Week 49 - garden glimpses and haircuts

Garden Glimpse

We all have a view. An outlook from a room or an outlook on our personal lives and life in general. They feed off each other. Relaxed contented moments allow appreciation of our view. Quiet attractive times help reflection. 

This is our Holmfirth view. Overlooking the valley bottom, in turn overlooked by Cartworth fellside. Foreground garden, main road to the Moss, funeral home. Sporadic noisy bikes, sedate saloons and buses, weekly crowding mourners. Hidden rushing spate-river, fed by swollen stream hurrying down and through the woods. Residential, dusk illuminated Blackpool. Barn market, amplified cows, sheep and auctioneers. Deserted mill. Green carpet, summer and winter. Fences, hedges, drystone walls.

There is another view, in Scarborough. A carpark. Square, converted hotels on two sides, clean white and coloured. Third side, stern grey church. Distant sea. Many dogs. Huggins of gulls, buckets of poo. Don't park under a streetlight. Large holiday revenues, busy meter men. Roads for permits or clocks if you don't live here. Recently a workmen's site. Council millions to stop south cliff from moving. Drilled rods. Yellow hard hats, prefabricated toilet.

Two spots for a sit. See Simon Barnes Rewild Yourself.


Unsurprisingly I have cut my hair 12 times during the pandemic - once a month. Getting on regardless. I already had the razor, so what's to wait for? There isn't much of it anyway.

Number 4 all over and no queue. No wondering who is ahead. No need to answer "Have you anything on today?" Perfect. Can't fail.

For fuller account of haircuts before the pandemic, clic on  'Haircuts in the life'

Neat, tidy and incapable of arousing offence or even comment. 

Week 48 - in the garden after the cold snap, Dave's Notebook

Garden Glimpses


Improved weather always stirs action. No time to waste. Dead bits everywhere, marginally improved after a tidy up. Not the time or place for a sit. Reduced facilities says it all. But I had a go. No garden birds.

It's Lent again. Two years since my pilates spat. Counter-intuitively I'm up for it. Not the self-denial - we're all at that. It's a celebration without the material excess of other times of the year. Celebration of rebirth, reflection and re-invention. Catherine Pepinster, Telegraph 13th Feb, wants to revive fishing and fasting, a tradition from our Catholic friends, largely lost since Henry VIII, of avoiding meat, especially on Fridays. It will help the fishing industry and improve our diet, for the moment. 

So to the fish shop this morning. Four in the shop at any one time. The queue is superb, both sides full of products we didn't come for but left with - including black pudding from Bolster Moor. Brindon's then for Yorkshire sausage and pork and stilton pies, scrummy. Denied myself a flagon of Farmer's. Then to the sit.

Reinvention sounds like a New Year resolution, with which we all struggle despite SMART targets. Yet the prospect of restrictions for most of the coming year gives us enough time to plan something. Even though we are forgetting everything and can't string a sentence together. I have already tried to simplify my chaotic computer with the intent of making sense of family history, enough to engage a printer. It certainly is not rocket science, but taxes the patience. It takes oodles of time. I need to set a deadline, but when? And don't get me started on SEO, key words and links. 

Dave's medical notebook

NHS reform - anyone else got deja vu? As long as the sacred cow wins votes it will never be out of the hands of politicians whatever they come up with. 


gp - no ear syringing, so I've been squirting olive oil in my ears this last 12 months for nothing. Given two private numbers for suction. Appointment within 24 hours - success with no hassle. Hearing restored and that strange bunged up head-feeling gone. I won't be troubling the gp again for this service.


Acre Mills eye clinic - yes, no more 2 hour waits and I even saw the consultant. Not quite medically okay, but a sensible plan to keep in touch with some light touch medication.


So, two major benefits of lockdown for yours truly.

Lockdown week 47 - stay active

Going Home

A touch of curation from Rachel Carlyle, Times, 30th Jan 2021.

Dr David Eagleman, a neuroscientist, tells us that living online has changed our brains. He teaches 'plasticity' no less. Our 86 billion neurone network is 'constantly reconfiguring its circuitry in response to new challenges.'

Here are some things you might have noticed: you might have noticed them anyway - many people have said the pandemic has emphasised and accelerated things that were already happening.

We keep forgetting things: I'm a 73 year old man. Tell me something I don't know.

Our brains are sharper: I get this. Re-inventing ourselves and continuous learning. Yes, depression and anxiety, but he pandemic may have jerked us out of complacency and back into novelty and the unknown - where next? I'm a reflector - re-evaluating my stuff and getting different and new insights is what I try to do. It doesn't always work. 

Stringing a sentence together: Hmmm.......

Trivial chit-chat: I get t this. I will talk to anyone anywhere if they will talk to me. Quite a change for a grumpy old sod.

Attention spans: It rather depends what I'm doing and if there is a deadline. This has to be in today.

Sleep cycles are confused: Stephanie Romiszewski says 'As soon as you wake up you need to put the lights on, be active and get outside for a walk or a run.' What planet is she on?

On the plus side: We are still communicating well by screen with family and friends. Graig Jackson tells us whilst this is a new skill and valuable for keeping in touch, it won't replace street parties which are hopefully around the corner.

Not another bloody snow scene
Music from Local Hero


Family matters - Gordon Major


It has come as a bit of a stunner. Gordon died this month, into his eighties, covid. Apparently isolating in lockdown since the beginning. Kept afloat by kind neighbours, one clearly devoted - Chrissie. A phone call, e-mails. "Would I like to go the funeral?" " Yes, would you like me to contribute?" " Yes. Ok if I give the celebrant your email address?"

Stunner, not because it happened. But because I hadn't seen him since mid 1990s. A yearly Christmas card, from him and his son, Richard. This year just from Gordon. Chrissie told me at the 'crem' Richard died 12 months ago, a month before first lockdown. She said she didn't know why. What must Gordon have gone through? Lots of regrets from both older brother and myself that we'd not kept in touch.

The crematorium up in Fixby gives me the creeps. Attended in cycles. Granny Addy was catholic and was buried. Both grandads died before I was born. Otherwise grans, aunts and uncles, mums and dads have all taken their turn. Vicars who didn't really know them, even Michael, son of mum's cousin, who is now a canon in Almondbury. But you don't buck the trend, do you? The religious words are meaningful to a few, and empty for many. Gordon had a 'celebrant' who 'did the job' as they say. 

Now it's the turn of 1930s and 1940s generations to pass. 


So to the crematorium and my memories of Gordon.

From childhood to the age of 17-18 Gordon was more of another older brother than a cousin. Strictly speaking he was not a blood relative, but for a short while we were pals.

My first memory is Gordon living with his family up on the Sheepridge estate. About 1952. George was his dad. He and Gordon had come from somewhere in the midlands. I think Gordon had had trials with a football team their as a goalkeeper. I assume George was originally from the West Riding because we used to visit his mother and aunt, in Wakefield. Gladys, George’s partner, was my dad’s sister and stepmum to Gordon. Granny Walker who was Gladys and dad’s mum also lived here and Gordon when he was home from National Service in Malaya. He got his love of rum from here I think. We lived in Hillhouse, a short trolley bus ride away and visited each other’s houses alternate Sundays.

Then it was all change. Granny Walker died. We moved to Waterloo. Gladys and George went to Moorlands Road, Mount and Gordon started courting Adrienne, a feisty redhead from Birchencliffe. The two families still visited and when Gordon and Adrienne were there they took me under their wing. Took an interest in what I was doing and played party games. I went for tea to their house up the hill in Salendine Nook, behind the Baptist Chapel. They were members at Redbrook sailing club near the Standedge cutting and Sundays during the season, they taught me to sail. 

Setting off in George's Dormobile was added to the Sunday visiting rota. Particularly memorable was 1995 and Southport beach. The day before older brother's 'O' levels. Cricket and trying to catch Adrienne off guard as she changed into her swimming costume. She was a good sport.

As a teenager, for a holiday job, George took me on to do odd jobs in his photographic studio. Gladys had the photographic shop on Victoria Lane. George and Gordon worked up in the attic of the old market, developing and printing. They also did portraits and weddings. So for a couple of summers, Gordon was my photographic mentor. In between the odd jobs, he taught me developing, printing and enlarging. We had sport in common and got on well, listening to test match special and talking about ‘Town’ and ‘Fartown’. I spent two summers in the dark.

Then all change again in the mid 1960s. The market was condemned as a fire hazard and eventually demolished in 1970. Gladys and George moved into the new Queensgate market. Gordon went to Timothy, White and Taylors and I left to seek fame and fortune.

In my day he was handsome, fit and strong. He’d a winning smile and a comb always at the ready to keep his James Dean hair in order. He enjoyed sports, rum, classical and big band music.

Regretfully, apart from weddings and funerals, Gordon and I lost touch. Although we did meet one last time on the 28th May 1995. ‘Town’ beat Bristol Rovers at Wembley and we met at one of the service stations where the football coaches took rest breaks.


Now back in the real world, I'm left quite a bit off-balance. Grateful to have been welcome at his funeral. Aware of the disconnect between my 1950s-60s stories and the other mourners. But mostly sad that older brother and myself had not kept in touch. It would be too easy to say that was the way he wanted it. As my primary school teacher used to tell me, along with an army of others, 'must try harder'.

Lockdown46 - It's winter, it's cold, the builders are in and the birds won't pose

Dave's notebook

chocolate x2       spelling? home schooling needed?

Wind - didn't blow the bloody doors off, just the balcony's front fascia and gutter. Revealed several rotten timbers. The lot could have come down eventually. The latest and hopefully last legacy from the bodging builders. Watch this space to find out the replacement.

Suspicious men on my hut - what's to do?
Replacing a leaking central piece of wood with lead sheeting. Let's hope.

49 and counting

More attempts at bird pics, but some of them don't pose

It's not Blackpool