Garden glimpses and Emily

Had difficult sleeping


Wednesday 29th September, Tanya Gold, The Times.

The petrol panic - easy - there are too many cars on the road. 40 million.
Too many big ones. Only farmers need them - and maybe big caravan owners.
It's dangerous to park, walk and cycle.
Don't talk to me about journeys - I could walk quicker.
Dr Beeching started it all - 'He couldn't see a future in which our cars choked us, our parking spaces flooded our homes, and drivers, in seeking fuel, threatened to paralyse the country.'

Can we get a government commitment to get cars off the roads?

I broadly agree with this summary. I keep saying I could stop driving and car ownership tomorrow. Have I really thought that through? One car less won't make a lot of difference to pollution and the rest, but I'd be happier.

Random - Solar fountain - Wizard of Oz

It works - when the sun shines

The wizard was brilliant
The bee was the size of a Buick (courtesy of Annie Hall the movie)

Older role models keep active

iron wood stone earth heat

stile gate wall walk sun trees shade

people path purpose 

Awaydays - Older role models stay active with 40 year old son at Butlins Skegness

 Butlins Skegness - good enough for us

Crazy wobbly fairground mirror soon covered with towel. Unsavoury images.

Alphabet kitchenware only. J-cloth and T-towel. Cutlery fine.

Stella £4.50, so not all lost.

Overall feel is tired and unkempt but we were in the cheap seats. In need of a coat of paint - our bit anyway. It kind of suited two 74 year olds.

Ordering from BurgerKing was a foreign language - to me anyway. Andrew and the guy serving were fluent. He kept asking me to repeat myself, so I gave in and Andrew interpreted. I was with mask.

The walk to Ingoldmells was hampered by several black dogpoo bags. Full and thank you, but need to be placed in bins, which sadly were missing down on the beach.

This week, query all weeks, was serious obesity week - it felt like every third lady or so, plus some guys. Thin people thin on the ground? It's perception - when something is so startling there seems to be more of it.

Like buying a new car. Suddenly they're everywhere.

Similarly disability transport, chairs, scooters etc. Could have had an F1/chair meet.

Skegness birthday meal in The Tipsy Cow. Standard fare that went down well. Lots of left over chips.

Skegness sports bar was showing Italy vs Finland. Minor International cricket on an all-weather strip and a ploughed field. They were all Sri-Lankans.

Lots of flyovers. Too high to see, but you can hear them - Eurofighters.

Older role models finished knackered, so Sunday is a day of rest.

Older role models have a night out at the local rugby club. New Mill sings on a hill.

Lockwood Park and The John Smith's stadium

Huddersfield New College rugby reunion at Lockwood Park. We had a decent team (union) for a short moment in the late 50s/60s, looked after by Ron Capper. At 74 I'm the youngest.

Alan Roberts organises.

The meal was a couple of good slices of pork, preceded by a small Yorkshire pudding, smothered in gravy.

Opportunities to catch up and reminisce.

16 attendees this year. Older role models to a man.

Barry Rhodes presided over a 'What do you know about Huddersfield' quiz. Not without controversy.

Last game of the regular season at the stadium vs Leigh. Fartown (league) ran out easy winners after a slow first half. Not a sporting classic but we enjoyed ourselves.

New Mill Male Voice Choir

New Mill MVC up in hills - remembering David Haigh, a choir member who died earlier this year.

clic on link for Pratty Flowers and Peace on Earth


Awayday - Buxworth Basin - Sept 13.3

 Buxworth, Derbyshire

Similar to the Slamannan mineral line in Central Scotland.

Dave's Notebook

Hayley Mills is 75. Her autobiography is called 'Forever Young".

The address for this blog is

During my publishing moment, the Wordpress site was Shallileybooks.



Peta Bee continues to encourage us to do something  - 'Weekend', Times Aug 21st. 

(1) Midlife fitness. (2) Getting started. (3) Best exercises for women over 40.


Overweight exercisers burn fewer calories.

So says the Universities of Roehampton and Ottawa.
There's no getting away from it guys - it's about reducing daily calorie intake.


Body and Soul, Times, Oct10, 2020.

Don't overdo the fitness
Connect with friends
Practice whatever it is that makes you calm - doesn't have to be yoga
Put the phone away
Know your core values
Have fun

Looks a simple list but how about it when you are at the top of your tree? There's more, but start with one or two.


From a 9/11 eye witness 20 years on

Heard on the Today programme, Radio4; 'Don't worry about the little things and don't forget to say I love you.'


Straight up

 store shed shelter shade

strong stalk storm surviver

uncowed honest nature 

Lost and Found near Spennymore.

North East again supporting Fartown

There's not a lot to say about Spennymore. Wetherspoon's was good. We caught the bus to Durham.

The ladies stayed in Durham. A river walk and couple of coffee/scone stops. The men went by train to Newcastle.

Bishop Aukland has seen happier times. Square is great, but little cafe life or people. Must have been vibrant once. The miner's art gallery is brilliant. Tribute to grim reality and talent.
Good coffee bar in Town Hall.

We were staying in a rural apartment in Kirk Merrington, so going to Spennymore didn't help. Rang our hostess, Sue, who we subsequently learned was at a wedding. Went to the local - no help there. Went back to where we first thought of and down a very narrow lane confronted a tractor and man cutting hedges. He knew the property, but thought we were looking for a long-term let. More confusion until we looked beyond a private gate and there was the cottage, as per brochure-photograph. Next, how to get in? Friendly hedge-cutter to the rescue. Outbuilding and hook behind the door. Perfect.
Thank goodness for hedges.

I felt a bit guilty - had I read all the instructions? Yes. Sue mailed us and all was well.

Next day, on our way out to the village, another huge truck narrow track. Backed up and let us through.

The weather was kind enough for us to sit out for drinks in the evenings.

We lost to Wakefield at the RL Magic Weekend (St James Park). We were there 60 minutes before kick-off and enjoyed the media scrum preparations as much as the game, which no longer has scrums. £5 for a tin of Coors. I think it's lager. Vietnamese snacks from corner shop round the corner. Filling but sweet dressing on bacon and sausage.

Spennymore Settlement - 'To encourage tolerant neighbourliness and voluntary social service, and give its members opportunities for increasing their knowledge, widening their interests, and cultivating their creative powers in a friendly atmosphere.'
   Started in 1930s to support a depressed community. Known as the 'pitman's academy'. Still meets regularly. Something nicer to say.

Called in at Bedale for coffee on the way home. Half hour later Pete couldn't open car door. Parked outside a flower-shop. The proprietor suggested locksmith who suggested more elbow. Success but the car alarm activated. Flower-shop lady phoned someone who suggested phone number of the garage in Leeming. Mechanic tried to solve it over the phone but needed in person.
  We all agreed that complexity breeds more stuff to go wrong. Safe home.
  Thank goodness for flower shops and their ladies.

Awayday - York

The transport revolution started as support for industry back in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Canals followed by railways and steam locomotives - steam engines that moved themselves and a load of wagons full of coal.

Then passengers.

Now romance of steam nostalgia. Apologies to the girl in the urinal.


Older people volunteer at Ossett Brewery - Forget-Me-Not children's hospice

 Our annual pilgrimage to Ossett Brewery. Only not last year for obvious reasons. Very popular. All for Forget-Me-Not. Bands as well.

Age is simply a number, isn't it?

ardent choir girls play boules

baritone hunks coolly umpire

timeless pitch and bounce 

Can you write a better third line?


Hurray for older people - August 12.1


Times Aug 7th, Rose Wild (feedback). 'Please don't call us Pensioners'. A column that receives its fair share of complaints about writing style and vocabulary. Some good things too.

Dates for receiving a pension are variable. And, strictly, this refers to the state pension. 'Retiree' is no better. 'Seniors' was an alternative suggested by Philip Burt. Officially, this refers to golfers and tennis players who no longer play in the main tournaments. 'Aged' and 'elderly' are sensitive as most over 65s are fit and well and likely to remain so for some time.

'Older people' is the least worst term.

Going back to March 2017

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
    Any suggestions?


Since exploring my family history I have taken an interest in the nineteenth century and industrialisation. 
Textiles in particular. It might be assumed that industry began with factories around 1830, but mining and
making stuff like cloth predated Arkwright. Smallholdings with a loom in the front room
for example.
'The Story of Work' by Jan Lucassen reviewed Aug 7th, Times, suggests that worker productivity increased 
during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, before technological advances came in. Reasons maybe 
specialisation, protestant work ethic and wanting to buy stuff from the colonies. Cultural change too. Work 
got attached to morality and personal identity. Sadly working conditions were dire even then.
Mechanisation has not abolished work allowing leisure to take over. We want more stuff and the office is a 
social good, especially as religion and group recreations have become less attractive.
'Work is important for humans - I don't think I've ever met anyone who is able to be happy without it. 
Nevertheless we must be wary of its ever increasing conquest of our lives'.

So its a book about work - I liked the bit about work and increasing productivity predating 

Awayday - Scarborough, Filey, Castle Howard - July 30.6


I went shopping with the two ladies - food. Everything I chose and placed in the trolley went back on the shelves. Not quite true. Paella survived. 

The streets were a mess - cigarette packets, disposable lighters, weeds, grass, pigeon poo, random litter.
Private affluence, public squalor. Or, has the council run out of money or employees or both.

We nearly didn't get to Castle Howard. Road-up and diversion signs everywhere. Until we ignored them as most of the other motorists did.

Most people wore masks in shops. A few had their knobs out - why?

How is it women make an effort to be smart and colourful in the sun and blokes wear black? Shorts and matching dark socks with trainers.

Still a lot of repair work in Spa gardens. Shelters, paths, children's playground and tunnel restoration under the lift track.

Another RNLI bucket volunteer in Filey park. A lady. Doing well too - lots of folding. I mentioned our Anglesey moment down on the pier. She wasn't handing out cuddly toys though.


Dave's Ageing Notebook Curation

Rhys Blakely - Times July24th. We know there is no relationship between happiness and finance, though possibly with unhappiness at the precarious end of the spectrum. But, there is a relationship between health and wealth. More money, longer life. Twin studies from Northwestern University, Illinois.
  So poverty and shorter life-expectancy might be a genuine public health issue. Being able to afford quality foods for example.

India Knight - Sunday Times Aug 1st. About grandmothers. 'Ageing is a biological inevitability'. Illness maybe and death, but not yet. Future-worry is pointless. Joy-now. 'Who fears the present? It's a terrible use of anyone's time.' She goes on to write that 'ageing is wonderful - until at some point it isn't.' Nice?

Songs about ageing - available on Spotify
Forever young - Rhiannon Giddens, Iron and Wine
Don't Let the Old Man In - Toby Keith from the film 'The Mule'
In the Sidings - Louis Killen from 'Gallant Lads are We'


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.