Shallilo listens to a fairground organ, but no one else seemed inspired

As a supplement to the Birks car park fairground organ postI recently brought it up at 'boules' coffee. I am blessed to be a regular invitee to the 'Moorbottom boules group' hosted by Ann and David Talboys. We meet Friday afternoons, so the coffee is a tad late for me, but I don't drink tea. I could drink water, and I used to, but my palpitations have now settled - OMG this is trivia.

Interesting the use of the word group for a sporting organisation. Add it to all those TV cliches. 'We talked about it in the group' 'the group is going well' ' we have a good group here'. A proper group consists of three guitarists, a drummer and a lead singer. They lurk in the back of dark rooms, youth clubs and church socials. As in the Strangers, personnel based at King James, who were everywhere in the 60s  - Tahiti 2 and Dalton St Pauls to name a couple of their venues. The singer wore a mauve mohair suit, not to sing in obviously. Really cool, or I thought so. Does anyone remember the UV lighting in the night club? We were all covered in fluff.

Shallilo is inspired by memories or his younger self

Back to the boules group. The ladies were concerned about the image of me sunbathing on my top deck. They were not reassured by my assertion that I was fully clothed. Nor my claim to have changed shape in the last year. I stopped digging.

Shallilo recalls his uninspiring contribution to a boules match in which the opposition insisted in thanking me for every cock up I made

The fairground organ got lost in the rush.

Some more curation - Foreveryoung seeks inspiration to coin a new word for ageing disgracefully - sup-ageing

Dave and Pete tackle a piece of the Cleveland Way on a beautiful Monday in March 

Quite a few pieces on ageing, though I'm a bit late with the first one. Times article - Super-Ageing by nutritionist Suzi Grant on November 24th, 2018. Helen Mirren, Goldie Horne and Charles Dance in their 70s look wonderful. Usual suspects to combat ageing- cardio, weights, a bit of meditation and loads of supplements. So nothing we didn't already know. Charles doesn't drink and Helen dyes her hair pink. Goldie cycles to keep fit.

Then How to Keep Your Brain Fit - Rachel Carly interviews Irish neuroscientist, Dr Sabina Brennan, the Times, March 12th 2019. It's the amount of working brain that matters, not the bits we've lost. So brains may have the appearance of dementia when the subject is performing normally - for their age. The key is lifelong challenge and learning - keep reinventing yourself and don't give up - build a fighting fund.
  We heard most of her recommendations like exercise, sleep, relationships and diet. She also asks us to 'find our stress sweet spot' - not too much and not too little. Reframe fear as excitement and have one special place for keys, glasses and wallet.
  'Super-agers don't stop, they live their lives fully.'

Finally John Nash, the Times March 9th, 2019. Diet supplements are not the answer to dementia. Changing lifestyle is. Regular healthy exercise, check the medical agenda (bp, diabetes, weight, smoking, alcohol) and enjoy stimulating and challenging your brain.

Dave and Pete have a go at some of this advice - they are sup-agers.

Foreveryoung listens to Dan Snow in Alnwick Castle

Another sleepover and new experience - Dan Snow is inspiring

The latest in our sleepovers - Alnwick, Old English for dairy farm and settlement. Origin around AD 600. Its history is mainly that of the castle, built following the Norman Conquest and well known for being the seat of the Percys and their conflict with the Scots, their battles with English monarchs and involvement in the Wars of the Roses. 

Wet March. Lunch in Bedale. Very twee tea rooms with a good wholesome menu and cakes in a display cabinet. Very North Yorkshire. They did chips though. Alnwick by mid afternoon, getting lost around the massive castle as we checked where the entrance was for the evening talk. We didn't need dinner - the hotel menu looked a big step too far - but we did need a taxi to take us to the castle in the pouring rain.

Dan Snow, the history man. His talk was in four parts. First, life with dad and holidays at various sites of history (his own 2 year old is now similarly burdened). Second, BBC programmes. Third, people he admires who have achieved major things in the last 50 years and are not household names: a scary RAF fighter pilot and flight (it's a box now, not a loop-the-loop), the NCO who was honoured for putting a Union Jack on his radio antenna in the Falklands, ladies from the WW2 intelligence services. Fourth, a history of the castle.

Walked back to the hotel in the dry, past The Salvation Army charity shop. Famous for selling me a pair of trousers which were far too small when I got them home. Echoes of wearing my son's cricket trousers in the fixure Almondbury Casuals v Eggborough. I bought the Alnwick pants during one of the trips off with Big Dave, a weekend when strangely, Alnwick RUFC played Huddersfield.

The morning after was the childbride's birthday. I've treated her to two Sir Cliff tickets at the open air theatre, Scarborough - June 2019.

Shallilo passes on coffee news from the Times

Shallilo's childbride pride of daffodils - inspiring

Another two pages on coffee. Peta Bee and Tony Turnbull in the Times - March 9th 2019.

We Brits drink 95 million cups a day.
Two new coffee choices at Costa (1) The Flat Black - shorter and stronger than Americano (2) The Cloud Machiato - egg white powder and fizzy coffee.

More health information if you need it. Good for the cardiovascular fitness and mood - see neurochemistry and coffee. 3-8 cups a day. Some skin wrinkling. Leave off 2 hours before going to bed. Drink it instead of breakfast.

This last one doesn't go down with breakfast enthusiasts. Best or most important meal of the day for some, but not for others, like me. I haven't had breakfast for years - simply can't face food at that time of the day. Except when the childbride and I are on a sleepover and bacon, eggs and the rest are in the deal. "Oo you are looking gaunt," my friends say - the female ones. Why does it always have to come down to personal vanity? Silicon Valley thrives on coffee and for the first half of the day, so do I.

So two new high-end coffee shops have opened in London. It's about choice and flavour. I nearly didn't finish the article when I saw cups of coffee priced at £15. I just about made it through all the language normally associated with wine tasting. I don't get that either.

I'm drinking Taylor's Christmas Blend just now.

Shallilo visits probably the best second-hand book shop in the world

Shallilo-Foreveryoung visits a great book shop. Buys no less than 3 books. Alnwick - excellent place.

A listed building which started life as a railway station. Thousands of books. Poetry between bookshelves. Electric trains on top of bookshelves. A buffet where the buffet used to be. Huge coal fires not worried by smokeless zones. Seating for reading.
  I pushed the boat out and bought 3 books one of which I am reading - by Steven Pinker.

Shallilo, keeping young, on another sleepover up in Northumberland

Guess where.
The latest in our monthly sleepovers. Famous for its castle and collieries.

One of the poems in the spaces between books is from the Song of Solomon. Maybe premature for February, but nice images.

Arise, my love, my fair one,
   and come away;
for now the winter is past,
   the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
   the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle-dove
   is heard in our land.

Watch the trains