We’ve been looking east for a bit of help in our household this last month; I mean properly east, further even than Great Yarmouth. I should say for the record that I’m very fond of Yarmouth; I spent one of the happiest years of my fledgling career there. I can’t actually recall much of it but they were most assuredly good times.
No, the present Mrs Castle and I have been seeking something a little more, shall we say spiritual, with a bit of balance thrown in. I went first.
For the last quarter of a century I have suffered from tinnitus. I know I’m not alone – the British Tinnitus Association says that 30% of us endure this not fullyunderstood affliction at some point and one in 10 has it pretty much permanently. I also know I’m not alone because I recently joined several hundred local folk, who also hear rather more than they’d like during the quiet bits of the film, at Carrow Road for an information day.
If you could hear tinnitus as a sound outside of our skulls you would be quite startled by the assorted whistles, hisses, buzzes, howls, shrieks, rings, dings and peeps that we variously enjoy. I imagine it would sound like some form of experimental jazz.
Luckily none of us have to endure what some poor soul has; an endless loop of How Much is that Doggie in the Window? I suppose it could be worse; she could be listening to the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest winner or anything at all by Ed Sheeran.
One of the ways of coping with tinnitus is through managing your stress levels and so it was that I found myself in a side room with a group having a pop at Qi Gong, an ancient oriental technique of posture, breathing and movement. It didn’t really do it for me, but the lovely lady taking the session had such a wonderfully soothing voice that she could make a fortune reading something – anything; phone book, Argos catalogue – and selling it as a relaxation aid.
Meanwhile, Mrs C, concerned about an apparent difficulty in successfully staying upright (see last month’s letter), has been Parting the Horse’s Mane. This has less to do with irritating the local equine population and is more about Tai Chi, a slo-mo martial art which is good for balance, posture and so on and comes complete with entertaining names for the moves; The White Crane Spreads its Wings, Needle at Sea Bottom (I have no idea) and so on.
I mock not; it seems to be working and Mrs C has maintained the perpendicular for several weeks now. We’re a way off Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but it is progress.
Of course it is the Royal Norfolk Show this month and I will be there with assistant editor Rachel Buller, headquartered in the Jarrold marquee. Do drop by to say hello, pick up a magazine and watch one of the terrific fashion catwalk shows.
Tai Chi, taken seriously