September, Now It’s Gone

The falling temperature in my home has told me that September is gone – as if I hadn’t already realised. That must mean that it is time for my now regular (well, third) monthly round up of last month’s posts. I live in hope that you may find one – or some – that you missed first time round and can’t wait to acquaint yourself with. As for hoping that you might be encouraged to revisit a post you’ve already seen – too much? Let’s be realistic here – but I won’t stop you!

I began September with my trawl through the verbiage from the previous month – all with clickable links in case you’re desperately seeking something for your insomnia:

August And Everything, After

I had two attempts at posting that as WordPress, in its infinite wisdom, decided that I had posted it sixteen hours earlier than I actually did, which had the effect of moving it into oblivion on their Reader page. A small tip here: if you don’t already follow your own blog, you should, as it enables you to check that all is working as intended with email notifications and the Reader. In case you didn’t get the reference, the title for that post was ‘adapted’ from the first album by the Counting Crows: the comma, of which I was extremely proud, was all my own work.

As there were five Tuesdays in September there were, as if by magic, five Tuesday Tunes posts. I began with:

Tuesday Tunes 24: Strength

which featured music by Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Shawn Colvin and Tom Petty.

Next up was:

Tuesday Tunes 25: New Music – Part 1

in which there were Cat Stevens/Yusuf, Kate Rusby, Carolina Story, Caroline Jones and Molly Tuttle.

Then came:

Tuesday Tunes 26: New Music – Part 2

In that one, we heard from The Chicks, Walk Off The Earth (three versions!), Molly Tuttle (again!), Old Crow Medicine Show and Bruce Springsteen (also again – sometimes it’s hard to keep my favourites out!).

I followed that by going back – for just one week – to a theme drawn from the previous week’s news:

Tuesday Tunes 27: Six

which included music from the Tom Robinson Band, Ry Cooder, The Wallflowers, Steve Earle and the Rolling Stones.

My final Tuesday Tunes post for September started off what I plan as a mini-series, going back to the tunes of my younger years. This will comprise songs from the 60s and 70s – the first was imaginatively called:

Tuesday Tunes 28: The Sixties – Part 1

and featured songs from The Love Affair, The Herd, The Kinks, The Beatles and Traffic. As I said in that post, this was an all-British selection, but future posts will include music from across the pond – looking ahead to my list of future possibles, there is a very strong American contingent in there! The more observant of you may have noticed that I’ve reminded you of the music shared in each of those posts. This was a suggestion made on last month’s review, and it struck me as a good idea. Thank you, Jim – now you have no excuse not to revisit some of these!

There was also a musical theme for my tribute to those lost and bereaved on 9/11/2001:

Remembering 9/11 

The centrepiece of that post is a stunningly beautiful song by Mary Chapin Carpenter, whose music always speaks to and from the heart. The song was prompted by a broadcast MCC heard of an interview with a first responder, and I defy anyone to watch the video and listen to it without a tear in the eye.

You may also have seen a couple of health-related posts:

 Migraine Awareness Week


Mental Health Still Matters.

Both of these are important topics for me: the posts were reworkings of things I have written in previous years, as I feel strongly that their points remain valid and merit re-emphasising.

My birthday fell (from a great height) during the month, and I ran a couple of posts to ‘celebrate.’ The first of these was:

A Year In History

which was a newly edited version of a piece I originally posted in 2013 to mark my 60th birthday, with a collection of events and videos from the year of my birth. As the title suggests, it was a year with a fair bit of history in it!

The other birthday post was:

Birthday Celebrations

in which I edited a previous post about the grand day out my daughters gave me to mark my 60th and added in a new piece about this year’s event, in the year of Covid. It was different, but was still a lot of fun!

To save you counting, that made a total of eleven posts in September – an almost unheard of total for me! Hopefully there was something in there for you to enjoy.

I can’t close this review without a thank you. It goes to all of you who have read, liked, and commented on my posts. This has been my most successful year in terms of all three of those measures since 2015: last year was the best of the past four, and this year I had overtaken all of those numbers by 20 September. The icing on the cake was that September gave me my highest monthly total of page views since 2015, way in excess of most months since then! A heartfelt thank you – without you, I’d be sending this stuff into a vacuum. I thoroughly enjoy our interactions: long may that continue.

One final point. I mentioned earlier that I had adapted an album title for last month’s round up post – this month’s title is also borrowed and adapted. Brownie points for anyone who can tell me where it came from. No prizes, though, just the satisfaction of knowing that you have found your way into the weird recesses of my mind.

Till next time…

Migraine Awareness Week

Those of you who weren’t reading or following my blog in the early days will probably be unaware that I used to do a series of ‘Dates To Note’ posts – if you’re interested they can be found in the menu above. These ran through 2013 into 2014 but I decided that they had run their course and, apart from a few reblogs – and a spoof which I reblogged on April Fool’s Day this year – there haven’t been many more since then. Last year I posted to recognise Migraine Awareness Week  and I thought I’d do it again this year, as it is important to me. It begins today and runs until Saturday, and I hope you see some media coverage – though given everything else that is going on I fear it may get lost in the deluge! This is an expanded version of what I posted last year, so parts of it may seem familiar to you.

I’m sure many of you have experience of migraine, either yourself or with someone close to you. I was first diagnosed when I was 15 – to save you the maths, that was around 50 years ago. Since then I’ve had several migraines a year, apart from one blissful period in my 20s when I went three years without one and foolishly hoped I was somehow ‘cured.’ Not so. And the older I got, the more migraines I had and the longer they seemed to last. Five or six a year wasn’t uncommon, and they lingered for up to three days instead of just the one when they first started.

I hope you follow the link above, which takes you to the Awareness Week page on the Migraine Trust’s website. The Migraine Trust organises this week as a means of educating people about migraine, and their website has a lot of helpful information and links. Their headline statistics are frightening: every day in the UK there are 190,000 migraine attacks. The condition affects one in seven people, and is more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined. In other words, it is a big issue! They have undertaken much research into the underlying causes of migraine, but their aim is ultimately to find a cure for this debilitating illness. This is especially important as only about half of those who suffer are actually diagnosed with the condition: if a cure could be found, that might encourage more people to seek help.

One of the things the Migraine Trust encourage you to do is to keep a diary of your migraines and share it with your doctor. I did this when I was first diagnosed with depression, as I seemed to be getting headaches and migraines all the time, and it was very helpful to see what pattern – if any – there was. In particular, the site might help those who say they have a migraine when it is actually a bad headache: believe me, there is a difference and you’ll know it if you’re a fellow sufferer! When I was running the Dates To Note series I always gave a link to the NHS website as this is a very good source of information, and their coverage of migraine is as good as everything else they do.

My diary showed that there was absolutely no pattern to my migraines, which often seemed to occur with no prior warning. Most of mine started the moment I woke up: there was no build up to them throughout the day, as some people experience, which made them difficult to assess. Like most migraine sufferers I just shut myself away in a darkened room until it felt safe to open the curtains again. Medical science has yet to agree on a set of defined causes for the illness: whilst one of the causes is believed to be emotional factors, such as stress, mine have always been noticeably different from regular headaches, which tend to fall into the category of ‘tension headaches.’ Migraines are believed to be a result of chemical changes in the body affecting the genes, and the genetic effect can mean that they are passed through the generations within a family. My Mum used to suffer badly with migraine and it has always been believed in our family – and by doctors – that I inherited this from her.

So how can you explain the fact that I have had far fewer migraines since I retired? I now live a life which, as far as I can possibly make it, is free from stress and tension. And the frequency of migraines has dropped noticeably – go figure! Does this mean that what I have believed for around 50 years was wrong? Even if that is the case, I can’t really see how I could have changed my working life to remove stress factors, which were part and parcel of every job I had. But I do find it interesting that a reduction in the number and length of migraines since I retired may somehow be related to that major lifestyle change. It is nearly seven years since I retired, and I can only recall seven or eight migraines in that time – when I would probably have endured something like 40 in a similar period whilst working. I can recommend retirement for a number of reasons – apart from having to be old to do it – but for me a dramatic reduction in migraine frequency is one of the biggest benefits. As I think to back to this time last year, when I wrote the previous post, I’m finding it hard to recall having any migraines at all since then. I probably have had some bad headaches in that time, but not to the point at which I’d be recording them in a migraine diary – for me, that is a huge step forward.

I’ve put a couple of the Migraine Trust’s campaign images at the head and foot of this post. They refer to giving up something you enjoy eating, drinking or doing to show solidarity with someone you may know who suffers migraines. I’m not expecting any of you to do that, but I’m sharing these to get you to think. For myself, I’ve already given up alcohol for health reasons, and have never found that eating cheese or chocolate, or drinking caffeine, have ever triggered a migraine for me. I know they do for others, though – I guess I’ve just been lucky in that respect, even though a glass of red with some cheese is now banned for me! But, in thinking about this piece, it struck me that I have a habit of using the iPad late into the evening: as far as I know it hasn’t brought on a migraine but I often sleep poorly and feel tired the next day, so I’m going to give that up for a month and see if that has any effect. That’s my pledge, which I’ve signed up to be added to the Trust’s pledge wall.

If you’re a fellow sufferer you have my sympathy. If so, or you’d just like to know more, do take a few moments to look at the Migraine Trust’s website – here – as I’m sure it will be of interest and help to you.