I measured my blood pressure this afternoon. I have this vague notion (aspirational, obviously!) that I measure my blood pressure every month or so, but I’m also aware that I haven’t measured it for a few months.

Looking at my database, 28th February! Over four months! I must be more disciplined in future. Fortunately at the end of it all, the measurement itself was ok, 137/80 in the “good” arm and 133/80 in the stroke-affected arm. I have been told that for stroke survivors the numbers of the affected side can often be different to the unaffected side. I’ve known this since in hospital, all that time ago, but never explored it. For the next few readings, I need to measure both arms to see if I can tease out a relationship between the values. I’m pretty sure that what I saw from these measurements can easily be explained by the accuracy of the machine itself.

As you can imagine, trying to put a cuff onto my “good” upper arm either requires someone else to help, or contortion and teeth! So it’d be a lot easier if I can measure the bad arm instead.


I’m glad in some ways that, these days, I tend to half-listen to things. Sure, I don’t always hear the detail of what people say, but in other ways, gives good feedback. Two examples this morning:

A couple of hours ago I watched something on the BBC’s iPlayer, a programme on the BBC News Channel the other night, Andrew Neil interviewing the two Tory leadership contenders. He interviewed Jeremy Hunt first, who was very unconvincing, and by the time Boris Johnson came on, I was doing other things. So, not watching the images, but listening nevertheless. I became aware that there were many times where both interviewer and interviewee were just talking over each other. I mean, I suppose you could blame one guy as much as the other, but in Johnson’s case, the one thing he didn’t really do was to promote himself. Rather that aa articulate, crystal-clear vision, a half-hour just of bickering.

I have to say, I don’t really feel it is appropriate to get too involved in commenting about the Tory leadership contest, not least because I have never even been a Tory supporter. So, both candidates are pretty unsatisfactory to me, Hunt for what he says and Johnson not just for that, but for how he presents it.

Second, was just watching one of these faith programmes on tv. Half-watching, doing other stuff. It’s a faith-based discussion programme. A small panel of people, two presenters plus two guests, discussing one or two topical issues. I have no idea who the guests are, but I’m suddenly aware that one of them, her voice is dominating what should be a four-way conversation. So, without really listening to any of the detail, I’m aware that here is somebody who doesn’t necessarily talk sense, but who will browbeat. I’m not even sure what her point of view was.

It’s funny, isn’t it? Before somebody gets up and says whatever they’ve got to say, there’s first an issue of their credibility. Of course, the true measure of somebody is what they say (and do), but we can’t resist forming a kind-of sneak preview with our minds.