One of our reasons for coming to India for the winter – quite apart from the love of the place – is that it enables us to get healthier through the cold period. Quite frankly we emerge from Christmas and New Year at the end of a process where we have eaten too much, drunk too much, exercised too little and been a bit too busy and too stressed. If we stayed at home January through March, we would be couch potatoes and just continue that pattern. I know… we wouldn”t have to be…. we could get out. But I know myself well enough now to know that if it’s raining and windy outside and cold, I’m not going to go out in it for any length of time. If it’s muddy and vile, I don’t want to walk in the country. Yes, I could join a gym but that is also terribly unappealing, not to mention, pricey. All a bit grim faced and boring. So, a sojourn here really fits the bill. Number one, we walk everywhere. Absolutely no problem at all doing our 10,000 steps. We walk a lot. To the beach. Back from the beach. To the sea from the sunlounger and back, multiple times. Along the beach… and back. Back to our studio from the beach. Down to the beach for dinner. And back again. It all adds up. There are also a number of activities available of a sporty nature: kayaking; sailboarding; yoga; pilates; swimming itself; a running/jogging group. All offered in the sublime surroundings of Patnem Beach. Definitely preferable to a smelly old gym. I have invented a new one for myself too: I run in the sea! The sea is very placid in the mornings, like a millpond. I wade out to about chest deep and then I start to run. Mostly on the spot, but also forwards and backwards, sometimes turning in a small circle. I know. It probably looks a bit barmy to other beach users. But the thing is, the beach is so sparsely populated that no one else much is around me in the water and if they are, they quite quickly move away, because not only am I some loony running on the spot but I also sing while I’m doing it. Oh yes! And quite often I get stuck on one song in particular so I repeat it. Endlessly. Anyway, I find this a brilliant form of exercise. Firstly, you don’t get all hot and sweaty. I hate that in particular. Secondly, the water cushions my joints and makes it low impact. Thirdly, by swinging and punching my arms through the water I am giving them a resistance workout at the same time. Fourthly, I can run in the water for 30-45 minutes which I am not aerobically fit enough to do in the dry – thank you water! Finally, the water also cushions your boobs… or moobs… depending. So I recommend it to you as an activity! Other more healthy developments are eating less and better. Food here is fresh and it is easy and pleasurable to eat a lot of vegetable dishes. Wine, in contrast, is fairly vile. So, we eat more veg and drink less wine. I wish I could say that the g&ts were vile but they’re not so we still do have a drink or maybe two of an evening. But less than in the UK. It’s all good. This evening we were invited to a birthday dinner on the beach. Pamela and Eddie have a number of friends from Cyprus out here too, all staying at the Tubki. Heather and Chris and Chris and Terry are already here and we met them today. Debbie and David arrive tonight and we have met them before in Cyprus. Anyway, it was Heather’s 60th birthday and they had arranged dinner and fireworks at Roundcube and kindly invited us to join. It was a lovely setting with a table down on the beach and fresh flowers. The food was nowhere near as good as it was last year when Rocky was running the place. It was nicely presented but the chef had the heaviest hand imaginable with the chilli. My lips were burning and tingling. Things that shouldn’t even be hot were like beyond vindaloo. Not so nice really. However a most enjoyable evening and the fireworks were amazing. An automated display that went on for 7 minutes solid and cost £22. Really impressive. There was even a chocolate cake. At the end Chris and Terry tried to launch one of those Chinese lanterns. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried, but we had a go last year, and believe you me, it is much harder than it looks. Anyway, their first attempt was a bit of a disaster and it slightly caught itself on fire and a big hole was ripped in the side so that one wasn’t going anywhere. In the end, the main waiter came down and helped out and it launched up up and away! A really nice evening.