Look At It This Way with Jacqui Morley - April 11, 2014

Tricia Ellis (kneeling, right) and the Goalden Girls, who are taking part in the Illumathon.
Tricia Ellis (kneeling, right) and the Goalden Girls, who are taking part in the Illumathon.
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Bogof, nanny state! I can visit a supermarket and pass cheap booze without a second glance.

Admittedly I’m still snorkelling through the wine lake created by years of hardening liver and shortening life expectancy writing a weekly wine column for this organ but my heart’s in the right place even if my head isn’t.

Remember the time I met the public health director and he had these giant wine glasses out and I thought, wow, where can I get one of these - and he told me they measured units?

Well, the other day I was at the pacemaker clinic with my mum and for the first time ever met the slightly troubled gaze of the woman “who can easily get through a bottle of wine nightly” without thinking “and your point is?”

Given that my mum threatens to ring the Abuse of the Elderly helpline whenever she reads this column I must clarify she is not the woman to whom I refer.

That’s the one, about my age, on the public health poster for high blood pressure. I think we’d get on. Couple of bottles of Shiraz, Walkers crisps on the 15 for £2 deal, watching repeats of 999: What’s Your Emergency?

There was a similar poster featuring a big bloke under which sat an even bigger bloke.

That’s under the poster, not under the bloke as that would be weird, even for the Vic. So the chap under the poster glanced up to see why I was staring fixedly at just above his comb-over.

And he nodded approvingly at the poster just before being carted off to the heart failure clinic while I sat there tut tutting.

There for the grace of genetics or goodness knows what go we.

I know how to live a healthy lifestyle. I’ve seen friends and relatives overdo the booze or food and under do the exercise.

If I do the same it’s through choice rather than lack of education because healthier living is pushed at us from paper, telly, hospital walls.

My crisis - which can be described only as mid if I die at 116 - came with last year’s chronic obstructive pulmonary disease diagnosis. Never smoked.

Except two weeks later when I walked up a French hill and lit a ciggie at the top so I could blame that one.

I came back and bought a bike. It’s stuck in the shed, mostly because of all the unused keep fit equipment blocking it.

But I’ve started going swimming - and risk an asthma attack trying to emerge from the pool with my stomach sucked in...

Nanny knows best makes me sick with her advice to eat Eight a Day fruit and veg, or for cafes to serve smaller pizzas, “more profits!”, and supermarkets to stop BOGOFs even if they keep many families and food banks going.

I’m more inspired by real women doing it for themselves. Such as the Fylde’s Goalden Girls, women of 50 plus who run for fitness and the better health of charities.

I look like Moby Dick or Duck trying to ice skate when I run .. but I’m pressing on at new best pal Laura’s pace.

She’s the voice of the NHS’s Couch to 5k running plan, that can be downloaded free, although you get lumbered with iTunes. It aims to get you running 5k or half an hour after nine weeks.

Download the podcast and Laura eggs you on walk, then run, although at this point she scarpers and puts motivational music on to drown the sound of blood pounding in your ears.

While Laura’s got her feet up I’m shaping up for Sheffield’s next half marathon. If the water runs out there are good pubs en route...

Grief junkies have no place

I met the late Kate O’Mara at the Grand Theatre years ago. She had ageless beauty, cheek bones that could cut through ice, a smile that reached her eyes and melted your heart - and a very dirty laugh indeed.

For all her prima donna persona on screen and stage I found her warm, wise, witty and wonderful. She was no diva. We struck up an instant rapport and had a natter rather than an interview. I sat at her feet and listened and learned.

I’m no fan of death in this digital age. It offers the illusion of grief through outpourings bereft of any real emotion. It parodies the paradigm of pity.

All those #RIP hashtags are social media’s version of flowers placed by strangers at shrines in order to share the spotlight.

Well meaning but mawkish -kinship claimed with celebrity at the cost of their own self or soul.

O’Mara, being older, came off lightly in her treatment online. For poor Peaches Geldof, the grandchild of a woman, raised in Blackpool, it’s still open season. My heart goes out to Helene, her gran, who really was once a good friend of mine.