years at least. It’s always great to hear, and I’m not proud to say this, that somebody else’s dream life ain’t so dreamy. It makes me feel better about being confined to these shores.

The other thing I did on my birthday was nearly end it right there by dropping a large piece of timber (I was trying to remake our pergola in the back garden) on my nose while standing on the top of a step ladder. I now have a scar on my nose, quite a big one, the nose that is, but fortunately I had the presence of mind not to fall off the ladder or I might not have a chance to make 69. Now that would be something complain about. This activity was of course prompted by having a new toy to play with i.e. the drill I referenced in the last blog. I felt compelled to use it for something and the pergola has been lying in several parts for the last few weeks, so what better way to make first use of my toy.

Being 68 and having hit my nose with a plank my final thoughts for this blog turn to my health and specifically my diabetes about which I haven’t written for a while. There’s been a fair bit going off mostly around will I or won’t I go onto insulin. I’ve been trying to put off this increasingly likely eventuality but my readings led me to the view that this final step was inevitable. So at my last review I went into the meeting ready to say OK, I give in, let’s do the insulin thing. When in through the door came Sod dragging his law behind him – we’ve just got another drug you might try but it does have some possible downsides. Hmm, and pray tell what might they be, I enquired. It can damage your kidneys and it might make you pee more. The latter is impossible, there’s no more space in the day for more peeing* but not sure about the kidneys though, aren’t they quite important? Oh and it can make you dizzy. Better and better, I thought but such is my desire to stay away from insulin, I have agreed to try it. I will keep you informed dear reader as to the outcome of this latest diabetes adventure.

Thinking of my diabetes I was amused to read an article in the papers a few weeks ago now headlined, Can you really beat diabetes? This was an article about a chap who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (same as me) at the age of 59 (about 10 years later than my diagnosis). He wrote, “I was thin, fit and 5’ 7” tall, drank frugally, went running every week and weighed just 10st 7lbs.” Blimey mate, that’s unlucky, you have my sympathy, at least until I read the rest of the article where he described his strategy for beating diabetes. Briefly it was – reduce body weight by a sixth, he now weighs 8st 6lbs, runs three time a week, goes to gym twice a week, drinks no alcohol, a daily 800 calorie diet comprising three 200g liquid food supplements of soups and shakes and 200g of non-starchy vegetables (yummy) plus two or three litres of water. There’s more but I can’t go on. He writes four years later the ‘diet’ is still successful but it takes close monitoring and will power. An understatement I reckon. I really worry about this man’s health at 8st he probably will be blown over by a high wind in the park and snapped in half. But hey, he’s a grown man and who am I to comment, me desperately trying to stave off insulin and trying yet another drug that will make me dizzy and pee more. I’m six foot and weigh 91 kilos, not that bad, walk the pups twice a day. But stop, I’m kidding myself, I’ve still got diabetes and it getting ‘worse’. So shut up.

I couldn’t say that retirement and health concerns go hand in hand for all retirees but they do for me on my 68th birthday. Watch this space and if this blog suddenly stops you’ll know I made the wrong choice re my diabetes and maybe the other chap got it right. As my grandma used to say paraphrased – retirement, it’s a grand life if you don’t weaken.

  • My friend from Bejing who reads my blog regularly, said she was surprised at how much I revealed in my blog, she may have a point.
niece, sister-in-law, daughter at family picnic

niece, sister-in-law, daughter at family picnic


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  1. Still the Lucky Few 2 years ago

    Judging by their giggles, it looks as if they’ve just read your blog! But seriously, diabetes is not funny, and you are wise to do anything to avoid going on insulin. My husband has had type 2 for about 15 years, takes metformin, cheats like crazy with his diet, but is still not taking insulin. I say a day without insulin is a good day!

  2. Peter 2 years ago

    Happy birthday! You’re right it was a bit confusing but always interesting….

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