If you are finding it a bit frustrating to occupy yourself during this isolation period then here are some things which might help. Keeping ourselves occupied is one of the best ways to get through this and we are truly fortunate in these times to have so many things at our disposal at the click of a mouse.

Firstly, though, I would like to start with something practical. There’s no doubt that some of us are finding this situation more difficult than others, and being stuck at home with no means of getting what we need can be a very frightening situation. So, if you can, take a look around and see if someone needs help. I fully appreciate that you cannot make close contact and therefore do much in any direct sense. Which brings be to my first item:

Community Action (IOW) are offering support to people who are isolated and cannot get help during the crisis. If you are having trouble getting food or medicines (or you know someone who might be) contact them on

01983 823 600

or visit the website:


(If you are able to offer voluntary support to Community Action then please get in touch)

Also, if you think someone may be isolated and alone, try this: Write (or print) “Please Help” in large letters on a sheet of A4. On the other side write a little note with instructions to hang it in their front window if they are in trouble. Then then pop it through their letterbox with a bit of blu-tack or some sellotape.

OK, let’s get onto some lighter stuff. Now that you’ve got time on your hands (and the old man’s busy doing all those little jobs) you need something to fill your time. So here are a few websites to keep the boredom at bay and the tedium to a minimum. Just look! You can:


Fancy an online quiz? Fill your boots!





Get logical! Great for keeping the kids quiet.





Do a course in something you’ve never tried before. I did a course in telescopes once. Never looked back.

https://www.thoughtco.com/ (easy general interest)




Got to keep the kids’ lessons up to date? Here’s some help:





As if you need any encouragement. All these channel sites offer online streaming:






https://www.netflix.com/ (Pay channel)


Don’t forget to give your Postie plenty of room when they deliver!






There’s everything here. What do you want to know about…?


So there you go. 23 websites to keep you occupied while you enjoy Boris’s kind offer of an extended break. Stay in. And stay safe. We’ll be through this before too long, and then we’re going to have the Coffee Afternoon to end all Coffee Afternoons. Bunfight!

Good luck!


Brian McGowan

Hello there, 

For once there isn’t a storm going on going on outside! In fact, the sky is clear and blue, although it is a bit cold still. Believe it or not, last Monday saw the beginning of Meteorological Spring in Britain (and probably otherwhere, too) according to the bods on Radio 4 and for at least ten minutes on Monday afternoon I believed them. Just before The Archers, it was. All sunny and everything. Then we moved rapidly into Autumn and by the time the afternoon play finished we were back into winter. Ho hum! 


Corona Virus 

I’m sure I have nothing to add to the millions of words about this burgeoning global epidemic. It is what it is. That said, I will urge all of you to be especially careful because Fibro does wear us down and does make us vulnerable to infection. It is going to happen and, while most corona viruses are not fatal (the common cold is a corona virus, did you know that? I didn’t) this one can be. Follow the safety advice to the letter. You can find it here: 


Stay safe! 


Fibromyalgia and the Nervous System 

This is a very interesting article about the relationship between Fibromyalgia and the Central Nervous System. Research is going on into so many areas and more and more discoveries are helping us get closer to a solution for sufferers. I won’t say any more about the article (I don’t want to spoil the ending) but you can find it here: 



This month’s meeting 

We have Jeannr who will be taking us through some seated exercises to help keep us fit. I know I could probably do with is because getting out for a walk in this weather has been impossible. So come along and give those cobwebs a good stretching, at least. 

All Saints Church Ryde, on Tuesday the 10th at 1:30. £3.50 including tea, coffee and fun. 


Right, I’m off to get some Lemsip. Yep I’ve got a stinker of a cold (no, I haven’t been to China, it just feels like it), so I’m off for some strategic recuperation in front of the Telly with the dog. Look after yourselves and I’ll see you soon. 

All the best, 


Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoDen Heslop

Hi Everyone
Not a very long newsletter this time. Basically I’m laid up with a screamingly bad back from knees to neck, so moving, sitting, staying still and generally being alive is quite a painful affair.

For your benefit…
I thought I would just include a link or two to some information about benefits, mainly because this is such a minefield and any info helps. This first thing is about some additional benefits you may be entitled to if you are already in receipt of a PIP:
And this next one is about Carer’s Credit, something I didn’t know about. But I do now. It’s worth checking out if you have someone looking after you.
Carer’s Credit – https://www.gov.uk/carers-credit

This month’s meeting
Will be on the 11th. Alison will be joining us for a seated yoga session. These are always highly enjoyable and excellent exercise. 1:30 at All Saints Church, Ryde. Be there or be stiff!

Tearing the wall down
OK, just a little homily, and then I’ll leave you in peace. We all know about the physical aspects of Fibromyalgia. All the research, treatments and medications focus very squarely on this, and rightly so. We know about the depression and anxiety, and the therapies and meds available for those too.
But there is one thing which sits outside of the above and which is rarely acknowledged, even though it is there every day of a Fibro sufferer’s life.
Fibro sets us apart. Perhaps because of our immobility. Perhaps because of our pain. Perhaps because of the shame of ‘having to ask for help’. I don’t want to talk about ‘prison’ metaphors here, and this is certainly not about feeling sorry for ourselves. But what many people don’t realise is that isolation can be very stressful – we get buried in a mixture of anxiety and grief. And it’s horrible.
I cannot tell you how many emails I have had from people who have told me how they would love to come to the group but they simply cannot make it. Equally I have heard from those who have said that coming to the group has helped with the loneliness and isolation, but it took a lot of courage to make that first step.
For anyone in this situation it can be so hard to ask for help, so it falls to the rest of us to do the reaching out. Please don’t wait for the meetings or the Coffee Meet-ups to do it. You can do it from home. A quick message, a call, an exchange on Facebook, these things can make all the difference. Isolation feels like a fortress from the inside, but it’s only a tissue from the outside, so let’s tear it down.

Until next month, go gently,



Photo Credit:
Carl Jorgensen

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a festive and fulfilling Christmas. Ours was quiet and thoroughly enjoyable. 2020 is upon us and certainly wish all of you a happy, peaceful and healthy one.


I was recently given a bottle of Blackseed Oil by a good friend. I have never used this before; in fact I hadn’t even heard of it, but it appears to have some very interesting properties, including anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-hypertensive. You can discover more here.

I’ll be taking it over the next few months, so I’ll keep you updated. But if you have tried it yourself, or plan to in the near future, I would be very interested to hear from you.


Mindfulness classes have started at the Ventnor Botanic Gardens’ Wellbeing Centre. If you would like an hour of ‘Me-Time’ in a lovely peaceful setting then come along. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10:30 – 12:00. £6.00 per person. No need to book.
The Botanic Gardens is a beautiful place to enjoy some inner peace, and you can unwind a bit more in the Cafe afterwards! I hope to see you there.
For more info email me at chris@gestalt-therapy.co.uk or call 07421 465 898.


The following is an excerpt from an article written by a man after his spouse was diagnosed with FMS. It’s an interesting article written, as it is, not by a sufferer but by someone who is watching the struggles of someone he loves.

It all starts with a diagnosis. Odds are, since FMS is poorly researched and poorly understood that you will both doubt this diagnosis because, “It couldn’t happen to us.” You’ll both search the web for other explanations and you’ll find them. Viruses, bacteria, the wrong food, not enough vitamins, not enough exercise, being overweight, depression, anxiety, menopause, age… the list goes on. Eventually you and your spouse will have to come to terms with the fact that Fibromyalgia is real and that she has it and, worse yet, that it’s never going away.

I know that when I first started experiencing symptoms of FMS my Family’s first thought was, “Is this real?” It’s not something I fault them for. When someone complains of pain and fatigue so debilitating that they can’t get around their house or even dry themselves after a shower and yet they look completely healthy it’s hard to take in. You see the person you married, energetic and pain-free and yet they are claiming to experience pain that sounds…well, unbelievable.

Then there are doctor’s visits. As you sit next to your spouse you no doubt hear doctors telling her to lose some weight, start an exercise routine, take some anti-inflammatories and stop worrying. There may be a part of you that wonders why she can’t do just that. No matter how much you want to support your spouse you want so badly for her pain to be so easily solved. But then it’s not.”

I have placed the entire article on the Wight Fibro Group website and you can read it here.

This month’s meeting…

…will be on the 14th. All Saints Church Hall, 1:30 onwards. Seeing as we all probably need a break from the horrid weather and our disappointment at yet another pair of Santa Socks (when you really wanted the reindeer ones!) we’ll have a bit of fun with a round-table chat and a quiz or two. Bring your brain cells!

See you there!



Photo credit:
Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

Season’s Greeting!

Well, I don’t know about you but I’ve been absolutely freezing this week. The only warm person in our house has been the dog and that’s only because he’s hairy and knows where the best duvet is.

Worse than being dead?
A couple of weeks ago I came across this report on the BBC website about a young woman called Tilly Moses who has been diagnosed with Fibro. In it she talks about the prejudice she has experienced she has experienced, on one occasion from a woman who thought Tilly’s make-up was far too nice for her to really be ill.

Talking about her condition, Tilly said “I’m happy but people find that really perplexing, as if being disabled is almost worse than being dead.” We all find ourselves having to battle against these attitudes, but despite this Tilly is succeeding in her career as a singer/songwriter. You can read the article here.

Colds, ‘flu and sinuses
Just recently I have heard more and more people complain about blocked sinuses. It’s the time of year for it, I suppose, so I thought I would look out some online help for sufferers. This is a WikiHow page with examples of how to massage your sinuses for rapid relief.

Is Fibro making you ill?
Does that sound like a daft question? Maybe, but there is a lot of evidence that conditions like Fibro can be so stressful that they cause PTSD. Which is Ironic because early life trauma can be a cause of Fibro in the first place. This article from The Mighty talks about how the stresses associated with pain, isolation and prejudice can make our symptoms worse, leading to a cycle of misery which can be difficult to escape.

In the article, Renee Fabian says: “The act of scheduling a medical appointment, going to a hospital, or having a procedure often triggers flare-ups or set backs for people with chronic illness. We may develop brain fog, feel shaky or have trouble sleeping before or after such events.” Sound familiar. Take a look at the article, it’s a good read.

No Meeting This Month
As we will be having our Christmas Lunch there will be no meeting this month, so please don’t attend All Saint’s on Tuesday.

Mindfulness classes at the Ventnor Botanic Gardens
Starting on Thursday the 2nd of January I will be teaching Mindfulness at the Botanic Gardens’ Wellness Centre. The classes will be every Friday morning starting at 10:30 and finishing at 12:00. £6 per person.

Mindful Awareness helps you deal with the stress and emotional turbulence of daily life, and teaches you how to relax and engage with your present moment. Not just for ten minutes but for the whole day.

If you would like to discover how to relax as you alleviate your anxieties and tensions, then come along. It’ll be lovely to see you.

And finally…
It just remains for me to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The next few weeks are always a stressful time, so take care, go gently and don’t stress over a turkey. In fact, if you fancy an alternative, one of the best recipes I ever heard was for Golf Widow’s roast. For this you need:

1 Beef Roasting Joint
1 bottle Gin
1 bottle Vodka
1 bottle vermouth (red or white, which ever you prefer)

Wash the meat and dry thoroughly
Place in roasting dish.
Add the Vodka, Gin and Vermouth in equal proportions being careful to not let the dish overflow.
Place in a cold oven for one minute.
Remove from oven. Put the meat back in the refrigerator and drink the gravy. Delicious with Pringles.

Have a good one!


Photo Credit:

Hi Everyone

Well, the weather promises to be windy, rainy, sleety and possibly snowy. You can’t go out so you might as well stay in, turn on the gas fire, make a cup of tea, and read the November newsletter. You know it makes sense!

Christmas Raffle

We will be holding the Christmas Raffle at this month’s meeting. My special thanks for the terrific efforts of Mandy Williams, who has spent the last few weeks gathering gifts and donations from around the island. Because of this we have a truly magnificent hamper and prizes. If you only make it to one meeting a year, make it to this one. Not only might you be going home with some splendid prizes but you will definitely be supporting the Wight Fibro Group with each ticket you buy.

Fibromyalgia and Disability: The journey continues

The action to get Fibromyalgia classed as a disability has taken a major step this week with the action group meeting with the DWP to discuss matters. As always, the Government is never quick to act but the determination of this group is faultless and to be hugely admired. Especially as we all know the burden they carry as they do this. Why not visit their Facebook page to find out more and give them a message of support: https://www.facebook.com/Fibropetition/posts/2638834673010490

I want to take a moment…

… to say thank you to some people. Most of us, when we arrive at a meeting go straight to the desk where we are greeted by Gill. Come hell or high water, Gill is always there for us. Always smiling, always friendly, always ready to guide new members through signing up and the rest of us through signing in. But that’s only the bit you see. After the meetings are over, Gill meticulously counts the takings, keeps accounts, pays for the hall, deals with the bank and generally holds the accounts together. During these last 12 months especially, when things have been very tight, Gill’s management has helped to keep our group going. So my first ‘thank you’ goes to you, Gill.

We all get to see the raffle table every month. It magically appears, fully laid out with goodies, ready for the draw. Opposite is the Library, neatly arranged, ready for lending. But both of these need managing and this falls to Lesley who, every month, gathers and brings the raffle prizes and the books, makes sure that they are ready before anyone arrives, and then packs it all away to take home with her. And those books weight a ton, I can tell you! Did you also realise that almost every speaker we have had this year was organised by Lesley too? And we have had some brilliant ones: Remember Val? The mental image of tiny knickers in a Russian sauna is one I cannot eradicate. So my next ‘thank you’ goes to you, Lesley.

Without the efforts of Gill and Lesley the Wight Fibro Group would simply not exist. So, when you have a moment, just say ‘thanks’.

I know several of you do your bit throughout the year, and this is greatly appreciated, but there is one other to whom I would like to say ‘thank you’, and that is Lesley’s mum, Brenda. As well as providing everyone with a kind, friendly smile, and always helping out wherever possible, Brenda always takes it upon herself to collect and wash the mugs after the meeting. This is no small task, given the numbers at some meeting, and we really appreciate it.

However, it is, I feel, unfair to expect this lovely lady to do anything other than enjoy her leisure at our group. And in future I would like younger members of the group to take on this task. Please don’t wait to be asked, just give a few moments of your time before you leave. You may not get mentioned in dispatches, but you will be appreciated.

Christmas Lunch

This meeting will be the last opportunity to get a seat at the Christmas lunch table. We have a (very) few spaces left, so bring your deposit and get your name down. It should be a very enjoyable time and I am definitely looking forward to it.

Monthly Raffle

This won’t take place as such because of the Christmas Raffle. However, I just wanted to remind you that we always need items for the regular raffle so if you have anything to offer, please bring it. You never know what you have hiding in cupboards – Julie Golder has given us a fabulously huge bag of very nice toiletries after rummaging through her drawers in the bathroom. Thanks, Julie – you’re a star!

November Meeting

As well as the Christmas Raffle we will be having games in the form of a Beetle Drive and (if time allows) a quiz. As usual, tea and coffee will flow in biblical proportions, good company, laughter and bonhomie will fill the air. Tuesday 12th, 1:30, All Saints Church Hall, Ryde. See you there!

Yours, in kindness,


Hi Everyone

It was in the papers this week that we’re in for a bad winter this year. I don’t know about a white Christmas but it’s going to be a cold one apparently so forewarned is forearmed, as they say. Be prepared and stay safe.

Right, now, two things:

1 – Raffle Prizes

We all know how much we enjoy the raffle – the flutter, the anticipation, the unbridled excitement as you stand, like a child in a sweetshop, selecting your prize.
We are getting low on prizes and we really depend on your donations to make this event a monthly success. Both Lesley and Gill to all they can to keep the raffle table well stocked but now they barely have anything left in their homes!

So have a mooch around your domicile and see if you have anything you can bring to the table. It doesn’t have to be special: unused toiletries, unwanted gifts, that Cartier watch you’ve never really worn, anything, really.

2 – Christmas Lunch

Will be at the Isle of Wight College on the 9th of December, 12:45. We booked 20 places in advance, 12 have gone already so if you want one of the remaining ones book now. The cost of the dinner is £10 and we will need the money when you book, so you need to come in to the October meeting to do so.

We always have a great time at these lunches so come to the meeting, get your name down and don’t miss out. The menu is a good one and you can take a look at it here:

IoW College Christmas Menu

And my thanks go to Ruth Levi for finding and suggesting this venue. Thanks, Ruth!

This month’s meeting will be on the 9th at All Saints Church Hall, Ryde. 1:30 as usual. This month we will be having a talk from our resident Psychotherapist on the links between Fibromyalgia and Early Life Trauma.

See you there!


Hello All!
As we slide gently into the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness I notice a distinct chilliness in the air. Summer’s lease hath all too short a date and temperatures shall soon be dropping. I don’t know about you but my old Osgood-Schlatter’s injury always starts to bother me around the end of September, and that’s when I know were going to start getting colder.

Guaifenesin – An interesting remedy
I recently read a post about the use of guaifenesin to treat fibromyalgia. Originally used as a cough/bronchial treatment, this relatively benign treatment has found uses in the care of Fibromyalgia, Gout and other musculo-skeletal ailments. Take a look at this page to find out more. You can get Guiafenesin from your chemists and it has few serious side-effects apparently, although nausea, stomach upsets and vomiting are quite common.

Changes to Concessionary Travel on the Isle of Wight
You may have heard about these proposed changes. The Council are not very forthcoming with information about it but there is a 12-week consultation in progress, which you can take part in online. Take a look here, and make sure you have your say!

The Future Clinic Webinar
Dr Gary Lee and colleagues will be presenting a webinar on Saturday October 5th. The title of the webinar is “Fibromyalgia – a story of strength and adaptability” If you wish to join Gary and his colleagues on this event (and you really should) the you can buy tickets via these links:
Morning session: https://bit.ly/2TJuGqZ
Afternoon Session:https://bit.ly/2NfJlcf

This month’s meeting
I am delighted to announce that Michelle Callaghan of Health Matters will be coming to see us this month. Michelle is a very highly qualified and experienced practitioner whom I know has already made a difference to the life of one of our own group members. Her treatments include Acupressure and Lymphatic massage, Reiki and Spinal Touch Therapy. You should not miss this presentation.
The meeting will take place at 1:30 on the 10th at All Saints Church Hall, Ryde. Look forward to seeing you there!
All the best,



Photo credit:
unsplash-logoKatie Moum

Hi Everyone!
Not a very long newsletter this month, to your great relief, I’m sure. After all, who wants to spend ages poring over reams of stuff in this sweltering weather? It’s certainly too hot to be slaving over.

Tai Chi
That doesn’t mean there’s nothing here, mind. First of all, we’ve had an email from a lady by the name of Nicola Jones who teaches Tai Chi. Starting in the Autumn she has a new community Tai Chi and Qigong class in Newport town centre on Tuesdays 1-2pm on a weekly basis.
This type of class is open to students of all ages and abilities, whether standing or seated the movements can be adapted to each student. The cost is £6 per class, and no booking is required. Each lesson is stand alone, allowing ad-hoc attendance for those living with differing health requirements.
If you would like to get in touch with Nicola the full details are here: https://earthbalance-taichi.com/shop/tai-chi-qigong-isle-of-wight/

Raffle Donations
As well as being good fun, our monthly raffles really help keep the roof over our heads meetingwise, so if you have anything you would like to donate to the raffle table please bring it in. It all helps!

From Rheumatism to Fibromyalgia – A history
Did you know that medical descriptions of Fibromyalgia go back to 1592? Or that it has variously been called neurasthenia, myelasthenia and fibrositis? Or my favourite: Myogeloses (sounds kind of gooey to me). This brilliant article, originally posted by Gill on her facebook page, gives a very good history (Thanks, Gill!).

And for the future…
This is a very interesting article on the links between conditions like Fibro and a new genetic finding: hereditary-a tryptasemia. Read more here.

Finally… Buyer Beware!
Given that they are now putting CBD compounds into Coca-Cola and beer I am becoming more and more sceptical about the value of this product, at least in the doses which are sold in the shops.
As this BBC report shows, some of the products being sold on the high street contain next to nothing of the CBD constituents people are expecting.
There are a lot of reports that proper, good quality, CBD oil helps many people. But buyers need to make sure they are actually getting what they pay for, and not just a bottle of glorified cooking oil. If you are buying these products, do a bit of research and make sure you get what you are expecting.

August Meeting
Our next meeting is on the 13th, at All Saints Church Hall, 1:30 as always. This month I will be giving a talk Mindful Awareness and Attention Management. See you there.
Warmest regards,



For many fibro sufferers, “How did I get like this?” is an everyday question. Fibro has a lot of possible causes but one which I feel often gets overlooked is Trauma. Particularly in childhood.

More and more research is being done into the possible links between trauma and conditions such as arthritis, lupus and Fibromyalgia. What I want to talk about in the attached article is how traumatic experiences in childhood may leave some people highly susceptible to Fibro in later life, and what can be done about it. On the way we’ll take a look at what trauma is, how it affects us in both mind and body, and meet three Doctors who have been instrumental in helping people deal with it. I hope you enjoy it.

You can read the full article on our Articles page. Just Click Here.

This month’s meeting will be on Tuesday the 9th and we are having a . We had one a few months ago and it was terrific, so don’t miss this one.

1:30 pm, All saints Church Hall, Ryde. See you there!

All the best,