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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.