Forever young - home

Forever young

From Wikipedia - the second single released by Sir Rod from his Out of Order album in 1988. He wrote the song with two of his band members: guitarist Jim Cregan and keyboardist Kevin Savigar. The structure of the lyrics is very similar to a Dylan song of the same title. The two men agreed to participate in the ownership of the song and share Sir Rod’s royalties.
  Both songs are about hopes and fears for their children. This Dylan verse might also suggest a recipe for ageing well, a preparation for inevitable change which is manageable.
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift 
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of change shift

The Sir Rod version is easier on the ear and has been a favourite of mine since the 1990s.
  Ageing has some benefits. You don’t have to look your best. You don’t have to speak, but when you do, you have permission to say more or less what you like. I’ve had a lifetime of saying the wrong things and it’s no better now. If your friends and relatives are still talking to you, they might fondly regard you as a grump (or in my case a legend - maybe). You might then have some wisdom to pass on if anyone is still listening.

This is a personal blog. I'm not selling anything other than myself - an inept older person who thinks he can write a bit. Use the search to find what you want. There are humorous senior moments, older role models and a plea for us all to stay mentally and physically active. Garden glimpses, family matters, from the archive, publishing/writing, sports, and my notebook. Otherwise the world is our limpet.

There is also a writing archive which needs some work - watch this space.
linked sites

Catalan May 2023

 Leeds-Bradford, Ryanair to Perpignan and then a taxi out to the coast. We went to watch Catalan Dragons play St Helens - fat chance when we realised KO was nearly 9.00pm and the buses stop running at 8.00pm. So bad planning, complicated by a runaway bull at the start of the game. So we enjoyed the coast and one trip into the city.

Jean fell at the doorway to the airport. Special treatment from staff and jumped the checkin queue - the normal queue was not best pleased.

Sat outside the hotel for a drink in the sun. Such difference to home where Spring has been soggy and cold.

No need to labour over the game. Coastal village called Canet. A hotel with self-catering apartments. Next to the beach and the Med. It has no tides and few waves. Everywhere was a walk, tiring. We did find local buses eventually. Smoking in cafes, between courses. Lots of little dogs. Market, 20 minute walk, great for pies, sausage and cheese. Pete and I adopted Liberty, a cafe, as our go-to happy hour, 5 minute walk. The waiters soon didn't need an order, just thumbs up. Plenty of other interest, cafes, supermarkets, eateries within 10-20 minutes.

American tanks (small), jeeps, camouflage tents and assorted other army stuff on the beach, a re-enactment. They did a military parade around Canet on VE Day. All in French. Music and vehicle horns. Noisy and smelly and great fun. Seated in Liberty appropriately, we were surprised when gendarmes stopped the traffic. Uniforms and ladies in 40s clothing, balloons and bunting.

The soft sand beach stretched. Intermittent prefabs, cafes and clubs that specialised, soccer, volleyball. Even martial arts, fighting sticks striking in time with a drum.

Bus into Perpignan for a little train tour and lunch. Monumental, grey and a bit dour, old and tired. Medieval walls up to 20th century Art Deco housing, cinema and town centre. Lots of history which I couldn't take in, other than at one time it was the capital of Majorca. Lots of overlap with Spain, Barcelona close just over the Pyrenees. Many treaties.

The dragons joined us for the flight home - Castleford awaited. I asked sam Tomkins how the bull was.

Bluebells under the lilac tree

bluebells standing tall

hidden sentries

keep shadows safe

Scarborough Easter 2023


Taking the long view of The Clock Cafe and the lighthouse. The spa gardens upgrade is grand. The tunnel under the lift track is special, with Emily waving from the car window.

For the attention of all Clock lovers. 'The Clock Cafe Story' by David Fowler is available at the cafe - £3. The information is limited as records are mixed with the spa archive. Built on the site of a reading room in 1913. Initially known as 'South Cliff Gardens Cafe' - also the cafe under the clock. So a quick name change. Scarborough Council is the landlord. Grade II listed 2007.

Anglesey 2023


Red Wharf Bay from a discarded plough

Short walk through up-market caravan park - actually lodges?

Well what a surprise

They popped out a bit too soon
The child bride knows the way
Can't even feed the birds


Successful Ageing - how about Clint Eastwood

Still working over 90 years of age

Curation rash of personal improvement programmes.

They are all over the place, and more or less the same. I don’t see the value in repetition, other than it jogs and unsettles and gets you going again. If there is anything new, I'll try and flag it up.

Think Young - Peta Bee, The Times, Jan 21st, says have sex once a week, do squats and climb stairs, amongst the usual.

Improve your brain at any age - Rachel Carlyle interviews Sanjay Gupta (neurosurgeon) -The Times, Jan 7th, 2023. 

New brain cells can appear and grow at any age. Regular movement is better than intense short sharp bursts eg daily walk in nature. He’s done all of the above and the benefits include better attention, improved prediction of productivity, more receptive of people and new ideas.

Natural world is a perfect remedy - Emma Ryan, Yorkshire Post, January 14th. A greater connection with nature can help with well-being (stress, anxiety and depression). 

The Peak District in partnership with 13 gps are trialling a Nature Prescription, following pilots in Edinburgh and Shetland. Offered by trained health guys including a leaflet and calendar of ideas, highlighting a number of ways to make connections with nature.

Nature prescribing is part of a wider social prescribing which includes self-help, community groups and agencies for practical and emotional support, depending on need.

                        Adrian Childs and Simon Armitage on TV winter walks. Scarborough and Robin Hoods Bay. Both mentioned the coast as a reset. I assume this is a reassessment of some kind. Neither went into detail, though Adrian did confess he'd been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, which made sense to him. So a review of what does and doesn't make sense in their lives. Plus maybe a plan of change. Again no details. 

The 7 things that every man over 50 should be doing to stay healthy

Peta Bee again The Times, Jan 14th, 2023

  1. Lose the paunch. Harmful metabolic activity in fat coating the intra-abdominal organs. High risk of diabetes (type 2).
  2. Protect your prostate. 1in8 men get it. Usual lifestyle factors - overweight. insufficient exercise, booze, being black, family history. Age main risk. Can’t do a lot about many of these. Ian Marber recommends a load of vegetables and vitamin D (small doses).
  3. Walk further and faster every day - 6000 to 8000 steps at 100-130 steps per minute.
  4. Get 7 hrs sleep per night. Stress and financial worries main cause of poor sleep.  
  5. Lift weights. Twice weekly.
  6. Check blood pressure. 
  7. 3 consecutive alcohol-free days a week.

Reminder - Basic must do’s exercise of some sort, including weights (walking fast 30 mins x5 weekly is gold standard)

don’t sit for more than an hour

try meditation, at least spend time on breathing

get your sleep

get outside, breath and walk together in the sun and see what you can see in woods and fields

spend time with friends and relatives

and the usual - moderate drinking, keep weight down, watch salt intake

Going to give this a rest now.

Some recent health and welfare curation for older people

Why stretching is so vital for your health - Caroline Williams, Times May 28th 
Age-proof your face, body and brain (it's never too late) - Peta Bee, Times November 5th
8 easy ways to be happier, Meik Wiking, Times October 8th

Loads of stuff happening which we can do nothing about. Switch off the news maybe. Keep going with our relationships and daily routines. Otherwise be aware of our feelings and reactions to events. They are under our control.

Maintain social fabric through shared activities (games, coffee, singing). More meaningful conversations and less small talk.

Get outside. Enjoy the light. Stay calm. Go for a brisk walk. Keep moving, it's free.

Eat well. Oranges for eyesight. Almonds and wholegrain for the gut. Fruit and veg for everything.

Why chase the money? Evidence suggests that wealth may simply lead to search for more wealth. We can only live in one room at time. Find comfort in small pleasures - love, belonging, laughter.

We cannot be happy all the time. There are challenges. Anger and anxiety - nobody else owns these emotions, just us.

No time for sitting around. The gristle (fascia) that keeps us connected needs care as well. Sit less and stretch more (yoga, pilates).

These are messages that we have heard before. No harm in repetition. I do worry about people who don't have a lot of money - they can be unhappy? 

Can Lockwood compare with Old Trafford?

Back to the mundane after the World Cup excitement. Lockwood Park - certainly not a smouldering volcano. Huge slices of pork at the lunch and a few pints of blonde. Danny Brough was a fellow guest - still doesn't remember me. Top v. bottom clash where the outcome was by how many would Huddersfield lose. 

Back to the squash club for England v S. Africa. Fell asleep. Something to do with white wine?

Jenson was born the same year I started the blog - 2013. He's a dab hand at track design. Em is not allowed to get in the way.

News of old rugby friends - John Greenwood has died, as has Dick Aukland's wife.


RL World Cup Final - we knew how it would end, but what a journey

Oh No: not again

A repeat of 2013 (link), started by getting stuck again on Stalybridge railway station. 

    11.30am: we, me and my son Chris, decided on the train from Greenfield. We’d to drop off a child and I needed the loo, so we changed to Slaithwaite. He’s mobile-timing everything and we’d missed that one. Right, back to plan A. Traffic not helpful, so Stalybridge said the mobile. Greenfield was one train an hour. Stalybridge four (includes the shuttle to Manchester Victoria, but Chris had planned to Picadilly). Time for a quick beer in the buffet real ale bar. Full of men, presumably ‘ale-trailers’. Out for the Picadilly arrival. Packed and couldn’t get on. I suggested we could have gone to Slaithwaite and caught a return to Greenfield. Chris points out we wouldn’t have a car. Ah, what was I thinking? Now on plan D. Chris-mobile decided taxi, not the shuttle. It worked. Going up to 1.00pm as we got out at Picadilly - he pays £20.

    Tried a couple of taverns - ten deep at the bar just like the train. Walking toward Picadilly Gardens and what is on our right and emptyish? ASK the Italian. More than good enough. Peroni, Expresso-Martini (what? son of mine?), bread and balsamic/olive oil, calzone and bruschetta. I got legged up with the vinaigrette, but the waitress helped out. I pay over £40.

    Into the Christmas market. People everywhere. Manchester on a Saturday before Christmas and a World Cup final. Official looking guide at the tram station directed us to the Altrincham tram. Platform card reader. You must repeat when you get off. Comfortable ride. Lady next to me wanted to know what all the fuss was about. She’d gone to town to have her hair done, expecting a quiet time. Explaining how the Samoans all play in Australia and who all the crowd was - they couldn’t all be from down there - was a stretch, but I managed and she smiled and listened attentively - still got it.

  Walk past the cricket arena. Ryan Hall on the other side of the road. A group of very big people dressed in blue enjoyed my ‘Go Samoa’ chant. Tickets on the mobile, through the turnstile, a climb resembling Scafell and we arrived at the wrong place. A little man said we were part of a long line of displaced persons and “follow me”. Still the Ferguson stand, but down on solid ground and a distance from where we started. 3.45pm. Kick Off 4.00pm.


64000 and not far off full. Massive space. A cliche would be to describe it as a cathedral of soccer. Too noisy. Something more climatic, like a smouldering volcano. Messaged James (my 2013 partner) to let him know where we were. His strange reply was something about beer?

What on earth? Any better than plastic Carling? James thinks not - Whiches wee, wot?

My seat was okay as long as I kept my knees in the aisle. Some slight bruising and didn’t see a lot. Especially when people keep standing up - a hazard at all rugby games. Highlights included the Samoan war dance, a couple of set plays from the Australians and Kevin Sinfield finishing his ultra-marathons. Australia were never in trouble - they would have vapourised us. You have to have a beer. Carling in 330 plastic bottles at £5 each. Nasty.

 Full time and Chris arranged to meet up with a university pal. No rest, keep moving. Manchester United social club with wall-to-wall TVs screening the second half All Blacks v. England at Twickenham. Wish we’d play like that every week. The alumni got on well, recalling old events and swapping World Cup football cards. John Wilkin in the club and mobbed. An articulate pundit. And we were off again, retracing our steps to the tram. Danny Brough and Luke Robinson in the queue. It’s all a bit tight, people everywhere, but merciful short distances back to town and Stalybridge. Nobody said a wrong word. Home over Greenfield. 9.00pm.

We had a great day. Chris kept hold of me. His changing plans kept working and we got everywhere we needed to be.

Looking back to 2013, I realise that is when I began the blog. 9 years. 135395 page views (how many were mine?). Quite a few comments and a lot of adverts. Linked through facebook for distribution. Tried to understand SEO and failed. You could spend your life on it. It's never got beyond a personal record, a diary.


Bowling in Scarborough; soccer in Honley

Granddad is not the bowler he once was

Other views of Scarborough

Honley play on the cricket outfield. They are well catered for.
Jenson has a roving midfield role, I think

Galway September 2022

This must have been our fourth or fifth visit since 2005 when we did our round-Ireland cruise. 

The Irish people are amazingly friendly. You go in a pub and there will be a bloke sat there. "How are you?" "Where you from?" They've all worked in Halifax or Sheffield or somesuch. Either that or they have family in England somewhere.
They don't do bus queues. They stand around until it arrives and converge simultaneously at the driver. You can choose to be annoyed, or just suck it up. An Irish guy described it as the scattered queue.

Like the rest of Ireland, loads of history. Medieval especially, detailed in the museum. Otherwise a succession of invasions - Vikings, Normans, Cromwell - topped off by the famine. There were several wealthy merchant families in the 15th-17th centuries. Anglo-Normans in the main. Taken over during the Cromwell era and restored by Charles.

Galway City

The Long Walk and Quay St

Eyre Square



The barman took us on a tour of the back of the pub. I guess he was simply proud to work there. He was visiting Liverpool soon and he said for us to go buy sandwiches and bring them back to the bar.


Lough Corrib

The Burren; Cliffs of Moher


Lots of open water swimmers. 
Lots of traffic.
'Chippy' which did a fair attempt at one of our traditional dishes.
The view from the prom beyond the GAA is of Claddagh, a 5th century fishing village. Translates as 'the shore' and famous for the Claddagh ring, for loyalty (crown), love (heart) and friendship (clasped hands).


I don't need to say we had a great time.


Another trip to Zapato's brewery- doesn't disappoint

 zapato brewery     one of three along the canal from Slaithwaite.

So, despite protests from Andrew, we walked from Marsden - 25 minutes. Muddy puddles on the towpath, so more moaning. He soon calmed down with three pints. Fiona drinks coke or tea. Doris, her mother, lives in Jamaica. Fiona was born here, but spent most of her childhood and teenage years over there. Two brothers over here.

What is going on?

Nothing we can do, but what shambles it all seems and probably going to get worse. It started for me with brain fog in lockdown, then covid followed by hernia surgery with complications. And my 75th birthday. Finally a geriatric. Though The Times this weekend prefers older person (Carol Midgley Notebook - Oct 15th). I suppose if someone gets cancelled for using geriatric, I won't complain. A couple of definitions I like. "Getting any" refers to sleep; "you can live without sex, but definitely not your glasses".

So how to stay sane? Particularly we older people. Maybe happy even? Toby Keith has some suggestions. The song features in The Mule, starring Clint Eastwood, also directing, who is in his eighties. He is a 'prizewinning' horticulturalist who neglects his family. When internet competition undermines the flower trade, his need of cash accidentally connects him to the lucrative Mexican cocaine-running business. He finishes in prison but at least the family knows where he is. I've modified it a bit.

Don't let the old man in
I've got some living to do
New things to enjoy
He's knocking on my door

Many moons I have lived
My body's weathered and worn
Ask yourself how old would you be
If you didn't know the day you were born

Lots of things we have done 
Some good and some bad 
Leave your sorrows behind 
Enjoy the love that you have

Keep close with your kin
Talk often with friends
Toast each sundown with wine
Don't let the old man in

Stay true to yourself 
Sing and dance all the week
It don't cost a lot
Keep as trim as you can

I've known all of my life
That someday it would end
leave it out on the pitch
Don't let the old man in

When he rides up on his horse
And you feel that cold bitter wind
Look out your window and smile
Don't let the old man in

Look out your window and smile
Don't let the old man in

It's a metaphor

It could be a many-legged something. Able to walk. No head, no direction.

Actually the other half a brush head.
Autumn leaf forces at work, structural weakness undetected.
No one on the handle.

Water chute belonging Kinderland. Now part of the lake attractions next to the Open Air Theatre.
90 years old and only two ropes.

Autumn in Scarborough (2)


We have gone to Scarborough or Filey every year since we were first aware of going on holiday. The childbride's family and friends had a cottage and we went to holiday camps. Now the childbride's parental flat.
  Two trips this autumn. September, we went on our own to start with - make sure everything was shipshape. Then Judith, an old friend, and family, daughter Liz and granddaughter Jaz. October was Andrew and girlfriend.
 Craig, the piano-playing window cleaner came. Said it was 5 years since he last did the windows. Wanted his video deleting from Utube but the choir loves it too much.

Went to a Motown night at the spa.

3 girls, 4 men. Glitter.
Music a bit edgy. Some of the pieces sounded the same.
Pick - 'Heard it on the Grapevine', 'Endless Love'.

There was a 'seafest' down on the harbour (eating, drinking and shanties). It rained us off. Several festivals during the season. The beer's good.

The Altrincham team's first visit Scarborough. Apart from Judith who is a veteran. The others had not been. Stroll to the beach via The Grand, a short taste of waves and weather at high tide.
The wheel has now gone for the winter.
We cannot miss out a trip to The Clock cafe. Coffee certainly. Judith is pointing to the harbourish.

The distillery cafe does great breakfasts. There are tours, but we've not done one yet. It is located in Hunmanby village where the childbride's parents lived before Scarborough. The equipment is just visible through the window.
The flat is on the first floor and overlooks Albion Square which is a car park. Otherwise street parking which most people are good at.
Good day at the cricket with a drop in to the North Riding for pints of Citra. Having established my accent, a bloke asked me who I supported. Not impressed with Thongsbridge. He was Scholes, Holmfirth. Met him on Albion Rd the following morning.
Yorkshire have been relegated - management, culture, staff in meltdown - goodness knows the outcome.
The Spa orchestra thrives. Eight concerts per week including a Sunday family show - Teddy Bear's Picnic.

October - Flamingoland

Introducing Fiona whose mother lives in Jamaica.  The zoo is massive. Though tickets are pricey, the zoo is nearly worth the fee on its own. The rides are not for us. So we did 'carers' tickets. Special 'q'. Andrew and Fiona had to sit at the back. Not for long - Andrew didn't want to seem special or have a safe seat. Negotiated back to regular.


Fiona seems pleased with Sik.

Back to Scarborough

So we survived. The weather throughout was great.
The typing on the pictures can be variable. Scarborough is a favourite. Fiona wants to go again.


A week in Centre Parcs during the heat wave

Massive place. Costs must be enormous. So expensive, but it is everywhere. Busy. Walking or bikes. I thought on occasion some bikers were just as dangerous as cars. Houses and facilities good quality, nothing tired. Activities well organised. Staff pleasant.

This is NOT an ad for Centre Parcs. Whenever we said where we were going, our mates said take a full wallet and toilet rolls. Almost a sport, knocking it. Yes, but we had no issue with the experience as a whole.

I can't think of a better spot to survive the heat - Whinfell Forest near Penrith, Cumbria. With a ready-made den.

Mum and granny like their fizz.

Matthew supervised two barbecues until we discovered they were not being sold in the shop. Banned, everyone has had an email according to the checkout lady. We'd not.

Ideal cul-de-sac for safe scootering. Granny showed some style. Grandad watched on, trying to keep a straight back. Not old at all.

Wildlife. Is it a pheasant? Pecked me and drew blood. I was okay. The pheasant was not seen again. It certainly looked poorly. Rabbits of varying sizes. Very small red squirrels, soon gone unless they are eating. Little scurrying furry things as well. Birds, pigeons and ducks.

A full-size bowling alley. Granny and grandad were hopeless. It's another sign of something. As was our reluctance to join activities which were bewilderingly numerous. Indoor, tennis varieties, roller skating, paint a pot, photography, nature studies and more. Loads outdoor - the crazy golf a bit tame. Walks, little cars, build a den and so on to an aerial tree top something which induced dizziness looking up. Beginning to feel my age - bugger. I always had my seat back at the digs.

There was a sports bar. A beer and Fartown losing to Salford. 

A leisurely cruise overlooked by a swimming temple and pancake eatery. Emily spies the zip wire. It was accompanied by an eerie science fiction noise. The treetop walk sound effects were screams of girls wanting to get off. Bottom of the lake is a popular pub with food. Emily and Jenson swam daily. The greenhouse effect was immense. I made it once.

Winning 'stuff and outfit' a bear. Rainbow and Chris, now you see me now you don't, (after Chris Rock, slappee of Will Smith). The staff member was pleasing.

Great week, albeit confirming that I am less fit and able than I was. I'm the only one who is surprised.