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Big freeze; Tenerife; Acupuncture; All together now

Published: Thursday, December 23, 2010

Big freeze
I have managed to avoid the worst of the big freeze, having just returned from Tenerife where the temperature is steady at 23 degrees.  It brings home how much our culture and lifestyle are stunted by the climate.  Out there, elderly locals sit on the benches and chat on the town square; children play on the beach at 10 o’clock in the evening.  Back here, streets are deserted and old people freeze.

Our hotel in El Medano was beautifully sited on the sea front with the Atlantic ocean for a swimming pool but it is rather low-rent. As my wife said, “It’s fine except for the food and the room.”

One day we drove through the mountains.  Passing through one town we saw a priest standing in the road, trying to flag down passing vehicles.  Was he on an errand of mercy?  No, he was flogging lottery tickets.

A letter in this week’s Veterinary Record tells us that NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) now recommends that acupuncture should be made available on the NHS for low back pain. The author used acupuncture on three dogs with back pain with significant benefit and points out that the veterinary profession is lagging behind the medical profession in this regard.  I’m not so sure. Thirty years ago I regularly used acupuncture to treat pets and humans and got great results, even on people who had problems going back twenty years. But I doubt if acupuncture is used much more now than then.

We’re all in this together 
The House and Home section in The Times newspaper advises that the time is ripe to purchase your French chateau.  “With prices as low as 500,000 euros, here’s a last minute Christmas present for a friend or relative.”  But beware; the French have an expression that a chateau is une  danceuse (lit. a dancer)  i.e. a mistress who can give a great deal of pleasure but is high maintenance in all respects.  You have been warned.

An article in last week’s The Observer about Ireland’s economic woes pointed out that those least responsible suffer most.  This prompted a letter pointing out that this was  always the case, quoting an anonymous medieval poet:
“The law doth punish man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But lets the greater felon loose
Who steals the common from the goose.”

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