Anglesey July 18.4


evening light summer shadows
reflections strong deep colours
Covid respite corner

The castle is just at the end of the Main Street, perfect for a rehearsal.
 Begun 1295 - building stopped, castle incomplete 1330 - Edward I ran out of money.
Nice sailing boats.

Other trips to the coast

There is nothing to do here but sit, or maybe fly a kite.

A young slim man with a ready smile in a lifeboat T and official badge asked if we were into RNLI. "If you subscribe today you can have a teddy bear." He was from Wirral and down here because of staff shortage. He kept talking, nice boy with no friends.
Bob went to the shop - it was full.

A scruff walked past us in Newborough car park, carrying a paddle and a plastic bag. Bob was intrigued, "Have you lost your boat?" Scruff pointed to the bag, "It's in the bag."
We deduced he had an deflated inflatable. What he said next was a stretch, "I've just been round the island." We didn't see him as any kind of athlete.

We stopped for a coffee in front of the Bulkeley Hotel. Waitress service. Three people sat next to us had been waiting a long time. But now the coffee bar was shut - too busy. But there's only five guys here. The others then left. 
I took a toilet stop in the hotel when we'd finished. The lounge was totally mobbed.

I went to catch the Lions v SAa result. A local pub. Too late it was over. Could I get any common sense out of the drinkers? No. We'd won and we'd lost. Scattered? Taking the piss? Didn't like the English? All of the above.

Older role model - Ronnie Wood

Michael Odell, Times July 17th.

Born 1947. Face like a walnut. Still recording and planning a tour.
Two lung cancers, surgery and medically clear (30 a day).
7 stints in rehab for drug and alcohol problems.
Gardening in lockdown. Charity work for Tusk. Author.
He keeps a bookmark with a quote from 
Albert Einstein - 'I never think about the future, it comes soon enough.'

As an aside - Jagger had aortic valve surgery in 1919.

Latest exercise advice

From Peta Bee, Times July 19th. How to keep a healthy heart.
Is there anything we don't already know?
Mostly cut down on stuff - salt, red meat, alcohol, smoking (stop).
Start/increase fatty fish, green leafy veg, yoga/meditation, two and a half hours a week cardio.

Do you measure your waistline? The tummy can be a reserve of highly active metabolic shit. Better measure than BMI. Less Than 37-40 inch men; 31.5-34.6 women. As I recall the issue is where you measure. Mine is 36-38 (through the naval) depending how strong my abs feel.

Reassuringly don't overdo it. Risk of atrial fibrillation. If you are worried, check with your doc.

This sort of stuff keeps coming. I have consistently suggested find a programme that suits you and do it regularly.


Latest exercise advice, July 11.3


Harry Jameson The Times Saturday July 3. Male chauvinism.

All about looking good on the beach. Unashamedly aimed at men - 'the older we get, the harder the struggle to lose weight and keep fit becomes.'

A three week makes-a-difference plan - good luck.

  • Four 30-40 minute strength sessions per week
  • Daily 30-50 minutes cardio
  • Stretch 10 minutes daily
After three weeks admit yourself to a physio clinic for sports injury rehab.

AND - don't drink beer. 2 small bottles is the same as a cheeseburger. Slimline gin and tonic instead.

After three weeks, shoot yourself.

Garden Glimpses

Honley Ladies Choir Birthday Girl - Di

Echoes - The Long View

I know we are not supposed to look backwards. Rumination and all that and I agree. Having done some basic research on my family however, the nineteenth century and the Victorians fascinate me.

For example Covid and Cholera. Did you know that cholera came from India, along the trade routes? A UK story. Covid is global.

Not related. How do you deal with overpopulation? Back then poverty and hunger was managed in workhouses - designed to be worse than living at home. Our current global problem is climate change, again related to overpopulation. The answer - Branson, Besos and Musk will take industrial processes into space.

Scarborough July 8.2

Dates from 1806. Coal-fired brazier, then candles.
1843 raised to height of 16 metres, accommodation for harbour master and keeper added.
1844 gas powered.
1914 hit by German shell, top half badly damaged.
1931 rebuilt. Accommodation now yacht club HQ.  (Wiki)


Lunch at Scalby Mills. Outside tacky. Menus stapled to the tables.

Putting next to the clock on the Esplanade. Uneven surface, bare patches, potholes.
"It's the rabbits," said the greenkeeper, "They reak havoc with their JCBs."


From the Bus Top

Peasholm to a large flock of Canada geese

Reflections of Yorkshire CC and their WW1 players
Courtesy of the N Riding


The other grandad just got married - July 2.1

Garden Glimpses

Dave's Notebook

Lovely day with the happy couple. Tried some new recipes for the BBQ - mostly okay. They tied the knot this week at 315.

The cricketers have lost their direction. Have you already heard this somewhere? They need a new choreographer. The bedwarmer is an heirloom from the Addy's of Hillhouse (clic on link). I occasionally did a sleepover with guzunder at Granny Addy's. Soundtrack from the coal shutes across the road. Floodlit. Turned night into day.
Then one day a builder knocked it over and halved it's price. Thanks for gorilla.

Sad event in Aldi's. I'm next to an asian couple who are collecting breaded fish. Good looking bloke, neat trimmed beard, pyjamas. Wife must have been close to heat stroke. Chucking them in the trolley like no tomorrow. I didn't really care, but my sense of the ridiculous is no help sometimes. "There'll be none left," intended as a joke. The humour stayed behind the mask. They put some back and made a swift exit.

I am on PPP most mornings since our deck has been painted. Pigeon Poo Patrol.

Tony has a garden centre above Slaithwaite. Sells brilliant eggs. Three courgettes and tomatoes later, planted out, along with what we really went for - marigolds. Tomatoes not so good. Courgettes okay until a little leaf trim resulted in a sliced stem. So I watched out for a replacement.
  Saturday morning down the greengrocer market in Holmfirth. A plant stall. "Have you any courgettes?" "It's my son's, but I'm sure we had one somewhere." Our first contact with Brenda. A slightly dotty elderly lady from Saddleworth. Delph actually, close to where we used to live in the late 70s. Found it hiding under sweet peas and now thriving.
  I cannot recall how we got onto Yorkshire Day. "Did we know anyone who does drystone walling?" Brenda helps run an Aug 1st charity festival in Upper Mill. Brass bands and stalls etc. And presumably a wall. The childbride mentions Forget-me-not and they become related. "Yes we can do a kids tombola, any gazebos?" "No they are wet and mouldy." "Have you a card?" Brenda hunts around - it appears from somewhere in her bag.
  The other Sheila (team Sheila) agrees, haggling with HQ about gazebos. It's booked. But other things more pressing from HQ and the childbride sadly has now cancelled, The new schedule includes Osset brewery which is a great day for me. But disappointment for Brenda.
All because I sliced a courgette stem from Tony. Great eggs - people drive from all over.

The table in Oxfam gets my vote again. The guy behind the screen says it's prudent not to interfere in selection or design. Carry on ladies.


Awayday - Greenhead Park - June 28.3


Greenhead Park was a teenage schoolboy's regular haunt for summer weekends. A good place too for younger boys, paddling and sailing toy yachts. Or small girls for chocolate ice cream. All those trees have appeared since my day. Still the fair comes. We bowled a little. Today it's boules as well.

A comprehensive website is Friends of Greenhead Park

Successful ageing

Dylan's recipe - Forever Young

 May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift 
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of change shift

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.

Clic on Happiness - week 36 - simple philosophical ideas. 

Over 12 months into the lockdown and I still ponder on stuff that was happening or about to happen before. Exaggerated or accelerated after. Home working and internet shopping for example.

What about successful ageing? What is it and which way has it gone? Alan D. Castel cites a 1987 book by John Wallis Rowe and Robert Kahn. They list the following as key:
  •  being free of disability or disease
  •  having high cognitive and physical abilities
  •  interacting with others in meaningful ways 

Biomedical model

There is no simple definition of successful ageing. Is it about health - complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (World Health Organisation 1948)?

Is ageing a medical condition that doctors can fix? Geriatric physicians are good, but not that good. So the aim is unrealistic. Living and thriving with disease and disability however is. 
'Wearing out' is determined by genetics. So are cognitive abilities. Lifestyle comes on top of this - weight, diet, exercise.

Turn the biomedical around and it could be misinterpreted as all doom - don't want that.

Psychosocial perspective 

In addition to physical issues. Bowling and Dieppe - BMJ 2005. 
'Suggested psychological resources for successful ageing include a positive outlook and self worth, self efficacy or sense of control over life, autonomy and independence, and effective coping and adaptive strategies in the face of changing circumstances. For example, when some activities are curtailed (say, because of ill health) strategies need to be activated to find new activities and to maximise one's reserves. Successful ageing is seen as a dynamic process, as the outcome of one's development over the life course, and as the ability to grow and learn by using past experiences to cope with present circumstances while maintaining a realistic sense of self.
Understanding who we are and our place in the world - 'getting over ourselves'. Continuing to grow. Regular reality checks within relationships.

Looking backwards into the gloom. Rumination. No help. One 84 year old guy recently on Today radio4 recommended meditation. Why go over stuff or worry what might happen. Easier said than done, but there is the bottomless sit.

(1) Simon Barnes is one way forward. (2) Simon Barnes

I cannot suggest how Covid had made a difference - can you?

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.