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April 2022 ramblings from the "Doc"

A fascinating talk from Sue Bachelor who is a nurse specialist in Respiratory Medicine. So much of what she said was relevant to so many members of the group. She specialises in COPD and pulmonary rehab. We were all struck by the similarities of living with a chronic condition whether it be respiratory or pain. It was particularly interesting to hear how important it was to encourage people to exercise until breathless, to push them out of their comfort zone, in order to teach them how to manage their symptoms and decrease their anxiety. She also taught us the useful technique of purse lip breathing and the mantra ‘if in doubt, breathe out’. For people struggling with breath it is useful to encourage them to lean forward to support their arms, to remind them of the pursed lip breathing and to have a hand-held fan handy because letting one blow on the side of the face has been proven to improve breathing. She also ran through the various types of inhalers, how important it was to match the type of inhaler as well as the type of medication to each individual and the merits of spacers. So much really useful information and advice.
We had a very successful 17th birthday party this month. It’s so nice to feel that things are returning to normal for the group despite COVID.
Next month we have Sarah Yarham coming to speak. She works for a local charity called Youth Options and want to tell us all about that and her own experience of living with pain.

March 2022 ramblings from the "Doc"

We were delighted to welcome Beth Rogers, her colleagues Laura, Nicky and Lauren, and one of their clients Harry to this afternoon's meeting. We were especially lucky as Harry brought us a fabulous chocolate cake he had just made, still warm and fresh from the oven. They gave us a fascinating presentation about the origins of the Rose Road Association and the invaluable work they do for children and young adults with various disabilities. This includes direct care alongside respite breaks, holiday activities and outings, community outreach, advice and a help line. More information can be found at

Next month we have our 17th Birthday Party 2-4pm Saturday 2nd Portswood Resident’s Garden Pavilion SO17 1QT

We also have Sue Bachelor, a nurse specialist in Respiratory Medicine coming to talk at our Thursday Meeting.

February 2022 ramblings from the "Doc"

We had a lovely afternoon listening to a talk and music from Charlotte de Rothschild with sun poring through the windows, luckily the day before storm Eunice arrived. She took us right back to where her love of singing started to stories of her frequent performances in her beloved Japan. She is a world renowned Lyric Soprano and so we are so grateful that Joan met her whilst Charlotte was volunteering at one of our local vaccination centres and persuaded her to come and speak to us. You can read more about her and hear samples of her music at Charlotte de Rothschild


November 2021 ramblings from the "Doc"

Another first for 2021! Our first meeting with a speaker. A fascinating talk from Chris Swann about the history of Southampton with particular reference to the Residents' Garden where we are now holding our meetings. He started as far back as 520 million years ago! And rapidly brought us up to date via ice ages, bronze ages and 2 world wars. There was so much to take in that I’m sure we can persuade him to come back and focus even more on various aspects of particular interest to members.
Next month our meeting on 16th December is our last before Christmas. The members present wanted to go ahead with our usual finger food buffet and so food contributions on the day will be welcomed. We will also do our traditional £1 Secret Santa so please bring a wrapped present to the value of £1 (noting if it is suited for a male, female or either).

October 2021 ramblings from the "Doc"

Our first in person meeting for nearly 2 years. The sun was shining on us and everyone fell in love with the new venue - Portswood Residents’ Garden Pavilion, SO17 1QT. Some aspects are easier, some trickier but nothing that can’t be worked around and the goodwill and calm was palpable.
The consensus was that we continue to meet here on the third Thursday of the month. In November we hope to have a speaker who will tell us all about the history of the Residents Garden. We will provide refreshments as usual.
The various activities throughout the month will continue:
1st Monday of the month Coffee No.1 Shirley 11am; 2nd Tuesday of the month Make and Brew St James’ Methodist Church 10 am - bring your knitting and crochet; 3rd Thursday of the month main meeting Portswood Residents Pavilion 1.30 - 3 pm; 4th Monday of the month Red Lion Bitterne 11am; Zoom meeting every Tuesday 2 pm. A big thank you to Kevin Bowers who continues to coordinate these activities.
We spent a bit of time catching up on everyone's news and how they had all managed to cope with the last 23 months. I was so impressed by everyones resilience and positivity. What a fantastic group.

Letter sent to all members in September 2020

Dear Members

We do hope you are all keeping well. I’m sure, like us, you are really missing the company and support that Keeping Pace meetings provide. With that in mind, Joan, Kevin C and I had a close look at the COVID arrangements at Avenue St Andrews United Reformed Church and carried out a risk assessment (that you’re all welcome to look at). We came to the conclusion that it was not possible to run safe meetings at this time and were particularly mindful of the complex health needs of most of our members. We therefore looked for alternative ways to keep in touch. As you know we have endeavoured to contact you all by phone and post, Whats App and Zoom (thanks Kevin B), and we thought the time had come to add in something new. We therefore propose to organise some flexible, Rule of Six Mini Groups to meet in various tea/coffee venues around the city.

1. They will be ‘hosted’ by Joan, Kevin B, Carol and Norma.
2. They can have no more than 6 attendees (the host plus 5).
3. They will be flexible so different people can go to different groups at different times in the hope that we will all eventually interact with as many different members as possible.
4. They need to be booked with the host to keep numbers strictly to 6.

A calendar will be posted on our website and Facebook with the dates and venues. You will then need to contact the host and book in. You must wait for your place to be confirmed.

Sadly, it’s illegal to be involved in groups larger than 6 so you will be turned away.

We hope you are as excited as we are by this opportunity and we look forward to meeting with you soon.Take care, keep safe

Norma, Joan and Kevin C


November 2020 ramblings from the "Doc"

Well the good news is that we managed to host 5 mini groups between Joan, Kevin and I during October. I think they were really worth doing and everyone enjoyed the chance to meet up with old friends. Sadly these are going to have to be put on hold once more. We will continue to keep in touch by phone, WhatsApp, zoom and post.

Take care and keep safe.

February 2020 ramblings from the "Doc"

Today we were treated by the lovely Sandra from Waitrose, Portswood to another cheeses tasting. This time she offered us 8 varieties from 8 European countries. We learnt all sorts of facts about the cheeses’ characteristics and the cheese production history of the countries of origin. We are also grateful to Waitrose, Portswood as we have received a cheque for our proportion of the green disc collection in January. It will go a long way towards our costs for running the group this year. Next month is our 15th birthday so do come along and help us celebrate with a slice of cake.

January 2020 ramblings from the "Doc"

A very helpful talk from Vicki Rowell, community pain pharmacist, discussing how to get the most from an appointment with your GP if you want to have a medication review. The importance of remembering that it is a 2 way discussion and that preplanning what you want to say and get out of the consultation is key. A buzz phrase to bear in mind, and to use if required, is “Patient Centred Care”. A vital approach that all health professionals are aware of and are endeavouring to provide.

December 2019 ramblings from the "Doc"

Another splendid Christmas Party which was well attended despite the awful rain! Great company and food. A triumph of a quiz thanks to Mike’s compilation and Kevin’s artistic flair.
Happy New Year to all.

November 2019 ramblings from the "Doc"

You could have heard a pin drop as we sat and listened to Lt Col (ret’d) Jeremy Prescott telling us about the fascinating story of the poppy and its association with remembrance. From its beginnings with John McCrae, an army doctor who took comfort in the sight of poppies when he was burying his best friend on the battle fields near Ypres in the First World War, to the amazing sight of the 890,000 ceramic poppies which made up the moving display “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red" at The Tower of London in 2014. It was a balanced view as he also discussed those who don’t agree with the use of the poppy and our traditions of remembrance. He ended with a sentiment that he holds dear that was written on a war memorial and which I think can resonate with us all, “We were young, We have died, Remember us.” He has promised to return as he has many other talks that he gives as part of his project to raise awareness of the sacrifice made by those killed in conflict and to raise money for the charity Combat Stress by collecting donations. For more information
Next month is our Christmas party. Don’t forget your contributions to the food buffet and your wrapped £1 present for the Secret Santa.

October 2019 ramblings from the "Doc"

A fascinating talk today about being a magistrate. Cynthia Swamn, who has just retired from the bench after over 20 years of service, told usl about her previous role as a volunteer Justice of the Peace. We heard all about the sorts of people who appear before them, the type of cases they deal with and the factors to take into account when sentencing. She gave us some examples of crimes and encouraged us to decide what sorts of punishments we would choose - I think we were pretty strict! There were requests for her to return and set up a mock trial for us to have a go at.

Next month we are having a talk about The Poppy and the part it plays in remembering the various wars we have been involved in. There will also be a cake sale so please bring contributions or spare change (or both!) as it will be raising funds for the group.

September 2019 ramblings from from the Nurse's kardex....

Much laughter and popcorn filled the afternoon as the group enjoyed the film “Swimming with Men”. The dvd sale generated £40 for the group funds. A big thank you to Kevin, Kevin and Christine for organising the afternoon activities.
Plans are afoot for this year’s Christmas lunch at The Humble Plumbe, on December 5th. Menus will be available at the next meeting. A deposit of £5 will secure your place at the table. See Norma for further information.
Order! Order! Best behaviour will be required for our October meeting when Cynthia Swann talks about being a magistrate.

August 2019 ramblings from the the Nurse's kardex....

The August meeting brought our annual Scone competition and Cream Tea event. This year’s competition had 8 entries, giving the judges a lot to think about. The 2019 Scone Off victor was Sue - well done Sue! Many thanks to all the entrants and contributors of the homemade jam and clotted cream.
Emily returned to the meeting to give the group feedback on her final year dissertation on the value of support groups. Emily has now graduated from university and the group wished her well in her new career working with children who have special needs.
Congratulations to Anne, Tracey and Kevin B who have their articles published in the Pain Concern quarterly magazine “Pain Matters” Issue 72 - “Keeping Pace with Pain - How external support networks are a vital tool in pain management”. This can be viewed online - . Some hard copies will be available at the September meeting.
A wee reminder that the next meeting is the DVD and popcorn session with a DVD sale. Don’t forget your loose change! Unsold DVDs will be taken to a charity shop.
And FINALLY..... a very big thank you to Waitrose Portswood for their generous cheque for £331 from their Community Matters green token collection for the month of July.

New..a Pain Toolkit Online Cafe starting on Thursday 26th September from 3pm-4pm UK time. Open to everyone


July 2019 ramblings from the "Doc"

A very novel meeting this month. Bread making! Martin Benning and Liz Palmer fascinated us with demonstrations and explanations of various breads. We saw the making of sour dough bread - no added yeast; soda bread - again no yeast but bicarb as its raising agent; Nigella Lawson’s lazy loaf - yeast and muesli; and gluten free bread - yeast but no gluten. And the best thing was that we got to taste all this freshly baked bread with butter and homemade jam (thanks Sue) !

I bravely acquired and fed some live sour dough bread starter and had a go.

Quite pleased with my first attempt, what do you think?

June 2019 ramblings from the "Doc"

Jess Hulbert from Saints Foundation, the charity arm of Southampton Football Club, came to tell us about the various programmes being run throughout City designed to encourage health through fitness. She also stressed the importance of strength and balance in falls prevention, something we should all prioritise. The various courses teach simple life style practices that can increase health and wellbeing. You can email for a self referral form. They will arrange an initial free wellbeing review to identify the health changes that you would like to make and signpost you to an appropriate instructor near to where you live. Most classes do require a small contribution towards costs. You can also phone Jess on 02380718605 / 07741552068 for more information.

May 2019 ramblings from the "Doc"

We were very fortunate to welcome Dr Amanda C de C Williams, an academic and clinical psychologist at University College London, to our meeting today. Her talk resonated with members as she explained in detail the normal psychology and altered physiology of chronic pain. She outlined some of the treatment approaches and their evidence base. She emphasised the importance of good communication with health care professionals as well as admitting their need for a lot more understanding and training in chronic pain.
We also had the privilege to celebrate the Diamond Anniversary of two of our loyal members Ken and Maureen Bell. They had been married 60 years to the day! We toasted them with bubbles and cake.
It was a packed meeting as there was also a plant sale and we raised over £60 for our funds. Thanks to everyone who brought and bought plants.

April 2019 ramblings from the "Doc"

We had a very interesting and informative talk from Vicki Rowling a specialist in pain medication working in our local pain clinic. She told us about her role in educating both patients and health professionals in the benefits and consequences of pain medication. She stressed, particularly in relation to opioids, that they have a rightful place in pain management but should be used appropriately and cautiously. The benefits have to outweigh the risks and they should be reviewed regularly. Next month there is a plant sale to raise some funds for the group so please bring cuttings and seedlings if you have any to sell and cash if you wish to buy.

March 2019 ramblings from the "Doc"

It’s hard to believe that the group had been going for 14 years! I hope that everyone else feels as I do; that the group has grown in strength and that it really does serve as a source of support and friendship.
We had a lovely afternoon hearing about the work of Police Community Support Officers Louise and John who work in the Bevois Valley and Northam areas of our city. They see their role as one of helping people who get into difficulties, filling the gap between police and social services. They were lovely, friendly, approachable people who obviously loved their jobs, It’s so good to know that there are such people out there looking out for us and our safety.

Our 14th Birthday Cake made by the lovely "Doc"

(Unfortunately, I had to work, so didn’t get a piece)

February 2019 ramblings from the "Doc"

It was lovely to meet Alison Pearce who has recently started working for the Connecting Communities Project. This is an initiative run by The Red Cross and sponsored by COOP and targets loneliness in England. This is an issues recognised at government level - a recent survey identified that 9 million people in the UK would describe themselves as lonely. It is an enabling service; it tries to identify what people wish that they could do to relieve their loneliness and supports them for 12 weeks while they try to achieve it. Some examples were taking the bus to a support group, going fishing, finding a computer club, attending a coffee morning etc. People can self refer or be referred by a health worker such as their GP. More information can be found at or Alison can be contacted on 07523 504158 or

January 2019 ramblings from the "Doc"

We had an open, sharing meeting. We discussed many things including suggestions for this year's activities. These were wide ranging and included psychology, benefits, police, fibromyalgia, carers and laughing yoga! Joan has made a start on many of these topics and we want to thank her for all her hard work in producing yet another varied programme.

December 2018 ramblings from the "Doc"

Another great Christmas party with generous donations of food to share. We raffled a lovely Christmas cake made by Sue E and raised over £30 pounds for our funds. Thanks to Mike for our annual quiz and well done to our worthy winners. (I somehow found myself on that team but spent the whole time marvelling at my ignorance and contributing nothing!).

November 2018 ramblings from the "Doc"

We welcomed Karen Tillier to the group today. She told us all about Get Active. They are part of Solent NHS Trust and their wide range of Southampton Healthy Living's specialist services. The Get Active programme has been designed to offer a structured health and well being programme for adults. You can get more information and self refer using this link
Next month is our Christmas party and annual quiz. Please bring a wrapped Secret Santa present to the value of £1 (specify on the label if it is gender specific) and donations to the food table will be gratefully received.

October 2018 ramblings from the "Doc"

Dr Gina Ingalls visited today and talked about the role of a psychologist in a pain team. She told us of the importance of understanding our pain cycles and how small changes in behaviour can have a large impact on our pain experience. Self care is important and we should do our best to eat well, get adequate rest and sleep, and exercise gently. Activities that you enjoy, feed your soul. She also suggested we all make ourselves a self soothing box. Fill a box with items to which your senses respond positively. Aim to stimulate all the senses pleasantly: touch, taste, smell, sound and sight. Keep the box handy and get it out and enjoy its contents at times of difficulty. For example when your pain is so bad you don't know what to do with yourself and your emotions are really kicking in.
Next month we are having a cake sale to raise money for our funds. Please bring cakes and/or money to buy.

See Dr Ingalls presentation HERE

September 2018 ramblings from the "Doc"

We were treated once more to a calming yet educational session by our friend, and yogi, Fran Hodgson. She gave a really clear explanation about the role of the 7 major chakras and how important it is to our wellbeing for them to be balanced. She explained their individual association to our various senses including sight, touch and sound and also their role in the pain response. The excellent handout she wrote can be downloaded using this link. She encouraged us all to fill our houses with vibrant colour and beautiful smells!

August 2018 ramblings from the "Doc"

A fun afternoon with good company and a cream tea. Eight excellent entries to our scone competition ably judged by David and Pamela. Joan was the delighted winner. I've got a horrible feeling that she currently holds the trophies for both sweet and savoury. Something has to be done about that!

July 2018 ramblings from the "Doc"

Probably the hottest I've known the church hall! And we gave an equally warm welcome to Dr Adam Geraghty who is a senior research fellow in primary care and population studies. He discussed person-based approach to research; the importance of involving users right at the start of planning research into interventions. He was particularly interested in hearing about our experiences with GPs, issues perceived as barriers, how we manage our condition after pain management programmes and what do we generally find most helpful.
We also met Omer Kuroglu an MSc student who is developing an app using aspects of the work done by Dr Sally Curtis and members of this group on Chronic Pain and Loss. We will be hearing more from him as he is looking for volunteers for a focus group to help him design the look of the app.
I hope you are all practising scone baking for the next meeting and "scone off"

June 2018 (in the word of Joan!)

A very big thank you to Tracey for an excellent session today. As ever, so creative. Never before have I experienced an art session soooo peaceful with everyone concentrating so hard!
A few pics from today’s art session. So colourful and almost 3D, especially that ??! Stories within each piece of Aboriginal dot art. Also below is a photograph of Sue reading Kevin’s article in this month’s British Pain Society publication.


May 2018 ramblings from the Nurse's kardex....

Lydia Colmer from the Stroke Association gave us an informative talk on Stroke Awareness. Her main message to lead a healthy as possible life and to be Stroke aware which includes the acronym FAST. Seek medical treatment promptly, early intervention reduces damage and saves lives.

Next month brings the boat trip (morning & afternoon trips)on local waters.There are still several places free for the morning session. If interested please contact Kevin B. We look forward to seeing photographic evidence of their water antics. Many thanks to Chris & Steve for organising this event.

Coffee session as per usual on June 4th at Coffee #1; Craft session on June 12th - cards & lanyard making; Group meeting on June 21st which will be an art session with our resident artist Tracey.

April 2018 ramblings from the "Doc"

Finally some spring sunshine! A good turn out rewarded by a fascinating talk from Dr Becky Peacock about the role of women on the railways. She talked all about the amazing job that women did keeping the trains running during both world wars while the men were away fighting and consequently their significant contribution to the war effort. It was sad to hear what little recognition they got for their efforts particularly when the men returned and wanted their jobs back. Not surprisingly the inequality of the genders in the work force continues in today’s railways.

March 2018 ramblings from the "Doc"

Our 13th Birthday and what remarkably well behaved teenagers we are! Much cake was eaten.
Kevin B gave us a talk on social media for those of us who are luddites and dinosaurs. I’m not sure he convinced many to sign up to the delights of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. However, we are grateful that he continues to give Keeping Pace a presence on them if we are to attract new, younger members to the group.
Phil reminded us of his Phd looking into the use of virtual reality as a distraction for those living with chronic pain. He is recruiting volunteers to take part in a study. Do contact us if this is of interest to you.

February 2018 ramblings from the "Doc"

We had a lovely session today- Sandra from Waitrose returned to give us another cheese and wine tasting experience. And yes, this time there was wine!
She went with a Valentine’s theme picking cheeses from romantic Italy: Pecorino, Dolcelatte, Teleggio and Mozzarella. The most romantic touch was the chance to win a heart shaped Godminster mature organic cheddar from England. We also got a top tip. Teleggio is a great cheese for savoury scones! Roll on November.

January 2018 ramblings from the "Doc"

We were very fortunate to have a session led by two scientists from the University of Southampton: Dr James Dillon from the School of Biological Sciences and Dr Chris Franks from the Faculty of Health Sciences. The first half of the talk explained why some particular worms are suitable for studying the pain experienced by humans and the second half how they are used to study pain at a cellular level. They brought along microscopes and we were able to see some of these little critters in action. I have been tasked to summarise the talk in layman’s terms, and so, with some help from Chris, here we go! You can download it if interested. Pain Talk


December ramblings from the "Doc"

It was lovely to celebrate Christmas with the group. A relaxed, warm, friendly atmosphere. We were somewhat challenged by Mike’s excellent quiz. Brilliant quiz master, somewhat dim contestants but huge fun! Here’s to 2018!

November ramblings from the "Doc"

A very useful session for our group today. Jane Gleeson of told us all about this service which is available to help anyone giving their time, unpaid, to look after a family, friend or neighbour. They also provide Carers Cards which recognise the caring role and can save money whilst out and about. It is vital that carers are encouraged to look after their own health and wellbeing.
We also welcomed back Sally Curtis, a long standing friend and supporter of our group. She, and several of our members, were involved in a research project about the parallels in living with chronic pain and the stages of grief. They went on to develop an interactive tool and booklet. Sally came with the exciting news that the project had been written up and published in the prestigious British Journal of Pain. There is no stopping Sally. Her next plan is to try to develop the tool into an NHS approved app so watch this space!
Next month is our Christmas party. Don’t forget your £1 Secret Santa present and contributions to the festive table.

October ramblings from the "Doc"

Last minute change in speaker arrangements meant that we spent a useful hour discussing the results of our recent survey into evening social events and other stuff. The simplest conclusion was that an occasional evening event, with plenty of notice and good parking, would be appreciated maybe once every couple of months. The day of the week and type of event was less important than ease of transport. The plan was to discuss in January a possible date in March. So please put your thinking caps on about what and where. We also noted that the majority of our members were aged 35+ and if we wished to attract some younger members we might need to embrace social media to advertise our existence. There is some reticence about this in part due to our fear of the unknown. Kevin has promised a presentation about Facebook, Twitter and other such things in the New Year.
Next month is our savoury scone competition so get baking and see of we can knock Joan off her perch!!!

September ramblings from the "Doc"

Another brilliant session with Fran. It was her 8th visit to us and she always brings something new and inspiring. We prepared for the time together with a practice of abdominal breathing and limbering arm moves to open the chest. We then explored Pranava, the sound of OM, and how it relates to the 4 states of consciousness. We continued with sounding OM and singing. I think everyone went away with something new to contemplate and maybe even practice. I was struck by the importance of self respect and being kind to oneself.

August ramblings from the "Doc"

A record 14 entries for the scone off! And whatever their success in the judging, they were all scoffed with lashings of homemade jam and cream. Are we spoilt or what?! Thank you Liz and Sue for judging and for your impeccable good taste! (Guess who won?!) We welcomed Liz James back who is looking for volunteers for the next stage of her study. She is researching the support networks developed and used by people with chronic health conditions. If you missed the meeting and want to get involved you can contact her directly Phil Brown fulfilled his promise and brought some virtual reality spectacles for us to try. It gave us an insight into the research that he is doing as to their potential use in pain management. This is part of his Phd project in Portsmouth. Again, he is happy to tell you more and can be reached at

July ramblings from the "Doc"

This month we had an open meeting; topics ranged from scones to virtual reality!
Steve Beale had useful information about the T switch on hearing aids and personal loop systems.
Chris and Jan displayed and sold hand crafted cards.
We discussed the pros and cons of the monthly evening meet-up. Opinions were so varied that I will design a questionnaire and collate as many ideas as possible to bring back for further discussion.
Phil, the PhD student from Portsmouth who has befriended the group, told us briefly about the potential of using virtual reality as a strategy for pain management. He has promised to bring examples and tell us more next month. His talk has been nicknamed “Introduction to Phil’s World”!
Kevin Bowers wants to drag us into the 21st century encouraging us to use a wider variety of social media platforms. He has promised to set up a demonstration using a lap top and projector screen.
The subject of trips came up: Jan will organise a group to attend a Christmas concert that she really enjoyed last year, Steve is hoping to organise some boat trips for next year and Joan is going to look into a visit to Hillier’s Arboretum. I promised to think about how to display all this type of information on a calendar for display at each meeting.
Next month is our scone competition - all entries gratefully received and eaten! A trophy is up for grabs for the best tasting batch. So get baking. (I see you can buy a Paul Hollywood scone mix! Is that cheating?)

June ramblings from the "Doc"

Annie Clewlow from Communicare told us about the wonderful work that the charity does for the community of Southampton. Its aim is to produce a "good neighbours” network to enrich the quality of life of its clients, offering help for example with: transport, shopping, gardening, home chores and DIY. It tries to address both the physical and emotional wellbeing of those it helps. The service is free and open to everyone. (It does not provide personal care or other aspects of aid that should be covered by the social services.) Some of our members are volunteers themselves and it struck me that involvement in this type of organisation has benefits for both giver and receiver. They also offer a weekly lunch club, chair-based exercise and fund raising activities such as craft fairs and sponsored Christmas lights. For more information about how to make a referral for someone who needs help or to volunteer visit

May ramblings from the "Doc"

A lovely afternoon spent water colouring under the excellent tutelage of Tracey Spice. We've never know the group so calm and contented. They even had to be forced to stop for a tea break!!

April ramblings from the "Doc"

We were all captivated by an excellent presentation from Dr Cathy Linaker from the Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work. She gave us a comprehensive run down of occupational health from the dangers of chimney sweeping in Victorian times, through asbestosis in the 1950’s/’60’s to the current issues of chronic pain in the ageing workforce. The government has awarded a significant grant to the CMHW to study all aspects of health in an older workforce in order to find ways to facilitate people's ability and satisfaction with working to a greater age despite increasing age and consequent health issues. Some of our group are already involved in aspects of the studies and Cathy promises to return with a progress report next year.

March ramblings from the "Doc"

A fascinating and thought provoking meeting hearing about what it’s like to live in a slum in Africa. Sheena, assisted by her mother Ann, told us about the Pamoja Charity that she and her husband founded in Kenya. Among other things it seeks to educate children in the hope that it will give them the skills to rise above the poverty line. More information is available at
It was also our 12th birthday. Amazing that we have been going for so long! Lovely that our traditional, yearly, group photo reflected our growth with an array of faces old and new, both in age and membership!! Long may it continue.

February ramblings from the "Doc"

I never come away from our meetings without learning something but I never expected to be educated about cheese! We were so fortunate to have Sandra from our local Waitrose come and give us a cheese tasting experience. How generous of Waitrose and Sandra and what a lovely afternoon we had.

January ramblings from the "Doc"

Well what a way to start 2017. A jam packed meeting with several speakers and numerous members. Wonderful to see so many old and new faces. A good reminder of the importance of Keeping Pace not having an annual membership fee so everyone is welcome to turn up whenever, even if they haven’t been for a while.
We heard first from Liz James who is a researcher into chronic health conditions. Some members have already helped her through attending focus groups to inform the design of a questionnaire to find out more about the support mechanisms people use to manage their chronic conditions. They have coined the phrase “Collective Efficacy” to define this phenomenon. The resultant questionnaire currently contains an unwieldy 62 questions! So the next stage is to hone this to a core of 15-20. She handed out packs containing these 62 questions and is asking for our help to score them to help identify the most pertinent ones. If you weren’t at the meeting but would like to help, she can be contacted on We welcomed Paul Dumper to the group. He wanted to share his personal, positive experience of a relatively new treatment Physiokey Therapy which uses a bioregulating neurostimulator to stimulate the body’s own healing potential. He explained how that, although it hasn’t cured his ME and Fibromyalgia, is has significantly improved it to such a level that he has chosen to study this further and become a therapist himself. More information can be found Then we were treated to an update from Steve about the wonderful Yogi and his well deserved retirement from being a hearing dog. The good news was that they have been given a new hearing dog called Jemma. She’s a large, bouncy, black labrador. A completely different personality to Yogi but Steve is confident that she is going to excel with her training and become a huge help to him.

December ramblings from the "Doc"

Another splendid party. We even survived without Joan (on a cruise to the Caribbean don’t you know!!) ’s legendary firm hand and supervision! Amazing food, thanks to everyone’s kind donations, and an enjoyable, not too taxing, Christmas quiz to keep us amused. Not to mention the wonderful company.

See you all in 2017!


November ramblings from the "Doc"

We shared a really useful time with Sally Ann Belward, a physio who specialises in Falls. She explained at great depth the causes and consequences of falls. This was followed by lots of constructive advice on how best to minimise and avoid trip hazards. She spoke so much common sense. We learnt that we all could, and should, do many simple things to minimise the risks.
Next month is our Christmas party. Please remember your Secret Santa present, to the value of £1, labelled suitable for male, female or either. We would also be grateful for food contributions. There will be the usual quiz

October ramblings from the "Doc"

Doctor Dominic Aldington, a consultant who specialises in pain medicine, gave us a very helpful explanation and review of the current thinking in pain management. He reminded us of the physical, social and mental consequences of living with pain. All of these are familiar to the group and it was good to hear them verbalised and acknowledged. He talked about treatment options and how poorly current medication deals with the issues. He emphasised the importance of self management and how necessary support is to those who live with pain. I felt this to be a confirmation of the vital role that Keeping Pace with all its wonderful members has in coping with this rotten condition.
Don’t forget to get baking those savoury scones for our November meeting. Will Sylvia maintain her crown?

September ramblings from the Nurse's kardex....

A beautiful September afternoon heralded this month's meeting. As the old adage goes "if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it" and Tracey fits the bill! The Jelly didn't set ??, so Tracey being Tracey, she quickly improvised. Jelly printing developed into glass and leaf printing which is similar to mono printing. This technique followed a similar process to the using jelly. As you can see from the photos below some lovely works of art was produced.

Tracey also found the time to produce a beautiful gluten and dairy free banana cake, which was devoured quickly. And she also produced the latest edition of the newsletter. Phew, it's exhausting just writing about it! Thank you Tracey. Many thanks also to Kevin our unsung hero, for printing the newsletter. ??
Our first social evening will be held at the Trago Lounge, 192 Portswood Road, Portswood on Friday September 23rd at 7pm. If you are free, why not come along and enjoy a chat, or even something to eat or all!

Don't forget to bring your £5 deposit to the October meeting for the Christmas lunch on Thursday December 1st. Kevin B was proud to share the news of his wife Karen's forth coming "head shave" on Friday September 23rd, to raise money for the Piam Brown ward at the general hospital. If you would like to support Karen have a look at
And finally, we missed you Norma, get well soon.


August ramblings from the "Doc"

Another well attended cream tea; splendid summer weather with an opportunity to have a general chit chat and, for those who wanted, a chance to experience some Reki.
The annual scone competition was judged by our visiting, self appointed experts, Liz Palmer and Cynthia Swan. They took it very seriously. They had done their research and applied criteria such as colour, texture, breakability, straightness etc. Each scone batch received individual comment, praise or otherwise, with no punches spared. Someone, who will be nameless (although I blame it on her Scottish heritage!), had her scones described as "claggy." I think she's still in shock. Whatever their "judged" quality, the remarkable thing was that they all served as a delicious base for lashings of clotted cream and jam and ALL got eaten. And the worthy winner? The one and only, remarkable, Tracey. Her name is on the trophy so often that we might just have to let her keep it and challenge everyone to rock cakes next time. Mind you, I'm suspicious that some people thought that was what they were supposed to be baking this year so should be well practiced!

July ramblings from the "Doc"

A really warm (not just the weather) and inspiring open meeting. It was good to hear from other members of the group and great that so many people wanted to share the activities that they use to help manage their everyday lives living with pain. Tracey ran the meeting and told us how Aloe Vera products had so helped her pain and stiffness associated with colitis that she has started a business selling it. Hilary shared her wonderful art, a talent that she has rediscovered since pain prevented her working and how therapeutic she finds it. Joan took up singing to help get her over a difficult stage in her life. Neri advocated exercise and volunteering in her church. Kevin recommended a loving pet and amateur dramatics. He has even trained his dog to be a PAT (Pets as Therapy) dog.
I’m proud to be a member of such a talented and dynamic group!
We heard from Hannah a student from the University of Southampton. She is completing her Masters Degree into people’s perspectives of placebos and is keen for volunteers with back pain and/or depression to fill in a brief online questionnaire. If you are willing to help she can be contacted on Next month is our “Scone off” which involves volunteer scone bakers, whose efforts will be entered into our friendly competition, and the arduous task of eating the results!

June ramblings from the "Doc's Standin"

As always it was a pleasure to have Fran attend one of our sessions. She is one of the most inspiring people I've ever met and she manages to bring something different each time she comes.
This time we had some yoga moves, some speaking and of course the obligatory songs. How she manages to get everyone to join in, especially with the singing, is something I've still not worked out. That she does it is a testament to the magnetism that she projects and the engagement she has with everyone in the room.
It was also a great opportunity for me to control the meeting, even if I was in second place to the brief participation of England in the Euro 2016 football tournament. It was with a sense of trepidation that I stood in front of everyone ready to do the introductions but I knew I was among friends which made things easier.
The power the group gives me, the sense of belonging and the feeling that we share a problem even though we experience it differently, is a huge thing that I thank you all for.
Chris and I have now showed that we can all play a part in the meetings, and even lead them. This could lead to a wider range of speakers with even more diverse topics as we become more involved in a group we all get so much benefit from.

May ramblings from the "Doc"

Laura Cane is the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Community Safety Officer for Southampton. She came and gave us an extremely interesting, enlightening, practical and helpful talk about the risks of fire in our homes and what we can do to minimise them. Simple measures that we could all chose to do like: unplugging electrical items when not in use, not overloading sockets and using extension leads rather than block adaptors, not leaving candles unattended and disposing of cigarettes correctly. She advised us to have a plan in mind if a fire was to occur thinking about what route you would take to exit your home and making sure there are easily accessible keys. She emphasised the importance of staying put if the way out would put you at risk especially as we have very effective fire rescue cover in Southampton and that help is likely to reach you within 3 minutes. The Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service also offer Safe and Well visits where they will come and assess your home if you have any concerns. More information is available at

April ramblings from the "Doc"

We were very pleased to welcome Mike Layton who came to today’s meeting to tell us all about Freemasonry especially as it was the first time that he had given this talk in public. We heard all about their history and organisation, and the work that they do in our local community. He gave us some fascinating insights into how their meetings run, why they have different handshakes and ways of standing, and how they are trying to become a much more open and transparent organisation. I hadn’t appreciated that the reason they had become so secretive in the past was partly due to their persecution by Hitler during the Second World War which had led to 1/4 million Masons dying in the Holocaust. It struck me how easy it is to focus on our preconceived ideas of secrecy and ritual and miss the fact that this is an amazing organisation that does so much good with very little acknowledgement. We are particularly grateful to them for the grant that they have awarded us to help cover our running costs.
Lise asked the group for help with a fundraising event for her Capable Creatures Organisation that helps people with mental health conditions train their dogs to be their 'Guides for the Mind' Assistance Dogs. She is holding a cake sale on Saturday July 23rd at the Third Age Centre, 11 Cranbury Terrace, SO14 0LH. She is asking if any of our members who are keen bakers could help. If you are willing to make something for her please let Lise know so that she has an idea of quantities.
Ros is very keen to start a walking group. She was thinking of a monthly outing on a Wednesday afternoon. A gentle stroll along paths accessible to wheelchairs etc. If anyone is interested in getting involved please let Ros know. If you are a driver and can help with transport, that would be an added bonus.

March ramblings from the "Doc"

It was lovely to welcome back Janet, one of our members. She can no longer make it to most of our meetings because she’s so busy with her new and successful dog minding business. Thankfully she found time to come and tell us all about it. She told us many amusing stories about the dogs, their antics and habits, and how she entertains them during their stay with her. There is obviously never a dull moment in her house.
We also celebrated our 11th birthday with cakes; one rather large chocolate cake and special thanks to our inventive cook Tracey who also made a fantastic cake suitable for people with various food allergies to make sure no one missed out. (Apologies to Mary as we still need to crack the pectin free requirement!)

February ramblings from the "Doc"

An 'odds and sods' sort of meeting today which was actually very pleasant. It gave us lots of opportunities to chat to old friends, welcome new members and eat cake!
We revisited and reinforced our ground rules which can be found with this link (Pretty, Please Kevin!), started our planning and arranging car sharing for the group outing to Furzey Garden on Tuesday April 26th and updated our data base. So all very necessary and useful stuff.
We are pleased to announce that we are the lucky recipients of the Waitrose community fund again and picked up the generous cheque last week.
Next month is our 11th birthday so do come along to help us celebrate and eat more cake!

January ramblings from the "Doc"

A bumper turn out and an action packed meeting. What a great start to 2016.
We welcomed Road Policing Sergeant Rik Grant to our meeting. He led a very good question and answer session about the new rules of the use of drugs and driving. He left us feeling reassured that if we are taking our prescription drugs as prescribed, regardless of their strength, and feel that our driving is not impaired then we have nothing to worry about. However, if we have any doubts about our ability to drive, then we shouldn’t.
We heard from Liz James of the Faculty of Health Science at the University of Southampton. She is looking for volunteers who have chronic health conditions to form a focus group to discuss aspects of any support network that they have developed around them that helps them cope. If you are interested in helping you are welcome to email her on See attached leaflet
A further visitor to the group was Charlotte Dore who works in the Pain Service in Winchester. She told us about a talk on Pain Management which is being given by a consultant Dr Dominic Aldington at Fleming Park Leisure Centre, Eastleigh on Tuesday February 2nd at 6.30-7.30. All are welcome. More information can be found on
We were very happy to meet and hear from Mike Layton who was instrumental in getting us the generous donation from Hampshire & Isle of Wight Masonic Grand Charity. Hopefully we will learn more about the work of the Masons in February
We briefly visited the Ground Rules of our group as we have many new members. We will update them at the next meeting


December ramblings from the "Doc"

A very enjoyable Christmas party once again. A great quiz from Mike and a bunch of noble winners. We even had a visit from Father Christmas to hand out our Secret Santa gifts. Special thanks to our visiting pianist Cynthia who accompanied us in the singing of a few carols.
What made the occasion even more special was the fact that we were able to announce a fantastic piece of news. We have been the fortunate recipients of very generous donations from the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Masonic Grand Charity, through the help of the Masonic Lodge in Totton, and also from our local Masonic Lodge, Ye Olde Bargate Lodge. These funds will enable us to pay the overheads so that we can continue to run our support group and hold our regular monthly meetings. The Masons have agreed to come and talk to the group in the Thursday meeting on February 18th to tell us all about their organisation and all the amazing help they give to local causes. Do try and make the meeting as it would be great to have a good turn out for them.

November ramblings from the "Doc"

We were so fortunate today to have the company of students from the Occupation Therapy Department of the University of Southampton. Not only did they generously give us their time but also provided much of the materials to run 3 separate craft sessions: Christmas Wreaths, Printing, and Glass and Pebble Painting. They even found time to bake scones and came second in the savoury scone contest. What an absolute pleasure to share the afternoon with them.
The scone competition was hotly contested and ably judged by our guest visitor Sue and in-house expert Maureen. The worthy winner was our lovely Sylvia who couldn’t quite believe her ears when her name was called out.
Next month is our Christmas party so please don’t forget a plate of food to share and a Secret Santa present to the value of £1.

Just look at this lot, worthy of the WI..............he he!

And the winner is..........Sylvia

Xmas Decs with the lovely students from the Occupation Therapy Department of the University of Southampton

October ramblings from the "Doc"

Such an interesting talk this month all about REMAP. A charity set up in 1964 and initially funded by ICI. Its unusual name stands for Rehabilitation Engineering Movement Advisory Panel which, lets face it, is pretty incomprehensible! Until a clever associate pointed out that it should stand for Retired Engineers Making Anything Possible which sums up exactly the essence of what they do, as our speaker Richard Bavister went on to explain. They essentially design and build gizmos for disabled people which are outside the remit of social services but which enable and enrich lives. He showed us loads of examples from child car seats attached to disability scooters so that Mums with mobility issues can still take their babies out and about to broom sticks bolted to wheel chair plates to facilitate wheel chair dancing. Plenty more information about this wonderful charity is available on their website

We had the largest turn out yet to our craft session. These are run 1-3pm on the second Tuesday of the month. I thought I'd share a photo or two to encourage you all to come and get involved.


September ramblings from the "Doc"

Another enchanting session with our friend and regular visitor Fran Hodgson. She led us through some relaxation and meditation techniques emphasising the importance of balancing our right and left sides and the power of positive action. She recommended a book called Yoga Nigra by Richard Miller.
We have organised our Christmas Meal for November 26th. For more information and final bookings please see me at the next meeting on October 15th when I will be collecting your money and confirming your food choices.

August ramblings from the "Doc"

Quite a fun meeting today with lots of opportunities to chat and get to know one another. The highlight was the annual cream tea and scone competition. A big thank you to Jo and Sue who nobly replaced the surprisingly absent Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood as our esteemed judges. A blind tasting and a close fight but, surprisingly, I won!! (Never let it be said that it was fixed as both judges are my dear friends!!)
More thanks to Dorothy for supplying lots and lots of clotted cream and Tracey for making homemade jam.
A further thanks to Martine who not only collected and dried lavender but also led the Tuesday craft session in making sachets and pockets to stuff. These were offered to the group in exchange for donations to help fund another outing to Furzey Gardens. Joan is currently trying to firm up the date for the trip so watch this space.

Judges Jo and Sue

Yes, the "Doc" won

July ramblings from the "Doc"

We had a return visit from David Barlow this month. This time he came with loads of professional photographic gear to give ideas as to how we can take good picture using even the most basic pocket camera. We were also grateful that it was his birthday because we all got to share the fabulous, huge birthday cake that Joan baked for the occasion.
And on the subject of food - next month is the annual scone baking competition! Please remember to bring your best efforts to be judged and enjoyed. The more entrants we have, the more scones we can all eat. So everyone’s the winner!

June ramblings from the "Doc"

Tracey Spice, our wonderful, resident artist and magazine writer, treated us to another silk painting session. It was a lovely afternoon and even those who didn’t paint enjoyed watching the various creations that were made.
Next month David Barlow is going to give us a talk about how to get the best from your cameras. So, if you wish to get the most from the talk, please bring your cameras along with you. The talk will be brief to give you plenty of time to ask questions

May ramblings from the "Doc"

We welcomed Steve Smith to our meeting today. He is passionate about Mindfulness as a useful strategy to help people who live with persistent pain. He has found it so effective in his own life that he gave up his previous career to train in the technique and now teaches it. He gave us a taster today. For more information please see attached information sheet.

April ramblings from the "Doc"

A big thank you to Chris Matcham who came at short notice to give us a fascinating talk about hedgehogs. Chris dedicates a large amount of time attracting these amazing little mammals into his garden. He gave us lots of information about the likes and loves of these creature and how, with some minor alterations mainly to do with access, we too could encourage and help these animals.
He also volunteers at the Hart Wildlife rescue Centre who are happy to give advice and take in, and care for, all kinds of wildlife in Hampshire.
More information about hedgehogs in particular can be found here

March ramblings from the "Doc"

Well we had a splendid 10th Birthday Party. Loads of cake and conversation. We played pass the parcel which cunningly included an opportunity to reminisce at each layer of unwrapping. It was good to take the chance to pause and reflect on the last 10 years and to look forward to many more shared moments in the future.

February ramblings from the "Doc"

Lots to do this meeting. We gave Clare Handley of the Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group feedback on the GP leaflet about chronic pain. She is still happy to receive more, so if you missed the meeting we can give you her contact details.
We were introduced to Sophie, a 4th year medical student, who is taking over from Emily the student we met last year whilst doing the focus group with some of our members about persistent pain and the patient journey. The next stage of the study is to develop a questionnaire based on the themes identified by the focus group. Sophie is interested in getting our help with developing this questionnaire and so will be back for more input.
We then heard from Fiona who is another University of Southampton student this time studying psychology. She is involved in researching an online intervention for the treatment of persistent pain and will be back with further information next month. She will be looking for volunteers to give one to one feedback on the online site. Her contact details are
Tracey Spice, one of our members, is part of a group who have called themselves CAKE. They are all women artists with a mission to celebrate women’s creativity and achievements across Southampton on International Women’s Day on March 8th. Do try and catch one of the art exhibitions being held around the city.
Next month is our celebration too. Keeping Pace's 10th Birthday. We are going to have a vintage style tea party so do come and join us.

January ramblings from the "Doc"

We started the New Year by welcoming a new speaker to our group but one who we hope will befriend us and return. His name was Justin Strain and he works in the Pain Clinic at Solent NHS Trust. He gave us a very informative overview of the changes brought about in the benefit system by the migration of Disability Living Allowance to the new Personal Independence Payments. It seems that where the DLA concentrated on how much help a person required as a result of their disability, the PIP focuses more on the level of function of the individual. As with all changes, there seems to be good and bad aspects and some will gain where others might miss out. The important thing is to seek as much help as possible with filling in the forms; friends and family can be quite insightful and there are various guides available on the internet, for example Disability Rights UK. Fill the form in taking account of how you are on your worst days and appeal if you don’t think the decision justified.
We were handed out some information which is being used by Clare Handley of the Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group to compile a fact sheet for patients about the services available to those living with pain in our area. Your expert knowledge is valued so please have a look through it and come to the February meeting with lots of ideas to help with the compilation of this leaflet.
The 11am meet-up on the first Monday in February at Coffee#1 was well attended. (And the Hot Chocolate delicious!) It was decided that we will continue to use this venue for the time being. If anyone has a problem with this, do have a word with me at the next meeting.

December ramblings from the "Doc"

We had a great Christmas Party. Thanks to everyone for coming, contributing Secret Santa presents and food, and generally being special!. Mike outdid himself with an excellent quiz and Jim kindly accompanied us in the singing of a few festive carols.
STOP PRESS: The venue of our monthly coffee morning meet-up on the first Monday of the month at 11am is changing to a coffee shop in Shirley. Coffee#1. 4A to 5A Shirley High Street, SO15 3LQ.>
It is thought to be more accessible for those relying on buses. For the drivers there is parking in Mayflower Road for one hour but more parking in Marlborough Road and behind Sainsbury’s. We will give it a 6 month trial and see if it suits. I know some people are going to use it as an excuse to visit the charity shops in Shirley!! So see you all there 11am February 2nd.

November ramblings from the "Doc"

An enjoyable, action packed meeting! A warm welcome and thank you to students Laura and Hannah of the Occupational Therapy Department of the University of Southampton who led a craft session teaching everyone the joys of iris folding. The students had worked really hard on the preparation and supply of everything needed for us all to get stuck in! (Double sided sticky tape and all!) We are also grateful to Anita and Teresa for arranging the event.
We held the annual savoury scone competition hotly contested by 3 hopeful British Bakers. Thank you to our esteemed judges Marilyn Monkhouse and Christopher "I’m only here for the food as my Mother starves me" Barlow. It was no surprise that our resident super cook Tracey once more took first place. Who will beat her? This year I can proudly say that I came in the top 3 as opposed to my usual bottom.
Next month’s meeting will be in the form of our Christmas Party. We intend the usual quiz and American supper. Sweet, savoury or soft drink contributions to the food table will be gratefully received. There will be a Secret Santa so please bring a wrapped present to the value of £1 marked as to whether it is suitable for a male/female/child or anyone. See you all there!

The judges and the Winner

Nurse's Kardex - October

What a busy meeting! This month's speaker was Pete Moore, author and pioneer of the Pain Toolkit. Pete's talk was not only entertaining but highly motivating. If you don't have a copy of the Pain Toolkit please ask at the next meeting, as we have several copies in the library or it can be downloaded for free from Have a look at the "Brainman" clips on the website. Pete is happy to answer questions, contact him through the website.
Dr Teresa Job and three of her Occupational Therapy students from the university made a flying visit to ask the group for volunteers for this year's animation project (examples from last years project can be seen on this page). If you are interested please let Norma or Joan know. The students have kindly volunteered to lead a creative session with the group for our November meeting. Which leads me to remind you that November is The Savoury Scone competition, if I can get the trophy off Sue! Why not have a go? I'm sure that everyone is feeling inspired to bake following the Great British Bake Off!
Norma will be collecting names and deposits - £5, at the November meeting, for the annual Christmas lunch at Haskins Garden Centre on Monday December 1st.


Cobbled together Ramblings by proxy of an absent Doc!!

Today's visit from Tash, The 'cat lady', was great. Her name was Tasha Ault and she talked about her own history: of ME, slipped disc & fractured coccyx & the therapies (cat therapy, SCENAR and Cycloidal Massage) she uses in her company. These are an integral part of her journey to find pain relief from her own chronic pain which she felt orthodox treatment and drugs didn't touch. Her cat Mckay was a hit of course, so sweet seeing him do a high five, sit, give a paw, kiss etc just like a dog does. After her talk quite a few people went to speak to her. She said she'd be happy to bring the couches she uses to any meetings for people to see a demonstration and possibly have a taster. We will see how the group feels about this. We also met Clare Handley a manager from NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group who is pulling resources together for GP's to give to their patients, self-management advice to help them to live with their pain. We are very keen that people are aware of the warm welcome they would have if they chose to attend out group and so we were glad to see her at our meeting.

After the tea break people were asked just to talk about anything they'd been up to etc
Ros told everyone how the council are taking bus passes away from 1200 disabled people and that she had contact details of someone from UNITE who are helping to challenge this.

Chris, Jan and Sue had copies of instructions for Dorset posies which we are going to attempt at the craft session in November. Quilling is planned for October. Jan mentioned she'd met a lady from the last PMP who said a few of them are thinking of coming to the next meeting.

Lise informed us that her first Dog Owner/Lover Peer Support Walking Group will be on 23rd Sept 11.45-12.45 meeting at the Hawthorns & then every 4th Tuesday

Pauline said she'd told her GP about Keeping Pace, the doc had never heard of us and so asked for some information. Pauline took some leaflets in. This sparked a short discussion about GPs, and it was useful that Clare was there because she said every GP now has "target training" & a consultant tells them about the group. A few more people took leaflets to give to their surgeries.


"The Nurse's Kardex"

The August meeting brought our annual Cream Teas event and "Scone Off" competition which was keenly fought and gave judges Audrey and Elizabeth a lot to deliberate and chew over. The winner for the 3rd time was our resident artist Tracey. As for the recipe to her success? Tracey keeps this a closely guarded secret! We were also treated to home made bread from Arthur who was testing out a new recipe. Judging by the rapid disappearance of the loaf one must assume that Arthur has found a successful formula.

Whilst the scones were being judged, Tracey held a masterclass in water painting which was enjoyed by all of the group. Many thanks to Tracey and her assistant Antonia.

The traditional summer "scone-off!" The pictures say it all!!


Pictures from our 2014 Scone Competition - Guess who won - Yes, yet again the lovely Tracey

The judges Elizabeth & Audrey had a hard time, they had to try two of each one just to be certain :) (only joking)


After eating all the scones, cream and jam, another art session held by Tracey (The Winner)



Furzey House and Gardens outing, April 24th 2014. Many thanks to Martin Lenaerts and his wonderful team of volunteers for making it a day to remember.

Visit the Furzey Garden website here

Don't forget our new Tuesday Craft Sessions, dates on the right, flier

July ramblings from the "Doc"

Sam Goold from Healthwatch Southampton came and introduced himself and the organisation he works for. Their remit is to be the voice for patients and public in matters concerning health and social care services in Southampton. They want to help the general public to influence local services and hold them to account using the strength of the law and the national influence of Healthwatch England. We were encouraged to get involved and tell them about our local experience, good or bad, and to give them our ideas for improvements and changes. They can be contacted in various ways at their base in the Voluntary Action Centre in St Mary’s: in person, in writing, by phone or through email. More information is available on their website . I also told the group about some work that I am starting to do with NETSCC ( the National Institute of Health Research Evaluation Trials and Studies Coordination Centre ). This organisation is also interested in getting the general public involved but this time by them suggesting areas of our health that they feel require more research to ensure that the medicine offered in the NHS is evidence based. They have an extensive website with lots more details . I hope you are all practicing for the August scone off! I have a feeling this is my year!!!!

June ramblings from the "Doc"

Today we welcomed Marion Gealer. She and her colleague Paul Hedges run Active Options, a Community Interest Company which they started when the government funding of the original Active Options dried up. They specialise in bringing ideas for activity and exercises to community groups with particular health needs. She gave us a sample by making us do seated exercises with balls and bands to funky ’70’s music. It was most enjoyable. More information and details of classes in your area can be found on
Sally Curtis came back to visit to update us on the project that she had been doing with members of the group concerning pain and bereavement. Sadly she also told us that she is no longer going to be teaching pain to the medical students at the University of Southampton. She reassured us that she has handed the baton on to a worthy successor and introduced us to James Dillon. His area of research involves the molecules in the nervous system who act as ‘dimmer switches’ turning pain signals up and down. He uses worms as the model system and promises to return and tell us more - especially the bit about worms and alcohol please! Sally promises to visit us often and seemed particularly keen on maintaining her role as chief scone judge (or do I mean eater!)


May ramblings from the "Doc"

It was a pleasure to welcome Fran back amongst us for more yoga, breathing, chanting and meditation. This time we attempted nostril breathing and learnt some useful tips - breathing through the right nostril is good for getting going, for example in the morning, and the left nostril for calming, helpful if we are having problems getting to sleep. (We reckoned that the way to remember this was Right for Ready and Left for sLeep!) We sang some beautiful uplifting and relaxing chants. This one in particular reminds us that there are always going to be good and bad days and yet not to dwell on regret, the synonyms of which include guilt, shame, self-accusation etc.

and when I fly, let me fly
like a bird, joyfully
and when I fall. let me fall
like a leaf. gracefully
and without regret

We congratulated Jess on her new job as a class room assistant. She will find it difficult to attend future meetings and so we encouraged her to make sure she did what she could to come in school holidays. We will miss her setting our Christmas quiz and might have persuaded her to do us a summer one in August before she goes.

April ramblings from the "Doc"

A bit of an interactive meeting this time. We revisited our ground rules as we have a number of new members. They seemed as relevant and appropriate as ever and the discussion was valuable. Janet then entertained us with many an anecdote as she described how and why she set up her dog care company It was inspiring to hear how when one door closed due to her pain she took stock, moved on, and has a thriving business which is now 4 years old.
Emily, the medical student who is doing research into a patient's pain journey, fed back the result of the focus group which she held in March. She wanted general agreement from the group to validate her findings. One of her main conclusions seems to be that on the whole patients are less concerned about how long they wait to be seen by specialists so long as when they are seen they are treated as individuals and listened to.


JB Dogcare

March ramblings from the "Doc"

We celebrated our 9th birthday today with our usual group photo and cake.
It was fitting that we also took the opportunity to think of others and had a collection of food items to donate to the Southampton Basics Bank. This is run by Southampton City Mission. It hands out food and clothes to people in need who are referred to the service by social workers, doctors, community workers, churches etc. Vouchers need to be obtained from these referral agents to use the service as there is no direct access. More information can be found on their website It was humbling to hear stories from two of our members who had had cause to get help from the Basics Bank and what a positive and uplifting experience it was for them.

We were revisited by Dr Teresa Job and her students from the Occupational Therapy Department of the University of Southampton. They had been working on animations telling the pain stories of 3 of our group members and came back to show us the completed films. The results are the most amazing and emotionally moving pieces of work. We hope to upload them to our web site for all to see in the near future. I think that everyone has found it to be a rewarding collaboration and the plan is to continue with this valuable exercise.

We are grateful to Pauline and Keith for offering more Reiki sessions to those who wanted them.
Some stayed behind to participate in a focus group study about the pain journey from diagnosis to treatment with Emily, a medical student from University of Southampton. She is planning to use the information to construct a questionnaire for further research into this topic and will feed back at the next meeting.

The Tuesday craft session is being led by Jan who is going to show us how to make small baskets which would be ideal for little Easter eggs.


February ramblings from the "Doc"

Well there was a lot to learn and take away from this meeting. Steve Beale shared his passion for trying to get Southampton “looped”! In other words encouraging all public buildings such as banks, post offices and hospitals to comply correctly with the law and provide functioning hearing loops for the deaf. In his experience departments who should know better such as those in hospitals who offer services specifically for the deaf eg Ear, Nose and Throat and Audiology are amongst the worst offenders. The charity Hearing Link have done a great job “looping” Eastbourne and Chris and Steve are joining forces with other volunteers to “loop” Southampton starting with The General Hospital. The other interesting point to note is that when folks go to get their NHS hearing aids they are not routinely offered ones with the T switch which would enable them to benefit from a hearing loop system. Apparently this is a more time consuming and costly option. The T switch will be added if asked for and Steve was urging us to pass on the message that this option is worth requesting.
We than had an illuminating talk from a representative of Options Alongside a description of their various counselling roles, she informed us about their Optimise Project which is particularly concerned with educating the over 50’s on the matter of sensible drinking limits; how our tolerance to alcohol and its health risks are affected by our age, medical conditions, diet and medication. Members of the group had no problem in illustrating one of her points by demonstrating their inability to estimate and pour a correct unit of alcohol into a glass! Their generous hands measured out closer to 3 units despite thinking it was just 1! So good lessons about the need to manage our alcohol consumption accurately were learnt.
Next month is our 9th birthday and we will be celebrating with a very big cake! We are also going to hear from the Southampton Food Bank. We though it would be nice to spread some birthday cheer and give a donation to them. So if anyone has some spare food, preferably tinned or dried, that we can have to make up a box for the Food Bank it will be gratefully received.
Finally we have received a letter from a 4th year medical student attached to the Pain Clinic in Southampton which I attach. She is wanting volunteers for a focus group to gain information about the patient journey from onset of pain to seeking and getting help. She will come to our March Monday coffee morning, Tuesday craft session and at the start of the Thursday meeting to explain the project in more detail to those who are interested and intends to hold the actual focus group after the main meeting has finished in the far corner of the room. It is likely to last about 1 hour.

January ramblings from the "Doc"

We kicked off 2014 with the great news that Joan, on behalf of Keeping Pace, had collected a cheque for over £500 from the Waitrose Community Matters collection in Romsey. Some of this money is going to fund our new initiative - a "Make, share and chat" craft session 1-3.30pm second Tuesday of each month at Avenue St Andrews United Reformed Church. Please feel free to turn up and join in. No booking is required. Bring your own crafts to be getting on with or have a go at the selection of activities which will be on offer. There is no charge for the event but occasionally a contribution towards the cost of materials may be welcomed. Tea and coffee will be provided. There is also a cafe in the main church hall at lunchtimes on Tuesdays and so you could always go there for lunch before getting crafty!
We then heard from Lise and Janet. As many of you will know Lise has been training her dog Dahy to be a helper dog. She has been amazed at how this dog has not just provided the practical help she wanted but has also been a great source of physical, mental and psychological benefit to her. She therefore wishes to share this experience with others and is in the process of setting up an organisation called Capable Creatures to this end. She had a questionnaire that she asked members of the group to fill in to help her with market research to inform this fledgling enterprise. For a copy of the questionnaire or further information contact Lise or Janet on or
Chris and Steve reinforced the life changing benefits of worker dogs through their experience with their hearing dog Yogi. We were saddened to hear that Yogi is nearing retirement but is likely to be kept as a pet alongside a new hearing dog for Steve. Many in the group collect stamps for the Hearing Dog charity and it was good to hear that they raised £12,500. They also gave some interesting statistics: Hearing Dogs has been going for 31 years, there have been 818 hearing dogs trained in total so far with 59 new partnerships last year, there are 17 dogs working with children and 25 dual purpose for hearing combined with other disabilities, and they replaced 46 dogs due to retirement in 2013.
Joan has put together an exciting programme of speakers for 2014 so watch this space.

December ramblings from the "Doc"

We had a record turn out for our Christmas party which was lovely to see. Everyone seemed in good spirits and the food was abundant. Mike and Jess's combined efforts produced a varied and entertaining quiz which kept us all amused (or possibly bemused if you were on my table!).

This year our carol singing was led not just by our capable Jim but also Ian on the drums. Thanks to everyone for their contributions and to Kevin and Sue for their sterling work in the kitchen.
This group could not flourish without its amazing members and so I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their attendance and support throughout 2013 and am looking forward to spending more quality time with everyone in Keeping Pace in 2014.

November ramblings from the "Doc"

One of our members Pauline and her colleague Keith came and told us about their recent training in Reiki. They are both now Reiki Masters and generously offered some free treatment sessions to those who wished to try this complementary therapy. Ian and Ken had spent the morning at the Occupational Therapy Department, University of Southampton, working on their animation about living with persistent pain as described in the October Rambling. They had found it a positive collaboration and had appreciated the opportunity to emphasise the individual nature of the pain experience. We look forward to seeing the end result in the New Year.
The Savoury Scone-off was judged by Sue E-S and Kevin who demonstrated great professionalism and surprised us with detailed constructive criticism. They have obviously been watching too many TV cooking programmes. (Not that I'm bitter about my usual placing close to bottom of the score table and comments such as "tasteless"!) We congratulate Sue on her worthy win. Two years in a row - can she be beaten? (Or is that Egg Heads?!) Next month is our traditional Christmas party. By popular request we will be holding our Secret Santa. Please bring a wrapped present to the value of £1, (indicating, if relevant, if it is gender specific - for some reason men don't seem to appreciate bath salts!!). We will also have an American supper and so contributions of party food for the event are gratefully received. Mike and Jessica will be holding a quiz, and Ian and Jim intend to entertain us with interactive music and song. See you all there!=

Savoury Scone Winner 2013 - Sue Kelly, again!

October ramblings from the "Doc"

A busy meeting with 2 speakers. I wish we could have given both of them more time as they had interesting information to pass on. Gill Fields told us about a Hampshire based charity called Carer's Together set up specifically to acknowledge and support the unsung heroes who are caring for someone in their home. They organise: support groups for the carers including a carer's cafe as well as other social events, benefits advice, advocacy, a memory cafe, help with the preparation of an emergency care plan for carers (CAPE) and loads more. They can be contacted on 017934 519495 and their website is

Next we heard from Dr Teresa Job from the University of Southampton who was looking for volunteers to come to the Department of Occupational Therapy in the Faculty of Health Science to meet the undergraduates and get involved in making an animation about their health experiences. She feels that meeting real people with stories to tell about their medical conditions is an invaluable experience for the students as they will be the health professionals of the future. Joan is collecting the names of anyone interested in getting involved in this project.

Next month we have Reiki with Pauline and our savoury scone-off. So budding bakers beware - I have been doing my research by watching The Great British Bake-Off and am confident of not finishing bottom this time. I might have to eat my words (or just my own scones if no one else does)!

I am still collecting names, menu choices and deposits for the Haskins Christmas Meal on Monday December 2nd at 12 midday. Please let me know asap as there were already 2 other parties booking for that day.

September ramblings from the "Doc"

Sadly Fran was unable to attend the meeting today. We wish her and her family well at this time. So instead I cobbled together a quiz for our entertainment which certainly kept us amused even if some of the subject matter was a bit beyond us! It's just good to be together and to share each others company.
There was a general agreement to plan a further Christmas Meal at Haskins Garden Centre on Monday December 2nd and I will circulate details nearer the time. The new newsletter is out and it's jammed pack with brilliant stuff. Please all try to do the competition as entries so far have been few and that feature might be dropped. The editors have also asked me to mention that they are currently seeking contributions for the Christmas edition.

August ramblings from the "Doc"

Another hotly contested "scone-off" which saw Tracey regain her crown as champion baker. In fact she was generally the star of the show as she also led an interesting art session where members experimented with bright colours and collage using Matisse as their source of inspiration.
Next month we see the return of Fran Hodgson who always shows us how accessible yoga can be whatever ones health issues. Do come and join us as we invariably have a rewarding time under her tutorage.

Tracey regains her title

The judges hard at work (best job of the day)

Ian enjoying his scone and jam.

Matisse Artists group picture

July ramblings from the "Doc"

Another informal meeting where we discussed aids and appliances that members found helpful. Janet was very enthusiastic about the various calendar, tablet boxes that you can buy to sort your medication into. Some have removable parts so that a day's worth of tablets can be kept in your bag when you are out and about. Speaking from personal experience, if you are buying more that one week's worth of boxes to stock up at a time make sure that they start on the same day of the week. I discovered that some "weeks" start on a Sunday and some on a Monday. Guaranteed to confuse if you are not careful! Sylvia told us all about a ball in an old stocking contraption that she uses for massage. We felt that a demonstration would be useful so we think we persuaded her to return next time with said gizmo and show us! Arthur had a natty device to help him unlock doors with keys without putting too much strain on his arms. Its called a Key Turner. Purchased for a reasonable price in the mobility aid shop in Shirley (around £4). I also found it online. V shaped pillows were discussed with variable feed back - some found them helpful and some felt they aggravated their pain. Francoise had one that she was willing to pass on to others to try as it hadn't worked for her. Jessica recommended volunteering as a way to try to manage pain and has recently started work at a primary school. We wish her success with that new venture.
Next month is art with Tracey and our usual, hotly contested, August scone-off with a trophy up for grabs! See you all there.

June ramblings from the "Doc"

An enjoyable, sharing meeting. Members set up tables and demonstrated their hobbies and talents inviting others to come, hear and try. There were activities such as card making, wood etching and paper bead creating, and talks about drumming, photography and organic farming to name but a few. What a talented bunch!

May ramblings from the "Doc"

Ali Bowser from the Research Design Service (RDS) South Central came today determined to make us excited about research! Certainly her enthusiasm was infectious. They run a free service to help researchers submitting applications to the National Institute for Health Research Funding. The part that is relevant to us is that nowadays the institute won't even look at a proposal unless it can be clearly demonstrated that patients have been involved in the planning stages of the project as well as throughout the process and not just be the subjects of the research. This is obviously a very positive development for the interests of patients and one which the group agreed should be encouraged. So Ali was very keen that members of the group felt free to volunteer if she was involved in a research proposal which would benefit from their expertise in living with pain. In fact she already had a research proposal in mind - a study with the acronym POEM concerning pain relief in Accident and Emergency departments.

Those who were interested at the meeting gave their names to be included on the RDS register so that they would be kept informed of research studies happening in the region and be able to contact researchers directly if they wished to be involved. Anyone interested who missed the meeting can contact Ali directly at

Next month we would like members to bring along their hobbies for a "show and tell session." If you are willing it would be lovely if you can bring some bits and pieces with you to allow others to have a go and learn from you.

April ramblings from the "Doc"

An interesting meeting. The members were invited to say in one sentence what it is that helps them to live with their persistent pain. The sentences were than typed up and displayed on a screen. The result of this exercise can be seen in this link Sentence The group then decided that this was a good reflection of the general feeling of the members and that others might find it helpful. The challenge is to review the sentences and decide how best to display and circulate them. Some time will be spent on this at the next meeting. If anyone has any ideas that they want to explore before the meeting then please email me on
We also spent some time discussing and contributing to a document being prepared for health planning for Southampton, commenting on aspects such as GPs, specialist pain services, social care, and other state and non state provided health services with particular reference to persistent pain. It is good that the group's opinions are being sought on such important matters.
Next month we are going to hear about how we can get involved in research. Should be a worthwhile meeting so do come along.

March ramblings from the "Doc"

Never in a million years would I have believed that we had so many budding cubists in our midst. Tracey Spice has a real talent for making art accessible to even the most reticent and she encouraged us all to have a go at Picasso inspired art with fantastic results. Thank you so much Tracey for your enthusiasm and inspiration.

We celebrated our eight birthday with cake and the launch of our new look quarterly magazine. Thanks to Jess, Janet and Kevin for all their work in writing, compiling and producing such an interesting read. (Did anyone else have to resort to the answers to complete the crossword?) If you have not received yours do contact Kevin.

The editors want to remind us that the magazine is only as good as its content and so want everyone to contribute to it.

The first Monday in April is Easter Monday but as we didn't get around to rearranging the date, there will still be a meeting of those who wish at Haskins for coffee at 11am on April1st. And no, this is not a joke!

February ramblings from the "Doc"

A meeting very much run by the members.
Janet reintroduced the Keeping Pace library. Reminding us of the range of books relating to pain and self help that can be borrowed for a returnable deposit of £5. Pauline, Janet and Tracy then reviewed a selection of books that they had found helpful and would recommend to the group. Pauline's choice was Break Through Pain by Shinzen Young, Janet introduced The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and Tracy chose 2 books: Perceptions of Pain by Deborah Padfield and The Touch of Healing by Jin Shin.
Jess then informed us about the new look newsletter, nearly hot off the press and ready for distribution in the near future. Jess and Janet have volunteered to help Kevin with the task of writing and compiling this for us. There is even to be a regular competition and the group agreed on a £5 voucher as a prize to encourage the group members to participate and contribute. Ken talked about the focus group study exploring patients' trust in their GP's which some of our members were involved in last month. It sounded like it had been a very positive experience for all who had been able to attend. There is a possibility of a further focus group on this subject as well as other opportunities to liaise with researchers at the University of Southampton. Do come along to our meetings to hear more. Joan expressed her pleasure that the group members and their collective experience of living with pain is so well recognised and valued.
Jim made a suggestion about the group spending a meeting trying to sum up in one sentence their approaches to pain that they find useful. Dorothy immediately supplied us with a brilliant thought that she has a butterfly approach to hers - when in pain she flits from one activity to another, and these can be as simple as doing some colouring in of a picture, for distraction. It immediately conjured up for me a lovely image of colourful butterflies moving from one place to another especially, as to my mind, they do seem to settle down eventually on a beautiful flower. This composing of sentences is to be part of April's meeting. Have a think about what yours might contain. There will be no pressure for people to supply a sentence if they don't want to, sentences can even be contributed anonymously if that is what members want but do come along as it is bound to be a fascinating time.

Next month is our 8th birthday so please join us for cake plus Tracey will lead another art session

January ramblings from the "Doc"

Dr Rose Wiles from the University of Southampton came today to tell us about a fascinating study that is being carried out into how people decide whether to trust their GPs. She explained that trust is very important and might make a difference to health outcomes; if you have trust then you are more likely to comply with the treatment and advice given. Previous research has suggested that patients with long term health conditions show the lowest levels of trust. This is why they are keen to research the topic and particularly to recruit members of our group to participate in a focus group discussion.
We spent the rest of the meeting discussing ideas for speakers for the new year. If anyone has any ideas please talk to Joan at the next meeting to let her know.
Next month we are planning to reintroduce the library to the group and get some of our members to do book reviews. Do come armed with your favourite book or one that you have found particularly helpful so that you can share it with us all.

December ramblings from the "Doc"

This month we celebrated Christmas in our usual way. We shared festive food, attempted to show our collective intelligence by doing a quiz and sang christmas carols accompanied on the piano by Jim. A big thanks to all those who contributed to the event with food and particularly to Mike for compiling the quiz. Instead of our secret Santa, many brought in non perishable food for the homeless to the value of £1. The Southampton City Mission were very grateful when I took them three full carrier bags of goodies.


Sue, daughter of Chris and Steve Beal, with the judges David (Norma’s husband) and our friend Pat. It was Sue’s first attempt at making savoury scones and the trophy was all the more special, as Sue is recovering from viral meningitis! So thank you Sally for your continuing support of the group

November ramblings from the "Doc"

A fun session this month including food and craft. I taught anyone willing the skill of iris folding and we managed to produce a lovely array of Christmas bauble cards.
We held our first savoury scone baking competition and were amazed at the variety of flavours, colours and shapes. All perfectly legal according to our judges David and Pat who had researched the subject on the internet before settling down to the serious business of tasting. The worthy winner was Sue Kelly despite the fact that she had never made any type of scone before! The winning recipe came from a cookery book which is being sold to help fund a replacement roof on the church that the Beales attend in Thornhill. If anyone wants a copy then they need to have a word with Steve and Chris.
The next meeting on Thursday December 20th is our Christmas party. Mike has agreed to set this year's quiz. Please can members bring contributions of food and drink for the event. We normally hold a Secret Santa but this year it has been suggested that people spend their pound instead on an item of food that can collected together, made into a Christmas box and donated to a charity for the homeless. Kip has agreed to coordinate this for us.
We will be meeting at Haskins Garden Centre restaurant as usual on Monday 3rd December but instead of coffee at 11am gathering at 12pm for our Christmas dinner. So far 15 people have given me deposits and their meal choices. If there are any members who wish to be included please contact me via email by Thursday November 29th at the latest, with your meal choices, and I will make sure that you are included. The Christmas menu and prices are on the Haskins webpage.


October ramblings from the "Doc"

We welcomed David Drury to our meeting today who gave us an informative and helpful talk about the Hampshire Bobby Scheme which works through the charity The Blue Lamp Trust. The Bobby Scheme is a practical service whose aim is to make us all safe in our homes. Their fully trained fitters give advice about, and provision of, all aspects of home security including: long-life smoke alarms, appropriate door locks, spy-holes and door chains. Where appropriate they will even make good damage caused by a forced entry. The Bobby fitters are all uniformed and carry ID cards. They will always make an appointment before calling. The service is free of charge. The Bobby Scheme can be contacted using or by phoning 0300 777 0157. David Drury is himself one of the Bobby fitters and certainly would instil confidence in anyone who asked for his help with their home security.

As Web Master, I reminded the Doc to mention the savoury scone off competition planned for our next meeting and the trophy which is up for grabs. However, it seems that she is determined to win (some hope considering her position of bottom in the last competition!), and so tried to keep quiet about it to minimise the number of entrants. She has heard rumours that some people are taking it very seriously and have been practicing for weeks.

Let’s have a clean fight please Doc.

September ramblings from the "Doc"

Fran Hodgson returned to treat us to another session of yoga and relaxation. This time we explored the therapeutic use of vowel sounds in chanting and once more managed to make a harmonious noise (most of the time). The reward of joining in and forgetting self consciousness really is a sense of calm at the end of the session. I'm sure we all should find time to practice this regularly in our every day life but how soon that thought vanishes once we return to our usual routines. Fortunately Fran has promised to return next year to keep us reminded.

August ramblings from the "Doc"

The Judges

Another successful "scone off." Wondrous selections of scones, homemade jam, cakes and fairy cakes decorated to resemble dog faces. Thanks to all who generously contributed their delicious wares. The judges took the task of selecting the best sweet scone very seriously. They seemed to eat a fair amount between them, all selflessly, in the line of duty (or so they told us).

Highly commended came Euan for a particularly light texture, Janet came a close second but the worthy winner was Michele. Sally had kindly donated a savoury scone trophy to add to our event but no one chose to make any this time. The group, as always undeterred and keen on food in general, has decided to hold a savoury "scone off" in November. So get practicing. Tracy was unable to do the art session today and so this is also planned for the November meeting.

Webmaster note: I'd like to add to the above and thank Pat for all her help in the kitchen, which in the absence of Sue (who is on holiday) was really welcome.

"Scone Off" winner Michele

Fairy (dog) cakes


July ramblings from the "Doc"

Sally Curtis kicked off proceedings this month giving us an update on where she and members of our group have got with the "Chronic Pain Loss and the Future" project. The resulting work has now been printed into a very professional looking leaflet. Sally hopes to find other support groups in the area for people with chronic health conditions that also experience pain and get feedback from them as to how useful the booklet and the ideas it contains are.

We spent the rest of the time socialising and planning ideas to fill the forthcoming Keeping Pace schedule. August will be our usual cream tea and the hotly contested "scone-off." Tracy will also run an art session. A cunning plan to distract us from eating too many scones!

June ramblings from the "Doc"

An excellent turnout for a wonderful talk and demonstration of Chi Kung and Tai Chi by Glenda Davies. She is an advanced instructor and showed us how the techniques can be modified to accommodate people's health needs. She emphasised that regular practice can actually improve health. Tracy, one of our members, gave a personal recommendation about the benefits she has experienced since attending Glenda's sessions. Glenda and her associates have a website that is worth checking out They run numerous classes throughout our local area. There is a charge for the classes but Glenda generously, and in addition, offers to see people on a one to one basis if they have concerns about their individual health to ensure that they get the most out of the classes. Watching Glenda performing her Tai Chi form was fascinating and a palpable calmness filled the room as she was doing it.

May ramblings from the "Doc"

This month Dr Tony Snell, medical director of Solent NHS Trust came to tell us about the plans to become an NHS Foundation Trust. This is part of their public consultation on their application. There was quite a lively discussion on wide aspects of health in Solent ranging from the out of hours service to fluoridisation of the water to prevent dental decay. The conversation then came back to the subject in hand with some of those present showing enthusiasm for the chance to become a member of this new foundation trust and thus being able to influence decision making. For more information you can visit the website or phone 023 8060 8937.

April ramblings from the "Doc"

This month the members of the group showed their amazing and widespread talents. Several members set up craft tables allowing others to try out new skills. There was jewellery making, box creating, glass engraving, embroidery sampling and card crafting. A special thanks to all those who brought and demonstrated their skills. I got the impression that there was almost too much choice and not enough time. I'm sure that popular demand will ensure a return session.

Now that this year's birthday photo has been uploaded to the web site for all to see, I must point out and thank the wonderful Sharon. She is in the middle of the picture and supplied not one but two delicious birthday cakes!

March ramblings from the "Doc"

Unfortunately our scheduled speaker was unable to attend the meeting today because of work commitments. We made the most of our free session by catching up on each others news. Lise, having missed last month when we were talking about 2 special dogs: hearing dog Yogi and medical protection dog Toby, took the opportunity to tell us all about her talented King Charles Spaniel called Dahey. She is training him to assist her in lots of activities of daily living such as fetching objects and pulling light switches. It is noticeable to the group how much these canine companions do to boost the confidence of their owners - truly more than just special pets. We were pleased to see Kay back amongst us now fit and well. She shared a few words about displaying and selling her art through an online artwork store She reminded us about how important art is to her and what a vital role it plays in her ability to live with her pain. Janet then gave us a short talk about a positive experience she had had when she decided to arrange a medication review through the Pain Clinic. She had found it to be most informative and beneficial. Next month is a craft session where any member of the group has a chance show and share their talents. If any one needs any raw materials supplied, please contact me via Kevin and I will see what I can do.

February ramblings from the "Doc"

We were honoured to have a very brave lady called Emily (Emmie) to speak to us this month. She has had fragile type one diabetes since the age of 4. In recent years her ability to recognise when her blood sugars are out of control has gone and so she can become seriously unwell rapidly and without any warning. This has impacts on her, her family, and her ability to continue to work full time. She told us how her life and confidence in managing her condition has improved beyond recognition by her recent partnership with the wonderful Toby. He is a medical detection dog who is now her constant companion and who, through his amazing sense of smell, can detect her blood sugar levels for her. She then went on to give us an excellent presentation about the work of the charity who train and supply these dogs. For more information there is a website:
Steve Beale then reminded us about how Yogi, his hearing dog, was equally responsible for turning his life around and giving him back independence and enhancing his enjoyment of lif.

Emily & Toby from Medical Detection Dogs with Steve & Yogi from Hearing Dogs

January ramblings from the "Doc"

We were very lucky to grab Richard Beale who, despite being just back from China with jet lag and mounds of pending paper work, was still willing to come and talk to the group. This time we were regaled with stories of North Korea and it was truly fascinating. What an interesting insight into the life and work of people in such a closed country. It's even called the "Hermit Country". I had no idea that you are not allowed to visit this country if you are from South Korea and if you are from the USA you are not allowed on their trains. You are also not permitted to take computers, mobile phones, GPS's in - it's difficult now a days to imagine a country where these items are not widely available. Despite these restrictions, Richard was able to describe a country rich in its own traditions filled with people who are contented and make the most of what they have. As always, I can't wait to see where Richard goes next and to hear more tales of his travels.

Dorothy suggested that we should hold regular bring and buy sales. To try this out, she suggested bringing any books and bags that members are willing to sell to the next meeting to raise funds for our rent.

December ramblings from the "Doc"

Not a lot to ramble about this month other than to say that we had 2 very enjoyable events: the Christmas Meal at Haskins and the Christmas Party at the church hall. Thanks to everyone who contributed the time, food and company to make these occasions such fun. I am looking forward to the ongoing support of this wonderful group of people in 2012.



Photo of endorphin, pictured on the left, kindly provided by Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc. Image copyright Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc. (



Sally's Loss, Grief and Chronic Pain Handout - Click Here


"Wellbeing" loaf which Mr Cotton sells in his shop. (Click here for information) It is full of healthy grains and seeds and is additive free.








Keeping Pace With Pain

Southampton Based Chronic Pain Support Group

Main Meeting is on the 3rd Thursday of the month at Portswood Residents’ Garden Pavilion, SO17 1QT 1.30 to 3.00


News Flash

Our speaker for our meeting on May 19th is Sarah Yarham from local charity, Youth Options


Keeping Pace 17th Birthday Pics





We are still trying to continue with all other meet-ups as follows:

1st Monday of the month - Coffee No.1 Shirley 11am SO15 3LQ

2nd Friday of the month - Make & Brew St James' Methodist Church 10am, SO15 5HE - Mainly chatting but bring your knitting and crochet

3rd Thursday of the month - Portswood Residents’ Garden Pavilion, SO17 1QT 1.30 to 3.00

4th Monday of the month - The Mercentile Flea, Bitterne 11am SO18 6TG

Zoom meeting every Tuesday 2pm



Please Note: Keeping Pace With Pain now collects used postage stamps for Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.


A Pain Educational Tool has been developed by Professor Sally Curtis and members of this group. see PET tab above.


14th Birthday - March 2019


The group enjoyed an autumnal visit to Furzey Gardens and House. A lovely time was had by all. Many thanks to Furzey Gardens volunteer, Anne who made our visit extra special.

13th Birthday - March 2018


Freemasonry in the Community, Cheque Presentation Evening 2016



See our Christmas Party pics Here

Note: As this is a rather large file please wait for it to download to your computer



New Animations for 2015


Animations telling some of our pain stories, made by the very talented students from the Occupational Therapy Department of the University of Southampton along with 3 of our group members.


Drumming movie, starring our very own....................................... you will have to guess

What do you see movie, click the above and find out


Gymnastics, click above




Donate to charity for free. Every day go to The Hunger Site and click the special link on the homepage, its prominently displayed sponsors donate a cup of staple foodstuff to someone starving. Once you have clicked on that site visit the other sites listed at the top of that page and do the same.

The Library is open!!

For an idea of some of the books we have and a short review of them click Here