Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘beer

Extreme Dog Walking

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This is the new, ultra hip, super cool sport for happenin’ dudes, dudesses and their doggies.

Started on the Dorset coast in the autumn of 2010, it has finally brought together the noble traditions of dog walking, singing in the rain and mad, British malarkey.   Contrasted with the idea that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, this is the sport where only bonkers Brits and adventurous dogs go out in a torrential storm.

You’ve never been really wet until you’ve been Extreme Dog Walking.  When the rain has been blown past horizontal, round to vertical but going upwards, then you begin to get a flavour of this exciting and challenging sport.  When you have to walk with your face turned away from the stinging shotgun pellets that are rain drops while the dogs whimper and scuttle about your feet, only then will you begin to understand the determination, courage and true grit necessary to survive and succeed in this competition to end all competitions.  Far below the sea can just be seen as a seething mass of whitewater.  As the squalls come in the whole environment darkens and the gale force winds thrash and tangle at hat and clothing.  Even with the air temperature at 17 C, the rain makes your hands freeze and your face smart.  All you can do is call the dogs on, put your head down, gird your loins, steel your determination and go forth into the turbulence.  There is no option to stop.  It is as far to go on as it is to retreat.  Forwards is the only option. Onwards to the end, to glory and glorious triumph!

As in all such endurance events the best bit is when it stops.  A first layer of saturated “waterproofs” is peeled off and then the dogs are towelled down.  Then off come the boots, often with gushes of water as each one is removed.  Finally, right down to the underwear, each soaking layer is removed and the steam begins to rise.  Then we begin to yarn, to talk of how every gust seemed bigger than the last. To boast of how we just made it through when all seemed lost, how we nearly got caught by that “gnarly” one, how we feel so “stoked” and “trashed” by our experience.  Then we sit around in our “baggies”, drinking beer and smokin’ weed, knowing that we know what others never can, knowing that up there in them thar hills is where we feel really alive, where our sport of Extreme Dog Walking makes life worthwhile!

Under Pressure

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About four months ago I embarked on a course of medication for high blood pressure.  For some time I’d been warned that I was marginal with a reading of 140/90 so I decided it was time to start looking after myself.  I was a heavy smoker and drinker.  My only redeeming factor was that I walk with my dogs every day for about an hour – and that’s vigorous walking, up and down steep hills.

I was started on a calcium antagonist and within a few days I had virtually lost the will to live.  I had no energy at all.  I’d lost all motivation.  In the most degrading epsiode of all, one morning I found myself prostrate on the sofa watching “Homes Under the Hammer”.  That’s when I knew it was serious.

I took myself straight off that poison and went back to see my GP.   My blood pressure reading was now 168/100.  He advised a change to a thiazide diuretic.  Being the not so patient patient that I am, I insisted on a full explanation as far as my “O” level science was capable of understanding.

This time it was more subtle.  My energy, motivation and enthusiasm was sapped gradually.  As my positive life signs went down my thirst rocketed to absurd proportions.  After a month or so I was regularly up six times a night with a raging thirst and a full bladder.  When I cleaned out the space behind the passenger seat in my car I had two carrier bags full of empty drink bottles.

In the meantime, I gave up smoking.  I give the pharmaceutical industry credit for this.  A month of patches and a nicotine inhaler weaned me off the evil weed easily.  About this I am both pleased and proud.  I have at least one  “cigarette moment” every day but I am not going back to it.  Although I can recognise no physiological benefit at all (if anything I seem to get more breathless now), I am much richer and everything around me is cleaner as a result.

The next visit to my GP saw my pressure reduced to 150/95.  Better but not good enough.  He advised me to start taking an ACE inhibitor as well as the diuretic.

I researched ACE inhibitors and was horrified at the range of side effects and contraindications.  Then, suddenly, coming fast up behind and undertaking me before I knew what was happening (forgive my blushes) I discovered I was impotent.  One embarrassing date and then a dawning realisation that nothing was happening, even involuntarily.  No more waking up with a big itch!

I’m not ready to give up my sex life just yet.  The one and only criticism I have of my GP is that he never warned me of this side effect.  I have also cut my drinking by a huge proportion.  From a half bottle of whisky upwards a day I am now comfortable with a single glass of wine or a small beer.  In the last few weeks my motivation has gone again.  I can’t be bothered with long walks with the dogs anymore.  Just half an hour out in the mornings and I’m exhausted.  I’m not interested in anything.   My occasional lunchtime nap has become a necessity.  Sometimes, even before midday I feel so exhausted, I just can’t wait to go back to bed.

Four days ago I stopped the diuretic and yesterday I felt like I had got my life back.  I have so much more energy.  I’m enthusiastic as I can’t remember for months.  I fair romped up the hill with the dogs this morning.  My thirst is calming down and I was only up twice last night.  My mojo isn’t back yet but I can feel a little twitch developing.  Come Christmas time I advise you to lock up your daughters once again.

The punch line? My blood pressure is now 170/110.  I may be heading for a massive stroke or heart attack any minute but at least I’ll die happy.  Despite giving up smoking and decimating my alcohol consumption, my blood pressure is much worse than when I started.  So what does that tell me?

I have no idea at all but at least now I have a smile on my face!