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. There are humorous senior moments, role models and a plea for us all to stay mentally and physically active. Otherwise the world is our limpet.

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


Dave's Notebook 

in/outside toilet memories

We zoomed pals last Thursday eve. We are not going to see them, so why not.

Our host tells terrible jokes. He also mentioned falling off the toilet, trying to stand. From a Sheffield newsagent's family, he is never without reading material when visiting. Not sure which nerves got trapped in that awkward sitting position, but long enough to produce anaesthesia of prodigious proportions. No information on the fall, if it happened. The major unanswered question remains however ...


This prompted me to relate one of my toilet stories:

My granny lived in Hillhouse as part of a terrace that lined and defined a yard. 

Twenty-five metres away, at the bottom of the yard was a long narrow single storey building with six doors, each with its own keyhole. Behind grannie's front door was a nail from which hung neat hand-sized squares of newspaper. A small sewing bobbin and a key also hung there, on a loop of string. A candle too somehow suspended.

The newspaper served two purposes. Much like fish and chip wrapping. No one was ever in that dimly lit ice box down the yard long enough to get a numb bum.

My brother and I were flummoxed by a singular fact however. Behind grannie's door there was only ever one match.


Now another one from Dave Whalley.

The outside loo never seemed to be a problem to us, though in the later years many of the houses on the street took council grants to turn the back bedroom into a bathroom with toilet. We never took the opportunity. That was my bedroom which had a plumbed bath in it which Dad had boxed round for privacy. We preferred to keep things as they were and were quite happy with the situation until Grandma died and Mum and Dad decided to move.


My main memories of the outside loo were going over at night with a candle or torch - the candle was more romantic ... and warmer! I don't recall it feeling spooky but whilst sitting there the imagination could run riot and the tiny room became a ship at sea or a cabin in the forest. I often had to be called back for staying out too long. It also provided garaging for my much-loved scooter, tucked at the side – we had no other outside storage. 


As far back as my memory goes we used toilet rolls - Mum was quite fussy, but my other grandma who lived at the other side of Sheffield (nearer Sheffield United's ground) used old copies of the Radio Times, which nicely tore into two to hang on a piece of string at the back of the door. Always something interesting to read there.


A final memory which ties in nicely with the toilet theme. There were huge crowds at the Wednesday Ground in those days and often the fans threw toilet rolls onto the pitch. I shall never forget the day of a really big match when one rained into our yard over the roof - much appreciated.


Again on this theme, we have a lovely book that we've had for years called 'Temples of Convenience and Chambers of Delight' by Lucinda Lambton. Very interesting and beautifully illustrated and available for loan to anyone interested.


Em's chocolate cake

We had Em to stay for the first time.


Lockdown reading

I should coco (or is it coacoa?). No it's cocoa.
Wiki defines this as 'Rhyming slang for I should think so or I should say so. Used sarcastically so the literal translation is I should think not.' So there.

No offence to Jack Reacher but he's about my level at the minute.

Awayday - Ramsden res


Met Barry Garside on our walk yesterday. Still with Bolsterstone, but no zoom rehearsal. Both his daughters are in France, one hoping to get married soon. He's 77 and doesn't look any different to the Llandudno days, playing 'rabbits' in the Snowden.

Bob McCartney and his wife passed us lunching al fresco at the Pickled thing, is it pheasant? Tom and Pippa dropped by in the van, but he was hijacked by some guy, so I didn't get chance to speak.

Dorian is exploring a video event - watch the website for more.

The training day at Mrs Sunderland is still on apparently - 'The Armed Man' with Tom Meredith.

John Cross, author of 'The Curate and the King's Coin' is out digging again in Outlane. A roman road. Whatever floats your boat. The sheep are taking an interest in him.


Carol Kain posted a recording of 'Abide with Me' from the RL Challenge Cup final last weekend.

This video is my tribute to the hymn and what it has meant to my family.

Lockdown week30

Dave's Notebook

Town 1 - Forest 0 

Castleford 19 - Fartown 31



Garden glimpses

It's been a slow week for gardening and curation. We were supposed to be visiting Anglesey, but that fell through. Used the time to learn how to put slides on zoom, not too successfully as yet, but more or less ready for my talk to Big Dave and Joan's rotary group in Linlithgow. Cricket and textiles during the industrial revolution. Dave's choice. End-to-end stuff.

The cricketers are shaping up. Difficult to get them to pose properly. The garden is a bit overgrown just now, but the cosmos and robinia are good. And the wall has reappeared. Haven't seen the frogs for a week. Em keeps getting in the act.

So all that was 2-3 weeks ago. A whole load of weather a whole load of Boris later I'm not in the best of humours. The talk is done however - strange experience on zoom.


Awayday in Scarborough

Different views of the Spa

Different views of the Grand


iime is Scarborough time and I can't be bothered to redo the caption in indesign.

Difficult to say anything constructive. Time for some rhubarb therapy - stay in the dark and expect some manure regularly.


Don’t let the covid in
It’s got some living to do
Can’t leave it up to it
It’s knocking on our door

Wise men have known all along
That one day this would come
Rules are there for reasons
Don’t let the covid in

Many moons we have lived
Our bodies weathered and worn
It’s not just our age that concerns
Our frailty makes it so hard

Some things may have changed
Sit tight when you’re called
Rules are still there for reasons
We must all get along

When he rides up on his horse
And you feel the cold winter chill
Look out your window and smile
Don’t let the covid in

Emily goes out for an afternoon with grannie and grandad. Lockdown week26

Garden Glimpses

The geraniums I rescued from the bin are bright red and keep coming.
The buddliea was the survivor out of four cuttings. Supposedly a butterfly magnet. Not in our garden. 


Anyone see how the MCC are keeping financially viable. They are selling memberships. No need to wait 29 years. If you have £7000-80000 depending on your age. They will be sold out.

We need a degree in something with a module in common sense to wade through all the government and scientific advice. We were going to Anglesey. Not now.


Beaumont Park

Dave's notebook

Referring back to meritocracy and how it might be less powerful than it was. Note this week that most grammar schools are oversubscribed. Applications are being received from long distances. Parents are prepared to move. Parents are also paying for private tuition. Still survival of the fittest then.

We need a lot of autumn pruning as the trees and bushes took off following the great spring. Included heather which was taking over our walls. So quite a large job and the wall reappeared as did a frog which must have been resting in the straggly wood. Ugly and black, but alive and maybe homeless. I left it to its fate. It'll be somewhere in the wall. Nearer the pond there is a yellow one. Better colour but still not my favourite.

Simon Barnes is easy to read and interesting. Try 'Rewild Yourself', 23 spellbinding ways to make nature more visible. Chapter 7, 'The Bottomless Sit'. Outdoors. Maybe on a walk. Remember a supermarket plastic bag to sit on. Wet underclothes are not recommended. Persist beyond those first few sits which will be restless. Nothing much may happen. Eventually sitting will just be it. Seeing something won't matter. It's a Zen thing - just sitting allows us to achieve I don't know what, but eventually you will experience what it is. Forget all the breathing and the posture and the meditation rules. It is not therapy.
  I first got a sense of this in Malta, singing. Continuously surrounded by friends, relaxed, I often found myself just sitting. Less when we are chasing our tails and time and goodness knows what else. Being out in the wild Simon thinks is a great way to try and achieve nothing.

Lockdown week25

 Garden Glimpses

The pile of stones has been absent for a couple of weeks.
But it hasn't gone away.


David Spiegelhalter, statistician, on More or Less, Radio4 - 75 year old has more chance of getting cancer, heart attack and stroke before his/her 76th birthday than he/she has of catching Covid.

The presenter of More or Less, Tim Harford, admitted a mistake this week. 'Getting Covid was less risky than taking a bath'. Written in the FT, and picked up by the dailies. Having admitted this, the story went viral. What he omitted to say was the bathing was over a 12 month period.

If the story is true, Phillip Green's financial manipulation of the Arcadia covid furlough arrangements, makes him a bigger nob than Trump. On the Childbride's measurement of nobs, he becomes an Everest sized nob.

Some random stuff - Dave's Notebook

During my reading of the increase in hominid brain size I discovered that our brains take 20% of our daily energy requirements. "Is that why we get so tired?" asked the childbride. She gets tired counting my beer cans.

Correction from last week - the Dunbar number is 150. From Wiki the 'number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships—relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person'. Hunter-gatherers vs the first agricultural settlements.

Again from More or Less. The fastest jelly fish cannot outswim an olympic swimmer, but it might if it grew to the size of an olympic swimmer.

A discussion on meritocracy on Start the Week, Radio4. Having a talent, using it and working hard will find rewards. Education is the route. It will lead to a better life, previously only gained as part of a wealthy and privileged aristocratic elite. Meritocracy is not great however, in principle or in practice. Applying for higher education is competitive. The best places go to those who can afford the best preparation and the competition promotes anxiety - a kind of childhood Darwinism. And if and when you make it how do you feel about all those that don't? Do they see it as a better life? However value is now gradually switching to other pursuits such as vocational education and women's traditional roles. Moreover those that wish can get into learning at any age. It's learning and life experiences that help develops humanity.
   Thanks to Butler's 1944 education act everyone had a shot at secondary education and hence higher education. Something my father never let me forget. Goodness knows what would have happened if I'd failed the 11 plus. It was a time when we were said to be in the 'top' 4%, at a boys' grammar. I never really got that - I was more hung up about not being good enough. Still influential. My university course was vocational. G. knows where my humanity came from, if at all. Leaving home, fending for myself, relationships, rugby, cricket, wife and family. It's a balancing act between climbing the greasy pole and the personal qualities that can be left behind. I could pass exams and perform well in my chosen profession, which I initially chose so I could seek fame and fortune. Money and status did follow. I eventually mellowed into the humanity of the work as part of the family, work and leisure triad.

Personal printed photographs make super bookmarks.

Family in the park

You get 'pooshoes' if you don't watch out for the dogsh.. 
Who is the male model?


Andrew's pig, with                    and without cutout

Garden Glimpses

Too close for Covid


Scarborough summer wet day

Summer is over - as if it never happened. Could be morose, but we did some things - even went to the pub. Clic on link and choose large screen for the last day of summer. It did get rough eventually with the wind, but I can only hang about for so long.


The tories and Boris are taking some abuse for their apparent dithering and U-turns. Sir Keir can't get a clear hit on Boris at PMQ's however because Boris punches and stammers back, rather than answer the question.


The medic (James le Fanu) in the Telegraph (31st Aug) cites a study on statins and the elderly, in The Quarterly Journal of Medicine no less. They "might have deleterious effects on the manifestations of Covid 19" by increasing the levels of inflammatory protein "that are significantly associated with increased mortality". To be fair the QMJ is not often seen in a gp's surgery. I wonder if this information will get into the wider medical world because most people over 65 are on them. Not me.


On the same page Linda Blair tells us of research into plate/cup size and eating/drinking. Ground-breaking. The smaller the tableware the less we eat and drink. Even better, buy red cups and plates. Who'd have thought it. Mind you covid mortality is associated with type 2 diabetes and independently with obesity. Every little helps.


  Boris is sending everyone back to work. Work has a hunter-gatherer history since when it's not been all its cracked up to be. 

  To our evolutionary backstory. Energy in, babies out was all that mattered (4 Fs - feeding, fighting, fleeing and ...). So back in the day there was no work as such - collecting berries/other stuff growing, catching an animal/fish, preparation, cooking and repairing your hut. So quite a varied diet. You had around 50 in your group - the most you can keep in touch with according to Dunbar. So covid proof maybe, no raves anyway. Keep moving on, away from the latrines or wherever they did it and very little disease. Hominids were like this for millions of years (2-5 depending who you read). It came down to Sapiens alone from 13000 years ago. The first agricultural revolution occurred 10-12000 years ago. Nomadic bands then for 99% of hominid history and cooperative and cosy. Looking out for each other was part of the deal. 

  James Suzman has written a book about it, reviewed in the Times by James Marriot. The first agricultural revolution involved controlling plants and animals, thus providing food for much larger populations. It was a trap and no going back. 'Short disease-ridden lives of backbreaking work'. A surplus was generated and inequality began with the haves (10%) and the rest. Living in settlements, groups larger than 50, required organisation, political and social systems. Looking out for each other needed rules.

Science became our rationale 500 years ago and machines took over production 200 years ago. Everything changed.

 Needing and wanting very little with relative abundant resources morphed to modern excess work driven by materialism. It's said work gives us a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives. Well it does, but other things can too. 

Stay active

Anyone else read articles in the press on drinking a small glass of beer daily leads to diabetes, raised blood pressure and obesity, the ingredients of 'metabolic' syndrome. G. help us.


Rhys Blakely writes about Daniel Lieberman's work on exercise in the Times magazine this week. Again the hunter-gatherers and the 4Fs. They didn't include a Sunday morning jog as part of their week. They needed to be quick and nimble, not strong or super fit. It actually paid to avoid exercise to conserve calories especially to fuel large brains. This phenomenon occurred in two phases and no one quite knows why. 2 million years ago. I know the telephone numbers get confusing. I won't labour the point, but this was why meat eating was important. Everyone was equal then, no SE liberal elite or university academics preaching at the rest of us. Or some mad senior registrar filling out his cv with; I can't think of a word for it.

However - 150 minutes p week of cardio and 2 sessions of light weights have been shown to increase life expectancy.

4.5 billion yrs.     - planet earth
2.5 million           - hominids
1-2 million           - 2 episodes of brain expansion
200,000                - sapiens in Africa
70,000                  - sapiens spreads
13,000                  - only sapiens
12,000                  - 1st agricultural revolution
5000                     - writing, money, polytheism
500                       - scientific revolution
200                       - industrial revolution

From the archive

July 2019

March 2019

Swinglo takes his camera to Upper Denby church and finds the men in relaxing mood
We have just had our AGM. Well orchestrated and brief.

Our secretary's report was interesting. We have recently discussed the Peterborough experience - several choirs developed and run by the musical director. And not just the music. He manages their various committees as well. Apparently our conclusion was the Peterborough set up was not all it was claiming and not a model New Mill wished to follow.

I didn't hear a formal strategic New Mill direction.

There were however several clear messages.
      New Mill is a village choir.
      Fellowship is the pivot around which the choir thrives.
      Our repertoire will be entertaining.

July 2015

Saturday was chocolate cake day. New Mill Male Voice Choir had their annual stall in Holmfirth; to raise its local profile and advertise concerts. We chose a central spot, next to the butcher, so footfall was much greater than the market where we had been before. The weather was kind.
  There were plenty of passers-by who got their heads down and tried to ignore us. Either lacking social skills or not wanting to do or give anything in exchange for our piece of chocolate cake. My response was 'You don't know what you're missing.' They didn't hang around long enough to discover the cake was free.
  More sociable pedestrians smiled and touched their tummies or said one or all of the following:
    'I'm on a diet.'
    'I'm trying to lose it.'
    'Not with my weight.'
    'I'm diabetic.'
    'I'm gluten free.'
    'No, I'm dairy.'
    'I've just had my breakfast.'
  There was a smell of cooking bacon throughout the morning, to be replaced around 11.45am by notes of battered fish.
  A good half of our custom had a piece of cake, laughed and said thank you. Many were from the Holme Valley, had heard of us and intended to come to a concert. Who knows? Our 100 programmes were gone by 11.30am
  A dozen or more singers turned out. Some went round the shops where chocolate cake was more than welcome. The butcher was especially grateful, though we didn't get any free meat samples.
  Some of our visitors wondered whether the cake was home made. Yes, thanks to Greg at the Bridge Bakery.
  We still haven't worked out how to muster enough singers to perform a short set. Maybe next year.

warm bread cold meat
home portraits far flung sun fun
cake and song for love


How long is it going on for - lockdown week22 and a bit

Awaydays - Hutton-le-Hole, Bempton, 

Stepney Farm, Scarborough, Bridlington

Ryedale folk museum

It's a little gem tucked away in the N Yorks Moors. Along the lines of 'The way we used to live'. We enjoyed Beamish and Black Country museums which are industrial and mostly in working order. Andrew, our autistic middle child, had mixed feelings about Wolverhampton outside toilets but greatly enjoyed their pub. Ryedale is pretty static at the moment apart from the meadow. One of the gardeners was trying to recover a cornfield from the grip of thistle. Good luck with that. There are animals and birds which can be fed. A feature on Geoffrey Willey (A life through the lens), born in Honley, becoming a well-known photographer in Scarborough (clic on link). The round building is a preserved glass furnace, recovered from neighbouring Rosedale (clic on link). Active during the 16th century when glass-making was illegal and carried out in secret.

Bempton cliffs and Stepney Hill farm

Sadly the puffins had gone. If you like birds, Bempton is for you. If you like a walk and a picnic overlooking the North Sea, it's also for you. As is Sewerby (see below).
We used to be keen on a butcher on Ramshill, Scarborough, which did meat pies to rival Hinchliffe's and great gammon and black pudding burgers. It closed last Easter but they have a farm shop near the hospital yet well out in the country. Coffee as well in the garden. Don't make the burgers any more - boo!

Grand Hotel built 1867. New Lifeboat Station.

'The hotel's heyday was arguably during Victorian times, when wealthy holidaymakers made up the establishment's clientele. As Scarborough was a famous spa town, the building's baths originally included an extra pair of taps, so guests could wash in seawater as well as fresh.' (from Wiki). When the railway came mid century along with lots of workers and their families, it bent middle class noses out of shape a touch. Interesting that it was a Billy Butlin establishment at one time.
Sewerby is a big area of grass just north of Bridlington. Reachable by land train. A cricket club with two squares - why go anywhere else?.

Scarborough market and vaults - here since 1853.
Childbride and jelly fish - just arrived

Random Rhyme Thoughts

During lockdown I've been re-reading crime novels. Michael Connelly is one of my favourites and the current book is 'The Poet'. Serial killing. It's extremely procedural so not an easy read. The end is a bit rushed. Each murder is signed off with a line of Edgar Allan Poe's verse - part of a failed attempt at making it look like suicide. (1809-1849) 'Outstanding poet, essayist, and progenitor of at least five literary genres: the short story, horror, science fiction, psychological fiction and the crime novel.' 'The Mystery Writers of America award, the Edgar, is named in his memory' (Rough Guide to Crime Fiction, Barry Forshaw, Rough Guides).
  The Times 8th August poem of the week by Lavinia Greenlaw, reviewed by Tristram Fane Saunders. Poems, like many of us, sometimes leave Tristram baffled 'genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood' according to T S Eliot. She didn't have time to ask what Greenlaw's poem's meant - 'rough and messy, a place of nettles, wattle and daub' 'heady rush'. Meaning can be an excuse for poetry; it's really about the imagination. So enjoying this form of writing at a number of levels. Reassuring to a sad haiku writer like myself. I cheat by having a title and a picture and they are not strict 5,7,5 beats. They are composed on the spot and rarely edited with something about the seasons. Work in progress along with all the other stuff I get sidetracked by.

Between my finger and my thumb 
The squat pen rests. 
I’ll dig with it.                                            Seamus Heaney


Mindfulness is a bit trendy. For us retired folk, trying to stay in the present moment might help. It seems that the prospect of any change soon is slim. Why worry? (Clic here)
Apologies for posting material from the past - not very mindful. I thought it would cheer people.

From the archive

Belgium - stepping into the past

New Mill Male Voice Choir toured Flanders in May 2014. The Flanders towns Ypres, Bruges and Ghent were the principle destinations, both to take in the sites, to sing and to search for connections with the West Riding. Wool was king here long before Huddersfield, Leeds and Bradford took centre stage during the industrial revolution. Sadly, many Yorkshire men lost their lives here, during WW1.

In the early middle ages, Flanders was an important trading centre. Merchants, becoming very rich in the process, bought raw wool from England and employed artisans to make highly desirable cloth for export. Canals, fine merchants’ houses and large cloth halls were impressive, though the Ypres buildings were modern reconstructions of structures razed in WW1 by the Germans. Ghent also had factory remains from a 19th century textile revival. These reminders fitted snugly with 21st century bars and bistros.

Two cathedrals, Bruges and Ghent, hosted the choir on successive days. Bruges’ Sint-Salvator, whilst built in the 10th century, obtained cathedral status after Belgium’s independence in the 1830s. The organ was massive, expanded and rebuilt three times in the 20th century. Saint Bavo of Ghent was consecrated in 942, completed in 1569, becoming a cathedral in 1559. It houses the masterpiece The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by Hubert and Jan van Eyck. Bruges was the more intimate space, and both had exceptional acoustics.

We spent a day with a guide, exploring Ypres and Passchendaele; the battlefield and the cemeteries. At Essex Farm, the cemetery was next to a dressing station, manned by a Canadian surgeon called Lt Col John McCrae who wrote the famous poem In Flanders Fields. One of the poignant moments here was at the graveside of a sixteen year old. At Tyne Cot we were reminded of the 100 days it took to advance 5 miles prior to the third battle of Passchendaele when over 250,000 British lives were lost. We were told about excess rain, artillery bombardment, mud and murderous machine guns. And executions for cowardice. Beyond our experience, hard to imagine. It’s a peaceful place now.

We sang Let There Be Peace On Earth and Abide With Me at the Menin Gate, which with Tyne Cot, are memorials to those who have no known grave. Adam, our chairman, read an extract from Robert Binyon’s poem. The names of soldiers from The Duke Of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding) appeared regularly on the memorials.

Everything we reflect on in the present is already history. Making sense of personal history depends on our first memories and the memories of relatives, personally known to us or known to the generations we grew up alongside. This living history goes back maybe to grandparents and their siblings, many of whom died in Flanders. Most of us abhor violent conflict on any scale and the heartbreaking loss of young lives. Yet there was dignity here in Flanders, in the white symmetrical stones and the neat names carved on walls. Row on row, just on the edge of our personal histories, still not a remote date in a history textbook.

Flanders was a great place to visit, and to sing, and to catch up on history some of us might not know a lot about, until now.

Staying safe lockdown week22

 Garden glimpses

stay true to yourself
keep as trim as you can
sing and dance a safe space
don't let the covid in

things have not changed
sit tight when you’re called 
rules are still there for reasons 
we must all get along

There may be those who think my cricketers are a problem because they are all men and all white. I can only apologise. Ladies and people of colour also need to follow the guidelines.

Those of you who think that the pics trivialise PPE, they are actually folded tissues that were then used for blowing noses as per the guidelines.

You would not be amazed by the unpleasantness on social media about guidelines and how people do or do not follow them. 


We had a rogue potato plant next to a potted fir tree which provided us with one rogue spud.


Senior Moments

For some strange reason I rarely finish a meal without spilling something down my trousers, despite PPE. The childbride says it is because I sit too far away from the table. Mind you by Friday I have a pictorial if sketchy record/memoire of my week's menus.

Lidl and paying for my lager. "Please press enter" requested the checkout lady. My credit card bounced twice - I hadn't memorised my new pin - bless the Amazon Prime scammer and my card replacement. So to the debit card. It bounced immediately "Please insert it the right way round." Not going well and feeling like a prune. Okay right way in and pin keyed in. "Please press enter." OMG I needed a hole to appear and for me to drop into it.
"Thank you" I said quietly. "No problem, have a nice day." The next customer was already being processed.

Anyone else mix up their toiletries? Having stuff made by the same company makes you more vulnerable. Take my anti-perspirant. In a muddled moment it is possible to mix it up with the shaving cream. Not too bad if you spray your face with an aerosol. But, a minor disaster, especially for the childbride, cleaning up the bathroom carpet gooey with white cream. My right armpit was ready for a shave however.


Staying active

A great letter in the Times this week, from Heather Wilson, Bath. Treating anxiety in her experience comes in threes: daily exercise (yoga, dog walking), social activity (singing in a choir) and helping others (volunteering). They may interact. More useful to her than cognitive behavioural therapy.
'Sometimes just keeping busy, and the mind actively engaged, can benefit more than analysis.'

Covid is still out there - no slack room

There is no let up from covid. Lockdown looms relentlessly. 
The prospects for both positive and negative are unchanged - eg time for a purpose vs creepy dark side.
And we could all get infected.

words from 'Don't let the covid in'

many things we have done
some good and some bad
leave your troubles behind
enjoy the love that you have

stay true to yourself
keep as trim as you can
sing and dance a safe space
don't let the covid in

things have not changed
sit tight when you’re called 
rules are still there for reasons 
we must all get along

a snood will do it

Staying safe - easing and not easing lockdown week20

Garden Glimpses

Wild and cultivated. The middle one is a present from grandson Jenson. The bamboo has just had some babies. Nearly as tall as the original plant.

Buddleia maturing, rescue geranium and wheelbarrow thriving.

A potato has appeared. Stretching sunflowers. The childbride got them for free and planted them, not thinking they would do much. Over the weeks she has got more and more neurotic about them. In and out of the wind and obsessive watering. And, no sunflowers.

Awayday - Pugney's near Wakefield

Pirate ship on land and sunk. Busy playground. There's a strange woman as well.
Railway treat. Two train sets with alternate decoviding sanitiser. Emily only likes the flake. 
  Amazing, but true, we met Alan Brierley and Ann - they look well and Ann is tickled by her new grandchild, not physically yet. Alan looks very well. 

Current Events

Trump is a nob. It's official. The childbride says so.


This week has been deafness week. Pete has become stone deaf. He was deaf anyway, but it's now much worse and the frequency of 'yer what' and 'eh' is at screaming point (for the rest of us). Coffee/pilates member, Greg, has a sister who spends a lot of time deaf because of the long time taken by the local NHS clinic to replace her aid. I go deaf every 6 months or so because of wax. The surgery receptionist said the irrigation system was broken. My gp said it wasn't but covid had stopped its use. Inconsistent information is not just for politicians and scientists then. So I'm still deaf. The syringe we bought off Amazon hasn't worked yet. The childbride thinks it's her technique. Olive oil drops alternate days are keeping me going.
  Greg is also deaf and a hearing aid devotee. He uses Specsavers and now, so does his sister. It's a different business model based on customers and service.


Talking of 1950s summer holidays. Greg was raised on a remote rural Oxfordshire farm. Enough said. Lockdown has not fazed him.
  Greg's grandson is a marketing graduate who is trying to help me put out this blog. Polite and full of ideas. I'm doing my best to follow. Greg tells me that my problem is doing too much - keep it simple. I confess. He is an old school marketeer who gets the overall digital message from his grandson, if not the detail.
  We both agree that hanging on to a sense of purpose helps to stay sane as well as safe. I need to write 'focus' somewhere unmentionable.


Staying safe and easing lockdown week19

Awayday - Scarborough and Whitby

Even on a poor weather day, there are some half decent glimpses of Whitby.
We went because of the need of something to do and the rain. Travelling on the bus was not a problem.
Note the forbidden marshmallow.

Preoccupations will inevitably surface. We couldn't go to Flamingo Land (too expensive), Peasholm mini golf (too wet), the big wheel (too late). So putting and pints. And a short walk.

That beachbum certainly gets around.

'Same old' at the Highlander apart from social distancing. Someone even called me Victor Meldrew which didn't make any sense to me, and Andrew took exception to.

None of the usual N Riding home-brews.

Staying safe and well - easing lockdown week 18

Awayday - Scarborough

Three sessions on the beach.

It's not as deserted as it looks. Dog-walkers and strolling couples keep moving, so only families tend to stay in one spot.

The sandcastle village was knocked over by Emily. We kept rebuilding and on a non-Emily day managed a high rise structure, said to be flats. There are roads and holes. The holes result from digging and filling buckets, but what do the holes become? Village ponds mostly. If deep enough they will develop sea water. Otherwise it's a long walk down to the sea for grandad, followed by disappearing sea water in the hole. The model shark is sadly beached.

We still call them sandcastles. The buckets have turrets which often don't come out or are knocked off to make houses rather than castles.

Here are a few beachbums. 

The lift is stranded mid-cliff which means everyone has to walk to reach the esplanade. All the works to rescue the cliff itself are complete and there are several new wood railings. A lonely guy and a mower that sounded like a moped gallantly cutting grass. Tired and untended undergrowth waiting the loyal band of volunteers that try to keep the place tidy. By way of contrast, the Italian Garden look brilliant.

This calm picture can be disrupted by large families arriving, standing around not knowing what to do, and then plonking either with a wind break or a mat or two, right next to people already here, including us. And the beach deserted. Feral kids chasing up and down to the sea. Oversized adults. Thoughtless, but really only trying to make something out the beach in nice weather.


The first session was started by grandad - a hole and 3 or 4 sand houses, close to the sea and the rock pools. Small stretches of sea water left as the tide recedes, captured by outcrops of rock. Bits of seaweed and smooth coloured pebbles are the main inhabitants. They can be used as village decoration if really necessary.

Grandads need chairs.

The Clock Cafe was open, Union Jack proud and flying. We had a take-away drink from the little shop next to the lift. I think it was coffee. The childbride got chatting with the young man selling the usual tat - buckets, spades, tennis balls, other balls and so on. I bought a sun hat there one year which I still wear and still gets laundered. Too tight to purchase a new one at 99p. The young man was a contented soul who was just making enough money to get him through the winter.


Another beachbum.

The story of the crab. Discovered next to a rock pool, there was never any evidence of life. Jenson adopted it, kept in a bucket of sea water to take back to the flat, transferring it to a plastic dish on his bedside table. Affectionately known as 'crabby' which was original and more often used when referring to grandad. We had to dispose of it when Jenson left for home. Smelling very unpleasant.

The Spa Gardens may be a bit scruffy just now, but there are little moments when you see something.

Our fourth session out and about was Peasholm. Jenson likes to explore the paths and pools around the Chinese gardens. We played a mean game of crazy golf next to the bus stop.

No naval warfare.

The dragon boats are neatly aligned. Pre-booked, they go out on the hour, with a deep clean in between. Full too. All you do is go round and round, but people seem to enjoy it, once anyway.

View from the top deck of the foreshore shuttle bus. The donkeys had been on the beach and were on their way home.

             South Bay deserted, forshore crammed.