Sunday, 31 December 2017

A Happy and Healthy 2018 by Penny Dolan

Hello - and a Happy New Year from everyone at Awfully Big Blog Adventure!

A long time ago, O Best Beloveds, when I was young and carefree under the apple boughs - and so on - traditional Christmas greetings often included words about people's health.
Curlicued scripts wished an unduly serious Happy & Healthy New Year, or Health & Wealth in the Coming Months. To me, then, it seemed rather medically-minded when gaudy paper-chains and tinsel hung around the walls. Were the aged relatives in danger of measles or chicken pox or gashing their knee when they were out on their bicycle? Surely they were too old to get bitten by one of the mad dogs we were always being warned about?
Moreover, when people met then in real life – as well as in books and films - drinks would be raised and glasses clinked along with the oddly Dickensian greeting of "To your Very Good Health". Everyone became part of a cast of Fezzipegs or Cheeribles, obsessively offering festive toasts to any Gathered Company and so on, and making a lot of grown-up noise at the same time.
Since then, life and the NHS have sharpened my gratitude so I’m now very happy to join in any incantation wishing people good health and strength. 

Besides, the wish is close to my thoughts. This past fortnight, I’ve been beset by A Vile and Fearsome Bug, as I think have many others. (You have my sympathy!) I can’t help feeling that the cold was probably brought on by the Soup of Fetid Air met in crowded shops, breathy carol concerts, overheated gatherings, wearied restaurants and more. 

For much of the year, my environment isn’t like that: I work alone, surrounded by my own range of friendly bugs and we have gotten used to each other. I also work cramped over my desk, with biscuits not far away, and similar - ahem! -  healthful habits. Not good, really.

So, for this first post of 2018, I’m musing on ways of improving my own "Writer Health".
One: I will start going out and about to a range of places, hoping that this will strengthen the immune system and give me more opportunities to “fill the well”. Maybe starting with a trip down to the Eric Ravilious exhibition at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield before it closes next weekend? (Weather watched and fingers crossed.)
Two: I will carry on helping with Storytimes at my local Library, which is very enjoyable as an activity in its own right, and no hardship. It’s also useful practice: school visits are harder to come by but when they do, I need to have vocal chords capable of working at a “public” volume for a patch of time, not just occasional mutterings to the cat. Also, mostly through nursery rhymes, I’m scraping the rust off my EYFS singing skills which were always more enthusiastic than musical. Without volume, my songs are as nothing.
Three: that small desk & posture matter? I will try – honestly – to exercise a little more each day, to set the timer and stretch and walk about a bit more - and not just to the biscuit tin. It’s so easy to stay stuck in one place and position when you are actually rushing about, in action, busy in the fictional world in one’s head. It isn’t good for me - or maybe you? Might even try out that easier-than-easy Beginner Pilates DVD my kind daughter gave me a year or so ago, assuming dust hasn’t clogged the surface.
Four: I will – honestly - try to go for more walks. This intention is partly inspired by all those “daily walk” pictures shown on social media. However, as I don’t live near the sea or really close to stunning scenery nor own a charmingly naughty dog, I may have to content myself with pavements and creative thinking. (Also, having heard David Not-the-Novelist Mitchell’s BACK STORY book, I do know that walking helps with a bad back - or at least, his bad back.)
Lastly: Sleep, sleep, sleep! I will try for a regular bedtime, an earlier waking and a less disturbed time in between.  
That’s it, then: my cunningly simple five-point-plan for a healthier time ahead – and I haven’t even mentioned the diet or the drink. Nor will you, I hope, not till the seasonal supplies are used up sometime around late May.  Will I manage my mission? I don’t know, but here’s hoping - especially as the alternative isn’t great.
So at last, Dear Reader, the time has come to polish cravats, oil crinolines, button the rubber buttons on liberty bodices and gather around merrily in a faux-Victorian manner.
Today is the first day of January 2018, so here’s wishing every one of you A MOST HAPPY AND VERY HEALTHY NEW YEAR, with enough energy and strength for a creative year ahead - and plenty of good books to read as well, if ever you need a bit of a quiet lie-down. . .
Penny Dolan


tracy alexander said...

Good luck with the plan, Penny. If you struggle, maybe get a naughty dog to help you out . . .

Sue Purkiss said...

Good luck with all these good resolutions, and Happy New Year to you too! Just off for what will undoubtedly be a wet walk with charming not-nearly-so-naughty as she used to be dog!

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

And a Happy New Year to you Penny with all your resolutions falling into place. I'm also determined to do more walking & notch up a daily 10 000 steps recorded on my phone. Unfortunately no naughty dog to lead the way! And yes the voice thing is interesting. I remember losing my voice when I went back to South Africa for the first time after I moved over here. Just wasn't used to speaking except with the postman!

Enid Richemont said...

Have made no resolutions this year except to strengthen my damaged ankle which is now beginning to give me balance problems, and also to swim again - the chilly changing rooms at the Health Club have really put me off, especially in deep mid-winter (yes, I'm a wimp),

Writing-wise, maybe pursue Unbound's offer for my adult novel, but their terms seem weird, as I can't imagine anyone I know being thrilled enough to the point of coughing up £10+ just to be mentioned in the credits. I could make some very simple resolutions for the world, like 'things could be amazingly good if we left personal power out of the equation', but would anyone listen and adopt? Probably not.

In spite of this, I do wish you all a wonderful New Year, and hope that, yes, good things might happen.

Lynne Benton said...

Only just got round to this, Penny, but thought "how true!" Thanks for writing it, and good luck with your resolutions. Happy 2018 to all!

Anne Booth said...

Very good post - and very relevant to my life too!

David Thorpe said...

Great resolutions Penny. I hope they pay off.