This week we’re writing about what advice has stuck with us for a long time, and who gave us that advice.

Nothing was ever sugar-coated for me as a child. My mother Dot, with her typical East End tell-it-like-it-is attitude, drummed the following advice into me from a very early age:

‘Never get old and fat, because first you’ll see ’em with one stick, then you’ll see ’em with two sticks, and then you won’t see ’em at all, so everything in moderation.’

As a child this always gave me a terrible mental image of an unfortunate whale-like, wrinkled person stuck and floundering in an armchair like a flapping fish.

Up until the age of about 12 or 13 when I was given pocket money, sweets were rationed to one small bag on Saturdays only.  If Dot saw me trying to take more than 3 biscuits, then the tin would be quickly whipped away and my protestations would be ignored.  Vegetables were always put on my plate and I would be expected to eat some whether I liked them or not, but by the time I reached late teen age I was eating everything put in front of me; vegetables, liver and onions, stews, casseroles, and boiled fish to name but a few.

Now I’m nearly sixty I finally get what she was trying to teach me.  I’m thankfully still mobile, and am glad she gave me the advice.  Both our granddaughters are overweight, and when we recently paid an unannounced flying visit to drop something off, both of them were sitting in front of the TV, each chomping on their own large mixing-bowl full of crisps and sweets.  We were horrified and wondered if this was a regular occurrence, but could say nothing.  The youngest granddaughter complains that her legs hurt and chafe if she walks too far.  I can see diabetes, heart disease and early-onset arthritis waiting in the wings ready to pounce in the future. Somebody ought to take those mixing bowls away… I’m sure Dot would if she could!

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