HERE are the pictures Josie (Kyme) has sent us of the stained glass windows being repaired in the studio near Reeth. A lot of care and skill goes into it, and you get the impression she and Roy, Brian and Mark, have a real feeling for the work: it’s not just a job. Some of the windows have now been replaced, though – disappointingly – not the big east one. We were sure that was going to be done today as well, but apparently work hasn’t started on it yet. Oh well, we’re convinced it will be worth waiting for.

WEIGHTWATCHERS tonight. Two words I never thought I’d say. By nature, I’m not a joiner. I don’t like even a hint of being told what to do, how to live, what’s good for me. I also loathe the current obsession we have – correction, women have – with weight and appearance. Of course I like to think my motivation for losing weight is loftier than that: it is, naturally, for health reasons. Or so I manage to convince myself. Anyway, there I was, in the unlikely setting of the Gayle Institute, which is really just another name for the village hall, with a lot of people who look a bit like me: 60-ish (some), plump (most), white (exclusively) and female (also exclusively).

We had a jolly Geordie leader called Ruth (brown – ie suntanned) who pointed out a “before” picture of herself: before, that is, she joined WeightWatchers. Hmmm . . . she looked at least half an ounce heavier. She weighed me in and thankfully nobody else saw the scales. First panic over – I’d thought part of the process was shaming you in front of others. Quite the contrary, it turns out. Anyway, I’ve got my goal and I’ve got my blue folder and the little calculator that tells me how many points I can use each day. It remains to be seen whether I have the staying power for a prolonged, and sustained, period of dieting. Oops – correction: it’s not a diet, it’s a “whole new way of thinking about food.” Which begs the question why, just behind the row of chairs on which we place our ample bottoms, there is a table laden with chocolate bars, savoury snacks, sweets and treats. Low calorie of course, and all bearing the WeightWatchers brand name. But if your aim is to change the way people think about food, pandering to the snack mentality by producing snacks probably isn’t the way to achieve it.  We must instead convince ourselves, somehow or other, that we don’t need crisps and chocolate and gooey stuff constantly being shoved into our mouths and then sloshing around in our gut – low calorie or otherwise.

WHILE delivering charity envelopes I met Ian the curate and Ann the vicar. They asked me if I’d like to consider taking on a task. Like most people I find it difficult to say no. Not because I’m always so anxious to help everybody – though that’s what I’d like to think – but because I don’t want people to think I’m a nasty, selfish person who never does anything for anybody. Somebody once said (it might even have been a vicar in a sermon): “We’d all worry a lot less about what other people thought of us if we realized how rarely they actually did.” So I didn’t say yes but I didn’t say no.


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