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Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Another Shallilo senior moment

Shallilo has senior moment

Such a small thing, such chaotic consequences. It started life as the metal end of a thread (metal string-tip like the end of a shoelace) attached to my gilet pocket zip fastener. It finished in our rubbish bin until I rescued it. In between times it nestled in the driver's seatbelt buckle, along with the seatbelt tongue. The seatbelt was immobilised. Setting off for choir practice, the thread must have slipped into the buckle before I reached for the tongue and then - click - the deed was done. Those kind men at Suzuki spent an hour retrieving it and no charge.
  You had to be a contortionist to get in and out of the car.


Paul, our man painting the decking, has taken the calling the childbride Shirley?

Monday, 29 April 2019

Shallilo learns about testosterone and grumpiness

Shallilo reads about testosterone and male behaviour

Levels of male hormones (testosterone and growth hormone) decline from the mid-thirties. Matt Roberts in the Times Sat April 13th covers the usual suspects to counteract these changes. So 'working out in the right way' can help you look and feel a good bit younger than you actually are (wrinkles and depression). 
  Readers of this blog will find this as no surprise, but there is some informative detail on some of the strength moves that make a difference. And there is a testosterone-rich diet.
  This hormone decline might also play a role in increased grumpiness, apparently a feature of the older male. Robert Sapolsky in Behave writes about aggression and testosterone, especially when status is threatened. Testosterone does not make people aggressive, it makes 'us more sensitive to social triggers of emotionally laden behaviours and exaggerates our preexisting tendencies in those domains'. 
  In other words if we've been and keep being a stroppy sod, the associated behaviours are facilitated by male hormones, ebbing and flowing in the background. The behaviours themselves began on the savannah in S. Africa, adapted to survive industrialisation, honed on our dad's knee and triggered by activities like competitive sport and polishing the shoulder chip.
  The Times article does not say that increasing hormone levels makes you less grumpy.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Shallilo back on the cut - one way to keep forever young

Shallilo back on the cut - Trent and Mersey

So, back on the cut. Uplands marina (Driftaway holidays) near Anderton and the famous boat lift. Vivien, one of three upmarket boats. This is the decor rather than the performance which was a tad stiff. Marylin and Audrey were the other two, completing a trio of film stars. We had photos of Gone with the Wind on our walls. Our boat starred in the Tim West and Prunella Scales canal series. We are not convinced they ever stayed overnight and one of the marina guys let it slip that their daughter was with them to look after Pro but never appeared on film.
  Setting off was a trial in a vicious crosswind, but the guys helped us out. It hadn't died down on our return, so we parked outside on the Trent and Mersey and waited for support. In fact the wind blew us way off course trying to turn into marina's narrow tunnel entrance. A tad embarrassing, but no one seemed to mind. We had a short relationship with a male swan guarding his mate. No histrionics, just enjoyed being with us.
  First night at Broken Cross. Some of the skills came back and no panics.

Shallilo on the Trent and Mersey

Crew member showing off some locking and drinking in Middlewich, where we parked out and back to and from the Shroppie. Rain through the locks, but other than queueing there were no problems. The steep right hand turn into Wardle was a breeze and nobody watching. The Middlewich arm of the Shroppie has only just reopened following 12 months closure whilst a major breach was repaired. Several smaller boat hirers went out of business, including our memorable stop for electrical help at this now abandoned company. 'Sandra', a trannie if ever, did us proud. Not often you see a female electrician on the cut, even if she was really a man. The boss served us with coffee and toast. Great guys.

Shallilo on the Shropshire Union

Another crew member showing us what he is good at. I learned blowing on the bbq coals from Big Dave, so passed it on. Nice rural mooring opposite Minshull, but no visit to the Badger this year.

Shallilo keeping young on the cut

So to the skipper. Earned his pint this week without a doubt. Managed to rehearse all the skills except one:
  living with being 'a hirer', bottom of the food chain
  it doesn't steer itself
  it doesn't go in straight lines
  parallel parking
  three or more point turns
  mild bumps, usually at lock entrances
  okay to throw coffee grounds in the cut
  not getting away from the bank (poor push from the crew plus physics)
  grounding - good pole skills from the crew
  skirting low branches
  leaving the hose attachment on the water point (don't tell Pete and thankfully retrieved)
  canal rage from a live-aboard who didn't like my speed
  not having a clue going backwards
  a non-hirer asking me if I was stuck in a winding hole when I was waiting for him to pass
The one exception was missing the marina entrance in the wind.
It keeps you forever young.

Shallilo takes a trip down to the river Weaver

And don't forget the eighth wonder of the world - The Anderton boat lift from the Trent and Mersey down to the River Weaver. Salt transport. Built 1875, closed 1983, restored and reopened 2002. Came across a another more modern wonder in Big Lock, Middlewich. We descended in tandem with a hybrid boat. Cut his deisel use in half.
  Short break, but enough especially with the crew drinking all the booze. Lots of people say it's a relaxing holiday. It isn't, but it is so different from normal it empties your brain.

Monday, 15 April 2019

April at Shallilo-foreveryoung - inspiring birthday presents

Guess what we got for our birthdays? A tunnel for the railway and lots of chocolate.

The birds are back nesting on the summer house.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Shallilo-Foreveryoung and March-April events

Shallilo in Spring 2019

A wonky Scarborough Spa, trying and failing to show all the hundreds of rods drilled into the hillside. Aiming to stop South Cliff from slipping into the North Sea. Scheme finishes at the end of 2019 at the cost of £13 million.

Shallilo in Spring 2019

Who is bribing Emily with the chocolate button van? I think we can discern that she has now recoverd from conjunctivitis and upper respiratory infection.

Brian May of Queen complained this week on The One Show that the packaging of McVitie's Chocolate Digestives has gone peculiar. As a fellow devotee I agree. I'm not quite as upset as he is; I can still seal the end of the pack and keep the uneaten fresh. I'm told it was actually plain Digestives but it's the same packaging.

It's getting to that time again when I will have to do some gardening. Gladly we have a man, Paul from No Job Too Small, who is going to paint the decking.

The Times last week contained a piece on how to be clever by Joe Norman, the man who coaches Eton entry - March 30th. For example how to write a story: action, dialogue, description, beginning, middle, end and eavesdrop neighbouring conversations. Simples.
Check out 2 pages later a pic of Jane Seymour - stunning.

Fourstripes bought me a punchbag for my birthday - brilliant. The first time I gave it a good thump, it bounced back and hit me on the nose. When I googled boxing clubs I kept getting dog sites.

Shallilo has a birthday

Guess what else I got for my birthday - care of Louise

We spent the day in Derbyshire at a well-known inland historical port, though the spelling is ambiguous Bugsworth or Buxworth?

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

The Foreveryoung team take a break in historic York

Another sleepover for Shallilo and the childbride, another inspiring away day

It's always a first quick walk to the Kings Arms, the famously flooded Sam Smith pub down on the Ouse. It was fine and cold so we braved a pint on the water's edge. Our Hotel, Yorvik House, wasn't far, a birthday present from Fourstripes himself - one night, comfortable and very helpful.

Shallilo and the childbride sleepover in York
The Minster is a major attraction. We took a city tour on foot, our guide a guy who had been everywhere or so it seemed. Full of great information, though as usual we couldn't keep up with all the Kings and Queens. The Minster has history which can be found on Wiki. New Mill MVC sang here some years ago now - great experience and day out. On another day, Andrew took me up the tower which I managed somehow.
  The bottom building is the chancery; something to do with housing young priests and money and getting them out of the way, but difficult to find the facts.

Shallilo and the childbride visit York

All the wall bits have names and events, too many for us to remember, though top right, Bootham Gate is the southern end of Dere St which ends in Corbridge, site of our recent visits to Newcastle and Hadrian's Wall. The river trip was chilly but enjoyable. The buildings are the Chronicle, The Guildhall and the Chocolate Warehouse (Rowntrees and Nestle) - now flats. The skipper told us of the rivers that drain into the Ouse and eventually the Humber. The city section of the Ouse was tidal until quite recent - but there is a lock just south nowadays similar to Teddington on the Thames which we discovered during our trip to Hampton Court
  The Derwent starts up north of Scarborough and has a sea cut just there to relieve whatever down near the Humber.
  And thank goodness for the brilliant Oscar's in city centre where we always get lost.

Shallilo and the childbride visit York
The Abbey was to do with Charles I. The middle picture is of a fortified wall around the Abbey. The Kings Manor was home to the Council of the North in the 1500s and 1600s. Once again bemused by the guide's information, but terrific at the time.

Shallilo and the vagaries of becoming a supping ager

Not quite Foreveryoung -  inspiring nevertheless

Further to the post coining a new word for older people who are still trying - not super agers, but maybe supping agers.

I went to the doctor this morning. A request from her to review my 24 hour BP monitor. This is Debrah Rawcliffe, a very able junior in our HRI department on several occasions whilst she was a gp trainee. After some twenty or more years, she claims to be the same weight, but her face has 'drooped' as she put it. But overall still looks in good shape (a squash player who used to dance to 'The Hills are Alive'). And still agreeably spikey.
  Well my bp is just above NICE guidelines and I have a lowish but significant risk of a serious or otherwise cardiovascular event. Largely on account of my age. So statins and bp pill. Whilst you are still healthy, how do you know any intervention is doing you some good? A statistical exercise I suspect. I know my allopurinol is working because I don't have attacks of gout anymore. I don't need my uric acid measuring. This is called common sense. I've never had a stroke or a heart attack, but the numbers suggest I will. This is called nonsense, maybe produced by a number-crunching senior registrar trying to get his MD before climbing the greasy pole. This is probably untrue but I enjoyed writing it.
  I've modified my lifestyle until I'm virtually unrecognisable. I do pilates though Debrah wants me to do Tai Chi for my balance issues - there really is no satisfying some people. I might get a nice stick. I've had to curb the beer-drinking because of poor sleep and headaches - it's not quite tee-total time but it's not far off. Debrah ignored the fact that a I forget names and proper nouns. When I said I was grumpy she replied "That's just you." I think she had me sussed and I thanked her.

So I walked home from the surgery - 4 miles max, but extremely pleasant in warm sunshine. Closed footpaths which were open. Honley CC looked brilliant, the football pitches too. Roundway. Lower Oldfield. New fencing behind which grazed sheep. Reminded me of the 15th and 16th century enclosures when landlords took to profitable sheep-rearing on large farms, thereby reducing common land. This was the start of rural depopulation that culminated in 1850 when more people lived in towns and cities than in the country. I seem to remember from a Melvyn Bragg radio 4 programme that the landlord behaviour was only part of the reason for this migration. Shardlake, the crookback lawyer deals with this in Princess Elizabeth I's era - Tombland by CJ Sansom.
  Netherthong, just up from the Cricketers, a small windmill. It whistled, not unpleasant. Shut Cider Press. And a massive new housing estate. The pub boules pitch could do with a gardener and rust treatment. Over the next hill, a large well-appointed house, grounds and stables with a notice 'Private, please keep off'. Well it did say please. Not a great advert for the wealthy.
  Home for coffee. Back on Taylor's Brazilian.

What am I to do about the doctor's advice?

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Shallilo listens to a fairground organ, but no one else seemed inspired

As a supplement to the Birks car park fairground organ postI recently brought it up at 'boules' coffee. I am blessed to be a regular invitee to the 'Moorbottom boules group' hosted by Ann and David Talboys. We meet Friday afternoons, so the coffee is a tad late for me, but I don't drink tea. I could drink water, and I used to, but my palpitations have now settled - OMG this is trivia.

Interesting the use of the word group for a sporting organisation. Add it to all those TV cliches. 'We talked about it in the group' 'the group is going well' ' we have a good group here'. A proper group consists of three guitarists, a drummer and a lead singer. They lurk in the back of dark rooms, youth clubs and church socials. As in the Strangers, personnel based at King James, who were everywhere in the 60s  - Tahiti 2 and Dalton St Pauls to name a couple of their venues. The singer wore a mauve mohair suit, not to sing in obviously. Really cool, or I thought so. Does anyone remember the UV lighting in the night club? We were all covered in fluff.

Shallilo is inspired by memories or his younger self

Back to the boules group. The ladies were concerned about the image of me sunbathing on my top deck. They were not reassured by my assertion that I was fully clothed. Nor my claim to have changed shape in the last year. I stopped digging.

Shallilo recalls his uninspiring contribution to a boules match in which the opposition insisted in thanking me for every cock up I made

The fairground organ got lost in the rush.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Some more curation - Foreveryoung seeks inspiration to coin a new word for ageing disgracefully - sup-ageing

Dave and Pete tackle a piece of the Cleveland Way on a beautiful Monday in March 

Quite a few pieces on ageing, though I'm a bit late with the first one. Times article - Super-Ageing by nutritionist Suzi Grant on November 24th, 2018. Helen Mirren, Goldie Horne and Charles Dance in their 70s look wonderful. Usual suspects to combat ageing- cardio, weights, a bit of meditation and loads of supplements. So nothing we didn't already know. Charles doesn't drink and Helen dyes her hair pink. Goldie cycles to keep fit.

Then How to Keep Your Brain Fit - Rachel Carly interviews Irish neuroscientist, Dr Sabina Brennan, the Times, March 12th 2019. It's the amount of working brain that matters, not the bits we've lost. So brains may have the appearance of dementia when the subject is performing normally - for their age. The key is lifelong challenge and learning - keep reinventing yourself and don't give up - build a fighting fund.
  We heard most of her recommendations like exercise, sleep, relationships and diet. She also asks us to 'find our stress sweet spot' - not too much and not too little. Reframe fear as excitement and have one special place for keys, glasses and wallet.
  'Super-agers don't stop, they live their lives fully.'

Finally John Nash, the Times March 9th, 2019. Diet supplements are not the answer to dementia. Changing lifestyle is. Regular healthy exercise, check the medical agenda (bp, diabetes, weight, smoking, alcohol) and enjoy stimulating and challenging your brain.

Dave and Pete have a go at some of this advice - they are sup-agers.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Foreveryoung listens to Dan Snow in Alnwick Castle

Another sleepover and new experience - Dan Snow is inspiring

The latest in our sleepovers - Alnwick, Old English for dairy farm and settlement. Origin around AD 600. Its history is mainly that of the castle, built following the Norman Conquest and well known for being the seat of the Percys and their conflict with the Scots, their battles with English monarchs and involvement in the Wars of the Roses. 

Wet March. Lunch in Bedale. Very twee tea rooms with a good wholesome menu and cakes in a display cabinet. Very North Yorkshire. They did chips though. Alnwick by mid afternoon, getting lost around the massive castle as we checked where the entrance was for the evening talk. We didn't need dinner - the hotel menu looked a big step too far - but we did need a taxi to take us to the castle in the pouring rain.

Dan Snow, the history man. His talk was in four parts. First, life with dad and holidays at various sites of history (his own 2 year old is now similarly burdened). Second, BBC programmes. Third, people he admires who have achieved major things in the last 50 years and are not household names: a scary RAF fighter pilot and flight (it's a box now, not a loop-the-loop), the NCO who was honoured for putting a Union Jack on his radio antenna in the Falklands, ladies from the WW2 intelligence services. Fourth, a history of the castle.

Walked back to the hotel in the dry, past The Salvation Army charity shop. Famous for selling me a pair of trousers which were far too small when I got them home. Echoes of wearing my son's cricket trousers in the fixure Almondbury Casuals v Eggborough. I bought the Alnwick pants during one of the trips off with Big Dave, a weekend when strangely, Alnwick RUFC played Huddersfield.

The morning after was the childbride's birthday. I've treated her to two Sir Cliff tickets at the open air theatre, Scarborough - June 2019.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Shallilo passes on coffee news from the Times

Shallilo's childbride pride of daffodils - inspiring

Another two pages on coffee. Peta Bee and Tony Turnbull in the Times - March 9th 2019.

We Brits drink 95 million cups a day.
Two new coffee choices at Costa (1) The Flat Black - shorter and stronger than Americano (2) The Cloud Machiato - egg white powder and fizzy coffee.

More health information if you need it. Good for the cardiovascular fitness and mood - see neurochemistry and coffee. 3-8 cups a day. Some skin wrinkling. Leave off 2 hours before going to bed. Drink it instead of breakfast.

This last one doesn't go down with breakfast enthusiasts. Best or most important meal of the day for some, but not for others, like me. I haven't had breakfast for years - simply can't face food at that time of the day. Except when the childbride and I are on a sleepover and bacon, eggs and the rest are in the deal. "Oo you are looking gaunt," my friends say - the female ones. Why does it always have to come down to personal vanity? Silicon Valley thrives on coffee and for the first half of the day, so do I.

So two new high-end coffee shops have opened in London. It's about choice and flavour. I nearly didn't finish the article when I saw cups of coffee priced at £15. I just about made it through all the language normally associated with wine tasting. I don't get that either.

I'm drinking Taylor's Christmas Blend just now.

Shallilo visits probably the best second-hand book shop in the world

Shallilo-Foreveryoung visits a great book shop. Buys no less than 3 books. Alnwick - excellent place.

A listed building which started life as a railway station. Thousands of books. Poetry between bookshelves. Electric trains on top of bookshelves. A buffet where the buffet used to be. Huge coal fires not worried by smokeless zones. Seating for reading.
  I pushed the boat out and bought 3 books one of which I am reading - by Steven Pinker.

Shallilo, keeping young, on another sleepover up in Northumberland

Guess where.
The latest in our monthly sleepovers. Famous for its castle and collieries.

One of the poems in the spaces between books is from the Song of Solomon. Maybe premature for February, but nice images.

Arise, my love, my fair one,
   and come away;
for now the winter is past,
   the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
   the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle-dove
   is heard in our land.

Watch the trains

Monday, 25 February 2019

Inspired Dave Walker attends a beer festival at Holmfirth Civic Hall

Dave Walker of Shallilo-Foreveryoung pulls pints at a beer festival

A great opportunity for beer-drinking this last weekend (Feb 22/23). A lot to sample and so little time. Run by the Lions on behalf of Holmfirth Civic. Foreveryoung volunteered to pull pints and shift some chairs. And Friday evening I enjoyed the odd half listening to a young brass ensemble for the hard-of-hearing. They were good fun and also enjoyed a glass or two.
  My pulling partner was Pete Manning, a veteran of The Giants beerfest at the Masonic, near Greenhead Park as described here.
  Foreveryoung sponsored a barrel of blonde ale which is his current favourite, though the logo raised a few eyebrows. New granddaughters, Navy and Emily, who won't be attending beer festivals for a while. All the other sponsors were advertising their businesses.
  Unseasonable high winter temperatures, England lose to Wales, toothache suggests I will soon need the dentist. So an up-and-down sort of weekend. The beer was good however and I filled as many plastic bottles as I could on Sunday morning. Apparently what's left is all poured down the drain.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Inspired by coffee and trying to organise my life - David Walker at Shallilo-Foreveryoung thinks about time management

Just completed the National 3 peaks - approx 1996


Coffee and the neurochemistry of ageing. When I was working I found some of the medical scientific articles incomprehensible - I even struggled with the titles. Well it doesn't improve with age - the complexity of brain structure and neurochemistry has substantially increased whilst my abilities to analyse it all has gone in the opposite direction.
  Thankfully there are articles composed of words of one syllable such as this previous piece on the value of coffee in the older person. It suggests that caffeine helps clear nucleic acid breakdown products which can produce inflammation. I'm not altogether convinced, but hey why not? Everything helps. My recent reading suggests that caffeine resembles adenosine, the chemical that makes us feel tired, and blocks it. Something similar with dopamine, a happy chemical, so the levels of this stimulant increase. And norepinephrine, an energy chemical. So yes, more alert, engaged and fit.
  Neurochemicals exist for brief periods in minute quantities in the spaces between the ends of nerve cells when the cells are working. The cells group into a recognisable neuroanatomy, bits of which light up in a scanner when we are happy, sad or about to kill someone. The lit up bits sadly are not necessarily as recognisable - they cross party lines.
  I'm drinking Taylor's Brazilia just now. A middle roast with a good breakfast hit.


 The two latest grandchildren, weeks and months - Navy and Emily


Have you ever thought about writing an autobiography. Not a shocking blockbuster or hugely insightful lesson for all and sundry. Just something that makes a few notes about your life to pass on to grandchildren. Well, I've been writing cobblers since 1994, some of which is stored either in a notebook or the computer. My daughter, Louise, last Christmas, bought a designer book with a more formal family history in mind.
  This, on the face of it, might seem easy-ish. It can be pleasant, recalling happy or funny events. Quite the reverse for those, many in my case, events that didn't go so well. The family history itself can get you pretty grounded. I've traced mine back to the early 1800s and happy with that. The Walkers then lived in a small holding in Lindley with some crops, chickens, a mule and a loom in the front room. Normal for pre-industrial times. The Addy's, the other half, came from Shelley via Kirkburton. My earliest discovery worked as a railway porter and his son was a coalman who lived in Hillhouse - a bit more industrial, around 1850-1900.
  All well and good. Time-consuming, fulfilling and embarrassing. Then the childbride gets involved, "What you writing all that for? All the kids need are a few sentences." It is actually true, so there are now two versions - phew.
  Here are some other things to think about. Firstly time. Serious writers allocate a daily writing routine which is deliberately selfish and excludes everything and everyone else. It needs your nearest and dearest, the childbride in my case, to agree. Broadly speaking she does let me get on with it, but things do creep in - like shopping and housework and social time. But as she says “That’s life”. So the project is taking a long time, especially as I like to keep up with my personal blog, but even that is an uphill struggle.
  Secondly the headlines suggested in the book Louise gave me. They seem to be in the wrong order. For example, the family trees come after my first memories. To make a coherent story, I have arranged the articles in chronological order.
  Thirdly duplication. Writing since 1990s, I have a lot of archive material. It can get a bit muddled up. At best it is duplication, which can be no bad thing in a large piece of work. Bill Bryson tells us that no less a writer than Shakespeare made a fine mess of keeping his plays in some sort of order.
  Fourthly with pieces from different eras, there are different styles and voices. Stuff about family trees and history take on a matter of fact feel. Describing emotional events such as a funeral or illness. Or the pains of growing - either leaving home yourself or watching your own children leave home or struggling with getting old. All these have a different tone.
  Fifthly there could be problems with my memory - so a proportion of the writing could be inaccurate, though pieces written nearer 1990 are likely to be more valid than the recent ones.
  Understandably many of us think we can't write. Much like the numbers who think they can't sing. Okay, there are equal amounts of pain and pleasure, but it is to be human to tell stories and make music.

It looks a bit like a relief map of the Himalayas, but it is actually my family tree.
Addys on the left, Walkers on the right. It's too big for the brief case so it has
to be folded.


Time management advice from Comfort Keepers. 

We are busy. Remember to age disgracefully. Sitting and watching TV with pipe and slippers is no longer an option. However we can get in a bit of a tuck trying to fit everything in.
Here are some tips:
(1) What are you trying to achieve at this life stage?
Erikson suggests acceptance that life has been useful and complete. Sure, but most older people think our lives are a bit more than that. Goals and achieving them are still about. What are they? They have to be in some way disgraceful.
(2) Make a list. The eternal step. We have lists for everything if we can remember where we put them.
(3) Arrange the list items in order of importance according to the goals.
(4) Write the new list down.
(5) Make a commitment - when are you going to do what? Write that down as well on a weekly planner. There are plenty of planning aids on the net.
(6) You may have to be a bit rigid about the things that are most important, but flexibility is also a must. How do you cope when the grandchildren arrive unexpectedly in the middle of your pet project?

Don't do it all at once, sleep on it.
It has everything to do with reinventing ourselves - remember David Bowie's take on ageing.
If you are pining for youth I think it produces a stereotypical old man because you only live in memory, you live in a place that doesn’t exist… I think ageing is an extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been.
So my goals in no particular order - exercise (I don't do this for health reasons. It's always been there), writing the blog, trying to design a better blog and understand increasing traffic, helping out with housework and shopping, enjoying the companionship of the childbride and our family, watching documentaries and reading books which inform the blog, go somewhere for a sleepover once a month (eg Ramsbottom), sing, publishing for friends, drink beer, talk rubbish with friends, complete the two books I've started, walking, paying bills.
  These contribute to an overarching need to make sense of my rather small world, and my place in it. Remember Seamus Heaney "I write to set the darkness echoing." It's actually rhyme not write.

The list is too long and I don't manage all of it. You will have to guess the priority order.


Serious uninspired senior moment. The childbride was working at the bus station - tombola for Forget-Me-Not children's hospice. "Pick us up at quarter to four." "Will do," says I.
  I waited outside the train station for two hours before returning home. She caught the bus. We met up eventually around 6 o'clock. No one died.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Inspired choice - David Walker at Foreveryoung visits Ramsbottom's 'Eagle and Child'

You don't expect Ramsbottom to be anything really, apart from being Albert's surname ('There's a famous seaside place called Blackpool that's noted for fresh air and fun. And Mr. And Mrs. Ramsbottom went there with young Albert, their son'). But the Eagle and Child is a haven, and it is in Ramsbottom. The name comes from the old european legend of an unharmed male child discovered in an eagle's nest and subsequently raised by the rescuer. During the industrial era, the district, sited on the river Irwell which flows to Salford and Manchester, was a cotton town. Now it is residential, presumably a dormitory for Manchester workers. A bloke spoke to me as I loitered on a downtown pavement. He would be in his forties, born there, returning for a look around. He said he could no longer afford the local house prices. The roads are very busy, feeding Bolton and other Lancashire towns. The bloke said that the mayor was investigating the possibility of opening up the E Lancs Railway as a metro. The shops are a mixture of antique, charity and upmarket ladies' fashion. Plenty of pubs, bars and places to eat, including the Eagle and Child.
  We arrived at 1.30pm, met by Calam, a very civil young bearded man. "We've no one called David booked in for lunch." "No. We're booked in for a room." "Oh right. Bit confusing, these Davids." The penny didn't drop. "I'll go and see when your room will be ready."
  Couple of beers and a quick snack later, the front door opened, and in walked Big Dave and Joan, our friends from Edinburgh. Hence Calam's confusion. It also clicked with us why they had said, several times, that they were unable to meet us in Alnwick a month later. Brilliant to see them, joining us for our anniversary. I must have mentioned the 2 nights for 1 deal in the Times over the phone.
  Everything about the place had style. Five beds. Ours overlooked the Irwell Valley which in turn is overlooked by the Robert Peel monument on the opposite hill. A Bury man, he founded the police and became an MP and PM. 
  The pub was always a coaching inn, and also an overnight stop for prisoners in transit from Strangeways to Carlisle jail. Evidence of this remains in the cellars. It is very popular with the eating and drinking public, weekends for leisure couples, weekdays for more distant business overnighters.

The pub is run as a social enterprise and is connected with several voluntary projects. The staff are all young and most are on some sort of development programme. Calam is learning about wine. One of the barmen is on the autistic spectrum. Others have been rehabilitating offenders. The pub keeps chickens in the garden. Emily served breakfast and let them out. She wasn't phased by the varying number of birds. The kids are obviously happy working there. It's a supportive community which they find hard to leave. Presumably not as a result of being chained up.

Levanter is a tapas bar, booked for us by Calam. Not expensive, compared to the prices we paid over the recent Christmas period. No beer. I'm not sure what the huge trumpet is about. When you look at it from the side, it is actually a large jug. The Mannings get everywhere.

Anniversary celebrations in the pub restaurant and by the fireside. I don't know what Sheila is doing whilst Calam looks on, with a Mrs Overall pose.

The centre of Bury is typical tired northern town. The market is fantastic, even though it was only half open. Here we are, enjoying an amazing pork buttie with stuffing. Found a black pudding stall and bought a piece of white as well. 
  It used to be "On the whole I would rather be in the Mute Swan" after our excellent weekend in Hampton Court for the RU World Cup semifinals. Now it's the Eagle and Child. Just an hour away and as welcoming as welcoming can be. Great for a retired couple who don't travel far. An inspired choice. And how good was Joan and Big Dave's visit.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Matthew Parris - disgraceful ageing. Review by David Walker, Foreveryoung

Posted by David Walker 1.2.2019

On the death of Diana Anthill, Matthew, in a Times article, reflects on his feelings about his own age (70). I think he is saying that he was very correct in what he said in his younger life - about politics and sex and he welcomes the gradual freedom from this that comes with age. He summarises Scots philosopher David Hume - it is necessary to separate daily life as it must be lived and the world of our thoughts, though he doesn't say who decides how we must live. He celebrates a list of people who thrived well into old age: Monet, Rembrandt, Titian, Ronald Reagan, Darwin, Bertrand Russell, Diogenes, Marie Curie, Tolstoy.
  He explores the notion of 'not caring what you say' as you age; it's not clear whether the members of his list didn't care either, but his final example, Jenny Joseph, was certainly feisty. 'Bless them all, growing old disgracefully'.
  I have some concern with the consequences of this because it may overlap with grumpiness which may not be acceptable and hurt certain people. 'To hell with it' you might say. I need to make a conscious effort to stay the right side of the overlap and often fail.
  My favourite disgraceful ageing poem is from Roger McGough.

Let me die a youngman's death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death

When I'm 73
and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party

Or when I'm 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber's chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides

Or when I'm 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one

Let me die a youngman's death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
'what a nice way to go' death

Thursday, 31 January 2019

David Walker - Foreveryoung is inspired by the Times nature notes

Foreveryoung David Walker poses in a timeless scene across to to Cartworth Moor near Holmfirth in W Yorks Posted by David Walker 31.1.2019

Lovely article in the Times last Saturday - nature notes by Jonathan Tulloch, stranded on Eaglescliffe station on the old Stockton and Darlington line, the first commercial steam railway. Robins and trees, and especially his reflections on the 'brownfield' site that the station has become. Industrial, abandoned and now back to nature, this was the site where 'masse carbon use went into reckless overdrive'. It, along with many other disused industrial sites, is now 'waiting to bloom'.
  'There's forgiveness in nature - if we allow ourselves to accept it.'

'What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from'.  T. S. Eliot

Foreveryoung on ice - Dave Walker - inspiring ageing

early morning - inspiring cold ageing
amazing clear sky, just noticed the crescent moon
6.30 am

not a thing to be seen through the early morning fog
An hour later

These are not all the same day, but attractive and interesting. Same old birch tree. You might well ask what am I doing up? Well, going for a pee was one, and just looking out the window, then braving the elements very briefly. Otherwise at breakfast coffee time - currently Taylor's Italian ground.
  The moon is crescent shaped, not easily seen on this pic.