Neuroma…

Unfortunately the Morton’s neuroma in my left foot has not improved. Or, more accurately: It started to improve, then I did too much and it got worse again.

I ran last week on Saturday and Sunday. It had been hurting a bit the previous week and as a result it was a bit uncomfortable Saturday evening, but nothing too bad. After that it felt reasonably OK. By Wednesday I had no complaints, so much so that I was considering a run in the evening but then I got home and it was dark and cold so in the end I didn’t. As punishment for my laziness, it suddenly got a lot worse on Thursday (why?) and hasn’t really improved much since.

So I’ve started icing it several times a day, which might help me break out of a possible inflammation loop, but it has not had any obvious effect so far. On the first day of icing it felt pretty weird, like I could actually feel the nerve along its length.

It doesn’t seem to hurt much or at all when I’m walking (or running for that matter). It’ll be when I’m sat at my desk that suddenly I’ll feel like someone has started jabbing a pin into the ball of my foot near the base of my toes, or my toes suddenly feel sort of cold and sort of bruised. Nerves are strange things.

So at the moment it looks like it will be at least a few weeks until I’m running again, which is frustrating.

It also turns out that when I run now my left shoe rubs along my arch. It never used to do this, indicating a biomechanical change. I hesitate to say it, but… overpronation? So in the meantime I can work on stability and flexibility and all that. And come to think of it, my hips do feel a bit asymmetrical.

The ‘medical’ way to treat a neuroma is to cut it out. Unfortunately the research on how well this works is very hard to assess. It’s not a 100% success rate, but reliability of the diagnosis seems a bit iffy which might fully account for the surgical failures. Most people affected by neuromas are middle aged women, but it’s also common in runners. These are very distinct sets of people with distinct lifestyles, histories and footwear, and it would be better if the literature treated them separately as misdiagnosis might be common in one set but not the other.

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MYSTERIOUS

Last night I was awoken very suddenly at 4:40AM by the doorbell. I also had the impression that I’d heard a car door close a few seconds before the doorbell. I spent my early 20s devouring everything I could about unexplained mysteries and the paranormal and I know very well that the mind does strange things in the world between sleep and consciousness, so I realised that I’d only been awake due to the doorbell and it seemed unlikely I’d know about the car door, which also led me to suspect that I hadn’t really heard the doorbell.

It took me probably another 40 minutes go to back to sleep, in which time I heard precisely nothing, including a suspicious absence of a car door opening and closing again followed by a car driving away. I didn’t answer the door, obviously, because firstly I hate answering the door at the best of times and 4:40AM is a long way from the best of times, secondly I’m lazy and thirdly I didn’t really believe there was anyone there.

So I got up this morning and my front door was smeared with bloody hand-prints… No not really.

Hypnagogia (wikipedia) is the name of the strange world between wakefulness and sleep, which may include auditory hallucinations, and the article specifically mentions doorbells.

Of course, since I didn’t get up and check, I really have no idea whether it was a hallucination or not.

Very odd.

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Pre-brexit

Today has had the following exciting stories:

1. David Davis admits to the commons that he hasn’t done any analysis over what effect a ‘no deal’ would have upon the economy, doesn’t know what the tech industry’s state will be regarding data privacy with Europe, admits that agriculture tariffs could be as high as 40%(!) and thinks we’ll lose passporting for financial services.

2. The government u-turns on NI increases, because nobody reminded them that increasing NI was against their manifesto. The story from the Telegraph is that Theresa “safe pair of hands” May forced the u-turn by telling Philip Hammond “we are reversing this – I don’t care how bad it is for you”.

3. 12 police forces have passed on evidence to the CPS regarding 2015 Conservative election fraud, and at least two Conservative MPs have been interviewed by police. This could get very interesting. It’s amazing to think that the Conservatives hold a majority, but even with shenanigans, only managed to get less than a quarter of the electorate to actually vote for them.

With the EU negotiations just around the corner, I’m glad we’re fielding the A-team.

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They can take our lives…

Top grade political trolling from Nicola Sturgeon.

A50 is almost imminent, and she has thrown a spanner into the works by making it look like Scotland is about 50% likely to leave the UK within the next few years. Her desired timings are chosen for maximum confusion – she wants a referendum when we’re only a few months away from leaving the EU. The future of the UK will be in doubt up until that point, which will add even more uncertainty into the negotiations. And if Theresa May puts her foot down and denies Sturgeon her wishes then Scottish nationalism will surge even further.

If Theresa May is already getting out-manoeuvred by Sturgeon, it doesn’t bode well for her ability to negotiate with the rest of the EU.

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Boring budgets

I found the budget sleep inducing, and that’s just reading the summary highlights. This might be an important point, because in the Osborne era you (and by which I mean most working people) always had the emotional feeling that you were better off after a budget; even though his management of the economy was poor in general and almost certainly stunted wage growth, he’d always be happy to give you a very small but unexpected and welcome tax break. So what I’m saying here is the Tories used to be big on style but short on substance, whereas now they’re lacking both. They are in an obvious danger here that since the opposition is so bad that they can meander towards mediocrity, which is true, but should the opposition suddenly sort itself out, they’re toast. This isn’t a completely impossible scenario; there are rumours that the Tory 2015 general election expense fraud might come to something soon and should that result in a set of by-elections in which they inevitably crush Labour, Corbyn’s position will become ever more untenable.

The chancellor didn’t explicitly mention brexit during the budget, which is interesting because his apparent complacency of the impending hard brexit, despite having previously predicted it would be a disaster, is juxtaposed with the gradual but very noticeable loss of confidence of many previously confident brexiters. A few days ago Lord Lawson decided we’d be getting a bad deal, despite only 30 days earlier employing the “they need us more than we need them, they’ll have to give us a great deal” rhetoric. It has been some time since I have heard anyone important voice the opinion that we’ll get a better deal than we had; everything now is silence or damage control.

This is also mirrored by sentiments on social media. My social media is a strange place full of brexiters, despite being full of demographics who really shouldn’t be brexiters, i.e. young, middle class and well educated. I strongly suspect this is caused by a predilection of otherwise intelligent people to go against the grain just for the sake of being different – because in their mind, this makes them more intelligent and truly enlightened. In light of stories about rising food prices and various analysis predicting that those hardest hit by brexit will be those in poorer areas who also voted for it, most of them have shifted their defence from “Stop moaning, it’ll be great” to the argument that consciously observing news articles amounts to gleefully delighting in the suffering of poor people, and it is terrible and we should all stop being awful people.

I think a lot of these young, middle class and well educated brexiters are soon going to discover that the most politically disheartening experience you can have is to vote for the winning side.

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BREXIT REVIEW SO FAR

It’s March now which means it’s almost Article 50 time! Let’s have a quick review of the main recent events until now.

David Davis seems to have started the “managing expectations” phase. Competent managers do this all the way through a project, but Davis and May spent quite a few months saying everything would be great and are now having to row back. This is better than leaving it until later, but still suggests they’re a bit out of their depth.

We’ve recently had admissions from the government that low skilled immigration will still be needed, that immigration won’t change dramatically, and that parliament was sovereign all along. Add in the definite dismissal of the £350m a week to the NHS and we have an exhaustive list of the major arguments for brexit, and each one has been nullified. We are left with all of the risks and none of the benefits. We are still doing it anyway because we had a referendum on common sense and decided to reject it.

Davis has also said we must be prepared for the possibility that we leave the EU with no deal. The “we buy their cars, they need us more than them, of course we’ll get a great deal” brexit rhetoric which you may remember from only a few months ago is conspicuously absent. The reader should note here that around half of our international trade is with the EU; to place barriers between us and the EU would be serious mismanagement.

On EU citizens in the UK: When it was announced that there were more EU citizens in the UK and fewer vice versa than previously thought, brexiteers were jubilant because this gives us the upper hand, supposedly. So far the government is making few friends by holding firm on refusing to provide these people with any assurances, while the Lords have today intervened on the issue and given the government their first defeat. Back in real life, the idea that we’re going to kick out 5 million people overnight is patently ludicrous. The economic impact would be devastating so it’s a non-starter before we even get to the ethical issues. Theresa May is not exactly picking her battles wisely with this one – another reason to be concerned she’s out of her depth.

Meanwhile in Ukip land…

Farage yesterday had a tantrum that he hasn’t had a knighthood and blamed Douglas Carswell, who promptly took to Twitter to troll him. This isn’t the first time Farage has had a public spat with Carswell and there’s a delicious irony in the fact that the only person who seems capable of winding up Farage is his only MP. In reality, the plan for Farage to get a knighthood was for Carswell to lean on the Tories until it happened, and the Farage camp thinks that Carswell didn’t do all he could to make it happen, probably because he a) didn’t want to expend any of his political capital on getting Nigel Farage a knighthood and b) thought it was kind of a stupid plan anyway.

Arron Banks, main Ukip funder, has floated the idea of standing against Carswell in the next election as part of a new party. This should be completely hilarious and I’m definitely looking forward to the Newkip defeat.

So in conclusion… things are going better than expected.

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By-elections today

Today in Stoke is opposites day!

If you really like Labour then vote Ukip to oust Corbyn and get your party back.
If you really like Ukip then vote Labour to oust Nuttall and get your party back.

Stoke is tricky to work out. It’s a previously safe Labour seat, or as we now call them in the Corbyn era, a marginal seat. But there are so many conflicting variables it’s impossible to know which way it will go. Turnout is likely to be very low due to bad weather (60mph wind, anyone?) and bad candidates, which can amplify things in unexpected directions. We might even see the Tories or Lib Dems surging off the back of low turnout of the other parties. I have no predictions other than I don’t think Ukip will win, which I suppose means I think Labour will.

As for Copeland, I do think it’ll be a Tory win, even though the government taking a seat from the opposition at a by-election would be extraordinary.

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