When I returned from Spain some weeks ago it was obvious that our bit of the Northwest of England had been having a reasonably dry spell. They may not have had a great deal of summer sunshine but the bridle paths were all dry and passable, free of mud puddles, and the grass in our back garden was dry enough for us the sit the smallest member of the family down there to crawl around and try to eat plants and flowers.
And then the rain came back, neatly coinciding with Phil's return from Spain and persuading him that our tales of reasonable weather were all fairy stories. And with the rain came the streams of water running down the road, overflowing from roadside gutters and causing general havoc. The problem of where the run-off rainwater, and the debris washed down from the hillsides, goes to has clearly still not been solved. And so, in a small way, I have taken matters into my own hands - or perhaps that should be feet.
As I have been out and about I have noticed roadside grids so completely clogged with dry leaves, then covered over with dust and dirt, that water could not get into them but simply washed over them. I discovered that scraping at the clogging layer with my foot would effectively remove this plug and allow the water to go down the drain. Simple! Of course I only do this when wearing trainers, generally old, well-worn trainers; more fashionable footwear is not subjected to such treatment. Neither can I do anything about the water that bubbles up through a small hole in the road surface or the manhole cover that have become a fountain, spurting water outside the pub next door. But I have been doing my bit.
When I go out running in the early morning in Spain, I usually see street sweepers removing dirt and debris from pavements and gutters. Such a system here would prevent the clogging of roadside grids. Why can Spain do it and we can't? Very occasionally a motorised roadsweepers comes round here and can't do much because of parked cars. Ineffectual!
Perhaps miscreants sentenced to community service could be set to road sweeping. Or it could be proposed as a solution to people who cannot discipline themselves to take exercise.
I recently heard of someone who proposed a solution to the obesity problem: crinkly plates that give the impression that they hold more food than is really the case. “You are tricking the brain into thinking you are eating more.” He also proposed heavier cutlery, designed to slow down the consumption of food. “We tested this and it took 11 minutes to finish a meal with this cutlery rather than seven minutes,” he said.
“Our brain takes at least 20 minutes to receive the message that we should feel full, so if we eat really fast we think we need more food – if we eat slowly the message gets through sooner so we eat less.”
Do people really eat a meal in seven minutes? Do they taste the food?
And then there is sleep. A review of a book about sleep points out that it is harder to lose weight if you do not get enough sleep. I could have told them that. You can do without food, to a certain extent, or sleep, again to a certain extent, but you cannot manage without both! Common knowledge among ladies! Sleep disturbance, it seems, also makes you more susceptible to memory loss, poor concentration, Alzheimer's, heart attack, depression and goodness knows what else. The article also talked about sleep patterns. Night owls cannot be converted into larks just because schools and work places and modern society demand it. Amazingly, it told us, about half of public schools (i.e. State schools) in the USA startbtheir day before 1.20 am.
And, finally, my husband commented on the lack of photos in my blog recently. This has been largely because I have been posting from my iPad (someone else being busy with the laptop) and having difficulty with uploading photos. So I have been experimenting again.
Here, I hope, is a photo of the sunshine in Manchester the other day.