Month: February 2019

The more you see, the more you see

It is such a lovely shade of blue. Tiny sparkles bloomed as the early spring sun danced off the bonnet as I walked towards it, key fob in hand. A short press of a button brought bright amber flashes to signal that my new car was unlocked and waiting for me.

It’s a Mazda3 in Blue Reflex Mica if you must know. The colour isn’t important for this tale though, but the model is.

I drove it out of the garage and turned and headed West. A first drive deserves to be more than the journey home, and I had plans to head to Helensburgh, savour it’s views of the Clyde then turn and head up over the hills to Balloch, flirting with Loch Lomond before taking the long way home towards Drymen and the hope for quieter country roads to explore, twists and turns to enjoy with a new machine under my control.

Minutes into my journey it started. At first it was just a curious yet explainable coincidence, I had just left the Mazda garage after all, so of course I’d see another Mazda3 nearby. But soon there was another, and another, and yet another. Differing colours and wheel trims aside, the roads were suddenly awash with Mazdas, or so it seemed.

I knew that it wasn’t actually the case though, that there wasn’t suddenly an influx of Mazdas driving round the West of Scotland, it was a simple case of frequency illusion/cognitive bias, aka Baader-Meinhoff. You’ve no doubt experienced it yourself; A friend mentions a new band, a couple of days later you hear them on the radio, the following week they are touring in your home-town.

Last year the humorist David Sedaris visited Glasgow as part of a promotion tour for his next book. I’ve been a fan for years, his wonderful wordplay, sardonic and dark imagery, as well as the heartfelt and raw honesty of his writing was a pleasure to hear. He told some stories, read some of his pieces and mentioned, somewhat in passing although the topic is an important one for him, how sad he was when he walked around Glasgow, seeing how dirty and litter-ridden it had become. He wasn’t wrong and having being based in the city centre for the past few years I can attest to his statement. It really is a dirty city these days.

The more I walk around, the more I’m noticing how dirty the streets are everywhere. Walking the dogs is making me look down even more, and it feels like the more I see, the worse it gets. What has changed? Why are our streets littered with mess?

There are obvious answers, Council budgets are stretched and getting thinner, so bins aren’t emptied as often nor are the streets cleaned regularly, all of this is compounded by the glib nonchalance of those who drop rubbish wherever they see fit. But then, the streets are already littered so what difference does it make? Yet maybe these are both symptoms of a wider rise in the throwaway/takeaway society which supports the idea that everything is disposable.

Is this the tip of an iceberg, as we’ve moved our focus to recycling, and having the right bins for everything, is it now MORE of a hassle to put things in a bin? Is it perhaps a push back on that?

Or is my own view, the move towards being better at recyclying, more aware of plastics, is that throwing these things into sharper relief? Is it bringing that cognitive bias to bear?

Six by Nico: Best of 2018

A shorter review because, this being a ‘best of’ I’ve already written about these dishes and, for the most part, they were cooked and presented the same way.

Also they cheated by including a course from the Chippie which was a 2017 menu in Glasgow, but 2018 in Edinburgh, but given it remains one of the stand out dishes I’ll let them away with it…

The Best Of menu is voted for by the public on social media and competition was fierce. The options were as follows (my votes in bold):

  1. Chips and Cheese (The Chippie) vs Arancini Tricolore (Sicily)
  2. Lamb Kebab (Middle East) vs Buffalo Chicken (New York)
  3. Pappardelle Ragu (Sicily) vs Scampi (The Chippie)
  4. Sea Bream (Vietnamese Street Food) vs Cod Fish Supper (Chippie)
  5. Duck Duck Goose (Childhood 2.0) vs Pork Cheek Barbicoa (Mexico)
  6. Big Apple (New York) vs Limone Siciliano (Sicily)

And it turns out I wasn’t far off the rest of the voting populace, with the final menu being the following memorable and mouthwatering delights:

  1. Chips and Cheese (The Chippie)
  2. Buffalo Chicken (New York)
  3. Pappardelle Ragu (Sicily)
  4. Cod Fish Supper (Chippie)
  5. Duck Duck Goose (Childhood 2.0)
  6. Big Apple (New York)

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Best of 2018: wonderful!

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Menu wise I can’t fault it at all. I was a little bit disappointed that the Pork Cheek Barbicoa lost out to Duck Duck Goose but given I struggled to choose between most of the options (Dish 1 and Dish 6 in particular), and the Duck dish was absolutely delicious I have little to complain about.

Worth mentioning the unvoted for snack option too, a wonderful basil pesto, cream cheese and crackers combo, chased down with a tasty little gin apertif to get the palate woken up and ready for six delightful plates of food.

The service was friendly and relaxed (the wonderful Stephanie entertained us as ever) and despite all that it offers, Six by Nico somehow seems to remain a bit of a secret; 6 courses of stellar food for under £30 and yet I’m still having to tell people to try it.

I do like the Best Of idea, it brought back memories of some very good meals and chats with my friends and, whilst we speculated as much as we always do, we are none the wiser as to what the next theme will be and that just makes it all the more exciting for the next visit.

GTPS

Picture the scene, I’ve stripped down to my underwear, I’m lying on my left side on a bed. A man enters the room, consults some notes, eases down my underwear to expose my right hip. Spots the X that was marked on my skin by the first guy I saw, murmurs “OK…” and then, as he dollops some gel on my exposed hip, tells me it might be a little cold.

It was.

He then proceeds to say, “So, basically, this little gun has two metal plates, one at each end of the.. .eh.. barrel, and trapped between them is a ball bearing which is, kind of, repeatedly fired at one of the plates, so, aye, it’s called Shockwave treatment… it’s a little noisy but let me know if it’s too sore or uncomfortable.”

With that, he applies said ‘gun’ and turns it on, triggering a loud fast metallic clacking noise and instant vibrations into my hip joint. I can feel them vibrating down my leg and into my pelvis. It’s not sore, but it isn’t comfortable. It is a very odd sensation.

And not just because I didn’t even know his name.

I’ve had the pain in my hip for a while now, on and off. It’s gotten worse over the past few months but I’m not sure why, perhaps the change of routine at the gym triggered it, or maybe it’s just old age catching up on me. It’s highly likely that it all started back when I was running, my knee still suffers if I spend too much time on my feet, but this new pain in my hip has been a couple of years developing. Regardless, it hurts.

I’m being treated for what has been diagnosed as Trochanteric Bursitis (also referred to as Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (GTPS)). I’d previously been diagnosed with inflammation of my ITB (the ligament that stretches from your hip down the outside of your thigh to your knee), but after an initial period where it seemed to be healed, the pain came back and then wasn’t responding to the treatment. The pain itself isn’t debilitating but is enough to make me wince, and as it comes and goes at random – some weeks I’d be fine, other weeks it’d be there almost permanently – I’d largely learned to live with it and manage my life around it.

I guess part of my thinking was that this was all part of getting older, so what’s a few aches and pains, life could be a lot worse, etc etc.

But I was getting fed up of it, and it was starting to stop me doing things I enjoy, simple things like, you know, walking and stuff like that. So I did some research and booked myself in with a local practice that includes a chiropractor and physio.

The diagnosis was pretty quick, and since then I’ve had three treatment sessions, including the initial consultation. They all follow the same process starting with the chiropractor who checks my lower back and hip then contorts me and literally jumps up to apply weight down onto my twisted torso to ‘open up those hips’. This is followed by a concentrated set of massages around the affected area, some skin scraping, and then it’s off to the shockwave room to have a metal ball bearing repeatedly fired at the tender spot on my hip.

Apparently the thinking is that because it’s a localised pain that wasn’t produce by trauma, the body adapts to it rather than trying to heal it. The skin scraping, which breaks up the tissue and muscle over and around the hip, followed by the shockwave gun working on deeper tissue and ligaments, is all designed to deliberately damage that area of my body so it will start to repair itself.

And it’s working. I’ve definitely got less pain, and even the pain I have isn’t as wince inducing as it was. Admittedly, moving out of my flat, and into a new home with Becca, probably didn’t help what with all the lifting and shifting of my belongings but hey, needs must!

Hopefully the next session, the fourth, will be all I need. Which is good as I’ve not been at the gym hardly at all through January and I really REALLY need to get back on it; my sisters wedding is in August and I need to look good in my skirt…