ALTHOUGH we are already well into the New Year, I don’t think it is too late to make a new year resolution.

And that is to stop looking on the internet for symptoms of possible serious illnesses.

Over the last few weeks, I have convinced myself I have diabetes, purely on the strength of what it says on the world wide web.

I was a stranger to the doctors’ surgery for many years, but since retirement, I seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time browsing through ancient copies of Country Life and Woman’s Own down at the surgery.

I had an exemplary sickness record when gainfully employed, apart from three weeks off following a high speed car crash when I was pulled unconscious from the wreckage – and still wrote up my report on Bellingham Show from my hospital bed the following day

Another three weeks on the sidelines came when I had kidney stones removed by a surgeon whom I believe practised his skills by winkling the seeds out of pomegranates with his grandmother’s hat-pin

I had neither the time nor the inclination to be ill, and any incipient bugs were swiftly dealt with by the application of a generous draught of dark rum and Vimto.

But since drifting off into reluctant retirement, I have been admitted to hospital twice for surgery, and again after suffering a stroke.

I am on medication for the first time in my life, and reading the leaflets accompanying my daily dosage is enough to to make the most hale and hearty patients take to their beds.

My internet quest started when a routine blood test showed I had slightly raised blood sugar levels, despite the fact I never put sugar in my coffee, on my cereal or indeed on anything else A bag of sugar lasts so long in Hextol Towers that the writing on the bag is all in Latin and Mr Cube is wearing a toga.

The days are gone when I used to go round with a twist of newspaper filled with a mixture of cocoa and sugar to stick a wet finger into, and similarly I hardly ever carry a stick of rhubarb to dip into the bag of Tate and Lyles in my pocket.

I do drink lots of fizzy pop, but only of the zero sugar variety, and I am at the beck and call of 110 rescue horses with a fork and barrow at the stables for five hours a day for 13 days out of 14.

I do have a weakness for certain sweeties though, particularly those blue and pink aniseedy jelly jobs from a packet of liquorice allsorts. Occasionally a bag containing only those glorious gobbets of gelatine can be found in the local cheap shops, and I am unable to resist them.

They disappear down my capacious gullet like snow off a dyke and God help anyone who asks if they can have one.

I believe I may have consumed an entire bag of these delights on the morning of my last blood test, and convinced myself they were to blame for my unusually high sugar content.

But then I started reading up online about the ravages which can take place when one is in the grip of Type 2 diabetes and it didn’t take long to convince myself I would soon be jabbing myself in the thigh with a syringe loaded with insulin.

On the long list of symptoms of impending sugar sickness was a loss of feeling in the toes, and I realised with some alarm that for some time now, I have been unable to distinguish the middle toe on my right foot from a frozen chipolata. Although it looks perfectly normal It really feels as though this little piggy has gone to market, and won’t be coming back. When it first happened it felt as though I had a blister, but Mrs Hexstol confirmed the metatarsal was blemish free,

I also became very itchy – another sign of diabetes – and had lost weight, which all added up to definite diagnosis. The website blurb said that anyone exhibiting any of these symptoms should see their GP without delay and I had several sure fire signs, so I made an appointment forthwith.

I warned Mrs Hextol I would probably be rushed off to hospital, and donned clean socks and undergarments ready for confirmation of my diagnosis. However, the doctor told me I was far too healthy to even consider being a diabetic.