Annabel reels her way through the January Blues…

nordic_talkingThe snow has melted and the ground is like a squidgey sponge full of mud. Taking my dogs for a walk has become a chore as it involves so much post walk hosing down of dogs, boots etc. And then there is nothing worse than the smell of a damp dog – my two tend to gravitate towards the cushion by the Aga but then trip me up for the rest of the morning.

However at my age (the wrong side of 50) walking is such a good exercise and so joining a Nordic class was the best health choice I made in 2012. My Nordic poles are always with me and have proved a most useful walking tool during the ice age we have just had and I would not be without them. All through the snow and ice weeks I used them simply as another pair of legs, for stability, however for the rest of the year they get me out walking at a speed that I would not normally achieve on a normal dog walk. Plus there is nothing better than a good walk and chat with your girlfriends for getting rid of any winter blues whilst shedding the odd ounce or two and you do not need to be super-fit to start. My tip is find a local class and try it.

I don’t know whether it is my age or whether it is the world we live in but there seems to have been a flurry of bad news amongst my friends over the last few weeks and 2013 has not got off to a positive start. I have had friends struck down by serious illness and serious financial troubles, seemingly good marriages failing, friends flawed by bereavement or suffering from unbelievable depths of depression. On one day last week I had three phone calls from friends in need. All any of us can offer is a shoulder to cry on, a good listening ear and most importantly complete loyalty. It may seem very little but it will always help as people need to be reminded that people are there to care and share.

Other peoples’ woes do wake one up to how lucky you are if you have all the basics in life i.e. love, warmth, food, health and happiness. On Saturday I got an injection of all of these when I went to a localsoc-dance Burns party, organised by a couple of 22 year old men to raise money for the Outward Bound Trust, which I thought was most admirable. We all had to wear a touch of tartan, and it is amazing what one can find in one’s wardrobe! There was, of course, the obligatory haggis which was extremely tasty swilled down with much whiskey and wine. All of this meant that, when we cleared the tables, the idea of Scottish reeling which, previously had seemed best to be avoided, now appeared to be the most obvious thing to do. As the MC tried to demonstrate the Gay Gordons, memories of the Scottish dancing classes my mother dragged me to on a Friday afternoon when I was aged about 5 years came flooding back and it was like riding a bike. There may have been moments when I got my Dashing White Sergeant muddled with my Strip the Willow but all in all I came away with few injuries, a slightly heavy head but a very happy heart! It was an uplifting evening though I woke the next day a little sore in parts! I probably could have done with my Nordic poles at times when, after a few whirls, I felt very unstable or was that the whiskey?!!