There are things niggling me. Let's begin with my appearance: my hair and my weight loss.
Hair first. On 5th August I wrote a post titled The Hairband which went into why I'd stopped wearing one. Under some urging from local friends, I'd agreed to go hairbandless for a little while, as a trial, and I've stuck with it. But never without reservation. Out in the wind, my unrestrained hair instantly flies about and looks a mess. The old hairband hadn't prevented the wind ruffling my hair, but there was a definite limit to the damage that could occur; and once indoors, or in the car, order was very quickly restored. And the old hairband always preserved the fringe, no matter how strong the breeze, but without it the fringe disappears, exposing an unlovely forehead that I'd rather keep concealed.
Where now is the semblance of shape and style that my hair used to possess? As I said in that earlier post, untidy hair can look flattering, even sexy: but I think this works best with thick hair and a younger face. At my age, I can't really get away with anything too casual. Frankly, not looking well-groomed north of my eyes is undermining my self-esteem.
I admit that there was nothing cool about the hairband. But it did its job effectively most of the time. I'm now in blustery North Devon, with the Appledore Book Festival imminent, and I want to look presentable - and not like a bag lady. There are events to attend in smart clothes, and I want my hair to look decently tidy. So this afternoon I'm popping into Barnstaple, and I'll buy a new hairband to wear. My friends back in the village won't like it, but it's my hair, and I want to restore an appearance that seemed to work well.
Next, weight loss. This is coming along pretty nicely. I haven't found it very easy to shed my exceess weight, but when weighed two evenings ago at Slimming World I'd managed to throw off two stones and three pounds since starting last November. That's thirty-one pounds, or fourteen kilograms. I'm happy with that kind of progress, slow though it is.
Importantly, I've worked out a good personal regime that includes a wide variety of nice things to eat that are nevertheless Slimming World compliant and - if I stick to plan - will inexorably lead to gradual weight-loss. I have also worked out which 'naughty' things I can start eating again, in order to arrest the weight loss and just hover at the weight I want to be. Of course, it's impossible to get through the average week without a social life, and those things that tend to go with seeing friends (meals out, wine), which all put the brakes on anything more than very gradual weight loss. Even so, I should get to my ultimate target during the next four months. That target is now three stones - forty-two pounds, or nineteen kilograms.
What's not to like about losing weight? Well, for a start, it is ageing. I have lost that my chubby round face and neck, and gained lines and wrinkles that were there, but stretched out and not so visible. My neck doesn't look good at all. Elsewhere, however, the Melford carcass definitely looks trimmer and slimmer and because of that a bit younger.
So it's younger body, but older face. Is that what I really want? I'm not entirely sure.
I do of course look and feel healthier, more supple, and I can bend more easily. And my joints must welcome not having to cope with quite so much heft. These are very important points in favour of weight-loss. Points that will stop me backsliding and throwing away the dedication and effort needed to get so far towards my target. But I don't want to end up healthy but haggard. I'm starting to think that three stones may be just a few pounds too much.
Now there's something else. My head hair, fine not coarse, and never thickly-growing, is getting a bit thin. There are no bald patches yet, but I can see from many past photos that my hair isn't as luxuriant as it used to be. Whenever I wash it, I seem to lose quite a number of strands. More than I used to. What's changed?
I'm older, of course. How thick should a woman's hair be at sixty-five? I'm on HRT, so it's not an oestragen deficiency. It could be heredity. My Mum had thinning hair in her old age. She added volume by perming it relentlessly, something I am not going to do. Nor will I saturate my hair with goo and spray, to artificially bulk it out.
I do wonder whether my hair is missing the things I have eliminated from my diet since starting my current weight loss endeavour - things like bread, butter, and cheese. At the moment, the hair-thinning is slight, but neverthelesss concerning and I shall keep an eye on it. If necessary, I shall stop losing weight and eat some bread and cheese again.