Well last night I finally sat down about 9 pm and thought "I don't want to spend the evening on my computer or watching rubbish TV (although last night I discovered the wonderful Channel 4 programme "Walks With My Dog" - to be followed up as it was lovely), so I actually picked up one of my "scraps" and it read "Fixing Dad". It certainly didn't disappoint!
It is the true story of two brothers who are desperately worried about the state of their dad's health, particularly his type 2 diabetes. In addition to that he has heart problems, high cholesterol - you name it - and he is only 62. They realize that the lovely dad that brought them up all those years ago was now a shadow of his former self and basically decided to "bully" him into doing something about it. After one scene where a man in the next hospital bed to dad reveals that he had a foot amputated due to diabetes, the shock enables them to get dad on board, They sought medical opinions wherever and whenever they could and, in the words of Baldrick, "devised a cunning plan". They narrowed their goals down to "fitness, nutrition and mind", and started from there.
It was lovely to watch them sparring with each other - something of an understated Laurel and Hardy routine - and that made it all the more pleasurable to watch as they were just so normal! In one of the scenes at the beginning you had a shot of 17-ish stone dad (about 250 lb) dressed up in lycra shirt and cycling shorts setting off on his first park ride on a very wobbly bike! Cue a quip from one of the brothers - "That's comedy gold right there"! The brothers realized that spending so much time "bullying" dad into doing something about his health was also taking away time from their own families and there were the inevitable tensions and bickering. At one point they are in a taxi and one of the brothers is speaking on the phone to someone about their "dad project" when dad tells him to get off the phone and basically keep his business private. So the brother replies "she's calling about our project, what am I supposed to do, hang up on her? you miserable old git"! But you know what, it was also actually a sign of how very affectionate and comfortable they were with each other!
Eventually they pay for a private full check-up for dad which reveals another, non-diabetes-related blow (don't want to give too much away here) but while this knocks them for six, as a family they get on with it and eventually come out the other end of a very long, dark tunnel. One very telling realization though is they realize that before the project dad seemed to have just "given up" because he was depressed and lonely - something they hadn't thought of before.
Eventually they all do a 100 mile bike ride around London in aid of Diabetes UK, and you see dad standing up to give a talk in a large auditorium about fighting back against diabetes. It's a smashing documentary, about an hour long and very "feel good"!
In fact, it was Ilona's comment on a Dr. Michael Moseley article in the Daily Fail that made me look up this documentary. Dr. Moseley was basically saying that it was time people fought back against type 2 diabetes, rather than just looking for a magic pill - which just isn't going to happen. In his opinion, diabetes in the U.K. (and presumably elsewhere in the western world) is a ticking time bomb.
They had a stock photo of an obese man in the article and I mentioned to my colleague how mortified I would feel if I actually recognized myself as "that obese person" in the Daily Fail article. Some of the clothes worn in these photos are pretty distinctive so I guess it would come as a helluva shock.
I'm overweight, although not shockingly so, and I seem to have been bobbing up and down with the same 7 lbs since Christmas. I had set the goal of losing weight by the time of my son's wedding in July, but that ship sailed when they bought the civil ceremony forward to March! Oh well, there is still the "party" side of the wedding to aim for in July, so I guess it's time to get back in the saddle.
On another note, I am the Treasurer (read "I keep the money in a tin under my bed") of our small group that runs the second-hand book shop at work. Whenever we get a reasonable sum together we meet to decide where to allocate the money. One time we managed to buy two wheelchairs for a hospice in Peru, and this time we have donated to a young man's trek across Mongolia in aid of a muscular dystrophy charity. Since we still had a little left I asked that we donate to a food bank in my local town run by the Red Cross. Every week when I shop I pick up a few items for them, and when I have a box full I take it down. Towards the end of the year their stocks start to run very low as there are strict rules about when and where they can collect. So I took our donation down to them on Tuesday and while they are used to people making financial contributions I don't think they were expecting as much as we were able to donate. To say they were surprised would be an understatement.
I was so glad we were able to give just a little back, all the more so since I actually spotted one of my neighbours picking up a food parcel! I just said hallo and went about my business. It's a strange world we live in sometimes isn't it!