On dry lips.
I was recently diagnosed with diabetes. One of the things I have to do to keep it under control is walk for half an hour day. I’ve not been much of a walker for years and so this is a bit of a challenge for me! My friend and fellow Leeds Wellbeing Webber Su is a big fan of walking, so I interviewed her about this. We sat outside the Abbey Inn pub that borders Horsforth and Bramley and took some photos of the area.
I do struggle with motivation. Sometimes arranging to go with someone else is enough to focus on doing it, or convincing myself that I’m really not fit and listening to my body. I need to just get on and do it and dedicate myself to it. A practical thing I do is to write a large memo as a prompt and place it somewhere prominent as a reminder that I want to get out of the house and walk.
People often say walking is the best exercise and can raise your mood. What is your experience of this?
I think that is absolutely true. And there are benefits to walking with other people, for companionship and safety. I did have a time where I dedicated myself to doing it everyday. I’d do it without headphones and music, take a notebook because solutions to problems that seemed insurmountable would kind of float to the surface as you’re walking. Kind of like meditation. If you’re doing it by yourself, you can enter into that state.
Where and when do you like to walk?
Because there isn’t always someone to go with, it has to be local. That’s Leeds 13, Bramley. When I’ve felt fitter, I have walked from Bramley to Horsforth, across the boundary, the river and canal. That’s a nice long walk. I like Bramley Fall Woods and Bramley park. There is a fabulous view from there. I like Half Mile Lane, which borders Bramley and Farsley. Going further afield, Roundhay Park and Woodhouse Moor are pleasant. I attend Leeds University and the campus is an enjoyable place to walk, it includes Saint George’s field.
Have you always enjoyed walking?
Yes it was very much part of my upbringing. We always walked to school, I walked at least four miles a day, to and from Primary School. I always walked to work. But I’m not a hiker or country rambler, I find that hard nowadays. I walk to the shops and town. I keep in mind it should be a daily activity.
To summarise then, motivation can be improved by having a walking companion, using prompts to focus, walking can help you to think more clearly and gain insight into any problems, Walking is an opportunity to enjoy nature and it’s scenery, it is the best exercise and helps raise your mood.
Another day, another rummage down the back of the benefits sofa to find a spare £12bn. This week: changing Employment Support Allowance to incentivise ill people to get back to work.
One problem: I already have the best incentive to stop being ill and get back to work. It’s called “being ill”.
I would love to go back to work because if I were able to work, I would no longer be sick. Long-term illness nibbles away at your identity from the edges, taking out chunks of the things that make you you: the friends you meet, the shops you wander into, the job you do. I would love to work, if only because it would give me something to use in small talk, a context in which to place myself, the grit around which an imperfect pearl of who I am can begin to re-form.
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Mary’s message today deals with connecting with Nature. When you are in Nature really appreciate the things around you. Don’t just walk on a trail but really connect to the sights, the sounds, the smells as you walk. You are an invited guest into someone else’s home. Use that visit to really connect with Nature and appreciate all it has to offer.
And this is According To Mary!
Mary’s message today is pretty simple she wants everyone to take up a musical instrument. She wants you to know you would enjoy instrument playing. Music puts us in a higher vibration and playing one is so much fun! I luckily was exposed to the piano at early age by my mother and a music system at school before budget cutbacks so I had so many options growing up. I rarely refused any chance to learn a new instrument or sing in a choir. I loved learning them and singing so much. I had a difficult childhood and I didn’t know it at the time they helped me stay positive. I have loved playing music and singing over the years. I am now teaching Scott to play an instrument for his 50th birthday. He cannot believe how much fun it is too. You forget your problems of the day…
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Hello. I wrote the original version of this to go to some music. I don’t think the recording will still be around and I can’t remember how the music went. Never mind! Here is the poem.
Sun rises over the earth
Life sprouts forth
Sun showers gifts to all.
Clouds give way
Blue skies of
Shiny globes of joy
Winking in golden haze.
By Daniel Tavet
The group Icebreaker have previously done a tour where they re-interpreted songs by Brian Eno. Brian Eno shot to fame in the early 70s with the band Roxy Music, where he played synthesizer, an instrument which was in its early stage of development. Eno had previously been an art student, inspired by ‘minimalism’, an art form which is about only using the basics. Eno then went on to work with a wide variety of other bands, such as David Bowie, Talking Heads and German ambient pioneers, Cluster. After this tour, they wanted to do something similar. They chose Kraftwerk because like Eno, (in fact much more so) they were highly influential in developing electronic music, from the early 70’s and up until the present day.
On the 23rd of January Icebreaker performed at Howard Assembly Rooms in Leeds. Before the main performance, Icebreaker did their version of Terry Riley’s ‘In C’. Terry Riley was, an American minimalist composer. ‘In c’ is considered by many to be a masterpiece. The composition went through many different shades, from mellow to noisy, from joyous to dark, from hypnotic to intense. It gradually built up from a luxuriant clarinet to a climax of sound. There was a part that for some reason made me think of a giant worm coming out of the earth!
Each Kraftwerk song was performed as an avant-garde instrumental, apart from a little snippet of processed German vocals, which I believe was sampled from Kraftwerk. Each song segued into the next. The performance was for about an hour. The songs combined many eclectic sounds and influences. After a while a booming bass appeared. The drums were more for percussive effect, such as crashing symbols, rather than rhythm. They were combined with electronic drums for extra volume and bass.
Above the musicians were three large screens. The screens began showing abstract shapes and rotating wire mesh which flashed to the pulsating bass and crashing symbols. There were shots of what would normally be mundane – doors, windows, pieces of metal. Grainy black and white images of Kraftwerk’s home city of Dusseldorf, desolate streets and factories with no people. Weeds blowing in the wind, industrial chimneys blowing out thick smoke. These images could have been filmed anywhere in the Western world. Scenes that would usually have been empty and inhuman evoked emotion. The film, created by Sophie Clements and Toby Cornish, is intended to create insight into Kraftwerk’s ideas of technology and how technology affects urban and natural space. For the song ‘Autobahn’, first we were shown a car driving down a motorway, from the viewpoint of a passenger. Then, the screen showed the white lines of the road, which you would expect to be dull but was in fact rather intriguing! The bleak images contrasted with the powerful music. It would be interesting to know what Kraftwerk would think about this! I thoroughly enjoyed this performance. Much thanks goes to Howard Assembly Rooms
Members of Icebreaker: James Poke – flute, pan-pipes, WX11 wind synthesizer, bass drum, Rowland Sutherland – flute, pan-pipes, Bradley Grant – saxophone, clarinet, Dominic Saunders – keyboards, Ian Watson – accordion, Audrey Riley – electric cello, Dan Gresson – percussion, James Woodrow – guitar, bass guitar, Pete Wilson – bass guitar with J.Peter Schwalm on electronics and processing.
By Daniel Tavet
Phoenix Health and Wellbeing in Leeds city centre provide alternative treatments such as various massages, aromatherapy and acupuncture. Acupuncture is a very ancient form of treatment. Traditionally, the Chinese believe our bodies have an energy force called ch’i (pronounced ‘chee’) or qi. Ch’i runs through the body in channels called meridians. These meridians can become blocked either through excessive yang energy – an energy that creates activity, or excessive yin energy – an energy that creates passivity. An excess in either yang or yin is the result of certain thoughts and actions. The excess can cause mental and/or physical illnesses and more minor conditions. It is believed that applying the acupuncture needles in specific points on the body stimulates the meridians which then un-block. The needles are thin and sometimes people don’t feel them when they are applied or just after application. The acupuncturist at Phoenix explained that in China, acupuncture is a communal treatment, many people will be treated in the same room at once. On Wednesdays Phoenix treat three people simultaneously in their Community Acupuncture clinic.
The staff at Phoenix were very pleasant and friendly. The acupuncturist asked about my health and how much sleep I get, then I got on the bed which was like a more comfortable version of the type you see at a conventional doctor’s. There was relaxing classical music playing in the background. The acupuncturist and a trainee took my pulse. A needle was placed in each elbow and a few were put in my lower legs. I was often asked if I felt comfortable and okay. I did. I was then told to simply relax and I shut my eyes for about fifteen minutes. I felt some pleasant sensations in my arms. By the time the needles were removed, I felt very relaxed, almost to the point of drowsiness. The acupuncturist said I could relax for a little longer before leaving.
When I left the room, the receptionist asked if I was alright and gave me a glass of water. The acupuncturist said to keep hydrated with hot drinks. I was asked if I would come again, I definitely would.
Phoenix also provide counselling and support to people with mental and/or physical health issues.
By Daniel Tavet