Category Archives: Health

It’s a cycle… part 2

Is cycling dangerous? Well like everything else I had to be careful and know what to avoid. I learned pretty quickly that petrol tankers were to be taken very seriously. They had a tendency to suck cyclists in as they passed them when both were at speed. The nearest I came to an accident was at a roundabout when a woman started swerving all over the place and almost collected me when she suddenly decided which exit to take. I also had the odd knob throwing things from cars and shouting abuse etc. Cycling is like everything else, you don’t want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and you are RESPONSIBLE for your own actions!

The current fad for cycling within the general populace, within a certain segment, is of course driven by self-righteousness. Save the planet. We hate cars. We are better than car drivers. You know the stuff.

The other day there was an interesting article in the press about cyclists and how stressed they get when cycling in the city. Edinburgh University got a group of cyclists together and asked them to cycle along a particular route. The group contained experienced and new cyclists.

You’ll be shocked by the results. Apparently the more experienced cyclists didn’t feel as much stress as the less experienced and the cyclists felt more stress when they approached busy junctions. Really? Who would have thunk it?

I’d suggest that if the beginners took some training and put some though into how they would actually cycle, like not going through red lights, not going down one way streets the wrong way, not cycling on pavements, not cycling along the left hand side of a any vehicle, not wearing and using ipods/headphones, not putting far too much weight on the bike etc. etc. etc. I’m fairly sure their stress levels would drop and the number of injuries and squishings would also drop. Also bear in mind the streets go as well as down and Edinburgh has lots of hills, cobbles and very poor surfaces.

Of course they won’t do anything. They’ll just sit and whinge and try to gain as much benefit from the council to give them a higher status, funded by the local council using taxpayers money, than every other road and pavement user. Bear in mind that they are not insured so if they crash into you what happens? Do you have to pay for their accident?

The biggest nonsense though is the current push for vehicle drivers to be deemed the cause of any accident a cyclist is involved in. That’s better known as guilty before being proven innocent.

I was in Hyde Park recently and they have all these wee routes all marked out and cyclists and pedestrians share the same tarmac paths. The speed of cyclists compared to pedestrians is, in a lot of cases, significant so walkers are likely to take the brunt of any collisions.

How did we ever come to all this crap?

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Posted by on November 27, 2014 in Cycling, Edinburgh, Health, Traffic


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It’s a cycle… (Part 1)

Cycling used to be looked down upon by most of the people who are now very keen to cycle themselves. After all cycling used to be the preserve of the workingman, it was a cheap way of getting to work, it saved them time and maybe they felt fitter. Kids had bicycles also but mostly hand me down adult bikes without much in the way of gears and certainly no suspension apart from a couple of springs under the seat. Then in the 60s things changed a bit.

Cars became more affordable making it easier to transport kids and all sorts of stuff and go out for drives and holidays. Kids still cycled and some bikes, like the Raleigh Chopper were interesting from a design point of view but they weren’t good dynamically.

Some chaps in the USA started racing down dirt hills on their bikes, which led them to needing better gears since they had to get up the hills first. They also needed much wider tyres so they had enough grip and the tyres didn’t puncture as easily. They started messing around with various things one of which was to make the weight of the bike much less since pedalling up hill is easier if weight is lower.

It caught on and before we knew it mountain or all terrain biking was born.

I joined the ranks of cycling many years before that, when I was big enough to reach the pedals of an ancient maroon Raleigh ladies bike with no gears and brakes worked with solid metal rods rather than the much better and safer cable operated brakes. Years later, my re-entry in cycling was to buy a mountain bike which had some 15 gears to choose from but it was still pretty heavy. I then moved onto a bike, which I had to tie down to stop it floating away which had 21 very expensive but beautifully engineered gears. I also started wearing cycling shorts and lycra tops in hideously bright colours etc.

I started off doing around 5 miles at a time and then expanded that to 25 or more miles depending on time, light and weather. I was doing more than 120 miles a week just for fun and was certainly fitter for sure. There were lots of hills where I lived which was a bind but at least going downhill was pretty good. On the flat I’d usually manage around 18 mph cruising speed on the mountain bike I had and I’d see around 30 mph on some downhill sections.

I’d learnt the cycling highway code thing and done the cycling proficiency but not got the badge. I wore a helmet sometimes and I timed and recorded all my runs out on my bike in a sort of cycling diary, which I still have. I had a wee computer that I used to measure all sorts of things for each time I went out.

More exciting cycling stuff in part 2!!!

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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Cycling, Edinburgh, Health


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Small boys smoking fags…

When I was a small boy still at primary school in the 60’s my friends and I used to pop into the sweetie shop and buy some fags. Yes you read that right. Packs of ten they were and sometimes you got wee cards with them and you saved them up.

If you really wanted to push the boat out you could buy wee pouches of chewing tobacco. I know. You don’t believe me. Well we did. They were of course sweets. The wee cigarettes had a red bit at the end of them so it looked like the fag was being lit. I liked them. You could swagger with a sweetie fag. It looked cool.

I wasn’t much of a fan of the chewing tobacco though. It didn’t taste great and it was pretty dry. I do believe that my Grandfather had learnt his trade as a pipe smoker from the chewing tobacco like sweet. My Grandfather was an Olympic class spitter. He could spit from his chair into the fire or sometimes onto the metal fire basket thing that held the fire itself. My Grandmother wasn’t a fan of this. So he had to spit, smoke his pipe and take dogs abuse all at the same time. What a hero.

Now I’ve noticed that there are gadgets you can buy if you are a smoker. You can buy elctro fags. It’s the latest craze to hit the High Street. Small shops, dedicated to these electro fags are popping up as I speak. The electro fags don’t all look like actual fags and whilst some give a wee hint of nicotine not all of the others do. Bear in mind that nicotine in various guises are in our food and our bodies and pretty much everywhere in fact.

When people smoke an electro fag some of them emit steam. Not smoke, just steam. Water vapour, just like the stuff that comes out of your kettle or out of your ears when the EU say they’re going to ban them.

I don’t smoke even if I did practice with sweetie ones, which I’m sure, will have been banned years ago. I don’t mind if people smoke. I don’t know why its been banned in the first place and don’t say its for health reasons. Can’t people just do their own thing along with people with similar interests? Like golfers, politicians, journalists, people from the BBC… feel free to add your own.

As a teenager at secondary school my year group went to the gym hall one afternoon and we were shown a short film which was suggesting we should never, never, never, smoke unless we were on fire. Just to force the point home the film had shown a man in a white coat show the difference between a smokers lung and non-smokers lung. The smokers lung was black and all horrible. That’s a technical term by the way.

It turns out that it takes an expert who knows about lungs and stuff to use a microscope to identify if the person whose lung it was smoked. It was propaganda. It was a disgrace. There is the other small issue with cancer deaths growing whilst the number of smokers drop. Second hand smoking? Where are the bodies?

If people want to smoke carry on. Are we non-smokers so nasty that we cant give them the space to do their thing like we used to?

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Posted by on February 7, 2014 in Equality, Health, Smoking, The NHS


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Food recycling…

There was a minor scandal here in Edinburgh a week or so ago. When I heard I was appalled. Edinburgh Council had managed to mistakenly thrown some food waste in the landfill tip rather than going through the process that food waste goes through. It cost the Council £800. It was mistake apparently.

I don’t know if you have food recycling in your neck of the woods. I’d imagine you would because all the councils are always bragging about how green they are. We were given a black sort of bucket thing and a smaller “caddy”. We have to fill the “caddy” using a green plastic bag liner, which rots away. The bag then goes into the black bucket thing and twice a month some guys turn up and empty the black bin thing into a lorry.

Now, this whole system sort of works. We don’t have much food waste apart from peelings and maybe the odd bit of bread etc. The system isn’t great. It’s pretty smelly and nasty and we also had an infestation of the black bucket thing by some creepy crawly things.

After trying it for a while we decided that we would stop doing it. Recycling has some benefits, I think, but I don’t think the way the food waste is handled is ideal. I think it actually is a health hazard and it seems like we’re going back in time, which I suppose is what the greenies want really.

When I was young we had a brock bin. All food waste went in it. It was metal and had a metal lid and a local farmer emptied it once a week. The brock bin was for the pigs, which lived in one of the local small holdings. They seemed to really like it, the pigs I mean. The waste was put into a big drum thing and it was cooked or boiled or something and it was a bit smelly but the pigs loved it.

We aren’t allowed to do that now because it’s bad for the pigs. This is according to the EU, which knows about loads of stuff and is really good at telling us what to do on many, many subjects. I can’t say I’ve noticed a huge improvement in pork or sausages. Neither have I seem any immensely happy pigs although I should point out that I haven’t been seeking any pigs out as it were.

Anyway back to the Council. They apologised to everyone although they took some stick at wasting £800. The Greens were a bit annoyed, well they are always at least a bit annoyed but they were annoyed a bit more than usual.

Now that’s a bit odd. You see the Greens were pretty happy about the trams which cost at least 1 BILLION pounds whilst the rest of us, who are paying for them were pretty ticked. £800 versus 1 BILLION.


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Edinburgh buses.

If you’ve been to Edinburgh you may have noticed that we have a lot of buses and I mean a lot. Their routes criss-cross the city and the outlying areas pretty significantly.  If you’ve been you may also have noticed that they take up a huge amount of the road with their bus lanes, prioritised traffic lights and other road restrictions, which car users have to abide by.

The buses used to belong to the old City Council and the current bus service is a separate legal entity although it is still really run by the council. The buses are very new and shiny, no rickety old crap for Edinburgh. We have some that are very environmentally friendly apparently, but more of that later.

We have various services which run every 5 minutes at certain times of the day and sometimes you see these buses running in a convoy of three. If you look along Princes Street you will see many, many buses. A riot of white, maroon and gold, which are the colours that the buses are painted in.

At some junctions it’s gets very interesting. A bus wants to come out and a bus is waiting to turn in, they juggle about, sometimes its more than two buses, and let each other out and in and so on. Meanwhile the rest of us in cars sit there with places to go using up our time, we the very and the majority second-class citizen car drivers paying through the nose for the privilege of driving our cars etc. The joys.

Don’t get me wrong the bus drivers are really good and they are considerate mostly. They are also the most patient drivers in the world. During the tourist season and the Festival in particular, a LOT of tourists use the buses. That doesn’t mean that they actually pay a fare and take a seat on an actual bus. The bus drivers are used to people getting on the buss and then asking for directions etc. The drivers go out of their way to help them get to where they are going.

I’ve also seen tourists get on a bus and give the driver the money to pay for their tickets. The trouble is that they don’t have the exact fare and the driver can’t give them change. The bus passengers then provide the correct money for the fares. Job done. Keep the tourists happy although it would be a good deal easier if they just stayed at home and sent us the money the would have spent if they’d come to Edinburgh.

Almost everyone who gets on a bus in Edinburgh thanks the driver when they get off. It’s all very polite. I often wonder if the jakeys who mug people that then and offer their apologies for taking up their time.

It’s just such a pity that the buses are given so much priority in traffic. They slow things down and cause jams and the bus lanes further reduce traffic flow and lengthen journeys.

Of course the recent report, which measured the pollution from vehicles in traffic, pointed to the greatest blame being that of diesel vehicle fumes. Given that some of the buses in Edinburgh have claims of operating at very low emissions levels and even claim to be carbon neutral (as if anything could be carbon neutral) it’s somewhat ironic that they are amongst the worst polluters.

Integrity? Hmmmmmmmmmm

Last thing. The bus fare has gone up from £1:20 to £1:50 in a very short timescale. Why? Well just one reason really. The extra money is being used to help pay for the trams, which were a complete steal at just £1 BILLION.


Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…

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Posted by on January 31, 2014 in Cycling, Edinburgh, Health


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Sugar and spice and all things nice…

You may, or may not have watched a programme last night on the BBC, which dealt with the tricky question of which, between sugar and fat, was good or bad for you.

You’ll maybe also be aware of the recent “sugar” condemnation by a group calling themselves Action on Sugar. They have produced all sorts of stuff some of which may be factual and it’s worth bearing in mind that the people involved are all anti sugar, salt and other things, which THEY think, aren’t good for you.

The programme featured twin brothers, who were also doctors, being asked to have one stick to a fatty diet and the other a sugar diet. They did various things and were tested at the start and at various points during the programme.

I’ll cut to the chase.

At the end of the programme who did best? Well the one having the sugar diet. Since sugar provides energy for the body without it having to resort to turning muscle into energy which is a very bad thing apparently.

In both cases the results were exactly the opposite of what they believed was true. Remember they are doctors although not GPs.

They were also told that the combination of sugar and fat in equal amounts in cheesecake for example were the worst possible thing to eat. They didn’t go quite as far as to say that we could be addicted to this dreadful combination it was not good for us, but it was implied that it may not be good for us.

They also stayed away from the ludicrous attempts made in the past, including Action on Sugars attempts, which claimed that sugary foods had the same effect as cocaine on the pleasure centres of the human brain. There is no link. No one has ever found any evidence of this being the case and scientific knowledge at present does not have the slightest clue on how food affects the human brain.

This sort of makes a complete mockery of Action on Sugar. They had failed with salt and they moved onto sugar. They have failed with sugar. They are parasites fed by the government for it’s own reasons. Their funding should be removed with immediate effect.

The best diet is that set by “Scottish Grannies”.

Eat a varied diet and keep the portions sizes reasonable and get a bit of exercise.

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Posted by on January 30, 2014 in BBC, Food and nutrition, Health


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Panic. It’s such a nice little word. Panic attacks. Panic on the streets of London. It says a lot.

Apparently the meaning of panic is – “sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behaviour”. Very apt really.

I think it may be a useful word, which could replace another word. It should perhaps replace “left”. I don’t mean as in “right” and “ left” being changed to “right” and ‘panic”. That would be silly. I mean “left” as in “lefties” being changed to panic is what I had in mind.

You can see why this might work, the left panic all the time: tediously so.

The global warming scam. It started in the 1970s although it was called global cooling at that point, followed by the population explosion, followed by smoking, followed by the loss of the rain forests, followed by acid rain, followed by the hole in the ozone layer, followed by recycling, followed by global warming, followed by climate change, followed by severe weather, followed by obesity epidemic, followed by salt, followed by cycling, followed by sugar and no doubt sooner rather than later breathing.

In all of these scares the reaction has been the same – “if we don’t do something about it in the next 15-20 minutes” the whole planet is doomed I tell you, doomed.

The reality is different.

  • Cooling didn’t cool;
  • The population did grow but not as it was predicted;
  • It’s looking more likely every day now that smoking doesn’t cause nearly as many cancers as was claimed and so much of the evidence used has been lies;
  • The rain forests have been growing bigger except in areas where they’ve been torn down to grow environmental biofuels;
  • Acid rain isn’t mentioned at all now;
  • The hole in the ozone layer is still huge and gets bigger and smaller as it likes;
  • The recycling cult continues a pace but has become a rip off and a local council scam;
  • Global warming was based on a few years of hot weather then it stopped;
  • Climate change was used to include various other weather events which weren’t directly connected to warmth;
  • Severe weather is currently still in vogue although even the MET is clear that it’s not that severe and it is well within known parameters.
  • Obesity isn’t an epidemic, it’s mainly based on changes within our society away from manual work to much less manual work.
  • Salt intake doesn’t matter that much, our bodies just get rid of the salt which isn’t need;
  • Cycling isn’t a panacea, if people want to do it them fine but they should stick to the rules and pay up for the privilege like everyone else;
  • Sugar is present in a lot of foods and in a number of growing cases it’s there to make the food palatable since the fat has been removed;
  • Breathing? The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is around 400 parts per million. When a human breaths out the carbon dioxide count is 16000 parts per million. Pollution!!!! Especially if the person breathing out is doing any sort of exercise like cycling for example.

There will be more scares and phoney claims of doom and gloom all coming from the same sort of people. Someone writes a paper, which says there is a problem. Others then point out that there is indeed a problem and we’ll better do something in the next 15-20 minutes to stop it from being a world ending problem.

They tell their mates. It becomes fashionable to be doing something about it, chatting about it in a café is perfect. Then someone debunks it. Then the believers shriek about it being true. Then they move onto the next thing.

Panic, Panic, panic.

Dare I mention fracking?

Here we go again.


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People over 55 shun their doctor.

Well there’s a surprise. The article should really have been about doctors and medical staff at GP practices being far too pushy about what people should and shouldn’t do.

There was a survey carried out and then published in the Daily Mail that we people who are over 55 don’t go to our docs often enough. Now why should it be people over 55? A magic number of some sort? Is it a number at which people start falling to bits?

I would imagine that people of 55 or over are hugely more healthy than 55 year olds from a few years ago. It’s the same for all age groups and some of it is down to living better lives of which health care is part of the picture. Yes we’ve had access to drugs and improved medical care but we don’t go seeking it out unless we have too. Things were tight in the 60s and a lot of us didn’t have access to anything much at all. Our parents were much poorer financially and that had an effect on us over 55s but we had a much richer life experience since we “played out”, “wandered further” and “climbed, cycled, ran about” all the time.

The medical profession al though not all of them, of course knows best. Well they don’t actually; they just think they do which is a different thing entirely. We over 55s are very capable of spotting a scam when we see it. Like going along every year to the docs at their invitation so we can get weighed and checked. We know they get paid for doing this, I doubt many docs would do it if they didn’t.

I have a relative who starts taking statins a week or so before she goes for her yearly check. It works. She doesn’t have any problems and as long as the doc thinks she takes her statins he’s happy and leaves her alone.

I had my wee letter “inviting me” to go to get my yearly check. It went straight in the shredder. The Doc told me he thought everyone should be taking statins and blood pressure lowering tablets regardless. If I go I’m just a let down for them. I won’t take statins, I’ve stopped taking the blood pressure pills, I don’t drink, smoke and I’m not overweight. One of the medics suggested I should only eat red meat twice a week. Really? Now there I was secure in the historical knowledge that red meat was good for us. Not now however.

I’ll go to the Doc if there is a need. I won’t take part in their money making stuff. I won’t seek them out unless “I” feel I need them. I am an individual and I make my own decisions on the basis that if I’m wrong I will have to live with the consequences.

Ditto you?


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Will they ever stop whinging?

As the great global warming scam drifts to its final conclusion – there’s no such thing – what will happen to all those acolytes which took it all in and fell for it hook, line and sinker? Of course it was never about the climate or the cuddly environment it was always political but in a religious manner. All these trendy lefties with opinions about everything and they know better than the non-lefties how things should be done.

I heard them on the radio earlier today and they were on TV as well. Now it’s the next stage of the war on cars. Now it’s cycling!!!!! Cyclists aren’t being protected. Cyclists are being killed. And that’s true they are getting killed. That’s horrible. No one wants that to happen.

Chris Boardman did a few minutes on The Politics Show. He was banging on about the need for the government to get with it and make sure that cyclists could be protected as they helped the environment and got fit at the same time. Unfortunately he was cycling… without a helmet!!!! He would explain why he wasn’t Foot and shot come to mind.

It is a serious issue. It would be less serious if cyclists took responsibility for their actions and learned to read the road and the traffic. They aren’t trained and they don’t have any sort of license, training and insurance.

Last time I was in London I walked through a bit of Hyde Park. They had painted stuff on the paths so cyclists had a lane to cycle on. However, there were bits where people walking had to cross the cycle lane. Now that was dangerous! The difference between the speed of the cyclists and the speed of the pedestrians was just an accident waiting to happen.

Red lights are ridden through, signalling is vague, too late or non-existent, cycling in the wrong lane, cycling in the same lane as cars are going in the opposite direction, cycling whilst holding onto bags, cycling whilst wearing headphones and worst of all cycling along in the misplaced belief that other road users will make room for them.

Some car drivers approach a cyclist and slow right down. Then when traffic from the lane with cars coming the other way is clear they veer right out into that lane endangering themselves and all manner of other road users.

Cyclists are aggressive. Cycling in the UK can be a problem because it gets windy, it rains and we have hills. Hills aren’t a lot of fun unless they go down the way but what goes down must go back up again. Holland is always cited as having great cycling facilities but they rarely mention that it’s very flat.

I used to cycle a lot. If I cycle I get hot and sticky. If I were to cycle to work I’d explode, melt or have to have a shower and change of clothes before I could engage with my fellow humans. I used to cycle a lot, over 120 miles a week sometimes but always to get fit and just enjoy cycling. I like cycling but not in the city.

However, the whiners will keep on whinging. They want something done. So they will whine on and on and on and on until they get what they want and then they’ll move onto something else.

They might actually become adults…

Sorry. That’s never going to happen.


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Nigella Lawson…

It’s happened again!

Fresh from finding some commonality with the green party and the Guardian I now find myself being in agreement with a BBC person who was talking about climate change (I’d tell you a bit more but I can’t find the almost sceptical piece any longer which would seem to suggest it may have been removed by someone). Yes I know. Who would have thunk it.

I’ve managed this feat of losing the plot without recourse to any illegal chemical substances which brings me to another subject…

Nigella Lawson. I watched some of her programmes when she cooked stuff and what not. She would say stuff like she enjoyed Mars bars. She didn’t seem to mind whacking sugar into a lot of her creations and no mention anywhere of ”obesity”.

Now here she is all slimmed down and grown up.  Apparently she may have tried cocaine once and smoked a joint once. Oh dear. But it was only twice though. So that’s okay. It may however, have helped her get into a spot of bother with that nice Mr Saatchi.

I know he’s a nice man because he let me into his Chelsea Gallery and wander about for a couple of hours without charging me a penny.  Can’t be that bad then and I’ve been a few times and he’s still never changed me.

Back to Nigella. She smoked a joint. So does she also smoke? Or did she just smoke to try a joint the once?


You see you would imagine that people like Nigella, who are well connected and know loads of fellow slebs and politicians who might also partake of the odd joint etc. That must mean that they smoke when they partake. I’d also put serious money on them doing it more than once and then continue to keep doing it.  It would calm them down a bit from their frantic lives? Doesn’t that sound very, very, very similar to chavs who need to smako the odd joint to calm them down and allow them to get away from al their problems etc?

Again hmmmmm

Again my wallets out, although sadly not filled with the potential new Scottish “Stoater” currency, I’d bet more money that these same people smoke fags. Yes I’ve said they smoke fags. Shock, horror, probe!

Let’s get shot of a couple of things at this point. I don’t care a hoot who smokes and who takes drugs. All I ask is that they don’t hurt someone else whilst they partake. Smokers , unlike drinkers, aren’t going to punch anyone because they have smoked enough fags for them to be giddy. They don’t become angry smokers when they smoke too much either.

Now you’re thinking second hand smoke? Over to Jim Royle for a comment – “MY ARSE”. Thanks for that Jim. No such thing. No third hand smoke either. No toxic chemicals left on random surfaces, which can jump up and attack anyone in the vicinity.

Bear in mind I’m a non-smoker. Although I smoked a fair few of those fake sweetie ones when I was at primary school in the 60’s.

Of course it’s a bit different for the joint smoker. If you are a smoker of joints the worst you are going do is to maybe talk complete guff to someone or you might laugh too loudly for too long or you might even nick a bit of someone’s Mars bar because you were a bit peckish suddenly.

The real damage being done here, is our good old, well practised and over used friend hypocrisy. Yes indeed. They smoke tobacco in private and in public they look down on smokers. They vent their disgust at such people and get behind ASH and their like and spout the unscientific claptrap which is their mantra.

The point is that they smoke joints, which have tobacco in them. That is a sin. According to ASH and to the righteous. It’s also sin because they are lying, and they are breaking the law whilst at the same time being holier that thou.

Not a good place for them to be.

Years ago I had to go see my Doc. He was fairly laid back guy. I had been feeling under the weather, which he pointed out, was probably being caused by me working ridiculous hours and travelling all over the place as well. He took some blood because that would make sure and he asked me a few questions. One of which was “How much exercise did I get”? I said I got out of the car on occasions. He said “I do the same, I park near the newsagents and walk to the counter where I buy my fags and then I get back in the car again!!!!!! A man after my own heart.

Can you imagine a modern doctor or one of the practice nurses (I want a real one not a practicing on version please!) saying anything like that?

It would blood checks, BP checked, then prescriptions for all manner of drugs, none of which would require to be smoked. I’d have gone in with a small niggle and come out with at least three other issues. And, and, and, I’d have been lectured for the whole time I was there.

Good grief.

All Nigellas step forward and confess. Then say how sorry you are for having been brainwashed by people you thought knew about stuff when in fact they know less than nothing. Then straight to bed with no supper and television for at least a week.

For the rest of us then.

If you smoke and enjoy it carry on. If you need some care at some point and you have to go to the NHS remind them that you have paid countless thousands of pounds in duty on fags and it’s very unlikely that your care will cost more than that.

Ditto if your are cheerily plump.


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