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

Scarborough, Garden Glimpses June4.1


Scarborough for the bank holiday - a bit late now. Peasholm Park, North Bay Rail, Open Air Theatre and crazy golf with views of Sea Life Centre and the castle.

I'm not sure where the rabbit comes from.

Amateur bird pics. Navy Night is growing.

These are a catch up after the time taken to process the Falkirk Pics.

Awaydays - Falkirk to Linlithgow - and back. June14.2


The idea was to collect a trip through the Falkirk Wheel to complete the 'double' with Anderton Boat lift. Success, though our overall trip met with difficulties, especially meeting up with Joan & Big Dave, friends from Northallerton since the early 1980s and long-committed Linlithgow residents since. Each day Dave and Joan doggedly pursued us for drinks and meals. Not a lot different from the scrapes we've had over 40 years.

5 days (only 3 and a bit actually cruising). Putting the narrowboating clock back. A long way as it happened - mistake followed mistake. Finished better, but nowhere near perfect (we never were). I bumped the trip boat on the wheel. The childbride got the stern rope in a right tangle - the trip skipper gave us a rope and knot tutorial so we missed the outward wheel.

It's a modern wonder. Massive. A giant prehistoric raptor. Dominates the surrounds. The approach from above is a series of concrete arches - a scifi funnel. Any self-respecting satellite would easily achieve orbit. Roughcastle tunnel lit with tacky christmas lights. Another tight turn into a staircase (the locks empty into each other) and onto the Union Canal.

It was Joan's birthday and we were conscious of getting on having spent well over an hour wheeling, tunnelling and locking. Sadly we were already behind with a good two hours to Linlithgow.
  Strangely satvav doesn't take you to the wheel. "It always takes you round the back," said our helpful boat guide. Hence arrived at 1.30pm in the vicinity but not loading up until much later. Explanations and tuturials and it's well late - around 4 o'clock. The canal map was schematic. We couldn't judge distances and not amny bridge numbers. Basically lost. Joan and Dave connected but we weren't close to Linlithgow. Lovely to see them after lockdown, but birthday celebrations on hold. Until the following day. 

"You'll get a mooring in Linlithgow basin," said the boat guide. Wrong. Totally occupied by volunteer boats. So we turned round - not elegant, a 7-point turn rather than a simple nudge into the back, full rudder and a little throttle. Still made it and a fill of water. So a mooring facing back the way we'd come. Overlooking playing fields. The childbride enquired of a passer-by. Leisure centre we told Dave. It's an hour Dave won't get back trying to find us. We were next to a school. Great lunch back at Joan and Dave's. Tea nibbles back at the boat. We'd saved the day, mostly.      
Brilliant mooring at bridge 49. Easily found. Dave and Joan had commitments and left early. BBQ and afterfire. Boat just visible at the canal top. Near to an old rail/canal junction/basin, a mineral line - Slamannan - brought coal for transfer to Edinburgh barges. 

Note the sign Union Canal is carved into the stone and a touch worn. Not as much as the routine bridge numbers (keystones) where maybe one in five were still readable. One of the reasons for us not knowing where we were.

Return wheel, lock and tunnel. 30 minutes to turn round at lock16 on the Forth and Clyde. "You'll find a mooring down there and have a drink at the pub." Wrong. Full again. Good, we needed to be back at base for the morning changeover mayhem. Lock 16 on the Forth & Clyde was an 11- long flight for original connection with the Union (filled in 1960s). Restored connection via the wheel 2002.

Everyone thinks it's relaxing. Wrong. It's different, like exercise, alternative thoughts to normal. Cruising is calm - only the driver has to be alert. Intermittent sessions of activity needing the crew alert as well - mooring, turning round, taking on water. Despite urban, Scotland has its rural corridors. Not many signs of its industrial history. We spent a lot of time making mistakes and bumping into things and each other in the cramped cabin.
I for one thoroughly enjoyed it.


original lock flight up from Forth&Clyde to the Union
starts at lock 16, 15-20 minutes from the wheel

Leaving Lockdown - May 17.3


Awayday - Meltham Park

There is something nostalgic about a rusty goalpost and a big puddle. We've all played on 'the rec'. 
Em enjoyed it.
It looks like the TownDoor Estate is exploding. David Brown tractors closed in 1988. Now a complex of small businesses. 

How many small villages would be home to not one, but two large industrial businesses? Brook and Brown. Textiles and tractors. 

Meltham Mills history - local history society.

From Huddersfield exposed - 'Originally a rural area, it became increasingly industrialised during the 1800s when the Brooks expanded their cotton mill and built housing for their workers, along with a 
school and a chapel.

The Meltham Mills Provident Co-operative Trading Society Limited was formed in 1827 and was the first society to pay dividends on purchases'. Now a corner shop selling Farmers' Blonde in bottles.

Meltham Mills CC origins 1840, ground Thick Hollins Hall. Huddersfield Exposed suggested Bent Ley for the ground. Maybe both.

Meltham Park was named after a local worthy called Robert Ashton. In the grounds of Meltham Hall.

And a railway line - almost purpose built for the families and businesses. Lancs & Yorks actually.

Garden Glimpses


What a lot of column inches on who is saying what about what - virus variants, when to ease restrictions, vaccine resistance. Crowds of medics and scientists, planning and advising. Politicians make the decisions the basis of what - not always what the boffins say.

How appropriate then Start the Week, radio4. 'Noise' by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R Sunstein. Individual and team decision-making. Inconsistent because of background variation or noise.
  Individually - temperature, time of day, hunger will produce different outcomes for same problem. Simple rules and algorithms can help despite being designed by humans, still better.

Meetings often heavily influenced by first speaker for example. When the members make inconsistent contributions, the resulting so-called consensus will be an expensive problem. Indeed there may even be unspoken disagreement as to the purpose of the meeting.

Recommends the anthropological approach - anthrovision. View the totality of the culture. Take into account all stakeholders - consumers, staff, paymasters etc - the big picture. Assess the stuff that is not talked about.

Independent review helps. Ask people to reflect and explain what happened. I'd never have thought about that.

The year is moving on - May9.2

Beaumont Park

We think these are meerkats, but in these pics they look more like celestial visitors 
Perfect for Em to run around and have a swing

Garden Glimpses

We cannot name all our flowers but they are colourful and give us a lift


We bought a cleaning solution for the garden concrete slabs. An improvement and we know the slabs are not mucky, just a bit stained. The sweeping brush head however is pristine.

Tins within 4-packs of San Miguel now come attached by little spots of glue. So effective you need a sharp knife and a good tug. Otherwise, after a wrestling match, watch out for the explosion on pulling the tab.


So is Labour not electable? The workers are no longer an amorphous mass of miners, railmen and shipbuilders who put a tick where the unions say.

Purpose for facebook posts on choir page and group May9.1

 The choir facebook page came about as a result of a marketing initiative. Myself, Steve Flynn, John Middleton and others met regularly to see how we could get the choir name 'out there'. Digital marketing was one obvious answer, along with some very enjoyable local initiatives - Holmfirth stall, beer mats, free concert etc. We were also connected with the university business school and were one of their student research projects.

I can't remember how we got into groups on Facebook but one of the university research assistants signed us up for a group

I have had a personal Google blog (forever young) since 2013. A mix of content, including the choir, but mostly personal. Something about ageing well.

I set up a choir blog (swinglo) in 2015. News, events, gossip. The last entry was December 2020. I enquired on a number of occasions if this blog had legs - was anybody interested? Was it in competition with the website?

It has got complicated since. Both blogs link through to Facebook pages and groups. So lots of my personal content appears on choir Facebooks. I don't mind but the readers might if they clic on something and don't find anything connected to the choir. Few people contributed to 'swinglo', so it did become a bit of a personal site. I was always thinking what could I come up with next - it wasn't a natural outlet for choir opinion and discussion. A lot of people do clic on the choir Facebook links and thanks for that, but what have they to do with the choir?

The choir Facebook page is open and could end up anywhere. So, getting the choir out there. We do have lots of contact with other choirs and there are a number of individuals who take an interest. Great. We have 444 followers. Do they really want to see pics of my grandchildren?

The choir Facebook group is limited to the membership of the group (140). Some other singing organisations are involved. Anyone who asks to join mostly can. It is for the choir primarily (25), to share and prompt and have a conversation. Most of the group members are however friends and relatives and Honley Ladies. Yes, some of them do enjoy pics of my grandchildren.

We even went for a Facebook tutorial at Social Progress in Honley. Interesting and informative but I'm not sure we have moved on.

So what to do?

Scarborough April29.6

Hunmanby Distillery

Hunmanby to Filey

The Gap cafe, gardens overlooking barely visible RNLI red rib and the origin of our lunch.
I am poor with tide tables. Thankfully high tide was 6pm.
Someone needs to tell the gulls that our food is not theirs - we weren't actually attacked this time.

Round the Marine Drive

Peasholm and North Bay railway are open

Esplanade, Foreshore and Stepney Hill farm shop

The trees have gone from around the spa.
 The Stepney Hill butcher on Ramshill is no longer, but the farm shop is great. Brilliant meat pie. Horrid hailstorm, no alfresco coffee.
The harbour at low tide leaves boats up against the quay grounded on shelves, rope secured.

Filey Beach

not spring not summer
wind whipped raw waves roar white
unmasked untamed
get the jab

Dave's Scarborough notebook

Spa Gardens

So south cliff is safely glued with long metal pins. Improved treeless view. Lots of 12 inch plastic sleeves anchored in the steep soil slopes with leafy sprigs peeping out the tops. Restoration is underway. In the 19th century Victorian and Edwardian heyday there were six or so wealthy owners with private gardens (Rose, Italian, Shuttleworth and so on). Each had a micro-climate and exotic plants. Scarborough Council acquired the gardens in the early 20th century. The Clock Cafe was built during WW1. Now listed along with 22 beach chalets.
Today, 14 ornate historic shelters are crumbling, path drainage is poor and much of the land is overgrown. £4.6 m National Lottery grant. Increased maintenance budget. Passionate 'friends'. S Cliff community group. A combined effort opening April 2022.
The cliff lift split the gardens into two, connected by a tunnel under the tracks. To be reinstated.

The Town/Ramshill

Scarborough centre was tired before the pandemic. It's exhausted now.

At least three people maskless in M&S and many more with their noses hanging out.

B&Q shelves in the garden section were two thirds empty.

Social distancing good.

The church clock at the end of Albion Road is stuck at 12.25. Was this the time that lockdown started?

Odd couple with dog. Middle-aged. Cradling a big bulldog in a blanket cum rug. Matching Barbour-style long length waterproofs. Walking slowly round and round local streets, more than once daily. A ritual? Has meaning for them presumably.

Has spring arrived at last? - stay active - the lazy fitness guide April25.5

Stay active 

Peta Bee covers J Strength and Conditioning about minimal fitness sessions in the Times. 'If you exercise regularly you can get away with doing much less and still stay fit':

Cardio - 13 minutes x2  per week at 75% maximum heart rate. Or, 30mins around 50-60% maximum heart rate. In other words shorter and more intensive.

Weights - 6 exercises, performed slowly, once weekly, one set of repetitions. Oldies may need 2 sessions.

Balance - important skill for oldies. Balance on one leg every day increasing to 30 seconds. Eyes open to start, then closed. 'Then try squatting down on one leg or moving centre of mass by swaying on one leg with eyes closed'.

Step counts - you can get away with 4500-5500 p. day according to JAMA (based 17000 older women) and US National Institutes of Health.

Warm up - slow version of the exercise you are going to do, then maybe 5-10 seconds of effort before starting.

Cool down - don't stop suddenly, gradually reduce intensity.

So my usual advice - do something and do it regularly.

Garden Glimpses

BBQ as well maybe if the weather holds

Awayday - narrow canal from Slawit to Marsden

2.30 pm train - no one to take our money and no machines we could make sense of. The water levels were down and a couple of boats were tilting, grounded on silt. A few boat people had taken root with enclosures, canopies and tents on the bank. Industrial architecture everywhere, memories of the canalside industries. A reminder too that the canal was a much-needed water source for industrial processes as well as transport for goods. Converted Holme Mills is home to Darkwoods Coffee and Zapato craft ales and is one venue for the Marsden jazz festival. I'm sure they have their own water supply.

The Slawit guillotine lock is the only one on the whole canal network in working order.

One of my maps has a caption 'Marsden Junction' at the National Trust carpark. There was a pub by this name, confused with Tunnel End. Both pubs are shut now. One source, 'Last of the Summer Wine', suggests that the three railway tunnels and lines easily facilitated switching which entitled Marsden to call itself 'junction'. A practice more common on the Midland we're told.

Easy walking, perfect for the older person.

Dave's notebook Apri13.3


Dave's Covid notebook

Don’t let the covids in

They’ve got some living to do

Can’t leave it up to them

They’re 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 covids 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

                        Many things we have done

                        Some good and some bad

                        Leave your sorrows 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 covids in

                                            Hang out with your spouse

                                            Talk often with friends

                                            Toast each sundown with wine 

                                            Don’t let the covids in

                                                        Stuff has not changed                    

                                                        Get the jab 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 covids in


The keeper

a person who manages or looks after something or someone
each other

Don't let the covid in - take the jab


The spinner

a deceiver, weaving not as it seems
fishing lure
quantum mechanics?
spin doctor

get the jab


Opening up a touch - April 11.2

Stay active - Moorbottom Boulodrome open (covid friendly)

Two separate sessions covers all the players.
Beautiful weather.
Ready for day/night games.

Awaydays - Ramsden and Pugney's again

Boys always want to throw stones. Little girls want to throw themselves in.

Sandal castle and blossom.

At last - maybe

Dave's Birthday

14 - it's a record

Tracks and trees - more walks in Upperthong - April 8.1

Stay active - another walk - Upperthong and Holmfirth

ice cold leafless blue
river tracks trees branches trunks
connect curve and line

Before the cold snap kicked off. 6 miles or so - getting gradually longer. Sadly we witnessed a distressing attack on a sheep by a dog. Probably well-behaved 90% of the time. Sheep broke a leg. Not sure how it turned out.


Some random images of staying active - march 30.4

Walking to Upperthong

Friday zoom Pete Manning coffee in the Royal Oak garden, Upperthong.

Family matters

My crazy daughter is 41. Unbelievable.
Nice chocolate brownie tower.

Garden glimpse

Mindful out again. Now we have two frogs so we need another name.
I suggested Zen, but the birthday girl wanted something more zippy like Bill and Ben.
But not Bill and Ben, something like. GOK.

Wiki tells me this is an iridescent cloud.

Stay active - try walling

Work in progress, Upperthong.
Anyone else feel like this?
It has promise - layers and dressed stone, a frame. Yet?
Bit to go.
Anyone else stuck in the middle of a project - this may be near the beginning?


Twelve months since Doris locked us all up - march 24.3

Awayday - pandemarsden

Marsden was busy, just a few coffee lovers at Tunnel end.

Garden Glimpse - spring not quite

Dave's notebook

Lots of media coverage on a year since lockdown - mostly trying to embarrass ministers.

I've counted 53 weeks doing the blog. What does that say? One too many again of course.

Loads of time and no plan. Googling crossword puzzle answers and sitting with Mindful.

He's got a bit timid and pond-dives at the slightest provocation - deep Mindful.  

Not waking up with the joys. No progress on garden and writing projects.

Megan's gone quiet - hope it stays that way.

The radio4 coverage is so serious, TV mostly celebrity reality quizzes and cooking and gardening and repairing and makeovers in general.

But Corin's semi was an exception. Hard or what? Missing vowels - Shakespeare a la Yoda (Winter of our discontent it is).

Thank whoever for Bill Bailey and Limboland. Not bad, all things considering.

If memory serves me, Cassie was in an RTA? Anyone expecting that? 

I think I heard the new Line of Duty star in Brave. Don't know her name and Brave is a children's animation film with Billy Connolly as an oversized cartoon Scots clan chief. He's the voice obviously.

Silly. I try to solve too many crosswords. You also have to watch. Stay with two or three or you will get lost.


So what has happened to the rugby and the cricket?
It feels like I look. Just a tad past it. Soon to be 74 - 9th April.

The antidote to everything - The Casuals immortalised in concrete.

Give us a ring if you don't understand any of the above. At least we can have a chat. I'll talk to anybody. Send me a card on my birthday. 

Mindful - our male frog and his mate - march 23.2

Garden Glimpse - frogs

Common frogs have smooth skin that varies in colour from grey, olive green and yellow to brown. They have irregular dark blotches, a dark stripe around their eyes and eardrum, and dark bars on their legs. They are able to lighten or darken their skin to match their surroundings.

This species is widespread in mainland Britain. Common frogs are most active at night, and hibernate during the winter in pond mud or under piles of rotting leaves, logs or stones. They can breathe through their skin as well as their lungs. They can emerge to forage during warm spells in the south west of the country.

In spring males croak to attract females. The male embraces a female and fertilises her eggs as she lays them in shallow, still water – frogspawn is a familiar sight. Tadpoles hatch, and over about 16 weeks gradually change into froglets: a process known as metamorphosis.
                                                                              from Giving Nature a Home

Male - eardrum smaller than eye

I think these guys sort of get it together, but it doesn't last.

Frogs I have heard of

Freddo - a Cadbury chocolate bar much loved by Dara in Mock the Week.
Kermit/Robin - Muppets and Sesame St. Kermit is in a relationship with a lady pig.
Mr Toad - strictly speaking he is a toad - Wind in the Willows.

Ramsden reservoir walk - march 20.1


Frogs, bumble bees, butterflies, mice, squirrels, sparrowhawk - it's getting wild.