Bit of a do

David and Sheila's 70th
Thanks to all who came
Great sets from all the performers - despite DCM and the phantom whiplash

We made £530 for Forget-Me-Not

Billy Elliot - more memories from a 70 year old

Anyone catch this brilliant film last night.

(Billy shares a bedroom with his brother) Til he left home in his late teens/early twenties, I shared a bedroom with older brother; as did Casper in Kes. My older brother didn't have quite the potty mouth thankfully.

(Billy offers his savings to pay for some of his ballet college fees) Our 12 inch black and white TV went belly up. It actually blew up. We wanted a new one, but could we afford it? There was a distinct possibility of having to do without. I dug out my money box, not containing a lot. Dad laughed. He told me to put the box away and we eventually got a new TV.

Opposite the Slubbers on Willow Lane. In the days when we were dressed in matching clothes.
Nothing matched underneath.

Frog gets a mate

Believe it or not there are now two frogs. Sadly they are an embarrassment to Kermit.

The Times Feedback on what to call people over 60

Times readers write to the Feedback article about house style - the right or wrong way to write; a discussion between them and The Times. Much in the way I use hyphens and semi-colons.

This week it was about what to call people and things of a certain age (Rose Wild, March 18th, 2017). 'Getting a life' comes to mind. Cars' ageing classes are very precise and not to be mucked about with (veteran, classic and vintage). Human classification is more flexible. Experience and expertise influence the word used in addition to the amount of time involved. A veteran broadcaster for example may not have retired. Itoje, England's lock forward, is 'old beyond his years', which I think means precocious. The Times house style discourages 'old', 'aged' and 'elderly'. Here are some alternatives:

codger              a fish that lives underground, comes out at night and has TB
fart                    gaseous pelvic effluent or a committee member of a rugby or golf club
curmudgeon     a bird that reviews films
scrote               small, reclusive, wrinkled, unpleasant but has got balls
geriatric           mouse takes three wickets in three balls
grump              a tiger that bites your arse
grouch             exclamation when a tiger bites your arse
fogey               obscure green thing up your nose        
pensioner         he who writes letters on his mistress

We are not allowed to mention certain words but this opening
partnership's combined ages was more than the opposition's total
Anybody got any other suggestions?

Because Lime Street was shut

Liverpool 70thParked at Greenfield. Change at Stalybridge and Liverpool Parkway, which you could drive to anyway. Merseyrail through stations such as Aigburth, home to a lovely cricket ground. Pitch up at Liverpool Central and an easy walk down to Pierhead. No great hassle.

The return journey was a little more complex. Liverpool Central to Kirby. Get off, walk up the platform under a bridge where the line is blocked and board the train to Blackburn, via Wigan Wallgate and Manchester Victoria, change for Greenfield. New territory, very flat and uninteresting.
The intervening stations however, Wigan, Orrell, Swinton and Salford are names familiar to rugby fans.

70 is a time from which you have memories. Orrell is particularly memorable for a evening fixture with Waterloo, a team in N. Liverpool I played for in and around the early 1970s. Waterloo was snooty and didn't accept Orrell as socially equal. They were a mid-Lancashire club with good players and results, but there was just that something. Anyway an end-of-season night match was arranged at Waterloo which we won. Yours truly scored in the corner from the base of the scrum at the railway end. Great jubilations, or so I thought. Fast forward to 2013/14 and Lockwood Park, home to Huddersfield RU where I met Mich Dearman who played in that very same match back in the 1970s - for Orrell. The weekend prior, they had won the Lancashire Cup and they were still high as kites - the spirits were willing, but the bodies were struggling.

Arrived. Off the train and another rugby league club. Just down from Greenfield Station is Saddleworth Rangers ARLFC, where I played between 1978 and 1982. They have just opened this amazing new clubhouse.

The first team pitch is overlooked by Shawhall Bank Road and the Transpennine Railway. The canal is just beyond the bottom touchline and then the river. Surrounded by hills topped of by the 'Pots and Pans' monument (a war memorial). Lots of large buildings, factories in production at one time, maybe still are but unlikely to be cotton or wool. So if it's possible to have a rural industrial setting, this is it. These pics below are the second team from Leeds Rd, Huddersfield.
Youngsters, several professionals, great to play with. The action shot, ICI dye works in the background, is a pass from Dave Tyrrell, a super player and comedian.

You couldn't get further away from Waterloo, geographically and spiritually, than Saddleworth Rangers. Orrell is closer. All three teams have had their days at the top, and now thrive down the league structures.

I note from the Saddleworth website a section of past players' memories. These are mine.
  I recall my first game - on council-owned Churchill Fields 'rec' that looked ideal. I soon realised it was boggy, but then everything in the valley bottom was boggy. They put sand on it - why? It ripped the skin off the knees. Protection was a must, pre-neoprene. Another piece of kit to wash every week. The coach was a little fellow with facial hair who ran The Friendship Inn on the way into Oldham. Brian Robinson played. The trains trundled in and out of the station. It rained. It was dark. We got very wet and caked in mud. And still we carried on. What was I doing here? Thirty monsters from the deep trudged back to the clubhouse and a wonderful bath. 
  The first training session. One of the problems of being a medic is that people ask you stuff. Ray Hicks was first team coach. Before the running and press-ups he asked all of us to have our insurance paid up by the end of the month. Insurance? What the ... do I need insurance for? Later, he singled me out, "Dave. What happens when one of the players stops breathing?" What? "How often does that happen?" "Well it hasn't, but what if?" Thank God for that. I don't remember my reply. 
  Going to away games in back of a battered van sat on wooden forms down either side in the back.
  We went away to Blackpool with the youth team who had made the national final against Hunslet Boys. Me and Rolly Lloyd. We lost, even with the likes of Terry Flanagan and Nicky Kiss. The open age final was Pilkington's Recs and one of the Hull teams. Pilks had an ex-pro who put it about and, inevitably, I was asked to see a Hull player with a nose like the letter Z. Nothing I could do. We stayed in a couple of classic Blackpool B&Bs. Some of the players just came for the day. They didn't return home, staying with us, doubling up in bunk beds. Imagine? Twice the number for breakfast, but the landlord didn't seem to mind. The Pilks guy I came across many years later. He'd nearly died after joint surgery.
  70 year olds hear about friends and acquaintances losing their loved ones. So, on my recent visit, I heard about the guys I used to play with losing their wives. Very sad. It put me in mind of Peter Goddard. Much loved successful coach. Larger than life and massive in stature. He lost his battle with himself. But the thing that saddens me most was his omission, by me, from the Saddleworth Rangers 50th anniversary brochure. Every beggar else was mentioned.

So, an odd railway trip and rugby memories brought about by a wall falling down,.

Forever Young (4) - it had to happen - are you doing it?

Never one to miss a bit of smut, I caught the sex counsellor in The Times this week. Not literally, I actually read her response to an agony type question (Suzi Godson March 4th 2017). You can never be sure whether these letters are genuine especially when the question is about a couple in their sixties, worried about cardiac consequences of having sex twice, one after the other. Hats off to desire and performance. I'm reminded of the depressed woman who sought advice from her doctor. She was recommended seven orgasms a week. She told her husband who replied "Put me down for one."

Seriously though Suzi quotes a British Medical Journal article (BMJ1997;315:1641). The article reports on orgasm and mortality in Caerphilly, South Wales, and five adjacent villages. The study involved 918 men aged 45–59. The conclusion happily - 'sexual activity seems to have a protective effect on men's health'.

So that's alright then.

For the sake of key words, this is Helen Mirren. I don't need to explain how she came to appear here.