Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Off My Game & On Elaine Morgan's Books




One of the useful off shoots of running is that you tend to fight infection well. I can't remember the last time I had a cold. Last winter everyone else came down with one and I sailed through unscathed (somewhat smugly, which may explain why I have now come down with the mother of all ENT infections).

A patient arrived last Monday with a sore throat and by Thursday I was not feeling well. I went for a run round the fields first thing to try and shift it, but by evening was coughing fit to burst and it's gone on from there. This morning L has come down with it too, so we are both at home crook in bed.

I don't make a good patient. I hate feeling ill. Hate being forced to be quiet. Most of all I hate the enforced inactivity. I haven't run for five days and it feels like I've never run at all. Worse, it feels like I never will again (exaggeration I know, but being under the weather tends to swamp every sensible rational thought). I'm Very Grumpy that my running programme has been interrupted and cross at all the time being wasted. I may be stuffing a cold rather than starving a fever but despite the lack of temperature and associated aches and pains I still feel like death warmed up. Grrrr.

I've done a bit of sewing (interfaced lined fabric baskets and some Crimble bunting) when I've managed to drag myself out of bed because my friend Mrs M is kindly hosting a pre-Christmas Sewing Sale for me at her house next week. 

I've ordered stocking fillers for the kids (the usual chocolates, fart whistles, fortune telling fish, pencils and bouncy balls, as well as things that mark how they are all growing up, like razors and deodorants for the boys and a book of Maya Angelou's poems for J. It was a toss-up between Maya and Sylvia Plath, a poet I think every lass should read, but in the end I thought Maya was more J's scene). I've made lists of Christmas-type things that need doing, including a pile of Garden Jobs for M who is now the Proud Owner of an Industrial Flame Thrower for dealing with garden weeds. It looks and sounds like a fire breathing dragon. He's wanted one for ages and when he mentioned it to L a few years ago L's response was she'll never let you have one of those. Proper Big Boys Toys.

Other than that I've been asleep or plonked in front of the tele working my way through The Good Wife. Again. Much as I enjoy The Good Wife there are only so many hours of daytime tv I can cope with before I begin to feel I'm turning into a brain-dead couch potato. And if you're used to running you find when you aren't your appetite diminishes and the enjoyment of food goes with it. For a lass who likes her meals this is a real downer. I'm trying to do a bit of yoga before bed but it's not the same as running miles.
 
To combat the brain-drain I've been reading Elaine Morgan's The Descent Of Woman and the Aquatic Ape, which hypothesize that homo sapiens went through an aquatic phase of evolution and that human evolution was driven by the female of the species as much as the male. It was ground-breaking stuff when published in the 1970s largely because women had always been seen as of secondary importance in terms of evolutionary drivers. It also wasn't taken seriously at that time because Elaine Morgan was a Welsh Housewife not a scientist and academically qualified scientists felt within their rights to diminish her ideas accordingly.

Her theory rebutted the accepted model of the time, the Savannah Hypothesis, which held that evolution was driven primarily by the male of the species and his needs. Women cared for the children, men hunted. And successful hunting required bipedal effort which resulted in over-heating when it was done with a full coat of fur. The fur was lost over time as a response to over-heating, and bipedal movement became the norm.

Morgan pointed out inconsistencies in this theory, namely that quadrupeds run much faster than bipeds so how can bipedal hunting benefit the hunter, and also that women, whom the Savannah Hyposthesis had sitting at home not running about at all, had more need of hair than their mates to keep them warm but in reality have less. To this day, men retain hairy chests, backs, legs and arms.

She offered a theory touched on by Desmond Morris in his book The Naked Ape, that humans went through an Aquatic phase of development. Standing up on two legs made sense when it enabled escape from quadruped predators by wading deep into water. It explained why humans are the only land-dwelling mammals with a layer of subcutaneous fat (commonly found in aquatic creatures) and why they lost their fur. It also explained why fur was retained on the head - she suggests babies could hold on to it when their parents were in the water as their heads would be the only part that would be consistently above the water. 

Whether you agree with her or not, it is a really interesting, thought-provoking read, one that is saving me from the danger of insanity brought on by complete inactivity. I don't think this bug is going to shift any time soon so I am reconciled to a week held in suspension. I might as well use it wisely and come back fighting with a bit more knowledge in my head.

How are all of you? I understand this bug is doing the rounds in the UK so if you're here I really hope you've escaped it.

CT :o)
 

39 comments:

  1. I do hope you are feeling better soon......but, that first run you go on, don't demand too much of your self.....it'll be like starting over again. Take care.

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    1. Boo Hoo :o( I will take it easy. No chance of running anywhere yet. I can barely stand up! xx

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  2. Hope you feel better soon♥

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  3. That sounds like a fascinating book. Sorry you've been under the weather. There are colds here too, I am fighting one off. Today I feel I am winning. I am very envious of M's industrial flame thrower. What we could do with one of those here! I keep on top of my patio weeds with a little tip from Bob Flowerdew - any time you have a bit of leftover boiling water, eg. in the bottom of the kettle, pasta water or from boiling an egg etc., go and pour it along any weedy cracks. It's a great idea if it's done regularly. Not in the same league as an industrial flame thrower though. I wish him many happy hours with it. CJ xx

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    1. That's the best example of nominative determinism ever, isn't it, Bob Flowerdew? I allowed myself to be won over to the fire breathing dragon because it deals with the weeds effectively without using poison. It works well, but boy is it noisy xx

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  4. "The usual fart whistles" lololol.

    I too hate being confined by illness, the enforced self quarantine when I had swine flu in 2009 was unbearably boring, more recently noro virus was also horrible.

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    1. Gotta have a fart whistle :o)

      I had swine fly in 2009 too. Was the sickest I've ever been my whole life. Horrid.

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  5. My husband is a dab hand with the hot toddy - vast quantities of Highland Park Malt whisky - a huge dollop of honey - a good squirt of lemon juice - really hot water. Drink and retire to bed - sweat it out.

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    1. Unfortunately, I'm off booze and citrus gives me migraines! :o)

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  6. Oh dear, how incredibly annoying, you were doing so well with the running, I hope you feel better soon. Andy Murray is on tomorrow afternoon, perhaps you can practise running with your eyes. Glad you've got a good book to keep you going. x

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  7. Hope you feel better very soon. That book sounds fascinating. The whole fur thing on humans, male and female has always got me wondering why. I'm sure you will be back running very soon. These things usually run their course within a week. Hot whisky toddy is always our remedy :) B xx

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    1. Starting to feel more human today. Can't wait to be over the damn thing!

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  8. What an interesting evolutionary study and it is good to hear that you are keeping the scientific side of your brain active while you're under the weather. I've just been discussing the madness of the human shoulder joint, a probable relic from when we were swiinging in the trees, with my physiotherapist who has been working on my shoulder which is suffering from a subscapularis muscle tear sustained during that horrible bike fall six months ago. I had a 40 minute swim before the session and now feel on top of the world. I had been feeling very down with the pain and lack of forward movement but after only two sessions progress is being made - hurrah. I am a very bad patient too and get exceedingly grumpy if I can't do stuff. You will be back to running in no time and back to your previous best by Christmas, so don't despair CT.

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    1. Relieved to hear your shoulder benefiting from treatment. I do know how you feel, very frustrating if you're an active soul to have to be quiet!

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  9. I''m sorry to hear about the bug - get well soon. Glad that you've got such an interesting, thought-provoking book to help you get through it.

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    1. Books keep me sane whenever I'm unwell. Thank goodness for them!

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  10. Poor you. I hope that you're soon back on form and taking the running by storm again. I was due to go today but after a week spent decorating, my back has seized up and I can barely move. Your book sounds like an interesting read and my husband would be very envious of that flame thrower! Here's to speedy recoveries and, failing that, hot toddies and Ibuprofen! xx

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    1. Oh no, poor you, how annoying. Have you tried lying flat on the floor to ease the muscles? Hope it eases soon. x

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  11. Sod's Law. Same think happened to me. As well as a cold I had a nose bleed for 3 or 4 days. I was out of running action for 3 weeks and started back slowly with the run-walk-run method. Like you I can generally shake off a cold, but this latest one was one that really knocked me sideways. Important / cannot be stressed enough / come back slow. GWS.

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    1. When it involves lungs it isn't great if you're a runner, is it? I'll know I'm better when I feel like running again!

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  12. Get well soon, I am also the one who gets away with a cold but I had a stinker a few weeks back x

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    1. There are some nasty bugs doing the rounds. We need a decent cold snap to kill them off x

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  13. It must be so frustrating after you have been doing so well running to be halted by a horrible bug! I'm not a good patient either! You have been using your time wisely despite not feeling right. Hope you will soon recover. Sarah x

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    1. I'm hopeful all the work I put in before hand will stand me in good stead when I can get back to it again x

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  14. Oh My Goodness, this is so sad. I have been keeping up with your running plan.
    I have to get all sorts of shots to made it through fall and winter. I have every auto immune problem, plus some others so I have to be very careful.
    Feel better soon.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Annoying when your body lets you down :o( Love to thehamish.

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  15. I'm sorry to hear you have been stricken down with A Nasty Bug. Snap, though mine is more along the lines of chest infection and bu**ered up asthma, so I too am on the sofa, with seewing, good books, and daytime television, and on antibiotics and as of this morning, steroids. As I have just lost 8 lbs and the steroids give you the munchies big time, to say I am peeved is an understatement!

    I hope you are on the mend and back to running soon. You were doing SO well too. My Fitbit miles will have to wait until next week when hopefully normal life will be resumed!

    Intrigued by the books you are reading. When I did my Archaeology course, several of our class specialised in early hominids, but I am a Prehistoric person myself. Very thought provoking anyway.

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    1. Sending you get well wishes too. Hope you're over it soon.

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  16. So sorry you are feeling so crook, get well soon. That book sounds really interesting, will add it to my loooooooooong list of books to read.

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    1. I know the feeling! One positive of being under the weather- I read more!

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  17. nursing a crook husband thru a a South African relative of your bug.
    Feel a bit sorry for any insects on those incinerated weeds ...

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    1. Hope he's over it soon. Don't worry- insects are very much important people in our garden :o)

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  18. Oh dear, poor you. It sounds horrid. But hopefully you're feeling a bit better today? The only thing is to rest properly and get rid of it otherwise it will Linger and you don't want that! Fingers crossed you're back running soon and able to stuff your face with mince pies. That book sounds fascinating, thanks for bringing it to my attention. S x

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    1. Still under the weather here but it is starting to shift a bit I think. I've managed to infect the whole family with it :o( xx

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  19. Hope you are feeling better by now!
    I read The Descent of Woman when I was studying anthropology at university 40 years ago and of course all the experts pooh-poohed it. Personally I still hold a certain belief in it, as it explains so much.
    Have you seen the recent BBC series by Alice Roberts, The Incredible Human Journey? It was five episodes looking into how Homo sapiens spread from Africa to the other continents. I like her, but she recently said the aquatic theory was rubbish, which slightly put me off her!
    Interestingly, in her series she keeps on finding that for much of mankind's early migrations the routes were along the coastlines of continents, in areas now under water (as the sea levels were lower then). Tantalising.
    Obviously that was all after humans were already fully human and the aquatic ape is about development in earlier ancestors.
    All the best :)

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    1. I went to a talk by Alice Roberts which was very good, but I would also be put off her by that. I'm not sure any scientist should rubbish any theory entirely.

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x