Danny’s Dilemma

Danny the mastermind has been cavorting again… he does like to keep Andrew on his toes but he may have scuppered his boat this time.. Still he is a very handsome chap and very generous with turkey slices.. well he says he is but have not received my promised bounty yet!! The Story Reading Ape is host .. please head over and share..

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Danny Happy
To run or not to run, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them? . . . to paraphrase Billy Shakespeare.

Howdy, folks. It’s me, Danny the Dog. I live on a boat with my human, Andrew. Today, I’m here to speak about outrageous fortune. And the outrageous fortune of which I speak is the insidious leash he makes me wear. I mean . . . really . . . just because I’ve run away a few times, he thinks I can’t be trusted. I’m a big boy—I’m almost fourteen years old! I can go out catting (excuse the expression) around at night and still make my way home all by myself.

01 Danny XXl
So here’s my problem. Andrew doesn’t use a regular leash like any sane…

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“Pin your Tweet for Nick”

Nick Verron is an inspiration to us all. I have an active imagination but even I cannot fathom the courage and determination that it requires to come back from a traumatic brain injury and accomplish all that Nick has. Now he has a dream and instead of focusing on the dross grabbing headlines in the media…let’s celebrate the achievements of one of our own community and help him get that dream.. I know that when he is able to reach more inaccessible parts of this country and others he will continue to spread his message that you must never give up.. It would be wonderful if you could donate.. but one thing we can all do is use our Twitter to help raise awareness of the campaign.. Please head over to Sue’s post and read more about Nick and the campaign and then Pin a tweet.. thanks Sally

Sue Vincent - Daily Echo

I have to thank Sally Cronin for the idea…..and it is both simple and brilliant. I would never have thought of it! Why not, she suggested, ask if people would use their ‘pinned tweet’ facility on Twitter to support the campaign to raise funds towards the cost of the Mountain Trike, an off-road wheelchair that is self-propelled?

The GoFundMe total is currently at £1265…over a quarter of the total Nick needs to be able to take himself out into the landscape under his own steam… something he has been unable to do since the attack that left him brain injured and unable to walk unaided in 2009.

Nick’s recovery has been remarkable; he focused all his time and energy on it for years… and now he wants to be able to do something with the new life he has earned through such hard work and commitment. On his own blog

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Smorgasbord Health – A-Z of common conditions – Arthritis – Osteoarthritis and Gout

Last week I covered rheumatoid arthritis and today a look at two more of the over 200 forms of the disease. Osteoarthritis and Gout. Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease is one of the oldes…

Source: Smorgasbord Health – A-Z of common conditions – Arthritis – Osteoarthritis and Gout

Smorgasbord Health – A-Z of common conditions – Arthritis – Osteoarthritis and Gout

smorgasbord A - Z

Last week I covered rheumatoid arthritis and today a look at two more of the over 200 forms of the disease. Osteoarthritis and Gout.

Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease is one of the oldest types of arthritis. It is basically wear and tear. It is the breakdown of the joint’s cartilage. Cartilage is the cushion in the joint that prevents the two ends of the bones from rubbing together. When this pad of cushioning is worn away and the fluid that normally lubricates the joint has gone – the two ends grind together causing pain and inflammation.

The actual physical process is an increase in water content of the cartilage and a reduction of protein in the tissue as we age. It mainly affects the weight bearing joints such as the ankles, lower back, knees and hips but can also affect the hands. Those most likely to suffer from the condition are middle aged or elderly. In some cases however if a younger person has had a very physically demanding lifestyle the symptoms can set in earlier.

What are the most common causes of this type of arthritis?

You can be affected by being overweight most of your life as I was or leading a particularly energetic sporting life – football, rugby or athletics. It is most common as we get into our 40’s and 50’s when a lifetime of activity can catch up with us. People you have suffered accidents in the past with broken bones may find that the damage is worsened as they get older.

There is a school of thought that believes there is a genetic pre-disposition to Osteoarthritis particularly when it develops in the hands. It could be caused by defective cartilage or defects in the way the bones join together.

What are some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

It is purely a disease of the joints. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis it does not affect the organs of the body. The most common symptom is pain in the joint particularly after a lot of activity. It is usually worse later in the day obviously. Also you may find that your back and hips and knees are painful after sitting for long periods of time and that getting up in the morning is painful and takes some time for you to regain mobility. Some of the joints will swell, especially if you have twisted the joint during activity.  Knees are particularly vulnerable to stairs and explains why the sale of stair lifts is on the increase.  It is not uncommon for the symptoms to come and go depending on a number of factors: Weight, heat and activity levels.

What happens if the condition is not treated?

If the pain and the immobility becomes too severe there are now some surgical options.  There are new techniques available that are less extreme than joint replacement but that needs to be assessed on an individual basis. Depending on the type of joint replacement, they will last around the 15 to 17 years.  This means that if you have surgery in your 50’s you are probably facing another in your 70’s and 80’s.

The problem is that the friction between the bone ends causes mobility problems which often lead to more weight gain which is one of the leading causes of the condition in the first place.

Also inflammation of the cartilage can sometimes stimulate new bone outgrowths called spurs around the joint, which cause even more discomfort and lack of mobility.

The bottom line is that it is a very painful condition and most sufferers are forced into taking very strong painkillers such as cortisone.

What about nutrition and osteoporosis

Collagen needs to be maintained both between the joints and as connective tissue such tendons and ligaments. Normally when we damage connective tissue the body will produce collagen to repair them. However, if you look at connective tissue that is attached to proteins that you are preparing to cook; you will see that they tend to be very pale in colour… This is because there is a poor blood supply to them. This means that the components necessary to heal them completely are unable to reach them effectively.

Collagen is also a component of our skin so as our face begins to wrinkle and loose formation the process is mirrored internally.

To assist the body in producing new collagen for a more youthful looking skin and healthier joint padding, ligaments and tendons that hold that joint in place; you need a diet rich in the following elements.

fruit-and-veg-bannerVitamin C rich foods are essential. Part of the issue with age related connective tissue damage is that we tend to eat less food as we age. This is not just related to a lack of appetite but the condition of our teeth. How many of you have noticed that you avoid certain fruits such as apples and pears because they are now tough to eat and chew? If this is the case then you need to substitute other softer but high vitamin C vegetables and fruit. You also need to explore options with your dentist to improve your ability to chew all foods as this is a fundamental part of the digestive process.

If you do not have rheumatoid arthritis you can enjoy the nightshade family such as red peppers, tomatoes and potatoes but also berries, watermelon, broccoli and papaya. Citrus fruits such as mandarins which are less acidic are also excellent.


Protein is also a very important component and you should be including sufficient daily including lean meats, oily fish, poultry, eggs, as well as beans and vegetables such as squash.

Vitamins A, B-Complex, C and E are very important anti-oxidants but also have an anti-inflammatory. Whole grains, oily fish, brightly coloured vegetables and fruit

Most people understand that keeping hydrated is very important for the suppleness of our skin and this applies to our internal collagen health as well. Please do not listen to the aqua sceptics! Although you do take in good amounts of fluids from most of the foods that we eat, it is not sufficient to counteract central heating, air conditioning, exercise and the high levels of sugar and salt in our diets.

However….. do not drink fizzy chemical concoctions as they are loaded with additives and sugars that are not naturally found in any of our connective tissues and will only compound the damage.

Aim for eight cups of tea, coffee, herbal teas and pure water per day… The occasional glass of juice is okay as long as it is freshly made and diluted with water. I drink diluted cranberry juice once a day.

Glucosamine in supplements is often used to treat joint pain along with another ingredient, Chondroitin;both naturally occurring in connective tissue. There is research into the effectiveness of taking in supplementary form but do make sure that your research the brands carefully and cheap is not necessarily the best option.

I take Aloe Vera gel daily as it is very nutritional and great for a number of health issues, but it does also contain glucosamine and I find more effective taken in this type of carrier than in tablet form. Aloe Vera also has other minerals that help promote enzyme reactions in the joints which may help them heal faster. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps relieve the pain.

Is there any specific health advice for someone who is suffering from this form of the disease?

Hard though it may seem for someone who suffers from Osteoarthritis- exercise is one of the ways to help improve flexibility and increase muscle strength to support the effected joints.  Obviously sports that require flexing of the joints such as tennis or squash are not a good idea, golf could also be a struggle as you are using your lower back, hips and knees.  Walking and swimming are usually very helpful although you will need to adjust your leg movements for certain swimming styles.  I find that 20 minutes on my treadmill excellent but I do wear an elasticated knee brace for additional support.

What is gout?

Gout, contrary to popular belief, does not just affect old men who drink too much port. The actual condition is caused by crystals of uric acid depositing themselves into the tissues of the body.

When the condition is chronic hard lumps of uric acid are deposited in and around the joints – these lumps can also lodge in the kidneys leading to decreased kidney function and kidney stones.

It can be hereditary – an inherited abnormality in the body’s ability to process uric acid. We all produce Uric acid, which is a by-product of purines, which are present in most of the foods that we eat.

Which part of the body does gout normally affect?

The kidney problems are separate – it becomes gout when one of the joints is affected. It is usually in the foot and particularly the big toe. But other joints can be affected too.

Unlike the other forms of arthritis – this is a more sudden onset of the problem and is usually linked to immediate causes rather than a systemic problem. The reason the joint at the base of the big toe is most affected is that as the uric acid crystals are carried through the system they collect at the lowest point of the body – i.e. the big toe. Some people will also suffer a fever with the outbreak and the attack can last anything from a few hours to weeks or months. It is recurring depending on how acute the condition and largely down to your lifestyle.

It really is prevention rather than cure with this one. And particularly keeping the correct fluid balance. This is essential for your kidneys anyway to ensure that all the toxins that you are taking in are flushed out. If you are dehydrated uric acid will build up and crystallise so that is why taking in sufficient fluid rich foods and liquids each day is important.

It is also important to maintain a healthy weight with less sugar in your diet.  Sugar is acidic and disrupts our natural alkaline/acid balance in the blood which is of course flowing around the body including the joint areas.

What about nutrition and Gout?

For this type of arthritis, Purine rich foods can increase the production of uric acid so some of the foods to avoid are shellfish, liver and kidneys. Funnily enough, dairy intake has been shown to be beneficial in some research.

Protein from vegetable sources such as broccoli does not seem to have the same effect as Purine from animal protein so lots of fresh fruit and vegetables are essential.

Alcohol however does cause increased risk of uric acid output particularly beer and spirits. Wine did not seem to be as much of a problem. Again I think that gout attacks in the past have been more associated with the dehydrating effects of alcohol rather than drinking too much Port. Plus the fact that the usual sufferers tended to be wealthy males who consumed large amounts of meats at every meal.

What else can we do to ease the symptoms of arthritis?

All three of the arthritis strains will benefit from some physical support such as Acupuncture – I had that for a time and it certainly was beneficial in the healing process. Yoga, which involves gentle stretching, is excellent provided you have a good teacher and also the same with Tai Chi. Exercise is essential both for weight management and to build a strong muscle structure to compensate for the joint weakness. Also endorphins are released during exercise which acts as a natural painkiller.

I hope you have found the post helpful and please feel free to share.  Next time Asthma.. a condition that not only impacts the general health of the sufferer but places a huge commitment on all the family.

Last week’s post on rheumatoid arthritis.


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book of the Week – Maggie’s Montana by Linda Bradley

Today’s book is the recently released Maggie’s Montana by Linda Bradley in the Montana Bound series featuring Maggie Abernathy. Also a look at the previous two books in the series with …

Source: Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book of the Week – Maggie’s Montana by Linda Bradley

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book of the Week – Maggie’s Montana by Linda Bradley

sally's cafe and bookstore

Today’s book is the recently released Maggie’s Montana by Linda Bradley in the Montana Bound series featuring Maggie Abernathy. Also a look at the previous two books in the series with some of the comments from the readers.


About Maggie’s Montana – Book 3 – Montana Bound Series

Maggie Abernathy, best friend Judy, and Judy’s two young sons travel cross country to visit John McIntyre and daughter Chloe at their Montana ranch. Maggie’s convinced herself that she’s only making the trip to fulfill her promise to visit Chloe, but once there she can’t help but fall in love with the horses, the land, the ranch, and the Montana ways of life. With Chloe’s loving antics, Winston’s gift, and a handful of wranglers showing her the ropes, will Maggie have the heart to say goodbye?

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Maggies-Montana-Bound-Book-ebook/dp/B01M6VA5J

Book one of the series Maggie’s Way


One of the 45 great reviews for the book.

This book will touch your heart. You will learn how someone can become family even when they are not related to you. You will learn a little about the happenings of breast cancer. I have had aquaintences who have had breast cancer but no one close to me. I never knew about the tattoos and how it is one more reminder of what these women have gone through. You will fall in love with Maggie, Chole, John and of course Bones. The story is a wonderful heartful story that you will not want to end. So you will be glad to know there is book #2 waiting…I am so excited to continue the story of Maggie….don’t miss out on this book.
Book two of the series Maggie’s Fork in the Road

51ruyzfhel-_uy250_One of the latest reviews.

I began reading Maggie’s Fork in the Road about a week ago, but I put the book aside after only a half-chapter. My inner-reader/writer told me to stop. To back-track and read the first book in the series before I went on with the new one.

And boy am I glad I did. Book 1, Maggie’s Way, has over 30 well-deserved five-star reviews. I predict this follow-up story will do just as well.

I love a mature heroine…a woman who’s conquered some pretty compelling obstacles. Cancer, divorce from a man she loved but truly didn’t know, and acclimation to a new home and surroundings. In search of peace, she found wonderful chaos.
In the follow-up, we see Maggie being tested again. The man and child she’s come to know and love is leaving her. Will intervention from a number of outside sources convince her to follow her heart? Is she willing to uproot herself for a second chance at happiness?

Author Linda Bradley shows us another side…a stronger side…of a heroine I already admired. It could only get better from there.

Buy Linda Bradley’s books: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Bradley/e/B00JUIS2FS

About Linda Bradley


Linda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments, thus creating avenues for readers to connect with her characters.

Connect with Linda on her website and social media.

Website: http://www.lindabradleyauthor.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LBradleyAuthor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Linda-Bradley/389688594534105

Thank you for dropping by today and please feel free to comment and share on your own networks to spread the word about Linda’s new book.  Sally

If you would like to promote your work here on smorgasbord..here is the link.


Holiday and seasonal #BookMarketing. Some tips.

Some seasonal book marketing tips from Olga Nunez Miret on Lit World Interviews which is very topical.. take advantage of Halloween whatever your genre……

Lit World Interviews

Hi all:

I don’t know if you’re like me, but I tend to find articles, books, podcasts, etc, that sound interesting in my day to day life, or in my visits through the internet and social media (much the same thing these days) and although I don’t have time, I decide to save them for later, for that perfect occasion when I’ll need just that piece of advice or tip. Yes, that perfect day rarely arrives.

Thanks to Unsplash.com for another great royalty free image Thanks to Unsplash.com for another great royalty free image

Over a year ago (towards the end of 2015), having subscribed to Sandra Beckwith‘s newsletter (here is her website in case you’re interested. She has plenty of free content on marketing and promotions, and although she works more in non-fiction, it’s well-worth having a look), I saw that she was offering a service throughout the following year. For a very small fee (I’m…

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