This harsh reality of this summer finally hits home

  • How Devon became a substitute for the Algarve
  • Why old men can’t jump… easily!
  • Could this simple vitamin protect your memory?

The news last Thursday finally convinced me that I would not get my traditional break in Portugal this year.

I was devastated, but with my daughter about to go to university and my wife and I trying to protect our ageing parents, we had no choice.

So, we decided to have a few days away in Devon instead.

The car was packed with dog, daughter, her friend and a few things in record time and we set off to visit my god daughter and her family in Exeter.

Matt, her dad and my old university friend, had set up a small trampoline in the garden. After bouncing for a while, she clambered off and said, ‘You have a go, Uncle Ray.’

Well, it looked sturdy enough. But I hadn’t been on a trampoline since I was about 15.

As usual, I immediately thought I was still able to turn a few tricks.

‘Watch this,’ I said, lifting myself into the air and dropping onto my knees on the trampoline, before bouncing up to my feet again.

‘OWWWWWW’ I thought to myself, my knees suddenly throbbing.

Of course, I kept smiling.

Smiling, smiling, smiling.

‘That’s enough for me,’ I said, getting off, still smiling.

I hadn’t damaged anything, but what I realised for about the third time in the last year is that my body has got older, I can’t really to be spontaneous like that anymore.

No more bouncing for Uncle Ray until he learns to limber up a bit first.

Seeing me wince, Lara was beside herself with laughter.

That’s the support I get whenever I’m in pain!

Still after a liberal application of Advance 7 Massage Gel I was ready to face trial by Trivial Pursuits.

What happened next surprised, and worried me.

How can I forget some of this stuff?

I don’t know whether it’s an effect of the lockdown, age or something else but I really embarrassed myself that night.

Normally I can do the Science and Nature without any issues at all, make a fair fist of Sports and Leisure, reasonable for Geography, History and Entertainment, but Art & Literature has always been my difficulty.

However, as we sat around the table playing (this was before the rule of six came in by the way!) I found myself forgetting even the most basic of stuff.

Even Lara remarked that I must have left my brain in Bristol!

Later that night chatting to Matt over a glass of malt whisky he said that he felt the same.

He put it down to the fact that he hadn’t been out and about, meeting people and working his brain.

Based at home for the last six months he said he spent days without talking to anyone other than his immediate family.

No trips to the pub, the office being closed and even acquaintances in the street preferring not to stop and chat meant that he just wasn’t getting the brain work out he was used to.

Maybe that is the reason for my own memory fade I thought.

But being the type of man that I am, as soon as we got home on Monday I went straight into research mode.

Naturally I was worried that this might be the start of the same problems that my Dad has, however, my research turned up something much less troubling.

What I discovered was that a simple vitamin could make all the difference.

Let me explain.

Use Vitamin B3 to battle the problems old age

There’s a good reason to keep exercising your brain as you get older even if it’s just a bit of online bingo.

Staying active mentally really can improve your brain function.

And another weapon in the frontline against premature cognitive ageing is vitamin B3.

Vitamin B3 (or niacin) has long been known to normalise blood cholesterol levels. But in the August 2004 issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry they claim that it can also arm you against Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.

In their study they found that those getting the most niacin (22 mg per day) were 70% less likely to have developed Alzheimer’s disease than those eating about 13 mg daily.

You can boost your vitamin B3 by eating foods like mushrooms, tuna, calf liver, halibut, asparagus, venison, lamb, turkey and chicken breast, green vegetables, prawns and peanuts.

You can also use Vitamin B3 to help ‘reduce swelling, pain and joint stiffness.’ (A handy tip for anyone about to try the trampoline again!)

Dr. Jonathan V. Wright, an American physician, says that ‘…analysis of X-rays has shown that this vitamin can also halt the degeneration of joints in cases of arthritis.

‘Another great advantage of this vitamin is that it does not cause unwanted side effects (weakening of bone mass, gastric ulcers, etc.) as do common anti inflammatory medications.’

So, now that the fields are full of mushrooms I will be having plenty of omelettes, risottos and soups pack with these earthy free delights.

But I am also going to start with a daily high quality B vitamin supplement just to be on the safe side, well at my age you just can’t be too sure!

I hope you are all able to enjoy a bit of this late summer sun as much as I am… although it’s no replacement for the Algarve!

Please excuse the sound of sobbing!