Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Chocolate is good for you! 2

Further to my previous post today's news as the headline "Chocolate lovers 'are more depressive', say experts " or, as they said on the radio "Chocolate Causes Depression." Of course if you read the full article it says nothing of the sort only that people who eat a bar of chocolate or so a week have a slightly higher depression score.

However I stand by my original post for 2 reasons:

  1. They research admits it doesn't know if it is cause or effect, people who are depressed may eat chocolate as a mood enhancer.
  2. I was only talking about high cocoa chocolate and not the the mass produced bars that make up the majority of the western chocolate consumption.

Here is the link to the article on the BBC News site as it is worth a read:


Sunday, 25 April 2010

Mrs Newman

My daughter has now changed her name and is Mrs Newman and no longer Ms Aylward. Here are a few on my pictures - I didn't take many and most of the ones worth seeing are on Facebook. However this may be easier viewing.

One thing I didn't mention yesterday, because I didn't want my daughter to know, was that I woke up with a chest infection. Thankfully though bad not as bad as some and I keep antibiotics and steroids at home for these occasions. However I got through the day without keeling over - probably because the barrel of beer was finished fairly early in the evening!

This is the bride in all her finery.

The bride and bridesmaid - I like this picture.

The car - an 1930's Rolls Royce Wraith

The bride and groom. As you can see the weather couldn't havce been better.

The view from the top table in the marquee on the church lawn. This is the central section, there's another the same side to the right (actually 2 half size ones) with and one half the size to the left. There were about 170 guests, we lost one to the volcano flight cancellations and two when the husband went down with food poisoning the night before following a pub meal, but most of those who had to fly in made it.

The big day has come and gone and life will never be the same again. Tomorrow will be spent down at church tidying and packing up and then it will feel like it is all over. I booked leave for most of the week (I do have to go in on Thursday for a meeting) to ensure I have plenty of time to recover.

My daughter is now on her honeymoon in Venice and will come back and move to their flat which, thankfully, is only 1.5 miles from here - close enough to be in contact but, for their sake, not too close. And so the rich circle of life goes on and we have to adjust to being only a 3 person household; in other words I have a room to re-decorate to turn into a guest room before my son turns it into a recording studio!

Saturday, 24 April 2010


Today is my daughter's wedding and by the time I got up (6:15) the friend who is doing hair and makeup for the bride, bridesmaid and bride's mother was already here and working!

So far I've had 3 mugs of tea, a bowl of fruit, croissant with cheese and ham and a glass of bucks fizz. I suppose I'd better get showered and dressed at some point.

Photos will follow.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Stress Time

In 3 days time it's my daughter's wedding. Today I am meant to A) be at church to let in the people putting up the marquee (in the garden not in the church itself) and B) be at home to accept delivery of a barrel of beer.

Just to add to the stress my daughter's car, an old Metro, stopped working on Sunday evening and so far I have failed to get it going despite fixing at least 2 things that were wrong.

On top of that I'm still editing my speech as I'm not sure it is as good as it should be.

Hopefully I will get to Saturday without having a breakdown.

Friday, 16 April 2010


Tomorrow night (Saturday 17 April) my wife, daughter and my self will be singing in a performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion at St Clement Danes church; better known as the RAF church in the middle of The Strand.

The church website publicises the concert which they descibe as "this unique performance". Unique? What do they mean? The dictionary defines unique as "being the only existing one of its type or, more generally, unusual or special in some way" so is that because we are only giving one performance or because it will be 'unusual or special in some way'? Tomorrow night should answer the question!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Why Goodyear Left GP Racing

Earlier today I was wearing my new shoes, bought for my daughters wedding in 9 days time, around the house to roughen up the soles before the big day. They are probably the best shoes I have ever owned and I doubt if I would have bought them if they hadn't been half price!

Shiny aren't they. However trying to walk on a carpet in them is like walking on ice; there is absolutely no grip. It was only when I looked at the sole that the reason became clear:

Here is a clearer picture:

Yes, they have parts made by Goodyear who left GP racing in 1998. Now if their GP tyres had as much grip as my shoes it's no wonder they left!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Chocolate is good for you!

If, like me, you like good dark chocolate and suffer from depression the news is that it can be good for you.

Yesterday I had another bad day with my depression, not helped by my asthma playing up, which made me wonder whether I was wise not to go back onto the antidepressants. Then the penny dropped - I hadn't had my daily chocolate the day before. Let me explain that. When I was in hospital my wife read an article about depression being helped by eating chocolate - but only dark chocolate which is high in cocoa. She therefore decided that I should have about a third of a bar of good dark chocolate a day - I prefer Green and Black's Dark 85% Organic.

I have just realised that on Saturday I had a very busy day, watching my son play rugby and going to my son-in-law elect's stag night, and forgot my chocolate. Now I have forgotten before and noticed that I didn't feel as good (to put it mildly) the next couple of days. The reason is, when you realise it, obvious - dark chocolate contains serotonin and the antidepresant I was on was meant to work but raising the serotonin level in my brain.

Now, as I said before, the antidressant had all sorts of side effects that stopped me feeling like me but, provided I don't eat too much, the chocolate has the same effect on my mood without the side effects. I realise that everyone is different and this might not work for everyone but for me here it is - my favourite antidepressant:

P.S. This morning I spoke to my GP about this and she agreed the chocolate is right for me but that doesn't mean this will work for everyone; some people will need the tablets either for a short period or permanently.

Bathroom Finish

Here, at last, is an image of the finished bathroom:

No a great picture I know but is very difficult to get a picture in a small room.

We had an amusing side effect of the work yesterday evening when foam started to come out of the front of the washing machine. I suspect that means the water softener is working and we don't need as much washing poweder (or tablets) in teh wash from now on!

Friday, 9 April 2010


Tomorrow it will be 2 weeks to my daughter's wedding and the whole house is now descending into panicky chaos. I know this is going to be hard going for me as I have taken the decision to not go back onto anti-depressive drugs as I feel I need all my wits about me during this period. Still the way things are going I may end up looking like the sane one!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Christianity and Depression

God moves in a mysterious way

Those are the opening lines of a hymn written by William Cowper, poet, hymn writer, friend of John Newton, evangelical Christian and manic depressive. Yes this renowned Christian hymn writer, who also wrote O for a closer walk with God was, like me, a Christian battling with depression.

Now too often mental illness is frowned upon in Christian circles as a sign of a weak faith – ‘If you really believed you would feel better’ ‘Cheer up, Jesus died for you.’ etc etc

I’m sure some of these comments are well meant but they miss the point – they are equating being a Christian with an emotional feeling. Faith is not built on feelings it is built on knowledge and understanding. If what we believe depends on what we feel that would mean that on the days when we felt bad God was irrelevant.

Now I can tell you that is wrong. When I was at my very lowest it was my faith in God that enabled me to keep going. I felt terrible but I was still aware of God’s presence and, most wonderfully, His sustaining love. Did this make me want to shout for joy? No, I was in no state to experience joy but it was a comfort to know He hadn’t given up on me.

Here is Cowper’s wonderful hymn in its entirety, read it carefully and you catch glimpses of his fight with depression and his unwavering faith in a loving God.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.