Change Track

Week Twenty five in 'wake up'

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Chris’s challenge this week was to change our route into work and have a bit a fun with it. I had one problem with changing my route to work…

To travel to work I walk down the stairs and I’m in work. It’s as simple as that and for that reason changing the route to get into work was going to be interesting if not impossible. Unless I climbed out the top window or drilled a hole in the floor and dropped down the hole into work. I didn’t think this was going to work though. What about building a time machine and… no that’s just silly isn’t it?

All was not lost though because if I was at the apartment, a couple of miles away, there was a chance of completing the challenge. With the way things are at the moment we are flitting from the pub to the apartment on an almost day to day basis whenever it takes our fancy. One night we’ll stay at the pub followed by three nights at the apartment then back to the pub for a day or two then back to the apartment for a night or two. It’s great staying at the apartment away from the noise of the pub.

As it turned out on the first night we stayed at the apartment and the following morning I wanted to walk back to the pub but the weather was shocking. I couldn’t see the point in walking in the wet and we decided to drive back to the pub instead. As per usual Sarah did all the driving. Let’s get one thing straight when it comes to driving she kicks my arse! I have terrible road rage and find the whole experience very, very dull. I’m more a stare out of the window of a train dreaming type of person. Sarah might do all our driving but I do drive her up the wall as often as I can, ahem. Sarah decided to help me in the challenge by diving back to the pub in a long winded way. I yawned and in the back of the car Bobby followed suit.

Back at the pub on the second day I decided I couldn’t change my route to work but decided to change my routine in setting up the pub kitchen for the day. This was great fun and certainly made my mind more alert. I couldn’t stop thinking, “Have I done that yet?” And; “I must remember to do that.” Autopilot was definitely in the bin.

On the third day we spent the night at the apartment and a nice walk back to the pub the following morning was planned. When I woke the Great British weather had ruined my plans again but that wasn’t the worst of it, I could hardly walk. The evening before, from nowhere, I had a lot of pain in my big toe on my left foot. It was sore but didn’t stop me taking the Bobster out for a walk (as you might have guessed Bobby comes first). By late evening the pain was severe. Did I take pain killers? Don’t be stupid, like a typical man I just casually moaned about it! When I woke up I could barely walk – ha, ha – you couldn’t make this up! Where had this problem come from? I hadn’t knocked my foot or damaged it in any way. I took some pain killers around 6am but to no effect. Sarah had the usual conversation with me…

SARAH: If it’s that bad you need to see a doctor.

MARK: If it’s still bad tomorrow I’ll make an appointment for Wednesday!

By the time we got back to the pub the pain was crippling and felt as bad as tooth ache! My toe was swollen and I could just about stand up so I called the doctors and got an emergency appointment. Because I could hardly walk switching things around whilst setting up the pub was cancelled and a phone call to our head chef to come in earlier than normal was made and he duly obliged (cheers John). Pete, another member of staff, drove me around to the doctors and the diagnosis was…


Even the word sounds horrible, doesn’t it? It is very painful believe me. The doctor said there are many old beliefs about gout and what causes it and they’ve since been found out to be false. Even eating mackerel, herring, scallops, mussels and sardines can aggravate gout (last night’s tea was mackerel, ahem and I eat fish five or six times a week). A blood test was also pencilled in for two weeks from now (yawn – I hate needles).

After the visit to the doctors and a prescription of tablets I was back in work and resting the foot as often as possible (sitting on a yellow bucket in between food orders). I also knew that day four of the challenge, just like the weather, was going to be a washout. All I could hope for was the tablets to work fast and the gout to clear up quickly.

I couldn’t help thinking that I would have loved this challenge when I used to travel forty-five minutes by bus to get into a city centre office job. Unfortunately that was thirteen years ago! It did make me dream about the challenge though and what I would have done if I was still in that job. It brought back some great memories getting onto the bus which was a one minute walk away from our house and travelling into the city. My favourite times where during autumn and winter and watching the city slowly come to life as light hit the dark city streets – yeah-yeah!

This challenge is great for anyone who has to travel to work but not for someone who doesn’t have to leave the building to get to work (or someone with gout, ahem). Then again there is always a chance of putting in a nice walk before starting work and changing the route but maybe not this week, eh. Come on tablets do your stuff!

Mark Cuddy

Someone who learned to wake up


Go to the profile of Vanessa
over 5 years ago
Oh, dear! Better cut back on the fish a bit! The Great British Weather has definitely been a pain, but I think you definitely managed to mix up your routine a bit there...
Go to the profile of Fiona Dolben
over 5 years ago
oh bless you, my dad and Sister had this so I know how very painful it is, and how little sympathy you get because of the tales of 'ho ho too much rich living...' hope you feel better soon.... and also I don't know how to do this one as I can only think of one way to work especially when I work from home :) take great care, Fi
Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
over 5 years ago
I remember seeing a Laurel & Hardy film when Hardy had gout and I laughed and laughed - I'm not laughing now! And I've thought long and hard about what caused this and it's clearly eating too much (bad) fish and not drinking enough fluids. It is weird though - like a curse and I'm not even Egyptian! This will be a turning point though.
Go to the profile of Chris Baréz-Brown
over 5 years ago
dude! I am feeling for you. I got gout a few years ago and was terribly embarrassed as I believed everyone would think that I lived on foie gras and port. turns out that what triggered mine was yeast. since then I don't eat bread, marmite or sadly live brown beer and it has never come back. I can eat shellfish, and indulge in spicy dharl and all is well. so I hope you find what works for you so it can leave you be. huge love and am really enjoying your blogs. cx
Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
over 5 years ago
Cheers Chris, I've stopped eating all the fish the experts believe don't help and I'm drinking more liquid daily. The tablets worked in the end and I hope that will be the end of it (fingers and toes crossed - well maybe not toes, ahem).
Go to the profile of Jacqui
over 5 years ago
Poor you. A previous boss has gout and he used to bring out an amazing walking stick. It used to remind me of the film Angel Heart!
Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
over 5 years ago
Jacqui Angel Heart is a great film, very, very dark. For me it's Alan Parker's best film. The chemistry of De Niro and Mickey Rourke's is absolutely superb. Yeah-yeah!