Pigeon Pout

I am having to force myself to go out for walks. It’s for my health. More of this in a mo, no doubt. Who knows what I am going to write?

I dislike going out for walks. Partly this is because there’s nowhere to walk round here – I mean, it’s a mini-bungalow-grid attached to civilisation by means of one very, very long road lined with holiday camps. The very-very-long-road is very weedy, in between the holiday camps. More kinds of weeds than you could shake a stick at. To mitigate the utter boredom of either walking round the bungalow grid three times in succession, possibly reversing polarity midway, or walking from one end of the very-very-long road to the other, turn left and sit on a damp bench for five minutes before heading back, I listen to music. Even with the sound up it is difficult to hear the music over the passing traffic. Yesterday the left ear of my headset packed up. It was chewed by a cat, some five years ago, and held together with sticky tape.

I also dislike going for walks because walks mean going Out There, and Out There is full of Them. By Them I mean both Locals, who stare at you slack-jawed and drooling as you pass by their front gardens (possibly an exaggeration) and the Holidaymakers, who are here ten months of the year. Holidaymakers are more or less normal to look at but they wear funny clothes; shorts and strange shirts over big hairy bellies, or, in the case of women, sundresses over big but less hairy bellies, and sandals.

Some of them are rather sweet, though, in a city sort of way. Yesterday I passed two ladies in sundresses, with the usual huge, toddler-filled stroller each. They had stopped, fascinated by a couple of pigeons having a bath in a puddle. Apparently London pigeons don’t ‘do’ washing in puddles. I was tempted to stop and point out that there probably aren’t as many giant pavement-craters in London as there are round here, for the rainwater to collect in. I’m sure a London pigeon would be pleased to splash around and get the dust off its feathers, if only it had the facilities.

The walking boots are rather heavy: it’s like gravity increases as soon as you put them on. If only I could turn the world upside down like a piggy bank, I think, clumping womanfully along to the suicidal maunderings of Sarah McLachlan. Then all the people would fall out… somewhere… and I could go for my walk in peace.

So, it’s the cholesterol. I don’t know the reading yet but some pharmacist is threatening to phone from the doctor’s surgery on Monday morning. I am guessing it’s not too bad because last time they tested it it was under the safe limit, but the wretched girl was so mysterious about it over the phone.

‘Why is the pharmacist going to ring me?’ I asked.

‘Um, about cholesterol.’

‘So, is my cholesterol too high?’


‘Could you give me my results, please?’

‘Ummmm…’ It’s as if I have asked something really embarrassing. But I mean, it’s cholesterol, not gonorrhoea.

‘The pharmacist will discuss it with you on Monday.’

I was so cross that I looked up the legal situation on the internet. Bad news: apparently one’s blood test results are not one’s own property in this country. They belong to the National Health Service, or more specifically to the Secretary of State for Health. So if this pharmacist chooses, he or she could simply say: ‘Your actual cholesterol score is confidential and none of your business, but I recommend you take statins until you rattle, for the rest of your life.’ Hopefully, he or she will be more helpful than that or I will be forced to go private, or buy one of those expensive self-testing kits and puncture one of my own fingers with a nasty sharp piece of metal. I just have to stew about it all weekend.

However, I have already made a start on my not-taking-statins-under-any-circumstances campaign. I have started on the daily walking and am gradually feeding the birds the large store of cakes, biscuits, sugary pies and so forth I happened to have in stock. The bird are dining like Henry VIII at the moment, off the fat of the land.

I have swapped butter for that yellow substance that looks like margarine but is advertised as hoovering up cholesterol. I have exchanged hard cheese for cottage cheese. I have exchanged ordinary pasta and bread for wholemeal pasta and bread. I am reading a book about it. I suspect I’m even going to have to cook again: no more cheese-and-pickle sandwiches and hastily microwaved soup; no more late-night bowls of cereal slathered in sugar; no more Mars Bars.

Hard cheese – it is indeed. Forced to eat stuff I don’t like. Forced to not eat stuff I do like. Forced to go out for walks. Outside. With people.

7 thoughts on “Pigeon Pout

  1. My mother used to say, “…shake a stick at.” I believe I say it too, from time to time.

    I’m in exactly the same place LDL-wise and fending off threats of statins-wise. Resist, my dear, as long as you are able.

    I have a new family doctor. She has been ordering tests and readings and measurements and so on, including a full blood levels workup. While at the testing place, I noticed that I could register with them online and access the results. I’m glad I did. When the report came in, there was a cover letter which summarized the results and highlights the areas of concern. Mine were all clear.

    In details, I could read each of the assorted “markers” – LDL was nearing the higher limit – that is 3.8. 4.0 is the line one should not cross.

    So, when I had my follow-up visit to the doctor, I was startled to see that she wrote on my file “LDL is at 4.0. Recommend statin treatment.” Wait a minute! She’s rounding up?

    You see, my doctor has been lobbying me from day one about statin treatment, even before the results were in. I am overweight, I have high-ish blood pressure, and there’s a history of heart disease and stroke in the family.

    She’s a pill pusher. I’m a pill resister. I’d rather adjust my eating and exercise habits.

    But, I don’t care for walks, either, when they become routine and boring and you are on show for all and sundry. More hairy bellies than you could shake a stick at, so to speak.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Medical people do seem to want everybody taking statins come hell or high water, especially over here. I too am a ‘resister’. I feel instinctively that all tablets, injections etc., should be avoided except as a last resort, when all attempts at lifestyle change etc have been tried and failed. Bodies weren’t designed to have foreign – and often conflicting – substances swishing around inside them.

      The upper limit they recommend in this country is 5, as the total of the two (both ‘good’ and ‘bad’) types of cholesterol. I waited for ages this morning for them to call and give me the bad news that mine had shot up to 7 or something (they SAID they would call if anything was wrong, so I naturally assumed something was wrong) and eventually I got so fed up with waiting that I called them. He said my total reading was still well under the limit (!) it was just that the triglyceride level was up a bit. Apparently triglycerides are the bad stuff. So he said just keep on doing what you’re doing, with the healthy walks and the dietary changes (rats! now I’m stuck with the horrid healthy lifestyle) and we’ll check it again in 6 months or so.

      I could do with losing weight, and I don’t do nearly enough exercise, so I suppose it’s not such a bad thing. Luckily my blood pressure etc is OK, and no family history.

      So all that panic for… not very much, really.

      Shake a stick at – it is a funny expression, isn’t it, when you think about it? I wonder where it came from. 🙂


  2. That’s a relief, then. Good news.
    A quick google check reveals that “shake a stick at” means abundance, many, more than ample – perhaps tied to the shepherds habit of counting livestock or a dock manager counting crates offloading from a merchant ship – one or two crates = not much stick shaking, but an abundance = this silly saying.

    Liked by 1 person

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