Painting Still Life is a classic form of art painting which I find very satisfying and therapeutic. I like the challenge of depicting the objects as forms, shapes and colours and the importance of lights and shades. Often more exacting than painting people, animals or places it has the advantage of the subject staying still and in position for the number of hours required to paint it!
Many of my Still Life paintings are in oils on board approx. 20 x 16 ins Acrylics on canvas approx. 16 x 12 ins
Hello Diana, about this time every year I promise myself to make simple changes and to take better care of my health. What could my New Year Resolutions be? Molly Squires Edinburgh
Hello Molly, here are some easy ways to help you to better health in 2021
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to help ward off colds and flu. “Juicing” the fruit and vegetables makes a pleasant, palatable alternative, ensuring a high intake of protective vitamins. Drink 6 glasses of water a day, water has a cleansing effect on your body.
Give yourself a break and give up alcohol for a month. Alcohol is fattening and disorders of the eyes, skin, joints, heart, hair, digestion and some cancers, are just a few health problems linked with alcohol abuse. Not only your liver will benefit, but the whole of you will perk up, physically and psychologically. Winter skin is exposed to wind, cold, UV radiation and central heating resulting in skin dehydration – time to replenish and pamper! Massage your body daily with a generous helping of moisturising skin cream, and exfoliate once a week with a body salt scrub
Keep active, even though it is cold outside take a brisk half-hour walk, 3 times a week and swim, cycle, jog, or garden whenever possible. Being active makes your body and complexion glow.
PS. Don’t forget your daily dozen “tummy crunches” if you want to achieve/ maintain that flat stomach.
We sit to take the weight off our feet but sitting for too long can result in slack abdominal muscles and slumped posture encouraging cramp and indigestion. Exercise helps to re-oxygenate your system and improve your circulation and digestion. Reintroducing exercise for the less active and for those getting older or restricted in their movements is key to maintaining a sense of independence and quality of life.
Ex 1. To stretch upper body
Sit upright on chair with your arms by your sides. Keep your shoulders down and arms straight throughout. With palms forwards raise both arms out to the sides and up high as is comfortable, Return to start position. Repeat 5 times breathing out as you raise your arms up, and in as you lower them down.
Ex 2. To stretch out sides
From start position as before raise both arms out and up high AA comfortable and link your hands. Breathe out and take both arms over to your right side bending from your waist only and stretching out your left side. Arms back to centre and breathe in. Breathe out and take arms over to left side, then back to centre. Repeat to alternate sides 5 times
Ex 3. To stretch out upper back and relieve back ache
Sit back comfortably in your chair, feet flat on the floor. Place both hands around your right knee and lift right foot up off the floor. Bend forward from your waist and take head down towards your knee (as far as comfortable). Keep this position, lift elbows up out to the sides and round out your back. Feel the stretch and hold for 10 seconds. Return right foot to floor. Repeat lifting your left foot and knee up and holding the stretch for a further 10 seconds.
The countryside around Lustleigh in Devon is very picturesque with the dramatic hills of Exmoor, woodlands, fields and drovers roads much of it contained by ancient stone walls.
Also referred to as ridgeways many drovers’ roads were ancient routes of unknown age, some dating back to medieval times. These hidden byways or droveways were a route for drovinglivestock on foot from one place to another, such as to market or between summer and winter pasture .
Devon’s network of green lanes is a haven for flora and fauna; foxglove and stitchwort, nightjar and woodlark, to name but a few..
Dear Diana I’ve just hit 60 and feel so frustrated because my joints are stiff and painful. It makes it more difficult to move around like I did previously. Is this just old age creeping on…or is there something I can do to help myself? Helen Martin Somerset
Joint pain is a common problem with some stiffness or decreasing joint mobility occurring with age. Past damage to joints from disease or injury can limit movement and cause pain, such damage is a common finding in arthritis conditions. The knee joint is a frequently damaged joint and particularly vulnerable, because it carries full body weight. Lack of appropriate exercise allows joints to stiffen causing aches and pains. Joints benefit from gentle exercise which encourages good blood supply to joint surfaces and helps muscles retains strength, to support and protect joints. Sitting for many hours allows muscles to remain over contracted for too long. Less pliable fibrotic tissue builds up and muscles become tight, stiff and sore. Sudden pain in a joint can result from fracture, such as a hip fracture, broken ankle, arm or wrist. In older people joint pain that gets steadily worse could be a sign of osteoarthritis.
What treatments are beneficial? NHS physiotherapists treat joint pain, commonly using mobilisation techniques. Privately both physiotherapists and chiropractors treat joints and muscular-skeletal problems but chiropractors traditionally use manipulation paying particular attention to the spine. Osteopaths look at whole body function moving, stretching and massaging a person’s muscles and joints.
Either pack away in a spare suitcase, lidded plastic boxes, zip-up plastic bags or those storage bags that hook up to the vacuum cleaner hose to extract air and create an airtight seal (they reduce the volume to about 50 percent, are available cheaply from Argos and can be reused). Fold or roll clothes and wrap in acid-free tissue paper to prevent creasing.
When your case, box or bag is full, sprinkle the top with rosemary, lavender, bay or pieces of cedar to deter moths and other unwelcome critters. Store either on top of the wardrobe, in a drawer under the bed, in a spare room or dry loft.
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And did you know that Aggie Mackenzie is a qualified Yoga Teacher? Join her now for “Aggie’s Yoga!” And would you like a personalised video message for you or a loved one? Just go to https://www.thrillz.co.uk/talent/aggie.mackenzie and Aggie will record one for you.
Our hands and fingers are anatomically complicated areas of our bodies consisting of 27 bones, and for us human beings they play an important role in how we function in both our body and sign language. It’s fascinating to learn that the 10 digits of two hands, and also the 12 phalanges of 4 fingers (touchable by the thumb), gave rise to our number systems and calculation techniques. The eight shortcarpal wrist bones organized into a proximal row work with the bones of the forearm, and a distal row work with the bases of the five metacarpal bones of the hand. The heads of these metacarpals work with the bases of our fingers and thumb (knuckles). Our four fingers each consist of three phalanx bones but our thumb has just two, making a total of fourteen phalanges on each hand.
Most of us will have experienced a minor problem with a finger or bones in the hand or wrist which is not at all surprising because problems occur due to overuse or from everyday wear and tear. Some problems are caused by injuries but many are the natural process of age, and home treatment is often all that is needed to relieve symptoms.
But it maybe that your fingers, hands, or wrists are swollen, or they burn, hurt, or feel tired, sore, stiff, numb, cold or tingly. Some people will find their hands have turned a different colour such as red or blue as they’ve aged, or bony knobs on finger joints have appeared, possibly a sign of arthritis. But the hands and fingers are also areas where many people experience pain as the years roll by. Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect any joint in your body, including those in your hands and fingers in which case you may experience swelling, or stiffness in the fingers, especially in the morning and your joints feel warm, tender to the touch and don’t move as well as they did!
We need strong wrists and fingers to do everyday tasks like carrying groceries, equipment, opening jars, and lifting suitcases or young children. Strong wrists, hands and fingers are especially important for manoeuvring movements in order to complete everyday tasks, and to maintain body positions during work and play to avoid injury. But far too many of us (and that includes me) spend long periods of time in front of our computers, typing for hours, with resulting aches and pains. We spend a lot of the day with our elbows bent and our hands in a pronated position (palms turned down). A lot of stress is put on our hands and wrists over the course of a day, so we should take time out to care for these hard workers! Simple stretches and exercises can help eliminate pain and build strong, useful hands. Hands supinated (palms turned up) will counterbalance the stresses and strains.
Ex 1 PRAY To relax hands, wrists and arms when at computer
Sit back from your computer and lift both arms and elbows up in front of chest. With fingertips pointing upwards place them together in praying position. Now stretching out your fingers and wrists press palms and base of hands together very hard. Hold for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat 5 times
Ex 2 FISTS To strengthen hand, fingers and increase range of movement.
Make a gentle fist and wrap your thumb across your fingers. Squeeze very hard and hold for 10 seconds. Release and spread your fingers out wide as possible and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with both hands at 5 times.
Ex 3 GRIP To improve strength and grip
Place a soft ball in your palm. Simply squeeze it as hard as possible, hold for 10 secs and release. Repeat 5 times in each hand
Ex 4 SHAKE OUT To relax hands and release cramp
Simply lift up and shake your hands as if you are drying them after washing. Keep shaking rapidly 20 times. Relax and repeat 5 times.
Ex 5 PULL BACKS To release tension and improve flexibility of wrist
Extend your right arm and hand out in front of you with fingers pointing upwards. With the left hand use pressure to pull your fingers back towards you and hold for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat 5 times. Now extend left arm and using right hand repeat the stretching exercise.
Ouch! An increase in years inevitably brings some changes to our skeletons with a natural thinning of bones. Changes in the joints, with arthritis, rheumatism and backache are painful reminders of the passing years. Joint pain is common and can be the result of injury, but more often a form of arthritis.
In older people joint pain that gets steadily worse is usually a sign of osteoarthritis, affecting just one joint, or many. It can start in one joint usually in hands, feet and wrists causing pain and swelling. This comes and goes in the early phases, with long periods between attacks.
Rheumatoid arthritis can start slowly; a few joints such as fingers, wrists or balls of feet which become uncomfortable and may swell intermittently. There may be stiffness getting out of bed, but see the doctor if pain, swollen joints and stiffness lasts longer than 30 minutes.
Reactive arthritis tends to affect young adults and usually develops after an infection, while another type, psoriatic arthritis affects up to one in five people with psoriasis. A rarer type of arthritis is ankylosing spondylitis, a long-term (chronic) condition in which the spine and other areas of the body become inflamed.Gout another type of arthritis usually affects the joint of the big toe first, before affecting other joints. It’s important to correctly diagnose as treatment will prevent future attacks of joint pain and disability. A similar condition is pseudogout which tends to affect the knee joint first. See your GP if you have persistent symptoms of arthritis.
The knee joint is frequently damaged; it’s vulnerable because it takes the full weight of your body. However knee pain isn’t always a joint problem. If you’ve recently injured a joint and it’s painful the thin layer of tissue lining the joints and tendons may be inflamed, called traumatic synovitis. Knee pain that feels worse going up or down stairs could be a sign of a damaged kneecap, called chondromalacia patellae, often linked to overuse of the knee. Manage injury-related swelling and pain at home with anti-inflammatories, an icepack and rest.
With age muscles become weak and less able to support limbs, particularly if we’re not active. Muscles begin to atrophy, and your posture and self-esteem can be adversely affected. Although some bodily decline is inevitable much of the decline can be prevented, and some even reversed. Exercise can help ease joint problems and will keep you fit for work and play.